Archive | May, 2011

New Zine on Anti-Cop Activity in Denver

30 May

Local Denver distro P&L Press published a nice zine collecting a lot of writings on anti-police activity in the city over the last year (including some issued through QCAF) and you can check it out here.

Update on May 6th Demonstration Prisoner Amelia Nicol

28 May

from the Denver Anarchist Black Cross:

Update on Amelia Nicol
Prisoner from Anti-Police Terror March
Denver, CO

Amelia Nicol had her first court date on Monday May 16th in Denver County Court. At this court date, her lawyer made a formal appearance. Amelia declined to have her charges publicly read in court. But as of the date of this writing, the charges she is being held under continue to include several major felonies, including two counts of attempted murder of a police officer, a single count of possession of an explosive device, a single count of arson, and criminal destruction of property.

The judge declined a any hearing on reducing her bond, instead scheduling bond arguments for June 9. Her bond remains at $50,000.

Denver Anarchist Black Cross has been in contact with Amelia. She has made it clear that she does not want to be bonded out, that she does not want the state or any associated body to profit from her imprisonment. She has but one clear demand: her immediate release without charge.

She has asked that any money being collected for support be directed to Denver ABC to help pay for phone calls and sending her stamps, envelopes, and paper. She does not want any more money placed in her commissary as she does not want to purchase any items from the jail. She does not want any more money being given to those that now hold her in a cage.

In the coming weeks leading up to her next court date, Denver ABC will be organizing a massive letter writing and phone call campaign directed at the Denver District Attorney, demanding that Amelia’s charges be immediately dropped.

Here are some concrete ways you can support Amelia and also support the ongoing struggle against police terror in Denver:

1) Write to Amelia! Send her letters, cards, photos, jokes, stories, etc…
Letters may be addressed to:
Amelia Nicole CD# 0000762401
Denver County Jail
PO Box 1108
Denver, CO 80201
Please see mail regulations here, and note that Denver ABC has already sent a package of envelopes, paper, and stamps. http://www.denvergov.org/Portals/327/documents/ALLOWABLE%20MAIL%20ITEMS.pdf

2) Write a letter to Denver District Attorney Mitch Morrissey and demand that the charges against Amelia be dropped immediately!
Denver DA Mitch Morrissey
201 W. Colfax #801
Denver, CO 80202
Or call him at: 720-913-9000

3) Donate to Amelia’s phone fund.
Send checks or money orders made out to P&L Printing to:
Denver ABC
2727 W. 27th Ave Unit D
Denver, CO 80211

4) Keep checking the Denver ABC blog at denverabc.wordpress.com for updates, or follow us at twitter, through our user name, DenverABC.

Case Background

On Friday May 6th, over one hundred people, mostly young, poor, and angry, took to the streets in defiance of the Denver Police Department. They participated in a march, called to confront “police terror” in the Denver Metro area. Specifically, they marched to remember the deaths of Marvin Booker and Oleg Gidenko, two people murdered by area police departments in the last year.

As the the march ended, a small firework was set off in the street. Police used this act as a justification to chase one alleged participant down an alley, where she was tackled and beaten by police. This person would later be identified as Amelia Nicol, a 20 year old Colorado resident. She now faces outlandish charges including attempted murder.

We call on all people to support Amelia as she fights these attempts at intimidation and repression, and the police’s broader attack on social movements in Denver.

Marvin Booker, a homeless street preacher, died at the hands of five sheriff’s deputies in the Van Cise-Simonet Detention Center in downtown Denver on July 9, 2010. He was tackled, beaten, placed into chokeholds, tazed, and kicked. He eventually succumbed to the officers’ brutal attack. He was murdered for refusing to leave his shoes in the booking area of the jail.

Oleg Gidenko was shot in the head by Aurora Police Officers. Oleg was in a truck with several friends. They had been hanging out, allegedly drinking in the truck while it was parked in a lonely industrial park in Aurora. Aurora Police Officers approached the truck, armed, supposedly because they suspected the occupants of breaking into cars in the area. As the police aimed their weapons at the truck, one officer shot Oleg in the head. Another occupant, Yevgeniy Straystar. was also shot, but would survive. With two occupants, including the driver, shot and a passenger trying to hide on the floor of the truck as it took repeated fire from police officers, the truck lurched forward, bumping into one of the officers. This action, though it took place after the firing had started, and after Oleg was dead, was used as the justification for the shooting.

