Tag Archive: liberals

Police provocateurs, real and imaginary


From Libcom / By Scott Jay

There are ongoing efforts by law enforcement agencies to infiltrate, disorganize and destroy social movements. This creates a challenge for anybody who attempts to confront the state’s ability to carry out austerity and repression. To deal with this, we need to develop anti-repression strategies based on actual efforts and tactics by the police and not based on fantasies. It is challenging enough to deal with the efforts of genuine infiltrators, it does us no good to chase after phantoms or, worse, point the finger at somebody who is actually on our side.

Most radicals would agree, and yet for some there is often rampant speculation with no evidence for one type of supposed police provocation. Specifically, this is the occurrence when somebody at a protest throws a rock at the police, or breaks a window, or takes some other provocative action, which leads to uniformed police cracking down. “It must have been an undercover cop who threw that rock,” is the common refrain, even when there is no basis whatsoever for believing this. The idea, apparently, is that only a poorly planned rock-throwing would cause this or, from the liberal perspective, that the perfectly planned peaceful protest was ruined by the efforts of the state to make it look bad.

This assumption is made so often, with so little evidence, that it keeps being made because so many people are led to believe that it must happen all the time, because so many people say that it does, even though it probably never occurs the way many people claim that it does. (more…)

Obama’s Police Reforms Ignore the Most Important Cause of Police Misconduct

police_scary_ap_imgThese well-meaning changes will simply reproduce racial inequality.

From The Nation/ By Alex S. Vitale

President Obama’s Task Force on 21st Century Policing has released a long list of reforms to American policing, some of which, including independent police prosecutions and dramatically scaling back the role of police in schools, are true advancements. However, there are also major pitfalls in the report’s reliance on procedural rather than substantive justice.

Liberal police reforms of the 1960s, including the Katzenback Commission on Law Enforcement and the Administration of Justice and Johnson’s Safe Streets Act, were intended to achieve similar ends of improving police community relations and reducing police brutality through police professionalization and a host of procedural reforms. The result of this process, however, was the massive expansion of policing in the form of SWAT teams, the War on Drugs and, ultimately, mass incarceration.

Princeton political scientist Naomi Murakawa, in her book The First Civil Right: How Liberals Built Prison America, details how the liberal assessment of the problems of race failed to take seriously the role of racial domination in the structuring of the criminal-justice system. Instead, they focused on the need to create a criminal-justice system that was more professional and less arbitrary in its meting out of punishment against people of color. Embedded in this approach was the misconception that the negative attitudes of blacks about the police were based on a combination of poorly trained and biased officers on the one hand and exaggerated feelings of mistrust by African-Americans, derived from their social and political isolation, on the other. (more…)

On anarchism, Moral Monday surveillance and The Color Run

GeneralAssemblyprotest_zps20b99b47Editor’s Note: Better late than never

From Technician Online

About 940 people were arrested at the state legislature this summer during the civil disobedience-based grassroots progressive movement called Moral Mondays. T he trials of those charged have begun this month. The first trial, which took place on Oct. 4, occasioned more than just the conviction on all charges, which has been followed since by two dismissals of the same charges last Friday.

Not only did it reveal that the police had spied on the protesters with an undercover cop infiltrating planning meetings — General Assembly Police Chief Jeff Weaver also testified that his department had “collected intelligence” about the “anarchists” among the protesters. According to a story in The News & Observer from Oct. 7, Weaver “testified that his officers had scanned the many ‘Moral Monday’ rallies with eyes trained for ‘anarchists,’” which led to “a murmur of disbelief among the many lawyers.”

 On Oct. 10, the North Carolina chapter of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, the organization that led Moral Mondays, released a statement in which it addressed the anarchist issue: “Now they are suggesting that they had knowledge of so-called anarchists. This claim strikes us as strange since our staff and team were in constant talks with the capital police, and we were never informed of so-called anarchists. To say things of this nature could be construed as an attempt to mar the image of the protesters and to change the message of the movement.”

Commentators of formal and social media expressed disapproval regarding the police specifically looking to surveil alleged anarchists involved in Moral Mondays, holding that such outrageous concerns from the police were unwarranted or absurd. The outcry, though, should be regarding the NAACP’s response.  (more…)

Georgia Prison Strike, One Year Later: Activists Outside the Walls Have Failed Those Inside the Walls

by Black Agenda Report managing editor Bruce A. Dixon

The Concerned Coalition To Respect Prisoner Rights was supposed to issue public reports of its fact-finding prison visits. That never happened.

A year ago last month, black, white and brown inmates in a dozen Georgia prisons staged a brief strike. They put forward a set of simple and basic demands — wages for work, decent food and medical care, access to educational and self-improvement programs, fairness and transparency in the way the state handles grievances, inmate funds and release decisions, and more opportunities to connect with their families and loved ones. A short-lived formation calling itself the Concerned Coalition to Respect Prisoner Rights came together, and met with the Georgia Department of Corrections. In the last weeks of 2010 teams of community observers were allowed to visit Macon State and Smith prisons, where they examined facilities and interviewed staff and prisoners.

The Concerned Coalition To Respect Prisoner Rights was supposed to issue public reports of its fact-finding prison visits. That never happened. It was to have initiated a long-term dialog with state officials in pursuit of the inmates’ eminently just and reasonable demands. That never happened either. It should have called public meetings and begun to organize a lasting campaign to educate the public on the meaning of Georgia’s and the nation’s prison state, and the possibilities for radical reform. These are the things the prisoners expected of their allies and spokespeople on the outside. But compromised and undermined from within and without, the coalition was unable to make any of these things happen. Thus the trust that Georgia prisoners placed in activists outside the walls to organize in support of their demands was betrayed. (more…)