Here are more musings about @news and the rest of the world.
Announcing the Anarchist News Ally program
The last meta-@news post regarding advertising didn’t receive a ton of response but the response it did receive was strongly encouraging towards individual support and against explicit advertising. Consequently, today we introduce the Anarchist News Ally program.
This problem intersects with a broader problem that this project has had for years. Short version: we’ve needed help for a long time but have been too cautious to take it when it’s offered. Long version… People do seem to step up when asked about some specific problems, but the assistance tends to be tentative and short term. Also, there hasn’t been a forum for a relevant set of people to participate in meaningful conversations about this project (for both criticism and love). (Obviously the comments contain both in varying degrees but, after long experience, I no longer leap to respond to anonymous anything anymore.)
Beyond the need for money the new Ally program is going to be a way to create this kind of forum, providing meaningful engagement with the site, that we hope will result in substantive qualitative change in the project. I look forward to these discussions and the possibility that the Internet can provide more meaning to my life than the lulz and the drama.
If you are interested in becoming an Ally, check out the first link. If you’re interested in learning more, check out the second link.
Operating a site that provides an anonymous public forum for the discussion of property destruction and tactics entails very thick skin. It also entails enduring many accusations about motivation and intention. I’ve always considered it more important to demonstrate what my intent for this project is by way of doing it rather than talking about it. That doesn’t mean I am immune to accusations made about me or this project.
So to be clear I operate Anarchist News because I have the strong desire to see a growing and vibrant self identified anarchist population in North America (and elsewhere but I believe this work is somewhat area-specific). I am as entertained by the drama as anybody else, but I don’t consider it the central work of this project. If any part of the work is central, it is maintaining the context to have anarchist conversations every day over time. We spend more time hunting down spammers than laughing at the stupid things people say (either in the threads or IRL).
I almost never comment in threads. It’s a practice I’ve found annoying in other anarchist projects (where the admin would dominate conversations) and I just don’t find conversations with anons to be that engaging. Perhaps this is why I’m sympathetic to anon culture on the site; it seems like the clearest tactical treatment of the new medium, and it doesn’t take itself seriously (which is obviously complicated by not being effective but that’s not such a unusual position for an anarchist to be in).
But this does bring us to another point that’s worth reminding readers about if they did not already know. There is a difference between censorship and removing comments. The distinction is important to make for those of us raised in the USA because part of our DNA includes a predilection towards free speech. We can discuss for hours what the definition of free and speech here, but we probably all agree that our preference is to hear what people have to say for themselves and make our own determination as to whether it’s worth listening to.
I’ve always been resistant to formalizing our comment removal policy but it does (to the extent to which it is formal) include these points
- No legal names except in the case of public figures
- No law-enforcement-enticing comments (beyond communiques intended for a public audience)
- Probably no ad hominems against anarchists
- Probably no stupid shit (includes one liners, stupid profanity, and racism/etc)
Clearly there are a ton of things that get through anyway (because humans are gloriously inefficient) but these four principles should be instructive.
CSS & Usability
I have finally made some time to start working on a broad swath of issues with the site. As usual this mostly means I’m focused on adding features (voting is high on my list) but I also know that there are some usability issues that plague the new theme. Some of these are built-in (like the general unusability of a full width page when monitors are getting larger and larger–but I do have a strong preference in this regard that’s yet to be exorcised) but many are not. I am now providing a form that you can use to submit bug reports on CSS issues and so much more.
May 29 is coming up. It’ll be the one year anniversary of the major case of repression against anarchists in La Paz, Bolivia.
Henry has gotten house arrest. http://chileboliviawalmapu.wordpress.com/2013/05/08/henry-zegarrundo-giv…
But Krudo is still locked up, and all of them are still facing charges for terrorism and attempted murder, accused of a series of sabotage actions in response to the construction of a megahighway through a rainforest and indigenous territory.
May 29 has also been declared a day of international solidarity. Let your nearest Bolivian consulate know what you think, or take to the streets, or hold and event to raise funds or awareness about the case, or take on any of the manifestations of ecocidal capitalist development occurring in your own area.
More about the case:
Solidarity with all who struggle!
Support for all who do not snitch!
Freedom for all prisoners!
From: Truth Out
On March 27, Chicago teachers and their supporters – including parents, students and community residents – rallied against the largest mass public school closure in US history. News of the mobilization sparked huge public interest before the demonstration – including from an undercover police officer calling himself “Danny Edwards.”
The day before the big rally, “Danny” reached out in individual emails to fellow volunteer street medics he had met a year earlier after he took a 20-hour training with Chicago’s local street medic collective, Chicago Action Medical (CAM). CAM’s volunteer emergency medical technicians (EMTs), nurses, doctors and trained street medics provide emergency medical treatment at local protests.
His aim in reaching out: to learn more about the next day’s plans.
“Danny” – who admitted to us on May 6 that he is, in fact, a Chicago police officer – could have saved himself the trouble and his department the expense. After all, organizers had already coordinated directly with top CPD brass about their plans for the next day and widely promoted their intent to stage nonviolent civil disobedience.
After the CTU rally, “Danny” also tried to recruit at least one CAM volunteer street medic via email on April 30, the day before a May 1, 2013, immigrants’ rights march, to pair up with him as a partner. There were no takers, so he showed up alone at the rally sporting marked medic regalia.
His latest undercover sortie as a fake volunteer street medic bookends a hectic year for him.
The Paper Trail
“Danny” was a fixture at CAM events beginning in early March 2012, when he participated in a 20-hour introductory training for new street medics – a training he described in an email to CAM volunteer street medic Scott Mechanic as “great.”
May 1, 2012: Danny Edwards – posing with fellow Chicago Action Medical volunteers at their health care booth in Union Park, where street medics were volunteering to provide first aid and emergency health care for participants at the annual May Day rally and march. Danny – the only medic not smiling – is standing in front of the CAM banner.May 1, 2012: “Danny Edwards” – posing with fellow Chicago Action Medical volunteers at their health care booth in Union Park, where street medics were volunteering to provide first aid and emergency health care for participants at the annual May Day rally and march. “Danny” – the only medic not smiling – is standing in front of the CAM banner.
The email address “Danny” used in that correspondence, which he did not sign by name, was pegged to the name of a Chicago police officer cited months later in court documents involved in undercover work around the NATO protests.
Less than half an hour after sending that initial email, “Danny” sent the first in a flurry of emails to Mechanic from a different email address, writing “let me know what going on so i can get involved (sic).”
“Danny’s” March 2012 foray into spying on CAM aligns with the date prosecutors say the Chicago Police Department (CPD) posted two other undercover agents who went by the street names “Mo” and “Nadia” on a 90-day temporary duty undercover assignment to Field Intelligence Team 7150. That team was tasked with infiltrating Occupy and anarchist groups in the run-up to the NATO Summit, according to court documents filed by Cook County State’s Attorney Anita Alvarez in April 2013.
Those two officers, “Mo” and “Nadia,” are also purported linchpins in the criminal cases against five activists known as the “NATO 5,” three of whom are scheduled to go to trial on NATO-related domestic terrorism charges this September.
The NATO prosecutors’ October 2012 Answer to Discovery lists this same police officer among the CPD officers, detectives and other police officials who may be called to testify in this fall’s upcoming trial. He is also mentioned in the NATO defendants’ February 25, 2013, Motion to Compel Discovery as “a CPD undercover officer related to this investigation.”
Busy Year for “Danny” – and Early Red Flags
Five days after he inadvertently emailed Scott Mechanic under his given name and scrambled to cover his tracks, “Danny” acted for the first time as a CAM street medic at a small permitted peace march on Chicago’s north side. The March 18, 2012 event was organized to mark the anniversary of the launch of the Iraq War in March 2003.
May 1, 2013: Danny Edwards, undercover Chicago police officer, sporting his medics’ regalia at a May Day rally for immigrant rights in Chicago’s Union Park.May 1, 2013: “Danny Edwards,” undercover Chicago police officer, at a May Day rally for immigrant rights in Chicago’s Union Park.”Danny” ran again as a marked CAM street medic on April 7, 2012 at Occupy Chicago’s “Occupy Spring” event, also emailing Mechanic on April 26, 2012 about bringing a “friend” to an upcoming health workshop. On May 1, 2012, he volunteered as a marked CAM street medic at a May Day rally and march, where his refusal to follow CAM operational guidelines – reportedly abandoning his street medic partner to make a b-line for a group of young protesters wearing black clothes – began to raise real alarms with fellow street medics.
After “Danny’s” behavior on May Day, a number of veteran CAM volunteers – including Mechanic – moved immediately to isolate him from new and less experienced street medics, to monitor his behavior closely and to broadly urge the practice of good security culture.
But without a smoking gun, they were unwilling to expose him publicly. The chill from veteran street medics didn’t discourage “Danny” from continuing to reach out and show up to actions.
On May 11, a week and a half later and as local organizers were scrambling to find housing for out-of-town protesters traveling in for the demonstrations, he emailed Mechanic directly for information about housing that other groups or collectives might be offering. “I have a group of friends in need and I wanted some direction,” he wrote.
On May 20, 2012, at a large protest against the NATO Summit, CAM street medics demanded that he remove his medic markings after he again ignored CAM street operations protocols by deserting his partner to sprint after a group of protesters clad in black clothes.
“Danny” sent emails to individual members of CAM’s listserv – but almost never to the larger listserv – strategically for the next year, seeking information about upcoming demonstrations and meetings. The off-list queries continued to raise red flags with CAM members he contacted, some of whom had never met him and did not know who he was.
When we asked “Danny” at the 2013 May Day rally to confirm his name and identity as a CPD officer, he insisted he was “Danny Edwards” and claimed to be a friend of a local activist.
