The lines blurred even further Monday as a new dynamic was introduced to the militarization of domestic law enforcement. By making a few subtle changes to a regulation in the U.S. Code titled “Defense Support of Civilian Law Enforcement Agencies” the military has quietly granted itself the ability to police the streets without obtaining prior local or state consent, upending a precedent that has been in place for more than two centuries.
The most objectionable aspect of the regulatory change is the inclusion of vague language that permits military intervention in the event of “civil disturbances.” According to the rule: “Federal military commanders have the authority, in extraordinary emergency circumstances where prior authorization by the President is impossible and duly constituted local authorities are unable to control the situation, to engage temporarily in activities that are necessary to quell large-scale, unexpected civil disturbances.”
Bruce Afran, a civil liberties attorney and constitutional law professor at Rutgers University, calls the rule, “a wanton power grab by the military.” He says, “It’s quite shocking actually because it violates the long-standing presumption that the military is under civilian control.”
Throughout the Oscar Grant movement and the occupy movement, despite whatever demographic took part in the street festivities it has remained that those stuck with heavy sentences have been Black and/or homeless, many of whom were on probation or parole. This fact should not reinforce the myth that only Black and Brown youth were arrested, but should highlight the intensely racist nature of the judicial system. If we are to struggle alongside these folks in moments of uproar, we must recognize that they often have more at stake if they get caught up in the bullshit justice system. When folks already criminalized by the system put themselves on the line, there should be unrelenting pressure on the system to the scale that we know we are capable of with hundreds of anarchists in the bay. It’s not that Black and Brown rebels are people to feel sorry for and “help,” nor feel protective of and “keep safe” as they rage in the streets, as paternalistic leftists might suggest. But if we take seriously that these fellow rioters will be our comrades and co-conspirators for bigger and badder insurrections to come, we cannot let them hang out to dry when they’re going down for the same acts that we (allegedly) took part in.
Unfinished Acts: January Rebellions Oakland, California 2009 (via ninjabikeslut)
These are surprisingly honest: cops refer to the citizens they police as “the enemy,” mocking community accountability efforts as “sideshows” that “exist only for chiefs and sheriffs to provide an illusion of citizen accountability.” Anarchists affirm all of these statements. Liberals and progressives, on the other hand, value these sideshows because they understand the police as a social service. In their view, if public servants run afoul of civil society, they should be better managed. Comment after comment on The Stranger’s online article protested, “But you work for us!
Burning the Bridges They are Building: Anarchist Strategies Against the Police Puget Sound, Winter 2011 (via ninjabikeslut)
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.
Housing, transportation, healthcare. This article is from 2005, and worth keeping in mind this morning as the cops taze people protesting at the Department of Justice over the foreclosure crisis. Some more snippets:
The over-consumption story dominates every discussion of the financial condition of America’s families, but when all the changes in family spending over the past generation are added up, a very different picture emerges. Families are spending less on luxuries and more on the basics of being middle-class. Even with two people in the work force, today’s families trail those of a generation ago in the struggle to make ends meet—to pay for their homes, health insurance, transportation, and child care.
But the new family budget is notable for another reason: it is far more deeply leveraged. A generation ago, the one-income family committed about 54 percent of its pay to the basics—housing, health insurance, transportation, and taxes. That is, the one-income family spent about half its income to make the “nut”—the basic expenses that must be paid even if someone gets sick or loses a job. Today, these basic expenses, including child care so that both parents can work, consume 75 percent of the family’s combined income. With 75 percent of income earmarked for fixed expenses, today’s family has no margin for error. There is no way to cut back if one person’s working hours are cut or if the other gets laid off. There is no room in the budget if someone needs to take a few months off to care for Grandma, or if someone hurts his back and can’t work. The modern American family is walking on a high wire without a net; they pray there won’t be any wind. If all goes well, they will make it across safely: their children will grow up and finish college, and they will move on to retirement. But if anything—anything at all—goes wrong, they are in big, big trouble.