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Occupy Wall Street / December 22, 2011

I gotta say, this newfangled live phone cam streaming technology is off the hook. Now anyone with an Android and an unlimited data plan can stream amazing embedded protest footage from anywhere to anyone–all of it in real time. Forget CNN’s 24-hour cable news revolution. This is CWNN–the Class War News Network.

Last Saturday I was at home in Venice, California, glued to the screen watching a live Ustream feed from Manhattan, where a few thousand protesters gathered to celebrate the three-month anniversary of Occupy Wall Street and to march on Times Square. It was being broadcast by the hardworking citizen journos of wearetheother99, and was packed with all sorts of class-war action you’d never see on TV: kettling maneuvers; cops on scooters trying to ram protesters just like those Ahmadinejad protest goons on bikes, with some dude on the street yelling “get off the bike, pussy!”; and a bunch of brutal and seemingly random arrests, including a close-up of a couple of cops tackling a biker and punching him in the face because he wouldn’t let got of his bicycle. There were some great scenes of protesters sprinting through stalled Manhattan traffic, trying to frantically outflank a police line moving in to pin them down on some narrow street–all while the camera guy narrated the action:  “The police vehicles just can’t get in. There’s too many cars. The people are running too quickly and they’re too dispersed….I’m not sure how long I can keep running. My legs are really cramping up.”

NYPD having fun kettling a couple of hot OWS chicks…

While all this was going on, the NYPD was apparently busy targeting certain protesters for extraction. At some point the, the stream caught the tail end of what people on the scene described as a targeted arrest of a pacer–someone who had been chosen to keep the protest march on track and lead it along a certain route. Apparently the guy had been tazed, and you could see him being carried away to a paddy wagon while a couple of mounted cops kept the crowd away. Without someone in the driver’s seat leading the group, the procession quickly ground to a halt, and people stood around squabbling about which way they should go. If the NYPD’s goal was to slow down and fragment the march, then that one targeted arrest worked like a charm.

Speaking of disruption and the jamming of information…

Remember how in November, Bloomberg and the NYPD got a lot of heat from the city’s media establishment for the arrest rampage they unleashed on journalists covering the eviction raid on Liberty Plaza? Cops arrested more than two dozen accredited journalists from major news outlets, including the New York Post, NPR, AFP and The Associated Press. Hell, cops even clubbed a couple of reporters for the baggertarian rag The Daily Caller. As a result, New York’s police commissioner made a big show of issuing an order that instructed police officers not to interfere with journalists covering OWS.

But clearly that was just for show.

Because this month the NYPD has gone out of its way to harass and arrest journalists covering OWS, especially targeting live streamers and indie journalists who can’t be counted on for propaganda support like the mainstream folks. According to Free Press’ Josh Stearns, who has been maintaining a list of journalists arrested while covering the Occupy Movement across the country, at least five journalists and seven live streamers were arrested by the NYPD in the first half of December.

This journalist is being arrested for her own safety…

In early December, cops arrested freelance journalist Carla Murphy while she covered an Occupy Bronx event, even after she identified herself as a journalist to a NYPD community-affairs officer who was on the scene. There’s a video that shows Murphy telling the cops that she’s a journalist, and you can hear her saying “wait a minute…oh my!…you can’t be serious” as four cops methodically proceed with the arrest. Naturally, the cops then start harassing the guy shooting the video of Murphy’s arrest.

A few days later, on December 12, the NYPD went on an another tear during a OWS flash mob in the Winter Garden staged in support of the West Coast Occupy the Ports action, detaining and jailing at least three journalists. Among them was freelance reporter John Knefel and photographer Stanley Rogouski. Both were bum-rushed and brutally tackled to the polished marble floor, before being hauled off to jail, where they were held for almost two full days–about as long as I was held in jail by the LAPD.

