INDIVIDUAL: John Q. Public
GROUP SIZE: Estimated in the thousands, actually in the tens
NATURE OF GROUP: Recreate 68 - a group of permitted protestors at the 2008 Denver DNC
INCIDENCE OF SOCIOMETRY: BEWARE SHEEPLE! SPAGZ LIES!
ThIS report titled Covering the media covering the media covering the protestors protesting the protesters at the DNC was originally published in five daily posts on the now cached Blog of Lumpen and IS a spin-off of an print article Art Attack! Artist’s Prank Punks Re-create 68, Other Activists in Denver’s Westword newspaper.
Those who try to recreate history are doomed to bumble it.
On the night of May 10th, 1968 striking teachers, students, and a cadre of young trade unionists took to the streets of Paris’s Latin Quarter under the battle cry “End the Police State”. After swelling their ranks to over 50,000 barricades went up throughout the left bank to prepare for pitched battles with truncheon wielding police in what has become codified in the annals of radical activism as “The Night of the Barricades”. Amidst clouds of chlorine gas, the riot swelled over the next three weeks to include close to half-a-million. A general strike of nine-million workers in support of the students brought the de Gaulle regime to its knees.
A principal force behind 2008’s DNC protests was “Recreate 68”. The name, according to the groups de-facto leader Glenn Spagnuolo a locally notorious professional protestor, refers to the spirit of mass political participation of the late 1960’s. Despite, or perhaps because of, such effective branding, Recreate 68 was forced to defend a barrage of media spin painting the group as violent reactionaries intent on goading the administration of Denver’s quirky leftist Mayor John Hickenlooper (now Govenor) into a rehash of Daily’s 1968 Chicago DNC gestapo Tactics.
Refusing to change the name of his coalition in the face of negative spin, or to specifically disavow violence as a (defence) tactic, Spagnuolo and Recreate 68 weathered through a disassociation and some acrimony with other major permitted protest groups such as Tent State, a nationwide organization of college-student activists attempting to erect a tent city on the Platte, and Code-Pink a crack squadron of pink-costumed anti-war ladies in the 35 to 55 social demographic.
One of the only groups who continued to attend Recreate 68 working meetings leading up to the DNC was Unconventional Denver, a disruption focused squad of Anarchists who, in subscribing to an autonomous action philosophy, don’t quibble the details.
In a bizarre twist, Spagnuolo even acquired his own personal protestor, a lone man adorned with a sign that reads “Beware Sheeple SPAGZ LIES.” Identifying himself to the Media as “John Q. Public” – but better described by local Westword scribe Jared Jacang-Mayer as “The Barnacle Protestor” his mission is to, “latch onto any other demonstration or event, get press and make everyone uncomfortable.” (See the caricature)
Recreate 68 pre-DNC working meeting with The Barnacle Protestor barely visible in the background.
Spagnuolo, in addition to Denver Copwatch spokesman Evan Herzoff, Unconventional Denver spokesman Clayton Dewey, and a host of other local activists, were also the victims of a divisive and quasi-threatening prank by a local “anonymous artist” and “utopian anarchist” who may-or-may-not-be-or-be-
#is Sunday August 24th, 2008
Day of the Protest Permits
9:00 am:1968 this is not. Denver radicals aren’t afraid of the sun and people are not sleeping in.Over at Tent State crusty eyed college kids are lined up for the Rage Against the Machine free concert ticket lottery like cattle queuing up at the dorm cafeteria trough.
10:00 am: Recreate 68 exercises its first officially permitted radical action by entertaining a crowd of seventy or so on the steps of the State Capitol. A slate of hip-hop acts and radical speakers froth everyone up for the 11:00 am march to the “Freedom Cage” – the DNC’s fenced in free speech zone. The crowd is energetic but slight and comprised of the usual suspects; black-hoodied anarchists, Critical Mass bike punks, Green Party yuppies, earnest teenage hippies, and The Barnacle Protestor holding a sign that reads R68 SPREADS FEAR with an amazing whirligig device which animates four inch high wooden cutouts of two 60’s era white beat cops kicking and night-sticking a crouching brown man every time the wind blows.
11:15 am: Everyone rolls out for the Pepsi-Center leaving behind a small crowd of international and out-of-town media asking each other where the parade route is, (just follow the parade!?) and The Barnacle Protestor watching his back while smoking a cigarette. This presstester walks over to try to get a statement and untagle the mess of conflicting reports tying him to the WE BEAT YOU prank.
m[i]le[s]: Pretty amazing device. Did you make that?
BP: No an artist named John Fitchen made it. Its one of fifty – one for every state.
m[i]le[s]: Did you make that flyer? (Pointing to the WE BEAT YOU THEN flyer screen printed onto his T-shirt.)
BP: No I picked it up at the Gypsy House Cafe. (Where Recreate 68 was holding their working meetings.)
At this point The Barnacle Protestor goes into a first amendment diatribe that seems to be the pre-cursor to a rambling stream-of-conciousness speech.
Fifteen feet behind The Barnacle Protestor, languishing in the grass under the protective shade of three 250lb. plus body guards, Ward Churchill – the infamous University of Colorado Professor and American Indian Movement activist who referred to the World Trade Center victims as, “Little Eichmans” – observes and listens to The Barnacle Protestors First Amendment rant.
m[i]le[s]: Mr. Churchill can I get a picture?
Ward: I guess if you were a cop you wouldn’t ask.
R-68 Security (stepping in): You’re with him!!! (Pointing to The Barnacle Protestor). NO PICTURES!”
This agent gives The Barnacle Protestor my number, and a request to keep me updated on his schedule and heads off to…
12:00 Noon: Families United for Our Troops and Their Mission is dug in on the corner of Colfax and Broadway in between the swirl of Official DNC booths at Civic Center Park and R68, Ward Churchill, and the slate of off-the-charts-left squawkers on the Capitol steps.
