Occupy Denver prepares for the cold with donated supplies

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The Occupy Wall Street movement is, in many ways, a numbers game. The same is true of its Denver affiliate, where the numbers might be smaller but the fervor for the cause -- the causes, really -- maintains a strength in direct proportion to its national parent. During a three-hour span this afternoon, eleven people, one of whom is Lupe Fiasco, will donate bedding, tents, parkas, sweaters and other items to Occupy Denver. Four people will start or finish a joint. Seventeen people will share a single watermelon. And six people will say, without overhearing the others who already shared the sentiment, "This is the beginning."

Of what, they are not able to state as clearly. There is never any lack of conviction among the movement's Denver followers, around seventy of whom are gathered in front of the Capitol building, but there is often a lack of clarity. Although the local occupation has maintained a constant presence, 24 hours a day, for the past fifteen days, that presence is not predicated on anything particularly concrete. The group has yet to make demands for specific change.

"I suppose there's a personal reason for all of us and a broader reason that combines all of us into one unit," says Michelle Lessans, who has spent the past twelve days with the movement at Broadway and Colfax. "There'ss so much wrong with the nation right now, with only one percent of the country controlling all of its money, and the other 99 percent of us just sit there. Well, we're not sitting anymore."

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Kelsey Whipple
Much of the group's strength lies in its diversity, which tends to divide at the employment level. Lessans is one of a heavy handful who are currently unemployed: The recent college grad has spent four months of unemployment adjusting to the realization that the masters she received in social work will not be directly applied anytime soon. (As she explains the situation, as if on cue, a rarity occurs: An occupation detractor stops in front of the group, rolls down his car window and shouts, "Get a job!" But she can't. She has tried.)

Many of those around her have taken paid sick leave or simply quit their jobs in order to spend their days here. One man is speaking nervously on his cell phone to his boss while Lessans is party to an equally uncomfortable conversation across from his bench, ending an argument -- a feat at which she is noticeably talented. In five minutes, she will ask one of the gathering's homeless followers to stop cursing in front of children, but not before he threatens someone with violence and the police are called. Right now, however, she is explaining Occupy Denver's principles to someone who is trying to unite with the group for reasons that have nothing to do with the occupation.

"You just have to remember that we're representing a bigger movement," she tells the man, who mentions the anti-Columbus Day rally that will take place tomorrow from 10 a.m. to noon. Occupy Denver's weekly Saturday march is set for the same day from noon until 3, and pains have been taken to keep the two from overlapping, to stop Occupy Denver from attracting an increased police presence. "There is certain behavior that comes with that," she explains. "We're an inclusive group, but we are a people movement, not a political one. And people don't understand that."

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Kelsey Whipple
Because the New York faction of the occupation has attracted an aggressive level of police attention, its Denver peers emphasize the care with which they approach a relationship with the Denver Police Department. So far, that relationship seems excellent, marked by a long list of reliable DPD contacts on the wall inside the group's security tent, and they hope to keep it that way. ("There are definitely still people who feel very uncomfortable with a police presence," Lessans says.) This means responsible behavior and a well-developed weariness about tying the occupation's credibility with that of other organizations. No group, however, is banned from consideration, and lining the group's front desk is a consistently expanding set of posters for neighboring causes.

Close by, piled in nooks and crannies and underneath structures built from donated wood, are the donations, hundreds of them, dropped off as a means of support even from those who cannot support the job. In order to organize and sustain the benefits of these donations, the food portion of which feeds the group's small army on a daily basis, Occupy Denver got organized -- and quickly. In the beginning, the group began as a handful of people who basically just hung out, albeit all day, every day. Today, that group has morphed into a machine as well-oiled as any group that defies the concept of leadership really can be.


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20 comments
Debekniss
Debekniss

As I agree "a" person to be a spokeman for the Occupy cause might make it more understandable for many, the long list of concerns would still be very overwhelming to grasp. This Occupy movement has spread like a virus and has touched so many in different ways each are important and each needs to be addressed. And when I say virus I don't mean that bad. I have been doing a lot of reading on this matter and some is very concerning to me. Yes it has planted a seed for topics to be talked about and this is good perhaps solutions can be found to stop the insanity of the problems we all are having. I see this becoming a reveloution and sometimes bad things happen in those. But people not being able to get jobs to survive is not good either. People becomeing homeless because the place and job they had now goes to another country is not good for us either. They get cheaper labor and we pay higher prices is not sound thinking. I support the movement in peaceful protests, seeking answers and getting results. For those in DC the time has come to stop listening to big biz and do what is needed for those they serve. I think we need to stop sending money to other places till we can take care of our own people. We should not have 3 million homeless and how many on the verge of being homeless. Real people are sick of struggling everyday and taking two steps back while a eleite few are taking one step forward. And I feel that step is on us and it appears many others think this too or why would this have become so popluar with so many so many places? Riot Police and pepper spray is not the answer but better leadership for all people is!