John Knefel took his arrest like a true 99-percenter, writing on Salon.com that fellow journalists shouldn’t fear spending a night or two in the slammer:

The story of Occupy Wall Street is impossible to tell removed from the story of the prison industrial complex. What makes OWS necessary is a story of a failing educational system. It’s a story of privatized prisons. It’s a story of predatory lenders, lack of affordable housing, and a complete absence of jobs in the most marginalized communities, who are often black or brown. It’s a story of a so-called drug war meant to imprison black and brown youth as a means of generating profits for the 1 percent. The NYPD have shown they will arrest accredited and unaccredited journalists alike. Official credentials don’t work as a protection.

That said, journalists – like activists – shouldn’t be afraid of going to jail. If and when we do get arrested it is not an inconvenience, or something that we shouldn’t be subjected to. It’s a chance to refocus our outrage, a chance to tell the most important stories, a chance to bear witness to the horrors of our criminal justice system. I don’t think the NYPD will ever offer me official credentials, but I won’t be asking them for any. Our right to observe and document police misconduct is not contingent on the approval of the authorities. And if the police think that intimidation is going to stop this movement, they should know better by now.

Also, be sure to check out Stanley Rogouski’s account of his arrest at Counter Punch.

Their arrests in the Winter Garden were nicely captured by a photographer named Jessica Lehrman, but the NYPD sure as hell wasn’t making it for journos like her to do their job. Here’s a great video of a couple of cops harassing and blocking a photojournalist working for the New York Times from getting a good shot of the arrests as they were taking place.

The NYPD continued harassing indie journalists five days later during the D17 protests. Some were bashed with batons, others were threatened with having their official press passes revoked. By the end of the day, at least two journalist were arrested, including photojournalist Zach Roberts and Jennifer Dworkin, an independent filmmaker who had worked for PBS.

You gotta wonder if these intimidation tactics against journalists and news media will work to stifle coverage like it has in the past. Or will it backfire, creating shared grievances and experiences between journalists and protestets, and solidifying media’s sympathy for the Occupy movement?

***

Want to know more? Read Yasha Levine’s account of LAPD’s appalling treatment of detained Occupy LA protesters…His other Occupy LA coverage…And LA Weekly’s writeup of his arrest.

Yasha Levine is an editor of The eXiled. You can reach him at levine [at] exiledonline.com.

 

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25 Comments

Add your own

  • 1. Bobby  |  December 22nd, 2011 at 12:40 pm

    Revolutions need units to protect civilians.

  • 2. rossiya  |  December 22nd, 2011 at 1:16 pm

    Wherever the Exiled team ventures, oligarchs and stormtroopers follow. Earth is too tiny for you guys. You’ve painted the northern hemisphere in a decade. Good show!

  • 3. proletariat  |  December 22nd, 2011 at 1:23 pm

    i just want to point out that children in northern ireland would be relentlessly pelting these pigs with molotovs and bricks, while the “revolutionaries” in america just chant at them and then proceed to do nothing as their comrades are brutalized.

  • 4. Dtd  |  December 22nd, 2011 at 4:09 pm

    @ 3
    The dudes pushing for violence against the state and shit like that are often undercover assholes looking to stir it up and get more of us arrested, and for longer sentences. Fuck that, gotta go with Ghandi style at it in this country. I don’t want to go to a rape factory in the CA prison system.

  • 5. hazey  |  December 22nd, 2011 at 4:18 pm

    @4, You throw a moltov at an American riot cop, and you will have a blood bath – and it won’t be pig blood. America of 2011 is not Northern Ireland of the 1980′s.

  • 6. Anton  |  December 22nd, 2011 at 5:03 pm

    What will happen if and when the elites of USA begin to feel they are in as acute dabger as Mubarak felt and now the military leaders feel in Egypt? If the level of brutality already is this high, how would anything actually resembling an uprising be dealt with?