An earnest Code-Pink demographic lady is giving a Code Red-White-and-Blue eulogy of her son Mark – a Navy Seal killed in Ramadi. Mark stood up in the line of fire three times to cover his comrades in a roof-top fire-fight before laying down his life. She turns to address the Capitol and the now dissipated throng of Recreate 68, “My son died for your freedoms… Mark was not an officer, but he was a leader!”
Families United for Our Troops and Their Mission and Media covering Media.
Moist eyes all around, signs reading “Don’t Feed The Leftists” and “General David Petraus, American Hero” are pumped in the air to rousing patriotism.
1:30 pm: Over at Tent State disgruntled College kids who drove in from all over Colorado are told that the Rage Against The Machine Ticket Lottery has been suspended until 4:00 pm to encourage participation in..
2:00 pm: Tent State’s Funk The War costume dance party and march leaves Union Station headed East up the 16th Street Pedestrian Mall toward the Capitol and Civic Center Park with a crowd of approximately two hundred. Plain-cloths protestors are interspersed with ten foot carnival puppets, Tent State college kids pushing beat blasting PA carts, banner wielding human-rights activists, a small squad of black-n-orange flag Unconventional Denver anarchists, Code Pink ladies on immaculately decorated bikes, nostalgic hippies, convention tourists, Recreate 68ers on loan from the Capitol rally, and media media media media, are all accompanied by fifty, motorcycle, bike, and traffic cops, halting cars and politely trying to keep everyone on the sidewalk.
Tent State Puppet, Funk the War
Code Pink bike soldier.
Stopping for occasion red-light dance parties, the procession marches ten blocks up to California Street where the crowd begins to stagnate and dissipate. The Recreate 68ers continue on to the Capitol, the black-n-orange Anarchists turn around and began marching against the current, the plain-cloths protestors and convention tourists relegate to the sidelines for souvenir snapshots, and the Tent Staters begin heading back to their river-side lair.
3:00 pm: Those remaining confusingly fall into line and begin to march back to Union Station. At Stout Street marchers, cops, and media media media, are flanked by a side-street-surprise-attack of close to two hundred fifty previously unseen Unconventional Anarchists led by the initial black-n-orange color guard and an advance cavalry of track-bike punks.
Spread out curb to curb in the face of brakes-jamming traffic, and radio barking cops, they march up to and take over the pedestrian mall, absorb Funk The War, and turn east toward the Capitol yelling call and response.
Our Streets, The Anarchists take over.<
Turning the corner at 16th street onto Broadway, the Anarchists make an attempt to shut down the city’s main intersection, Colfax and Broadway – right down the hill from the Capitol. Now in Battalion Force and operating-on-a-dime, the cops push the Anarchists onto the sidewalk of Lincoln Park, the one block greenery separating the official DNC fest at Civic Center Park and the Recreate 68 rally at the Capitol, effectively separating the Anarchists with a riot squad buffer from the DNC folks shilling Obama t-shirts. The cops make an example of a twelve-year-old Hispanic Teenager who tries to break the barricade by cuffing and stuffing him – much to the consternation of the crowd and the delight of the media media media.
Clayton Dewey, Unconventional Denver’s spokesman, walks to the front line, throws up his arms and yells, “HEY DEMOCRATS!! ARE YOU GOING TO LET THEM ARREST THIS KID? IS THAT WHAT YOUR PARTY IS ALL ABOUT?”
After half-an-hour the Anarchists melt-away to battle another day leaving behind the now incensed daily denizens of the park. Lampin’ Gangsta’s, down-and-outs waiting for the #15 bus, and inebriated hobos. One honkey-G starts yelling, “Man this is bullshit! The DNC is bullshit. Yo! Fuck tha’ Police! Democrats are Bullshit.”Eventually the crowd of stragglers stroll off to their respective haunts revealing The Barnacle Protestor. He stands alone, toes hanging over the curb, faced by a remaining battalion of fifty or so riot cops, casually spinning the windmill on the whirlygig and animating the little wooden beat-down for the media media media as they cue up behind him to take turns getting The Shot.
#is Monday August 25th, 2008
Right Makes Might
12:30 pm: To go for fair-and-balanced approach I’m tagging along with The Barnacle Protestor to the Minutemen Civil Defence Corps’ “Massive Anti-Immigration Rally.”
A handful of wanna-be tough guys in green safety vests guard approximately sixty octogenarians with DIY signs and homely couples in folding camp chairs. All are attentively listening to presidential candidates and off the charts right-wingers Bob Barr, Alan Keys, and Chuck Baldwin.These folks love the whirligig. The depiction of cops subjugating a brown man combined with fine wood craftsmanship is enough to knock the liver spots right off any toothless patriot.
The Barnacle Protestor is telling his story to some minutemen, flipping his shoulder strapped sign book through a series of declaratives; SPAGZ LIES, Honk for the Puppets, PUPPETS MAKE PUPPETS.
While protesting their working meeting a Recreate 68 “hypocrite” named Jill told him, “I don’t give a fuck about the first amendment” and called the cops on him for protesting their protest – trying to violate his right to assemble (by himself). Glenn Spagnuolo (SPAGZ) lies to the media, has made personal threats against him, told him to “up his meds” and that “the group doesn’t advocate violence but I do.”
When he offered Glenn a shirt with the flyer printed on it as “something to remember me by” Glenn told him, “I’ll take that t-shirt and shove it up your ass.” Apparently the emperor wears no clothes.
After honing his story on the minutemen, and an independent photographer, he’s now in front of a full documentary crew in matching outfits.
2:00 pm: The Barnacle Protestor’s repeated claim that he is not the “anonymous artist” who sent the threatening email and flyer just gained some credibility with the posting of this article by Michael Roberts, who penned the original Art Attack article.
The Barnacle Protestor is, however, apparently in collusion with the now (un)anonymous artist a “Pete Bergman”, as he makes an official statement in the communique.
