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Agressive attacks against WTO protestors
by Dorrit Geshuri (dorritgeshuri [at] yahoo.com)
Sunday Nov 11th, 2001 8:24 AM
Law enforcement agents use excessive violence against peaceful WTO demonstrators in Richmond, CA.
Protestors at Saturday’s (Nov. 10) WTO protests in Richmond, CA had to use nonviolence techniques to interfere with law enforcement’s aggressive attacks. When officers attempted to arrest two peaceful protestors, the crowds surrounded the police cars, sat down, locked arms and began chanting “let them go”. One protestor managed to escape custody due to the crowd’s tactics. Seven people were arrested in situations that were mostly, if not entirely, provoked by local police and California Highway Patrol officers. In one instance, an officer pulled a young man to the ground by his hair, rubbed his face in the concrete and knelt heavily on his head while viciously handcuffing him. Reports vary on what instigated the CHP’s behavior but eyewitnesses agree that the man in question did nothing to warrant this attack. While the six other arrestees have been released, the man who was so violently treated has been charged by the police with two felony charges, lynching and battery, and transferred to the county jail. This is only a police charge and it is up to the District Attorney to decide on the final charges. In another case of police brutality, an officer punched a young woman in the face because she refused to get into the police vehicle. The public is encouraged to contact Richmond Mayor Rosemary Corbin, (510) 620-6512, or Richmond Chief of Police Joseph Samuels, (510) 620-6655 to request that all charges be dropped for all seven demonstrators and the complain about law enforcements excessive use of force.

The November 9th WTO protests resulted in 15 arrests, 12 of whom were released with no charges, 2 remain unidentified, and 1 man has been charged with 2 felonies and 2 misdemeanors.
by imcer
Sunday Nov 11th, 2001 8:47 AM
Although initially wet-through and cold, 16 or more people waited at the Richmond police station last night until all of the 6 people who were being detained there were released, to be met with cheers, applause and relieved hugs.

The convivial group of vigil-ers waited 3 or 4 hours together there and spent most of that time singing loudly -- the prisoners said that they could hear it from their cells and were very glad to be able to.
 
by fedup
Sunday Nov 11th, 2001 12:47 PM
Can anyone that was there or that might know elaborate more on this "lynching" charge? Who or what was supposedly lynched?
 
by chp
Sunday Nov 11th, 2001 2:11 PM
Here I have some pictures. I'm surprised at how badly they all scanned. It was about 4:30pm, which isn't dark, but dim, and my camera didn't adjust at all. I managed to accidentally delete or lose all the rest of my homepage too.
http://socrates.berkeley.edu/~berlin

Anyway, the first picture shows the police violently arresting the man R. who unfortunately is in a shadow (I have some other photos if you write me). The next two show the crowd surrounding the police car.
I observed R during the initial situation where people were chanting at the officers to let those two graffiti-doers go. He was standing and walking around to the site and was not particularly excited at all, and wasn't chanting, but was watching. A few minutes earlier he had been talking about how it might be time to go home soon. When the backup officers came, there was that moment when they started really shoving people, and started arresting two, a man and a woman, and I was focused on that (those pictures don't scan). Suddenly they were chasing R across the parking lot, but hardly anyone had witnessed him do anything.
I really believe that his demeanor immediately beforehand clearly demonstrates that he isn't guilty of 'lynching', which is I think defined as trying to take a prisoner from the custody of police. He wasn't among that group of 20 or 30 sitting around the police car. I just heard that he grabbed a flag back that a police had grabbed first.
Is there any new info? Do the police just have themselves as witnesses or are there any pictures?
 
by potato Eyes
Sunday Nov 11th, 2001 2:34 PM
I don't know about pictures of the guy accused of "lynching", but I heard people say that he did not do anything, the police just picked him -- then he started running. Unfortunately there was nowhere to run. I saw him running, and saw the policeman chasing him catch him and throw him to the ground. Then I turned my head. I heard people say afterward that they jammed him pretty badly.