  • 7. dirk  |  December 22nd, 2011 at 5:39 pm

    RE: “Doda”

    The “south asians” are making tea from dried, pulverized poppy pods. They’re cheap. It works. You can “manufacture” it in about 5 minutes in your kitchen, allowing for time to steep. The “large-scale drug lab” in the referenced news article is a grinder and a large bag of dried flowers, the end result being perhaps conveniently packaged into tea bags.

    The one possible advantage of using this method to get high over using stronger, more euphoric/less nauseating street drugs is that one can be certain of its purity. For people who are in pain and can’t afford 21st century “abuse resistant” opiods because they’re poor immigrants, the original is a bargain that both works better than Tylenol and doesn’t destroy your liver.

    http://www.erowid.org/plants/poppy/poppy_info2.shtml
    http://www.alternet.org/drugs/21673/

    This and plenty other psychoactive plants/fungi can be found in gardening centers, grocery stores, flower shops, head shops, eBay and, depending on where you live, in your own back yard. If you’re a teenager and really bored, you can even extract morphine and codeine from a few pounds of poppy seeds. Banning them would be ridiculous and migraine-inducingly illogical but that’s never stopped drug warriors hopped up moral outrage before.

  • 8. Brian Knight  |  December 22nd, 2011 at 8:44 pm

    1. We’re at an acknowledged 50% unemployment, howz that gonna work out after another six months and even more layoffs because there really are no new jobs?
    2. Then you’ll have a gas price spike, which will cause 50% nationwide foreclosure rate, which isn’t even close to where we’ll end up, howz that gonna be after 6 months?
    3. Then we’re gonna be at a near 50% homelessness problem in 6 months, howz that gonna be in six months?
    4. Then the diseases and pestilence for the no longer insured will swamp the system and it will collapse causing more of ALL the aforementioned problems, howz that gonna be in a year?
    It’s gonna be like a LOT of death, that’s how.

    I think they are going to be literally thrown out and probably be hung in a year.
    I’m serious as a heart attack.

  • 9. super390  |  December 22nd, 2011 at 8:52 pm

    OWS doesn’t need an official ideology. America is so politically primitive that it needs to be educated on the very idea that there’s too damn much inequality and we are closer to the bottom than the top. We need projects to starkly demonstrate that. The current OWS effort in NYC to move homeless people into abandoned properties and then make it a pain in the ass to remove them is a project that could easily be extended to every corner of the country, multiplied until there aren’t enough police to deal with it. It is the sort of thing that makes people ask the questions they asked in the 1930s; “Why are there so many homeless when there’s so many abandoned buildings?” “Why are so many hungry when so much food is being produced?”

    The asking of these questions is much harder for the authorities to deal with than a defined party with a defined platform. Until you have a population that is questioning the social basis of private property, radical parties will always be treated as outsiders, like Che in Bolivia as opposed to the Bolivia of today that has internalized radical self-government.

  • 10. the dude  |  December 22nd, 2011 at 9:06 pm

    POPULATION PYRAMID IS FUCKED! we will be subjugated and extracted from untill we reach a point where the health care system no longer allows for people to get as old as they do now, and the education/family planning in this country erodes away to the point that people start having more children. THEN 15-20 years after that we will have our revolution

  • 11. the dude  |  December 22nd, 2011 at 9:09 pm

    Also, as to the use of violence; i’m torn on how it will be interpreted but think about how militarized our society has become since 9/11…college kids get tazed for asking John Kerry the wrong question and its a big fucking joke. hundreds, maybe thousands, of protesters get pepper sprayed and beaten by the cops and the mainstream hardly bats an eye, and its out of the news in a day. If state violence is so easily ignored/allowed, would the public accept violence against bankster owned property and those that protect it?

  • 12. iSockpuppet  |  December 23rd, 2011 at 5:15 am

    Don’t whatever. Exiled improved my whiney retard-o-comment . The revolution will not be televised, live-streamed, but it will be trolled on.