5:30 pm: Recreate 68’s attempt to Levitate the Denver Mint a la Abby Hoffman is a lackluster affair. Sparse attendance – well attended by riot cops – and a distracting right-on-right shouting match that erupted between Fox News correspondent Michelle Malkin and New World Order conspirist Alex Jones, left behind a sole dejected wizard, Recreate 68’s Mark Cohen, making a media statement.
Give me an O!
Over the bridge, The Barnacle Protestor is socializing with a squad of fifteen riot cops. They’re taking turns having their picture snapped with the whirligig. He’s handing out WE BEAT YOU THEN flyers, referring to them as right wing fascist propaganda, and a flyer titled The Haymarket Issue, a photocopied screed about murdering the cop inside yourself, referring to it as left wing anarchist propaganda. He whips out a shirt with the WE BEAT YOU graphic and the cops start clambering in their wallets for five spots, or business cards if their short of cash. A proud recipient of the shirt declares, “I’m going to wear this to work.”
6:30 pm: Unconventional Anarchists at Civic Center Park are making their first salvo in the opening battle on the DNC. Tying on the bandanas, locking arms, and shouting “Our Streets!” a dozen Anarchists charge headlong into a line of Cops – who immediately douse them with pepper spray. Mayhem erupts as a couple hundred Anarchists sweep up a hundred innocent bystanders and charge. The adjacent Sheraton – a delegate hotel – goes on lock-down. The cops corral the now battle ready hoard into the Civic Center. Approximately two hundred fifty Anarchists and unfortunate bystanders are herded into an underground parking garage.
Back at Tent State, The Barnacle Protestor launches into a fifth media showcase of his story for 5:00 am drive-time New Orleans radio correspondent Kasper Bohne. I fully transition from journalist to presstester by recounting his now memorized mis-information to a camera-man who had been patiently waiting his turn in the waning light. He asked me what I was doing to wit I replied, “Covering the media covering me while I cover that protestor protesting the protestors.”
As of Blog time – Midnight Monday – Anarchists are being released from the garage one at a time based on a vindicative police viewing of the instant replay. Many black hoodies are still drawn up against the walls of the parking garage, bandanas pawing at stinging eyes.
#is Tuesday August 26th, 2008
Send in the clowns
(See all photos here)
11:11 am: Four elderly members of Falun Gong sit motionless on fifteenth street – backs to racing taxis and rented Escalades.
The only truly peaceful protester in Denver
11:30 am: In Civic Center Park Glenn Spagnuolo, SPAGZ, is barnacle protesting banner wielding homophobes who are in turn barnacle protesting Recreate 68’s park protest permit. Glenn has a bull-horn and is sporting a borderline incitement t-shirt that screams DEFEND DENVER over the silhouette of a cocked Kalashnikov.
Che Spagnuolo Barnacle Protesting the homophobes.
11:40 am: A brewing melee between Recreate 68 and the homophobes is interrupted by nearby cries of:
A small squad of as-yet-unincarcerated anarchists is facing off with a police line at the western edge of the park. Media media media media jogs across the grass in heels and top-siders for a follow up shot to last nights street sweep.
The homophobes (sorry can’t help but editorialize there) are left open for comment. Ruban Israel, from Los Angeles, silenced on a macro scale due to his recently crumpled bull-horn, carefully stipulates that the group is comprised of “nondenominational street preachers NOT protestors”. When asked if there were any Catholics in the mix he replies, “We’re Christians.” The group hails from “LA, Jersey, Utah, Wisconsin, Arizona, Florida, And Norway.” They’re concerned with the whole pantheon of religious-right issues but all agreed that “homo-sex” would be a good hot button issue to push for the DNC.
I tell Ruben that the Radio Shack on the pedestrian mall is running an eighty dollar special on bull-horns and move on to check out the…
12:00 noon: Procession of Future Puppets. The puppet parade – organized by a group called Backbon Campaign which is also traveling to St. Paul for the RNC – rolls out onto west Colfax absorbing anyone center-right leftward, including a Code Pink battalion, Tent Stater’s, convention tourists with kids, media media, and the cops who lead the procession with a golf cart flashing the alternating sign, “Welcome to Denver,” and “Follow Us.” (See more images)
1:00 pm: Back at Civic Center Park the 911 Truth Commission is out in force co-opting the more paranoid leaning members of all groups right to left. A Tent State organizer (or is he Code Pink) yells “911 was a lie! The truth will come out!” into his bull-horn in a confusing convergence of protestations. Media media media looks dejectedly around for Alex Jones so they can get a sound-bite and break for lunch.
I’m approached by the documentary crew in matching outfits – Todd Cassetty with HiFi Fusion from Nashville – for a comment on the Barnacle Protestor.
Since I’m obviously not “sticking to the facts”, I decide to break another journalistic credo, “don’t become the story,” and pimp-out Todd’s documentary with some mis-information of my own.
Taking a cue from the Barnacle Protestor’s left-wing anarchist propaganda flyer, (see the text of The Haymarket Issue) I come at Recreate 68 with an oblique left. In the heat of critiquing their backward-looking permitted-protest mentality from an Ontological Anarchist stance I decide it would be really over-the-top to identify myself as “Pete Bergman” the “anonymous artist” and claim the WE BEAT YOU flyer as an act of Black Propaganda…
2:30 pm: The rest of the afternoon is spent in clown training on the grass at Tent State with Captain. Cookie Chaos and Pvt. Spud Peel of the Clandestine Insurgent Rebel Clown Army. Formed in the UK in 2003 to protest the G8, CIRCA now has gaggles of clowns all over the world; Israel/Palestine, all over Europe, Peru, Oaxaca, and now Denver. The clowns, like Code Pink, interject themselves between hard-core Anarchists and lines of cops to diffuse violence with humor and beauty. When the police chant, “BACK UP! BACK UP!” the clowns will demonstrate how to “back-it-up” Mary J. Blige style.