Many other high profile cases of police terror have been documented in the metro area over the last year, including the beating of whole families, rape and child molestation, and mishandling of evidence. Few, if any, officers are ever punished.

On May 6th, the fourth in a series of marches was held to show direct opposition to the police terror plaguing the metro area. For several hours the crowd snaked through downtown and the arts district. The police response to this fourth march was much heavier than previous marches, and riot police flanked the march for a good portion of the route. Despite the heavy police presence and attempts at intimidation, Amelia would end up being the only arrest during the march.

On Thursday May 12th, news agencies across the metro area reported that Amelia would be charged with a host of felonies and misdemeanors, including two counts of attempted murder of a police officer, criminal arson, possession and use of explosives, and inciting a riot. Police alleged she threw the firework, only now in the news reports the firework had become a “molotov cocktail”, or in some news reports, an “improvised explosive.” The small green firework now became a dangerous implement of attempted murder of two police officers. Amelia is now confined to a jail cell in the Denver County Jail, held on a $50,000 bond.

Just days previous, on Monday May 9th, Denver Mayor Guillermo Vidal announced that the deputies implicated in the death of Marvin Booker would face no discipline for their use of force. This announcement came after months of public outcry in response to a September 2010 decision by District Attorney Mitch Morrissey to not file any criminal charges in response to Marvin’s murder.

The charges now being filed against Amelia are a slap in the face to every person that struggles for justice. The City of Denver has made it clear that the life of a black street preacher is worth less than the relative comfort of several police officers that may have been scared by a small firework. Murderers with badges receive no criminal charges, while a young woman who allegedly attended a protest to hold those officers accountable now faces over 90 years in prison.

We must rally to support Amelia! The Denver Anarchist Black Cross calls on all justice and freedom loving people to mobilize for the defense of Amelia in the face of these atrocious criminal charges.

According to the formal charging document in Amelia Nicol’s case, these are the current charges against her:

– Two counts of attemped murder (Felony 2)
– Use of explosives (Felony 2)
– Possession of explosives (Felony 4)
– Second-degree arson (Felony 4)
– Criminal mischief (Felony 4)
– Inciting a riot (Felony 5)
– Two counts of attemped third-degree assault (Misdeamenor 2)
– Resisting arrest (Misdeamenor 2)

Support Info for Amelia Nicol (May 6th Arrestee)

16 May

from the Denver Anarchist Black Cross:

Support resistance to police terror!
Support Amelia Nicol!

On Friday May 6th, over one hundred people, mostly young, poor, and angry, took to the streets in defiance of the Denver Police Department. They participated in a march, called to confront “police terror” in the Denver Metro area. Specifically, they marched to remember the deaths of Marvin Booker and Oleg Gidenko, two people murdered by area police departments in the last year.

As the the march ended, a small firework was set off in the street. Police used this act as a justification to chase one alleged participant down an alley, where she was tackled and beaten by police. This person would later be identified as Amelia Nicol, a 20 year old Colorado resident. She now faces outlandish charges including attempted murder.

We call on all people to support Amelia as she fights these attempts at intimidation and repression, and the police’s broader attack on social movements in Denver.

Background
Marvin Booker, a homeless street preacher, died at the hands of five sheriff’s deputies in the Van Cise-Simonet Detention Center in downtown Denver on July 9, 2010. He was tackled, beaten, placed into chokeholds, tazed, and kicked. He eventually succumbed to the officers’ brutal attack. He was murdered for refusing to leave his shoes in the booking area of the jail.

Oleg Gidenko was shot in the head by Aurora Police Officers. Oleg was in a truck with several friends. They had been hanging out, allegedly drinking in the truck while it was parked in a lonely industrial park in Aurora. Aurora Police Officers approached the truck, armed, supposedly because they suspected the occupants of breaking into cars in the area. As the police aimed their weapons at the truck, one officer shot Oleg in the head. Another occupant, Yevgeniy Straystar. was also shot, but would survive. With two occupants, including the driver, shot and a passenger trying to hide on the floor of the truck as it took repeated fire from police officers, the truck lurched forward, bumping into one of the officers. This action, though it took place after the firing had started, and after Oleg was dead, was used as the justification for the shooting.