That’s not how the activist described “Danny” to CAM volunteers at a street medic training before the NATO protests last spring. At that training, he told CAM members that “Danny” had recently befriended him, and he raised concerns there about “Danny’s” interest in topics ranging from Molotov cocktails to property damage.
“NATO 5″ Connection
According to court documents released in the months after the NATO Summit protests, “Danny”is one of the undercover officers at the heart of the “NATO 5″ criminal cases. He’s mentioned in the pre-NATO Summit pre-emptive raid search warrant documents as “Undercover Officer C,” and is also cited by his given name in court documents for one of the NATO defendants, Sebastian “Sabi” Senakiewicz, as a potential trial witness.
We tried to question “Danny” about his undercover activities on May 6 at a house that had a sheet of paper with his given name and phone number taped to the front door. While he admitted he was, in fact, the named police officer he’d denied being just five days earlier, he declined to answer our questions.
“Danny’s” post-NATO activities raise a key question: Why keep an undercover officer in play as a volunteer street medic in a nonviolent health-care project almost a year after the NATO protests that ostensibly put him into motion as a police spy in the first place?
It’s virtually impossible to say from the official record. That’s because the CPD and Cook County State’s Attorney Anita Alvarez have fought tooth and nail in court for almost a year to prevent defense attorneys in the remaining NATO cases from learning more about the scope and character of police spying on political activity leading up to last year’s NATO Summit.
At a “NATO 3″ status hearing on May 14, 2013, prosecutors again opposed disclosing information about the wider scope of police spying on Chicago’s activist groups (as they have before in official court filings) in the months leading up to the NATO Summit. Defense attorneys rebutted in open court – as they did in writing earlier in their April 30, 2013, “Reply to the State’s Response to Defendants’ Motion to Compel” – that this information remains directly relevant to the NATO cases because it would broaden the context of the arrests of the NATO 3 and the CPD’s pre-NATO spying efforts targeting the activist community.
Police spying in recent years has targeted peace groups, environmentalists and the Occupy movement, a focus on protest as a potential flashpoint of “terrorism” that sometimes has disastrous consequences. By way of example, in Boston, local police focused their attention on the political activism of local residents at the same time they missed the threat posed by the Boston Marathon bombers.
And law enforcement has also demonstrated a disturbing pattern of working undercover to create crime to prosecute crime. Notable cases like the “Cleveland 4″ fit into a pattern that journalist Arun Gupta has described as law enforcement’s “war of entrapment against the Occupy movement.”
Law enforcement infiltration in Chicago in the run-up to the 2012 NATO Summit unfolded most publicly with the use of at least two undercover cops who went by the names “Mo” and “Nadia.”
Both were regular fixtures at a spring 2012 encampment to try to prevent the closure of the Woodlawn Mental Health Clinic on Chicago’s south side, one of six public mental health clinics slated for closure by city officials and hardly a flashpoint of “potential terrorist activity.” They also showed up at one point at an independent media center organized to cover the NATO protests and at numerous other documented locales in the two and a half months before the NATO Summit.
“Red Squad” 2.0 Rolling Back into Town?
Ongoing police spying a year after the NATO meeting by “Danny” – and potentially others – raises a real alarm among activists, including CAM street medics, whose national community traces its origins to the Medical Presence Project of the Medical Committee for Human Rights (MCHR).
MCHR was first formed in 1964 to provide medical assistance to the civil rights movement. Its Chicago-based volunteers, who also provided medical aid at protests organized by peace projects and student groups opposed to the Vietnam War, were among thousands of civilians spied on by the CPD’s notorious Red Squad.
“The CPD’s decision to plant an undercover police spy in Chicago Action Medical is outrageous, but sadly, comes as no surprise,” said CAM street medic Dick Reilly in an interview. “The CPD has a long and sordid history of surveillance and infiltration of labor, peace and social justice groups dating back to the 1886 railroading of the Haymarket defendants – efforts that led to the creation of Chicago’s infamous Red Squad. Over a hundred years later, the cops are clearly still at it.”
For Reilly, CAM’s ongoing infiltration threatens core freedoms that range from the privacy rights of the people they treat to police officials’ ongoing assault on dissent in the city.
“When the CPD targets a volunteer medical project like CAM – which seeks to provide basic first aid to people exercising their democratic rights and whose primary principle is to ‘do no harm’ – it underscores the lengths to which they’ll go to criminalize dissent, suppress resistance and pander to the agenda of the political and economic elites they actually serve and protect,” Reilly said.
The Chicago Red Squad’s abuses of basic constitutional rights were so egregious – targets included the Parent-Teachers’ Association and the League of Women Voters – that a federal court slapped the city with a consent decree in 1982 that expressly barred politically motivated police spying unless police could show at least some evidence of criminal intent on the part of the targets of their spying.
The city was finally able to win relief from the consent decree in January 2001, after arguing for years constitutional protections thwarted its ability to investigate gangs and “terrorism.”
The consent decree’s demise hasn’t kept the CPD out of hot water for spying on political projects, either, beginning as early as 2002. Were the old consent decree still in place, CAM members believe “Danny’s” undercover spying on their work over the past year would have been illegal.
McCarthy’s Spy-Ops Background at NYPD, Newark PD
Just before he was sworn in as Chicago’s new mayor in May of 2011, Rahm Emanuel – a former US Congressman and chief of staff for President Obama – announced the appointment of new police superintendent Garry McCarthy. Three months later, McCarthy created an intelligence-gathering unit tasked to perform “counter-terrorism” work in preparation for the May 2012 NATO meetings.
A career New York cop, McCarthy is no stranger to the use of systematic police spying.
The New York Police Department (NYPD) has a contentious track record in this arena, prompting the implementation of New York’s own version of Chicago’s Red Squad consent decree – the Handschu Decree – while McCarthy was climbing up the NYPD’s ranks to a senior command position.
It wasn’t long after he formally assumed the mantle of CPD superintendent in 2011 that McCarthy drew fire for allowing the latest iteration of New York’s police spy ring to operate in Newark, NJ, where he had served as police chief before taking the position as CPD’s top dog.
McCarthy also served as an NYPD commander when the police set up spy rings before the 2004 Republican National Convention in New York City and during “CIA on the Hudson,” the joint NYPD/CIA project that was set up and run by former CIA Deputy Director for Operations David Cohen to “map the human terrain” of New York City’s Islamic community.
Targeting Street Medics
Volunteer street medics have historically been an attractive target for undercovers.
CAM street medic Scott Mechanic met “Anna,” before she was outed as a police infiltrator, an FBI informant who used her position as a street medic to befriend and entrap environmental activists. One of those activists, Eric McDavid, is serving a 20-year sentence in a case built around Anna’s testimony and her reported entrapment activities.
In the wake of Hurricane Katrina, Mechanic was also a street medic volunteer at New Orleans’ Common Ground Collective, where he and dozens of other volunteer health-care providers ran into Brandon Darby, an agent provocateur and FBI informant at the heart of another entrapment case, this one against David McKay and Bradley Crowder.
“These kinds of informants and undercover police represent a real threat to activists, in no small part because they’re committed to manufacturing crime where none exists to terrorize the public and justify their abuses of our right to dissent,” said Mechanic. “This Chicago cop’s infiltration of our group raises real questions about police intrusion into protesters’ medical histories – and it’s a truly despicable example of exploiting people’s caregivers as part of the national campaign to criminalize dissent.”
Convergence of the War on Drugs, War on Terrorism
As a Chicago cop, the CPD officer who infiltrated CAM has worked on narcotics and gang cases, including as an undercover officer.
Given the growing conflation of the “War on Drugs” with the “War on Terrorism,” which is increasingly married to a War on Dissent, it’s not surprising that the Chicago police officer who infiltrated CAM would segue into COINTELPRO-style undercover work. By the 1990′s, the CPD was listing dissidents by alleged political affiliation in their gang database, in tandem with then-Mayor Richard M. Daley’s claim that the Red Squad Consent Decree shackled cops’ ability to investigate both gangs and “terrorism.”
Shahid Buttar, executive director of the Bill of Rights Defense Committee, points to the delayed notice search warrants enabled by Section 213 of the USA PATRIOT Act – presented to the public as a counter-terrorism tool – as a key example of the War on Drugs’ convergence with the War on Terrorism.
“Both the War on Drugs and the War on Terrorism have long represented cash cows for law enforcement and intelligence agencies, from the FBI all the way down to local police departments,” Buttar said in an interview. “Beyond the serial corruption of agencies pimping public fears to inflate their budgets, many particular powers claimed as necessary for one ‘war’ are actually used more in the other.”
The Chicago Police Department did not respond to our phone calls or emails about this story.
From The Anvil – by tom nomad
A Review of Cop-Out: The Significance of Aufhebengate
On many levels it seems almost pointless to write yet another text on Aufhebengate, especially a review about a book on the scandal and the controversies and collaboration-sympathizing that occurred in the vain, and inexplicable, attempt to defend John Drury from his own actions. Usually interpersonal issues point more to the poverty of the militancy and viability of certain circles of so-called “radical scenes” than anything of consequence. In these cases I would usually not waste my time writing a critique of a second-rate academic who writes for a generally obscure, though in the past sometimes interesting, journal. However, the case of Aufhebengate raises issues, both of the stakes and risks of insurgency and the tactics of writing, specifically writing on operations theory, that absolutely need to be addressed; and, on a separate note, there is absolutely no such thing as calling out a collaborationist too often. But, before getting into the critiques of Drury, his betrayal and the numerous tactical and political problems involved in this controversy, it is probably important to first explain, for those that have not been a part of this discussion already, some of the events that have occurred and some of the players involved.