Of the people who were waiting in the police station yesterday evening someone there had a video tape with footage of the police grabbing a girl they arrested and while she was already handcuffed, slamming her head (against a car, I think; the camera's battery had run out and I didn't see the tape). When she came out, she told us the police had threatened her, threatened to beat her.

ugh. Too bad I did not get anyone's email address or anything. If you are reading this and you know anybody with evidence, have them contact globalizethis.org (through their website).
 
by Anti-Fascist
Sunday Nov 11th, 2001 3:07 PM
This, once again is proof positive that the REAL TERRORISTS are the cops!!!!
 
by Julian
(borrill [at] cfpa.berkeley.edu) Sunday Nov 11th, 2001 4:54 PM
If Indymedia is to achieve its potential, we all have to be scrupulously honest about in our reports and acknowledge where we all need to learn too.

What happened at the Richmond Chevron refinery on Saturday was a failure of our peace-keeping. One (suprise suprise, white male) individual was able to hijack a demonstration about the environmental racism of the global oil industry and turn it into a protest about his right to spray-paint an overpass in front of the police. Thanks a lot ... that *really* helped build the connection between black people's experience in Nigeria and Richmond.

The intial arrest was not "brutal", just pointless. In response to the ensuing chanting/blockading/disrupting, the police obviously massively over-reacted - but we know by now that that will happen, and we'd better have a damn good reason to provoke it.

So my questions ...
- where were our peacekeepers ? did we have any ?
- did the spray-painter have any organized support for his action ? if so, what happened to that ? if not, why not ?
- in the future, how do we better respond to this kind of "agent provocateur" activity (because, intentionally or unintentionally, that is what it was) ?

In peace but frustration,

Julian
 
by lisa brenneisen
(lmbrenneisen [at] hotmail.com) Sunday Nov 11th, 2001 5:48 PM
The 'lynching' charge is, according to police statements, basically interfering in an arrest. The person in question was actually trying to retrieve a flag that an officer had grabbed out of a protesters hand. That is also how the assault charge comes into play. The protester then ran when the officer went after him and was brutally taken down with his face shoved into the concrete. This was a peaceful protest with police instigation and brutal force!
 
by Jennifer
(eananda [at] excite.com) Sunday Nov 11th, 2001 5:55 PM
Thank you Julian for the questions you asked.

The people who the police initally arrested had attemted done something highly visible and illegal in plain view of the police. What did they expect but to be arrested? It was a very irresponsible action, and very disrespectful (not of the police) but of the hundreds of peaceful protesters who had gathered together with an express agreement to to engage in acts of vandalism. The march was the result of months of talks between local groups who made an agreement not to do c.d.

So a couple of white, middle class punks decided to tag, and were arrested by a couple of Richmond cops. That should have been the end of it, but the crowd, who had no idea what had happened, surrounded the police car. Some person deflated the tires of the cop's car.

The polices' violent response was definitely overly agressive and brutal; however, it is not fair to say that the arrests were unprovoked.


 
by lisa b.
(lmbrenneisen [at] hotmail.com) Sunday Nov 11th, 2001 6:30 PM
Just to try and clarify the story, the original arrest was due to one (or was it two?) young men because they were caught spray painting state property. Protesters responded due to the officers aggressive handling of one of the men. As he was placed in car, protesters gathered around, chanting let him go. Unfortunately, there was some confusion as to how to deal with this, as most hoped the officers would let them go. Some believed the police were not trained in how to deal with peaceful protests and civil disobediance and also that they were nervous with so many of us and not many of them. Therefore they called in some backup. There were many protesters gathered around the car at that time, with some sitting in front. The backup police charged in, with mace and batons in hand, roughly pushing aside protesters. They grabbed 3 or 4 protesters who were sitting directly in front of the car with the detainee inside and immediately arrested them. One officer was witnessed by many as being particularly brutal (#149!) during the arrest of at least three people. A young lady whom he put handcuffs on behind her back then pulled her up from the ground by her hands, she screamed in pain and he proceeded to shove her head against the car and then punch her in the gut and pushed her in the car (there is video of this assault!). A protester tried to retrieve a flag that an officer had taken from another protester and the officer went after him, he ran and #149 chased him and brutally forced him to the ground with his knee on protesters head. One other incident was as the police cars were leaving, a protester spoke into the window of the car, asking the police to dissent and let the prisoners go. #149 jumped out sprayed the protester with mace and arrested him. Most protesters handled this situation well, as some of us agreed, there are instigators who come in deliberately trying to cause problems. I just want to say thank you to those who put so much effort into organizing this event and doing their utmost to keep the situation peaceful. A lot of this information is from eyewitnesses, arrestees and myself, if any is incorrect, please feel free to add. Thanks.
 
