Thursday, August 28, 2008

Cops Attack Protestors At DNC

Emergency news conference exposes gov’t terror

By LeiLani Dowell

Published Aug 27, 2008 9:19 PM

Denver police have used violence and mass arrests in an attempt to silence dissent during the Democratic National Convention. However, organizers and activists have put the city and police on notice that their intimidation tactics will not work.

Larry Hales from Recreate 68 Alliance and<br>FIST tells off Denver police. To his
left is<br>John Parker from Los Angeles<br>Int’l Action Center.

Larry Hales from Recreate 68 Alliance and
FIST tells off Denver police. To his left is
John Parker from Los Angeles
Int’l Action Center.

Photos: Troops Out Now Coalition

Several hundred activists were gathered in Civic Center Park on Aug. 25, where the Recreate 68 Alliance ( has a permit for a week of actions during the DNC. At about 6 p.m., Denver police began massing in groups, encircling the park. Squads then began to march through the park, pushing and kicking people as they passed. One group of heavily-armed police lined up directly across from the Troops Out Now Coalition table.

At about 7:00, a group of mostly young people responded by chanting “No justice, no peace!” The police charged the group, hitting several of them with pepper spray. Attempting to get away from the club-swinging police, the group moved onto Cleveland Street, joined by many others from the park.

Police then closed off both ends of the block, entrapping the group as well as many bystanders. They began hitting people with their nightsticks and using pepper spray and pepper balls.

Front banner at anti-war march in Denver,<br>Aug. 24.

Front banner at anti-war march in Denver,
Aug. 24.

One young protester, Martin, told the Denver Post, “We moved to the sidewalk—a few people stayed in the street—because we didn’t want a confrontation, but it didn’t matter. People started pleading: ‘Let me go. I want to go home.’ ...

“Some of the police on horses were whacking people with their batons. I was told later that the police were telling us to disperse, but I didn’t hear them say that. And where would we go? The police were all around us, not letting us leave.”

TONC organizer and Navy veteran Dustin Langley was among those trapped on the street between the police lines. He noted that spirits remained high, saying: “Street medics took care of those who had been pepper sprayed, and we shared water and made sure everyone was okay. We continued chanting and singing. At one point, we sang ‘Solidarity Forever’. One group of activists chanted at the cops: ‘Who do you protect? Who do you serve?’”

After more than an hour, the solidarity of those on the streets and negotiations by Recreate 68 organizers won the release of most of those trapped on the block.

At least 85, however, were placed in metal shackles and arrested. They were denied access to attorneys while at the detention center, and many were bullied into making a guilty plea in order to get released. Martin said, “Now, because of the plea bargain, I’m free but on probation. I can’t join any more marches, or do anything illegal in the next six months, or I’ll get five days in jail on top of the other charges.”

The next day the police continued their attempts to intimidate those protesting the DNC. Heavily-armed police continued to mass around the park, and squads of horse-mounted cops rode through the park several times.

At about 9 a.m., the right-wing bigot Fred Phelps entered the park, spewing a homophobic hate speech. A Recreate 68 organizer, Carlo Garcia, told him to leave. The Denver police responded by arresting Garcia, who has two brothers in Iraq.

When Code Pink organizer Alicia Forrest questioned Garcia’s arrest, she was knocked to the ground by police and arrested as well.

Organizers with the Recreate 68 Alliance and TONC called an emergency press conference in front of police headquarters to take a public stand against these tactics and respond to distortions in the corporate media, which portrayed the protesters as the initiators of violence.

Glenn Spagnuolo, one of the cofounders of the Recreate 68 Alliance, put the mayor, police chief and Denver Police Department on notice that he and other organizers are meeting with attorneys to move forward with legal action. He noted several major protest-related lawsuits, such as those in New York and Washington, which have cost local governments millions of dollars.

Larry Hales, a leader of the Recreate 68 Alliance and of the youth group FIST (Fight Imperialism Stand Together), noted that any violence that has occurred was initiated by the Denver police. Recreate 68 demands all police be removed from the park. Hales stated that since Recreate 68 has a permit to hold its activity in the Civic Center Park, the police have no business there.

Other speakers at the press conference included Brian Vicente of the Peoples Law Project; Ben Kaufman, who described the arrest of Carlo Garcia; Sally Newman of Code Pink; and Mark Cohen, a Recreate 68 cofounder, who questioned the role of the Democratic Party in suppressing civil liberties and attempting to silence protest.

Following the press conference, organizers returned to Civic Center Park, where they joined hundreds of activists from around the country determined to continue in the spirit of resistance and protest.