In January 2011 a small Greek radical group, TPTG, discovered that Dr John Drury, an editor with Aufheben, a supposedly militant left-communist journal, had been a part of a team of researchers that were publishing articles in police journals, and giving presentations at police conferences, centered on police crowd control tactics and possible ways that these can be improved through de-escalation and proto-counterinsurgency tactics. For obvious reasons, the group found this information to be disturbing, to say the least, and decided to contact people in England, where Aufheben is based, with an open letter discussing what they found and presenting some of this information. Many of us would think that the response should be relatively straight forward at this point, Drury should have been outed and prevented from coming into anarchist spaces, but then we would be mistaken. Rather than identify a clear case of collaboration as such, the “left-communist” milieu in England, specifically the rest of Aufheben and the admins at Libcom, began an increasingly absurd campaign to attempt to rationalize these actions, going as far as to censor discussion on Libcom to prevent the information from spreading. After receiving little response from others in England TPTG decided, along with the help of some others, to post the open letter, and accompanying information, onto the Libcom discussion forum. After the initial post was censored by Libcom another, more detailed, piece titled “ The Strange Case of Dr Johnny and Mr Drury” was posted on Libcom, and sent personally to some others active in the left-communist/anarchist scenes in England, setting off a firestorm of attempts to incriminate and discredit the authors of the piece and the claims that they were making. Through a series of confrontations, and a series of rewrites, this text became Cop-Out, which has now been republished and distributed by Little Black Cart.
The importance of Aufhebengate is not just that John Drury is a collaborator, or that there even needs to be another text espousing this position, which seems clear to many. Rather, in the process of this scandal becoming public, and widening in scope, a series of other, more fundamental, problems with the practices of some segments of the radical milieu have become clear. This is not a question of social drama or political affinity, rather, this incident comes to illustrate an almost complete inability on the part of some so-called “radicals” to understand the stakes and risks involved in insurgency, and a seeming inability to even think of themselves in this light, choosing, seemingly, to regress back into the roll of activists1. This points to an almost complete unwillingness to understand what we are in the midst of as warfare, as something that is immediate and tactical, and something in which tactical imperative trumps personal affinity and social nicety. We also cannot think this as a problem confined to the horrendous decaying corpse of British left-communism, these problems persist in the States as well2. The purpose of the discussion around this controversy is not just to write another critique for the sake of critique, but rather, it is to be able to discuss the failures that occurred, the reasons for some of these failures and illuminate ways beyond this seemingly irrational impasse.
In the text Cop-Out: The Significance of Aufhebengate, Sam FantoSamotnaf, departs from the point in this saga after the attempts by Libcom to censor the discussion of the collaborationist tendencies of someone that they consider a “friend”, and focuses largely on the resonance of these discussions and the illustrative role that they can play. On many levels the text is thorough, and engages with a series of important discussions linked to the overall situational framework that is being discussed. But, this winding discussion never becomes a coherent, linear, critique of Drury and his practices, largely existing as a series of vignettes about differing questions raised through the existence of Drury within academia and the failure of the politics of Aufheben and Libcom, with the controversy around Drury serving as the point of departure for divergent narratives and critiques. This structure creates a text that both reinforces, and at sometimes, undercuts its own narrative. In the non-linearity of the text, and in the ways that the narratives depart from a central point of reference, the narratives, at points, become disconnected from one another, while at the same time allowing the author to cover a lot more ground and approach the situation from a variety of angles. Of these vignettes some are much more well argued than others, some seem to cover old ground, such as a critique of Leninism, and some are structured around the attempt to speak about Drury’s internal motivations, deriving from a structural critique of academia and the positionality of the academic, which is not necessarily the relevant question here. But, at most other points, this text begins the process of moving beyond the recriminations and accusations, and into a critique that can actually point to the conditions that created this sort of collaboration, as well as ways beyond this impasse and recurring problem. In the structure of the text itself the author avoids the attempt to write a linear critique focused on Drury himself, which would be a useless, though tempting, endeavor. This is not to say that a thorough critique could not be written about Drury and his collaboration with policing, but this would almost be too easy, and would completely miss the point3. In centering a critique on Drury one would fail to set the stage to move beyond Aufhebengate and point to the parameters and shape of an insurgent tactical discourse, which can only exist as the inverse of Drury’s work. At its best Cop-Out accomplishes this through some well placed, well aimed, critique, while at its worst, there is a tendency within the text to collapse the argument into interpersonal irrelevancies, at least irrelevant for those outside of England, and minute theoretical criticisms. However, it is this structure of the text, for as inconsistent as it is at points, that can allow for these shortcomings, while at the same time highlighting the importance of the underlying critique.
The relevant question here is not about Drury’s motivations, or about his class position or something like this; rather the primary question raised here must center on positioning Drury’s work in reference to various dynamics of conflict in order to build a critique that can begin to identify a practice and discourse of radical intervention and tactical analysis that can avoid being of use to the “enemy”, and specifically avoids intentionally aiding the “enemy”. The fault in Drury’s work is not that he decided to write about police operations and operational theory, this is a needed discourse in the midst of insurgency. The absolute, total, failure of Drury’s work lies in failing to situate this work tactically in itself, as something that has effects in a material terrain of struggle. Central to the discussion around Drury’s collaboration is the question of the positionality of the writer and the act of writing, and publishing in itself, which becomes specifically important in the attempt to write on operational theory and tactics analysis, which if not done intentionally, with a direct political and tactical objective, can come to betray its own intent easily. In the most powerful points in the text this discourse rises to prominence, critiquing Drury’s collaboration and pointing to the discursive possibility of a discourse on the immediate dynamics of conflict that situates itself tactically, as an uncompromising site of struggle in itself, while also attempting to amplify the dynamics of that conflict. Throughout this text, and this review of this text, the focus is placed on this question of the positionality of the writer, specifically the tactics analyst, and the role, and possible pitfalls, of this discourse. As such, we will be working around some of the more interpersonal content and conceptual critiques of “left-communism” that appears in the text, and much of the controversy around the defense of Drury by Libcom and Aufheben4, while focusing on the aspects of the text relevant to the opening up of a space for a secure, intentional, insurgent discourse on tactics and operations. It is only by highlighting, and focusing on, the deficiencies in Drury’s writing practice and conceptual categories that we can move beyond the question of whether Libcom and Aufheben are supporting collaboration (they are) and into a discourse that can point our way to developing a more coherent, secure, intentional practice of insurgent tactical analysis and operations theory.
As such, we will be focusing here on two primary elements of the critique deployed in Cop-Out that are relevant to the attempt to develop an insurgent tactical discourse, the critique of Drury’s work on a conceptual level and the critique of the writing and publishing practice involved in this scandal. The background of Drury’s work goes back to research that he carried out on crowd psychology, as a faculty member at Sussex, with a team of researchers led by Clifford Stott, a well known British crowd analyst and police consultant. This research led to a series of papers published in Jane’s Police Review, among other journals, primary among these is a text titled Chaos Theory5, as well as presentations at police conferences and invitations to train police intervention teams to decelerate conflict at demonstrations. Their research focuses on two aspects of current police tactics, the theoretical basis in crowd psychology and the tactics that derive from this, with a specific focus on British police, and particularly the often-used tactic of kettling6. The primary claim in their literature is that police tactics, as they exist today, are based in a flawed concept of the crowd as unitary and dangerous, and therefore a body that must be dealt with antagonistically. Rather, Stott and Drury argue that crowds really have a series of factions within them, some more confrontational than others, and these factions of the crowd can be identified through the use of a police liaison team, which infiltrates the crowd in full uniform and attempts to identify the non-reconcilable elements within the crowd, then develops a strategy to contain and eliminate these elements while reducing confrontation with the remainder of the crowd. The goal of this operational set is to attempt to build trust within a crowd, segment off elements of the crowd that may erode this trust, and begin to foster an environment in which the crowd begins to police itself.
Though Drury’s defenders attempt to pass this off as a more or less paternalistic attempt to engage in a liberal mythology of policing as potentially nonconfrontational, this attempt points to the inadequacies latent in much of radical tactics discourse, specifically when addressing questions of police and policing, which tend to be viewed as unitary conceptual objects framed through the inscription of qualitative indictments, such as police brutality and police racism. This language of nonconfrontational policing, or policing that does not attempt to confront inert and harmless elements, directly mimics the language that many liberals use when attempting to defend community policing or counterinsurgency. This defense derives from the language in Drury’s work itself, which directly mirrors the language of counterinsurgency doctrine, specifically in Chaos Theory. To understand the relevance of this linguistic affinity it is necessary to understand the role that increased projection of force and the deceleration of conflict play in policing logistics. First, I should specify, all policing is an attempt to operate a certain sort of counterinsurgency; all policing is the attempt to operate a logistics of force in the attempt to impossibly define particular moments, and as such, only functions to the degree that it operates across the entirety of time and space, in all moments, as occupation. Here, though, the term counterinsurgency will be used in reference, specifically, to modern forms of counterinsurgency doctrine developed in the early 2000s within the US military, primarily through the work of David Petraeus, and its influences in the post-World War II world. Rather than an institutional reading of policing, which requires us to obscure actual police operations in the attempt to portray police as a legible conceptual object, policing only functions to the degree that it is deployed as a logistics of force in time and space, and therefore, must be analyzed through the lens of warfare, or a direct, immediate, material dynamic of conflict in time and space7. In thinking the police through the lens of more or less brutality we reduce policing to an ethical question, which of course has to assume a policing that can be ethical. As such, the problem, at the minimum, in Drury’s work here, and its attempted rationalization, is not that Drury may have been acting in a paternalistic way, but, rather, in engaging in the discourse of more or less brutal policing, his analysis necessarily departs from a framework based in the continued existence of, and therefore non-rupture, of police logistics, reducing police operations to an ethical question of more or less brutal police operations.
