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Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Vandalism vs. Political Vandalism

Posted by on Tue, Jul 10, 2012 at 3:34 PM

The debate that people in Seattle (police officers, journalists, activists, Sloggers) have been having since the May Day smashup is kicking up again in the comments on this post about an SPD raid this morning that recovered some articles of clothing and some political pamphlets.

Some say a SWAT-serviced search warrant to find smashistas is completely legitimate. Some say it is an overreaction. Some don't understand why it's a big deal one way or the other.

My two-part, double-edged question:

Were I to walk down a random street tonight and throw a stone through a window, how many police resources would be devoted to catching me? (My guess is not much.) Were I to walk down a random street tonight and throw a stone through a business window, then spray-paint an anarchy symbol on the adjacent window, how many police resources would be devoted to catching me? (My guess is more—and that investigation might rope in the FBI, Washington State Patrol, perhaps even the military.)

Why is politically motivated vandalism so much scarier than—and demanding so much more response than—random vandalism?

Because it's more embarrassingly high-profile? Because it's actually more dangerous? If the latter, more dangerous to whom? Or to what?

 

Comments (100) RSS

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1
I'd say it has to do more with the group factor. If you are just doing vandalism by yourself (either w/ the anarchy symbol or not) the cops probably wouldn't do much about it.

But, if you are doing the vandalism while in a group of dozens, the police will put more resources into it, I think. A group will obviously do more damage. I don't think it is necessarily the political nature, but rather the group mentality that is considered more "dangerous" by the SPD.
Posted by rodlotta on July 10, 2012 at 3:39 PM · Report this
2
Stroke that chin, baby!
Posted by gloomy gus on July 10, 2012 at 3:42 PM · Report this
Joe Szilagyi 3
Why is politically motivated vandalism so much scarier than—and demanding so much more response than—random vandalism?

Because it's more embarrassingly high-profile? Because it's actually more dangerous? If the latter, more dangerous to whom? Or what?


Random violence and vandalism is a self-contained event, typically, and rarely provokes follow on action in it's wake of a similar nature.

Political violence and political vandalism are not self-contained events, typically, and historically can and do provoke follow up action in it's wake of a similar nature.

This sort, in particular, is to encourage a direct challenge to the very structural status quo of how our present day society is structured. If that caught on, you could see escalating counter measures against police and other forms of authority, which is what the anarchists often push.

In this city, in the wake of the Lakewood and Timothy Brenton killings, is it any wonder that local police have been over the top and hair trigger about damn near everything? Any instigation, hint, or impression of violence toward them is going to be perceived as a material us-versus-them direct challenge and attack.
Posted by Joe Szilagyi on July 10, 2012 at 3:43 PM · Report this
4
@ 2. Someone's gotta do it. It gets itchy down there.
Posted by Brendan Kiley on July 10, 2012 at 3:48 PM · Report this
Matt from Denver 5
It's not a question of political vs. random, it's a question of mob violence vs individual. It's also a matter that the vast majority of people don't believe destruction of property is justified under any circumstance, but I believe that the sheer numbers of people concealing their identity and smashing windows is much more frightening to the average citizen than some bozo who decides to scrawl something on a Seattle Times vending box.
Posted by Matt from Denver on July 10, 2012 at 3:51 PM · Report this
Pope Peabrain 6
A random window is not a mob of attackers. Citizens demand violent mobs be tracked down and pay for their violence.
Posted by Pope Peabrain on July 10, 2012 at 3:52 PM · Report this
7
VOTE SAWANT CAMPAIGN & SOCIALIST ALTERNATIVE CONDEMN POLICE REPRESSION OF SEATTLE ACTIVISTS
http://votesawant.org/?q=node/12

Around 6:00 A.M. on Tuesday, July 10th, a house where local activists from Occupy Seattle and the Red Spark group live was raided by a Seattle Police Department SWAT team. According to reports, police broke through the front door armed with automatic weaponry and used “flashbang” grenades. The police have said they were searching for “Anarchist materials” and clothing allegedly connected to the Seattle May 1st demonstrations. No arrests were made; only clothing was taken from the apartment. (http://kasamaproject.org/2012/07/10/swat…)

This raid is clearly an act of political repression of left-wing activists and an attempt to intimidate activists who are fighting against the richest 1% and big business. There is absolutely nothing illegal about possessing anarchist or other radical literature. Socialist Alternative and the Vote Sawant campaign stand in solidarity with those affected by today’s raid, and strongly condemn the actions of the Seattle Police Department. We urge all activists, students, unions, and working people generally, to join the solidarity march today (Tuesday, July 10) at 7pm, beginning at Westlake Park.

This is not an isolated incident. This act of state repression continues a long tradition of police brutality and political repression by the SPD and police forces across the country. The Occupy Wall Street movement suffered police violence where demonstrations faced attacks, pepper spray, brutality, mass arrests, and the demolition of protest encampments. Here in Seattle in recent years we have seen an out-of-control police department carrying out an almost unending number of acts of police brutality, including killings, which have gone so far that even the Federal Department of Justice has been forced to investigate and try to reign in the SPD.

It is crucial that Occupy, unions, and left-wing activists generally respond to this provocation by mobilizing for public protests to shine a spotlight on the undemocratic actions of the SPD and rally to defend our democratic rights. If the SPD is allowed to get away with this type of undemocratic repression of political activity, it will be used in the future against other movements challenging the political and corporate establishment, including the labor movement and workers’ struggles.

While the SPD and Mayor McGinn carried out this raid with the intention of intimidating activists, in reality, it will only serve to expose the true nature of the police in our so-called democracy as tools of the richest 1% who use undemocratic and violent measures to protect the interests of big business and their system of capitalism.

Democratic Mayor of Seattle Mike McGinn is ultimately responsible for the activities of the SPD. This political repression highlights the need to break with the Democratic Party and begin building a left-wing, working-class political alternative. To this end, Kshama Sawant, a member of Socialist Alternative and Occupy Seattle activist, is running as an independent candidate for the 99% in the 43rd District of Seattle (position 1). The Sawant campaign and Socialist Alternative call for the creation of an elected civilian review board with full powers over the police. We also demand investment in rehabilitation, job-training, and living-wage jobs, not prisons or detention centers, and abolition of the death penalty (which is still on the books in Washington state) as elementary first steps to begin to fight the police brutality and institutional racism of the criminal justice system.

The SPD has stated that this raid was connected to investigating incidents which took place around the May 1 protests in Seattle. It is true that some property destruction was carried out by a few people around the May 1 protest. Socialist Alternative and the Vote Sawant campaign did not support such acts and view them as counter-productive to building mass movements of the working class that can challenge capitalism. However, police repression will in no way stop such acts from occurring and will actually make them more likely. In reality, today’s events highlight how the real criminality and violence in our society stem from the police and the corporate aristocracy that rules this country.
We need to stand in solidarity with our brothers and sisters who suffered this raid and build massive movements of working people to defend our democratic rights and fight for our interests. We urge as many people as possible will attend the protest tonight at 7 pm beginning at Westlake park, Tuesday, July 10.

www.SocialistAlternative.org
www.VoteSawant.org
More...
Posted by Philip Locker on July 10, 2012 at 4:26 PM · Report this
8
Gang tagging is often not just an act of vandalism. It is meant to intimidate and threaten. It can be a serious deal that may end up having a lot more investigatory resources applied than some kid with a sharpie writing, "POOP" on a garbage can.

Not saying that the actual threat from some trustafarian douche-nozzle smashing a Niketown window is the same as an MS-13 banger; but black bloc-heads sure want society to think they're really dangerous and scary in their matching headbands.

Posted by Mr. Happy Sunshine on July 10, 2012 at 4:28 PM · Report this
9
@5: Only if you consider property damage to be violence. It may be frightening, but I don't breakage of windows to be anywhere near the same class as the causing of physical harm to people.

What is one of those big, downtown, storefront windows worth? $5000? $10,000? About what my car was worth when it was stolen and SPD didn't do a damned thing about it? When someone causes me thousands of dollars of loss of my property, I'm lucky to get a cop to make a report. When someone does so as a an act of political expression against the crooks who sank our economy, the police bring out the batons and pepper spray.

My office is in Pioneer Square. I see pedestrian interference every morning when people getting off the ferries keep walking across 1st Avenue against the light. I see it for hours on end when one of the big entertainers down the street has a private event at one of the stadiums. The cops do nothing about the former, and they actually come out and assist the latter. But when traffic is stopped for a few minutes as an act of political expression, they bring out the batons and pepper spray.

What am I to conclude from this if not that SPD are actively working to silence political dissent? They are clearly engaging in selective enforcement of the law, selecting to enforce it when the law is violated in an act of political expression.
Posted by Phil M http://https://twitter.com/pmocek on July 10, 2012 at 4:29 PM · Report this
10
funny how you all already talk about anarchists when the people raided are likely maoists considering they where red spark/kassama members...
but hey, keep denying there is any government propaganda let alone that its taking hold of you...
Posted by dutchie on July 10, 2012 at 4:38 PM · Report this
11
This is like a choose your own adventure.
Posted by sall on July 10, 2012 at 4:46 PM · Report this
12
@1 gave the answer, which was obvious to everyone except Brendan.
Posted by bigyaz on July 10, 2012 at 4:47 PM · Report this
13
You set up a false dichotomy.
If you were to walk down a random street tonight and throw a stone through a window (home or business) and spray paint hate messages (anti-Jewish or anti-minority), and there were recent local incidents involving that, your investigation might still involve the police and FBI.
It's not a matter of business versus private windows. It's the context in which they happen.
Posted by TJ on July 10, 2012 at 4:57 PM · Report this
14
@9 What is it with SPD not investigating car thefts? Same thing happened to me. And the cops saw the thieves fleeing my car and they didn't even bother pursuing. Just called a tow truck to remove it from the intersection it was blocking. Two years later someone smashed out my car windows on Capitol Hill and was told that I would have to wait 3 hrs for a cop to show up. I agree that it appears to be selective on the part of SPD as to what they put resources behind when it comes to property damage.
Posted by sisyphusgal on July 10, 2012 at 5:23 PM · Report this
Fnarf 15
By their own admission these people are not "political vandals"; they mean to overthrow the government, the economic system, and most other institutions as well. I'd say that merits a more serious response when they actually start to try to do it.