More coverage and analysis on developments at the DNC as well as the Republican National Convention will appear in upcoming WW issues.

Articles copyright 1995-2008 Workers World. Verbatim copying and distribution of this entire article is permitted in any medium without royalty provided this notice is preserved.


Ed said...

You claim to believe that humans have the right to healthcare, food, shelter, education, etc. I've recently become more and more bothered by this moronic "right" that some people believe exists.

Rights exist in an attempt to lay basic principles of human interaction that limit the amount of conflict that occurs. They need to be entirely passive (as in, they protect something from external factors), and they must not contradict each other. To say that you have the right to healthcare, food, shelter, education, etc, presumes that you have to right to the produce of someone else's efforts. Hospitals, farms, houses, schools, doctors, farmers, teachers, in order to provide these as a "right" you have to assume ownership of someone else's property to pay for it. Therefore, if you believe you have a right to these things, you are by logical extension saying that you believe you have the right to steal. It doesn't matter if you do it personally, or collectively society delegates someone to do it for them, it is still theft.

Those who believe these things exist as human "rights", are essentially saying that they believe not only that providing these goods and services trumps property rights, but because of the direct contradiction, they are basically trashing property rights entirely. That, by definition, makes you a Socialist. Where you believe that the right to property is unnecessary, and that factors of production are to be collectively owned. See human history for how that turned out.

People need only one "right" for complete and harmonious function for humanity. The right to your property. Since you own yourself, that by extension covers the right to your life and the ability to decide what to do with it (ie liberty).

Only a Socialist, who can't think beyond the end of their nose, can reason away the principles of not stealing and murdering, the two bedrocks of a functional society, in the name of some twisted version of equality.

"[Freedom] is not an endlessly expanding list of rights — the "right" to education, the "right" to health care, the "right" to food and housing. That’s not freedom, that’s dependency. Those aren’t rights, those are the rations of slavery — hay and a barn for human cattle."
- P.J. O’Rourke

mzbitca said...

If society demands that we live by it's rules and pay taxes and other such things is it too much to expect that basic human necessities that allow us to participate be allotted to us?

Ed said...

Well I'm an anarchist. I believe all taxation is theft, society should not demand anything of me, and I should not demand anything of society. I want my interaction with society to be entirely voluntary.

Renee said...

I believe that we are born with a human responsibility to care for those that are marginalized in this society. Anarchy would quickly descend into chaos.

Ed said...

It is a virtuous sentiment, I feel it too. However, I do not believe I have the right to dictate to others what their values should be, and compassion, like everything else, should be voluntary. I'm strongly of the opinion that private charity did a much better job prior to the explosion of the welfare state prior Bismark and WW2, and still does a far better job even though its means have been dramatically reduced by taxation, particular the income tax.

sossego333 said...

Do you think that the right to property should be valued over the right to life? People cannot live without food, shelter, and health care and if you want people to be able to provide for themselves as much as possible, education is one of the most effective ways to make this happen. The right to property over any other right is valuing things over lives. If someone's life is their property as you say, then shouldn't they have the right to eat, have shelter and health care so that they can keep their life? Isn't denying people the basic necessities for life stealing people's lives from them? I'm not saying that non living property isn't important or doesn't have it's place but I don't think it should be valued over human lives.

Tina said...

Ed, stay off the roads then, because our socialist system paid for them too, eh? And don't fly in airplanes, and cross bridges, and do any of the other great things brought to you by people voluntarily coming together to pool their resources for the good of all of us.

Ed said...


I think that people have a right to ownership over their own bodies, so they can decide what do with it, providing they don't violate anyone else's property rights. Food, healthcare, etc, these are necessities OF life, but not life itself. In order to claim that my right to life includes the right to food, I have to claim the right to the product of someone else's life and property. Therefore, to say that I have the right to food, contradicts the right to property.

What people have a right to is their own property, including deciding what happens to their body. They do not have a right to declare themselves owners of someone else's property, without that person's consent. That is called theft. If the person does consent, then presumably they did because you offered them something which they value more than the food you are buying from them. Hence voluntary exchange and subjective value. Therefore, you can only obtain food (and all those other "rights") if you produce something of value to society that can be exchanged for food. Thus it is necessary for people to be productive in order to obtain the means that they desire. That is the only fair system.

Of course charitable organisations, where private individuals have voluntarily donated wealth to provide a good or service to the needy, circumvent the need for everyone to produce value for society, to earn their sustenance and luxuries. This is different from welfare because a welfare state is forcing people to participate, and obtains its means through theft.

I'm not going to grace that with an answer. I think you know what my retort would be, and are just trying to be obtuse.

Ed said...