Many other high profile cases of police terror have been documented in the metro area over the last year, including the beating of whole families, rape and child molestation, and mishandling of evidence. Few, if any, officers are ever punished.

On May 6th, the fourth in a series of marches was held to show direct opposition to the police terror plaguing the metro area. For several hours the crowd snaked through downtown and the arts district. The police response to this fourth march was much heavier than previous marches, and riot police flanked the march for a good portion of the route. Despite the heavy police presence and attempts at intimidation, Amelia would end up being the only arrest during the march.

On Thursday May 12th, news agencies across the metro area reported that Amelia would be charged with a host of felonies and misdemeanors, including two counts of attempted murder of a police officer, criminal arson, possession and use of explosives, and inciting a riot. Police alleged she threw the firework, only now in the news reports the firework had become a “molotov cocktail”, or in some news reports, an “improvised explosive.” The small green firework now became a dangerous implement of attempted murder of two police officers. Amelia is now confined to a jail cell in the Denver County Jail, held on a $50,000 bond.

Just days previous, on Monday May 9th, Denver Mayor Guillermo Vidal announced that the deputies implicated in the death of Marvin Booker would face no discipline for their use of force. This announcement came after months of public outcry in response to a September 2010 decision by District Attorney Mitch Morrissey to not file any criminal charges in response to Marvin’s murder.

The charges now being filed against Amelia are a slap in the face to every person that struggles for justice. The City of Denver has made it clear that the life of a black street preacher is worth less than the relative comfort of several police officers that may have been scared by a small firework. Murderers with badges receive no criminal charges, while a young woman who allegedly attended a protest to hold those officers accountable now faces over 90 years in prison.

We must rally to support Amelia! The Denver Anarchist Black Cross calls on all justice and freedom loving people to mobilize for the defense of Amelia in the face of these atrocious criminal charges!

There are many ways to show support:

1)Attend Amelia’s public hearing on Monday May 16th at 9:30 am in Courtroom 2100 of the Denver County Courthouse at 490 West Colfax in downtown Denver.
2)Donate to Amelia’s legal defense. Denver ABC will be accepting donations on behalf of Amelia’s family and friends. You can mail donations to Denver ABC, 2727 W. 27th Ave Unit D, Denver CO 80211. Checks should be made payable to P&L Printing. A paypal account where donations can be made is available through the username plpress@riseup.net
3)Sign up for updates on Denver ABC’s twitter account. Our username is DenverABC.
4)Send a letter to the Denver DA demanding that the charges against Amelia be immediately dropped. All letters or postcards can be mailed to: Denver DA Mitch Morrissey, 201 W. Colfax Ave #801, Denver CO 80202-5328
5)Keep checking the Denver ABC blog at denverabc.wordpress.com for all news, announcements, and other ways to show support for Amelia and other political prisoners.

We must clearly view these charges as an attack on our movement as a whole. Amelia’s fate determines the fate of our social movements active across the metro area, and even the rest of this country and the world. This type of repressive act, if successful, will only work to embolden and strengthen a police force that has openly been waging a war of brutal terror against the people of the Denver metro area. If they can put Amelia in prison for what would amount to the rest of her life for attending a demonstration, then any of us who organize for justice and against oppression could be next.

If you have any questions, offers of support or resources, or want to get involved with the support work, please contact us at denverabc@rocketmail.com

Until Amelia is free, and all cages are emptied!

Denver Anarchist Black Cross
May 15, 2011

Burying the hatchet to defend against the gun

13 May

In light of the recent and atrocious attack that has been leveled against our movement by the Denver Police Department, the authors of Queen City Antifa’s “Even with our backs against the wall” communique would like to offer some thoughts in an effort to move forward and be able to create a united defense against the police and their attacks.

In our previous communique, we raised critiques that we feel are still valid regarding ideas of solidarity and action. In response, various discussions, articles, and responses have circulated around the internet. The discussions that have come out of this have at times been helpful, and at others been harmful. But overall, the critiques, analysis, and discussions have started to bring to the surface many important ideas and dialogues that have not seen much light before this time.

