Mark Cohen is in a funk.Last time I saw him, he was in a clown su--er, wizard's costume.
It was the Sunday before the Democratic National Convention during an anti-war Rally the veteran activist had spent 18 months organizing. From the steps of the State Capitol, he was discouraged to see only a few hundred protesters.Any more? Oh yeah, they elected Richard Nixon in 1968.
Cohen — co-founder of the group Recreate 68 — had cut his teeth decrying the Vietnam War and always believed in the power of taking to the streets.
Now he's not so sure.
"Because we're the home-field activists, we felt we had to organize a march for the DNC or else people would say Denver doesn't care about the war," he said. "But mass marches don't work any more--
"Politicians don't perceive any kind of threat from our actions."Guess that's why they spent $50 million of taxpayers' money on security.
Funny, just a little over a week ago Glenn was talking about building on the "momentum" R68 had gained from the protests.
Glenn Spagnuolo, Recreate 68's louder-mouthed co-founder, voiced his own angst in his post-mortem:
"In the end, what did we accomplish? Not much. Do I feel like we influenced the Democratic Party at all? No. . . . I'm done with that type of protest."
The self-doubts of two of Denver's best-known protesters may be met with smugness by city officials, Barack Obama supporters and law-and-order ideologues irked by lefty dissent — however anemic — in August.Law-and-order ideologues irked by lefty dissent. Hmpf.
Even activists are pointing fingers.Even? It's their favorite pastime.
Many blame the less militant among them for cowering in the face of police overpresence or wimping out for fear of eroding support for Obama.Notice how Greene doesn't say why, exactly, the "less militant" were "cowering" in the face of police "overpresence" (nice word)--the real possibility of violence from R68 and its umbrella groups.
Some blame a sense of powerlessness about a war that most Americans oppose.Wouldn't be a Greene column if she didn't work that in. The assumption being, as always, that polls rather than elections should determine the direction of policy.
Some point to apathy in a town that got more worked up over a Rockies playoff game last fall than the deaths of 4,100 soldiers.Now she's just being despicable. Anyone who doesn't share Greene's beliefs or priorities is callous, at best. Note, by the way, how she keeps putting her own opinions in the mouths of the crappy columnist's best friend, "Some."
Others (SBF!) cite infighting in the activist community, faulting Cohen and Spagnuolo for harkening back to protests in Chicago in 1968 rather than pushing a more current agenda. . . .Now there's something Greene's an expert on.
But all that misses the point.
In a time of war and economic tumult, when gas prices, foreclosures and joblessness are rising, it seems an odd time for so many in Denver's activist left to be paralyzed by self-doubt. Frustrated peaceniks, anarchists and other liberals--Anarchists and other liberals. I love it. She doesn't even get that R68ers and their homonculi couldn't care less about "economic tumult," gas prices, foreclosures or (especially) joblessness. What's the chant? Oh yeah: Two, four, six, eight, organize to smash the state--and don't forget to drive less to lower our dependence on foreign oil!
Psssst. Hey, Carlo. How about . . . violence?
Even young activists are questioning their future on the streets.
"At the end of the day, the only people who heard us were the riot cops. We need to figure out a different formula, something that's more inspiring to people," said 22-year-old Recreate 68 leader Carlo Garcia, one of roughly 150 protesters arrested in August.
This week marks the midway between the convention and the perennial uprising against Italian-Americans' Columbus Day parade in Denver.Uprising date circled on my calendar!
While the American Indian Movement meets today to set its plans for October, some core activists who back the group say enthusiasm for a mass protest is lower than ever. There are rumblings about a small, direct action blocking the parade, or even skipping a protest.Aw c'mon, ya wusses.
"The question is whether it's worth our time, energy and resources to scream at a blind and deaf infrastructure," said AIM leader Glenn Morris.Blind and deaf, Glenn, or just (like everyone else in the freaking universe) bored and sick to death of you, Spagz, Larry Hales, R68, AIM, Ward Churchill, his dog Benjie, and all of your threats, lies and hate?
"But let me be clear," he added. "Surrender is not one of our options."Whatever, Chunky.
Speaking of evil demoralized, Benjie Whitmer hasn't updated his filthy Try-Works blog in almost three weeks. Time to get yourself worked up for Columbus Day, Benjie. If you can. But we'll understand if you don't show up this year (let alone get arrested--but you never get arrested, do you?). I mean, with kids and the wife and the job to worry about, who has time these days for revolution?
Update: Benjie's back! Obviously he's been over here, because he has the story about the woman who claimed Wart "threw" poison gas on her two years ago. It wasn't Snapple.