As we see in insurgencies, and counterinsurgency literature, there is always this discourse of the speed and multiplication of conflict in time and space. This discourse departs from a series of sources, primary among these are Clausewitz and Mao, but also military theorists like Galula and Petraeus. In On War8 Clausewitz directly positions warfare within time and space, as something that occurs, and therefore, as something that is completely uncertain. When we think the terrain of a demonstration, riot or armed confrontation, we are not just thinking the physical space or the numerical collision of magnitudes of force; rather this entails thinking these elements, but also the actual actions that occurred, to the degree that these can be mapped, the movements of force through space and the dynamics of collision itself. As such, the discussion of terrain has to not only center on physical space, in the sense of mapping, but also the ways in which this terrain is constructed through the dynamics of antagonistic actions in conflict and the effects of these actions. Tactical terrain, at this point, only becomes relevant to the degree that there is actual conflict in space, and there is necessarily a certain concentration of conflict in all space in all moments, and marks a point of unpredictable uncertainty, that becomes more so to the degree that the terrain becomes a site of concentrated conflict. This conflictual terrain becomes difficult to predict movement through, requiring higher concentrations of force and limiting projection. This is what we see often in street conflicts in the US, where the police tend to move in large groups, using heavy concentrations of force, while attempting to limit the amount of space that they have to cover.
There are two elements here that are of primary importance when thinking of Drury’s work in relation to insurgency and policing, the speed of conflict and the projection of policing. As Mao9 and Galula10 argue, insurgent conflict can be mobilized at any point to the degree that insurgents can maintain the ability to move, and can do so invisibly. This generates an absolute multiplication of the terrain of conflict, in the sense that, all of a sudden, the occupiers have to begin to take a defensive posture in all movement through all space; uncertainty generates a terrain of almost total potential conflict. As such, the primary task of occupiers is to both segment off movement through space, through policing, while also projecting their operational capacity into space11, through the use of informants, surveillance and “self-policing”. In Iraq, the first large-scale counterinsurgency operation of the 2000s, this involved a series of attempts; primary among these was the establishment of a network of sympathizers who received benefits for collaboration, the identification of irreconcilable elements, and the separation of these elements from the space being secured. This same mentality also appears in post-1968 negotiated management police tactics utilized in the US, aptly described by Kristian Williams in Our Enemies in Blue12. In negotiated management operations police attempt to identify sympathetic elements and begin to work directly with these elements, allowing them space to take action if the terms are negotiated directly with the police, while repressing elements that refuse to collaborate. We saw this play itself out during Occupy, where police collaborators in many cities were giving the police information on possible actions, without anyone else being aware of their activities, in exchange for the ability to “prevent repression’, which of course came anyway; in Pittsburgh we learned that a person named Carmen Elliot was giving information to the police about anarchists in order to guarantee that he would be able to have a march for universal healthcare, information that was then used to brutally repress anarchist actions throughout the winter of 2011 and into the summer of 2012.
Counterinsurgency is based on attempting to limit the speed of conflict while maximizing the projection of policing through space. In attempting to police space, police logistics have to function in all time and space, but this quickly collides with a dual impossibility13. The first, and primary, of these impossibilities is purely numerical; there are not ever enough police to cover terrain completely. Take a city like New York, which has tens of thousands of police; this number is not nearly enough to actually cover all space simultaneously. As such, police logistics are largely based on the attempt to project throughout space. This, historically, has been achieved through the combination of four different technologies in modern police operations; transportation, communications, weapons and surveillance. Through the use of the combustion engine police were all of a sudden able to move through space quickly, and disperse across space widely. This ability to project the body through space at speed was amplified through the addition of the prosthetic weapon, allowing the force of the police to project outside of the reach of the arm to, with the advent of the conoidal bullet and the bullet cartridge, project force almost directly correlated to line of sight. Police dispersal became organized through the addition of radios in patrol vehicles, allowing police to disperse further while also coordinating response autonomous from dispatch, making response quicker and more forceful. Finally, with the addition of surveillance, and by surveillance I mean signals intelligence, human intelligence and visual surveillance, the vision of the police is able to increase and become more and more comprehensive, being limited primarily by the capacity to process information, rather than the ability to collect it. But, even at this point, policing still is unable to cover all space at all moments, necessarily leaving gaps in coverage, gaps which are amplified to the degree that the terrain is increasingly resistant to police movement and operations. In this attempt to project through space policing necessarily generates conflict; it is comprised of a series of more or less coordinated actions that occur in time and space, and thus have effects which change the terrain of operation. As such, primary to police tactical operations is the attempt to maximize projection while limiting conflict, which generates increasingly resistant spaces. We can see this interaction in every riot, and even on the streets of most major cities on a constant basis; the movements of police generate conflict, this conflict generates a more resistant terrain, forcing the police to concentrate force, in the form of saturation policing and SWAT for example, which has the potential to generate more conflict and so on.
The textbook example of this occurred in Mosul, after the invasion of Iraq, where David Petraeus was in charge of operations for the 101st Airborne14. At the beginning of the operations troops walked around in a non-defensive posture, attempting to identify reconcilable elements to support. But, the mere presence of troops caused friction, which eventually ended in a demonstration where Iraqi police shot 18 demonstrators, setting off a spiral of conflict. As conflict became apparent, and attacks on American troops began, troops had to move into a defensive posture, approaching every street as a possible site of conflict. This not only largely ended the attempt to find collaborators, but began to generate increased tension as house raids increased and people were stopped and searched at the checkpoints that began to sprout all over the town. This trajectory of conflict resulted in the attempt to separate insurgents from the “populace”15 through the construction of a wall around the town. A similar trajectory of events occurred during David Galula’s first experiments in counterinsurgency during the French attempt to suppress the uprising in Algeria; an operation that began by building schools quickly turned into an apprehension, information gathering and torture program.
This tendency for counterinsurgency operations to generate overwhelming security saturations and armed occupation is somehow forgotten in the assumption of the maintenance of policing within Drury’s work and the defense of this work by his sympathizers. The state is an impossible attempt to make moments defined, and thus inert, to generate peace, which only occur to the degree that all conflict, and thus all action ends. The suggestions given by the Stott/Drury team are specifically centered around the deceleration of action, the containing of conflict and the prevention of antagonistic elements from having any escalatory presence in a terrain of conflict. On this level, we can say that not only does Drury’s work assume the perpetuation of the police, we can also say that the entire framework of de-escalation, whether being written by police sympathizers or pacifists, is necessary to the attempt to perpetuate the functioning of the police. In assuming the perpetuation of policing, even if this perpetuation is meant to occur through a more humanistic lens, there is always a primary imperative to maintain police operational capacity in a space. Somehow, this attempt to generate a more gentle form of crowd control is separated by the hierarchy of force that this attempt exists within. Drury’s work exists completely within an attempt to amplify the projection of the police into conflictual terrain, an odd attempt for someone that supposedly exists to antagonize conflict, through both the gathering of intelligence by encouraging the police to be in direct proximity to actions, while also suggesting ways to eliminate antagonistic influences within conflictual terrains. But, the net result of this attempt is not only to provide the police insight into ways that projection can be increased, but also ways in which conflict can be de-escalated, by deploying a low-level of force at the beginning of this hierarchy of security and force.
If we follow Clausewitz and Schmitt on this point, all conflict involves an immediate and material differentiation of friends and enemies, and in assisting the police in the attempt to make police operations more effective and efficient16, Drury has made it clear what side of this antagonistic chasm he has decided to exist within. But this should come as no surprise, the very perspective of his work with the Stott team betrays this affinity for police operations through the very perspective through which his texts are written, from a cop’s-eye view, both on the level of the categories used and the spatial/visual perspective of the analysis itself. These texts are purported to be texts on police crowd control, and they are in a certain sense, they are written from the perspective of the police. If one reads Chaos Theory, the most infamous of the Drury texts, not only will one find that the language mimics the language one finds in police journals, which is not problematic in itself necessarily, but also does this through a mimicking of the categories of analysis that the police use, specifically the use of the anonymous unitary crowd. Now, there is a minor nuance added into this concept of crowd psychology, unlike in Canetti, where one is able to speak about factions within a crowd, but we have to be careful in thinking through these categories and understand that the only division between the reconcilable elements of a crowd and the irreconcilable elements in the crowd is the posture that certain particular people may take toward the police. As such, Drury’s work begins to construct a paradox; simultaneously obscuring the actual dynamics of tactical terrain through the unitary definition of the “crowd”, while at the same time operating within a framework structured around the immediate identification of friends and enemies in conflict, then assuming the operations of the police within this immediacy, betraying a sense in which the police are the sole point of reference in Drury’s analysis. This is an important clarification, as we can see, in this characterization of the crowd, as well as the perspective of the pieces, these texts operate only to the degree that police and policing are the sole reference point and point of departure.