Understanding that debate, criticism, and challenges are all important parts of an effective social movement praxis, QCAF would like to take this time to “bury the hatchet” of the internal divisons that have been a topic of discussion for the last week. Let’s be honest. Though we still stand by our critiques, our methods were not the best. We accept responsibility for an irresponsible method of communication. We were wrong to have publicly aired the frustrations the way we did. Whatever feelings we were processing, publicly announcing those frustrations in the way we did created even more animosity and distrust. We helped widen a schism that we feel has formed within our movement. We acted “holier than thou”. We pretended to have all the answers, when in fact, we definitely do not. We ended up erasing the important work and contributions to struggle that have been forth by comrades that we cherish and respect a lot. We came off as smug assholes.

So yeah. We fucked up with the way we addressed the wider Denver based movement(s) that exist. No matter how strongly we may feel about certain critiques, our methodology did nothing to actually solve the issues we were hoping to address.

We say this in an attempt to move forward and directly address the very serious attack that has been leveled against us today by the Denver Police Department and Denver District Attorney Mitchell Morissey.

Today, Thursday, May 12th , the Denver District Attorney announced formal charges against Amelia Nicol, an alleged participant in the May 6th March Against Police Terror, that include two charges of Attempted Murder of a Law Enforcement Officer. She is currently facing 90 years in prison for allegedly throwing “an improvised explosive” at police officers during the end of the march on Friday night with the intent to kill them.

The truth of the matter is that no one who was present at that march saw “an improvised explosive” or as some media outlets have reported, “a molotov cocktail”. At the end of the march some participants witnessed a small firework explode in the street as the march was dispersing. Later, someone alleged to have participated in the march was tackled and arrested in a downtown alley. That person has been identified as Amelia Nicol.

These charges are a clear attack not only against Amelia, but against the growing movements that have been challenging police terror in Denver, and to all people who are struggling against oppression and state sponsored terrorism. If we allow the DA to peg these charges against Amelia, if we allow the local capitalist media to paint a completely and alarmingly false picture of what happened that night, these same tactics can and will be used against anyone that struggles for freedom in Denver.

QCAF openly calls for all people active within local liberatory social movements to set aside our differences and come together to defend Amelia and our movement against these attacks. As the old IWW motto goes “An injury to one is an injury to all.” This attack must be treated as an attack against every single one of us.

No matter what our differences, as members and participants of liberatory social movements of all stripes, we are not enemies. The enemies are those in power that would use police and the prison industrial complex to intimidate those of us struggling for freedom.

Our differences are real. And they are important to discuss. And we must keep the discussion and dialogue alive. But attacking each other, trying to appear better than each other, and all other tactics that weaken our movement must stop. Our enemies are taking advantage of this situation, and we must respond, in a united effort.

In closing, we ask that no matter what hard feelings you may harbor toward QCAF, that you do not let these feelings affect the much needed support for Amelia and the struggle against these charges. Our support work must be principled. Our personal grudges should not weaken and threaten those of us that are vulnerable and under attack by the state and other repressive forces. Even if you do not want to support QCAF, please support Ameila and our joint struggle against this repression.

Our comrades at Denver ABC will most likely be offering updates on supporting Amelia. We in QCAF ask that we all do everything in our collective power to support her and repel this attack. We look forward to working with you and burying the hatchet to defend against the state’s guns.

In defense, solidarity, and mutual respect,

QCAF

Person Arrested at May 6th March Facing Serious Charges

12 May

The identity of the person arrested at the protest last week has been released and they are facing extremely ugly charges. Here is corporate news identifying them as Amelia Nicol, 20, and they are faced with two counts of attempted murder, use of explosives, possession of explosives, second-degree arson, criminal mischief, inciting a riot, two counts of attempted third-degree assault and resisting arrest.

More information on support coming soon.

Info on gathering tonight

9 May

The text being sent out right now has these details:

“Mayor announces no discipline for cops who murdered Marvin Booker. Converge on the jail tonight at 6pm. Bring signs, banners, friends and rage. Forward widely!”

You know what to do. In the meantime go read our report on last Friday’s action here. The picture left is demonstrators redecorating the front windows of the jail with stickers featuring Marvin Booker.

Even With Our Backs Against a Wall: A reportback from the Denver May 6th March Against Police Terror

9 May

(Disclaimer: This reportback is authored by several participants and members of Queen City Antifa. However, it should not be assumed or insinuated that the comments, conclusions, or descriptions of events in anyway represent the feelings or experiences of anyone else, including other organizers, collectives, or participants. So, let’s just be clear: This reportback does not represent the opinions of West Denver Copwatch, Denver Anarchist Black Cross, or any other supporting groups or individuals other than the authors. Clear? Cool.)

