Saturday, August 30, 2008

Denver Democratic National Convention, this isn't OZ

By Brenda Norrell

DENVER -- If you relied on the mainstream media for coverage of this week's Democratic National Convention, you probably visualized everyone clicking their heels together and entering the land of OZ.
While the mainstream media and politicians were cloistered together, the people were in the streets, voicing disgust over the Bush regime, which decimated civil liberties and turned the Earth into the corporate profiteers' commodity. At the same time, the Iraq war continued with the mainstream media complicit in the genocide of women and children in Iraq and Afghanistan.
The signs reminded all that the Bush regime and Congress violated the Geneva Conventions and carried out kidnapping, torture and murder of people in Abu Ghraib, Guantanamo and secret prisons.
The lawlessness that prevailed in the White House and Congress was maintained by the police at the Democratic National Convention who provoked peaceful demonstrators on Monday night, culminating in an at attack by riot police who sprayed pepper spray and shot rubber bullets at peaceful protesters.
The collapse of US democracy was most poignant at the Freedom for Political Prisoners rally and march at the federal courthouse in Denver on Monday. Here, Aurora police drew weapons on people of color: American Indians, blacks, Chicanos and others. It was clear that there are two Americas and one America is filling the prisons because of racial profiling and racial injustice. While simulating waterboarding and US torture, activists demanded freedom for Leonard Peltier, Mumia Abu-Jamal, the Cuban Five and other political prisoners.
With courage, US servicemen led the march against the war and occupation in Iraq on Wednesday. On Thursday, marchers demanded that US lawlessness be halted and the ICE raids against workers that are dividing families be halted. At the "We Are America," march for immigrant rights, marchers pointed out that hundreds of workers arrested in Laurel, Mississippi, in raids have been sent to one of the most racist towns in America: Jena, Louisiana.
As the so-called "clean coal," industry poured millions into the convention, protesters reminded the people that there is no such thing as "clean coal." A moment of truth came when ABC news producer Asa Eslocker was roughly arrested. Eslocker, an investigative reporter, was pushed into the traffic by a Boulder police officer. During the arrest, Eslocker was grabbed around the neck by an officer, as documented by a film crew. Eslocker was waiting on a public sidewalk to film financial donors leaving a hotel.
Meanwhile, those marchers who were sprayed with pepper spray on Monday were not allowed to wash it off when they were detained and jailed. "This is a form of torture," said one street medic, describing the poisons that are absorbed internally. Another medic described the wound of a rubber bullet. The women of Code Pink were targeted by police, with women thrown violently to the ground during arrests, as documented in videos.
In the St Paul/Minneapolis area, police raids of homes and community centers are already underway in preparation for the Republican National Convention, Sept. 1 -- 4. Protesters say they are not intimidated.
As thousands marched this week in Denver, volunteers at Food Not Bombs gathered donated foods and fed the people. In the streets, the people asked: "Is anyone really listening?" The people don't have a clue. But for those who spent this week in the streets of Denver, a new America was emerging. The people were giving voice to truth, a prized commodity in this age of US genocide, corrupt media and the corporate rape of the Earth Mother.

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