Last week, we reported on separate Occupy Boulder groups, and one participant's hope that upcoming events would help everyone pull together. And while it was overshadowed by Saturday's Occupy Denver arrest-fest, a Boulder march and rally appears to have accomplished this goal, with around 700 members of the 99 percent, and a few 1 percenters, peacefully sharing their views.
A Boulder Daily Camera staffer estimated that 300-500 people participated in demonstration on the Pearl Street Mall. But Karen Conduff, among the event's organizers, says "we actually had one person with a clicker as the marchers went by, and he counted 700."
The police presence at the event stood in contrast to the approach taken by Denver law enforcers. Conduff says "I saw one police vehicle going west on Canyon during the march, and that was it." She adds that "the city was very cooperative. We got all the permits that we needed."
The Denver police response hardly diminished the enthusiasm of the Boulder participants. "From my perspective, it amplified it -- and everyone I talked to felt the same way," she allows. "And I think that will be the case if the crackdowns continue. If they keep trampling on our right to free assembly, people aren't going to stand for it."
Those on hand in Boulder included members of a groups represented by separate Occupy Boulder Facebook pages: This one represents Conduff's organization, and this one bloomed separately. And that's not to mention an Occupy CU Boulder outfit and several others operating under assorted "Occupy" banners.
Conduff is thrilled so many people have stepped up, but she hoped a way could be found for these Boulder Occupiers to join forces. That was the goal of a general assembly held after the march.
"I went into it really nervous," she admits. "I hadn't been to a general assembly, and none of us had gotten any training. We just pulled stuff off the Internet about how to run one. But it was great -- democracy in action. It was amazing how people responded to each other, and I feel very positive about the way people are going to be working together."
Not that a complete merger is in the offing. "There's probably going to be two ongoing Occupy Boulder Facebook pages," she says. "We'll be meeting sometime this week to talk about how that's going to work. But the other Occupy Boulder group sees the page of the group I'm involved in as being kind of the event arm, and their page will probably be more of a bulletin board."
In addition, "we set up various committees at the general assembly. There's a communication committee, a committee for facilitators, so we can learn how to facilitate the general assemblies more effectively in the future, and also a committee to look at if we want to set up a permanent encampment, do we want to hold events, or what we want to do."
These will be among the topics during the next general assembly, scheduled for 9 a.m. Saturday, October 22, at the corner of Broadway and Canyon -- "the Sister City plaza in front of the Muni building," Conduff notes. That will be followed by an 11 a.m. rally, a noon march and a subsequent drum circle. In her words, "It'll be a full day."
She's optimistic that the next event will be every bit as successful as the first at winning hearts and minds, even of those who might seem likely to object to the movement on general principles. "I have a personal friend who's one of the 1 percent" -- the privileged few, as differentiated by Occupy Wall Street from the overwhelming majority of the populace. "He made a point of calling me on Saturday night to say he was there that day, and he's fully in support of what we're doing. And he said he saw at least four friends in the 1 percent there, too."
Could the 99 percent figure be growing?
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Page down below to see photos of the event from the first Occupy Boulder Facebook page, as well as a Daily Camera video.
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More from our Occupy Denver archive: "Occupy Denver: Mainstream media outlets aren't always taking the movement seriously."