Denver ABC Statement on Occupy Denver

Over the past few months, Denver ABC has devoted a tremendous amount of resources and energy into Occupy Denver. Our collective has staffed a 24/7 legal line, coordinated the bailing out of almost one hundred demonstrators arrested over the last two months, and onsite CopWatch and Street Medics. We’ve made an earnest and largely successful effort to get supporters into the courtrooms for nearly every hearing and court appearance featuring our arrested comrades. All this has been juggled with attending the weekly marches and adding our spirit to the marches and General Assemblies as one portion of the 99%.

As of December 4th, our collective has decided to no longer support Occupy Denver. This means we will not be providing our legal line for Occupy actions; fundraising for the movement; encouraging our members, friends and allies to get involved; as well as serve roles such as CopWatch and Medics. This is in solidarity and coordination with other ally formations such as West Denver CopWatch and the Colorado Street Medics.

We want to be clear that our decision is not based on a generalized, absolute rejection of everyone involved in Occupy Denver. We are grateful for many relationships of solidarity that we have made through our work with OD and are confident those relationship will continue to blossom. Our commitments to the OD arrestees that we have been supporting still remain as well.

Our decision is based on festering frustrations with a small sector of OD who continue to marginalize, silence, and threaten our communities and ally communities. Despite the hard work of many involved in OD, its political platform continues to be framed by and for economically privileged, hyper-nationalist white heterosexual males. Experiences of race, gender, class, nationality, immigration status, and a multitude of other identities continue to be buried underneath the dominant “We are the 99%” narrative.

Attempts to dislodge the monopolizing of space in OD have been consistently met with threats, slander, snitch-jacketing, and other tactics of intimidation. From the start, despite our un-flinching support, our collective and other allies have been called everything from agent provocateurs to femi-nazis to pedophiles. The culminating event for us took place during a recent march. A collective member spoke up during an open mic time to challenge the assumption of a unified “99%” by bringing attention to the marginalization of reproductive rights taking place at the same time open racism was being accepted in the crowd. The response of We Are Change was to instigate a chant that drowned out the only woman to speak at the open mic and insinuate she was a CIA agent. As a collective committed to grassroots organizing in Denver and being reminded daily of the horrors of the FBI’s COINTEL Program through our support of political prisoners, we cannot take such behavior lightly.

On top of the concerns listed above, our work with OD has been a tremendous resource drain. Exacerbating this has been a recent wave of arrestees failing to appear in court and essentially hemorrhaging the tremendous amount of fundraising that has taken place. After much difficult reflection we came to the realization that we can and must use our limited resources in more radical, effective ways.

There is a lot about the Occupy movement that we find inspiring. The Oakland General Strike had many of us smiling for days. In New York, people are taking over foreclosed houses, resisting evictions and defending them from police aggression. In DC, a house was built in a park and fought for. Chapel Hill, Seattle and Santa Cruz saw temporary autonomous zones established within long-abandoned structures. We hope that our decision is able to open up more room to support movements we are proud of, such as these. In revolutionary spirit, the Denver Anarchist Black Cross

Below is breakdown of our legal support fund

Funds received: $16,531

Funds used:

Bonds - $14,210

Jail Phone Fund- $1660

Food/supplies for released arrestees, legal line- $237

Commissary for long term arrestees- $315

Total- $16512

Remainder- +$19

Debt: Cancelled bonds (Failure to appears, etc)- $8100

Loans- $460

Total- $8560

Total: -$8541

Though I have met some good people at OD,

...I have also noted censorship of anarchist-inspired messages, verbal abuse of ABC members, and ridiculous pro-police propaganda distributed at OD, some of it printed on paper with the OD logo.

I am led to wonder how people who only recently discovered that there are any problems worth protesting can be so abusive toward those who have been long aware and have given years of their lives toward building support systems for those of us trying to bring positive change.

As a formerly homeless person, I am extremely grateful to the anarchist community and to people everywhere who devote their talents and energies to fighting oppression.  As a student of social movements and longtime activist, I am proud to have such allies.

I to have met some good people at OD

I have met some good people at the OD marches and rallies and have made several alliances as well. Having said that it comes at a high price. I have witnessed first hand the energy that DABC has expended and done what I could in my limited way to assist them with some feelings of trepidation at doing so.

Occupy Denver is made up of people who have at best (this is a generality and comes with all the limitations and exceptions that generalities come with) have both a limited understanding of issues as well as a myopic view of anyone who is not white, and once middle class. My impression has been that the movement in motivated by anger at middle class people loosing opportunity and falling from the middle class. Yes there are a few people who saw broader social and economic issues and the need to make a system that did not exploit the poor, a system that did not use prisons as a means of social control, and a system that was not dominated by a few robber barons at the top making wage slaves of all beneath them. These where a minority!

Most of the organizers still believe that capitalism works. Most of these organizers do not see our justice system as a means of oppressing the poor - to me it is like a cheep whore who demands that one pay it for service or get second class justice. Most of the organizers do not see the very chains of oppression that bind them to servitude and wage slavery.

Why is this? Because these are people who have until recently never had these issues. These are people who have never felt the harsh whip of oppression because they themselves where once middle class and good servants who now find that their master has turned them out. They do not even see the slave status that they where bound up in and like a good slave they will run to the next master or back to the old one because it is what they know.

Having said this some did see. Some who started off saying that the police are part of the 99% where not saying it weeks latter. Some did learn. It may well take a lot more to open the eyes of the majority. DABC has done a lot. DABC has done more then most in fact and should not feel any remorse in its decision to pull back a little. There will be other times and places.

To the slaves who read this my words may sound harsh.