Satire: DNC Protests Revealed As Elaborate Drama

By By Poppius McGee, Red Pulse Contributor

By Poppius McGee, Red Pulse Contributor

Images of free speech zones and riot police arresting peaceful demonstrators spilled out of Denver last week in the wake of the Democratic Party’s National Convention. It looked as if the days of ’68, when protesters and police battled over Chicago for eight days, had returned. Burned cars, smashed glass and spent tear gas canisters littered the streets of Denver at the end of a three-day orgy of violence.

But as it turns out, this time it was merely the elaborate setup for British filmmaker Ken Loach’s latest film.

Loach has made a career out of staging scenes such as this one and letting the drama unfold without his intervention. In his 1996 film “Land and Freedom,” he gave his actors guns with blank rounds and let them fight their way through a Spanish village, filming everything only from a distance. In another, he put one of his actresses through a fake foreclosure on her home and didn’t clue her into the act until after the cameras stopped rolling. Both of those were small potatoes, however, compared to his most recent stunt.

“Doing a large-scale protest scene isn’t something I’ve had the resources to accomplish until now,” he said in an interview recently given to The Guardian. “But everything came together perfectly. The city of Denver was very accommodating, the Democratic Party leadership was in favor of making the film, and the response I received when I put out a call for actors was simply tremendous.”

The film, “Showdown in Denver,” which is to be released early next year, explores three days of protests, riots, corruption and cynicism against the background of the Democratic National Convention. Loach sought to portray an alternate-reality fascist America where dissent is brutally suppressed by jack-booted thugs and government works hand-in-hand with brutal corporations. The riots and protests, along with the arrests and beatings, though they all look frighteningly real, were all staged with the help of the Denver Police Department and willing civilian volunteers. Similarly, the scenes in which corporate representatives exchange large briefcases of cash for favors from senators and representatives were also an act. According to Loach, everyone involved was in on it.

Loach said of the police who were part of the film, “I asked them to look extra-militant, and so they got out their plastic greaves and helmets and dark uniforms. Someone had the idea that giving them wooden rods to beat people with would make them look like real Nazis, so we sprung for it.”

Protesters were similarly addressed. “We gave them megaphones and had them make their own signs and everything,” “They even came up with their own chants and spontaneously booed the police when they arrested or hit someone. I was very impressed and I think we got some incredible footage.”

Some have not been impressed with Mr. Loach’s artistic efforts. Many members of the Democratic Party establishment who were not informed that the filming was taking place were angry at the director for using their event as grist for his mill.

Sen. Harry Reid of Nevada, in particular, was incensed. “An event this public which is covered extensively by the media and happens this close to a critically important election should not be the set for some movie. This convention is deadly serious and shouldn’t be made into theater.”

Loach has dismissed the criticism. “I feel it’s important to remind people how fascism8212;or any kind of extremist ideology8212;can spring up anywhere if things are desperate enough. The objective of the film is to shock people and I’m glad it’s done that, even before it’s been released.”

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Editor’s Note8212;The above column is intended to be satirical and should in no way be taken seriously.