Rev. B Baker
Rev. B Baker

greenfaith Ministry can provide a healthy donation of baked panera bread goodies weekly to the protestors just call or email me to set up a pick up!Peace and praise with blessings of health, happiness & the highest vibration to all through greenfaith!Sincerely,

rev. brandon baker C/O faith MinistryPO Box 024Nunn, CO 80648-0024rev.420@greenfaithministry.comCELL# 3072212180

a SOLE PROPRIETORSHIP, NON-PROFIT CHURCH/CHARITY in conjunction with: Okleveuha Native American Church & Universal Life Church #62513[Licensed/Registered by; IRS #s (80-051**** & 84-140****), CO/WY Health Dpt, Co Dpt Revenue #s (4283316, 070430763), & CO State Charity # (20093014664)] www.greenfaithministry.com

Jamesbrugg
Jamesbrugg

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Robert Chase
Robert Chase

Occupy Denver is in danger of being overwhelmed by libertarian conspiracists who want to elect Ron Paul, return to the Gold Standard, and stop vaccination.  These people are way more concerned with the Federal Reserve than Goldman-Sachs, and with governmental power rather than corporate power.  The messages they think most important to communicate to passing drivers include:  "END THE FED" and the "9-11 WAS AN INSIDE JOB".

Some of the people who have put the most effort into the general assemblies of participants have entirely sensible programs -- many people who would not describe themselves as socialists and those of us who are proud to be socialists agree that corporations are not people and must not be allowed to buy our elections.  Occupy Denver is in solidarity with Occupy Wall Street on this point, but there too there are some people ranting about the Gold Standard. The libertarians on scene here are absolutely typical in evincing reverence for the Founders but an utter disinterest in everything else that's been said or thought by intervening Americans between them and Ron Paul -- in their view, the Constitution was written by genius saints and Americans have committed the sin of apostasy and so now wander in a wilderness.  We can agree insofar as the State has attacked personal liberties, but these people threaten to drown out calls for any rational economic or political reforms with their know-nothing nativism and bizarre, unscientific, conspiracist claptrap.  If you believe in the commonweal and want to join with others protesting on its behalf, come on down to Lincoln Park (the one directly west of the Capitol).

P.S.  Note that the erection of tents is the first true civil disobedience taking place in connection with Occupy Denver.  If people believe that progress will require confronting injustice then some small measure of defiance of authority must ensue -- Denver's very many Good Germans have a hard time with this concept, and most of the people at Occupy Denver do not seem to support civil disobedience, even to the extent of sanctioning the erection of tents as the weather worsens or marching in the streets.  The militant pacifists (or whatever else one might choose to call them) resisted attempts to turn marchers into the streets Saturday when many hundreds marched downtown by denouncing those who tried as "provocateurs" -- there is a difference between an "agent provocateur" and the more generic "police agent", and while I have seen no evidence so far of agents provocateurs, the timidity and unwillingness to engage in even non-violent confrontation on the part of many in Occupy Denver mean that it is in effect riddled with police agents.

Ronstriathlon
Ronstriathlon

Made it to the Saturday rally and march I'd estimate about 1,000 people that varied a bit as people left and others joined in. It was cold and rainy and we marched from the Capital to Ogden st along Colfax then back to the Capital. Then we marched to the trade center regrouped then marched along 16th  and around the Federal reserve branch had another rally in front of the Fed building then it was time for my sister and I to go as we were wet and cold. There were plenty of young people but most were 30- 60 years old. The police were very nice blocking streets for us and keeping everything orderly and safe. Just wisely positioned cars motorcycles and bicycle officers keeping order.

Eastridgejt
Eastridgejt

Hello gentlemen I am a nurse assistant and part time student. I work 37 hours a week taking care of a disabled veteran. I am taking 7 credit hours in school and in my spare time I have been occupying Denver for the last 5 days. I have not been unemployed in 10 years and I have not had health insurance in 5 years. In 2010 the company I work for, NurseCore of Denver, stopped paying holiday pay. So I no longer get holiday pay to take care of a disabled veteran on the 4th of July. Meanwhile, every major HMO has increased profits each quarter through the recession. If you do not know that your rights are under direct assault by corporate America then you have not had a thought that was not generated by your phone in a long time. The biggest dip in the recession was spring 2009. Here are the profit margins for some major HMO's in 2009. In 09 United Healthcare had a net loss of enrollment (1.7 million) and the cost of care went up but take home profits soared to 1.04 billion. I guess the recession is only for some? Kaiser 2.1 billion, Aetna only made 515 million which was a major disappointment on Wall Street. I asked the pay role person why holiday pay was taken unannounced and she said the insurance companies stopped allowing for it. So get your head out of the media that is now owned by six companies total (the 1%) and know what you are speaking about.

Epigonigrp
Epigonigrp

"The group has yet to make any specific demands for change".  Yep, sure.  That is because the only reason they are there is to gain some attention and get stoned.