by icArus
(beauty_in_everything [at] yahoo.com) Sunday Nov 11th, 2001 7:20 PM
i was there..it was a fucking beautiful weekend..
on the friday night though..were the young man with 2 fellonies was arrested there was like 15 of us picked up. but they let all of go but him.. his names sunshine. hes excellent..
 
by Praxis
Sunday Nov 11th, 2001 7:40 PM
The CHP, State police, and Richmond police were all on hand at one point or another on Saturday.

There was a bad attitude from these Richmond Ghetto Police from the start, a different attitude than we find while demonstrating in S.F. or Berkeley.

The police did their crowd control work from inside their cars, instead of walking along with us.
The demonstration was very well organized and featured shuttle service for people w/mobility problems, but the police would not allow the bus carrying people who had difficulty walking to drop people off at the refinery gates, claiming that there was no parking allowed there. This was complete bullshit and harrassment, because not only was parking O.K. there, but there was absolutly nothing and nobody there except a few Chevron security guards and representatives from the various police agencies, so what difference would it make it the bus pulled up to let a few people off? Instead they made people walk, and I witnessed some people who were obviously struggling with pain and severe mobility problems battling their way down the wet street for probably a half mile or so.
After the rain picked up people wanted to move under the freeway overpass to congregate, but the police attempted to prevent that until our lawyers talked to them.
After the police grabbed somebody for a little tag on the overpass, nobody wanted to let them take our guy. Some sat down in front of the police car and linked arms, some played drums, everybody shouted "let them go!" It is interesting that the charge was lynching, because the officer in the car which was blocked was black. I assert that neither this cop or any other was in danger at any time. Pretty soon there were literally 20 cars and 2 helicopters there.
The people who were arrested after that got it kinda bad, but probably not as bad as they would have if there weren't so many people taping everything.
On the other hand, that the police would act so excessively when they are obviously being taped signals their habitual over use of violence, and their lack of fear of any meaningful reprimand. They knew that nothing would happen to them, and deliberately flaunt their power and attempt to incite us further by brutalizing and arresting pretty much random people. The police wanted a throw-down from the start. I commend every demonstrator for their admirable behaviour including the first to go into the back seat.
Taggers Know we don't own CNN.
The point being, the police treated us as they probably treat everybody in the Richmond community. I know a white Richmond resident who has been the recipient of a MFP beat down for attempting to evade arrest. I believe that in communities of color the police will predictibly welcome us with this attitude because that is the Standard Operating Procedure within the community. Richmond is as clear an example of internal colinization as we have -- it would be foolish not to expect the police there to treat us as something less than human. It's not S.F. where at least some of the cops are freindly dykes who chat us up as we march along.
We need to incorporate this experience into our planning for further actions which combine strong anti-globalization statements with local actions in opressed communities, because I suspect to find the same pig attitude in East Oakland, East Palo Alto, Hunters Point, West Oakland, etc.
I learned from the Panthers that Oakland used to recruit cops from Georgia....
In light of these observations, lets respect our diversity of tactics. The police overreacted. We did nothing violent to deserve their response. In fact, they incited us from the beginning with their disrespect for our human needs. Their attitude is what caused the problems, and the cost to Richmond and the State with helicopter time and everything was much higher than if we had painted up the entire freeway and they cleaned it up afterwards.
I encourage the Bay Area activist community and all other activists to continue this tactic of highlighting the local effects of globalization within opressed communities here at home.
I would like to commend the organizers of the event for their incredible preperation and supply of everything from props to performances to twin bicycle drawn P.A.'s, food, hot tea, local rappers, emergency raingear (trashbags), legal aid, handicapped transport, community leadership, and much much more.
The police response was a sign of weakness and fear which should encourage us to build the local approach to Anti-CorporateGlobalization.
 
by potato Eyes
Sunday Nov 11th, 2001 8:51 PM
yes, the organizers were great, so much work went into this. Much thanks.

