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Class War For Idiots / November 29, 2011

I spent this past Sunday night reporting from Occupy LA, along with at least 2,000 others who came in solidarity to help the camp stand up to a threatened LAPD raid.  The defense of the camp, or the battle to defend it, started just after midnight and lasted until about 6 AM, when the cops finally succeeded in pushing people off of the street and back onto the sidewalk–just in time for morning traffic. That was the extent of the LAPD raid. In all, there were only four arrests and no baton beat-downs, pepper spray attacks, tear gas or rubber bullets. Most important of all, the cops never set foot inside the camp.

Most of the Occupy LA protesters came away from it all feeling that they scored a victory. But I’m not so sure. Looking back on what happened, the operation felt more like a tactical police-feint designed to test how the protesters would respond, string us out,  exhaust us, and thin the camp’s population. Anyway, the city’s still standing firm behind its original eviction notice, so we’ll probably see the real raid very soon, or at least some more semi-raids and feints…

But spending all that time at Occupy LA (both last night and on other occasions), I’ve grown increasingly concerned with all the infiltrators and provocateurs inside the movement. At least you can see cops in uniform; the snitches and provocateurs are the real problem.

From the very beginning, people in the Occupy movement have had to confront, and learn how to deal with the dark and unpleasant fact that they were constantly being infiltrated by all sorts of spooks, inciters, snitches, informants and mole-rats. It’s hasn’t been easy. An undercover police officer who was passing out fliers calling for protesters to use violence was outed at Occupy Oakland seemingly by accident. But this fool was an exception. Like American Spectator editor-mole Patrick Howley, who provoked a violent police response at Occupy D.C. and then outed himself by gloating about it an article, most infiltrators go unnoticed until after they’ve done their dirty work.

The last few times I hung out at Occupy LA, one of the big concerns people had was how to deal with suspected provocateurs and infiltrators: active and dependable members of the movement who nonetheless managed to work against it. Usually you had a good idea who the moles were because most of the time they either pushed hard in favor of doing something dumb and violent, or they did everything to sow conflict within the movement, inflaming divisions and generally jamming the democratic process or General Assembly, where voting by consensus allows just a few people to shut the whole thing down.

The questions you ask about these people are: “Are they malicious? Or just dense?”

It’s usually impossible to know for sure without explicit proof, but most of the people I talked to could point out at least a couple of people they personally suspected of being moles. “I was never a big fan of conspiracy theories,” a burly guy with a foot-long goatee serving on the OLA security team told me. On top of the steady stream of suspicious weirdos, he mentioned something about a plot by the Minutemen–yep, the armed border vigilante group–to infiltrate the camp. He was sketchy on the details, but as far as he knew, the Minutemen had packed up their camo gear and left, apparently fearing for their safety. This was a couple of weeks ago. So if anyone can either confirm or deny the reports, email me.

One thing we do know for a fact is that last week, the Free Republic called for full-scale mobilization of freeper forces to infiltrate and derail Occupy LA’s General Assembly. “How brave are you?” asked a freeper named joinedafterattack, instructing comrades to “Learn your Occupy Hand signals!” To which another freeper responded: “You’d have to go to a bathhouse in San Francisco to see something gayer than that.”

Most of the people I talked to were sure that every important committee in the camp had someone working to sabotage it from the inside. They’re probably right. In fact, if history is any guide, the OLA members I spoke to were probably underestimating the true number of infiltrators.

For instance: During the 1968 protests of the Democratic National Convention in Chicago, which drew about 10,000 protesters and was brutally crushed by the police, 1 out of 6 protesters was a federal undercover agent. That’s right, 1/6th of the total protesting population was made up of spooks drawn from various federal agencies. That’s roughly 1,600 people! The stat came from an Army document obtained by CBS News in 1978, a full decade after the protest took place. According to CBS, the infiltrators were not passive observers, monitoring and relaying information to central command, but were involved in violent confrontations with the police.

It wasn’t just the Feds who were infiltrating the protesters. Although it’s not clear exactly how many local cops were sent to infiltrate the protests, you can bet the Chicago’s own boys in blue didn’t miss out on the costume party. The city’s infamous Subversive Activities Unit, known as the Red Squad, has a long history of monitoring, infiltrating and squashing any whiff of any left-wing/anti-business activity. Just ask any union guy. So it was only natural to expect that this unit would ramp up its operations in preparation for the 1968 convention protest.

In the end, cop-on-cop violence was used to justify the brutal “police riot,” in which Chicago cops indiscriminately clubbed women, hippies, retirees, reporters and anyone else in their way–and they pumped in so much tear gas that the vapor seeped into the Hilton hotel, giving presidential nominee Hubert Humphrey a lung-full of gas as took his shower.

