KBOO, Joanne, NWCRC... Care to Comment?
I was listening to KBOO this morning as I got ready for work. And an otherwise interesting and laudable report was marred by a caller named "Will." He said he was a friend of Joanne Bowman, and he went on for a long time about himself. And then... here is what happened.
The report was about the inability of the "Independent" Police Review Board to actually get in there and do its job. Lots of interesting facts came out about how the IPR allows the police to investigate their own misconduct, and how there has never been a single substantiation of a citizen complaint regarding PPB's use of force during the entire reign of this IRB's tenure. People were calling in about Kendra James and other citizens who were killed by police officers who were later exonerated in false "investigations." I was riveted to the radio when Alejandro Queral, the director of the Northwest Constitutional Rights Center spoke up about the failure of the IPR to hold the police accountable for their violence. Couldn't that failure be attributable to the fact that the police are allowed to investigate themselves, he asked the IPR person. No, she replied. There was a pause, and then a polite but understandably flabbergasted Alejandro asked her to please explain how that could be. And she coughed and spluttered, and could not find a reasonable answer.
I wanted to hear a lot more about all this, but suddenly the flow of conversation was interrupted by a caller. I thought it would be an inciteful addition to the subject at hand, as other calls had been. But no. This man came on and importantly introduced himself as "Will, your fellow activist." He then went on for nearly 5 full minutes about... himself! He talked and talked and talked about things that had nothing to do with the subject at hand, derailing the whole flow. And then, incredibly, he went off about anarchists. Or, as I believe he called them, "so-called anarchists." He referred to them as "adolescents," as "agent provocateurs," and as "people dressed like it's halloween." (Oh, you mean like aging hippies in tie-dye? Oh, no wait. That would probably be Will.) He was mostly angry that he wasn't getting enough airplay on TV. He said that he and his cronies are out there "trying to stop a war," and indicated that the people dressed in black are getting too damn much attention to suit him. Then he said that these anarchists are "doing exactly what Bush and Cheney want them to do." (God, what a sad, tired, clueless old line.) He actually had the gall to accuse the black bloc of "staging" altercations with the police, and of being in league with them. That's right, this dumbass sat there on community radio, laying a false jacket on comrades, and Joanne and Alejandro sat there and let him do it. Neither interrupted him, neither challenged him at all.
I couldn't believe my ears. I suppose it didn't surprise me too much coming from Joanne, whom I have grown fond of despite her inability to challenge the liberal death grip on her mind. But Alejandro, why? Why didn't you say something? The NWCRC has always come to the aid of anarchists and others who were brutalized by the police. They stand out there, shoulder to shoulder with us in the streets. Their legal observers are beaten and pepper sprayed right along with us. They have mountains of video tape depicting police brutality against radical activists. They KNOW who we are. They KNOW the truth. Why, Alejandro, did you not speak up? Were you too shy? Was it because Joanne kept cutting you off? Was it because this Will person seemed so far afield of anything anyone had been talking about before that he seemed irrelevant?
This was not the kind of thing to just let pass like that.
Please, NWCRC, and KBOO, please speak out against this kind of baiting, this laying of false jackets. This man sat there and accused people of bringing police violence upon themselves. Not only that, but he actually accused them of "staging" this violence. People who have been beaten and traumatized for their political beliefs. For standing up for what they believe in, for what is right. How could you let this man get away with saying that, without so much as a soft rebuttal? Joanne and Alejandro, I love you both. You both do outstanding work in the community. So please, speak up and let people know that you do not support anything that Will said this morning.
This "Will" person went on to complain, at great length, about how the anarchists (radicals?) "steal away the spotlight" from him and his friends, who are trying to get their message out. He was very, very concerned about how much media play these anarchists, these "adolescents" get. Clearly, he was not concerned about the police violence, nor really even about "stopping a war." Rather, he was interested in being "in the spotlight," in being a celebrity, an important guy. And he felt that these "adolescents" were unfairly taking media attention away from him. And rather than challenge any of his assertions that the radicals "have it coming" when the police beat them up, Joanne merely echoed his concerns that the media shows too much of "those people" and not enough of the "peaceful" demonstrators. What?!
Perhaps Will needs to reflect on just what he thinks he's actually doing out there, marching around in the streets. Is he really "trying to stop a war"? If so, how does he imagine that marching around being important, or holding a candle at a peace vigil is going to accomplish that? What is the long term strategy there? Or is Will just trying to get his 15 minutes of fame? Because that's what it sounds like to me. And either way, he's going about this all wrong. If you really want to stop a war, then you need to unify the resistance. You need to stop dissing other activists, stop undermining their work with stupid and false accusations, and you need to recognize a dead horse when you see one. The marching-in-a-circle horse is dead. Get up off it and MOVE. DO SOMETHING. That way, you will be more likely to actually help the flow of resistance, and yes, you might even be more likely to get oon TV. If that's what you care about. You don't need to dress in black bloc if you don't want to, but you better stop helping the police state to oppress those who do, because it's very likely that they are your only chance to ever really stop that war.
Yes, so I was pretty disgusted and angry after listening to this. It had been such a good and informative show up till then. I would love to hear Joanne or Alejandro speak up here, to say that they do not support what this idiot Will said and that they should have said more on that this morning.
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