Since the nearly year old murder of Marvin Booker at the hands of Denver Sheriff’s Deputies in the Van Cise-Simonet Detention Center, a movement against police and policing has grown in the Denver metro area. Between July 2010 and May 2011, at least 3 militant and unpermitted street marches have been organized. Press conferences, vigils, rallies, panel discussions, and other protests and events have also been held to protest not only the murder of Marvin at the hands of his jailers, but also others who have been murdered, beaten, attacked, raped, and assaulted by police in the greater metro area.

Buildup

In early April, an announcement started appearing on the internet and through handbills and posters calling for another march to be held on May 6th. This would mark the 4th march in a series of increasingly militant and larger street actions challenging police terror in the metro area.

The call was the first that explicitly intended to link foreign occupations by militaries with local occupations by police forces, as well as make connections between local police terror to the ongoing class and social conflicts raging in the U.S. and countries all over the world. (https://queencityantifa.wordpress.com/2011/04/22/march-against-police-terror-march-for-marvin-oleg-and-all-the-victims/)

The callout would not be the only aspect that clearly set apart this march from the events preceding it.

As the momentum from the previous protests fueled organizers and supporters, the increasing militancy of the previous protests alarmed and frightened others. At least one anonymous comment appeared on Colorado Indymedia, “warning” people of the many dangers they faced if they attended the demonstration.

The logic presented seemed to rely on the idea that the past marches had gotten lucky, but this time the cop response would be much worse. Since the militancy of the previous protests had upped the ante, the cops would respond in full this time around.

As an indication that this logic had basis in reality, a representative of the Department of Justice Office of Civil Rights attempted on seemingly multiple occasions to contact protest organizers to set up “negotiations” between the organizers and local police. The local movement responded to this in a variety of ways. Queen City Antifa released a communique denouncing the attempts to negotiate, while other organizations simply took down the initial callout for the march to avoid being pegged as organizers. The latter response, coupled with the anonymous comment on Indymedia, illustrated the fear present within the local movement. These early responses to the march would also serve to keep some people away from the protest. Fear was already crippling the march, before it had even begun.

The cops would also take the pre-march repression to an even higher level. Stories were related to us by several supporters and participants in past marches, that they and other homeless youth had been receiving threats from the cops in the week before the march. The police threatened that they would just identify march participants and later arrest or “find them”.

The impacts of the culture of fear permeating throughout the movement would definitely be felt on May 6th.

Verse

In a tradition that had been set by marches held on October 22 and January 29, organizers called for a nighttime march. These previous nighttime marches had seemingly allowed for increased militancy and participation. Organizers hoped that this next protest would provide space for yet another militant and participatory confrontation.

As the starting time of the march approached, two banners were unfurled near the intersection of 8th Avenue and Speer Boulevard. “Marvin Booker and Oleg Gidenko: We will never forget or forgive” and “Stop Police Terrorism” were the messages that greeted rush hour motorists.

The crowd that started in the park was noticeably small, and the mood not as festive or empowered as previous marches. Police cars had started to surround and even enter the park. Three squads of riot police had been seen in the parking lot of the nearby hospital. The mood of the participants was far from hopeful. While the march of January 29th had initially mobilized 150 participants and grown to 300 in the streets, this march was starting with barely 50 people.

Speeches were made. Banners and signs were distributed, as well as nearly 4000 stickers with anti-police slogans and pictures of Marvin Booker’s face, although it was unclear at this point whether those stickers would be put to use or if the crowd would even march.

But, despite the police buildup, the rumors and warnings that had circulated beforehand, and the general uneasiness of march organizers and supporters alike, the march entered 8th Avenue, intent on holding the streets.

Chorus

As the march entered the street, several squad cars pulled up behind the crowd. They slowly followed as the crowd took over 3 lanes of traffic on 8th Avenue, and eventually the police closed the street to all traffic.

Chants of the classic and well worn chant: “Who’s Streets? Our Streets”, filled the air. The march proceeded to Santa Fe Drive, where hundreds of people were gathered for the monthly First Friday Artwalk.

As the crowd turned onto Santa Fe, we were greeted with a mixture of cheers and jeers. The march blocked all lanes of traffic, and hundreds of fliers were distributed, while the stickers started to hit every surface that could be found.