Private Spud Peel of the Clandestine Insurgent Rebel Clown Army.
The Barnacle Protestor makes a late appearance on his bike with the whirligig, helmet and pads, the SPAGZ LIES sign-book, a back-pack full of shirts, a camel-back full of god-knows, a bull-horn, a Hawaiian lei around his neck, and a medic bag full of his yin-and-yang left-right flyers.
JoJo, with Adam Jung organized Tent State, approaches him to inquire about the WE BEAT YOU flyer, which Adam also received in the early June email missive. While disclaiming authorship of the flyer, he does take the opportunity to malign SPAGZ and Jill from Recreate 68. JoJo responds with her own story of being physically threatened by Jill because she asked Glenn to quit spreading malicious lies about Adam!
5:00 pm: I head out on bikes with Pvt. Spud Peel and The Barnacle Protestor to Civic Center Park on a SPAGZ hunt. Denver’s citizenry, convention tourists, and cops are mesmerized by the whirligig. Now reaching the status of quasi-celebrity, I hear the phrase “Barnacle Protestor” float across the air from spectators. One cop points to the whirligig and exclaims, “I heard about that!” Another, ten blocks up the street, meekly protests after the passing whirligig, “Wait come back… I haven’t gotten to meet you yet…”
Glenn is in Civic Center Park eating a paper plate of Food Not Bombs lentils. Upon seeing Barnacle buzz by with his SPAGZ LIES sign, he stammers something to the effect of, “Uh.. hugh.. you… again!” To wit The Barnacle Protestor replies, “Have fun Glenn. Be safe!”
The Barnacle Protester, IS he a Special Agent?
#is Wednesday August 27th, 2008
This is what Democracy looks like
(See all photos here)
11:00 am: The line for the free Tent State Music Festival with the Flobots, Jello Biafra (speechifying), legendary anti-war protestor Ron Kovic, and Rage Against The Machine is still snaking out into the parking lot despite an 11:00 am show time.
“Tickets” were administered through a lottery system. Hopeful fans signed up on lined notebook paper at Tent State. Winners who were emailed last night receive two tickets at will call.
Frantic texting from “ticket” holding fans inside the Colosseum to their ticket-less friends with no cause to wake up reveal that the lottery was in fact a brilliant exercise in social engineering. No tickets exist. No ID’s are checked. At the front of the line fans are rubber stamped and issued a wrist band. “Ticket holders” who managed to show up to a rock show prior to 10:00 am (a major logistical hurdle) are issued what amounts to a VIP floor pass.
12:30 am: All fans waiting to get in, ticket holding or not, are now sheepled-up at interior lines, waiting to hair-the-dog with a $7 domestic draft or suit up with a red “Battle of Denver” t-shirt. Late comers walk right in. No one is turned away. The “ticket” charade has prevented an angry mob from gathering outside trying to exercise their “right” to a free concert. The Colosseum is at a comfortable 85% capacity. Anyone who wants a seat can find one.
12:45 pm: Ron Kovic is wheeled out on stage, burnishes his credentials and issues an emotionally arresting call to action, “I’m a Vietnam veteran against the war. I’ve been in this wheelchair forty years because of the Vietnam war. I’ve been arrested in this wheelchair twelve times protesting war. This is our country. They’re not going to shut us up. They’re not going to shut us down. We WILL NOT BOW! … We will STAND TALL. We will march. We will END THIS WAR! We will bring all the troops home. … We will do this non-violently. We will do this with dignity in the spirit of Dr. Martin Luther King, in the spirit of Nelson Mandella. We are going to make history in the streets of Denver today!”
(See the sideways video)
2:30 pm: Rage Against The Machine is burning up the stage. Tom Morello looks like he’s having a prolonged seizure. Zack de la Rocha, who has taken to wearing (red) button-ups now that he’s in the 35 to 45 social demographic, puts about twelve miles on the pedometer sprinting back and forth across the stage. Wayne Kramer of the MC5 comes out in a white jumpsuit and star spangled guitar to pour gas on the fire with Kick Out The Jams.
(See video clip)
Take The Power Back
3:30 pm: Rage rips through an encore of I Think I Hear a Shot and Killing In The Name, eliciting a raucous sing along of;
FUCK YOU! I WON’T DO WHAT YOU TELL ME!
FUCK YOU! I WON’T DO WHAT YOU TELL ME!
Kasper Bohne, a center-right radio correspondent for Mancow and WIST New Orleans, who gave his nonexistent second ticket to The Barnacle Protestor, discerned that we had all just gone through a text-book indoctrination.
4:00 pm: Approximately seventy percent of the six-thousand concert attendees fall into line behind Ron Kovic, Tom Morello, and two disciplined marching squads of twenty five uniformed Iraq War Veterans Against The War and head south down Brighton Blvd. for the three mile march to the Pepsi Center.
A mile into the march a Recreate 68 activist, who had made some quasi-threatening remarks to The Barnacle Protestor at Sunday mornings Capitol Rally, ends up shoulder to shoulder with him.
BP “Oh… Hey.”
R68 “What are you doing here?” (Noticing The Barnacle Protestor left all his SPAGZ LIES gear and the whirligig at home.)
BP “Supporting the Iraq War Veterans Against The War.” (i.e. inclusive as opposed to parasitic protesting.)
R68 “Me too bro…”
When we’re admonished over the bull-horn to stay behind the banner unless we are veterans, The Barnacle Protestors informs me that he was in the Navy for 4 months, 19 days, 9 hours, and 12 minutes.
Hold The Line
Several thousand marchers enter downtown.
6:00 pm: Whittled down to about fifteen-hundred, the marchers gather at Auraria Campus, directly across the street from The Pepsi Center. We’re all coached on the procedure. The non-veterans will stop at the border of the “free-speech zone”. The Veterans will march forward into the demilitarized zone to present a letter with three demands to the DNC.
