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reflections: cops in NYC and a neat tactic

Just got home from NYC
Hey I just got home from NYC and wanted to throw in a bit of what I noticed.

Specifically regarding the cop presence ...On August 29 with half a million people jammed into major streets surrounding madison square garden the police were fairly laid back and all dressed in their *blues*. This resulted in people in the streets having actual conversations with them and inquiring after their contracts, etc. I did see a handful of cops with riot helmets on that you could clearly see their face through, but that was just a hat paired with the policeman blue cloth outfit. Aside from my affinity for fashion, the reason I post this is to underscore the fact that police systematically escalate reactions ("violence") from protestors at Portland events by dressing up in their full body, no skin showing, storm trooper riot outfits. It was startling for me to talk to cops and have them respond like humans during a protest. We are so completely getting fucked by the robo-cop routine they pull here in portland. We bring what? 500? a 1,000? people to a protest here and you're lucky if the officer is wearing his badge number on top of his thick black padded chest.

Tactic:This is super simple but it was one of the most effective things I saw at the RNC, People would mingle in the throngs of pedestrians at Times Square where a ton of delegates were walking around catching dinner or a play. In pairs, and sometimes with a camcorder, would simply walk up to the delegates and **calmly** and very **firmly** say things like "You are not welcome here and you need to leave. New York doesn't want you, this city is against you." etc. The delegates that I observed, faced with such calm and very personal confrontation just shut down in shock, stuttered, were basically floored with discomfort. Whereas when they walked into plays through rows of people chanting in unison they looked irritated or enraged but were able to tune us out or explain us away as "those people". The interpersonal confrontation was just rad. File for reference.
Thanks for the post 01.Sep.2004 19:58


How does an antibody work, from within. Good tactic report. I'm not someone who beleives that working within the system works but blending at times has its place. After a while they won't know who to trust. Like Cointelpro in reverse.

Riot Cops and Full Gear 04.Sep.2004 08:38


I was happy to see you comments about the interactions with the police. I have always been the one to quickly remind people of the fact that police in uniform on duty are not "just people", they're are there to do a job and given an order will do whatever it takes to protect US imperialism. However in NYC I was shocked at the behavior of most of the cops, they actually looked at me. responded, joked .. and a good majority didn't wear sunglasses to hide their humanity behind. It shifted things in many many ways for me. I felt safer, I felt less fear and anger...like I feel in the Bay Area ..when the heartless storm troopers march in.
I was talking with a liberal" person who had talked about how its always a few 100 of those violent kids in SanFranciso that ruin everything...and I said, "those same people are here in NYC, but have yet to felt invoked to fight back." If the cops had played hard ball with their gear and attitude I have no doubt that NYC would have gotten way more trashed and we would have fought them in reaction to the fascism and state oppression that they represent .... but because it we were actually able to de-escalate the fear on both sides things stayed a lot calmer then I had imagined they would. It really is a strong example of how the cops perpetuate the violence when they silence the people.
To my understanding all of the marches (maybe not the Sunday United for Peace and Justice) were unpermitted. When given the chance people can march down the street and nothing "violent" will occur. The only violence that I saw was after a first strike by a cop; a barricade, a net, a blockade, riot cops, bringing in guns, pepper spray..etc. Then things got a bit nasty and people got hurt for doing nothing. I saw an event where 17 people were arrested and over 1000 (no joke) cops where there arresting them, holding the space, choppers above. This was a small march (100-200) on August 31st that tried to walk a few blocks but was quickly pounced by the pigs and this was the worst treatment of people I saw all week. Why? Because the cops came running in with ammo and riot gear and bikes and nets and scooters..so we started running , so they started running...and the fear on both sides go so high that the cops had a freak out session over nothing and innocent people got hurt and taken to jail for over 2 days. Including four people that were not even protesting. Everything would have been different if the cops didn't run and lunge at us of carry such heavy arsenal. We would have walked they would have walked and I do not think people would have been attacked the way that they were. I also think that NYC had to give people a show when ever possible to let people know that the 50 million dollars the city spent was not going to waste ( which it did)
We need serious direct action training on: How to do a break away march and Busting though riot cop lines/barricades. No more of this lock arm in front of a barricade or sit down. We got to get ourselves out!! Cuz its not that hard, its just getting over the fear.
I think that if things had gotten more wild on the streets there would have been more international news reports about the week of resistance and action in NYC against the Republican National Convention and George Bushes agenda. News however may not always be the main goal. There was enough coverage to show the world that many of us are opposed to W and there were so many thins going on in NYC that was leaving it a better place after we left than it was before. People worked on gardens and many other local projects. People are talking about anarchy and all of the wonderful debates that come with dialogue. Friendships were made across political ideology. There were many different ages, colors, classes, faces, abilities in the actions and crowds...there were many more calls for revolution and systemic change than there were for "vote Kerry". The issue has turned away from arguing over if we should or shouldn't vote and it has turned into to how do we create mutual aid and take care of our people cuz it obvious that the government is not going to help of listen to the peoples needs.
Over all this mobilization felt good. There was time for relaxation and down time There was working on local projects and being inspired to continue in the struggle based on the inspirational stories of projects happening in communities all over the US. There is more talk of anarchism now than there has been since the 1900's when anarchist were banned from living in many of the 50 states and forced to go under ground. Anarchist are being seen as active and important pieses of our current political landscape.

Lastly -The people of NYC are AMAZING.
They gave us; FREE- housing, water, food, cab rides, subway rides, bikes and entertainment.

I am still digesting this last month on the East coast and I am sure ill come up with more thoughts as time rides on.....

Love and Struggle -

NYPD tactics 09.Sep.2004 14:08


hey. so i agree that the police were acting very calm on the streets at these protests for the most part. but i would like folks to keep in mind that the police in nyc are not normally like that. an image of nice cops should not be the image you have of new york. cops showing their humanity and having the ability to interact with them on that level is great, but please keep in mind that this was a *tactic*. we have seen more than our fair share of riot police thugs at protests in new york. not to mention the amount of police violence on a day to day basis that poor folks and people of color have to endure. on february 15 the cops were insanely brutal. a lot of people got attacked and really hurt. cops were charging into crowds of people that don't normally get exposed to this. and it taught a lot of people a lesson. it got a ton of coverage in mainstream media, at least in new york, it radicalized a lot of folks in new york, and it apparently taught the cops something too. i am not sure exactly what was going on with the police, but i think it was "pre-emptive de-escalation" so the media could downplay the protests. let us not forget, however, that although there were not a lot of street battles, there was still a lot of state violence. i personally saw four people leave in ambulances from areas where cops were making mass arrests. two were unconscious. also, about 2000 people were arrested over all, an act which i consider violent in and of itself. then, those people were held in an old pier covered with diesel stains and fumes, asbestos and other really nasty shit. many were held for excessive hours. some without access to bathrooms or water. people were leaving there with all sorts of skin conditions and eye irritations. the city was found in contempt of court and still didn't let everyone out in a timely fassion. let's appreciate the minimal amount of a physical police state at the rnc protests, but let's not put forth an image of new york police being sweethearts. they were still able to quell the protests and stifle our attempts at any serious direct action. the state still flexed its muscles. its oppression just took on a surprising form. let's learn what we can from this and stay one step a head of them for next time.

peace and revolution.