Report Back on Anti-Police Demo
On August 28th, a march against police brutality was held in Denver, Colorado. The march was held in response to a series of police brutality cases coming to light.
The march was organized by members of Aurora Copwatch, West Denver Copwatch and the All Nations Alliance. Though the pig media lied and initially reported only “dozens” of protesters, at its height on the 16th Street Mall there were well over 200 participants, including not only much of the more ‘radical’ of the Denver activist scene but also people who had joined in as the march passed by.
The recent cases of police brutality and the reaction they sparked have been unprecedented. They have led to Mayor John Hickenlooper, who is running for governor this year, to bring in the FBI to investigate certain cases. It has also led to city public safety manager Ron Perea resigning,
and the city council settling many cases with millions of city dollars.(1)
The public anger of these cases, and many others not as known, set the mood for this march. Days before the march a group of religious leaders denounced plans for a march, and instead called for talks with the pigs to reform themselves.(2) But one cannot negotiate with pigs, and many people outraged about the incidents came out to show it that day. In the press release announcing the march the organizers announced: “It is anticipated that Denver police will be present during the march. We want to be clear in our position that due to the actions of its officers, we no longer trust DPD with its ability to protect our community. We request for the safety of the community members present at the march and rally, and that law enforcement officials keep a reasonable distance from the participants. We are engaging in a peaceful, non-violent exercise of our federally protected First Amendment rights and DPD interference is not welcome.”(3)
The march began by the downtown skatepark, next to where Mark Ashford was beat up by two Denver pigs. He was beaten after speaking with the driver of a vehicle the police had pulled over wrongly, offering to be a witness for the driver in court. The next stop of the march was at 15th St. and Larimer, where Micheal DeHerrera was assaulted by Denver’s grimiest as he was was talking on the phone outside of a club while police were arresting his friend. These two incidents of police brutality were videotaped by H.A.L.O., a network of video surveillance cameras in the downtown area monitored by the Denver Pig Department. The march and protest ended at Denver’s new $158 million, 1500 prisoner capacity “Justice” Center. There, Marvin Booker, a Black street preacher arrested on drug paraphenalia charges, was killed by the pigs running the detention center. He was beaten to death after he reached to get his shoes, his only possessions of value. The pigs have refused to release a video tape of the death citing ongoing investigations, but with the similarities to a previous death in police custody, many see an ongoing cover up that has been typical of DPD.
The protesters carried signs and banners. One read, “All Cops are Murderers.” Others listed the names of recent police victims. RAIM brought signs that read : “Fuck Pigs (And Snitches),” “Self Defense Makes Sense, Defeat Nazi Pigs,” and “Revolution is Good! Resist Amerikkkan Occupation.” Unlike other activist marches in the city, the militancy of this march was evident from the beginning. The march started with a chant “No Justice No Peace, Fuck the Police.” Other chants that echoed through the march were “Oink Oink, Bang Bang, Everyday the Same Old Thing,” “Cops, Pigs, Murderers,” and “When Our Communities Are Under Attack, What Do We Do? Stand Up, Fight Back!” RAIM also did its modest part to raise the militancy of the march, helping lead and initiate such chants through a megaphone.
Overall, like most marches in the First World, the message was mixed to the effect of confusing friends and enemies and in the process miscalculating the actual strength of each.
One positive thing was the rhetorical refutation of pacifism. When the crowd began chanting emotionally-charged slogans, one person put up a peace sign with their fingers. One pacifist type berated a RAIMer for leading slogans against the pigs through a megaphone, saying to us some metaphysical tripe about love conquering hate and peace overcoming violence. We politely brushed the person off and continued to assist in leading chants. Beyond the inane idea that RAIM-Denver was acting violently with no more power than a megaphone is the ideological wrecking-ball that is pacifism. While ultimately the degree of militancy in a single march in Denver is inconsequential, the idea itself, spread by well-to-do cracker-liberals from places like Boulder and Denver, is poisonous to the struggles of oppressed and exploited peoples globally. In a sense, pacifism is much like Christianity in that it is promoted to Third World peoples by Amerikans and various organizations they support, to the effect of diverting the proletarian from actual strategies for liberation. (We suggest everyone read Pacifism as Pathology by Ward Churchill and Negroes With Guns by Robert F. Williams for arguments against pacifism.)
With the presence and influence of pacifists and deescalaters limited, the march soon took parts of the streets, which isn’t usual for Denver protests. The pigs themselves stayed out of sight the whole time. This was a PR tactic as their presence would have surely escalated the toned of the march further and perhaps created even more instances of brutality. But we are sure that they were observing the march from a distance.
At the end of the march, in front of the Injustice Center, the crowd chanted “Fire to the Prisons” and Asesinos, Spanish for “Assassins.” There were speeches by activists highlighting the above pig terror cases and by victims of pig brutality telling the crowd their experiences. A coffin symbolizing the death of Marvin Booker was brought by the marchers and left there at the jail.
Common with virtually all protests in Denver and occupied North America was the great number of stares from people not participating. At times, the march walked past restaurants in affluent neighborhoods. Some protesters expressed affinity with the diners, encouraging them to join the march. Allusions were made that even the rich ‘liberal’ Denverite gawkers would “stand up” against the police.
We ask, why muddy up the picture with outright First Worldism? Rather, these people should be identified, albeit not merely in an agitational manner, for what they are: parasite reactionaries who more often than not support the pigs and the system they represent. Needless to say, the ‘militant’ pleas to shoppers and diners were fruitless. Ultimately, it was chants of ‘Fuck the Police!’ which got large numbers of passer-by youth to join the demonstration, not pacifism or First Worldism.
At another point in the march, the protesters paused to repeat a chant part of which said that they themselves had “…nothing to lose but our chains” (origanally said by Marx, but of course not attributed to him in the chant). RAIM didn’t participate in the contrived bit of self-delusion. We ask those who did to compare themselves to the average person from Latin America, Africa or Asia and take an honest account of the many things they could in fact lose. Though such slogans might give oneself a short-lived sense of self-importance, they do little in the long run to advance the revolutionary struggle. It is only by taking a realistic account of the world that one can hope to meaningfully advance the revolutionary struggle.
The contradiction between the police (or more accurately the system they represent) and the majority of Amerikans is not antagonistic, i.e. it will not lead to sustained revolutionary struggle. Not to say that we do not support reform efforts to reduce police terror, but only see the limitations that these reform efforts will do. There will be attempts by the city to appease the public outrage with more “accountability”, but police brutality is but a symptom of an unjust social order. Thus it will continue, as in these cases against non-white oppressed nationality peoples and others outside of mainstream society. Thus RAIM sees any effective revolutionary strategy inside imperialist Amerika as minoritarian, one that effectively repudiates the majority of Amerikans while seeking to work in alliance with the broad masses of the Third World, whom do in fact constitute majorities in their respective homelands. So-called radicals should promote an independent identity and culture of resistance amongst the oppressed in Amerika as well as a spirit of affinity and solidarity with the Third World masses, not a fallacious, reformist and First Worldist ‘unity’ between the oppressed and White activists as a stand in for a non-existent White proletarian.
More actions on these cases will come up, as they have been so publicized they will stay in the spotlight.
Here is a video of the march from West Denver Copwatch. Check out their website for more information about these cases and their interactive database of Denver pig activity.