Which brings me back to the Occupy LA. The eviction deadline set by the city was 12:05 a.m. By that time, at least 2,000 protesters had amassed in and around the camp, spilling out onto the street and blocking traffic. How many of them were working against us? How many were legitimately whackos? Is there a difference, really?

…Welp, looks like I’ll have to cut this short. I just got information that the real raid on Occupy LA is about to happen right now (9:00 p.m. Los Angeles time). Here is the email I just received from an OLA organizer:

http://www.ustream.tv/channel/crossxbones

Please go to Los Angeles City Hall tonight to witness LAPD actions tonight.Please bring video camcorders with lots of extra batteries, data cards, tape, etc. to witness and document police actions.

There have already been incidents of police abductions of individuals on the street last night, reportedly those who are former military.

LAPD is reported to be staging at Elysian Park (per KNBC helicopter report earlier).

LAPD has barred most media TV crews from being near or at City Hall.These actions must be witnessed.Hold the line.

I’m headed there now. Will report back soon…

Update I: Welp, I got arrested while covering the protest and spent two nights in jail. You can read my account of the arrest as well as LAPD’s appalling treatment of detained Occupy LA protesters

Update II: Guess I was right. The day after I got out of jail, reports came out that undercover LAPD agents had infiltrated Occupy LA in the days leading up to the raid.  Here’s a good summary of the infiltration from everyone’s favorite commie symps at WSWS:

As part of the crackdown on protests against social inequality in the United States, nearly a dozen Los Angeles Police Department (LAPD) officers infiltrated the Occupy Los Angeles camp over the course of a few weeks prior to the police assault and dispersal of the camp on November 30.

The ostensible goal of the infiltrators was to gather information on any plans among the protesters to violently resist eviction. However, their more practical purpose was to violate the democratic rights of the protesters and provide justification for the militarization of the police response. It is part of a growing effort by police agencies to monitor and spy on oppositional groups.

LAPD Commander Andrew Smith told a reporter that the undercover officers were important for understanding the protesters before the raid. He downplayed the significance of the infiltration saying that “the camp was accessible to everyone.”

The undercover officers cited the absurd story that some protesters were making bamboo spears to fight off the police. When 1,400 officers cleared out the encampment of a few hundred, it was the police who acted violently.

Multiple eyewitnesses have claimed that the police attacked peaceful protesters and journalists with their batons to drive them from the park. Out of the 291 protesters arrested, 187 were released without being charged with any crime, and 46 were charged with the misdemeanor of “failure to disperse.”

Update III: Here’s my latest post on Occupy LA arrest scandal: A Visit to the Raided Occupy LA Camp, Updates From Freed Protesters and Bad News About Our Legal Situation…

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

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28 Comments

Add your own

  • 1. ive got fucking bugs in my head  |  November 29th, 2011 at 10:41 pm

    why don’t we send our own infiltrators to infiltrate the cops, specifically the snitches’ operations? get some evidence?

    i dunno

  • 2. John Figler  |  November 30th, 2011 at 4:47 am

    OMG… Have the Occupy movements there copied that Assembly/Consensus crap as it was used in the Spainish 15-M movements?

    If so you have already lost.

    Setting up a loudspeaker and giving free lunches (food and attention) attracts weirdos from miles around. Haven’t you seen zombie movies? By God…

  • 3. Punjabi From Karachi  |  November 30th, 2011 at 5:50 am

    Well, I hope the eXile and it’s boys and women are finally happy; they’ve gotten the domestic rebellion they were pining for in America all this time. Good luck and stay safe kidderroos.

  • 4. John Drinkwater  |  November 30th, 2011 at 9:59 am

    Maybe the solution is to completely outmaneuver the infiltrators by embracing violence and killing the cops? Aren’t there uzis in LA you could use to fight back? I’m not kidding. Ultimately, I think a ‘military’ solution is the only way to win this war. We either take over the armed forces of the country like the Bolsheviks or use our numbers and the second amendment to beat them.

    Yes, I am a hired provocateur, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t listen to me and do the very stupidest thing you could possibly do, does it?

  • 5. Duarte Guerreiro  |  November 30th, 2011 at 10:22 am

    “The questions you ask about these people are: “Are they malicious? Or just dense?””

    I often wonder if people like that are the reason rules and government came to be in the first place. The Red Queen hypothesis in evolutionary theory defends that sexual reproduction is a way to stay a step ahead of parasites, with every new generation jumbling the immune keycode by rearranging its parents codes. That means that even if a parasite figures the code out, it won’t be able to destroy the whole species because each individual has different defenses.