If a second Order to Disperse is issued to the crowd, the third order being issued in conjunction with a area wide moistening of pepper spray, the veterans will sit down. If invited by the veterans, marchers willing to commit civil disobedience and risk arrest may move forward and sit behind the veterans. All others are to disperse peacefully and immediately.
The march reaches the border of the “Free Speech Zone” at The Pepsi Center
Back in the crowd, a young marcher approaches The Barnacle Protestor
ym “Your The Barnacle Protestor! I heard your crazy!”
BP “Some say crazy, some say genius.”
ym “I haven’t heard genius.”
After the kid walks away The Barnacle Protestor shows me his Mensa Card and tattoo. To join Mensa pledges must take both standard IQ tests while being observed by a Mensa proctor. You can only take the test once. Based on the test results Mesa accepts “people from every walk of life whose IQ is in the top 2%.”
7:00 pm: Rumors of the first Order to Disperse and stonewalling from the DNC – someone quips, “This is what happens when you negotiate with the Democrats” – result in an abrupt call to attention and about face.
Unconventional Anarchists, Code Pink activists, Recreate 68ers, Tent Staters, concerned citizens, and media media media media media fall into line behind the vets to march around the campus to a more strategic position. In an eye-moistening display of cultural unity the Unconventional Anarchists take position behind the vets begin to yell,
They’re our BROTHERS!
They’re our SISTERS!
We support WAR RESISTERS!
Support Our Troops! !? !
7:45 pm: After circling around through Auraria campus to a more aggressive position at 15th and Stout, well outside the designated protest zone, and at the front entrance to the Pepsi Center blockade, the protestors are divided by Tent State activists into those willing to be arrested – in a tight pod of approximately a hundred fifty – and a swelling crowd across Speer Blvd. in the pre-designated safe zone.
True Heros #1: Tent State activist and Iraq War Veterans Against The War.
True Heros #2: Code Pink Activist and a professional Denver Police force.
Media media media media meida media wander like grazing cattle amongst the fully geared riot police sporting full-auto pepper-ball guns, re-positioned vets, and remaining protestors. A call through the bullhorn from Tent State encourages all onlookers, thrill seekers, and media media media to, “Stop for a minute! Look around! Realize where your standing!”
Getting the shot… or about to get shot.
8:00 pm: Former Texas Lt. Governor Ben Barnes comes out of the Pepsi Center to accept the Iraq War veterans letter. Former Marines Jeff Key and Liam Madden, in dress uniform, are escorted onto the convention floor for a Denver PD, Iraq War Veterans Against The War, Secret Service, and Obama Campaign negotiated meeting with Phil Carter, head of veterans affairs for the Obama campaign.
8:45 pm: The At Ease command is issued to the vets. Ron Kovic and the vets all noticeably relax. The announcement is made to the crowd through a bull-horn that the Obama campaign has agreed “in-principle” to the Iraq War Veterans demands; , “Immediate withdrawal, full veterans benefits, and reparations for the Iraqi people”.
The crowd chants Thank You! Thank You! Thank You! to the vets. The vets announce to the crowd, “Thank you for standing with us.” They fall out, the crowd peaceably disperses almost unable to believe that tonight in The United States of America WE THE PEOPLE actually effected CHANGE…
Born on the Fourth of July. Enforcing Change today.
#is Thursday August 28th, 2008
Si Se Puede:
(See all photos here)
10:00 am: We Are America, an affiliate of The National Mobilization for Just and Humane Immigration Reform, has shut-down east-bound Colfax. A gaggle of now familiar Unconventional, Recreate 68, Code Pink, and Tent State activists are engulfed in a sea of Mexican Grandmas, sassy chicana teenagers, clean cut Service Employees International communists, Guatemalan laborers, and large nuclear families.
Finally! Some normal people supporting a cause that directly affects them!
The March Against Borders has clearly defined ones. A definite sense of ownership by the Hispanic community, and specifically by first generation immigrants, keeps everyone respectfully in line. Anarchists are admonished for covering their bandito faces. Hijos e hijas are shooed off the sidewalks with bull-horns ordering them back onto the street.
Miss Atzatlan 2008.
At Lincoln Park Abuelito y Abuelita sit in folding chairs watching Aztec dancers. Hispanics of all stripes scrupulously avoid the Food Not Bombs free burritos. A lone Hmong Immigrant with a placard respectfully reminds everyone that some people of the world have no homeland and must choose between fighting in the jungle or surviving a transcontinental shipping-container journey in hope of western asylum.
Life in the barrio.
12:00 noon: At a dismantled Tent State a lone Anarchist is passed out on the grass. Placards are piled onto blue tarps for reuse at Denver’s next major political event… Or for perma-storage in a basement apartment laundry room.
1:00 pm: A pasty guy with hiked up white socks and a kid with Insane Clown Posse grease-paint-induced-acne point the way to the 911 truth commission encampment. The conspirists are sorting out the yin and yang of having a permit for Gates Crescent Park – directly across the freeway from Invesco Field where Obama will make his keynote address in seven hours.
Rob Weiland of We Are Change Colorado sits cross legged in the grass at the entrance to the parks open field trying to unravel the legalise of his Denver Parks permit. Four of his colleagues are out in the field erecting an awning with IMPEACH and IMPRISON on one side and Obama BAMBOOZLE on the other.
When logic and reason fail, try a branding campaign!
The State Police stopped by in the morning to eject The 911 Truth Commission from the park. Rob was able to successfully fend them off with a cooperative attitude, an official parks permit, and the repeated mention of civil liberties and ACLU lawsuits.