I mean, we all know they're TOTALLY RIDICULOUS, but at some point one of them is going to get mad and attempt to do some serious damage.

A clown throwing a rock is an isolated problem.
Posted by Fnarf http://www.facebook.com/fnarf on July 10, 2012 at 5:55 PM · Report this
Matt from Denver 16
@ 9, I don't consider property damage to be as bad as physical violence either, but it is still bad. Not just as a crime (which is on par with theft, albeit without the hope of recovery), but as a political statement. People just don't understand what it is these people were trying to accomplish. Since they appeared to be a lawless mob, that's how nearly everyone sees them. And in the world of politics, perception is reality.
Posted by Matt from Denver on July 10, 2012 at 5:58 PM · Report this
17
because there have been actual revolutions, actual anarchist bombs, actual killings and coups d'etats and stuff from the politically motivated violence? because the ideology represents not just rocks but the power of ideas to make every social rule and norm go by the wayside, and thus the ideology of rock throwing could be far more harmful as it is an attack on our democracy? because the errant rock throwing is sort of spontaneous and unpremeditated, while political violence is more premeditated? because it's through deliberate political violence that right wings regimes have come to power, oft stoking the situation with agents provacateurs, such that if you willingly engage in political violence you're basically responsible for legitimating the right wing authoritarian response by delegitimizing our democracy, flawed as it is? or how abou this. anarchists and right wing fascists in spain led to massive civil war, bloodshed and decades of repressie fascism, and political violence by the left has rarely worked to promote progress cuz it's when the left is MORE responsible that it wins political milestones thru elections, reforms, and all that stuff they got in sweden? because the best nations sweden norway finland etc. almost never had reform come from rock throwing? because historically rock throwing has a crappy batting average as a method of organizaing and winning power? off the top of my head.
Posted by answer man on July 10, 2012 at 6:02 PM · Report this
bhowie 18
Many of the comments on SLOG today represent a part of the reason I no longer believe positive social change is possible. As the horrors of social stratification, authoritarian government actions, and ecological collapse bear down on us, you assholes can't think your way out of this stupid debate. You deserve the world we're about to live in, sadly, many people (and other living things) don't.
Posted by bhowie on July 10, 2012 at 6:11 PM · Report this
19
If you're looking for a pretext to change into a new ideological outfit, @18, Slog will always be ready with a variety to choose from.
Posted by gloomy gus on July 10, 2012 at 6:18 PM · Report this
20
Oh, come on, Fnarf. How do you even try to overthrow the government, financial institutions, and so forth? They might as well be threatening to build a tunnel beneath Puget Sound. They were a threat to no government or corporation or institution. That's not a legitimate reason to raid them. Because they might have engaged in vandalism? Okay. Legit. But because they're a threat to society? Please. Society is a bigger threat to them, as society doesn't like nonconformists, and society can knock down your door, take your stuff, and arrest you. And, in addition, if society labels you a "terrorist", it doesn't even have to be transparent about the evidence.
Posted by floater on July 10, 2012 at 6:27 PM · Report this
21
If these anarchists or radical communists ever came to power they'd start slitting throats of their enemies as fast as they could. It's the only way they can impose their system as they have shown by the tens of millions of corpses they happily created trying to build their false Utopias in the last century.

Being woken up at 6am by cops with a legal warrant? Oh, boo fucking hop.
Posted by Sugartit on July 10, 2012 at 6:52 PM · Report this
22
" As the horrors of social stratification, authoritarian government actions, and ecological collapse bear down on us, you assholes can't think your way out of this stupid debate"

You must be a fun date. Shame you've never actually spent time in a real police state.
Posted by Sugartit on July 10, 2012 at 6:56 PM · Report this
trollstalker 23
Thanks Sugartit for the valuable insight, as always.
Posted by trollstalker on July 10, 2012 at 7:04 PM · Report this
24
I'm getting a little impatient with Brendan's disingenuous questions.

The primary difference between politically motivated property damage* and the kind that's done just for the hell of it** is that politically motivated property damage is a message.

The root of that message, be it in an abortion clinic bombing, a cross burning, or a window-smashing party in ninja suits under the red-and-black, is always the same: "change society to better fit our ideology, or you'll get more of the same, or worse."

It is not surprising, or even really worth noting, that people inclined to disagree with the vandals' ideology should regard the property damage as a threat.

Yet Brendan does continue to note it, and continues to feign surprise at the fact that people react to perceived threats in same familiar ways as ever. And that's got me doing a little chin-scratching of my own. Why does Brendan continue to push this very easily answered question?

 

* regardless of whether or not it is deemed "violence"

** e.g. the vandalism that breaks out at the conclusion of so many sports championships. Which is generally a lot more damaging, and succeeds in involving a much larger and more diverse sample of society than any left-radical political Action.

*** and apropos of nothing, what's up with the commenters who pretend left-radicals of different ideological inclinations never make common cause with each other? Or even speak to one another? Are we supposed to forget that participants in Occupy held a wildly diverse range of political opinion, even after we leave aside the Liberals to consider only the Radicals?
Posted by robotslave on July 10, 2012 at 7:34 PM · Report this
25
When you perform an act of politically motivated crime, you are trying to call attention to your pet issue. But depending on how you do it, you may also clue the police in to who they need to arrest. If someone smashes a window and then paints an Anarchy symbol next to it, known anarchists are probably getting a visit from the cops soon after.
Posted by Knittingdan on July 10, 2012 at 8:05 PM · Report this
Original Andrew 26
The bigger issue here is that the people whose home was raided by the SPD were subjected to a disproportionate use of force.

The SPD--along with most all other US police departments-- has been totally militarized, and they are notorious for physically assaulting people who are not resisting, shooting first, and never asking questions. This does not protect and serve the community--it demoralizes and terrorizes the community. This goes far beyond the specific political issues of the people in this instance.

They haven't been charged or convicted of any crime, and people automatically assume that they're guilty and deserve to be threatened and have their home trashed--and for what? Maybe smashing a window? Having the wrong views?
Posted by Original Andrew on July 10, 2012 at 9:18 PM · Report this
27
what delights me is that a. quite a few "liberals" are outing themselves as the authority loving fascists they actually are, and b. look how the radicals' numbers grow, and grow, and grow!
Posted by willem on July 10, 2012 at 9:29 PM · Report this
28
@24, he continues to ask to generate web hits, apparently. It's pretty simple: Brendan - imagine that anti-abortion protesters start routinely smashing the windows of Planned Parenthood and other abortion providers. Or homophobe Christians smash the windows of gay bars, the Lambert House, and Gay City. Not once, but repeatedly. It's all just political vandalism, right? No one's getting hurt here. They're just making a statement. Is this still okay? Let's say some white supremacists smash the windows of politically active black churches. Or a synagogue. And they spraypaint some swastikas. IT'S JUST POLITICAL VANDALISM, according to the smashers. Maybe it's something like people smashing the windows of an Arab immigrant-owned business during the Iraq and Afghanistan wars. Or smashing the windows of a store that sells liquor in their neighborhood, because they hate booze. The smashers in all these situations can pretend they are just committing political vandalism to promote their cause and fight their enemy. And this is okay? That's the kind of society you want to live in? You have a beef with someone, so you just go and smash their windows?

If someone had a beef with your shitty reporting, and decided to smash the windows of you workplace or home, would that be okay with you? It's just a political statement.

And how does smashing the windows of Nike Town and retail department stores have fuckall to do with "sending a message" to the people on Wall Street playing games with the economy? Clear answer: It doesn't. Not a goddamn thing.
Posted by Oppose the twits on July 10, 2012 at 10:11 PM · Report this
LEE. 29
@24

are you sure you aren't being disingenuous here?

"The root of that message, be it in an abortion clinic bombing, a cross burning, or a window-smashing party in ninja suits under the red-and-black, is always the same: "change society to better fit our ideology, or you'll get more of the same, or worse." "

the problem with these comparisons is that the first two are actions against peoples already lacking in power, influence and privilege, usually as they attempt to gain some ground. Nike isn't some oppressed minority lacking in influence, they're already at the top of the food chain. one could argue that the whole point of throwing bricks through their windows isn't to just assume that the system falls with the glass, but simply to take these corporations whom are assumed to have this power down a few pegs. granted, I'm as confused as hell as to why someone goes from doing that to breaking out the windows of an individual's car, but I'd say 99.9999% of people involved in Occupy wouldn't condone it.

people like you and Fnarf seem to live in this comfortable little bubble where I can't imagine anything like this ever affecting you, yet you live in this constant fear of "mob tyranny". these are mostly stupid-smart kids with too much time on their hands, introduced to a lot of new ideas, who haven't had a lot of life experience and are just frustrated by the way the world is headed. they want to make a big noise to express themselves because in their eyes no one else is doing anything. they're wrong (kind of), but their actions aren't by any means the first blow on a slippery slope to Robespierre's Terror. I'm inclined to defend them and their mindless destruction over the other side's massive fucking body count, litany of ruined lives, and wasted resources they use at any turn simply to keep things the way they are. what I want to know is why won't you? it costs you nothing. hell, you don't even have to voice your support of them. I don't normally, but I certainly am not going to come down on the side of this creeping fascism any time soon. my suspicion is that you hope change will come and improve the lives of other people, just so long as you yourself aren't forced to give up anything. if you are serious about these things then you need to understand that might not be an option, you may have to sacrifice something.

"and apropos of nothing, what's up with the commenters who pretend left-radicals of different ideological inclinations never make common cause with each other? Or even speak to one another? Are we supposed to forget that participants in Occupy held a wildly diverse range of political opinion, even after we leave aside the Liberals to consider only the Radicals?"

seriously? communists and anarchists have fucking hated each other since both ideologies have existed. not only that, but have you read this blog before? it's a hundred voices each whining for their own pet cause to take priority over all others and non-stop purity trolling. how can you possibly imagine lefty activists have any kind of a different experience?
More...
Posted by LEE. on July 10, 2012 at 10:29 PM · Report this
30
@27

Hmm, yes, just look at those growing numbers of radicals. Look at them!

