Oakland PD's surveillance center's primary purpose is fighting protesters, not crime

Berkeley PD actually kept their hands pretty clean during the Occupy days. UC campus police panicked and got stupid, and deserved all the shit they got for it.

You’re not from around here, are you?

If a modern-day Scandanavian is your idea of a socialist, I think we’ve where our disagreement on Occupy being “socialist” is!

Since a denial of profit isn’t really “harm,” it’s hard for any principals to side with the store owner. Making money isn’t something anyone – the government, the protesters, anyone – owes you.

Were you there for the mind-numbing “consensus” meetings? The protesters couldn’t agree on anything to actually SAY. Seriously, I stood by while one of my oldest friends, one of the most dyed-blue progressives in the world, was screamed down by black blocs and called a “tool of the corporate patriarchy” for objecting to their violent tactics. There was a movement by non-violent protesters to ask the “anarchists” (who seemed to know squat about what “anarchy” actually meant) to leave, or curtial the violence, but they were shut down in the long, stupid debates about “diversity of tactics” (i.e. have a non-violent protest AND a violent protest at the same time! Yay diversity!)

I’m telling you, those guys were there to have a riot, and a riot they would have, even if the cops never showed up at all.

let’s ban all protest then. What you have just told me is terrible, I hope understand your anger. who wouldn’t be. You can’t ban protest thought, it’s a very powerful tool of democracy.

My only advice is to talk to these guys before they begin their ‘protest’. Get on the same page, make them realise the responsibilities they have. If they are genuine they will take it on board.

No, I wasn’t there for those meetings because I learned long ago that consensus meetings are no way to get anything done and are just a chance for people to grab a mic and hold a room hostage while they talk and talk and talk.

I don’t disbelieve you about the black bloc. I’ve heard the same sort of things from many others.

Gods know we tried. Talking to black bloc riot fans is futile. They are on their own “page” and arent’ interested in turning it. Hey, we had around 70% of the Occupy Oakland people finding consensus that the protests must remain non-violent, even in the case of police action. Examples of Ghandi and MLK were dutifully recounted. Unfortunately, to make anything “official” required 80%+ to be called “consensus.” So we ended up with a ridiculous “we support diversity of tactics” statement, meaning that throwing cinderblocks through school windows was “diversity.”

Then support those that seem to be genuine by actually informing the authorities of their good behaviour and actively shop out those that aren’t.

Sounds like a nightmare, why is life so complex.

I learned long ago that consensus meetings are no way to get anything done and are just a chance for people to grab a mic and hold a room hostage while they talk and talk and talk.

You got that right. We have to listen for an hour about why there must be a “free Mumia” plank in the Occupy movement’s platform, or listen to the people from the Revolutionary Communist Party explain how Stalin was really just misunderstood, because after all, he brought equality for women to the Soviet Union.

This is why progressive movements so often fail. This is why there isn’t an “Occupy Caucus” in Congress. Because “finding consensus” is so much more important than taking control of the political process and getting people elected who will support progressive causes. Even if they don’t want to free Mumia.

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Lawrence Lessig made exactly this case in One Way Forward
And the loosley affiliated Rootstrikers is an attempt to bridge the gap.

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To bring this thread back on topic, as much as I decry the surveillance state, if the OPD is going to prioritize their ridiculously under-budgeted resources toward something that street cameras might actually be effective against, using the system to monitor street protests in downtown Oakland is simply a matter of getting the most return on the investment. Street riots are commonplace in this town, and every single protest march, regardless of the cause, gets diverted into violence by a dedicated minority of assholes. My kid got sent home from school at least twice a year because downtown Oakland was on riot alert (she joked how some in some places schools get off for “snow days”, but in Oakland we get "riot days’.)

Putting cameras on street corners in the Flatlands or West Oakland isn’t going to do much for cutting down murders and burglaries in those neighborhoods, but it might show where to head off the guys with the bricks in their hands and the black bandanas over their faces as they hurry downtown from their squat houses in south Berkeley.