Just one more note -- being in the underpass, while dry, made it impossible to understand anything that was said over the PA system because of echoing/reverberations. This was just annoying when the person you were trying to understand was someone giving a speech, but it became confusing and frightening after the bad scene developed and what you were trying to understand was the person who was trying to give instructions to the crowd about what best to do, and all that could be heard was a loud jumble of noise.

Clear communication is important.


 
by chp
Monday Nov 12th, 2001 12:10 AM
Ja. the bay area Prison Lit. Project gets letters all the time from poor people who have been in for decades for some minor thing.
I saw the video that Jason M took off most of the arrests. It was really amazing. This video, which shows what really happened, will be key to letting R. off. It clearly demonstrates that he did nothing remotely resembling lynching or assaulting an officer. I will mention that yesterday on the BART a man was saying that he saw an arrested person (ostensibly the one with the felony counts) grab a flag and then jab the stick at an officer and wield it as a weapon. I had a sinking feeling like, oh no, perhaps R. temporarily lost his mind and is in real trouble, however most people said that he had just grabbed the flag.
This story is not just partly off, but not a shred of it is true.
The video clearly shows officer #149 storming around, dragging a screaming woman to a car and then shoving her inside, banging her head on the door. Then he runs around to the other side of the car, singling out an african american woman 7 ft. from the car with a red flag who is jumping up and down. He angrily tears this flag from her hands, and holds the flag behind him and is about to drop it as he deals with the woman. Right at this time, R. who never lays a hand on the officer holds the tip of the flag and runs down the street with it. It is very clear that he was neither concerned with the people inside the car and/or freeing them, or touches any officer. They freak out and 4 or 5 go and violently push him on the ground. Any halfway reasonable person, even a right wing conservative, can see that it is he who should be suing them.
 
by witness
Monday Nov 12th, 2001 2:28 AM
I too feel the frustration of Julian. The spray paint gives the police the bait they wanted to attack the protest. No, police should not act without compassion for fellow humans. More solidarity is needed in situations like WTO/Chevron protest in Richmond. Why does the indymedia website have to focus on arrests, police violence, who is in jail and who is out, etc... Our efforts could be better spent thinking about more effective outreach to the local communittees, not to mention educating those of us with this internet privilage. Lets work to educate on the policies of the WTO and how it effects all of us. Let's talk about creative and artistic ways to grow the movement. We want to continue to invlove the community in demonstrations, but most will not want to be a part of scene with graffiti and police violence.

Peace
 
by ---------------------------
Monday Nov 12th, 2001 3:37 AM
Okay. This discussion is a basic reflection of why resistance in the United States, the heart of the fucking murderous global empire, is so pathetic. Solidarity ends when someone (gasp) spray paints a wall?

To Julian: so you would feel different if a black kid had spraypainted something? No offense, but it wasnt just the 'punk kids' (whether or not the kid was middle-class is not for you to say, it just shows your attempted bias) who were white and non-representative of the community at that protest. I saw plenty of so-called "peace keepers" telling people what to do, and every single one was (surprise) a white male.

Who are these "peace keepers" to dictate what happens? I saw a group of men and women bouncing on the trunk of the police car, and I saw one white hippie/REI looking guy telling them to "stop jumping on the car! just sit in front of it!"

I saw a person of color letting the airs out of a cop car's tire. I saw a white man loudly complaining about it only a few feet away, potentially putting this kid at risk of arrest (if a cop had been in earshot or paying attention to what this white man was bellowing about).

It is interesting to me, at least, that in Europe, where one could arguably say that people's interest are marginally more influential in government, property destruction and defense of those arrested is commonplace, happening at almost every demo. The mainstream groups are more tolerant of vandalism. Just an observation, I'm sure the American moral protest preachers are right, though, huh??

I cannot imagine what goes on in the head of these people who preach and preach at demos. Do you think you have "figured out" how to create effective resistance? You think whatever your life experience, or whatever books you read, whatever, *you* have is the one fucking answer to all the problems of capitalism, corruption and political repression?? Movements throughout history have always accepted some form of protest which is directed at property itself, even popular movements in mid-20th-century India.