Why, there's so many that they can't even fit them all at one end of the Westlake fountain anymore! (If you include the doggies)
Posted by robotslave on July 10, 2012 at 10:39 PM · Report this
31
What if you spray painted a swastika?

Of course political violence warrants more scrutiny. It means there may be a coordinated community of potential criminals motivated by violent ideology.

It all depends on the aims and methods of the politics in question, doesn't it? And these so/called anarchists have an expressed desire for the overthrow of our current government.

As big a joke as thier philosophy is, as long as that's thier aim, then of course the government is (not in evidence, however) going dedicate more resources to catching them.
Posted by tkc on July 10, 2012 at 10:48 PM · Report this
32
@29

Physicians in the US do no lack power, influence, or privilege. Not even OB/GYN physicians. So I think my argument does not have anything like the problem you say it has.

I don't think you understand my objections to anarchism at all; in my view the problems with it are structural, and that there's no need to fear mob rule because mobs* are so unstable that they always have been and always will be replaced by something else before they get around to doing any noticeable ruling.

What one needs to watch out for, I think, is getting the wrong sort of replacement. You might not like what we've got in the US, and I'm far from completely satisfied with it myself, but it sure looks a lot better than some of the police states, monarchies, slave economies, military dictatorships, and other various oligarchies that people in the world have been subject to at one point or another.

"No!" you might insist. "This one is the worst of all possible societies!" I'm afraid I simply do not share that belief.

 

* the various organized mob systems proposed by the various schools of anarchism have serious** moral and ethical problems as well, but happily those systems all have the advantage of being purely imaginary for societies larger than a few dozen or so. And even the little ones seem to have that odd tendency to collapse.

** and longstanding. Thoughtful critique of anarchism is not a new thing.
Posted by robotslave on July 10, 2012 at 11:17 PM · Report this
33
No, not political vandalism, organized vandalism. A dumb ass throwing a rock is probably just going to throw that one rock. That's it. An person organized with other persons to commit vandalism is not going to stop at just that one rock. They have made it a goal to continue.

It's why we spend more resources hunting down serial killers or mass murders than say a hit and run. We know the former will do it again, we don't know that about the latter.

I am perfectly fine with the police spending time breaking up criminal syndicates than chasing down every idiot drunk or dumb kid.
Posted by giffy on July 10, 2012 at 11:17 PM · Report this
34
@20 The neo-nazi's in northern Idaho were no "threat" to the government either. Hell. If a groups ability to actually overthrow a government is your metric for law enforcement action then Al Queda wasn't a "threat" either. Neither is the fucking mafia.

It's irrelevant. A political community that openly embraces violence to gain power cannot and should not be tolerated in a democracy. Or you don't have a system that CAN change. That applies to even the far right wing of the republican party.
Posted by tkc on July 10, 2012 at 11:24 PM · Report this
35
Brendan,
You're kind of a silly boy, aren't you?
Best,
Emmet Watson
Posted by Emmett Watson Jr. on July 10, 2012 at 11:24 PM · Report this
LEE. 36
@32

I was referring to what an attack on an abortion clinic represents to women, not doctors.

there's nothing more to what you said that I really disagree with. just because I'm sympathetic to anarchists doesn't mean I am one, nor that I view the US as particularly evil. most conversations on Slog you'd find me coming down against the "let it all burn" types because I believe that if government is to exist, it needs to be in place to serve it's citizens. even if it's not doing a very good job of it right now, I'm still advocating on it's behalf because there's too many people in this country who don't deserve to lose everything just because some people think we should start over.

still, I wish liberals would accept that their precious system might not always be there to save their asses. you very well might lose everything and no one will be there to help you. the world's a chaotic place and to live in negation of that chaos is folly.
Posted by LEE. on July 10, 2012 at 11:29 PM · Report this
37
@29

communists and anarchists have fucking hated each other since both ideologies have existed.

This is almost comically untrue.

Both came from the same roots, and The First International was of course an organization in which anarchists and communists* made common cause. And in its day, it was quite a bit larger than any of our contemporary radical leftist outfits.

Today, most practicing anarchists are of course anarcho-communists of one flavor or another (though it's once again fashionable** to pretend that anarchism has no hyphens or factions, just one big happy family of autonomous anti-hierarchical affinity groups).

There could be a few anarcho-capitalists out there, but the anarcho-communists say they only hear from them on the internet, so they're probably not real people.

There might be some anarcho-primitives out there as well, but the anarcho-communists say nobody reads Zerzan anymore, what are you lost in 1993, try to catch up.

But yeah, mostly it's anarcho-communists. This was fortuitous for Occupy, because it meant that the anarchist collectives and the Marxist organizations could fairly easily General Assembly together, and keep the occupation alive.

Yes, dear, anarchists and communists really did make common cause for Occupy. It actually happened. Some of them occupied The Hated Enemy's couch or shower once in a while, and continue with similar forays into hostile territory to this very day.

It's actually kind of beautiful, how hatred of Capitalism can bring people together. People who eventually end up fighting like*** alley cats, true enough, but the unity is touching, while it lasts.

 

* and syndicalists, and plenty who didn't fit so neatly into one box or another

** this seems to be cyclical; it's fallen apart before, and I'd be willing to bet it will fall apart again.

*** or as loudly and screechily, at any rate
More...
Posted by robotslave on July 10, 2012 at 11:55 PM · Report this
38
still, I wish liberals would accept that their precious system might not always be there to save their asses. you very well might lose everything and no one will be there to help you. the world's a chaotic place and to live in negation of that chaos is folly.

Spoken like a true, small-government, arms-bearing republican. Or do I mean libertarian? Whichever.

Incidentally, did you know that if you go and read dusty old political theory, you'll sometimes find "anarchist" and "libertarian" used interchangeably? Fun fact!
Posted by robotslave on July 11, 2012 at 12:03 AM · Report this
LEE. 39
Robotslave, you seem like an intelligent person, or at least a person who knows a good deal about certain things. Let me tell you that today you have taught me exactly nothing and that in my quest to find common ground with you, you seek to insult me by calling me a conservative. Solely because I entertained the notion that our society might be impermanent for that matter. Thanks for playing buddy, this isn't as interesting as you think it is.
Posted by LEE. on July 11, 2012 at 12:23 AM · Report this
40
@36

I was referring to what an attack on an abortion clinic represents to women, not doctors.

Fair enough, I suppose, though I'm not at all convinced that it shouldn't also be considered an attack on doctors, and more generally on the medical profession and the health care industry.

At any rate, I don't see how that alters the fundamental message of political property destruction: "change society to better fit our ideology, or you'll get more of the same, or worse."

The message is the same, regardless of which end of the power relation it's coming from. Both the weak and the powerful can perceive threats, and both will react to them in the many ways that people everywhere have always reacted to threats.

Unless you're Brendan, and you want for some reason to make it seem very mysterious and unfathomable and vaguely sinister that some people have unaccountably come to the conclusion that political property destruction is some sort of threatening thing, or whatever, it's all so weird and baffling and really why on earth are these suspiciously excitable people so worked up about it.
Posted by robotslave on July 11, 2012 at 12:31 AM · Report this
41
@39

My apologies, that was meant to come off as tongue-in-cheek. You're clearly nowhere close to being a conservative.
Posted by robotslave on July 11, 2012 at 12:34 AM · Report this
42
@34 I'm fine with Nazis having their little headquarters and holding their little rallies, if only because I believe strongly in freedom speech as well as freedom to assemble and, more importantly, so does the Constitution. (At least until
oligarchy-serving Supreme Court Justices water it down.) However, if these lovely Nazis decide to stage their own little Beer Hall Putsch and smash a few windows, then I definitely hope that law enforcement will start sticking its nose in their affairs. Same thing with building-torching ecoterrorists, or window smashing communists/Maoists/Marxists/whatever. However, my point is that all these groups should tracked and prosecuted for hurting others or destroying life and/or property - not because of their beliefs, and certainly not because they are a threat to the system... because they're not.
Posted by floater on July 11, 2012 at 1:03 AM · Report this
43
Under what circumstances is it OK to use the threat of violence (terror) to gain your political goals? Is it OK to put on hoods and burn crosses to strike fear in your opponents or should the government suppress that? After all, what's wrong with exercising the right of assembly and free association and having a little bonfire?

Where I live PETA members like to put on masks and assemble at night outside of the homes of people they consider their opponents. Doe the rightness or wrongness of this tactic depend on your position on the issues? Is there a difference between bombing a black church, a gay bar, an abortion clinic or an animal research facility?

Some people would say the ends justify the means. I don't accept that because there is no end, IMO. And the government is right to vigorously suppress ALL political violence.

Posted by Dr.Duck on July 11, 2012 at 4:50 AM · Report this
Kinison 44
Smashing a window at the federal court house and tossing in a lit flare is NOT vandalism. Its attempted arson.

