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NY Cops Discover the Other Side of Oppression

The police in NYC are engaged in a heated labor dispute with the mayor and other city officials over what they perceive to be unfair wages. Aside from the obvious logistical implications for the upcoming RNC, this is having some other interesting side effects.
As I listened to several NYC cops complaining about the intimidating and unconstitutional strongarm tactics being used to prevent them from effectively protesting unfair labor conditions, my first impulse was just to laugh. "Look at them," groused one cop. "They're blocking the whole street off, not letting us go by. What's next...protest pens?"

Could he be serious? Where has he been for the past few years? Protest pens are not "next," they're yesterday's news. He should know. He and his fellow officers have been standing guard at their gates. Another cop complained vigorously that the "tech" squad was blatantly intimidating him and his brothers-in-arms by videotaping their protest. Several others were equally outraged that American citizens engaged in a lawful assembly in the streets of their city were being videotaped and harassed by other officers and by NYC internal affairs.

Officers have been pointedly following the mayor of NY for weeks in an effort to bring attention to their cause. From disrupting public appearances to home demos at the mayor's abode, they have been quite active. Lately, though, the mayor has grown tired of their attentions and has pulled a page out of bush's book. He called out the troops to keep the rabble at arm's length. This seems like dirty pool to a lot of protesting cops. How, after all, are they to be effective in their protests if no one can hear them? They're being denied their first amendment right to assemble, to exercise free speech, to petition their government for redress of their grievances. Not only that, but the playing field is hardly even. The mayor, being a rich and powerful individual, is easily able to keep from being inconvenienced by their noises. Unlike the average American, he can use the apparatus of the state to effect his will.

The cops are left feeling angry and disempowered in the face of all this. Who can blame them. There's nothing like believing you're being wronged but not being able to make yourself heard. Inevitably, some officers begin to suspect that the peaceful raising of their voices is not enough. It's not working, because the mayor is deaf to them and he has the power to keep the rest of the city equally deaf. He has, and is using, the city's vast resources to keep the demonstrating officers blocked off, hemmed in, under control, and invisible.

Yes, my first reaction was to laugh at the irony. My second impulse was anger. Anger that they should have the nerve to complain to us. As the corporate police state has grown out of control all around us, these robotic minions have bludgeoned and "contained" all dissent. They have videotaped, harassed, beaten, intimidated, arrested, and abused the rest of us in the streets for years now. It has been open season on the people, and they have been relentless and blatant in their attacks upon their own neighbors. We were, after all, "the rabble." No matter what we were fighting for, we must have been in the wrong because their masters said so.

It has been their actions that have allowed this nation to descend into the lowest depths of fascism, their actions that prop up this crumbling empire from within. Without robo cops like those facing us in towns from NYC to Kansas City to Portland, bushCo would never have survived to perpetrate the kind of crimes against humanity the whole world is now reeling under. We have been out there fighting this evil, struggling for a cause we believe in heart and soul, and they have been attacking us with whole arsenals and all manner of violence. They normalized the concept of slash and burn oppression against American citizens. And now, not for ideals, but for mere money, they expect to be able to go out and exercise any of the rights they themselves helped the fascist regime to take away from all Americans? How fucking naive.

To paraphrase the Reverend Martin Niemoller:
"First they came for the anarchists, but I was a cop, so I helped them take them down. Then they came for the peace protestors, but I was a cop, so I pepper sprayed their babies. Then they came for the Black people, but I was a cop, so I shot them in their backs. Then they came for the Muslims and the trade unionists, but I was a cop so I tazed and arrested them. And then they came for me. But I was a cop, so I couldn't figure out why no one was there to stand up for me."

Yes, once again I have the opportunity to point out, it's all well and good until the jack boots show up at your door. And they will. Sooner or later, they always do. And then you wish you had been paying attention. Perhaps the PPB will remember this lesson and start standing with their neighbors rather than their masters.
well put.. 26.Aug.2004 01:14


i just wanted to say thanks for the great article. I especially enjoyed the paraphrasing. I'm writing your interpretation of that over-used quote in my little book, Catwoman. It's worth remembering.

distance 26.Aug.2004 03:01

sean scullion

It just goes to show that the cops see the movement for social justice as completely foreign to them. They feel no solidarity and feel no affinity with what we are trying to do. They have had filthy government propaganda pumped down their throat for such a long time that they don't even recognise that we have complaints about the very same thing they do. The cops have had it programmed into their brain that "social justice protestor = violent angry anarchist who must be stopped". Funny. time to reflect. They don't even realise you are trying to make the world a better place.