I would just ask these "peace keepers" to *please* rethink what they are doing. Get a sense of perspective. A kid spray-painting a wall does not deserve the response received on Saturday. Give the kid a ticket. Or just let it go but give the kid a warning. Or *whatever*. But don't start hitting people, beating people, throwing people in the back of cars, starting shit, spraying people, etc.

If Richmond PD doesnt know this because they are too busy learning how to beat people without leaving marks, then they better fucking learn it. Are we trying to achieve a real civil society or are we trying to validate old police state repression? Without solidarity, or with some protesters acting as cops themselves, this will *never* happen.

Anyway. I just really can't believe my fellow Americans sometimes. We would rather stand with an infamously racist, corrupt, murderous police force who is defending an infamously racist, corrupt, murderous multinational than a punk kid who spray paints something. It boggles the mind. I only hope for the resistance movement in this country. (so are people all across the world)

 
by Julian
(borrill [at] cfpa.berkeley.edu) Monday Nov 12th, 2001 9:57 AM
I hope its obvious that I unreservedly condemn the police violence against demonstrators on Saturday. However we can't pretend to be surprised by it, or fail to identify the event that sparked it, or deny that the result has been to distract a huge amount of time and energy from the bigger issues that we were protesting in the first place.

To anonymous: if it had been a young black man who had done the tagging, yes I would have felt different. I would still have been frustrated that we lost the plot, but I would have been much more concerned about what would happen to him in RPD custody. Also, just to note, I made no assuption about the tagger's class.

You ask if solidarity ends when someone spray-paints a wall. By the heartwarming accounts of the post arrest vigil singers, no it doesn't. But I would ask in return, where was the tagger's solidarity with the rest of the demonstration ?
If you are going to tag, use some discretion !

I agree entirely that we are all a long way from having "figured out how to create effective resistance". I would just like us to acknowledge that Saturday's tagging was ineffective resistence, and learn something from that.

Reading through the posts, I don't see anyone - American or otherwise (careful with those assumptions !) - siding with the police. What I do see is frustration with the outcome fostering debate on tactics.

I hope we can at least agree that:
- the organisers did a great job coordinating an important protest, and the art was fantastic.
- the police response to a petty misdemeanour was predictably out of all proportion.
- for numerous reasons, and without offering any blame, our peacekeeping was unable to contain the situation.
- we need to do better in the future, and the only way to do that will be to learn all the lessons we can from Saturday.

In peace and solidarity,

Julian
 
by phillip
Monday Nov 12th, 2001 1:59 PM
howdy --
i was one of those arrested on saturday, and i want to weigh in to this discussion of violence/nonviolence, property-destruction, saturday's events, etc. (all topics that we got into in a pretty fruitful way in the men's jail-cell that night, by the way.)
i'm totally depressed at what happened on saturday. we let our whole up-full, alliance-building, generally fantastic demonstration get hijacked, dissolved by police incitement and one act of minor vandalism. personally, i don't think the main question here is whether property destruction is justified (i think it is) -- only whether it is a) intelligent under the circumstances and b) respectful under the circumstances. by "respectful" i mean to refer to the request made by richmond organizers that the event not involve civil disobedience or arrests -- a request that should have been clearly communicated to all of us at the event's beginning, i think. the police were insane, out-of-control and violent, no doubt; at the same time, though, i think we showed a pretty sad inability to rise to the circumstances and keep our shit together. we can't give them that power -- the power to throw us off our focus so much that the rest of the demonstration has to be cancelled. i think we need to set out basic groundrules at the beginning of these kinds of demonstrations -- for example, in the context of what we were trying to accomplish on saturday, the groundrule that we won't give the cops any excuses to arrest us by breaking their laws (even though we may take serious issue with those laws and seek to break them under other circumstances).
i'm also disheartened at the lack of mainstream media presence or coverage. it was a pretty big event -- i feel like we should have been able to get coverage. though maybe it's all for the better, since their coverage inevitably would have ended up focusing on the drama and intrigue of violence rather than the (MONUMENTALLY IMPORTANT) issues we were there to call public attention to.
personally, i really hope we can take the falling-apart of saturday's demonstration as an opportunity to re-think some tactics and principles we're using as a movement -- so that in the future WE can determine what the focus of our and the media's and the public's attention will be, rather than dishing up one "violence broke out at a protest against the WTO . . . x arrests were made . . . " story after another.
prayers and solidarity to R. at County.
peace.
phillip
 