There were also a few police and a camera man that were assaulted. Its amazing how everyone thats upset with what the police did that morning, completely ignore the other crimes committed that day. It wasnt just vandalism and even if it were, its still not accepted in society. You cant say "Well its ok because its American Apparel". or "Its ok, that was just a Wells Fargo bank window". I suppose if a rich gay man was beaten within an inch of his life, it would be ok, because he was a hedge fund manager who defrauded people on wall street?
Posted by Kinison http://www.holgatehawks.com on July 11, 2012 at 5:48 AM · Report this
Rob in Baltimore 45
It's simple, organized crime, and pursuit of the criminal organization, (Vandalism, and conspiring and inciting others to commit vandalism is a crime) even if it's political in nature, is going to draw more attention, and resources than a random anonymous crime.
Posted by Rob in Baltimore http://www.wishbookweb.com/ on July 11, 2012 at 7:03 AM · Report this
BLUE 46
Rhetorical question? Or are you really that dim?
Posted by BLUE on July 11, 2012 at 7:27 AM · Report this
revolutionsperminute 47
34 is correct. It is far easier to achieve results that are aligned with you political philosophy by working within your local community and being conscientious of your own behavior.
Posted by revolutionsperminute on July 11, 2012 at 7:29 AM · Report this
48
The tension between chaos and order, between the barbarians at the gate and the citizens within, is a tension as old as civilization. The citizens will always be apoplectic at the incomprehensible actions of the savages. On the one hand, you have the violence of the mob, the crime of the impoverished, and on the other hand you have the violence of the state, the law of the dominant order. It's an asymmetrical conflict, and one that will never be resolved. None of the brutes believe they will strike the blow that will fell the state, yet it was the multitude of barbarian strikes that slowly wore the Roman Empire down into nothingness.
Posted by fa69ot on July 11, 2012 at 7:54 AM · Report this
Original Andrew 49
Wall Street has become systemically corrupt, and their well-documented schemes--including open fraud, embezzlement, money laundering, and theft by deception--have ruined countless millions of lives. Our nation may not recover from their scams in our lifetimes, yet the police, FBI, and "Justice" Department can't be bothered to investigate and prosecute let alone kick down someone's door at 5:00 am to execute a search warrant.

They've done far more damage than any alleged anarchists ever could, yet somehow it's this loose-knit group of powerless kids that everyone has bloodlust over rather than the executives of the financial cartels.
Posted by Original Andrew on July 11, 2012 at 7:58 AM · Report this
50
@49
The only political candidate that I feel inspired by has bloodlust for the executives. Indeed, she argues for bringing back the guillotine for bankers. Roseanne Barr, 2012!
Posted by fa69ot on July 11, 2012 at 8:02 AM · Report this
Matt from Denver 51
@ 49, this thread isn't about the Wall Street executives, though, is it? In fact, it's only tangentially about the May Day protests.

But it's interesting to talk about that because physical property damage and destruction is more tangible than monetary loss. After all, how much wealth is tangible anyway? Most of it is tied up in property whose value comes from the fact that most people agree that it's worth x amount. You could say most wealth is imaginary, but that our imaginations are all in sync.

But getting back to the topic at hand, property damage is more tangible, more violent, and in this case, was committed by people who neither care to make their motives known nor put in the hard work of educating people about the realities of the system and showing them how they're exploited by it. No, it's easier (and more of a rush) to smash a window, even though it doesn't do one fucking thing to bring about change, or hurt the company (other than the low level employees at that store who have no say over that company's policies).

Brendan, who has asked this question before (and who seems to be very honestly butthurt that the majority of us don't buy his basic premise, which is that property destruction really isn't a bad thing when motivated by good politics), never acknowledges the arguments or evidence that show that, besides being a true form of violence and intimidation (even if people aren't being physically harmed - like psychological harm can just be shrugged off), destruction is also a completely ineffective tactic. It may get a few anarchists charged up and feeling like they're making a difference, but it also alienates virtually everyone else, including the millions of working stiffs who ought to be their natural allies.

Instead, because most people understand why property destruction is as wrong as assault and battery, it makes people mad and scared enough to support the apparently heavy-handed methods of the SPD, which means that the May Day protests have strengthened the police. Make no mistake - if you believe we're approaching a police state, the feeble-minded protesters have done more to make that a reality than dozens of 4th Amendment-eroding laws and SCOTUS decisions. And it's a real shame because the SPD shouldn't be kicking down doors with no-knock warrants to prosecute these laws. But they will because they public will take the side of law enforcement over lawless violence every time.
More...
Posted by Matt from Denver on July 11, 2012 at 8:28 AM · Report this
pdonahue 52
and yet......the concerted efforts of nonviolent, reasoned and legal actions of concerned citizens bring about no level of discussion and debate, on the SLOG or otherwise. NOBODY CARES, that's why people go out and break shit, it gets results.
Posted by pdonahue on July 11, 2012 at 8:53 AM · Report this
53
@52 The result being a general distaste and dislike of them. So congrats Anarchists now people think you are silly, and dangerous.
Posted by giffy on July 11, 2012 at 9:00 AM · Report this
Rob in Baltimore 54
49, the Seattle police don't patrol Wall Street, or have jurisdiction over investors.
Posted by Rob in Baltimore http://www.wishbookweb.com/ on July 11, 2012 at 9:13 AM · Report this
Original Andrew 55
@ 51 & 54,

The point is that those in power are playing the politics of distraction and engaging in intimidating raids in order to violently suppress dissent, meanwhile the criminals at the top of our horrid national pyramid scheme are free to openly break the law with impunity because they control the political and economic systems.
Posted by Original Andrew on July 11, 2012 at 9:48 AM · Report this
Matt from Denver 56
@ 54, if dissenters were more judicious in their tactics and more conscientious about their message, I'd see this as "suppression." As it is, I see it as "law enforcement." I won't quibble on the matter of police violence and likely desire to intimidate, but it's not credible to believe it's politically motivated, even with the mention of "anarchist materials." It's just as likely that their interest in these materials is completely non-political - that they're trying to establish motive.

Of course, there IS a plausible political element to the police actions. Given SPD's toilet-dwelling reputation, going after the May Day vandals can only help because of how much most people think they should be in jail and don't believe the destruction was any kind of protected speech, let alone justifiable civil disobedience. (I don't believe the protesters are trying to call their actions that, either, which is one more illustration of their inept strategy.)

Right now, it's simply not credible to believe the police are acting as agents of political repression because the anarchists are not perceived to be a threat by anyone. They stand in stark contrast to the perceived Communist threat of the postwar years, when most Americans, rightly or wrongly, feared a Communist takeover thanks to the rise of the Soviet Union and the "fall" of China.

You may retort that the powers that be are simply quashing the movement in its infancy, but I think they're more shrewd than that. I think they know that most Americans are comfortable with capitalism, that most anarchists and OWS protestors are upper middle class kids who haven't the foggiest idea of how to relate to anyone who doesn't share their background or how to persuade others to listen to them, and that they can't do anything other than express impotent rage. MLK and the Montgomery Bus Boycott this ain't. What on earth is there for the police to suppress?
More...
Posted by Matt from Denver on July 11, 2012 at 10:20 AM · Report this
Matt from Denver 57
@ 52, you need to name some examples of "nonviolent, reasoned and legal actions of concerned citizens." If you were speaking of the Occupy protests, I can tell you exactly why they "brought about no level of discussion and debate, on the SLOG or otherwise."

Also, I'd like you to name the "results" breaking shit brought. I only see that they antagonized the very people on whose behalf these actions were taken, which I doubt is the result they desired.
Posted by Matt from Denver on July 11, 2012 at 10:24 AM · Report this
58
Some punk throws a rock through the window of a business on capitol hill. Or:

Someone throws a rock through the same window, screams "fags!" and spray paints a swastika on the window next door.

Discuss.
Posted by hmmmmm on July 11, 2012 at 10:35 AM · Report this
Rob in Baltimore 59
55, The Seattle police cannot base their investigations and law enforcement policies based on what's happening on Wall Street. They can't ignore local politically motivated organized crime because some stock investors are committing white collar crime elsewhere.
Posted by Rob in Baltimore http://www.wishbookweb.com/ on July 11, 2012 at 10:59 AM · Report this
60
Naaaah...the reason is to be found below:

The Financial-Intelligence-Complex: its semi-secret history

The Financial-Intelligence-Complex, level one of the control apparatus of the economic elite, came into existence during and in the aftermath of World War II.

The sole purpose was to increase the wealth of those behind its creation while extending and consolidating their control over the public.

The Wall Streeters who had joined government service during World War II, the members of the wealthiest families and their lackeys (the Rockefeller, Mellon, Du Pont, Morgan and Harriman families, etc.), created the OSS and various other intel outfits, convinced President Truman --- a man clearly out of his depth when dealing with the economic elite --- to create the CIA as the anchor pin for America’s intelligence establishment, which the Wall Streeters would then move back and forth between (that is, between the Street and various intelligence directorates), insuring consistent command and control.

The formation assistance was originally provided by the head of Britain’s MI6, accompanied by his special assistant, Ian Fleming.

The CIA, along with later intelligence organizations, the DIA, NSA, State’s Bureau of Intelligence Research, etc., would provide the manpower for ensuring and expanding their corporate wealth: the overthrow of Iran’s Mohammad Masaddeq in 1953, Arbenz of Guatemala in 1954, Sukarno in Indonesia in 1967, etc., and various other strictly economic/financial operations.

The Rockefeller, Mellon, Morgan and other of the wealthiest families had extensive oil, mining and agricultural productions throughout Latin America, so this was the region for constant economic warfare, along with the oil-rich Middle East.

Almost concurrent with the creation of the American intelligence establishment, they created their MK ULTRA program, aptly named for the extraordinary breadth and scope of their undertaking.

This wasn’t simply a subproject pertaining to spy planes or spy satellites; this was the grandiose plan for psychosocial, psychopharmacological, and public opinion control at the most minute levels.

The often-repeated “programmed assassin” events comprised only the most miniscule part of their incredible program.

A strong lack of curiosity, an almost inbred apathy and urge towards group consensus, was only one of their ultimate goals.

The almost absolute control of their message, by structuring the dissemination of the “news,” popular opinion and popular culture through a network of think tanks, institutes, foundations, trusts and various and sundry astroturf operations, is truly mind boggling.

Incorporating the work of advertising and public relations genius, Edward Bernays, with the subsequent research of countless behavioral scientists, biologists and pharmacologists, the plutocrats of the Financial-Intelligence-Complex have created a manufactured reality for the majority, scary in its depth, stunning in its comprehensive coverage.

Today in America, few question the ownership of anything; the primary source of control authority.

Fewer still question even the value of knowing who actually owns those monstrous banks, oil companies, health insurance giants who create our so-called “healthcare reform” --- or the munitions makers who continuously receive those incredible government contracts!

And all the technical achievements go towards their wealth increase: an SR-71 spy plane, flying the exact same flight plan, the exact same time each day, for five consecutive days in a row, is brought done on the fifth day by the North Vietnamese, around 1972.

