Raleigh-Durham Fight Imperialism Stand Together (FIST)

Revolutionary socialist youth in the US South

As Democrats meet, Activists take to Denver streets against war, racism

Posted by raleighfist on August 30, 2008

Aug. 26—A series of rallies, marches, teach-ins and cultural events have taken place in the first two days of people’s resistance to the Democratic Party during its national convention in Denver.

Pam Africa
Pam Africa
Photos: TONC

The events, organized primarily by the Recreate 68 Alliance (http://recreate68.com), have called attention to the Democratic Party’s complicity in imperialist wars abroad and racism, poverty and oppression in the United States. Thousands of activists, many of them youth, are participating in the week of activities.

Protesters have challenged right-wingers who also arrived in Denver this week. Women’s groups have defended abortion clinics, and bigots like the anti-lesbian/gay/bi/trans Rev. Fred Phelps have been shouted down by activists.

Cultural performances have been an integral component of the week’s events, with all-day, free concerts featuring spoken word, Hip Hop, folk, rock and punk music. Food Not Bombs has provided free food to participants.

Larry Holmes and<br>Ron Kovic.
Larry Holmes and
Ron Kovic.

The effective organization of this week of action has been evident in the success of the events, despite continuing police and state harassment and intimidation of protesters (see accompanying article). As social services for the people of Denver have been slashed, the state received $50 million in federal funds for convention “security,” which is reflected in the high-tech riot gear and weapons worn by the thousands of police who surround the protesters daily.

March to end all occupations

The mobilization began on Aug. 24 with a March to End All Occupations at Home and Abroad. A lineup of multinational speakers denounced the anti-worker, imperialist policies of both the Democratic and Republican parties. Many stressed the necessity for a revolution to abolish the entire capitalist system.

Larry Hales
Larry Hales

Glenn Spagnuolo of  Recreate 68 Alliance  saluted the courage and determination of those who had come to Denver from as far as Los Angeles, New York, Chicago, Florida and Maine.

Larry Hales of Recreate 68 Alliance and the youth group FIST (Fight Imperialism, Stand Together) called for unconditional solidarity with the struggles of all oppressed people. Congressional candidate Cindy Sheehan warned against new U.S. military actions in Georgia and Russia.

Larry Holmes, a national leader of the Troops Out Now Coalition, celebrated the call to “Recreate 68,” saying that reviving 1968 spirit of militant struggle is necessary as the attacks on workers at home and abroad increase.

Glenn Spagnuolo
Glenn Spagnuolo

Cynthia McKinney, Green Party presidential candidate, spoke of the continuing U.S. government neglect faced by survivors of hurricanes Katrina and Rita. Former Black Panther Kathleen Cleaver addressed the Bush administration’s misuse of the term “terrorism,” saying that African-American communities have been victims of terrorism for more than 400 years.

Activist and author Ward Churchill denounced the theft of Native lands, noting the continuing U.S. policy of land theft in the Middle East. Palestinian refugee Ida Audeh described the horrific conditions faced by the people of Gaza.

Cynthia McKinney
Cynthia McKinney

Ron Kovic, disabled Vietnam veteran and author of “Born on the Fourth of July,” said, “I’ll be damned if I let another young person be sent to war and come home like this.”

Well-known activists and Hip Hop performers dead prez closed the rally, introduced by Rosa Clemente, Green Party vice presidential candidate, who spoke of the power of Hip Hop as an organizing and educational tool.

The rally was followed by a militant march through the streets of Denver, including a strong contingent in opposition to a war against Iran. When the protesters reached the Pepsi Center, thousands of them faced off with police, blocking one of the entrances and holding the street for more than 45 minutes.

Fred Hampton Jr.
Fred Hampton Jr.

Free them all!

The next day, Aug. 25, was dedicated to political prisoners, as well as the millions of workers, disproportionately people of color, locked up by the prison/industrial complex. An energetic march took to the streets, without a police permit, winding its way down the 16th Street Mall, a main tourist and shopping attraction in the city. A street vendor threw up his fist and shouted “Free Mumia!” as activists passed by.

Kathleen Cleaver
Kathleen Cleaver

The march ended at Denver’s federal courthouse, where a rally featured the leaders of various struggles to free political prisoners. A moving letter to the mobilization from Leonard Peltier, a Native political prisoner who has been locked up for more than 30 years, was read; and a recorded statement from death-row political prisoner and award-winning journalist Mumia Abu-Jamal was played.

Cindy Sheehan
Cindy Sheehan

Speakers at the rally included Pam Africa of International Concerned Family and Friends of Mumia Abu-Jamal; Kathleen Cleaver, representing the case of former Panthers known as the San Francisco 8; King Downing, national coordinator of the ACLU’s Campaign against Racial Profiling; Chairman Fred Hampton Jr. of the Prisoners of Conscience Committee; Gloria La Riva of the National Committee to Free the Cuban Five; and more.

Many more activities are planned for the remainder of the week, including direct actions to protect the environment, a march for immigrant rights, performances by Public Enemy and Rage Against the Machine, and forums on a number of other important topics.

The last event on Recreate 68’s list of activities takes place on Aug. 29—when buses will leave from Denver to transport activists to St. Paul, Minn., to protest at the Republican National Convention.

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