SEMPER FI: Marine at Rage Against The Machine concert, Denver, 2:49 PM. [Photo by NICK POWELL]
BY NICK POWELL DNC CORRESPONDENT My knees are throbbing, my shirt is drenched in mile-high perspiration, and I’m a little cranky after spending the afternoon with the iron-fisted leaders of the Iraq Veterans Against The War and following their attempt at an anti-war protest through the streets of Denver. The IVAW, who sponsored this afternoon’s concert with Rage Against The Machine, The Flobots, and others, sucked all of the protesting spirit out of the march by refusing media access to some of the vets (What kind of march has a media liaison?), blocking photographers from getting shots of the protesters, and even refusing to read the letter written to Barack Obama about their plan for Iraq when asked. The protesters, on the other hand, certainly did not lack spirit. While the group certainly dwindled as they moved closer to the Pepsi Center, those who stayed did all they could to capture the essence of a true protest, showing enthusiasm and chanting “Their our brothers, their our sisters, we support the war resisters.”
One protestor, Carlo Javier Garcia, 22, who heads an activist production company called the Mad Society Project, expressed his personal connection with the ongoing conflict in Iraq, by explaining that he has two brothers in Iraq, and his father and another brother both served as well, he described the experience as “fuckin’ cool, dude,” and said that he wanted “to be the spark to help ignite the flame for young voters.” Interestingly, Carlo also said that while he is voting for Obama in the upcoming election, there are many issues where they don’t see eye to eye, such as Obama’s plan to keep troops in Afghanistan and his stance on Israel. Stephen Brackett, one of the lead vocalists of the band The Flobots, who opened for Rage at today’s concert, and participated in the protest, shared this sentiment, saying Obama had moved a little too far to the center for his liking.
“He’s taken softer stances on things that got me hopeful,” said Brackett, “I didn’t like that he distanced himself from Reverend Wright.” He went on to say that it was Wright who got him into Obama in the first place, and that he still supports the pastor while admitting that he said some things he shouldn’t have. And when he’s not waxing poetic about politics, Brackett and The Flobots put on quite a show as one of the opening acts for Rage, setting the tone with their energy. However, it was clear that Rage was not to be upstaged, as they came out with the same fire and revolutionary spirit that made them mainstays on the punk rock circuit in the ‘90s and the early part of the decade. They played many staples of their catalogue, opening with “Guerilla Radio,” and also treating the crowd to “Testify,” “Bulls on Parade,” and “Sleep Now In The Fire,” all the while exuding the same “fuck the government” stance that won the hearts of anarchists all over.