Was it following enemy troop movements?

Negative --- it was recording drug shipments out of the Golden Triangle involved with MK ULTRA and ultimately profiting certain members of the super-rich.

(After tracking the SR-71 over flight through Southeast Asia, and using technical assistance provided by the Soviets and Communist Chinese, the North Vietnamese launched a series of missiles, exactly timed to detonate in proximity of where the Blackbird should appear.

This created a wall of shock waves, causing the spy plane to tumble out of control, with its two-pilot crew punching out as the bird plummeted down to the South China Sea.

Among some of the lies in Richard Bissell’s autobiography, was the lie that the SR-71 had never been brought down by a foreign power. Let us hope Richard Bissell’s grandnephew, Robert Mueller III, the director of the FBI, is more honest than his granduncle Bissell.)

When Reagan appointed Wall Streeter Casey to be CIA director, Casey’s first action was to classify earth resource data from the spy satellites, once available to the public, now only to be shared among Casey’s Wall Street cronies.

Are all those intercepted commercial communications about “national security”?

Or really is it to enrich those American members of the Transnational Capitalist Class?

No, national security has never entered into the equation of the existence of the American intelligence establishment --- only further profit for the Financial-Intelligence-Complex beneficiaries.

At the present time, with the privatization of America’s intelligence community, the corporate takeover of congress and the Supreme Court, they are in their endgame and, unfortunately, we are their pawns.

The first secretary of the Treasury, Alexander Hamilton, once argued that the government should always intercede in the private sector when corruption abounds --- he was later assassinated.

Andrew Mellon, the Treasury secretary during the three administrations leading up to the Great Crash and Great Depression, was the first to publicly utter the phrase: “..making the world safe for democracy.” --- Now he should have been assassinated!
More...
Posted by sgt_doom on July 11, 2012 at 11:15 AM · Report this
61
Mr Kiley,

What happened on May Day was a failed attempt to trigger a riot. You know it was. You don't report it as such because of your quite obvious soft support for this "movement" so instead you throw out stuff like this to muddy the waters again and again with the same dead end logic and over-intellectualized nonsense.

What happened on May Day was only a "smashup" because the SPD didn't take the bait. Had they done so we would have had a full blow riot on our streets. Going to a peaceful protest after having organized a series of actions to trigger a riot is much different than throwing a rock through a window.

"I'm just asking the questions!"

No, you aren't. You're framing your opinions as questions. Taking your journalistic cues from Roger Ailes fucking sucks, sir.
Posted by Solar System on July 11, 2012 at 11:35 AM · Report this
malcolmxy 62
Because it threatens the people who issue warrants.
Posted by malcolmxy on July 11, 2012 at 12:01 PM · Report this
63
Remember the kid from Oregon who vandalized an SUV and got a 30 year prison sentence? That was because of his motive, environmental activism. If he had torched the SUV as part of a drunken fraternity ritual, or to harass or intimidate an ex-girlfriend, he'd have gotten a few months probation. Some of the ELF arsonists were facing life in prison... but around the same time as the UW fire, there was an incident in NY where some college kids deliberately set fire to a crowded dormitory, as a meaningless "prank." Unlike the ELF action, the dorm fire resulted in several fatalities. The arsonists in that case got a suspended sentence, serving no time at all.

This is a weird strand in our culture--- we're much more tolerant of crimes motivated by greed or meaninglessness than of crimes motivated by concern for the world. Jessie James (a virulent racist/slavery-supporter who murdered for money) is a folk hero, but John Brown is still often regarded as a sinister lunatic.

It's pretty sickening to read all these comments from people who think the police can do no wrong when it comes to political surveillance. Have you ever, even once in your entire lives, glanced through a history book?
Posted by monorail on July 11, 2012 at 12:29 PM · Report this
Original Andrew 64
@ 59,

What about the FBI? They're experts at ignoring (white collar) organized crime.

But to get back on topic, then why was it necessary to send a SWAT team? How many of these raids have we read about that have gone horribly wrong when they entered the wrong house or the homeowner thought they were intruders? I'm not saying the SPD shouldn't investigate, I want to know why they continually use these militarized tactics against civilians who happen to a) not resist and b) are innocent until proven guilty.

The SPD is already in serious shit for their rampant brutality in instances far to numerous to list here--and those are just the cases that we know about.

And further, why have McGinn and Holmes been unable to restrain these abusive uses of force?
Posted by Original Andrew on July 11, 2012 at 12:32 PM · Report this
65
It's excessive force, yes.

But then again, they are dealing with a group of people who regularly post messages like "KILL COPS" around town.
Posted by Solar System on July 11, 2012 at 12:41 PM · Report this
Matt from Denver 66
@ 63, assuming all those things occurred as you describe, then yes, there's a problem with an outsized response to leftist political violence. A kid smashing a SUV window shouldn't get 30 years. (Although I wonder if there was more to it than that - I'll have to look that up.)

But that doesn't support a conclusion that leftist violence isn't violence, which is what Brendan is alleging, and it's not to say that those individuals you cite shouldn't have gone to prison. And I understand that the UW fire you cite was HUGELY damaging to medical research, which could well mean that it indirectly led to the deaths of people who could have benefited from that research.

So while I can agree that police, judicial, and societal responses can seem to be out of proportion to this violence, it is, in fact, violence. And it is, in fact, something that should be condemned by everyone, and it should be a given that those who do it anyway belong in jail.

They are NOT engaging in civil disobedience. They're certainly not being nonviolent. And - this is the thing that needs to be repeated - they are being completely ineffective. These actions don't prompt people to think about how they're being screwed over by the powers that be, any more than the ELF actions got anyone to sell their SUVs and buy fuel-efficient cars (or learn to live without a car). If they had the least bit of effectiveness, they'd be the least bit justifiable. But they don't, so they aren't.
Posted by Matt from Denver on July 11, 2012 at 12:44 PM · Report this
67
@64

You'd have a pretty good point there if there weren't a recent history of left-radical activity specifically targeting law enforcement.

Sure, most of those activists are content to scrawl ACAB on a banner, wave some torches around, and hurl a bit of spittle and insult at the pigs, but there are a some who really, really want to fight the cops Like Men, Face to Face, In The Streets, One on One, Fair Fight, etc etc macho posturing blah blah.

They've got whole websites about it, and everything.

I'm pretty saddened by the ridiculous army-mens aesthetic police forces have been buying with their Homeland Security funding windfall, and yes, gearing up like that is playing into the hands of the ACABist nutters. But I can understand the reluctance to perform a more routine sort of search when there's even a slim chance that someone in the building might be itching to slit some pig throat.
Posted by robotslave on July 11, 2012 at 12:50 PM · Report this
68
@65, Solar System wrote, "[our police] are dealing with a group of people who regularly post messages like "KILL COPS" around town"

I've never seen such a message around town. Assuming for the sake of discussion that such messages have been posted, what makes you think that the police were dealing with members of the responsible group when they broke into that house with guns blazing yesterday morning?
Posted by Phil M http://https://twitter.com/pmocek on July 11, 2012 at 1:40 PM · Report this
69
@67, Robotslave wrote, "I'm pretty saddened by the ridiculous army-mens aesthetic police forces have been buying with their Homeland Security funding windfall"

Yep, me, too.

"I can understand the reluctance to perform a more routine sort of search when there's even a slim chance that someone in the building might be itching to slit some pig throat."

There is always at least a slim chance of such. And every time 1199 officers stand by silently while one of them beats or murders someone on the street, that chance increases. Regardless, a heavily-armed and thoroughly-armored officer knocking on the door with a search warrant in hand is less likely to have his throat slit than one who breaks into a home in fulfillment of his commando fantasy.
Posted by Phil M http://https://twitter.com/pmocek on July 11, 2012 at 1:49 PM · Report this
70
@68

Funny how it's all about "solidarity" until somebody fucks up and gets in trouble.

I don't necessarily think that the police were dealing with those same people. I also don't think it's too much of a stretch for them to assume as such. And certainly by the actions of the broader organization it offers the police justification which just shouldn't be there.

If Occupy Seattle would just outright condemn these kinds of actions this would be a different story. But instead they keep the angry kids around to boost their numbers and gain media attention while offering them soft support and excuses for their behavior.

Guilt by association. This isn't new.

Fair? No.

But ruining a peaceful protest with a riot attempt isn't very fair either.
Posted by Solar System on July 11, 2012 at 2:01 PM · Report this
71
And fooling the larger public into thinking you're holding a peaceful protest when you've really come to use a "diversity of tactics" including rioting is pretty unfair too.
Posted by Solar System on July 11, 2012 at 2:12 PM · Report this
Rob in Baltimore 72
64, can you provide examples of the FBI ignoring white collar crime? Or it that just your feelings on the matter?

http://www.nbcnewyork.com/news/local/Ins…

Do we know for sure that the SWAT team was really there? Is that based on the suspects word? If the SWAT Team was used, do we know that police didn't have reason to believe that the anarchists were possibly armed? Slog is known for posting partial stories from one side as if they were fact before all the facts are known. Jennifer Fox was never pregnant, never filed a complaint, nor was any legal action filed on her behalf.
Posted by Rob in Baltimore http://www.wishbookweb.com/ on July 11, 2012 at 3:12 PM · Report this
73
@70, Solar System wrote, "If Occupy Seattle would just outright condemn these kinds of actions this would be a different story"

I agree. When it was clear that such would not happen, I ended my regular involvement.

"fooling the larger public into thinking you're holding a peaceful protest when you've really come to use a "diversity of tactics" including rioting is pretty unfair too"

Your comments imply that you think there's more coordination to these actions than there actually is. Flesh out that statement by replacing the pronouns you used, and you'll find that your accusations don't make as much sense.

If two friends and I go for a walk down a public street, we can't really stop an third person from walking next to us, and we're unlikely to stop going for walks just because there are a few people on the streets doing things we neither want to do nor want other people to do.
Posted by Phil M http://https://twitter.com/pmocek on July 11, 2012 at 5:29 PM · Report this
74
math is hard
Posted by Phil M http://https://twitter.com/pmocek on July 11, 2012 at 5:38 PM · Report this
75
@73

"Your comments imply that you think there's more coordination to these actions than there actually is."