This is the time for outreach! Surely there are unionists who are reading this? I call on you unionists to make contact with the police union and to do all you can to reach a hand out in solidarity; to do all you can to outreach to these police. At the end of the day, the cops economic and social standing is more on a par with you than with the greedy corporates they will be violently defending in a few days time.

In theory, anyway 26.Aug.2004 07:10

solidarity, that is.

Yes, one of my first thoughts at this was solidarity. If they had stood with us instead of standing with their masters, they would not be experiencing what they have now wrought. But they did not.

Yes, they have much more in common with us than they do with those they really serve. We are their neighbors, their family members, the people of their community. And yet they serve the interests of the corporate elite. Foolish. Very foolish. They don't see it. So yes, I thought about reaching out a hand in solidarity, but it's difficult to do at this point. I've seen them do such outrageous things to people that I find I just want to beat them with sticks. Seriously. I grit my teeth as I write this, because I can almost feel the hatred I've felt as I watched them ridiculously advancing on my friends, laughing while they pepper sprayed us. It nearly chokes me when I think of officers callously gunning down Jahar Perez, Kendra James, Jose Mejia Poot, and then getting medals for it.

"They" can be a dangerous word, of course. Not all of "them" are the same entity. Like anyone else, they're all different human beings. But by choosing to wear that uniform and do the dirty work of the empire, they are demonstrating their intentions. They are not on the side of the people so long as they bring guns and ammunition to demonstrations, so long as they patrol African American neighborhoods at night and pull out guns during traffic stops.

No, I can't feel much desire to extend a hand to them now. Remember too, that the PPB's union is a sick and twisted thing, a mockery of a real trade union, that justifies the murder of unarmed citizens by hopped up pigs high on their own testosterone.

Solidarity would be a nice thing...in theory. If we, all of us, could stand together in the face of the beast that's brewing in our midst, we would surely be much stronger. The struggle against it would be easier without also always having to struggle against misguided dumbass cops who still inexplicably think they're the "good guys." So it would be greeat if someone could, in fact, do some outreach there. But I leave that task to someone stronger than I am, as I am consumed with so much rage at them I can't bring myself to even look at a pig right now.

Thanks CatWoman 26.Aug.2004 09:53


Great article.

The irony of cops asking for relief from the same oppression that they have inflicted on the people is so strong I simply shake my head. Maybe they will make the obvious connection that they are naturally allied with their neighbors but they probably won't. It's no accident that the brainpoisoned minions of the corporate state can't see their true ties are to their neighbors rather than to their masters. They are selected for their minimal intelligence and willingness to conform. Still, maybe their greed for a decent wage will open their eyes to the true solidarity they naturally have with the people. We can only hope.

To PPB 26.Aug.2004 10:01

PPBCopwatcher PPBCopwatcher@yahoo.com

"Look at them," groused one cop. "They're blocking the whole street off, not letting us go by. What's next...protest pens?"

Get a clue! Do your job and start protecting the people, the U.S. Constitution and the Bill of Rights, or you too will find yourself thrown into a protest pen, or worse, one the lovely concentration camps our government has installed all over the country.

I find it very amusing and quit contradictory, since many PPB officers say they Christians. Perhaps they haven't read Revelations recently...the One World Government IS coming, and YOU will be its ENFORCERS.

Perhaps prior to that time, you will come to your senses and realize what you are doing to the people...and to yourselves...if it's not too late, that is.

Too Bad 26.Aug.2004 10:28

Pastor M

Too bad they arent getting the full protestor expirience. I hope sooner or later these pigs get tazed and gassed and pepper sprayed. That seems to be what it would take for them to feel anything remotly like sympathy. Reap what you sow boys...reap what you sow.

Not sure if it's possible, but... 26.Aug.2004 10:28


I'm going to side for the cause of solidarity. I have long believed in the need to have respect for the police, despite the obvious transgresses of police officers, and the real threat to democracy that a police state represents. I believe police officers should be servants of the public good, and that they frequently do serve this role. And while this role only exists within the context of a nation state -- where there is a need for delegated authority and control -- the U.S. is a state right now. Anarchy -- especially a benevolent anarchy that most anarchists desire -- is a long way off. In the meantime, I firmly believe in reconstructing existing institutions to be more democratic. If we can do this in ways that are transformative for the people involved, all the better.

