The Backbone Campaign
rocks. They're a group from Washington state who create human-scale puppets and other tools to share a message of progressive ideas in a creative and colorful way. Since I opted for Denver instead of Black Rock this week, I was hoping to find some Burning Man energy. These guys have it: large scale participatory public art.
Unfortunately, a lot of attention was drawn elsewhere. Arrests last night and general low turnout this week meant it was tough to get 150 volunteers to animate puppets and carry banners. As Jim Page was singing on stage, the same Christian blow-hards I blogged about yesterday
arrived at the top of the amphitheater and started shouting in a megaphone. The police got them to move further up the sidewalk so people on the benches could still hear the speakers on stage. However, their vitriol attracted a throng of folks like moths and a 300 watt porch bulb. One Recreate 68 member got arrested (I heard it was for "Not complying with a police request" or something) and the crowd followed him to the street where, predictably, several dozen police kept the crowd away while they waited for the paddywaggon. During that process, a Code Pink member ended up on the ground in the street and was then arrested.
I saw the Hillary Clinton supporters march leave, but didn't get a chance to photograph them or check the marcher to officer ratio.
Energy had picked up a bit by the time the Procession for the Future was ready to hit the street. Most of my photos from today
are from the march. Unfortunately, the great imagery wasn't seen by many not in the march and the Denver Diner as nobody was hanging out on the blocked-off sections of Colfax.
After resting up (including a bagel and melon slice from the awesome Food Not Bombs
) and listening to a few speakers, I wandered back to the 16th St. Mall. Aside from a passing "Life began 4.5 billion years ago. Stop the murder of bacteria!" ejaculation, I passed up the pro-lifers-with-a-megaphone on one side of the street and pro-choicers-with-a-few-signs on the other. A few blocks up I found a much quieter abortion display and asked a few protesters if they supported wide-spread dissemination of birth control. They both said they're okay with condoms, but didn't want to endorse birth control. I got into an extended philosophical discussion with one guy (teenager, I think) about the difficulties (and unhelpfulness) of defining "person" and suggested that, as a practical method of bringing more pregnancies to term, pro-life groups and hopeful adopters should increase the financial incentive for women to deal with nine months of physical and emotional stress. I saw a lot of interesting people on the mall that weren't part of a big organization, just sharing their message as an individual.
Even though the blisters on my feet complained, I walked up to City of Cuernavaca Park to check out Tent State
and the Alliance for Real Democracy
booths. The trees, grass, and calm people were a welcome refreshment. Despite their out-of-the-way location, they had some neat installations including Eyes Wide Open
, a Guantanamo cell
, and The Ministry of Propaganda
The main progressive/radical left event tomorrow is a concert with Rage Against the Machine, the Flobots, and others. I don't think I would learn a lot I don't know there or get many good pictures. So I think I'm going to wander around downtown and start conversations with interesting people. So far my big floppy red+yellow+purple hat has garnered me a bunch of interviews and compliments (including several from police standing around). Thursday's immigrant rights rally
might be the best-attended march all week.