What happened on May Day was a coordinated attack. There was obviously planning that went into those actions. It's not a coincidence that they all attacked at the same time with similar weapons.

"If two friends and I go for a walk down a public street, we can't really stop an third person from walking next to us, and we're unlikely to stop going for walks just because there are a few people on the streets doing things we neither want to do nor want other people to do."

The "smashers" didn't just randomly show up. This comparison makes no sense. They announced they were coming. The mayor warned the city. Everyone knew they were coming and you'd have to be an idiot not to know what they came to do.

Occupy Seattle - the organizers of the "peaceful protest" knew this and rather than tell those people to fuck off the Occupy leadership didn't say a damn word to discourage their presence. And not only that - they continued to offer justifications for violent behavior after it happened.

Rather than say "We will not stand for these kinds of actions!" we hear "Well it takes a wide diversity of tactics!" and "It's not violence if it's not directed at a person!" and other such piles of bullshit.

Guilt by association. It happens.
Posted by Solar System on July 12, 2012 at 12:03 AM · Report this
76
@75: Solar System: I'm unaware of any announcement that people would be showing up to break windows. There is no "Occupy leadership". You're talking about a demonstration in public. There's no signup sheet. There's no restriction on who can participate. There's no way for one person walking down the street with a sign to exclude someone else from participating for any reason or for no reason at all.

Here, I'll take your suggestion: I will not stand for these kinds of actions!

Now, if those kinds of actions happen at a demonstration I attend, am I absolved of the guilt by association to which you referred? If I had said so in the midst of an assembly at which people discussed the possibility of marching the streets on May Day, would that have satisfied your requirement? What if ten of us had said so? What if the majority of the people in the room said so? What if everyone in the room said so, but it still happened?

Why are you blaming hundreds of people who did nothing but walk down the street for the actions of a dozen other people who showed up, walked down the street, then broke some windows?
Posted by Phil M http://https://twitter.com/pmocek on July 12, 2012 at 10:34 AM · Report this
77
@76

Gosh, Phil, everyone else remembers the press release from the Mayor's office:

http://www.theblaze.com/stories/seattle-…

It's kind of a continuing problem you've got there, being unaware of or failing to remember well-established facts that undermine your arguments, and then not bothering to look them up, and assuming no-one else will go to the trouble, either.
Posted by robotslave on July 12, 2012 at 4:09 PM · Report this
78
@77: Robotslave: You wrote, "The `smashers' didn't just randomly show up. [...] They announced they were coming." By "I'm unaware of any announcement that people would be showing up to break windows," I meant that I am unaware of anyone having announced that he or she intended to attend the demonstration and break windows.

Could you please answer the questions I asked you about just what it is you expect people to do in order avoid being considered guilty of vandalism for simply walking down the street while other people engaged in vandalism? Police were there, too, and they stood by and watched. They were presumably aware of McGinn's press release, and they, unlike the peaceful demonstrators, were trained to deal with this sort of crime, armored, armed, and paid to do the job of policing.
Posted by Phil M http://https://twitter.com/pmocek on July 12, 2012 at 4:36 PM · Report this
79
sorry -- got Robotslave and Solar System mixed up
Posted by Phil M http://https://twitter.com/pmocek on July 12, 2012 at 5:11 PM · Report this
80
Well, you've got me confused with someone else, but what I personally would have expected the organizers of the Action to do is cancel it as soon as it became clear that the smashists intended to use the event as cover.

So at the very least, the demonstration and rally should have been ended when the first window was broken.

I expect you not to knowingly shelter your hypothetical sidewalk criminals, Phil.
Posted by robotslave on July 12, 2012 at 5:21 PM · Report this
81
Does this sound to you like a statement from people who aren't planning any smashist activity?

http://pugetsoundanarchists.org/node/161…
Posted by robotslave on July 12, 2012 at 5:42 PM · Report this
82
@81: The post you referenced reads, "Westlake Park (the park on the southeast corner of 4th and Pine in downtown Seattle) has been declared as May Day’s “green area” during the Hip Hop Occupies festivities. It is requested that no direct actions be taken on/within the Park between 9AM and 10PM. This is intended to maintain the Park as a place people can go to avoid confrontation with the police. This “safety,” however, is not guaranteed, as the police may take it upon themselves to enter the Park for whatever reason. Please respect the green area, and have an amazing May Day!"

That sounds like announcement of a designated civil obedience area. Most political demonstrations I witnessed between October, 2011, and May, 2012, eventually involved Seattle Police inflicting violence upon peaceful demonstrators. If you want broad support, you have to provide some areas where nothing likely to result in beatings or deployment of chemical agents (e.g., standing in the street with a sign) is likely to happen.
Posted by Phil M http://https://twitter.com/pmocek on July 12, 2012 at 11:18 PM · Report this
83
I think I understand what you're doing, Phil.

You can't bring yourself to openly and knowingly support the smashists, so you're going to great lengths avoid knowing what they're up to.

you have to provide some areas where nothing likely to result in [law enforcement] is likely to happen.

Now why would anyone need to "provide" that if there weren't any plans to break laws and/or deliberately provoke the police? Why would "things that might result in policing," (or crimes, as they're called outside the OccuBubble) be "likely to happen," Phil?

Do you find yourself just accidentally committing crimes while you're walking down that hypothetical sidewalk of yours?
Posted by robotslave on July 13, 2012 at 1:53 AM · Report this
84
@83: Robotslave, do you understand the idea of peaceful civil disobedience? It's unlawful, and the end result should at most be arrest and prosecution. Under Mayor McGinn and Chief Diaz, however, the result is often assault and battery. Worse, I've watched them pull people who *are* in compliance with the law off the sidewalk to assault them.
Posted by Phil M http://https://twitter.com/pmocek on July 13, 2012 at 9:15 AM · Report this
85
@84

You know as well as I do that police reaction to peaceful civil disobedience in Seattle is commensurately peaceful.

But of course, when I use the word "peaceful," I mean "not destroying property." Which is also the public, community understanding of the word.

But of course that is not the definition you, or the people you are providing cover for, are using.

There are other groups that do peaceful civil disobedience protests in Seattle, Phil. But only your "peaceful" anarchists are running a protection racket at their events. Why is that, Phil?
Posted by robotslave on July 13, 2012 at 2:07 PM · Report this
86
@85: No, Robotslave, I do not know that. In fact, I know otherwise, from first-hand, in-person, observation. I have repeatedly watched our police introduce violence into otherwise-peaceful demonstrations (those at which people were not harmed, property was not damaged, and there had been no attempts at either). The May Day demonstration is the only one in recent history of which I'm aware at which any offense more serious than being in the street at the wrong time was perpetrated by demonstrators prior to our police officers assaulting people with large metal frames, dousing them with chemical agents, and dragging them off the sidewalks into the streets. Yet you continue to imply that violence -- however we define it -- is typically introduced by demonstrators. Why is that, Robotslave?

I am providing cover for nobody. I have no anarchists, "peaceful" or otherwise.
Posted by Phil M http://https://twitter.com/pmocek on July 13, 2012 at 2:41 PM · Report this
87
@87

Right, then, Phil, name 'em.

List the non-anarchist-coopted, non-Occupy demonstrations where you've seen agitators playing push-of war with bicycle cops ("metal frames?" Really? You don't think anyone can figure out exactly what you're talking about there?).

List the non-anarchist-coopted, non-Occupy protests where the police used pepper spray (or "chemical agents," since you seem to need, for some curious reason, to at all costs avoid mentioning the fact that the chemical you're referring to is capsaicin).

Give us a list of the non-anarchist-coopted, non-Occupy civil disobedience Actions where the cops dragged anyone anywhere, never mind "into the street" (and while you're at it, please tell us how a police officer is supposed to politely and nonviolently arrest a thrashing, insult-spewing, and very much resisting person)

Put up or shut up, Phil. You are indeed providing cover for the smashists, and given the comprehensive and all-too-familiar rhetorical smokescreen you're trying to kick up, I am inclined to doubt you're doing it unknowingly.
Posted by robotslave on July 14, 2012 at 2:54 AM · Report this
88
@87: You're moving the goal posts. There have been numerous demonstrations in Seattle in the past year at which there was no interpersonal violence, no threat of such, no property damage, no report of such, until our police reacted violently. Off the top of my head come the demonstration outside Chase Bank on Broadway and the incident near 3rd and Pine at which police deployed their chemical agents on multiple people, including Dorli Rainey.

Our police definitely use their bicycles -- large metal frames -- for more than transportation. They're used as barricades, and they're used as weapons. "Chemical agents" is the terminology used in SPD's Policy and Procedures Manual.

Your misleading and inaccurate public statements provide cover for police misconduct.
Posted by Phil M http://https://twitter.com/pmocek on July 14, 2012 at 10:27 AM · Report this
89
@88 You can see an example of what Phil M considers police brutality here:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ye5PRgSin…

Skip to the 3:00 mark to see what it takes to get the SPD to deploy pepper spray.
Posted by Ken Mehlman on July 14, 2012 at 12:02 PM · Report this
90
@89, Ken Mehlman wrote, "You can see an example of what Phil M considers police brutality here"

@89: Ken, I have not used the phrase "police brutality" in this discussion. Please don't put words in my mouth.

The video to which you linked shows police beating with their bicycles some people who are standing on the sidewalk. Those people were not being particularly friendly, but they weren't violating any laws, and they certainly weren't threatening the safety of those heavily-armed police officers.

As I previously wrote, "At this protest, when a couple officers squeezed into a tight crowd and started shoving people around with large metal frames, then a third stepped in and used a chemical weapon against the peaceful, unarmed, demonstrators, there were no repercussions for any of them. There was no riot. There was no aggression aimed at other officers."

I've watched that mess in great detail, from multiple angles, multiple times. By any of the definitions of violence I've seen floating around, in that situation, the police were the first to engage in violence.

