Low Turnout at Denver Protests, Delray Beach Congressional Candidate Still Shows

Published Aug. 26, 2008 on assignment in Denver, Colo. for South Florida Sun-Sentinel politics blog at Democratic National Convention.

Before the convention began, Recreate ’68, an activist group, took out a permit with the city of Denver for 25,000 people to demonstrate but only had 1,000 for Sunday’s anti-war march through downtown.

Monday’s Recreate ’68 protest, which centered around the plight of political prisoners, only attracted a few hundred people. Their march to the federal courthouse was followed by police in cars, on foot and on horses. Ironically, it’s been widely reported that 15,000 members of the media are here.

We outnumber the demonstrators. That’s wild.

Michael Prysner made the trip from Delray Beach to Denver. He’s an organizer with the anti-war group ANSWER campaign and is a member of The Party for Socialism and Liberation.

He concedes that fewer people came than he expected. Obama’s opposition to the war coats progressive sentiments in grey rather than the contrasts of black and white like when you target those who support the war.

“People that are here that are supporting the Democratic Party need to understand that the end to the war is not going to come through these bourgeois politicians. They’re going to come through, you know, a dedicated, militant, anti-war movement in the streets.”

Yeah, that’s a little to the left. There is a definite left within the left. And for some people he must seem like he’s fallen off the political spectrum.

Wherever he lands, he has a unique perspective.

The 25-year-old is an Iraq war veteran and a Socialist running for Florida’s 22nd Congressional District to challenge the incumbent Ron Klein.

Prysner says he served as a Corporal in military intelligence in the northern Iraqi city of Kirkuk from the invasion until February of the following year. Before going to war, he described himself as a liberal Democrat.

But his experiences so disenchanted him that he became a radical.

“I was involved in interrogations which played a big part in shaping my consciousness of what we were doing there. I would say 90 percent or more of the prisoners we had come through our detention facility had done absolutely nothing wrong. They were just picked up in random raids. They were just picked up for having a cell phone, having a shovel, something like that.”

So why Congress? Not because he expects to win, he said, but to challenge folks who seek or want to keep the office.

“We’re running to interject ourselves into the election and make people realize that there isn’t any hope in voting every four years for who will oppress you the next four years.”

No surprise but he’ll be outside the Republican’s convention next week.

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