Two Issues; Only One is Important

Posted on January 8, 2012

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There was a lot of bullshit at the “fuck the police march”. I think throwing bottles from behind, and doing other childish hijinks and disappearing into the crowd is the height of immaturity. What’s more, its difficult to believe that with all the antagonisms people of color in our group rightly have against police after lifetimes of abuse, its almost always young white people doing this crap. Seriously, I find the fake, tough machismo bullshit, the costuming, the fact that these people only lead the crowd when they manage to get in front of its retreat is one of the most grating and annoying thing I’ve ever witnessed. This isn’t an issue to me of violence vs. non-violence—I hate that asinine conversation, with its disregard for physical, mental and economic violence from authorities and its hysterical preoccupation with property damage and shattered glass. Rather, this issue is of silly posturing and directionless strategies vs. intelligent use of diversity of tactics to further goals.

That all being said, its not anywhere near the most important issue. Nothing matches or excuses the brutality of the police. OPD beat protesters and shot sub-lethal rounds at people who had assembled non-violently using the acts of a few as pretext. Police must know that the people they’re attacking are almost never the ones that hurt their feelings, frighten them with their ominous kerchief masks and dark clothing, or stain their uniforms with soda from a bottle broken harmlessly against their kevlar.

After the march, I saw one of the OG kitchen people at the plaza; he’s been an integral part of the camp from the beginning. His arm–in a sling–was likely broken from baton strikes he received when he saved a friend and fellow kitchener from beating and arrest from the police. Incredibly, these two occupiers then brought a gigantic stock of cast-off muffins and pastries from a local bakery to feed people at the plaza. THEN they went to Highland. As much as such people have been the heroes of this movement, they are also the ones who’ve experienced the most danger, violence, intimidation and incarceration from this brutal police force.

You can hear Leila tell her story about what happened on Oakfosho’s livestream at 53:28.