Pete Zeigler
Pete Zeigler

How many made out today? Twenty? I remember the 5000 people at the first Denver tea party. They were a nice bunch of people. Not a single one defecated in the street, ran around topless and sporting large rolls of fat, or even left garbage behind. No matter what anyone says, we all know that the tea parties were more numerous and MUCH more sane than the wackos currently playing a public pretend game of "Arab Spring". You can fool yourselves into believing whatever you want, but deep down we all know that the people who ACTUALLY pay taxes are the ones the media refuses to let have a voice.

Marileeboe
Marileeboe

the united states should not be up for sale to the highest bidder!!!

Just a Few Thoughts
Just a Few Thoughts

A few ideas:

For those occupiers that don't quite know what their specific demands are a few suggestions:

1) Remove the ability for corporations to deduct their lobbying expenses.

      If corporations are going to buy congress they shouldn't be able to deduct it from their taxes.

2) Raise the minimum wage to $11/hr. 

      Very few small businesses pay minimum wage, the majority of minimum wage jobs are offered by huge corporations the reap gigantic profits by abusing their uneducated and frequently minority workers. Wal-Mart and McDonalds spend millions every year lobbying to insure that they have cheap labor. Let's demand that people not be required to live below the poverty line while working full time. If you have a full time job you should be earning a reasonable wage.

   In addition increasing the minimum wage directly stimulates the economy because workers at this end of the spectrum do not save any of their additional money, it would go directly back into consumer spending, housing and other sectors of the economy that desperately need a bump.

3)  Tax capital gains as ordinary income

    The majority of millionaires and billionaires earn their money by investing. Investment income is taxed at 15% while the average workers pays 35% on their payroll income. I don't advocate a penalty or an extra tax on millionaires and billionaires but I do think they should pay their fair share of taxes and this one rule allows them to reduce their tax bill by approximately 20-25%.

Good Luck and God Speed. Be proud of what you are doing, sometimes the little people can change the world.

Kbden
Kbden

The "Occupy Wall Street - Denver Cell" are a bunch of Socialist Sodomites and Obamians. The DPD should send Johnny Diaz there to beat their asses.

Veltz39
Veltz39

I support your causes keep it up and be safe out their I'm a old woman who wish she could do this but i can't. During king time we had a leader one with a level head. So pick a leader and let the unions help you and don't forget who is on your side in this

marhlfld
marhlfld

There is a conspiracy, Robert.  It is called the FEDERAL RESERVE BANK.  End the Fed. Yep, I'm a RP supporter, guilty. Yep, I want a sound money system backed by Gold, guilty.  Yep, you can put that vaccination crap in your body, but I'm not doing it to mine, guilty.  Criminey Robert, Goldman Sachs is run by the FED!  The fricking government is run by the Fed and its corporate lobbists. Geesh, you don't know much do you?  And by the way, I'm all for a new independent investigation into 911. Learn about Building 7 Robert.  It wasn't hit by a plane, yet fell at freefall speed into its footprint.  Looked like a controlled demo to me.  Robert, under a libertarian views, you can do and say anything you like, just as long as you harm no one or other property.  Civil disobedience is great, but sometimes comes with hazards.  There are definitely provocateurs trying to co-opt the movements and misdirect, misinform the protestors.  You don't have to worry about the libertarians, Ron Paul supporters, or 911 truthers, Robert.  You need to worry about the FED.

J D Huff
J D Huff

Wow, I cannot imagine why you would believe something even remotely like what you just posted.  This isn't just about party lines.  It's quite obvious you have watching too much Faux News and Hannity etc.  Well, I hope you wake up to the truth that you are probably part of the 99% and these people are willing to help even you.

Robert Chase
Robert Chase

I bet 1% or less of all voters think that eliminating the Federal Reserve is an important issue -- the slogan has no traction whatever.  The gold standard makes no sense at all -- gold has little intrinsic value, or at least is of far less importance than any number of other things, e.g. wheat, corn, or other metals such as copper on which a currency might be based.  The Federal Reserve's monetary policies have successfully controlled inflation (except in specific areas such as energy) since the Ford administration thirty-eight years ago.  You can certainly accuse the Fed of being complicitous after the fact in bailing out the banks, but to accuse the Fed of primary responsibility lets the real perpetrators off the hook.

marhlfld
marhlfld

Dear Robert, most voters don't even know that the Federal Reserve is a private banking cartel, therefore they don't realize its importance.  Many are waking up to it. We have to educate them.  What?????! Gold has no intrinsic value?!  Oh my Robert, you truly are misinformed.  You spew information right from the mouths of people like Dick Morris.  Egads!  You're right, wheat, corn and copper have great value for trading in place of gold.  Nooo, you are wrong, the Fed continues to inflate by continuing to print it.  It is not money, but a fiat currency base on debt. This is not a simple issue to discuss in this format, so I point you to watch a documentary called "Freedom to Facism"" or read Ron Paul's book "End the Fed" and my most favorite "The Creature From Jekyll Island" by G.Edward Griffin. Another person to look into, Peter Schiff, another well-known economist who just recently testified in Congress.  Those sources will be a good start for you to begin to enhance your knowledge.  

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