Denver Kolumbus Day Reportback
On Saturday October 10, 2009 there was another wack ass parade of white settlers celebrating Columbus Day, disrespecting Native peoples, and engrossing themselves in settler parasitism. Denver has been an epicenter of resistance to this celebration of genocide and racism, as Colorado was the first state to officially celebrate Columbus Day over 100 years ago.
This year’s protest was different, as the official organized opposition to the parade, Transform Columbus Day, did not put out a call to protest the parade this year. Colorado AIM put out an advisory for Native elders and children to avoid downtown Denver and the parade. Nevertheless the controversy over the parade stayed in the news, mainly because of an attempted media prank by a Columbus Day opponent where a press release was sent out saying the parade was canceled. This later turned out to be a hoax.
We at RAIM thought that a bunch of cracker settlers celebrating being cracker settlers couldn’t go off without an anti-imperialist response. So we issued a call to be out to confront the parade, not to take over leadership of this protest but to show that settler colonialism would not go off in Denver without resistance. RAIM, along with about 20 other activist allies and others who came to protest the parade, made their presence known.
All of us gathered in this freezing Saturday morning to show opposition. We chanted “Down With Columbus Day, Settlers (and Occupiers) Go Away!” To liven up the anti-colonial festivities we brought a pinata of Uncle Sam. Protesters had whacks at it with a shoe, in honor of Al-Zaidi in Iraq. The media and parade pigs made a big deal about dwindling numbers at the protests, but the parade itself had fewer numbers too, even factoring in the weather. As usual, it was made up of mostly gas-guzzling Hummers and empty flat bed semis. There was lots of pigs out. Some group of right wing assholes in camo gear stood across the street, one was visibly carrying a sheathed knife.
It seems that the celebration of Columbus Day overall is declining. A corporate media report states the declining interest in Kolumbus Day, of course not all for reasons of celebrating the beginning of the largest genocide in history.
Despite the smaller turnout at the protest, the parade organizers were spurred to respond to it this year. From http://www.columbusdayparade.org:
” Columbus Day Parade – Denver, CO
A Message from the President
Written by Richard SaBell
Sunday, 11 October 2009 18:15
Thank you all for your support and participation! The parade was a success despite the weather and the weak attempt at cancellation. The October newsletter will be out shortly with a full recap of the day. The following is copy of the letter sent to all the same people that received the phony cancellation email.
Letter to the Media October 11, 2009
As evidenced by the wonderful but cold Columbus Day Parade on Saturday, the parade was not cancelled and was never in danger of being cancelled. Some have called the attempt to disrupt the parade a hoax but in truth the criminal impersonation of anyone is a serious matter. Denver Police have informed me the investigation is ongoing. As a private citizen, as President of the Columbus Day Parade committee, and as a member of the National Order Sons of Italy in America and Grand Lodge of Colorado, I will pursue this matter to the fullest extent of the law.
It is important to remember that in addition to honoring a brave explorer and acknowledging Italian American contribution to this country, Columbus day commemorates the beginnings of America itself. A National American holiday of great importance. I feel it is long overdue for a close look at who and what opposes this celebration. We have multimedia documentation of protestor signs reading “I hate the U.S.A.,” “Victory to Afghanistan,” “Death to Empire,” and an effigy of Uncle Sam used as a pinata and beaten with a shoe. Shouted slogans over a loudspeaker of “occupier go away,” and “hey little kid, your dad is a racist.” This yearly abuse of the Italian American community at the hands of individuals with no regard for the law of the land or the rights of their fellow citizens is a disgrace. Know that the Columbus Day Parade will take place next year despite any opposition, even Mother Nature.
To avoid any confusion or misunderstanding in the future I suggest you check ou! r website for up to date info and a full contact list of anyone you may need. You may also call me direct 720-323-4260. If you reach my voice mail, please leave a message and I will return your call directly.
G. Richard SaBell
Columbus Day Parade Committee”
Sabell does accurately reflect the signs and pinata that were at the protest. He is wrong to say that all who oppose the parade are against Amerika, but we at RAIM definately are. He is accurate in saying that the Columbus Day holiday commemorates the legacy of Amerika, that of racism, colonialism, and genocide. He attacks the supposed unsavory characters who protest the parade but ignores the shady supporters of the celebration that include white supremacists, neo-Nazis, the John Birch Society, and those who honor bringing Western civilization to the so-called New World because it is a “superior culture,” no matter the atrocities it brought.
This year’s protest kept alive a tradition of resistance to the racist parade and holiday, which started in Colorado over 100 years ago. Worldwide this resistance continues.