Monday, July 28, 2008

A new definition of chutzpah

The News:
A group of anarchists that plans to disrupt the Democratic National Convention is promising to go away if the $50 million federal grant that Denver received to pay for convention security is invested in the community instead. . . .

"Spending $50 million dollars on weaponry to attack people voicing their opinion and flooding the streets with riot police while schools close down, children go without health care and people lose their homes is exactly the problem with the corrupt two-party system we're opposing this August," [spokesanarchist Clayton Dewey] said.

Unconventional Denver is the local organizing body of a national network of anarchists who are mobilizing against the DNC, said Tim Simons, another organizer.

Simons said the group's offer to sit out the convention if the city, the federal government and the DNC all agree to "redirect" the $50 million to things like health care is not a publicity stunt.

"We understand that it's farfetched, but it's a sincere offer, and the goal of doing this is to really show what our priorities are," said Simons, who grew up in Boulder and recently returned to the metro area, where he has family, to help plan the group's efforts.

"Again and again, we're asked, 'Why are you protesting?' We're protesting because the priorities of this country are so perfectly exemplified by the DNC," he said. "It's about militarizing our communities and protecting big business. We're about health care, schools, basically meeting people's basic needs."

Should the group's offer be accepted, "they will call off all protests which include street parties, rallies, marches, protesting fundraisers and nonviolent direct action aimed at disrupting what they're calling the 'spectacle of a sham democracy,'" the group said in a statement.

Simons said the group doesn't do demonstrations, which he called a symbolic act to get media attention.

"We're going to physically stand in the way of what's going to happen," he said.

"The anarchists who are interested in confronting the Democratic National Convention are interested in doing more than just marching. We're interested in disrupting the spectacle of the DNC," he said.

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