  • 13. A Silver Mt. Paektu  |  December 23rd, 2011 at 6:10 am

    @6. Anton-

    To put it bluntly, they’ll start killing people. If the 1960s are a lesson to go by, they’ll start by identifying the most effective leaders (X, King, Newton, Hampton, etc) and they’ll have them killed by patsies (King), rivals with something to gain who are willing to do the state’s dirty work (X, Newton-attempted), or official state actors (Hampton, Newton-attempted).

    Once they’ve cast the movement into disarray by killing its most effective uniting figures and created a psychological environment of siege, fear, and tension where only a fool would allow himself to be unarmed they’ll use carefully placed disinformation to inflame personal and organizational rivalries and let the resulting chaos neutralize any threat to the system that the movement might have produced.

    The Amerikan security apparatus tends to function more elegantly than that of your typical third world strongman. Things like the police riot in Chicago during the ’68 DNC or today’s rough OWS evictions are just theatre. Shows of force to keep fence-sitting liberal types out of the streets. The real movement busting will be surgically targeted and pinned on either “lone nuts” or the victims themselves.

  • 14. jeremy in class  |  December 23rd, 2011 at 9:14 am

    It seems to me that revolutions only work when middle management gets involved. We have to get the cops on our side. As long as they remain on the public payrole and the oligarchs don’t make them their praetorian guard, there’s a chance. Get some moles in there, find out how the system works and subvert it. Subject them to propaganda efforts on the ground. Other than that, work to make their job extremely difficult. Flash mob them. Turn up in one spot and disperse as soon as they arrive only to pop up on the other side of town and do likewise. They can’t be everywhere at once. We make them play whack-a-mole until they have to hire more cops. Maybe we can have some influence over that.

  • 15. John Drinkwater  |  December 23rd, 2011 at 9:33 am

    Journalists and activists have less rights than actual criminals because arrested burglars and rapists are about to be prosecuted in trials so the cops can’t do anything to them that might jeopardize the case. Whereas journalists and activists are merely detained without ever being charged with a crime. So in custody, the cops can and do essentially torture them…they can do whatever they want accept break bones and, well, kill you. And the only reason why they can’t go that far is because they don’t know for sure that you’re not some important person’s son or daughter.

    Anyone interested in political activism in North America and the origins of the OWS movement should read anarchist anthropologist David Graeber’s 2009 book “Direct Action: An Ethnography” – among other things, it’s basically the blueprint for OWS.

    Graeber also questions the effectiveness of purely Gandhian tactics working in America.

  • 16. mijj  |  December 23rd, 2011 at 1:15 pm

    when we say “America” we mean the elite 1% of that country. The rest of the inhabitants exist to do the bidding of the elite. The american elite subject inhabitants of america to oppression and propaganda just as they do the people of the rest of the world.

    A song for the mood from German band, Rammstein: Amerika

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yVKPuONDWyk

  • 17. Pascual Gorostieta  |  December 24th, 2011 at 1:17 am

    “Hot OWS chicks”! But Yasha you are using reductive language to describe women that is totally bad.

    Just fucking with you. Nothing more annoying than to hear middle class white feminists clamor on about oppression while not giving a fuck about their less enfranchised minority counterparts. I hung out with a lot of these types at the my local OWS. These guys need to forget about theory; Marxist, Feminist or otherwise and need to focus on a simple message of social justice that is understandable to all Americans.

    Hats off to both you and Ames you guys are going down swinging. You guys are true patriots.

  • 18. superfund site  |  December 24th, 2011 at 5:28 am

    @8

    50% unemployment? do you have supporting figures?

    and could you burn them because i don’t want to be any more frightened and depressed than i already am

  • 19. Fred X. Quimby  |  December 24th, 2011 at 6:42 am

    2012 Republican National Convention, August 27, 2012, Tampa, Florida

    2012 Democratic National Convention, September 3, 2012, Charlotte, North Carolina

    Bring a helmet and a gas mask. It should be very exciting!