The park is theirs for now – pending review by The Secret Service. Their officially permitted parking lot, however, is adjacent to the Stadium and consequently barricaded. Rob’s car is stuck inside. Vehicles with more 911 conspiracy themed helicopter photo-op props are barred entrance. Sympathizer and Independent US Senate candidate for Colorado Buddy Moore woke up this morning to a conspicuously absent campaign RV – towed with no notice by THE MAN.
As Rob reads the fine print out loud, “Denver Parks and Rec. and Denver Police reserve the right to limit, change and or revoke the venue of the users permit…” two bike cops cruise by and ask when the volleyball net is going up.
Denying these people a parking lot is akin to, pardon the tasteless metaphor, flying a 747 into the side of their conspiracy. Denver Parks is practically begging for Alex Jones to show up with a 50,000 megawatt bull-horn to drown-out Obama with a logic-leaping screed about the Bilderburg Group cabal secretly controlling the world through the incorporation of NAFTA.
2:00 pm: Various Groups cluster into issue affiliation pods back at Lincoln Park to take turns marching on Invesco Field; ashen white medical Marijuana protestors on power chairs, Food Not Bombs gutter punks, No Obamanation Hillaryites For McCain, and a thugged up doo-rag sporting Recreate 68 security detail.
Not the best argument for the effectiveness of Medical Marijuana
Only fifty or so hardcores are left; girls with beards, black button-up wearing Anarchist prison ‘zine distro publishers, a lone space-case on the bongos, stuffed animal back-pack sporting drama-club ravers, a honkey-G tween with a placard that reads, “The World Needs a Bong Rip”, an earnest east coast sociologist working up data for the doctorate thesis, and this last agent of the FREE PRESS.
Your Presstester : You’ll Never See My Face in Denver
Though SPAGZ is undoubtedly planning his final entrance, and Jill is assuredly mussing her hair over and over again and trying on different nouveau-boho outfits, there is a conspicuous absence of The Barnacle Protestor.
He could be crouched behind a dumpster along the parade route prepping for one last whirligig buzz-by. Or he may have decided not to quit his day job. Or, perhaps his journey through the belly of the wail at last nights march has led him to reconsider his Barnacle tactics. OR… maybe he’s clinging to the chasey of the Backbone’ Campaigns bus Cape-Fear style as it rolls across South Dakota on its way to the RNC with a PUPPETS MAKE PUPPETS placard clenched between his teeth.
As for “Pete Bergman” the “anonymous artist”, he has yet to show his face around Denver. Many of the players talk of meeting him. Evan Herzoff accepted a personally delivered custom letter-pressed formal apology letter for the WE BEAT YOU THEN flyer. Clayton Dewey of Unconventional Denver, refused a similar communique on the non-chalant grounds of, “I don’t really care about that.” JoJo of Tent State received a verbal apology, and was told of a formal letter for her Tent State co-chair Adam Jung. There is even rumor of a letter for Glenn Spagnuolo.
Though there is this evidence of contrition on the part of the anonymous artist there’s a stronger likelihood that he IS an agent provocateur, melting through crowds, flashing fake press credentials, snapping point-and-shoot pictures of the front lines, and gathering evidence on all the players.
The following IS a prequel to the above 2008 DNC report. ThIS report, BEWARE SHEEPLE! SPAGZ LIES! was originally published after the events above in Lumpen #110.
Tuesday May 04, 1886
Workingmen Arm Yourselves and Appear in Full Force!
Broadsides are posted outside factory doors and along the blood soaked gutters of slaughterhouses throughout industrial Chicago. Printed in English and German blackletter, the flyer calls for a, “MASS-MEETING TO-NIGHT, at 7:30 o’clock, at the HAYMARKET.”
Under a light rain approximately 1,500 workers gather at The Haymarket to reassert support for a the eight-hour day. As the evenings events wind down, and police order the crowd to disperse, a well lobbed pipe-bomb kills beat-cop Mathias J. Degan. The Police opened fire into the crowd, and each others backs, leaving eleven dead and a hundred wounded
Spring, 1986 – Spring, 1995
The Haymarket Issue
Broadsides published under the pseudonym Hakim Bey appear on the streets of New York. The following year they are compiled with a second series of broadsheets titled “COMMUNIQUES OF THE ASSOCIATION FOR ONTOLOGICAL ANARCHY” into a book published by Autonomedia under the anti-copywrite credo of “May be freely pirated & quoted – however the author would like to be informed.”
Communique #3, “The Haymarket Issue” implores Ontological Anarchists, in the spirit of Louis Lingg – an alleged Haymarket conspirator who dynamited himself to cheat his death sentence – to, “blow up the monument inside us … When the last cop in our brain is gunned down by the last unfulfilled desire – perhaps even the landscape around us will change.”
Ontological Anarchy is derided by “establishment” left-political anarchists as hedonistic and irresponsible in its call for bypassing oppositional politics in favor of a liberated lived experience not beholden to rhetorical debate.
Wednesday July 14th, 2004
A Preview of coming attractions
Page 23A of Denver’s Rocky Mountain News runs an image from a Denver Copwatch rally on the steps of the City Hall of a man who’d been circling the rally with a whirligig mounted on a bike trailer that animates wooden cutouts of, “Police officers hitting someone on the ground.”
Saturday June 14th, 2008
Rally Against Reality
To the befuddlement of two Ukrainian masons sitting on a hoist adjacent to The Haymarket memorial in Chicago’s west Loop, PRO – a trash-can and banjo wielding classic-rock cover band – counts off the opening bars to Rush’s Working Man. IS Agent pranktivists begin blanketing the memorial and surrounding environs with a photocopy (with custom letterpress augmentation) of Hakim Bey’s The Haymarket Issue.
PRO rips into Ted Nugent’s Stranglehold. The IS agents rush to cover up The Haymarket Issue broadsheets with a screaming headline broadsheet reading “WE BEAT YOU THEN! WE’LL BEAT YOU AGAIN!” This broadsheet depicts a ’68 Chicago cop – smoking a stogie while choking-out a college kid – juxtaposed with a current era riot-cop looking like he’s about to tee-off with his baton.