Ironically, this discourse on the tactics of the police completely obscures actual tactics. If we follow Clausewitz17 here, tactics are the immediate and material dynamics of conflict in time and space, and therefore, tactics are unable to be spoken about in a unitary way. In this sense there are a series of aspects of Stott/Drury’s work that become specifically absurd, including but not limited to the attempt to project tactics from one space, and one series of dynamics, into a completely different situation; in this specific case attempting to project police tactics used against soccer fas in Portugal into British G20 police tactical analysis. The tendency in this work to project one set of operations, in one time and space, into another terrain indicates the development of modeling, or an approach to tactical analysis in which one essentializes tactical dynamics within set models and then attempts to impose models in other times and spaces. This is not just to point to a problem in conceptual framework, this sort of imposition of model is fundamental to police tactics and the deployments of police operations into space. Policing functions to the degree that two aspects of operations are in place, content and logistics. The content of policing is simply the aesthetic content of the state transferred into operational plans. We can see this before any trade summit demonstration, the police plan operations long before anyone is even on the ground, based on past actions and their analysis of past actions, the demands of the security apparatus on a national level and localized objectives. This also occurs through crimeostats and other forms of predictive policing, where arrest numbers begin to dictate patrol patterns and force allocation in space. But, outside of the operations of these concepts, or the attempted operation of these concepts, they mean absolutely nothing. The second aspect of this operational modeling is always the actual operation itself, which is nothing other than the mobilization of a logistics of force to attempt to define moments. In the case of Drury, his work begins to develop a framework through which policing operational models could be understood but, this only matters to the degree that these models are imposed on space, or that these models are operated through actual policing, which they have, and that this operational theory only speaks in reductionistic modeling, rather than actual tactical dynamics.
To construct the “crowd” as a conceptual object that theory can be built around implies that the “crowd” is an inert object that is predictable, definable and policable, and completely ignores the fundamental aspect of tactical analysis, at least in an insurgent operations theory, the particular dynamics of action in time and space, of which nothing essential or general can be said about. This particularity can never be made sense of in any total way. As Clausewitz, and later Schmitt, argue the particularity of actions are a dynamic that exist completely outside of theory; if all concepts are comparative, and moments are particular, meaning that they have never occurred before and will never occur again, then there is a necessary gap between concepts and moments. This infinite distance marks the very possibility of insurgency and the impossibility of actual policing, the impossibility of defining moments; but I guess it is pretty hard to get grants from police based organizations to do research around this premise. Drury’s work is suspect here, not only because of the form of publication and the uses of the work, but also because of the perspective of the texts, which are all written from behind the police and through the lens o the definable, predictable “crowd” as inert object. By “behind the police” I do not merely mean that the pieces have a politics that is framed in order to support the police, this is clear in the venues of publication, but also that the texts are literally written from behind police lines, from a perspective which is fundamentally grounded in a certain state-vision18, a perspective of oversight that mediates all action through the point of reference of the police, policing, and the continued logistical operation of policing. This contrasts, dramatically, from an insurgent’s-eye view, or a view from the other side of the police line, from a positionality of conflict and the amplification of conflict, and from a positionality grounded in the logistical rupture of policing, which must exist contrary to the concept of the unitary inert “crowd”, or any assumptions of mass at all19. In this form of operational theory20, one departs from the immediacy of conflict, the crisis presented by action, and the impossibility of policing projecting across the entirety of time and space and, rather than the attempt to foster de-escalation in Drury’s work, the attempt is to escalate, amplify crisis and multiply the terrains of conflict. This view can be seen in Che’s war journals, or Guillen’s Philosophy of the Urban Guerilla, in which the immediacy of struggle and the political intention is clear, and the posture toward policing is undeniable. The cop’s-eye view within Drury’s work is a result of a paradox within the claims in the text, in which the analysis of “crowds” is remarkably simplistic, but the insights into police tactics is relatively astute, almost by accident seemingly. If we should regard Drury’s work as relevant at all, it may be that these pieces are the theoretical backing of what police in England will begin to do in crowd control scenarios. This is an important point; even though it is clear that Drury is a collaborator, that does not make his work completely irrelevant, in operational theory research and tactical analysis material often comes from the “other side”. As Deleuze and Guattari claim, warfare always exists outside of the state apparatus, and is appropriated by the state apparatus, but always at the risk of the logistical capacity of the state to continue to function21; the trick is to figure out what material can be extracted and appropriated to more effectively understand what we are facing in conflict, and ways that this can be combated. We should view Drury’s work from this point forward as an inside view into the operational frameworks utilized by certain police, and through the lens that these pieces were obviously written, as a police sympathizer writing about the police.
Drury’s defenders attempt to portray this intentional collaboration22 through a paradoxical understanding of academia, one which the author does a great job of pointing out. On the one hand his defenders, as Cop-Out discusses, are claiming that his work is an attempt to make policing less brutal, but that would require that police read his work and that it is relevant. But, on the other hand, they also dismiss this work as pointless academia that no one pays attention to, which is both a contradiction with the initial claim, and, if he is being invited to police conferences, obviously not the case. The author addresses this in a long discussion about the role of academics within the university, the absurdity of the claim of academic neutrality and the role of academics in producing “knowledge” for the state, all of which are apt critiques. But, in much of the language about the class position of the academic a series of important dynamics involved in this story are obscured, specifically the positionality of the university as mode of production, and therefore, the position of the academic as potential saboteur. While the author is correct to note that academia is still wage labor, and therefore not a uniquely radical site of possible engagement with modes of production, the discussion about class position,which is constructed in order to be able to support the argument that Drury is a bourgeois academic, is problematic. If we follow Marx’s argument in Capital23 the “working class” are those with proximity to, and control over the operation of, the means of production, in this case the university functions as a primary site of production in the late-capitalist economy, a site in which degrees, research and credentials are produced. Academia, if nothing else, is a means of production that, like all others, is operated through labor, in this case largely underpaid adjunct and graduate student labor, and can, through the assertion of this control over the means of production, also serve as a site of resistance. This is not to engage in some semantic game over the meaning of “workers”, rather, this is fundamentally important to understand in order to grasp the non-neutrality of academia, and thus the scale of Drury’s betrayal. It is not that we can think academia as a disinterested site in which discursive possibilities open up. Rather, the university is a means of production, and much of its dynamics correspond to the economic and political imperative of funders. Like the non-profit industrial complex, the university functions on grant funding, tuition and public funds, and as such, has increasingly become, especially in the age of austerity, framed around a quantity of production; the production of prominence, the production of degrees, the production of “useful” research, the production of journal papers and so on. It is not that Drury can claim neutrality in the process of doing this sort of work, specifically when grant funding is involved. Rather, like in all moments, the university involves conflict and a dynamic of conflict, and is largely formed through this; the only question is what one’s positionality in relation to that conflict is, whether one attempts to perpetuate this means of production, or whether one attempts to sabotage it. In choosing to sell out his politics in favor of his academic position, Drury chose a side.
It is not that Drury is writing disinterested articles for disinterested journals, or that one can even claim that he was just incredibly oblivious to what purpose his work served. It is difficult to be published in academic journals, it is difficult to get grant funding and end up on a research team with any prominence, and the Stott team is prominent; these require intentional attempts on the part of an academic, the signing of contracts and the framing of grant proposals, none of these are passive processes. Drury, clearly, is attempting to hide behind arguments of “academic neutrality”, while these works are being targeted toward certain audiences, cops, and are actual writings with actual effects. The question of the university is never a question of the university as-such, if it were then Drury is just a symptom, someone doing a job. Rather, the question of the university, and the academic within the university, must center on the particular work of the particular academic and the tactical dynamics generated by a university which functions as a mode of production, both of skilled workers and research, as well as a site shaped by the inflows of capital generated by political and economic imperative, and funneled to those within the university that further this interest. Drury is able to maintain his position within the university, and even gain a modest level of prominence, go on research trips and publish in “respected” journals to the degree that he is not only not disruptive to the university as mode of production, but also to the degree that his work advances the operations of funders and readers, in this case the police.
This raises a fundamental question about writing itself, and the relationship of writing to our political investments. As Sorel24 argues, the act of discursive production, in his case the production of the myth of the general strike, is still an action, and thus something that generates an immediate and material effect, as with all other actions. As such, we cannot remove the discussion of writing, in this case academic writing, from the question of the tactical effects of writing; writing is still immediate and material. In the case of Drury this effect becomes amplified in two ways. Firstly, the writing he is doing has, and had, potentially negative effects on the dynamics of insurgency, and the relationship of insurgency to policing. At a time where the police in England have been attempting to contain a rising tide of discontent that is increasingly pouring onto the streets, in the form of massive riots and direct actions, the effect of writing about these dynamics must be done with a specific sort of care. As something that is material, and something that has effects, we have to acknowledge that writing has the potential to dramatically alter the tactical terrain that we are engaging in as insurgents. Therefore, the act of writing, and specifically the act of the distribution of writing, has to take the dynamics of the terrain into account. Secondly, this sort of writing, writing about police operations, carries with it a specific sort of risk, the risk of providing a potential tactical insight to the “enemy”. All conflict functions along the lines of differentiation and schism, a fundamental material dynamic of antagonism between bodies and identities, in this case between “friends” and “enemies”, with both sides defining the dynamic between the two in conflict itself. These are not conceptual designations, or identity in the sense of the transcendental identities posited by identity politics, but merely function as a positionality in and toward conflict, a posture in struggle. These investments become all the more acute when the writing is being carried out in an intentional attempt to logistically disrupt the operations of those that one considers the enemy. This should be simple, but then again I think security culture should be simple, and it seems to be misunderstood constantly; one should not give relevant information to the “enemy”. On both counts Drury failed horribly, not only was this work directly intended to aid the “enemy”, but the venues of publication were directly chosen for this purpose, let alone the even more egregious participation in a training conference for the police on the methods Drury’s team developed. It is not that we can ever take solace in just assuming that Drury is tactically incompetent, naïve and completely devoid of any sort of insurgent discipline; rather, these works were intentionally published in these venues and written for a specific purpose, which necessitates a form of intentionality, and could never be the result of oversight. Beyond this point, the motivations for doing so are irrelevant, all that matters is that Drury chose a side, and it is not our side.