  • 20. Not Rrequired  |  December 24th, 2011 at 10:39 am

    At a necessary point, for apparent reasons, learn, take to the roofs, and destroy the enemy from above. We must now become The American Martyr.

  • 21. Cum  |  December 24th, 2011 at 7:32 pm

    Hope the demonstrators at the DNC start the next Chicago riot. Drag the damn Party leftward. I dont expect demonstrating in FL for the RNC will necessarily have any effect on the candidates, but I’d like to go scream at some of those creeps anyways. Those FL republicans are some seriously corrupt closet-case freaks. I saw one of them – the FL senate majority leader IIRC – give a speech at my buddy’s graduation ceremony. He kept going on about the importance of “family” but his sweaty pig face with its fake smile betrayed his desire to run off and grope a boy paige.

    These guys (and ladies) get kickbacks from shady real estate deals, its so blatant… I need to get back to another occupy meeting.

  • 22. proletariat  |  December 25th, 2011 at 2:43 am

    hurf de durf yes everyone who is anti-cop must actually be a cop!

    clearly.

    tupac? a cop.
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sNJZEgQ109w

    eazy E, dre, cube, MC ren and yella? MUST BE COPS!
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1M8vei3L0L8

    immortal technique? yeah. cop!
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Bb3FvfN0mZA

    rebel diaz? COPS! ALL COPS!
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8Dr05tXktSo

    brother ali? MUST BE A COP!
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OO18F4aKGzQ

    ice t? CLEARLY a cop!
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BSvD5SM_uI4

    if OWS brats would come out and admit that they’re a part of an overtly racist movement which only exists to counter the slight erosion of white privilege, i might respect it. until then, OWS can go fuck off. the left neither wants you nor needs you, and we REALLY need allies now. we still have enough principles left that we won’t accept unknowing david dukes.

    at least, the real left does. for the rest: http://www.marxists.org/reference/archive/mao/selected-works/volume-2/mswv2_03.htm

  • 23. Olaf Mohammed Al FInkelstain  |  December 26th, 2011 at 3:43 pm

    Ahh come off it guys. Like I cum off having Mr. Koch buzz the spiked buttplug pager I have embedded in my sphincter 24-7. We share the anger/pain/dissapointment etc about bankers (wankers?) bonuses and sumpin gotta be done aboutid, but REALLY ask yourself the following question:

    Has world history EVER been made by not washing and by crapping in a port-a-loo or worse?

    All right then boys and girls, go home, have a shower, and engage in politics – seriously.

  • 24. Hick  |  December 26th, 2011 at 7:07 pm

    Rogouski’s account is a good read. Reminds me of Basic Training, some of the more physically-fit trainees failed mentally. I had a hard time, being undersized, malnourished, etc. Good Army food helped a bit (it actually didn’t suck in the early 80s) and what really helped me was my first trip to the PX and some Stresstabs. Physically I excelled but what really amazed me was, other trainees who had had easier lives, and were not prepared for the physical rigors, and didn’t pass with flying colors but worked their asses off and passed with a few points to spare.

    Journalists should take pride in getting arrested, just like in the 1960s. This is how the gangbangers keep up esprit de corps.

    BTW @MoOlafFinkelHammedStein, I do in fact shit in a bucket, and I shower with a hose. And world history may be, very quietly, be being made by those who can live frugally and free.

  • 25. TomBrown  |  February 25th, 2013 at 12:32 am

    The NYYPD are using awful hate rant websites such as NYPDRANT formerly NY
    PDRRANT to harass citizens and post malicious smears and hateful racist insults and harassment. These guys are all cops and must show their MOS ID card in order to get on that site. These cops are all from the NY area and they are harassing people they are supposed to be protecting. These misguided hateful members of service should be exposed for the white supremacists that they are. Why does Nassau County, Suffolk County and the State of NY and City of NY look the other way? What they are doing is hateful harassment.


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