Anti-Kolumbus Day 2010
Kolumbus Day, amongst Amerika’s quaintest celebrations of its founding genocide, rolled through again throughout Occupied North America. In Denver, the usual crowd of fake Italians and flag-waving crackers put on another grosteque display of parasitism and reaction. In absence of any evident protest plans, RAIM put a call-out to protest against the chauvinist Killumbus celebrators.
Behind the scenes we discussed the issue with interested parties and decided two protests were a good idea: first a rally and demonstration against the parade itself; then a protest across the street from their after-parade lunch.
Our efforts resulted in around 50 protesting the celebration of conquest and genocide. RAIM made a number of signs and banners. Some examples included, “End Amerika’s Longest Running Genocide: 1492-2010,” “I Hate the USA (there, I said it),” “Kick Cracker Bum$ Off Stolen Indian Lands,” and “No Amnesty for Pilgrims or Their ‘Anchor Babies.”
The protest slowly warmed up and was diverse and energetic, especially as the plunder parade drew near. There was no shortage to opposition this blatant display of reaction.
The actual Kolumbus Day parade was as trashy as usual. It was both a celebration of past imperialism and genocide and a reflection of that which goes on today. As usual, the parade was made up of motorcycles, muscle cars, some Hummers, and semis with empty flatbed trucks: all toys for Amerikan parasites. The parade featured Amerikan military troops, who are imitating Kolumbus in Iraq, Afghanistan and elsewhere today.
Tom Tancredo, who was scheduled to appear in the convoy of conquest, didn’t show because he supposedly had a cold. The popular right-wing candidate in Kolorado’s 2010 governor campaign, his politics include: defining unborn Amerikans as living people and abortion as murder; advocating bombing Mecca and other Muslim holy sites; describing Spanish-speaking migrants as “illegal;” and claiming that Hezbollah has activist “terrorist” cells in Mexico. Even though Tankkkredo was too sick to sit in the passenger seat of a slow moving vehicle for 40 minutes, plenty of his racist supporters were there to represent.
The protesters’ chants included “Kolumbus Go to Hell,” “Kolumbus Go Home” “Yankee [and Gringo] Go Home,” and “Face It, You’re Racists, Your Claims On This Land Are Baseless.” These chants reflected the fact that Amerika is in fact a settler-empire founded on stolen land. Many of the protesters wanted to change that. Many people took the opportunity to give the parade-goers history lessons. Some suggested a wider range of other Italian history figures to celebrate besides Kolumbus. RAIMers asked through megaphones, “Where are your hoods, you racists?”
The second protest was even more charged. This was the first year that protesters showed up to the Kolumbus beneficiaries’ after-party. There, many of racists tried to piggishly provoke fights with protesters in front of the cops. Others challenged protesters to back-alley brawls. Some asserted we were lucky the Denver police were near by, suggesting we would be physically harmed if not. For the protesters, this merely confirmed the Kolumbus Day gathering was just another lynch mob.
Some of the krackers called protesters ‘faggots.’ This was met by a wide range of responses. Some protesters admitted to not conforming to traditional gender or sex roles. Others suggested the krackers themselves might by projecting their own repressed desires onto the anti-imperialist opposition before them. George Vendegnia, head of the ‘Sons of Italy,’ with all the grace of a drunken date-rapist at a honky-tonk bar, gestured simultaneously to his genitalia and various protesters numerous times.
A moment of comedy for the protesters occurred when some of the racists again tried to look tough. A large groups of biker-krackers pulled near the intersection next to the protesters and began revving their obscenely loud engines. The protesters’ chants of “Pigs On Hogs” were muffled out by the noise. However, when the biker klan was order by the cops to move along, one kracker’s bike slid out from underneath him, resulting in him dropping it and scratching his multi-thousand-dollar custom paint job. Laughter largely overtook the protest crowd. However, one protester’s effort to help the pig recover his motorcycle from the pavement sent 10 or so more racists running over expecting a fight.
After a time of letting the paraders know they were racists, we headed out, fired up from confronting racial hate in the town. Over the course of the day, RAIMers had handed most of the protesters copies of the ‘Troublemaker’ DVD, from which we still get positive feedback, and our recent programmatic statement, ‘The Anti-Kolumbus Day Manifesto.’
Some local media made note of the declining number of protesters at the first protest, but failed to report on the second protest, which drew additional people. The media also noted the declining participation of the parade. Even with the better weather from last year, the parade was still pathetic at barely 200 participants.
The Kolumbus myth is a center of the official narrative of Amerika as a beacon of freedom and democracy, and glosses over the legacy of imperialism that is at the heart of Amerika. Beginning after the anti-colonial movements, this narrative has been challenged internationally. In many countries and regions, Indigenous Peoples Day or Indigenous Resistance Day has replaced Kolumbus Day: a step in the right direction. Kolumbus Day is not part of a celebration of Italian or Italian-America history or heritage. It is a celebration of US and Western supremacy based on aggression and exploitation. It must be opposed along with imperialism itself.
It is worth noting that in Occupied America, anti-imperialist forces are a vast minority. We are ‘behind enemy lines.’ This was evident at the second protest, which was more of a stand-off at times. The racists were correct in one clear sense. Were the cops not present, they could have easily overran the diverse, smaller crowd of protesters. The 200 or so krackers present represented 200 or so potential modern brownshirts in a future fascist movement; 200 out of many more. To underscore the fascistic nature of the Kolumbus Day paraders and the danger they represent would be an error of underestimating the nature of the enemy. Already, Kolumbus Day has become a rallying cry for those who champion the reassertion of global Amerikan supremacy. (1)
Kolumbus Day, like imperialism, will come to an end. However, it will not be through the singular efforts of a small minority of anti-imperialists in western, First World countries. It will only end when the exploited masses of the Third World stand up, assert control over their own lives, beat back the First World and build a world free from imperialism. Standing against our material interests and becoming a traitor to one’s exploiter background; siding with the world’s exploited majority and supporting national liberation for captive, oppressed nations; opposing Amerikan chauvinism and overt celebrations of genocide and supremacy: these things are the least we can do here.