Police started to form lines blocking off side streets, armed with AR-15s and shotguns, presumably loaded with non-lethal ammunition. This was a huge change from previous marches, where police rarely exited their vehicles.

The march doubled in size at it moved down Santa Fe, numbering around 100 as it passed 11th Avenue. Shortly thereafter, the police presence noticeably increased, with motorcycle and other mobile units starting to direct traffic away from the marchers, and close down sidestreets.

The march took a sudden right turn onto 14th Avenue, turned onto Speer, and shut down one of the major arterial roads of the downtown area. A quick right turn onto Colfax and the march proceeded toward the jail.

During the January 29th march, the crowd had charged the jail, pounding on the windows, pinning a deputy between the door and the door frame, and covering the front windows with stickers of Marvin’s picture. During this latest march, however, the crowd generally kept some distance from the front of the jail. Small groups left the march to put stickers up and bang on the windows, but quickly rejoined the ever tightening march.

Police kept their distance, and the march turned the wrong way onto 13th Avenue, and again took to Speer Boulevard, back toward downtown.

The march weaved through the downtown streets, leaving a path of stickers and overturned construction barrels and other debris in its wake. Squad cars following the march were forced to stop so the debris could be cleared, or take other routes to continue following the march.

The mood of the march participants at this point seemed to be high. The march had so far had no major altercations with police, and had controlled the streets for over an hour without much influence from the police. As the march entered the 16th Street Mall, that mood would quickly change.

Breakdown

The riot police that had been previously seen at Denver Health were waiting for the march at 16th Street. Dozens of riot cops flanked both sides of the march as it proceeded South, back toward the Arts District and Santa Fe Drive.

The 16th Street Pedestrian Mall had been the site of some of the more intense actions during the January 29th march, and the police seemed intent on not allowing another mini-riot to damage the downtown commercial district. The overwhelming police presence was not enough to force the march out of the streets, or even stop some of the more petty vandalism that was occurring, but no one was seemingly interested in trying to re-create the actions of January. (https://queencityantifa.wordpress.com/2011/02/01/we-aint-takin-this-no-mo-the-streets-fill-with-rage-against-the-denver-cops/)

As the march snaked out of the downtown core and back toward the Arts District, more and more police officers started to flank and follow the march. To try to deter this unwanted police presence, the march took an unexpected turn into oncoming traffic on Speer. The move temporarily shook the police escort.

Several blocks down, the cops started to divert traffic off of Speer and again were able to move units alongside of us. The march took another series of quick turns, and started to head back to Santa Fe Drive, where march participants hoped they could disperse into the crowds still present in the Arts District for First Friday.

As the march attempted to turn onto Santa Fe, a line of police blocked the route, and a series of scuffles occurred. The crowd pushed and shoved the cops who responded in kind. A demonstrator was grabbed by police as they tried to dip behind the blocked route, but a person in black bloc clothing yanked them back into the crowd. A scuffle ensued, and the cop received spit to the face as the two demonstrators melded back into the protest. The march had started to become disorganized and had lost many participants since it left downtown. The remnants of the march would be unable to get through the police lines back to the relative safety of the Arts District.

The march proceeded to Kalamath, and with a right turn, headed south. Near the intersection of 11th and Kalamath, a decision was made to disperse. After a hurried countdown, the remaining participants scattered.

During the confusion, a large firework was thrown at police. The explosion was mistaken for tear gas by some, and a panic erupted.

One participant was chased down an alley and tackled by police officers. This is the only participant that we know of who was arrested. The rest of the crowd dispersed into the night, leaving banners and signs littering the street.

Encore?

The actions of May 6th were obviously not as successful as previous marches. Police were well mobilized and prepared for the march, unlike the previous three mobilizations. Their presence was overwhelming, and at times, they seemed to outnumber those of us in the streets. However, the march took the streets and held them for over two hours. Hundreds of pieces of literature were distributed, thousands of anti-cop stickers were placed on light poles, storefronts, cars, and even light rail trains. Barricades were placed in the streets of downtown. The action happened without any mass arrests or major injuries, despite the worst fears of some organizers and supporters.

