kathleen: come august, bring your tent.

With the Democratic National Convention on its way to Denver in just under two months, there’s a lot of water cooler-type talk about the event. Across party lines, many people seem to be worried about the protest movement called “Re-create 68,” a movement that’s seeking to emulate the protests at the 1968 DNC in Chicago, where clashes between protesters and police officers often turned violent. The organization’s website states that it “was created for all the grassroots people who are tired of being sold out by the Democratic Party,” and, as commenter and group member Glenn Spagnuolo points out, the organization is committed to nonviolence. They’re against the two-party system in general, and for now are showing it by participating in local festivals and fairs, planning rallies, and trying to attract more supporters of their cause. About the name of the organization, the website explains:

Sometimes we need to look back to move forward. In 1968 there existed a spirit of change, the Paris Rebellion, Prague, Chicago, Vietnam, etc. People believed, around the world, that they were capable of taking over the institutions that controlled their lives. The smell of revolution was in the air. Over 1 million college students openly identified as revolutionist. People believed that through mass participation in the movement, it was possible to wrest control from the elite power-holders. They were not willing to accept the loss of their human and civil rights.

They are trying to re-inspire a revolutionary attitude, which, based on what happened in 1968, understandably makes people a little nervous. Which is why, perhaps, the city is so far being so accommodating to another protest group, Tent State University. For now, the two protest groups are connected, but Denver City Councilwoman Carla Madison encouraged Tent State to break off from R-68 to make things a little easier on them. In a Rocky Mountain New article on the topic, Madison said that she views R-68 as a “little more anarchistic.” (Here’s the online version of the article, but please note that the online article and the hard copy of the article that I’m referencing are not exactly the same.)

Tent State describes itself as “a positive, youth-led initiative to fund education instead of war.” According to the RMN article, the group hopes to bring up to 50,000 people to Denver’s City Park (pictured below, and yes, I do realize how lucky I am) from August 24-28 and provide the experience of a “real democracy,” complete with protests and classes teaching nonviolent and anti-war tactics. So far, the city has issued Tent State a permit for 20,000 people, and this morning on the radio I heard a sound byte from Mayor John Hickenlooper in which he expressed support for the group, and expected them to be non-disruptive, partly because they are in support of Obama.

Denver\'s City Park, the proposed site of Tent State University\'s demonstration (and yes, I do realize how lucky I am)

So far, the one major kink in the plans deals with the actual camping permit. Naturally, it’s a lot easier to provide a place for 20,000 people to hang out during the day than to provide a place for the same number of people to sleep, eat, and shower. But as Adam Jung, the chief Tent State organizer, points out, “If we have to figure out a way to remove all of these people at 10 or 11 at night, it becomes very problematic…that’s what happened in Chicago.”

Tent State and the city of Denver are still in discussion, but for now, I think all of this is great. It’s impressive that the city is being so willing to work with the organization, and it could set a standard for future successful nonviolent protests. I’ll be starting grad school in DC during the week of the convention, but I’ll be crossing my fingers and keeping an eye on the action along with everyone else. Good luck, Tent Sate.

[Posted by Mallory]


Filed under news, politics, Uncategorized

4 responses to “kathleen: come august, bring your tent.

  1. In this post you make a comment that the group Re-Create 68 wants to recreate the violence of Chicago. First, that has never, once again, never, been stated by anyone in our group or on our website. You also neglect to mention that a government report stated that what happened in Chicago was a “police riot” and that the violence was committed by the police. Since we are not the police, we can not recreate the violence. Additionally, you also do not mention that we have a statement of non-violence on our website that clearly states our intent to organize events from a position of non-violence.

    In the article you sight, Carla Madison did not state her desire for the group to seperate from R-68. The group is producing a cheap nock off of the events that have been planned by R-68 for the last year and a half.

    Stop trying to split the movement and doing the police’s work. Also, try to get your facts straight prior to posting false information like you did.

  2. Mallory

    Hi Glenn,

    In my post, I actually did not state that Re-create 68 was explicitly trying to recreate the violence of 1968. I simply stated that the group is trying to emulate the protests in Chicago and that spirit of change. For proof, here’s my exact quote:

    “Across party lines, many people seem to be worried about the protest movement called ‘Re-create 68,’ a movement that’s seeking to emulate the protests at the 1968 DNC in Chicago, where clashes between protesters and police officers often turned violent.”

    I stated that I’d been hearing “water cooler-type” talk from various people who were worried about the event. I honestly don’t believe that your group hopes to create any sort of violence, and I regret that I neglected to mention that you do have a nonviolent position. (I will add that in.) I do not, however, think that it is unreasonable for people to be worried that the violence of ’68 might repeat itself when the protests are aiming to be similar. I also do not claim that the protesters in ’68 caused the violence. I said that “clashes between protesters and police officers often turned violent,” and I don’t believe that phrasing puts the blame on the protesters. I’ll agree with you that the police were at fault in the Chicago riots.

    And about the Carla Madison comment, in the hard copy of the article that was printed in the newspaper today, her direct quote is: “She’s encouraged that the group broke off from Re-create 68, a protest group that she views as ‘a little more anarchistic.'” Her words, not mine.

    I appreciate your comment and did not intend to make your organization look bad, nor did I intend to imply that it is hoping for a violent outcome at the DNC (and I don’t think I did imply that). I’m simply trying to acknowledge the worries expressed by some people I know (not analysts, not politicans, just regular people).

    And whether Tent State is producing a knock-off of your events is your battle to fight.


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