From anarchists to aging hippies, they're all part of protestation nation
To view the 10 protesters you'll meet at the DNC as a slide show, head to westword.com's slide show page.
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.
Soundtrack: Crass, This Bike Is a Pipe Bomb, Utah Phillips, Ghost Mice, Leftover Crack.
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.
Affiliated organizations: Unconventional Action, Food Not Bombs, RAIM-Denver, CrimethInc, RNC Welcoming Committee.
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.
Required reading: Deepak Chopra, Paul Hawken, Allen Ginsberg, Eckhart Tolle, The Celestine Prophesy, Steal This Book.
Soundtrack: Crosby, Stills & Nash, Pete Seeger, Bob Dylan...fuck, man, nothing sounds as good as it did in '68.
Plans: Large anti-war march on August 24; festivals in both City of Cuernavaca Park and Civic Center Park August 25-28.
Affiliated organizations: Rocky Mountain Peace and Justice Center, American Friends Service Committee, United for Peace and Justice, Come Up to Denver, Re-create '68.
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.
Required reading: Living History, by Hillary Rodham Clinton, picks by Oprah's Book Club, anything by Suze Orman.
Soundtrack: "You and I," by Celine Dion, Desperate Housewives soundtrack, "Mamma Mia," by ABBA.
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.
Soundtrack: Big Tent Revival, Everyday Sunday, Rebecca St. James, John Ashcroft Sings.
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.
Affiliated organizations: Operation Rescue, Christian Defense Coalition, Generation Life National, Faith and Action, National Clergy Council, Survivors of the Abortion Holocaust.
For more information: Go to www.aprayerforchange.com.
Motto: "You can't handle the truth behind my irrational and speculative facts!"
Identifying features: Socially outcast from all other protest groups, passing out pamphlets and DVDs of evidence; constantly videotaping police, other protesters, passersby, each other.
Required reading: The 9/11 Commission Report, 9/11 Contradictions, Christian Faith and the Truth Behind 9/11, The Terror Conspiracy.
Soundtrack: Ministry, Immortal Technique, TruthTold.
Plans: From August 25-28, four days of "Ground Zero" protest events at Gates Crescent Park, which will boast fifteen-foot-high replicas of the Twin Towers.
Affiliated organizations: We Are Change Colorado, Colorado 911 Visibility, Loose Change.
For more information: Go to www.weare-changecolorado.org.
Motto: "Fighting white privilege until I get my anthropology degree!"
Identifying features: Flip-flops, frayed cargo shorts, T-shirts with images of Che, Black Power fist and/or Haile Selassie.
Required reading: Bomb the Suburbs, A People's History of the United States, by Howard Zinn.
Soundtrack: Mos Def, Steve Earle, Michael Franti and Spearhead, the Roots, Democracy Now! podcasts.
Plans: A series of events and demonstrations throughout the week, staged in City of Cuernavaca Park. August 27 concert featuring the Coup, Wayne Kramer, the Flobots and Rage Against the Machine at the Denver Coliseum.
Affiliated organizations: Tent State University, Students for a Democratic Society, CodePink.
For more information: Go to www.tentstate.org.
Motto: "Ha, ha, gringo, you can't read my sign!"
Identifying features: Soccer jerseys, beer company caps, jeans, work boots.
Required reading: César Chávez: Autobiography of La Causa.
Plans: The We Are America march from west Denver to Lincoln Park on August 28.
Affiliated organizations: Escuela Tlatelolco, Padres y Jovenes Unidos, National Alliance for Human Rights, Colorado Immigrant Rights Coalition.
For more information: Go to www.weareamericadnc.org.
Motto: "Learn to protest in English!"
Identifying features: Football jerseys, beer company caps, jeans, work boots.
Required reading: In Mortal Danger, by Tom Tancredo.
Plans: Rally Against Immigration in Congress Park on August 25, featuring speakers Alan Keyes and Congressman Bob Barr. Protests, pickets and counter-protests throughout the week.
Affiliated organizations: Minutemen Civil Denver Corps, Rightmarch.com.
For more information: Go to www.rightmarch.com.
Motto: "A just world through puppetry"
Identifying features: Puppets, oversized papier-mâché heads, face paint, costumes, sidewalk performances, stilts, hang out with normal protesters but have the voices of stage performers.
Required reading: The Bread & Puppet Theater, The Yes Men, Adbusters magazine.
Soundtrack: David Byrne, Art Brut, We Are Scientists, Thievery Corporation.
Plans: On August 26, a Procession for the Future Puppets. CodePink is also seeking dramatists for an "Impeachment Theater."
Affiliated Organizations: CodePink, Re-create '68, Insurgent Rebel Clown Army, Yippies Colorado.
For more information: Go to www.comeuptodenver.org.
Protester Tip #1
A 2001 anti-racial-profiling statute requires that police officers across Colorado provide a business card with their name and badge number to any citizen they detain but don't cite or arrest — any citizen who knows to ask for the card, that is.
Protester Tip #2
We've compiled a list of the best places for hungry, left-wing protesters to eat — as well as a complete guide to protest events and activities surrounding the DNC:
Protester Tip #2 Best places for the hungry, left-wing protester to eat:
Watercourse Foods Denvers ground-breaking vegetarian restaurant. www.watercoursefoods.com 837 East 17th Avenue 303-832-7313
Mercury Café A Denver institution, devoted to good food and good causes. www.mercurycafe.com 2199 California Street 303-294-9258
Paris on the Platte A hip café/coffee house close to Cuernavaca Park. www.parisontheplatte.com 1553 Platte Street 303-455-2451
SAME Café A pay-what-you want, feel-good spot www.soallmayeat.org 2023 East Colfax Avenue 720-530-6853
City O' City The hipper sibling of Watercourse. www.watercoursefoods.com/cityocity.html 206 East 13th Avenue 303-831-6443
Vitamin Cottage A green grocery store close to Cuernavaca Park. www.vitamincottage.com 2375 15th Street 303-458-5300
Protester Tip #3
Get the This Week's Top Stories Newsletter
Every week we collect the latest news, music and arts stories — along with film and food reviews and the best things to do this week — so that you’ll never miss Westword's biggest stories.