By Alan Prendergast
By Michael Roberts
By Michael Roberts
By Amber Taufen
By Patricia Calhoun
By William Breathes
By Michael Roberts
By Melanie Asmar
The protesters are coming! The protesters are coming!
How many? Thousands? Tens of thousands? Will our homes and businesses be safe? Or will the entire city be devoured by their voracious desire for free speech and loud, rhyming chants?
Denver officials have expended nearly as much energy on the anticipated protests — in the form of court battles, law enforcement plans and purchases, and feces-inspired laws — as they have on the logistics of the Democratic National Convention itself. Special parade routes have been devised, park permits issued, a north Denver warehouse converted into a jail and a spiffy, fence-lined demonstration area erected near the Pepsi Center, all in preparation for the protesters, whether they arrive in a flood or a trickle.
But despite the city's one-size-fits-all approach, careful study of the events and actions being organized during convention week reveals a diverse array of protester types, each with their own unique appearance, motivation and behavior. Since ignorance breeds fear, we've created this handy protester taxonomy to educate the masses inside about the masses outside.
If you're an out-of-town delegate or just a confused local, use this guide to distinguish an Anarchist from a Nostalgic Hippie. Protesters, you can use it to help discern if the person marching next to you is a fellow passionate advocate for change, a wannabe — or an undercover federal agent. (And feel free to share our slide show at westword.com with your colleagues in the Twin Cities.)
Happy protesting, everybody! Let's be careful out there!
Motto: "Smash some shit for the people!"
Identifying features: Black clothing, tattered hooded sweatshirts, patches of bands you've never heard of, bandannas covering faces, backpacks or messenger bags, blurry tattoos. Hairstyles often consist of honkylocks or cuts that look as though done with a pair of car keys.
Required reading: The Collected Works of Bakunin, Veganism for Dummies, Hakim Bey, Chomsky, Pacifism as Pathology.
Plans: A slate of convention-disruption activities, including blockades, "space reclamation" and targeting delegate transportation and events. Also organizing free food and educational spaces in Civic Center Park.
For more information: Go to www.DNCdisruption.org.
Motto: "You should have been there, man."
Identifying features: Often handwoven and vaguely "ethnic" clothing, sandals, sensible eyeglasses, graying hair frequently in ponytail, ill-fitting American-flag shirts, tambourines, banners featuring peace symbols or photos of the Earth. Drove to protest from Boulder because of bad knees.
Plans: Large anti-war march on August 24; festivals in both City of Cuernavaca Park and Civic Center Park August 25-28.
For more information: Go to www.comeuptodenver.org.
Motto: "Women are more oppressed than blacks, which is why we're all white. That's why it's time to let a woman sell us out."
Identifying features: Fanny packs, mom pants, sun visors, "short and sensible" hairstyles, faces with a reddish hue from relentless shouting.
Plans: "Welcome Activities" at Confluence Park on August 25; on August 26, a parade toward the Pepsi Center — with headquarters at the downtown Broker Restaurant.
Affiliated organizations: The Denver Group, 18 Million Voices.
For more information: Go to 18millionvoices.blogspot.com.
Motto: "Beware sheeple."
Identifying features: Usually bearing a well-worn sandwich-board sign or other type of display featuring taped-on photos or documents detailing their obscure, single-issue cause.
Required reading: The Warren Commission Report, "The Protocols of the Elders of Zion," freebies from the used-book store.
Soundtrack: Songs playing in passing cars heard from the street median.
Plans: To latch onto any other demonstration or event and get press; make everyone uncomfortable.
Affiliated organizations: None
Motto: "God created me in his own image."
Identifying features: Dockers, thick denim skirts, signage featuring dismembered fetuses and baby dolls hanging from nooses.
Required reading: The Bible, Abortion: the Silent Holocaust, The Party of Death: The Democrats, the Media, the Courts, and the Disregard for Human Life.
Plans: Rally on August 22 with speech by Tom Minnery of Focus on the Family. On August 23, march from Skyline Park to lay roses on Pepsi Center sidewalks, then on to the new Planned Parenthood building in Stapleton for a prayer vigil. On August 24, a pro-life mass in Skyline Park.