Critical Mass Arrestee Report-Back
this is copied from an open letter to jaysun on the original critical mass report-back post.
Hey, I'm pAx, the kid with the mohawk who was arrested at critical mass.
It feels like when I told the cop to fuck off, you saw that as a hostile act on my part, without stopping to analyse the circustances surrounding it.
My comrade has mentioned to some people that in other towns they use critical mass as a way to make a real statement to cars, saying "we're entitled to a full lane and we're going to use that right" (some of us in this town are tired of being the peeons of cars, getting run off the road and such) There was a pig behind him when he said that, and that pig almost knocked over several people racing ahead to threaten my comrade and tell him that he was after him. I biked ahead to let that cop know that my comrade was not the only one who felt that way. I said my piece angrily, but that's because I feel anger toward that cop. That cop wishes to hurt me and my friends in the name of defending capitalism. He was trying to be sneaky by whispering to him and that's not consistent with a transparent government. It's part of their stupid jock masculenity complex.
So he tucked his tail between his legs and rode on, following us ever-so-closely... as he promised. A few blocks later we came to a red light. We didn't "run" the red light. We, in fact, took a right turn on a red light, making sure to stop first. The cop told us we had ran a red light and were being ticketed. We told him that a right turn on red is legal. That aggravated him, and he said to another cop "I think we've isolated the problem" and he rammed his tire into another comrade's front wheel. Knocking her to the ground. He dragged her to the sidewalk grabbing her by her neck. Her husband rushed over there, clearly distraught. He was sort of in the cop's face, but by no means attacking him. I went over there, yelling at the cop to quit (logistically a good idea? no. a rational response by anyone with a heart that beats and a conscience worth listening to? yes.) As soon as another cop showed up, he jumped on my back. The moment I was touched by the cop I fell to the ground and went limp. I made a point to tell him "i'm going limp. I'm not resisting. I choose not to self-arrest" (true to most people's assumptions, this wasn't my first time in this scenario).
So, now i'm being charged with Disorderly Conduct II (class C misdomener), Failure to obey a traffic signal (violation), Resisting Arrest (Class A misdomener), and interfering with the actions of a police officer (unsure).
So, that's the story. Onto a personal note:
I don't presume to know your experience with Critical Mass, but I've been massing on and off for three years and I've seen contact with police, positive and negative ebb and flow with the years, but for the most part the police have been the enemies of Critical Mass, trying to shut us down or herd us into parts of town where we're invisible. Back in the day, the police stayed away from us while we were gathering, knowing that this was not their event, as they're the guard-dogs of capitalism and cyclists/bike punks were a threat to global military capitalism. Sure, we got our asses kicked every once in a while, but we had some fucking backbone and we had some fucking solidarity. There was an understanding that there were pigs and there were cyclists and their interests were the opposite. We come from many diverse backgrounds, but the fact is, we're all bicyclists, and if we can't support one another when we're under attack, we're not worth shit.
I've only ridden mass in another town once, and it was before portland-mass became the cop-justifying liberals they're known known as nation-wide... but I'm told in other towns they still have mutual respect and solidarity, and know how to show cars that we're not going to be herded into a bike lane, we're not going to be cut off, and we're not going to let the pigs co-opt our movement for their own good-press.
On a side-note, the ones I see justifying the cops behaviors are usually the bike-jocks wearing the spandex with logos, which usually are yellow and black... the same colors as the cops. Coincidence? Probobally. But I would never wear the yellow and black bicycling. "I am a revolutionary and you are going to have to keep on saying that. You going to have to say I am a proletariat. I am the people. I am not the pig." Fred Hampton
Are you a bicyclist, or are you a pig? Do you support making your presence known, as the critical mass motto proclaims, or do you support the suppression of the bicyclist-rights movement. Do you support the system the punishes bicyclists for the unsafe behavior of cars? If so, you're a pig and you have no place at critical mass.
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