    In the same way, Occupy and other groups that overvalue openness and horizontal organization leave themselves exposed to every parasite that comes along and hijacks the organism for their own benefit like a virus would. It’s one of the points I often debate with my anarchist friends and they never seem to come up with any good answers – you can have a 100 intelligent and caring individuals working for the common good, but throw one retard into the room and he WILL make life hell for everyone. How do you deal with the retards?

    Well, in a government taken over by parasites, the answer seems simple: you employ them as mole-rats.

  • 6. Dammerung  |  November 30th, 2011 at 10:30 am

    In Egypt your ID includes your profession, so when the uprising started undercover spooks could be outed and get the righteous shit beaten out of them everywhere they went. Too bad.

  • 7. John Drinkwater  |  November 30th, 2011 at 11:33 am

    If you think strictly non-violent demonstrations are going to overthrow or even significantly change the US government, you have another thing coming. You know, most of the other Bolsheviks thought Lenin was stupid or insane when advocated a violent takeover in 1917, but in a few months he was being worshipped by all for pulling it off.

    And hey, violent rebellion has such an awesome record here ever since the Constitution was ratified, while non-violent protest never achieved a single thing–besides of course civil rights for minorities, women and gays, and hard-won labor rights, and voting rights for minorities and women. But besides those few things, yeah, non-violent protest never achieved anything here. Whereas violent rebellion has nothing but victories and positive change to look back on.

  • 8. John Drinkwater  |  November 30th, 2011 at 12:30 pm

    Despite the numerous achievements of non-violent protest in the United States, we still live under an increasingly oppressive and corrupt regime, as the editors of this site know better than most. The only way to effect real, long-lasting change is to overthrow the government. You cannot reform a broken system. Just as the Russian monarchy in a most unpleasant way after a few decades of seemingly significant reforms including the abolition of serfdom and the introduction of the Duma in 1905. Such ‘reforms’ – much like reforms in the US – are begrudgingly accepted by the elites so long as the elites are allowed to maintain total control.

    Because you know, life today in the USA is at least as bad as life was in 1905 under the Tsars.

  • 9. John Drinkwater  |  November 30th, 2011 at 12:35 pm

    …such reforms are accepted as long as they don’t constitute and actual threat to the powers that be, which in the case of United States, none of those reforms did, esp. since they’ve now been beaten back by the regime, esp. hard labor rights. While voting rights are practically irrelevant since the political system is completely rigged.

  • 10. C367  |  November 30th, 2011 at 12:38 pm

    @5, I think you nailed it on the head. No hope for actually accomplish anything by playing it by the rules, after all if you play honestly against a known cheater, you’re a moron, not a paragon of virtue. However, as @1 said, the snitch game can be played by both. You just know there’s some cop somewhere who’s unhappy with how his colleagues are getting promotions for bashing protesters, and he’s not…

  • 11. crazy_inventor  |  November 30th, 2011 at 12:56 pm

    as of wednesday, november thirtyth
    there are occupy together meetups, in 2,503, cities in the US. ,

    I operate 3 radio stations.

    one plays fusion jazz, the second plays the above and OWS songs and news clips, anti-clear channel clips, etc, while the third plays rock, but with a twist, all female bands and vocalist songs. the exact opposite of our local ‘big dog 95′ shit channel piece of shit, which plays 98 % angry white men screaming songs, which it calls ‘classic rock’

    I call it cracker rot..

    and tell them to go fuck themselves, call them turd dog, war cock suckers, and so on

    over the air

    constantly

    it’s a dirty job, but someone has to do it

    http://listen.kboo.fm:8000/occupyradio

    this is a mostly up live stream I’ve been listening to lately, and archiving, since we’re making history

    just trying to BE the change I want to see in the world..

  • 12. Duarte Guerreiro  |  November 30th, 2011 at 1:14 pm

    @ 10

    True, but at the end of the day, working as a mole for the rebels offers a warm, fuzzy feeling but the sword of Damocles hangs over your head.

    Working as a mole for the empire offers competitive salary bonuses and exciting career opportunities.

    And since it takes a very moral man to make the right choice and a moral man is not likely to go into the profession of skull-cracking in the first place, things get complicated. I’m not saying it can’t be done, but it’s just another one of those cases where you would need some really dedicated guys to take on such a job from the start (instead of hoping that some of the cops find Jesus).

    Anyway, this is just sleep-deprived speculation on my part. Maybe it’s easier than it sounds if you figure out the right way to do it.