On CHS, I posted the following transcript of one of those videos:


People were demonstrating and/or observing peacefully when the police began battering them with bikes. Of course, it's generally unwise to push back when a cop shoves you, but if you're in a dense crowd of people and you're pushed, you're bound to spring back. Two police officers deployed chemical weapons at approximately seven unarmed, peaceful demonstrators.

Following is what is visible in the video:

0:04 - bike cops outside bank on sidewalk create bike barricades leaving clear route away from bank. People nearby watch and photograph
0:10 - demonstrator #1 (Hudson; brown sweater) escorted out by police officer
0:12 - demonstrator #2 (female, brown hair, gray sweatshirt) escorted out by police officer
0:13 - demonstrator #3 (female, blond hair, gray v-neck sweater) escorted out by police officer
0:16 - demonstrator #4 (male, brown crew cut hair, glasses, black sweatshirt) escorted out by police officer
0:18 - demonstrator #5 (Liam, black jacket, cap) escorted out by police officer
0:22 - observer follows police officer escorting demonstrator #5 and is yanked by another police officer back out of path of officers
0:27 - demonstrator #5 and accompanying officer turn left to head north on sidewalk
0:35 - path used by officers escorting demonstrators out is still clear; no apparent effort by observers to narrow the path
0:40 - camera moves position into street
0:45 - police van (23214 later visible on rear) in on-street parking is lined on passenger side and rear end with peple facing sidewalk, three next to it on driver side
0:53 - camera reaches front driver corner of van
0:54 - someone...lls for others to "surround the van." Van is already surrounded 180 degrees
1:03 - clear path to rear of van is seen
1:05 - demonstrator #4 enters van
1:09 - demonstrator #5 enters van
1:19 - two observers within one foot of rear of van, one holding phone, officer next to them at ease
1:20 - bald male police officer closes van driver-side rear door
1:22 - blonde female police officer closes van passenger-side rear door
1:26 - sound of hands thumping side of van heard
1:27 - camera pans across roof of van toward front
1:37 - male police officer with short dark receding hairline rounds rear driver corner of van, moves to front; observers step back to allow passage
1:39 - same for thin, younger police officer
1:40 - same for third officer, shorter, short dark hair
1:42 - camera moves to rear driver corner of van, turns toward front to reveal 4' of clearance next to van, three police officers near driver door
1:50 - camera moves backward, away from van, into street
1:53 - two commercial camera operators seen behind van; one moves off-camera northward
2:02 - camera is directly behind van, facing south in parking lane; observers watching, roughly 1/3 of them holding cameras/phones
2:05 - camera is on sidewalk facing van; approximately 20 observers in view, all standing still
2:09 - camera zooms in
2:10 - bike officer #1 (helmet, clear glasses) arranges bike at 45 degree angle, front pointed at front of van, next to observer in purple striped shirt, who is also facing front of van (two are perpendicular)
2:14 - bike officer #1 shoves side of man in purple striped shirt with bicycle; he moves without further reaction
2:16 - bike officer #1 shoves side of man again; may turns head left and says something; it's not apparent why officer is standing there (no path being cleared, line held, etc.)
2:26 - bike officer #1 sits bike on ground next to purple striped shirt man; bike officer #2 (helmet, dark glasses) stands with chest 4" from officer's back, second bike in between them
2:35 - officer #3 (buzz-cut dark hair; no glasses), ahead of #1 and #2, repeatedly shoves stationary observers curb-side
2:36 - camera adjusted to tight view with officers #1 and #2, #3 ahead of them, and purple striped shirt man
2:38 - bike officer #1 turns bike perpendicular to road and van, again pushing purple striped shirt man, who is still facing van;
2:43 - bike officer #1 raises his bike and sways, along with it, forward and back in tight crowd; no one else's arms are raised
2:44 - bike officers #1 and #2 push bikes into crowd; denim jacket observer is rear and street-side of purple striped shirt man; at least one observer (male black jacket, light brown hair, camera above head) is street side of the officers and bikes
2:46 - officer #4 (pattern-bald stubble head, dark glasses with white stripe on frame) begins assisting officer #2 pushing bike into crowd
2:47 - bike officer #2 raises bike higher than head and pushes it toward denim and purple; denim ducks to shoulder level, purple extends arm at head level toward bike
2:52 - officer #4 continues shoving upraised bike toward tight crowd; denim, purple, and a third in blue sweatshirt extend arms to protect from bike ramming at them, holding position while multiple people are 6-12" behind them; it's unclear what is street-side of officers pushing bike due to close camera
2:55 - observers hold position, countering force of officers against bikes, pushing bikes toward van, but not stepping in that direction, just reaching
2:58 - four observers countering pressure on bikes stumble about 1' forward as pressure is relieved
2:59 - observers release bike and are pushed back about 1'
3:00 - officer #4 reaches under bike to push observers
3:01 - bike still in air, officer pushes it 1' farther into crowd
3:04 - officer #4 continues pressing bike into crowd, reaching forward about 2' pressing top of bike; officer #2 turns left to look back, motions officer #5 (only arm seen at this point) in front of him and to right, curbside toward observers
3:06 - officer #5 deploys chemical weapon from red cannister across bicycles, turning it side to side to attack 3-4 observers, none of whom is among those who were resisting battering from other officers
3:12 - officer with cannister moves to rear of van; camera turns left to face officer, who picks up bike and
3:20 - camera turns right; bikes are on ground, observers stationary; purple, denim, and blue are out of view
3:28 - purple stripe's arm seen from right pointing at police to left
3:38 - bike officers still next to van, nobody using space they cleared and no observers attempting to breach the line
3:49 - camera moves to directly behind van; female observer steps in to photograph van occupants, bike officer guides her back; she does not resist
3:51 - commercial cameras visible 2' from driver side of van
3:58 - camera view turns slightly right; bike officer without bike walks perpendicular to bike line, past it into observers
4:03 - two bike officers hop bikes forward 1'
4:05 - bike officers move bikes steadily forward into crowd; nobody resists
4:15 - front bike officer backs up with bike so that man with yellow scarf facing street is sandwiched between two officers, both facing away from street (left to right: cop, bike, yellow scarf, cop, bike)
4:17 - man with yellow scarf is pushed into police officer by officer behind him, who backs streetward while facing away
4:18 - officer to right turns right, facing camera, reaches with right arm around yellow scarf man's neck, then removes arm and steps forward with bike, toward camera, hooks bike on tree and yanks
4:40 - yellow scarf repeatedly leans forward to speak to police, feet planted, arms lowered behind back
4:52 - camera turns to face rear of van, turns left
4:54 - three officers on driver side of van walk toward back; four observers 2' from them stand facing van
5:02 - on officer rounds rear of van with baton and waves it at observers
5:12 - camera pulls back; nobody except three officers within four feet of rear of van, most of passenger side, and at least rear 1/4 of driver side; crowd stationary
5:22 - camera moves left past parking lane into street, still facing rear of van
5:26 - van reverse warning signal is heard
l:29 - 4' border is seen on both sides and rear of van
5:31 - man with yellow scarf (can't tell if it's same as before) runs on sidewalk from middle to rear of van, passing man (with scarf covering from nose down, black beret, yellow backpack straps) who is facing street from sidewalk; officer #1 (ball cap and dark glasses) grabs the two and pulls them into the street, rotating clockwise
5:32 - officer #2 (short, dark complexion, dark flat-top hair) also grabs yellow scarf man, who falls to ground as #2 swings him, scarf falls off; he scoots under van's bumper perpendicular to rear; #2 backs away and motions van forward
5:40 - van begins to drive forward as #1 moves in and grabs man's left ankle, tugging at him as van continues forward; #2 grabs left pants pocket and pulls; van still moving forward; police do nothing to suggest that van should stop moving
5:44 - view of man and police tugging blocked by other observers
5:49 - man's legs again visible, on right with officers #1 and #2 tugging; van has stopped moving; five observers (1: black jacket with hood and khaki pants, 2: black jacket with yellow patch, 3: blue jacket with camp and camera held high, 4: black jacket, gray backpack, 5: gray jacket), are between camera and legs/police/van, 6' from officers tugging legs and 8' from van, stationary
5:51 - motorcycle officer moves sideways from near curb, shoving observers #2, then #1, backward, then turns left to shove observers on sidewalk backward; no order is issued to move before shoving
5:55 - man is disengaged from rear of van, which moves forward and turns left away from curb; officer #3 stands near his head
6:05 - officer #2 helps man stand up, then shoves him toward sidewalk
6:10 - man stumbles, facing van, shakes hand of officer #3; is patted on back by two observers
6:21 - man shakes officer #3's hand again, the two speak
6:31 - man walks away from van toward sidewalk
6:42 - van stationary and aimed 45 degrees counterclockwise of parallel to road
6:55 - camera moves left of van to partial view in front; 12 officers in view, standing calmly or moving slowly, roughly holding open space in front of van and to driver side; crowd nearby is sparse and stationary
7:21 - officer motions forward, van moves forward, then turns wheels right and reverses
7:42 - officers in front of van push observers away
7:52 - van is perpendicular to curb, sideways in road facing center; about 6 officers surrounding it, observers stationary or moving, none within 5' of van or moving toward it
8:00 - van turning left into northbound lane
8:04 - van moving slowly forward/northbound
8:07 - officer pats side of van, walking from front to back on driver side
8:10 - commercial camera blocks view of van
8:15 - van speeds away
8:26 - camera turns back southbound; road filled with people milling about; police making no effort to move them
9:20 - man in orange safety vest lunges toward police three times with arm upraised, is pushed backward by police and by other observers
9:40 - crowd begins walking southward
10:20 - police walk/bike southward, following crowd, asking those who lag behind to move out of street onto sidewalk
11:13 - demonstrators with signs next to bank door thank police officer
11:30 - road in front of bank is clear except for a few officers
11:41 - I'm visible standing on green trash can, camera above head, facing south toward people marching in road
11:48 - camera moves south
13:30 - southbound lanes half police, half demonstrators; some police push a few demonstrators, other demonstrators mill around among police without incident
13:40 - officer with red cannister enters view (male, short brown hair, dark glasses), walking 45 degrees clockwise of southbound, two feet from outer stripe of center turn lane
13:42 - officer rotates left, then back right; approx 10 demonstrators link arms in semi-circle south of him
13:45 - officer deploys chemical weapon to his right, southbound, while looking to left, then turns can to left and sprays in front of him, to right and sprays third time; nobody attacked by this officer is advancing on him, displaying any weapon, or indicating any physical threat
13:51 - attacking officer turns, faces directly at short, dark complected officer who tugged on man under van who looks at him and waves hand at him, then steps around a bike and walks a few paces northbound
14:24 - crowd moves northbound, police back away; more people pour into street
14:50 - crowd continues slowly northbound, carrying signs and chanting, police continue backing away
15:03 - camera facing northeast toward Julia's restaurant
15:05 - camera moves north, turns southbound, captures officer telling man "either get out of the street or get arrested"; man moves backward toward west sidewalk; officer gives thumbs-up and says, "excellent answer"
16:05 - camera rotates right to left and back from NW corner; intersection is empty; line of police facing south separate crowd from intersection
17:03 - camera turns north to reveal five motorcycle officers on cycles facing south
18:15 - camera still at NW corner of intersection; people sporadically walk across in northern crosswalk or in intersection, behind police who are still facing southbound at most of the crowd
18:24 - video ends