Thursday July 10th, 2008
“Anonymous Artist Punks Recreate 68″
A month before the Democratic National Convention in Denver, a coalition of protest groups including Recreate 68 and Denver Copwatch call a press conference demanding an investigation into the threatening broadsheet they received from, “a rouge Denver cop” reading “WE BEAT YOU THEN! WE’LL BEAT YOU AGAIN!” and, “Want to ‘Recreate 68’? Think your tough HIPPY?”
The balloon of their victim-hood is deflated when Westword newspaper media-critic Michael Roberts reveals in a morning blog post that an “anonymous artist”, created the flyer as a prankish exercise in black-propaganda.
( Read the article It has since been revealed that the “anonymous artist”, In a circle-jerk of news manufacturing, was given the personal addresses of his marks by an “anonymous journalist” with close ties to the artist, recipients of the broadsheet, and Michael Roberts.)
The press conference attendees, including all major Denver networks and dailies, we’re further befuddled by the appearance of a man with a copy of the flyer and a whirligig depicting two white beat-cops truncheoning a crouching brown man. The man identified himself as, “John Q. Public” and insisted that he did not make the flyer but picked it up at the Gypsy House Cafe where Recreate 68 holds its working meetings.
Glenn Spagnuolo, dubbed SPAGZ by local media, goes so far as to discretely square off with John Q. Public to tell him, “I think you’re full of shit!”
Cop Watch’s Even Herzoff leads off with a prepared speech about police accountability in a “climate of fear” before admitting that he’d been apparently “punked” by an artist. The manicured Fox News corespondent who broke the story at five am drops her microphone and leaves in a huff.
SPAGZ, the consummate tough-guy with his waxed bald head and wrap-around shades, follows up with a string of bald-faced lies, claiming that he’d received emails he did not receive stating they said they were from Denver cops and that “I received one email that said I was their #1 target.”
(It should be noted here for the record that this agent can verify the non-veracity of SPAGZ claims, and the veracity of John Q. Public’s due to intimate knowledge of “the anonymous artist”.)
In a post press conference interview John Q. Public stated that he had no idea who Mr. Spagnuolo was prior to the press conference. When told of SPAGZ’s false claims John’s response was, “That guy just nominated himself as my #1 Target.”
Thursday July 17th, 2008
BEWARE SHEEPLE! SPAGZ LIES!
At Recreate 68’s working meeting the following Thursday SPAGZ along with the core Recreate 68 organizers, Mark and Barbara Cohen and Jill Dryer, are posing for a media portrait in the grass across the street from the Gypsy House Cafe.
As SPAGZ delusions of grandeur are reaching a pitch, John. Q. Public appears in a motorcycle helmet and full leathers in front of the Gypsy House with a sign reading BEWARE SHEEPLE on one side and SPAGZ LIES on the other.
After the Recreate 68ers are done debating John, I abandon my surveillance post for a debrief. As I approach he repeats a gesture he’s been making to anyone and everyone. Extending a copy of the WE BEAT YOU THEN flyer in his right hand he asks, “Would you like a right-wing fascist propaganda flyer?” Followed by his left clutching a copy of The Haymarket Issue, “Would you like a left-wing anarchist propaganda flyer.”
Under my breath, “What did SPAGZ say?”
SPAGZ says, “Up your meds bro.”
Thursday July 24th, 2008
I Don’t Give A Fuck about the First Amendment!
John Q. Public waits until Recreate 68 is safely ensconced in the basement of the Gypsy House and sets up on the corner in a floppy hat, flip-flops, and t-shirt with the WE BEAT YOU THEN broadside screen printed on it.
John now has an air-horn and multiple signs mounted on ring binders allowing him to flip through a series; SPAGZ LIES, honk for the puppets, PUPPETS MAKE PUPPETS, honk for the first amendment, honk for the disabled. Motorists pass and honk. John blows his air horn – repeatedly.
One of the cafe proprietors, an authentic Gypsy, comes out and unleashes a barrage of blush-inducing explicatives followed by what sounds like a native-tounge curse.
SPAGZ and Jill Dryer come out. John extends a WE BEAT YOU THEN shirt, “Glenn, I made you this t-shirt to remember me by.”
“I’ll take that t-shirt and shove it up your ass!!” Then getting in close, “The group (Recreate 68) doesn’t advocate violence but I do.”
Jill, a demure looking feather-weight forty year old, chimes in with, “I’m calling the fucking COPS!” SPAGZ stalks back inside, Jill waits indignantly on her cell.
John tries to explain to Jill that he’s merely trying to exercise his First Ammendmen…
She snaps, “I DON’T GIVE A FUCK ABOUT THE FIRST AMENDMENT!!!!”
Two Denver Police cruisers roll up. Jill, who had taken refuge in the foyer of the cafe runs out, “I’m the one who called you! This man is threatening us! He’s blowing his horn and making threats.”
The officer looks at John in his flip-flops and rolls his eyes. “What are you doing and why are you doing it?”
“I’m disrupting the working meeting of Recreate 68, just like their planning on disrupting the working meeting of the Democratic Party.”
“OK. Stay on this side of the street and don’t blow off the air-horn. Those are only to be used in the event of a boating accident. Ma’am,” he turns to Jill, “He is on public property exercising his first amendment rights. There’s no violation here.”
Unfazed by the hypocrisy of protestors calling them to harass someone who’s opinion is different than their own, the cops roll out.
Thursday July 31rst, 2008
I’m a media whore!
Recreate 68 gathers in the park across from the State Capitol. Ostensibly they’ve moved their meetings to get people used to the space where they are holding their rallys. The sequestering of John Q. Public onto a distant corner, out of earshot from his now increasingly confident first amendment rant is only a fringe benefit.
