Occupy Denver elects a new leader: Shelby, a Border Collie mix
At three and a half years old, Shelby is too young to vote but not to be voted for. Last night, she almost ruined her greatest accomplishment to date when, during announcements at Occupy Denver's 7 p.m. general assembly, she ran into the center of the circle for attention. It would be a short wait until, with a landslide vote, she would earn it. In about five minutes flat, the young Border Collie/cattle-dog mix was elected the occupation's official leader.
The decision, one that earned more than the required majority, is both laughable and pointed. Even in a leaderless movement, the fact that many corporations have power over the rights of their human employees has inspired the group to symbolically strike back. Shelby is a leader among men -- and a four-pawed iconoclast, depending upon how far you're willing to take the issue.
Aaron "Al" Nesby is willing to take it pretty far. It was, after all, his idea, and it began with Michael Moore. Stung by the documentarian's refusal to follow general assembly guidelines at his recent visit to Occupy Denver, the idea of electing a symbolic (if hairy) leader struck him as an opportune statement.
Kelsey Whipple Shelby remains calm and collected in the face of her good news.
"(Moore) walked in with security and made everyone listen to him in the center of the circle with a bullhorn like he was our leader, even though he said out loud it's a leaderless movement," says Nesby, a recent Westword profile subject. He and a few fellow occupiers gathered to contradict the misconception that the group needs an end-all representative. "Shelby has more human traits than any corporation: She can bleed, she can breed and she can show emotion. If this is the way the corporate world chooses to do business, let's apply the same rule."