Note, also, that a jury later found that the people who were being loaded into the police van in that video were not guilty of that of which they were accused.
More...
Posted by Phil M http://https://twitter.com/pmocek on July 14, 2012 at 4:44 PM · Report this
91
@90 "The video to which you linked shows police beating with their bicycles some people who are standing on the sidewalk. Those people were not being particularly friendly, but they weren't violating any laws, and they certainly weren't threatening the safety of those heavily-armed police officers."

They weren't violating any laws? I'm not familiar with the relevant Washington state statutes but I'm fairly sure they were committing some kind of a crime. Disorderly conduct, interfering with police activity, something like that.
Posted by Ken Mehlman on July 14, 2012 at 9:48 PM · Report this
92
@91: Riiiiight, Ken. Because if someone's lawful activity annoys police officers, they're surely going to concoct a story of that person doing something wrong. It's happened to me, and I've seen it happen to other people.

In this case -- in the video you presented as evidence of my misunderstanding of a term I never used in this discussion -- police stepped in, started shoving people into other people, then brought out their chemical weapons. And your response is that you're pretty sure those people must have been doing something wrong, like "[D]isorderly conduct, interfering with police activity, something like that."

I don't believe there was any unlawful activity happening before the hot-heads in blue once again blew their tops. But for the sake of discussion, let's assume that your best guess as to the reasoning for this use of force is accurate. Do you believe that being disorderly in the middle of a political demonstration is a crime so serious that deployment of chemical weapons is a reasonable method to quell the disorder? Is interfering with police activity by standing with one's hands at one's sides, sandwiched between a street full of cops and a crowd of other people six persons deep interference of the sort that warrants on-the-spot, extrajudicial, punishment of assault and battery?

We know our police use force in an unconstitutional manner 20% of the time they use it. Why is it so hard for you to accept that this was one of those incidents? They happen *all the time*. SPD staff are completely out of control, and neither McGinn nor Diaz is doing a damned thing about it besides trying to provide cover for their misconduct.
Posted by Phil M http://https://twitter.com/pmocek on July 15, 2012 at 10:36 AM · Report this
93
@92 "Do you believe that being disorderly in the middle of a political demonstration is a crime so serious that deployment of chemical weapons is a reasonable method to quell the disorder?"

I think that when a group of officers is being assaulted by a disorderly mob, that the use of pepper spray is appropriate. There may be some problems at SPD, but the fact of the matter is that they have demonstrated incredible restraint when dealing with occupy protestors.
Posted by Ken Mehlman on July 15, 2012 at 5:14 PM · Report this
94
@93, Ken Mehlman wrote, "I think that when a group of officers is being assaulted by a disorderly mob, that the use of pepper spray is appropriate."

I'm not sure if I agree or not, but it's irrelevant to these discussions about situations in which no such assault occurred prior to the police officers using the force described in this discussion.

You didn't answer my questions. Your two best guesses at what those people who were the victims of mild beatings and use of chemical weapons by police were that they were being disorderly or that they interfering with police activity. Do you believe that being disorderly in the middle of a political demonstration is a crime so serious that deployment of chemical weapons is a reasonable method to quell the disorder? Is interfering with police activity by standing with one's hands at one's sides, sandwiched between a street full of cops and a crowd of other people six persons deep interference of the sort that warrants on-the-spot, extrajudicial, punishment of assault and battery?
Posted by Phil M http://https://twitter.com/pmocek on July 15, 2012 at 8:22 PM · Report this
95
@94 In my opinion the behavior of the demonstrators shown at around the 3:00 mark of video I posted @89 is ample justification for the use of pepper spray. I suspect that Washington state law would classify the demonstrators actions as an assault on police officers, but I don't know. As to whether pepper spray should be used to disperse a disorderly mob that hasn't done anything violent yet? I don't know. That depends on the situation. How many cops are present? How many rioters? What's likely to happen if their activities are allowed to continue unchecked?
Posted by Ken Mehlman on July 15, 2012 at 8:54 PM · Report this
96
@95: Ken, how would you describe the behavior at the 3:00 mark? That's the section I described from a different video of the same incident as follows (excerpted from my comment @90):

2:10 - bike officer #1 (helmet, clear glasses) arranges bike at 45 degree angle, front pointed at front of van, next to observer in purple striped shirt, who is also facing front of van (two are perpendicular)
2:14 - bike officer #1 shoves side of man in purple striped shirt with bicycle; he moves without further reaction
2:16 - bike officer #1 shoves side of man again; may turns head left and says something; it's not apparent why officer is standing there (no path being cleared, line held, etc.)
2:26 - bike officer #1 sits bike on ground next to purple striped shirt man; bike officer #2 (helmet, dark glasses) stands with chest 4" from officer's back, second bike in between them
2:35 - officer #3 (buzz-cut dark hair; no glasses), ahead of #1 and #2, repeatedly shoves stationary observers curb-side
2:36 - camera adjusted to tight view with officers #1 and #2, #3 ahead of them, and purple striped shirt man
2:38 - bike officer #1 turns bike perpendicular to road and van, again pushing purple striped shirt man, who is still facing van;
2:43 - bike officer #1 raises his bike and sways, along with it, forward and back in tight crowd; no one else's arms are raised
2:44 - bike officers #1 and #2 push bikes into crowd; denim jacket observer is rear and street-side of purple striped shirt man; at least one observer (male black jacket, light brown hair, camera above head) is street side of the officers and bikes
2:46 - officer #4 (pattern-bald stubble head, dark glasses with white stripe on frame) begins assisting officer #2 pushing bike into crowd
2:47 - bike officer #2 raises bike higher than head and pushes it toward denim and purple; denim ducks to shoulder level, purple extends arm at head level toward bike
2:52 - officer #4 continues shoving upraised bike toward tight crowd; denim, purple, and a third in blue sweatshirt extend arms to protect from bike ramming at them, holding position while multiple people are 6-12" behind them; it's unclear what is street-side of officers pushing bike due to close camera
2:55 - observers hold position, countering force of officers against bikes, pushing bikes toward van, but not stepping in that direction, just reaching
2:58 - four observers countering pressure on bikes stumble about 1' forward as pressure is relieved
2:59 - observers release bike and are pushed back about 1'
3:00 - officer #4 reaches under bike to push observers
3:01 - bike still in air, officer pushes it 1' farther into crowd
3:04 - officer #4 continues pressing bike into crowd, reaching forward about 2' pressing top of bike; officer #2 turns left to look back, motions officer #5 (only arm seen at this point) in front of him and to right, curbside toward observers
3:06 - officer #5 deploys chemical weapon from red cannister across bicycles, turning it side to side to attack 3-4 observers, none of whom is among those who were resisting battering from other officers
More...
Posted by Phil M http://https://twitter.com/pmocek on July 16, 2012 at 12:04 PM · Report this
97
Ken, is the behavior seen at 3:00 any less orderly than that of the the thousands of rowdy people who pour out of the stadium after a football game? Does disorderly behavior warrant the deployment of chemical agents only if it comes as part of a political demonstration?
Posted by Phil M http://https://twitter.com/pmocek on July 17, 2012 at 8:11 AM · Report this
98
@97 If a group of rowdy sports fans responded to the cops pushing them away from a police vehicle by shoving back, you can bet your ass they would get pepper sprayed. Politics has nothing to do with it.
Posted by Ken Mehlman on July 17, 2012 at 11:31 PM · Report this
99
@98: You're moving the goal posts. You said that you guessed the reasoning for the assault and battery of those people must have been that they were violating some law. Now you're saying that them simply holding their ground in that situation was justification for some of the abuse. This is like arresting someone for resisting arrest.

They shoved their way into a crowd, began shoving people who were on the sidewalk observing their actions into other people who were on the sidewalk. 52 seconds later, the red-headed cop (whom I have on video wearing two different badge numbers that day) deployed OC spray, turning the weapon side to side to attack three or four observers, none of whom was among those who were holding their ground in response to the initial battering.

The DOJ found that these guys' use of force is unconstitutional one in five times. I suspect the percentage is higher in incidents in which their egos were threatened. It would be very interesting to examine the situations in which force was used by SPD staff after the victim disregarded the issuance of an order that was not based in law.
Posted by Phil M http://https://twitter.com/pmocek on July 18, 2012 at 7:57 AM · Report this
100
@99 I'm saying that the fact that the crowd was behaving in an aggressive and disorderly manner and disregarded repeated orders to move back justified the decision by the cops to use their bicycles to push back the demonstrators. When the demonstrators pushed back against the cops, that justified the escalation of force to the use pepper spray. If the demonstrators had not been shouting, shoving, and banging on a police vehicle the decision to push them back using the bicycles would have been harder to justify.
Posted by Ken Mehlman on July 18, 2012 at 8:47 AM · Report this

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