by lisa b.
(lmbrenneisen [at] hotmail.com) Monday Nov 12th, 2001 3:08 PM
I would love to see the video by jason m.. I was able to view some video while waiting at the richmond station and it was very telling, but did not see any of Ryan. If there is any way to view this, please inform. Thanks! peace and solidarity.
 
by M Wingnut
Monday Nov 12th, 2001 3:11 PM
Aside from the (rather played out) arguements about whether or not we should let the pigs pluck folks from our protests, there is one undisputable fact--Ryan is still in jail. He's facing two felonys and 50,000 dollars bail. Ryan's legal support team has requested that people come out to Martinez to support him at his arraignment. He should be arraigned Tuesday, at 1:30, at the Martinez Courthouse. The Martinez court is located on Court St, at the end of Martinez's small downtown. AC transit buses are available (from North Concord BART, I believe) and Amtrak will get you there for 14 bucks round trip.

Ryan needs our support, lets not let him down.
 
by args
Monday Nov 12th, 2001 3:41 PM
These arguments are played out. But that doesnt change the fact that white people telling folks what to do at protests keeps going on. I was just reading an Abbie Hoffman book, and in it, he talks about "spontaneous leaders" who invariably popped up at protests, and the efforts the organized Yippies would take to subvert them by creating chaos.

So this is nothing new, and this was a problem in the 60s too. The theory Abbie had was that when a protest started getting stressful, and people came to the defense of those arrested, it was a form of empowerment, and the mix-up broke traditional methods of dissent which end up being more of a 'spectacle of legitimate democracy' than anything else.

This is a SERIOUS problem. Protests in the U.S. are *not* empowering. Marching to Chevron in the drizzling cold only to stand at their abandoned gates is useless. I felt 1000 times better when I saw someone spraypaint "KILLS FOR $$$" next to the Chevron logo. I knew then that SOMEONE from Chevron would have to pay attention to us. SOMEONE would have to sign a cleanup order. SOMEONE would have to take time and go out to that wall and be forced to read that. It isn't perfect, but it is a start.

For those who say that "peacekeeping" and whatever else is necessary for a successful demo, I ask you: what do you suggest for making protests empowering and productive? Personally, the same old people carrying the same old puppets is nice, but it isn't changing anything.

 
by anon
Tuesday Nov 13th, 2001 10:53 AM
One thing people should understand is that we were way the hell out of the way. We were under a freeway, with nowhere to run to and no one to see us in the case of police violence. It was a pretty scary situation. Personally, I feel that once the tagger(s) were in the cop car, you have a stalemate. Might as well have let the cop car go, do prison support later, and continue with the demonstration.

PS "Lynching" means interfering with arrest; it doesn't necessarily mean stringing someone up to a tree.
 
by Tom Messmer
(t_messmer [at] yahoo.com) Tuesday Nov 13th, 2001 8:16 PM
Yes, this all started with this guy spray painting on the bridge, the crowd then surrounded the police, crowding them basically into their cars and shouting. Honestly, the second I witnessed this I knew what was to come, as I am sure most of the crowd did. We need to be honest with ourselves and others, otherwise we are guilty of bad faith and our movement will not be able to sustain itself. If spray painting and agressively challenging police authority are the tactics we use, we need to either own them as valid or find better/different ways of responding. Rewriting history and painting ourselves as totally blameless victims is bullshit! Are we Stalinists? Of course the police were brutal and went totally over the line, but the initial arrest was over spray painting, involved 2 or 3 cops who were suddenly swamped by an angry crowd shouting at them and rocking their car.