There’s been well-documented occasions worldwide where fuckers like that are provocateurs/undercover cops as well…

Don’t the cops already know where their agents provocateurs are?

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There’s been well-documented occasions worldwide where fuckers like that are provocateurs/undercover cops as well…

Absolutely. I wouldn’t put anything past those ratfuckers. I’m old enought to remember the FBI’s COINTELPRO. But they can only get away with it in an environment where it’s pretty clear that they ones doing the provoking are NOT all ringers.

Occupy Oakland as the example here: if we could have found “consensus” to declare that Occupy Oakland would remain a non-violent movement, then when someone acted out, they could have been labeled an outlier, and disavowed, be they an agent provocateur or not.

But noooooo… we had to go on record as supporting “diversity of tactics”, or IOW, “throwing bricks at schools is cool.” They didn’t need agent provocateurs, the “consensus process” fucked it up all on its own.

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And that ‘consensus’ could be sabotaged from within, as well…
Though you’re right; there are, indeed, such idiots. I know some :frowning:

What do you think socialism is if it isn’t the countries and folks that identify as such? Is this a “No True Scotsman” sort of thing or do you have a definition?

That said, you didn’t actually answer my question. Are you out of the Socialist Club if you buy an iPhone because it is counter-revolutionary or something?

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Someone’s got to get off the fence and make a decision here, ‘consensus’ be damned, so I’m going with ‘Yes’.

As the debate seems to drift towards “black bloc” and “occupy”, I suggest a piece which seems quite relevant, given the ideas expressed in this thread. It is a response by David Graeber (the Author of Debt: the first 5000 years) to Chris Hedges’ declarations about black bloc and occupy, declarations which were similar to what I read here.



I am appealing to you because I really do believe the kind of statement you made is profoundly dangerous.

The reason I say this is because, whatever your intentions, it is very hard to read your statement as anything but an appeal to violence. After all, what are you basically saying about what you call “Black Bloc anarchists”?

  1. they are not part of us
  1. they are consciously malevolent in their intentions
  1. they are violent
  1. they cannot be reasoned with
  1. they are all the same
  1. they wish to destroy us
  1. they are a cancer that must be excised

Surely you must recognize, when it’s laid out in this fashion, that this is precisely the sort of language and argument that, historically, has been invoked by those encouraging one group of people to physically attack, ethnically cleanse, or exterminate another—in fact, the sort of language and argument that is almost never invoked in any other circumstance. After all, if a group is made up exclusively of violent fanatics who cannot be reasoned with, intent on our destruction, what else can we really do? This is the language of violence in its purest form. Far more than “fuck the police .” To see this kind of language employed by someone who claims to be speaking in the name of non-violence is genuinely extraordinary.

But the whole piece is relevant to the debate here I think.

As for the piece of news shared by Cory Doctorow, it is interesting, but not that surprising when you think, as I do, that the police’s basic mission is not to “protect the public” , but to protect those in power. Workers’ union and social movements are much more dangerous to them than street gangs.

If any protest is effective, it’s going to serve to hurt someone’s interests. This notion that free-speech should mean harmless speech is what gets us “free-speech zones” and other idiotic nonsense of the same sort. Free speech is dangerous. I like it that way.

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While we don’t expect protest to be harmless, but there’s an obvious spectrum of harm from annoying/inconvenient speech on the end we generally support to serious physical harm on the end we generally oppose. How do we set the boundary? Do we release private information about the targets so they can be harassed? Do we posit that economic harm is always acceptable? Or anything short of physical harm?

We’re still talking about speech, right?

Oh absolutely. The laws we already have on the books are more than enough. Putting aside for just a moment that it would be very difficult to prove that your speech caused harm in that way, do you really want Wall Street limiting your criticisms of its dangerous trading methods because that would “undermine market confidence”? Because that’s the end result you’re looking at. Always expect the powerful to take advantage of any inch you give them to work with. It’s not the fallacy of the slippery slope, but the tried-and-tested fact of the slippery slope.