This complete and utter failure on Drury’s part is not just borne from a poor framework of analysis that completely obscures tactics and operates from a cop’s-eye perspective, it is not just about a failure to understand the place of the academic within the means of production or about publication choices, which are dubious at best. Rather, what Drury, and his defenders, seem to fail to understand is that, in the attempt to write about police operations and tactical dynamics, it is specifically necessary to take into account the underlying material struggle that lies at the center of this work, and how, as a material struggle, this necessarily implies a delineation between friends and enemies in the immediacy of that struggle. This involves being extra sensitive to writing, and its resonances, and the need to think this action as one would think through the tactical implications of any other action. When writing about operations theory and doing tactical analysis it is essential to take both security and political trajectory into account. In other words, we have to assume that they are going to read our shit25. The point is to, therefore, maximize the antagonistic effect of the writing while limiting the ability of the enemy to derive beneficial insights from the work; this means being sensitive to how something is written, what information is being given out, what perspective and vision the piece is written from and what venue the work will appear. When writing about operational theory or tactics analysis , I will argue that it is alright to write about a series of things including the projection of possible police security operations in upcoming terrains of conflict from an analytic, and not prescriptive, perspective, theoretical pieces about “policing”, the development of weapons and the relationship of attempted police logistical coherence and terrains of conflict, historical pieces tracing the trajectory of the development of police tactics, analysis of actions that have already occurred and especially analyses of local tactical terrains26, of course all with an extreme eye toward security and possible readership. Notice how I will never veer into prescriptive discussions of possible actions one could take, and this is for a couple of reasons. Firstly, there are legal and tactical implications of suggestive tactical writing that I am not comfortable with, there are potential legal risks and telegraphing actions is just bad tactics; don’t do their intelligence work for them. Secondly, it is completely impossible to project the effects of, and terrain of, antagonistic actions which, to the degree that they are effective, serve to do nothing but generate contingency and disrupt police logistics. Specifically one (ahem…John Drury) does not write pieces for academic journals read largely by police on how police can be more effective in decelerating and containing conflict.
It is important, when writing about operational theory, to write this from a particular perspective and posture toward conflict, emphasizing certain elements of the text, in a blatant attempt to antagonize conflict and amplify crisis. This sort of writing, in both tone and content, makes its political form clear; the analysis always comes from facing the police, from a clear position on the question of friends and enemies. This is not a call for rhetorical excess, we all know that there has been way to much of this in anarchist writing as of late, merely a subtle undercurrent in the perspective of analysis which shapes the tone, content and venue through which one writes. If we were to accept Drury/Aufheben/Libcom’s arguments we would, literally, have to believe that during the day John Drury is a harmless academic, doing nothing more serious than collaborating in the formation of future police strategy, while at night he magically transforms into a generally militant left-communist who writes for a far-left wing political journal, which has been good at times. As the author of Cop-Out argued in a previous intervention into this scandal27, Jekyll and Hyde indeed.
Following the author, and his attribution of similar sentiments to TPTG, there does need to be a space for an insurgent discourse on operational theory and police operations, but it has to be done in the completely inverse way from the model presented by Drury, both on the level of conceptual framework and political investments. This work can be touchy, and has to be written and distributed with care, both for the security of the writers and analysts themselves, but also to prevent this analysis from being useful to the “enemy”, the police, state functionaries and their various lackeys. Most importantly, it is important to carry on this sort of work within the immediacy of struggle and the materiality of conflict, outside of this context all we are doing is pursuing an intellectual fascination. As such, this writing has to be intentional, targeted, positioned within the dynamics of struggle that we experience and politically uncompromising. This becomes much easier within an environment of mutual support and discursive engagement, and this discourse is absolutely necessary. Over are the days in which we can pretend that we can fight and “win”, for whatever that means, simply on the strength of convictions and feelings of self-righteousness, gone are the days where we rush from one campaign and action to another simply for reasons founded in political passion. An insurgent discourse on operational theory is useless outside of a materially intentional struggle, and the dynamics of that sort of concentrated conflict are cold, dispassionate and tactical. Our only relevance, as strategists and operational theorists, is to engage in a more or less effective discourse on the materiality of struggle and the dynamics of this conflict within immediate moments, if we obscure this then, at worst, we are writing from a perspective that ignores conflict, and at best, we are engaging in a discourse which in itself is nothing but academic nicety. To engage in material struggle, insurgency itself, means grounding analysis in the struggle itself, something that is absolutely necessary if we are going to leave the role of activist irrelevance and engage in insurgency. To transcend the politics of complaint and enter into material struggle requires nothing short of this.
Schmitt, Carl, trans. Kennedy, Ellen (1988). Crisis of Parliamentary Democracy. MIT Press, Cambridge
Sorel, Georges, trans. Hulme, TE and Roth, J (2004). Reflections on Violence. Dover Publications, Mineola
Clausewitz, Carl von, trans. Unknown (1968). On War. Penguin Classics, London
Williams, Kristian (2007). Our Enemies in Blue. South End Press. Boston
Galula, David (1964). Counterinsurgency Warfare: Theory and Practice. Praeger Security International, London
Kaplan, Fred (2013). The Insurgents: David Petraues and the Plot to Change the American Way of War. Simon and Schuster, New York
Weizman, Eyal (2007). Hollowland. Verso Press. London
Marx, Karl, trans. Fowkes, Ben (1976). Capital: Volume 1. Vintage Books. New York
Deleuze, Gilles and Guattari, Felix, trans. Massumi, Brian (1986). Nomadology and the War Machine. Semiotext(e). New York
Tse-Tung, Mao, trans. Griffith, Samuel (1961). Guerrilla Warfare. Praeger Publishers. New York
Scott, James (1999). Seeing Like A State: How Certain Schemes to Improve the Human Condition Have Failed. Yale University Press. New Haven
FantoSamotnaf, Sam (2011). The Strange Case of Dr Johnny and Mr Drury. <dialectical-delinquents.com/?page_id=323>. <Accessed on 5/2/2013>
Stott, Clifford, Drury, John, et al (2009). Chaos Theory. Jane’s Police Review. 117. 6026
1Those that carry out actions for the sake of acting, in a calculation separated from the tactical effectiveness of engagement on any given terrain. Activist mentalities and approaches to action are primarily based in acting from a position of passion and conceptual philosophical imperative, rather than from a point of departure in the immediacy of tactical dynamics.
2Some so-called anarchists in Pittsburgh still support Chris Boetie, who snitched people out to a federal grand jury in Washington DC, simply because he is a “friend” and a generally “good person”.
3Critique is useless in itself, outside of some attempt to hierarchically rank thought based in some problematic concept of “truth-value”; rather, it can only be useful to the degree that it can be appropriated in effective ways within a discourse or conflictual dynamic.
4It is sufficient, at this point in the controversy, to just characterize the actions of Libcom and Aufheben as sympathizing with collaborators.
5Stott, Drury, et al, 2009; The article itself has been pulled from the Jane’s Police Review website (policereview.com) in the last couple months, but links to the article can still be found online.
6Kettling, for those that are not familiar, is a strategy in which the police attempt to demobilize and contain a crowd by creating a wide perimeter around the crowd, and slowly closing it in to prevent the crowd from moving. The theory is that, through the deceleration of action and conflict, the energy of the crowd will be disrupted.
7Schmitt, 1985; In On The Crisis of Parliamentary Democracy Schmitt argues that the plane of engagement within the formal limits of the state is the attempt to functionally end conflict through the political process, which always maintains a conceptual unity that is materially impossible. Therefore, we have to create a separation between the rationalism of the conceptual unity of the political process and the attempt to actually operate the declarations of politicians, laws, as operational across time and space through policing, which is a material, immediate and particular dynamic, thus irrational. Note, irrationality is not being used in a pejorative way in this argument, and is only used terminologically to mark the space outside of the conceptual unity of the state, which can never function materially.
11This is the importance of checkpoints, which serve as ways to limit and control movement through space while also providing a logistical base to launch further incursions into space. We can see the importance checkpoints play in the Syrian uprising, where regime troops can only maintain control over some roads, and only through the use of checkpoints, which become frequent targets for attack.
15Of course within the assumption that “insurgents” and the “populace” were different.
16The term “attempt to” is the operative term here; I am not convinced, contrary to the author, that counterinsurgency tactics are overwhelmingly effective, or present much of a threat to us in conflict, to the degree that we move away from the seemingly pathological attachment many anarchists have to mass actions and concentrated numbers. As occupiers engage in counterinsurgency their footprint has to widen, and force has to be concentrated, limiting projection. There are two important aspects of this. First, it highlights the importance of asymmetric conflict in increasing uncertainty in terrain, preventing the movement of police, or at least forcing them to concentrate numbers in that movement. Secondly, counterinsurgency is remarkably fragile, a single attack, a single contingency, and the entire force posture has to shift into a defensive posture, which creates distance between the police and the terrain, in the sense that police operations become separated from the dynamics of terrain in their attempt to preserve their own functioning as a primary objective.
19In this sense, mass organizing can be a tactic, but the weaknesses of this tactic, on the streets, must be recognized. In the concentration of force one also limits the dispersal of force through space, making one legible and easily containable. Anyone that has followed the tactical trajectory of IMF demonstrations in DC between 2005 and 2011 can see both the problems of concentrated numbers and the advantages of dispersal, especially when coupled with disinformation and communications.
20Tactics theory is impossible if one cannot speak of the particularity of the dynamics of moments, and strategic thought obscures the particularity of material action. Therefore, following the Operational Theory Research Institute, an IDF based think tank, there is only the possibility of operations theory, or an analysis of action that departs from the immediacy of action, while consequently acknowledging that it can never speak of this, and focusing, as a result, on the external effects of, and interactions between action within a tactical terrain.