Having said all this, my personal feelings are that spray painting "Pollution kills everyone" or whatever it said across from the Chevron building seems like a perfectly reasonable, even tame response to Chevron's criminality, and sometimes challenging police authority is an important part of our struggle. But was this the time and place for either? I don't think it was.
 
by anon
Wednesday Nov 14th, 2001 12:35 PM
This entire conversation depresses me. Tom, what is the time or place? Excuses, excuses.

When a PIG kills a black man, do you have a dozen excuses then too? "Oh, it wasnt the time or place to be black, sooo... you know, I can understand the cop's racism"

The ONLY thing that will change police-protester dynamics is for THIS kind of argumentation to stop. The ONLY thing is for the professional activists, the intellectual elitist activists, the bullshit-privileged-but-i-go-to-protests activists to shut the FUCK up and provide SOLIDARITY.

You know the Zapatistas you all know and love? They carry MACHINE GUNS. You know the Black Panthers you all know and love? THEY walked around Richmond in formation, carrying shotguns. But our PATHETIC movement can't even show support for someone who spraypaints a wall. It is FUCKED.

I am sick to death of Americans. You know why you don't want your protests to be dangerous? or controversial? or stressful? It is one fucking thing: YOU ARE PRIVILEGED TO LIVE IN THE AMERICAN EMPIRE. AND DEEP DOWN INSIDE, YOU DONT WANT TO GIVE UP THAT PRIVILEGE. when protests start getting SCARY, it looks a lot more like the third world than it does sunny, RICH AS FUCK Bay Area, huh???

Well, whatever. In the third world, where they have real fucking protests, a cop just got pied in Brasil, cops are routinely checked by protesters if they start violating human rights. I'm guessing most of our peace preachers would have a problem with those people too.

You know all those stereotypes about ivory tower, whining, know-it-all leftists? THOSE STEREOTYPES COME TRUE TOO FUCKING OFTEN.

Please think about it, people. PLEASE. Some of us actually want change in this society, and YET ANOTHER BORING DEMO gets us nowhere closer to that.


 
by Tom Messmer
(t_messmer [at] yahoo.com) Wednesday Nov 14th, 2001 1:53 PM
There's nothing like a rant from an anonymous coward to showcase our movement's "solidarity"...
 
by P
Thursday Nov 15th, 2001 8:36 PM
Simply-- the local organizers asked for a nonconfrontional protests. Were you aware of this? Do you agree that the locals wishes should be respected?
 
by Tom Messmer
(t_messmer [at] yahoo.com) Saturday Nov 17th, 2001 5:51 PM
Yes, the same thought crossed my mind, but then again there are enough "jerks with time on their hands" doing the FBI's job for them. The worst part is that I know just how he feels! The really important thing is that we show respect for each other even if we have strong disagreements, especially in internet forums where its super easy to honk off if you are feeling irritable or whatever. My 2 cents, be extra nice to other lefties even if they aren't as badass as you, or if they're more badass than you, all levels of struggle are important if we are to change this society and we can't afford to alienate folks, there aren't enough of us yet!
 
by proudly anonymous
Saturday Nov 17th, 2001 7:05 PM
no, that was no fucking cointelpro or anything else that posted that comment. don't flatter yourselves.

all i am saying is that showing solidarity is the least that could happen, and the messages on this threat DON'T show that.

as far as i am concerned, ANY time someone is fucked with by the police, so-called leftists should take a stand. i must repeat: *in other countries, what happened in richmond would not have happened* So a kid spraypainted a wall???? the crowd shook a police car??

the difference is the legal level of tolerance for legitimate dissent. according to the police, spraypainting is not legit. according to many lefty activists, spraypainting is not legit. according to the police, defending those who are getting arrested is not legit. accoridng to many lefty activists, defending those who are getting arrested is not legit.

its bullshit. how will these things become legit if we all just mumblemouth and half-heartedly take a stand one way or the other?

it really seems that some leftists yearn for the days when 200 people marched around solely for the benefit of themselves. remember what a failure the gulf war protests were? this is the benefit we get from it, 10 years later.

this isnt to discredit any individual's efforts. but i am saying, hey, its the fucking 21st century, the american empire's neck is on the line with their bullshit attempt to solidify their control over the world through economics (trade liberalization) and military (see: war on drugs, war on terrorism) ... if now is not the time to get serious --- when is?