  • 13. hazey  |  November 30th, 2011 at 1:15 pm

    Burly security guy might have been thinking about J.T. Ready and his re-branded NSM goons showing up in AZ.

    http://www.revleft.com/vb/nsm-and-arizona-t162824/index.html?s=740c9b0f72aa1ff9a739936eea33c73e&

  • 14. hazey  |  November 30th, 2011 at 1:18 pm

    Also, yeah spreading rumors about snitches, was also part of cointelpro.

    http://www.snitching.org/2010/03/snitchjacketing.html

  • 15. Terrence  |  November 30th, 2011 at 1:28 pm

    I have a problem with the “What You Should Know” headline :

    “Paul Krugman Called Pre-Reagan 70% Top Tax Rate “Insane” In 2004″

    The headline links to a blog post by Libertarian/Paultard uber-schill Llew Rockwell. It is substantiated by nothing other than Rockwell’s alleged recollection of an off-the-record conversation he had with Krugman at a conference. This is below the typically high journalistic standards at the Exile, in my humble keyboard-jockey opinion.

  • 16. Trevor  |  November 30th, 2011 at 1:33 pm

    I hate when people draw comparisons between the 60s and today because there are serious cultural differences. Also, Hoover was still running the show and he got a boner from authoritatianism. He’s been replaced by a steady stream of career bureaucrats more interested in golf than stomping.

    As for the Freepers, I’d bet of every twenty that reported for duty online only one showed up in the flesh. American conservatives are huge pussies but they’ve mastered the art of woofing.

  • 17. Doug  |  November 30th, 2011 at 5:18 pm

    Haha, you people actually think these little hippie communes are going to accomplish anything? You think the establishment’s afraid of a bunch of petty criminals and trust-fund Marxists camping out in a park. One thing’s for sure the Kronstadt Rebellion this is not.

    Keep pushing it, all this social unrest here and Europe is pushing market volatility to new highs. Bad for the working shticks in their 401Ks, but awesome for most of us hedge funders. We just got a half a billion in new money due to recent high performance.

    The ultimate irony of OWS. Took weak to accomplish anything, but strong enough to scare Middle America into surrendering more wealth and power to the 1%.

  • 18. Fischbyne  |  November 30th, 2011 at 7:49 pm

    Sorry about the market volatility, Doug. We’ll get right on that for you.

  • 19. Jedi Mind Trick  |  December 2nd, 2011 at 4:50 pm

    Fuck you Doug.

  • 20. justLight  |  December 2nd, 2011 at 7:31 pm

    Even watching the twitter feed on Occupy College it was obvious who was a PR agency behind a photo of a ‘woman’ making remarks like Occupy is so last week, in order to weaken the impact of the tweets.

  • 21. Dragon Pie  |  December 3rd, 2011 at 8:35 am

    I haven’t been to LA, but in Denver the provocateur label has been used to dismiss anybody with more radical politics or just anybody who, say, dances on the flag or who isn’t proud of this country. It has also been a way that white dudes have attempted to silence women and people of color.

    I think that it is important to realize that anybody around you could be a cop, an informant or somebody who could be turned into an informant. That’s part of security culture. And it’s a whole other question whether people who’ve joined you are a comrade who is fighting for the same thing that you are, but it can bring in a whole other set of issues if you think that you can successfully find infiltrators.

    Other than that, this whole article sounds a little sanctimonious while still making some legit points.

  • 22. CensusLouie  |  December 4th, 2011 at 1:54 am

    I said it before, but the absolute easiest way to out these people is just keeping a lookout for the fat doughy Larry the Cable Guy dudes. Giveaways include the tendency to constantly break out in shit-eating grins.

  • 23. bulfinch  |  December 6th, 2011 at 7:58 pm

    @22 yeah, or dudes with shaved heads wearing shirts with peace signs or pot leaves on em.

  • 24. Heike  |  December 6th, 2011 at 9:37 pm

    The Oakland undercover officer who was linked to above had this interview in front of a white screen

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LEUVA9WhIgY

  • 25. rossiya  |  December 7th, 2011 at 10:30 am

    “The only way to effect real, long-lasting change is to overthrow the government.”

    Give me control of a nation’s money and I care not who makes her laws. – Mayer Amschel Rothschild

  • 26. Tracked & Followed  |  December 7th, 2011 at 5:24 pm

    Joint Terrorism Intelligence Center on Imperial Highway now has so much more interesting make work to pursue with their whiz bang Stanford computer technology.

  • 27. kristie  |  December 10th, 2011 at 3:58 pm

    can you please post pictures of these people so that we know who they are,, names and locations would be great too,, thanks

  • 28. Jeff  |  February 25th, 2012 at 3:46 pm

    Is there an actual citation for the document referenced in regard to the 1968 riots? Because I can’t find anything, anywhere, and I’d definitely like to read it. Yep, I’m a dumbass who can’t do a google search. Guess that’s why I’m gonna donate $500 to the eXiled. Thanks!


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