I can't go on. I must go on. I can't go on.
A nude-in with bare bodies arranged to spell "PEACE," traffic-stopping bike blockades, music with a message. Civil disobedience, direct confrontation, radical cheerleading.
That funky fusion of protest, performance and pompoms.
Because you're a fucking idiot! (Sorry, I'm very tired.)
The new generation of activists, and the daisy-in-the-rifle protesters who birthed them, is busy with creative ferment, organizing public dissent for the Democratic National Convention here in August. They are motivated by the desire to create social change with people power, not political power, frustrated by a mounting list of problems, from the housing crisis to soaring prices for gas and food.
"There will be a lot of people at this convention who are progressive and who are angry at the Democrats," says Virginia Trabulsi, who has worked for years with the anti-war group United for Peace and Justice.
"They're saying, 'Why have we not impeached Bush? Why is Homeland Security out of control?'"
Tens of thousands of activists are expected, homegrown and imported. Some plan to drive FEMA trailers up from Mississippi for a media-savvy statement about continuing Hurricane Katrina struggles. Others are coming from Seattle, like the Backbone Campaign, which will haul 70-foot-tall political puppets [yay!] called The Chain Gang: prison-suited images of Bush, Dick Cheney and Donald Rumsfeld.Donald who?
CodePink, a national anti-war organization, plans a Restore Democracy Parade, an extravaganza of dissent: floats, political theater, musicians, stilt performers, radical cheerleaders, puppets, drummers and bands.The chick-rad uniform.
The local spokeswoman for CodePink is Zoe Williams, a 22-year-old platinum blond with spiky hair, rectangular glasses and a penchant for black-and-white polka-dot canvas shoes.
Colorful. Creative. A very interesting, artistic, positive group of people. Jesus.
She's part of the new face of activism, a youth-driven alliance that includes Students for Peace and Justice, Students for a Democratic Society, and Tent State."One of the big things about the colorful, creative protests is to show that we are a very interesting, artistic, positive group of people. We aren't this scary image that protesters often get painted as."
"That's something our progressive movement is now seriously considering," she says. "How can we make ourselves less frightening? How can we make ourselves look open?
So Adam Jung, who made a big show of divorcing his group from the violence-mongering ratbags of R68, endorses a group with exactly the same aims and methods. Good going, Adam.
She works closely with guys like Adam Jung, a farm boy from Missouri who now studies at the University of Denver and spends his free time organizing Tent State University, mobilizing students to confront the Democrats and end the war.
"I'm definitely not right-wing or conservative, but I do identify with rural values," Jung says. "If I called my granddad an environmentalist, he'd smack me, but those are his values."
The base camp he envisions for Tent State University will include thousands of tents staked in City Park, with a music festival featuring political hip-hoppers The Coup and Wayne Kramer, who played with his old group the Motor City 5 during the 1968 Democratic National Convention in Chicago. Tent State workshops will train activists in nonviolent direct action, and focus on building a grassroots movement.
And from this idea sprang the newly minted Denver chapter of the Students for a Democratic Society. . . .
Back in the 1960s, the SDS was the most influential group of radical student activists in the country. It died out in 1969 but was re-created two years ago and is now one of the fast-growing groups of young activists, with more than 300 chapters on college and high school campuses. The goal is to create a society free from poverty, war, racism and sexism.
"SDS is starting to become cool again," says Jung.
Whether rooted in the '60s or the '00s, activists are driven by the same fuel.The narcissism is sick-making. Read the whole putrid panegyric.
"We are passionate people who really spend way too much time thinking about all the awful stuff in the world that's so urgent," says Sarah Gill, program director for the Denver office of the American Friends Service Committee. "We just want to do the right thing, and it matters if we do it the right way, because people's lives depend on it."