SPAGZ, possessor of the sole folding-chair, goes over the agenda with a media microphone four feet away. Other members of the media are out photographing their DNC quota and the 68ers are glowing. Jill put a lot of thought into her outfit; a form fitting jean-skirt, strapless black top, sandals and hair in pigtails. Classy but proletarian.
A teenager walks by carrying an Obama shirt. “Hey, anyone here for OBAMA?” His exuberant inquiry is met with literal hisses and an anonymous “Keep walking!”
“You could try being a little NICER!” now incensed, “You get a lot farther with honey than with vinegar!”
Returning to the agenda SPAGZ interrupts himself and points at me, “Who are you and what are you doing here?”
“Pete Bergman, Lumpen Magazine Chicago.”
Jill excitedly cranes her neck to see me behind her, “I’ve read Lumpen magazine! Are these pictures going to be in Lumpen Magazine!? Will you let us know if their published by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org??”
Across the park, John is trading a WE BEAT YOU THEN t-shirt and a Haymarket Issue broadsheet for the kid’s Obama t-shirt.
Thursday August 7th, 2008
Your Living Bill of Rights
John changes it up with a drive by. The sign is on a shoulder strap. The whirligig is mounted on a bike trailer holding a car battery and a Fisher Price record player spinning an thrift-store album titled “Your Living Bill of Rights”. He rolls by the working meeting at four miles an hour mad-dogging SPAGZ.
Thursday August 21rst, 2008
The Barnacle Protestor
The current issue of Westword contains a “Guide to Protestation Nation.” Author Jared Jacang-Meyer and Illustrator Nate Stone caricature ALL the protestors converging on Denver for the DNC; The Nostalgic Hippie, The Angry Hillaryite, The Upper-Middle-Class Radical, The Street Theatre Wierdo, and holding a sign that reads “SPAGZ LIES” is a drawing of a floppy hat wearing, whirligig wielding, unhinged figure dubbed “The Barnacle Protestor“.
SPAGZ and crew have a lot of business to cover in their final working meeting prior to the DNC. Unfortunately for them John, taxonomied as The Barnacle Protestor, has been emboldened by his sudden celebrity status and is four feet away from SPAGZ delivering his now polished first-amendment screed through a mega-phone.
The Barnacle Protestor has added two professionally printed signs to his quiver. One depicts SPAGZ giving the thumbs up with reading, “SPAGZ Sayz, Up your meds bro, I’ll take that t-shirt and shove it up your ass, I think you’re full of shit, (and) Recreate 68 doesn’t advocate violence but I do.” The second is a blow up of an incriminating surveillance photo of Jill, The Barnacle Protestor, and a cop reading, “Jill Sayz I DON’T GIVE A FUCK ABOUT THE FIRST AMENDMENT!”
Media, now in full saturation, is zeroing in on The Barnacle Protestor. He’s a better photo-op than SPAGZ on his folding-throne. The meeting clearly can’t commence over the din of John’s mega-phone. SPAGZ facing the inevitable, approaches him, flips through the signs with sick fascination, and attempts to engage John in a “debate” that quickly devolves into a talk-off between SPAGZ trying to merely comprehend what’s happening and The Barnacle Protestor first amendment speechifying while passing out of right-wing fascist and left-wing anarchist propaganda flyers.
In an effort to prove there’s one reasonable person left in town, a lady from the Recreate 68 approaches The Barnacle Protestor, nudges Glenn aside, sticks out her hand and declares, “I don’t agree with you, but I support your right to be here. I appreciate what your saying and I want to shake your hand.”
Final Communiques – A copy of open letters sent to interested parties.
Dear Glenn and Jill,
Per Jill’s request I’m writing to notify you that a picture I took with your consent is in Lumpen Magazine.
By now you may have put 3 and 3 together and realized that in addition to covering the DNC for Lumpen in an observational capacity, I have also been unethically “manufacturing news” since early June when I sent you the WE BEAT YOU THEN WELL BEAT YOU AGAIN flyer.
I am not the man known as The Barnacle Protestor who picketed you personally. I did not put him up to his activities – I merely documented them.
On a personal note, eschewing the misinformation and trash-talk that goes with our respective jobs (politics and “art”) I would like to apologize for making what I now realize was an in-poor-taste personal threat. I have a hand written formal apology for you. I can mail it or courier it to a location of your choosing.
Until the infocsalypse,
Peter Miles Regenold Bergman
Dear Mr. Hakim Bey
Per your request I’m writing to inform you that I photocopied (with custom letterpressed augmentation) your broadside titled The Haymarket Issue. The photocopy was distributed along with a second flyer (see enclosed) in both Denver Colorado and Chicago Illinois. Also enclosed you will find a CD with images documenting the distribution, a printed out email, two issues of Denver’s Westword Newspaper, and the current issue of Lumpen Magazine. You can also read further documentation related to the distribution by accessing the Blog of Lumpen, clicking on the August tab and accessing posts #1 – #5 of Covering the media covering the media covering the protestors protesting the protesters at the DNC.
Thank you for your anti-copywrite designation and the subsequent inspiration,
IS agent m[i]le[s] & IS agent John Q. Public
ThIS report was a joint venture of Lumpen and The Institute of Sociometry.
The Players – in order of appearance:
Come Up to Denver
The Westword Newspaper
Families United For Our Troops and Their Mission
Denver Police Department
Minutemen Civil Defence Core
HiFi Fusion (Documentry crew in matching outfits)
Official Street Preachers (The Homophobes)
911 Truth Commission
Clandestine Insurgent Rebel Clown Army
Food Not Bombs
Rage Against The Machine
Iraq War Veterans Arainst the War
We Are America (Pro Immigration)
We Are Change Colorado (Anti New World Order)
Citizens for Safe Access (Medical Marijuana)
ThIS report was featured on not one but TWO tri-fold displays at iSFair 2O12.