This march resembled a more tactical and closed off black bloc than the generalized mob of hooligan youth Denver is used to seeing. A lot of this presumably has to do with the “hard core” of May 6th’s participants, people who were not afraid of police retribution and actively sought to confront the department in the streets regardless of consequence. Banners enclosed most of the demonstration, allowing marchers to stay tight and because of the prevalence of black clad and masked protesters, allowed for groups and individuals to lash out quickly and retreat to the safety of the bloc.

If all this was possible with such a relatively small crowd, what could have been possible with more participants? Could we have broken through that police line on Santa Fe? Could we have been able to effect an unarrest? Could we have seen a repeat of what happened on January 29th but with much more widespread results?

We won’t ever know the answers to those questions, obviously. But for those of us in the streets, we will probably always be wondering.

The fear generated before the march seemed to be a major contributing factor in the lack of numbers. Members of our own movement not only helped the police in spreading this fear, but sometimes even acted on their own in promoting it.

Early on at one point during the march, we passed by a well know punk house in the area. People with “circle-A” patches and beers in their hands waved and smiled. But they didn’t join the march. Was it out of fear? Or was it something deeper? A raised fist from a rooftop ultimately does nothing during a street confrontation, especially when these demonstrations have by and large relied on people along the routes to bolster numbers. It’s also exasperating to think that people that likely share a lot of affinity with many of the demonstration’s participants couldn’t be bothered to show up in the first place, much less drop their beers and join the march as it’s passing their house. The punk’s reaction was not measurably different from most of the gawking yuppies indulging in the art walk or shopping on 16th Street.

Denver has been a city plagued by the effects of the Non-Profit Industrial Complex for years. Struggle has been reduced to a career. “Community organizers” and other activists consistently watch struggles develop, and dare not enter into anything that may jeopardize their cushy non-profit job.

Those of us that have been active within Queen City Antifa have been ridiculed time and again for the value that we place on militancy and confrontation. We have been told many times that people that we think are allies will never come to marches or actions that are confrontational and militant. We’ve been told that we need to have clear demands. We need to be treating this work like an activist campaign.

Our only response to people who make these assertions should be clear. “Then organize something yourself.” If you don’t want to throw down with angry working class folks against the cops, then don’t. But don’t sit on the sidelines and offer nothing. The sad truth is that these marches have become the only game in town outside of small press conferences with members of Marvin’s family and some supporters. No mainstream NGOs or other non-profits are organizing anything that we have been made aware of around this issue that is plaguing our communities. If folks are tired of militant street demos, or think that they have some concrete demands that they want to try to fight for, then we would encourage them to start to actually organize around this critical issue. We’d even show up and support their efforts.

QCAF has never wanted to be the only game in town when it comes to anti-cop organizing. However, that doesn’t mean that we’re willing to pander or water down our politics. We’re pissed off working class folks. We think the rage we bring to these demonstrations is well justified, and that there are no demands that the police can offer us that will actually stop the police terror in our hoods. More oversight, a new police chief, sensitivity training, etc… These things will not stop the daily attacks at the hands of the police.

It’s a strange dichotomy some apparently pro-revolutionary folks in this town have created for themselves, in that in order to attain a mass working class revolutionary movement, the working class must become politically and socially conscious. However, when politicized working class people organize around an issue, their militancy and willing to confront it is shunned by the activist left because of political orientations. Seems awfully self-defeating in our opinion. Just because someone is an “activist” or an “anarchist” does not remove them from the working class.

Until local “activists” and others active within Denver’s Left pick a real side within the class struggle, these contradictions will continue to develop and widen, ultimately weakening any chance of real and fundamental change.

Three days after the march, on Monday morning, Safety Manager Charles Garcia announced that the deputies that murdered Marvin Booker would not face any discipline. On July 11th, it will have been a year since Marvin was beaten to death in Denver’s detention center. After this is posted online, people will be gathering outside the Van Cise-Simonet detention center protesting this result. Further convergences are already in the works.

We are undeterred by recent repression. A Denver pro-insurrectionary blog had it’s account locked presumably for reporting on anti-police activity after a “third party complaint”. The harassment of proletarian and homeless youth will not go unnoticed. With the year anniversary coming up, it is time to organize and continue to build this movement into something that is irrepressible and even more aggressive. We will not lose. We will not let fear stifle our actions because they must be taken. This won’t be over until we are all free from oppression, and through every action we gain experience and knowledge we will wield in the coming confrontations.

To the streets!
Queen City Antifa
May 9th, 2011