Peace Voters Face New Challenges
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It was a barely good week for the antiwar movement during the Denver convention, with lingering problems remaining ahead.
The numbers in the streets
First, it could have been far worse. All along the rhetoric about "recreating '68" was inflated. Projections of 25,000 protesters were inflated. The incredibly hard work by organizers like Adam Jung at Tent State, the determined courage of the Iraq Veterans Against the War and, above all, the generosity of Rage Against the Machine (which kicked in over $100,000 at the last minute) salvaged what could have been a small and marginal turnout. In the end, the Obama campaign made the right choice to meet with the Iraq vets contingent and hear their opposition to the war.
The intelligence was fabricated again to justify a war on "anarchists"
The Denver police ultimately were agreeable to accommodating the protesters' right to free speech and assembly. But the law enforcement establishment should be criticized and held responsible for spreading the same false and misleading information we have seen at every convention since 2000. The word went out that thousands of "anarchists" would descend on Denver--false. Officers I interviewed told me that weapons were being "stockpiled" alongside the 16th Street Mall for anarchist use--false. A FEMA "consequence manager" said privately that tunnels would be blown up--nothing so far. Another officer told me that riots happened at the last two Democratic conventions--false.