21Deleuze and Guattari, 1986
22From experience, it is completely impossible to have a piece in an academic journal and not know about it; there are copyright waivers that have to be signed by each author, peer-review processes and editorial feedback that all have to be dealt with by each author on a piece. Unless Drury is signing contracts in his sleep, there is no way he did not know where these texts were being published.
23Marx, 1976; Volume 1, New Left Review version
25As Eyal Wiezman notes in Hollowland, the reason that the work that came out of the IDF’s Operational Training Research Institute is so interesting is that they attempted to understand space as a fluid dynamic of conflict, and to do so worked primarily through anarchist texts, situationist writing, Deleuze and Guattari and writing by Mao and Che.
26For example, analysis of the local police annual report, comparisons of police force saturation and arrest levels, patterns in the allocation of force, and even things like local political structures and so on.
27The Strange Case of Dr Johnny and Mr Drury
From Stranger (blog) – Posted by news intern Ansel Herz
It’s been three weeks since May Day, and the reverberations from the day’s mayhem continue. At a court hearing last Thursday, two young men accused of throwing rocks at the police were arraigned in King County Superior Court. That evening, Seattle police posted to their website asking for tips from the public on eight suspects, complete with videos that appear to show young men smashing windows with rocks and skateboards.
“I could feel my temper rising as I watched this thing fall apart,” KIRO radio host Dave Ross told Mayor Mike McGinn the day after May Day. “Why have they adopted [Seattle] as their playground?” his co-host asked.
“There is a desire to provoke a confrontation with the police, so then they can claim the police overreacted,” McGinn said. “This is in fact the objective of the march.”
“I speak for the majority of Seattle when I say fuck you all and your stupid white privilege that thinks you can walk around smashing shit up, yelling and throwing shit at the police,” wrote one typical Slog commenter.
It’s easy to stereotype window-breakers and rock-throwers as spoiled kids throwing tantrums, out with malevolent intentions to mess with the police, and then feel indignant about it. But truth be told, those are lazy, inaccurate assumptions.
At the court hearing last week, it became clear that the two guys being arraigned are homeless. The prosecutor argued against letting them go and called them “threats to community safety.”
But the judge released 18-year-old Joshua Irwin-Patterson back into “clean and sober housing,” run by the Juvenile Rehabilitation Administration (JRA), until his June trial. A JRA employee testified that under her supervision since 2011, Irwin-Patterson had been “doing well.”
Twenty-one-year-old Marcel Davis would return to the Orion Center, a facility for homeless youth, if released, his attorney said. At one point during the hearing, Davis, who is black, seemed to have trouble understanding a simple question. He’s being charged with second degree assault for allegedly throwing a rock that broke a police officer’s kneecap. The judge decided to continue jailing him on $60,000 bail.
Of the 17 people arrested on May Day, “about nine” are homeless or without stable housing, according to Lizz M. (she prefers not use her last name), a Seattle University student who’s helping raise money to defray their legal costs. “Four or five identify as queer. Two are juveniles,” and “two or three” will be judged in mental competency hearings.
The narrative of pampered lawbreakers “makes me so angry,” she says. “What else can you expect from a life like that. You’re on the street,” she adds, referring to Davis. According to police reports last year, he has the mental capacity of a 14-year-old.
“It’s a little alien to me,” Mayor Mike McGinn told KIRO. “I just never considered throwing a rock at a police officer as part of the toolbox of change.”
Of course it’s alien. There’s a great deal of social distance between someone like McGinn, a lawyer turned mayor, and most of those who allegedly smashed things and were arrested. Most activists in Seattle channel their ideas and feelings into more productive forms of protest. But those who were arrested aren’t like most activists.
Because the average person wouldn’t break random windows. In fact, broken windows are a bit like terrorist attacks. And “blowback” is a useful frame through which to analyze both.
The CIA first used the term “blowback” in a 1954 report on the coup d’etat, which the agency helped carry out, against Iran’s prime minister Mohammed Mossadegh. It has since become a shorthand for the “unintended results of American actions abroad.” Last month, while Dzohkar Tsaernaev hid in a boat, he reportedly scrawled a note describing the Boston bombings “retribution” for attacking Iraq and Afghanistan and calling “the victims ‘collateral damage’ in the same way Muslims have been in the American-led wars.”
Who could have guessed? And yet our civic leaders don’t talk about blowback. Instead, we profile Muslims in America, and we keep on bombing and droning and killing Muslims overseas. We heap scorn upon the few misguided, radicalized, and ultimately malicious individuals who’ve carried out terrorist attacks.
We can take the same approach towards anarchists and people on the margins who gravitate towards radical movements in the Pacific Northwest, trying to criminalize their dissent—or we can try to understand their actions (which is not the same as endorsing them) and defuse the tensions that lead to them.
To be absolutely clear: Being an anarchist, breaking a window, or throwing a rock at the cops is not terrorism, full stop, despite the FBI’s attempts to conflate them.
But bombings and smashings represent blowback against a game where the rules, to some people, seem fixed and grossly unfair. In the Middle East, it’s American hegemony. In America, it’s hegemony of the upper class. Breaking a window is an attention-grabbing way of saying, “Fuck those rules.”
“People will follow rules they feel they understand and agree with. And they will follow rules that they helped create,” explains Joe Brewer, a hyper-articulate linguist and director of the Seattle-based firm Cognitive Policy Works. I called Brewer because he’s the mind behind an initiative called The Rules.
“The reason we called it ‘the rules’ is that this is the core narrative that plays out through all these structural problems,” Brewer says. He lists issues like wealth inequality, poverty, institutional sexism, and environmental collapse. “Pick your issue, and you can see how the rules were constructed to make it so… Poverty doesn’t exist by accident.”
The Rules’ latest campaign targets tax havens, where Brewer says some $21-30 trillion has been stashed by the corporations and the rich. Brewer also talks about changing the legal definition of a corporation to eliminate the psychopathic mandate for maximum profits.
“When someone engages in a violent act, that’s usually an exasperated response of someone who feels powerless in some way,” Brewer says of the May Day window-breakers. “Anger against authority figures comes about when people think the authority figure has betrayed them,” he continues. “The most special kind of hatred anyone has is betrayal.”
It’s safe to say Bryanna Stader, 27, feels betrayed. She’s a soft-spoken recent arrival in Seattle from Olympia. Her mom’s a nurse and she’s never been in police custody before, she says.
- Ansel Herz
- Bryanna Stader
But when police arrested her on May Day and then took her to the emergency room that evening, “It was definitely a different experience. When I asked for water they just ignored me and walked away. They didn’t give me any ibuprofen or ice for my swelling… On my ER report, it just says I fell.”
She says her injuries stemmed from the “excessive force” police used arresting her. “I remember the police yelled ‘arrest.’ I was grabbed from behind, and my arms were lifted up above my head,” she says. “I remember seeing my feet not on the ground any more and then my face hit the ground… And then when I got out of the police car, I couldn’t walk on my foot.”
Stader, who works at Subway, isn’t sure if her wrist is fractured or just bruised. Her boss advised her to take time off of work until she’s healed up. According to the police, she shoved an officer and struggled during the arrest. She denies that and is pleading not guilty to obstruction charges.
“I definitely learned a lot, about the inner system,” she says. “Like how the way the police and the hospital kind of seem to be together. And that makes me paranoid and not trusting.”
As I mentioned anarchists in a question, Stader interrupted to say she doesn’t know what the word really means. “I went down there to just learn about different groups because I know there’s something wrong going on in this country. And something should be done to stop it. I’m not an anarchist. I wasn’t there to hurt anybody or anything. I just got caught up.”
As did I, nearly getting pepper sprayed by police while filming the scene and holding up my press badge. SPD spokesman Sergeant Sean Whitcomb watched the video of the incident, but was unapologetic. He said all uses of force are under review, but that pepper spray was deployed as a last resort and means of self-defense once “bottles, metal bars, and fireworks” had been thrown.
But the officers clearly are not using pepper spray in self-defense. Look at the frame by frame.
They deliberately spray individuals who aren’t attacking them. “You’re not far off the mark,” Whitcomb said, finally opening up some wiggle room. “They weren’t doing it because they were afraid of you, or [reporter] Erica Barnett, or the guy in the mohawk…they were doing it to move the crowd, which was hostile.”
“I now understand on a visceral level what it’s like to feel betrayed by the people we pay to protect us,” Barnett wrote the next day.
Here’s where the parallels I drew earlier with “the war on terrorism” become almost eerie. “When a lawful order [to disperse] is given, it basically means to leave the area. Not everyone but shoppers, or everyone but reporters, but everyone,” Whitcomb continued.
He pondered aloud whether for next year’s May Day reporters should wear neon-colored clothes or be issued special press passes into the area by the police. I immediately thought of reporters in warzones who have PRESS emblazoned on their vehicles and vests.
Whitcomb is essentially saying it is not incumbent on Seattle police officers to use force carefully and judiciously, as former SPD chief Norm Stamper advocates. Instead, it’s everybody else’s responsibility, from bystanders to reporters, to not become collateral damage.
Coincidentally this week, Pentagon officials argued in a congressional hearing that the entire globe is a battlefield.
Fuck those rules.
We at March Against Monsanto would to like to apologize for the “statement of non-violence” that was made earlier. The statement did not reflect the views of our international organizing team, and we apologize to all of those who felt marginalized or attacked.
Those involved in the MAM include mothers, fathers, anarchists, Occupiers, progressives, libertarians, liberals, all genders, no genders, apolitical people and everyone else you could imagine.
March Against Monsanto supports a diversity of tactics to be used against Monsanto and their affiliates. We also however do not want to create a space that would endanger children, the elderly, and any other innocent bystanders because of a reactionary assault by local police.
Be safe; be smart; be strategic.