I think now is the perfect time to reach out to these officers, even if we have been angry with them in the past, to show them that we're not a faceless mask of anarchistic rage (not to say that we're not anarchists, or that anarchism is synonymous with rage, but I think this is the general public perception) and that the social justice movement cares about...social justice. If we say we care about the rights of people to unionize, to have fair wages, benefits, and working conditions, and that they should have the right to demonstrate their grievances, then we should be on the side of the officers. If we have secured their friendship on the picket lines, they are less likely to beat us in our marches.

You deny the right of the NY pigs to discover their oppression 26.Aug.2004 10:41


The oppressed suffer from the duality which has established itself in their innermost being. [...] They are at one and the same time themselves and the oppressor whose consciousness they have internalized. [...]

The central problem is this : How can the oppressed, as divided, inauthentic beings, participate in developing the pedagogy of their liberation? Only as they discover themselves to be 'hosts' of the oppressor can they contribute to the midwifery of their liberating pedagogy. As long as they live in the duality in which _to_be_ is _to_be_like_, and _to_be_like_ is _to_be_like_the_oppressor_, this contribution is impossible. The pedagogy of the oppressed is an instrument for their critical discovery that both they and their oppressors are manifestations of dehumanization.

-- Paulo Freire

The greatest ally of the oppressor is the mind of the oppressed.

-- Steve Biko

Politics of Exclusion 26.Aug.2004 11:03


Barbarians aren't us.
Saracens aren't us.
Redskins aren't us.
Hunkies aren't us.
Kikes aren't us.
Niggers aren't us.
Wetbacks aren't us.
Bourgeoisie aren't us.
Pigs aren't us.

rude awakening 26.Aug.2004 14:19


Could this experience make the officers more aware of what they are doing to their fellow citizens? We can always hope. Thank you for the beautifully written article. Now let's hope for enlightenment in the ranks.

Margie 26.Aug.2004 16:09


Margie, you mean, "Now let's hope for enlightenment in _our_ ranks." Right?

to - 26.Aug.2004 16:57


Now that you mention it, that is also what I meant.

politics of reality 26.Aug.2004 20:40

pigs AREN'T us -- who the fuck are you?

Anybody who's ever had a police weapon pointed at his head should be able to explain to you that it doesn't fire in both directions. You grovel or die; he goes home and cashes his paycheck.

Not to mention 26.Aug.2004 22:43

Not us.

Those NY cops already make quite a lot of money. Forty thou starting salary... so what are they striking for?

Margie 26.Aug.2004 22:56


"also"... agreed!

Reality of Politics 26.Aug.2004 23:02


If you insist on grovelling at the killing end of a weapon,
satisfying though that may be,
you will surely die.

Congratulations 27.Aug.2004 08:28

Juan Orozco from FM NOTICIAS 97.3 (Margarita Island) loquepiensalagente@fmnoticias.con

When ones reads such a valiant article like yours. Restoration of confidence and hope for Human Kind occurs. Glad to see that this kind of journalism is carried in such important nedia as yours.

mister period 28.Aug.2004 19:12


You shit-eating liberal crap artist.

Yeah, I put my hands over my head when they told me to, and I walked where they told me to, and I kept my mouth shut, and that's why I'm here to tell you about it. That's fucking groveling in my book, and I'm neither proud nor ashamed of it. If you'd ever been in the same situation (it's happened to me twice) and ever reacted in any other way you wouldn't be here preaching your condescending mystical shit. Fuck you.

Hmmm? 04.Sep.2004 22:25


Oooo. Someone missed a dose of thorazine on the 28th.

Yeh, those hallucinations and brain burps really can be scary, can't they "." ? Take a deeeep breath, call your sponsor, and don't make any sudden moves. Probably, don't read anything above a 4th grade level for awhile either. It's all very confusing for you, I know. I can see your frustrated. It's really hard when other people are communicating and you just can't understand what they're saying, isn't it. That's cool. Now, just take a nice, long nap and settle down. There. Isn't that better?