 
by and another thing...
Saturday Nov 17th, 2001 7:21 PM
oh and another thing. i have to reply to this: "Simply-- the local organizers asked for a nonconfrontional protests."

at the protest, i saw one prominent white activist going around *telling* everyone that's what the "locals" want. most of the "locals" i saw were watching as the march went by. i saw two teenage "locals" join the march and loudly make fun of the boring leftist chants.

i think what is more likely is that some white person called up some organization based on richmond, asked for their endorsement, and they rightly responded with a level of mistrust: "ok, but just dont do anything illegal"

this has nothing to do with what the "locals" want. repeating that mantra over and over again only shows your own insecurity insofar as taking a stand.

local groups protect themselves when working with professional activist groups because when the day is over, it is the local groups which have to deal with the aftermath, not the professional people going back to their activist day jobs. richmond is a perfect example. will global exchange or art&revolution work to help those arrested? will they help out if the richmond pd comes back on these "local groups"? that's solidarity, and from what i've seen, it aint here.

spraypainting a wall is not confrontational. in most u.s. protests i've been to, the police are almost always the most confrontational. and out of control. and irrational. and unfair. i dont know, i think that probably resonates with the "locals"

the "locals" are the ones facing the fuckign officer #149 richmond white asshole jock cop but they arent facing them in the middle of the day with a bunch of lefty videographers. they are facing them when their car gets pulled over, at night, for some good old fashioned racial profiling harrassment.

anyway. diversity is white activists taking pieces of what someone else said and using it for their own goals.

 
by Tom Messmer
(t_messmer [at] yahoo.com) Thursday Nov 22nd, 2001 10:59 AM
The point I was trying to make, and perhaps didn't state so clearly is that there are real contradictions here, i.e. violence vs. nonviolence, obeying laws vs. not obeying... and that simply making the protesters out to be poor nonviolent baby seals who got clubbed by the police is dishonest and disempowering. I personally believe that there is a place for tactics ranging from candlelight vigils to loud demonstrations to property distruction to armed struggle within a movement that seeks to change society, I wanted to point this out, and I don't think that telling people to "Shut the fuck up" and get in line is real helpful in moving this along, resolving these real contradictions in our movement. If we do not address them, this movement will diisintegrate like all its predesessors. You can't get people to look at this stuff either by glossing it over and pretending they dont exist, or shouting people down.
 
by Participant
Monday Nov 26th, 2001 12:44 AM
I found the discussion boring and irrelevant. The suspicion that the guy was a provocateur sounds pretty stupid to me. Provocateurs would try to do something smarter to get people in real trouble, not to provoke a provincial fat cop into arresting the provocateur and few others.

The cops are stupid, clumsy and violent, what's new? Otherwise they would not be cops, isn't?

And those making out of an stupidity a pamphelt for insurrection are stupidier than the jerk that provoked the police and out everyone at risk and the cops that know no better than be stupid.

When are you going to grow up and understand that revolutionary politics is a serious business that require patient, building the movement and, yes, when necessary and forced to use all means necessary. But only a full time irrelevant jerk will choose to appeal to methods reserved for the moment, the numbers and the political objective that make them necessary.

Otherwise, you are acting just childish, with the immature approach of those who do not deserve calling themselves anything but juveniles.

If few people in the midst of couple of hundred other people, in the middle of nowhere - under the ramp of a freeway for crying aloud! - , isolated from any real strong movement just think they are about to have a revolution by provoking a cop ... deserve to be ignored and push out. They are just crazy. And revolutionas are not made by nuts.

Participant
 
by catalyst
Monday Nov 26th, 2001 1:11 AM
Well they certainly aren't made by you.
 
by Bakunin
Monday Nov 26th, 2001 10:59 AM
Rule #1 about California leftists: they generalize on and on, I think it is a symptom of the sticky green CA buds.

I don't really think anyone thought they were "starting a revolution" in Richmond. This discussion is mostly about the "peace police" who wandered around, disrupted solidarity efforts, tried to tell people what to do, etc

The facts are, if you come to a demo, and people try to tell you what to do: ignore them. They are irrelevant.

 

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