The fight against Monsanto is a big tent, and it is to our benefit to keep it that way. Anyone and everyone dedicated to community, peace and constructive action to get rid of Monsanto are welcome to participate.
We retract our earlier statement, and apologize that it has created confusion and division.
On May 25, the world will know why we march together in solidarity against Monsanto.
The International Week of Solidarity with the NATO 5 was a smashing success thanks to the love and solidarity people across the country showed for our imprisoned comrades! Here in Chicago, we had a number of awesome events that brought folks together for good times and fierce commitment to defending the NATO 3 as their trial approaches this Fall.
We also raised more money for the NATO 3 legal defense. With everyone’s support over this last year, we’ve been able to raise nearly half of our $30k goal for legal defense costs. Thank you! As trial approaches, however, investigative and trial prep costs are starting to mount, so we urgently need to raise about $18k! Please help us keep spreading the word about this case and sending donations to us online via WePay (https://www.wepay.com/donations/nato-5-defense) or by sending a check or money order with “8th Day Center/Nato 5 Defense Fund” in the memo line to:
8th Day Center for Justice
205 W. Monroe St. Suite 500
Chicago, IL 60606
To finish off the week, we’re having a noise demo to let the defendants hear the strength of our solidarity!
NOISE DEMO—Cook County Jail
Saturday, 5/25, 5pm
Meet at the fountain near 26th St. & California. Bring noise makers, musical instruments, and banners! Voice your solidarity with the 10,000 held captive in CCJ!
Comrades across the country have been sharing their stories, pictures, and videos of their solidarity events with us, so here are some we’d like to share with you! https://nato5support.wordpress.com/international-week-of-solidarity-with…
It’s not too late to send us your stories and photos, so please email them to nato5solidarity(A)gmail.com. You can also write to the defendants to let them know how your events went, as well as send them books to help them survive life inside. Their addresses are on our Contact page (https://nato5support.wordpress.com/contact/).
“If a rock falls on your head it does positive harm, but shame, disgrace, reproaches and insults are damaging only in so far as you’re conscious of them. If you’re not, you feel no hurt at all. What’s the harm in the whole audience hissing [at] you if you clap [for] yourself? And Folly alone makes this possible.” Erasmus, Praise of Folly.
“To mark the launch of McKenzie Wark’s new book The Spectacle of Disintegration, Verso Books have offered Rhizome readers in the UK a chance to win a 3D printed Guy Debord action figure.” (Rhizome.org, 17 May 2013)
It seems to us that a response is necessary to this impudent and silly provocation. Silence on the part of people like us – who have spent many years and a great deal of effort trying to understand, enrich and act in accordance with what remains vital and relevant in the situationist critique of spectacular society – would only allow those unfamiliar with, newly informed of or hostile to the legacy of Guy Debord and the other members of the Situationist International to think that impudent and silly provocateurs such as McKenzie Wark are the only ones who are interested in this legacy today.
But what kind of response is called for in this instance? Let’s look at two of them: one might respond seriously, and denounce it sincerely and violently; or one might respond facetiously, and pretend not to be outraged by it (one might even pretend to find it amusing). There are advantages to both approaches: the first would have the merit of showing that not everyone in this world is a silly twat who thinks that life is but a joke; while the second would have the merit of being easier on the writer (there are so many outrages these days and it can be hard to be outraged by all of them all the time). And of course there are disadvantages to each of these approaches: the first one carries the risks of being dismissed as evidence that one doesn’t “have a sense of humor” or that one sees oneself as the exclusive holder of the “the truth” about Debord and the situs, and thus a kind of authoritarian; while the second one might very well encourage the perpetration of other, even more impudent and silly provocations.
So we have chosen a response that allows us to both laugh and tell the truth about this stunted publicity for Wark’s newest book. The class-consciousness of our era has made sufficient progress to demand, using its own means, an accounting from the pseudo-specialists of its history who continue to eke out a living by exploiting its practice.
19 May 2013
Brendan Boehning (Danish Society for Comparative Vandalism, Denmark)
Bill Brown (NOT BORED! USA)
Anthony Hayes (Notes From the Sinister Quarter, Australia)
Alastair Hemmens (Marblepunk, England)
Grant McDonagh (Ultrazine, New Zealand)
Because there is going to be at least one new signatory to this statement, and possibly two more (both from France), the original five signers have added the following note to it.
Note added 20 May 2013
The five original signers of “Stunted Publicity” have agreed that any person or organization in agreement with this declaration against McKenzie Wark’s provocation can add his or her or its name to it and repost it on his or her or its blog, website, Twitter account, Facebook page, etc. provided that the precise original wording of the original declaration (as well as the names and affiliations of all the other signers) are reproduced exactly and in their entirety, and that there are no additions to the text of any kind. Additional signers are requested to contact one, several or all of the original five signers and relay to him or them the location(s) of their reposted copy or copies of the declaration.
From Jerry Resists
Jerry was taken into custody of US marshals today at 4:18 PM. Throughout his hearing, he did not answer any questions; he remained silent the entire time.
Over a hundred people showed in support of Jerry. The court room was packed, and he knew as he was taken by the marshals that we support and love him. The crowd yelled out their support for him as he was escorted out of the room.
Jerry asked that we release this statement to his supporters after his incarceration:
By the time you read this, I will be in the custody of the United States government for continuing my refusal to cooperate with a federal grand jury. This is the right thing to do.
I continue to believe that the government is using this federal grand jury in an abusive manner to force me to divulge information about my political associations and social networks.
If we mean what we say when we talk about radical politics, then we do not participate in witch hunts, inquisitions, or the assembly of black lists. As an individual, I will not lend legitimacy to government brutality and intimidation; I will not be used. As an anarchist, I will summon the courage to be stronger than the forces of the State’s all-too-real repression; I will not break.
Your show of truly powerful support has done nothing but strengthen my resolve in refusing to cooperate. We must not let ourselves be isolated by the government’s heavy-handed tactics. We must not give the state that last inch it tries to break in every one of us.
With Love, with Dignity, in Solidarity
If you haven’t already, please sign up for a recurring donation so that we can ensure that Jerry has immediate access to his commissary and will be able to be in touch with his loved ones.
Less than a week after the SF Commune, a squatted communal house in San Francisco was raided by police, leading to several arrests, some of the same police beat and arrested some of those evicted while at a friend’s dorm on SF State Campus. (It should also be noted that despite the repression, that night people took to the streets in a march against the eviction.) At the eviction of the SF Commune, police appeared with autonomic rifles, and also a remote controlled ‘tank-like’ robot that was capable of shooting either bean bags or wooden pallets. This extreme show of force for what would normally have been a civil matter, shows clearly that SF police must be getting direction and direct funding from the Department of Homeland Security in order to deal with ‘potential threats.’
Such connections between the federal government and local police departments, means big bucks for local cops – and beefed up repression on radical organizers. The SFPD Homeland Security Unit also recently attempted to even get drones. Local police also are getting training from Homeland Security, and are trained on how to gather information on ‘terrorists,’ working through the SF Fusion Center, which works to coordinate police, FBI, and other law enforcement information gathering. In the build up up of the demonstration at SF State on Tuesday, May 21st, against the recent dorm room attacks, police continued to harass students who where organizing for the event. As someone on the facebook event page wrote:
“Me and two others were just detained for over an hour for taping a flyer to a wall. Officer Ruiz threatened to use violence against me and said “If you do not sit down, I will beat you down” to me twice. After expressing concern about this blatant threat he laughed in my face. Three friends seemed to have heard what was going on and came over to make sure everything was okay. When one of my friends took out his phone to record police activity, Officer Ruiz lunged at him, grabbed the camera from his hands and illegally confiscated it. As I stood by to witness the event and make sure my friends did not get hurt, Officer Tang walked up to me and said that if I didn’t leave he would issue me a stay-way order from the school campus. It being finals week, I complied and started walking to the library to study for said finals. Halfway there, Officer Ruiz approaches me in a car continues to harass me. He issues me a conduct violation, California education code: Title 5. s 41301(d) for simply walking around the school which I attend as a student. He said I looked “suspicious” and like “I was up to no good”.
What kind of school has police officers who harass students for walking?
Welcome to San Francisco Police State University.”
Another student was questioned about having an Occupy design on their jacket and then followed. Several people have also been arrested outside of the jail in SF at 850 Bryant for staying on the sidewalk in support of their friends arrested in the dorms last week.
SF State has a long history as a radical campus. In 2009, students occupied one of the main halls that overlooks Malcolm X Plaza during student occupation movement. In 1968, students went on strike for five months, which one the first ethnic studies program in the United States. While SF State plays up this ‘radical history,’ it still works closely with the police to ensure that the actions which would give rise to another such uprising are put down before they can begin. Like all authoritarian regimes, the history of revolt is always portrayed as something glorious and that happened back then – but one which fails to discuss how such actions are part of a continuation of struggle with the same powers that seek to gain affirmation from that very history.
Despite the repression on SF State, today between 50-75 people rallied and marched on the campus to call for the intimidate release of the ‘SF Commune 5,’ and that those arrested receive medical treatment for their wounds. Around 2pm, students and supporters rallied at Malcolm X plaza and several people addressed the crowd to talk about the situation at the school and the harassment that people have endured in the build up to the rally.
Following a sound system, people took to marching throughout the campus, stopping around the student housing building where the initial attack took place before marching on the police station. People wearing black masks painted slogans with spray paint. Upon reaching the police station, news was read that those in the jail would be released that night, with felony charges dropped to misdemeanors. Upon receiving this news, people then marched back to the plaza to head out to the jail to greet their friends.
View a video of a rally by students the day after the attack at SF State: http://baywaters.blogspot.com/2013/05/video-of-rally-at-sf-state-against…