Ric sends us his last dispatch from the Denver Convention protests. I look forward to your blog. Thanks for a great week of posts Ric!
RR– First off, I want to say thank you for the opportunity to report to you and your readers. I’ve been putting off a blog of my own but this has made me reflect on how beautiful blogging is. One of my frustrations in journalism school was exactly that: you had to have a bachelor’s degree to “be” a journalist. It’s not enough that you’re “just” a good writer. Blogging offers the ability to bypass that. I’ll most likely be blogging under a pen name at first and I hope you can announce my blog on yours.
Andele pues comrade…
The immigration march.
We gathered at Rude Park at 9:00am. Estimated crowd size: 3,000. There are few factors that wouldn’t let me predict the crowd’s size before the march:
1. The influence that non-profit organizations and wealthy foundations have on the immigrant rights movement in Colorado. Simply stated: they domesticate the struggle in the legislature and 100 people at their events is considered massive turnout.
2. The media hype. What undocumented immigrant in her/his right mind is not going to think twice about attending this type of event when freedom cages are announced and ICE raids are mentioned over the airwaves? The Minutemen also announced they were going to counter protest with 30,000 minutepeople.
3. This is an immigrant rights march that is taking place during the Democratic National Convention, something many immigrants won’t respond to for lack of familiarity.
4. On the flip side, on May 1st 2006 anywhere between 75,000 and 100,000 immigrants converged in Denver to voice their grievances. I was (romantically) hoping that this would help our numbers.
So we marched from Rude Park to Lincoln Park. Police presence was relatively lax compared to the other protests I had attended. This may be the product of how much the movement has been domesticated in Colorado. The crowd was mixed. I’d say 65-70 percent immigrant and up to 35 percent white. For me the white people in the crowd could mostly be broken down to local liberals, non-profit staff and anarchists.
The march was lead by a local group of Azteca danzantes who often perform at protests and rallies in Colorado. Pretty f’ing cool actually.
Upon arriving at Lincoln Park we were greeted by a relatively small number of cops and a slew of musicians and speakers. I didn’t really stick around for the speakers. I’ve been to numerous other immigrant rights rallies, protests and actions in Denver and the speakers usually encourage the crowd to: 1) pray 2) participate in legislative politics and 3) do the solidarity clap to the chant of “si se puede”. I’ve had my fill of all three. Don’t get me wrong, si se puede comrade, I just don’t think que se puede through legislative politics. Besides, your readers also want pictures. Can’t do everything knawmsayin’?
Overall the march was inspiring. Boots Riley of The Coup, Johnny 5 of the Flobots and Rebel Diaz were all present. So were some local elected officials but I can’t think of their names (former SEIU organizer/co-worker/current Councilman Paul Lopez being the only exception).
P.S. I’d be surprised if the Minutemen turned out 30 people.