============================================================================ Date: Tue, 15 Aug 2000 22:16:59 -0400 From: lanigan <•••@••.•••> To: Renaissance Network <•••@••.•••> Subject: Another apologetic attempt at clarity I never suspected that my comments would unleash such a storm. I certainly have no wish to make it worse, but if we who agree on so much can't communicate clearly with each other, how are we ever going have any influence on those who differ radically? In my efforts to get at the root reasons for our currently endangered existence, I'm trying to go deeper than economic, political & religious systems. I was helped by the United Nations Decade for a Culture of Peace & Non-violence's invitation for us all to sign its Manifesto 2000. It really made me think deeply. I now believe that what is wrong with all our systems is that when the people who make them what they are (that's all of us) don't respect ALL life (including our selves, enough to speak up when we feel disrespect) & don't respect ALL the resources on which life depends, things go badly. The ramifications are awesome. To implement such respect in all our systems will likely take much more than a decade, but it can't even begin until individuals such as ourselves make that commitment, take it seriously & try to implement it as best we can in our daily lives. This will bring us into contact with people who differ radically about how we relate to each other. It will be hard to do, but I don't see how we can ever achieve a Culture of Peace if we don't treat them with great respect & practice what we preach. This means to me, inviting dialogue (especially with those who differ), making efforts toward consensus on matters of great import & believing that each of us has valuable experience to contribute & that none of us have all the answers. Sock it to me! Rex Barger, Hamilton, Ontario ============== Dear Rex, In many ways I agree with you. I don't think, for example, that there are evil people who need to be sent to the guillotine. And by the time we succeed in building a new world, everyone will be welcome to contribute to it... even those who initially would do everything they can to prevent change. But we cannot change the current system without confrontation. We cannot change it just by talking rationally with those who now run the world. Such has never succeeded in world history. Without confrontation, the American colonies would still be under British rule. Even Gandhi and Martin Luther King, who are symbols of non-violence, knew that confrontation was necessary in order to bring about change. Those in power simply do not give up their power voluntarily. If we pursued a course of violence and revenge, then of course we'd simply re-create another bad system. But our peaceful, concilatory approach must include wise confrontation. Read below the kind of things we are up against. sorry, rkm ============================================================================ Delivered-To: •••@••.••• Date: Thu, 24 Aug 2000 10:55:12 -0700 To: •••@••.••• (undisclosed list) From: Tom Atlee <•••@••.•••> Subject: The surreal illogic of riot police Dear friends, I am sending the news report below (thanks to Halim Dunsky) not so much as a diatribe against the Democratic Party, The Establishment or police forces, but out of a sense of dismayed recognition. I probably wouldn't have sent it except that so much here reflects what I saw in the streets my small liberal hometown of Eugene, OR, this summer in a demonstration I was witnessing. What gets me most is the order to disperse while blocking the exits -- even after any real culprits have escaped. Is this strategy written up in some riot control manual somewhere? I'm not sure what's behind such police actions, because they are so illogical. Even if a police force wanted to stamp out opposition, it wouldn't do this. I can't help feeling there is some sort of co-stupidity at work here (I don't want to think it's just sadism), although what goes on behind police actions is hard to uncover for independent analysis. The fact that it is happening in Los Angeles makes many people shrug. The fact that it's happening in Eugene gives one pause. There's a pattern here... It is also significant that this report comes from the Toronto Globe and Mail, a major Canadian paper. It reflects a certain Canadian sense of the U.S. as an often irrationally violent country. It is properly sobering for us "Americans" (isn't anyone from North or South America an "American"?) to see ourselves as others see us. ---<snip>--- From a systems perspective, one could say that such police behavior is a sign that some corrective ("negative") feedback loops are missing from our system -- i.e., we need more democratic civilian checks on the expansion of centralized police power. Some of us are personally familiar with abuse of police power. Some of us are new to it. The fact that we're new to it suggests it is expanding. How far do you think it will expand before citizens put on the brakes? Coheartedly, Tom _ _ _ _ _ _ Published on Wednesday, August 16, 2000 in the Toronto Globe & Mail As Clinton Spoke Words Of Hope, The Riot Police Swung Into Action By Doug Saunders LOS ANGELES - The taste of tear gas did not begin to tickle my throat until Rage Against the Machine was near the end of its set. Bored by Hillary Clinton's drone, I had stepped outside the Democratic National Convention to catch a protest concert by Rage, a band whose mestizo rhythms are an embodiment of the new Los Angeles. They did not disappoint. Zack de la Rocha's strident voice carried an optimistic message of democracy, and Tom Morello's fuzz-box funk left the crowd shaking in the pit where the stage was set up. With half a dozen helicopters buzzing close overhead and razor wire surrounding the 100-metre-wide fenced-in pit, it was a fitting venue for the band, whose latest album is titled The Battle of Los Angeles. [photo caption: Rubber-bullet toting LAPD] Rage finished its set. Satisfied and placid, the audience began to wander out of the pit through its single, narrow exit. An ad hoc Latino combo began playing solid grooves onstage, and the remaining crowd, about 1,000 kids, began to dance. But over by the fence, a few dozen troublemakers had been tossing water bottles and debris over the fence, taunting police and setting small fires on the asphalt, since about half way through the Rage performance. The police had answered with some shots of tear gas and pepper spray, enough to give the air an acrid sting. It was typical rock-and-roll machismo, and about 200 people stood around to watch the skirmish. I listened to President Bill Clinton's speech from inside the arena on my Walkman as the band played. The stench of pepper spray was becoming overwhelming, so I moved closer to the stage. Mr. Clinton uttered a line borrowed from Harry Truman: "If you want to live like a Republican, you better vote for the Democrats." At that instant, the power to the concert was cut. A voice came over the speakers. "This is Commander Brennan of the Los Angeles Police Department. We declare this to be an unlawful assembly. We command all protesters to disperse. You are now in contravention of section 409 of the California Criminal Code." The troublemakers, wearing anarchists' black hoods, linked arms and ran through the exit. The concertgoers remained, milling about and confused. The single narrow exit was blocked by riot police. "Now, we're also more hopeful because we ended welfare as we knew it. Now those who can work must work," Mr. Clinton was saying. Cdr. Brennan repeated his warning. Another phalanx of riot police, these on horseback, appeared at the exit, and slowly moved toward the crowd, pinning us against the opposite fence. Nobody knew where to go. There was a stronger stench of tear gas. "We are a more secure country because we cut crime with tougher enforcement, more than 100,000 new community police officers," Mr. Clinton was saying. Cdr. Brennan, meanwhile, was repeating his warning for the third time, but the crowd still did not know where to go. About 20 minutes had passed since the power had been cut. Then the mounted officers charged, clubs swinging. The crowd panicked and ran. My wife, who has been in riots before, held my arm and reminded me that running is the worst thing to do. This entailed a difficult act of restraint because the horses were gaining on us, and I could hear clubs hitting heads immediately behind me. "Now, the American military is the best trained, best equipped, most effective fighting force in the world," Mr. Clinton said. "Any adversary who believes those who say otherwise is making a grave mistake." The police and their horses drove the crowd straight into a long line of riot police on foot. They were kneeling on the ground with shotguns aimed at us. We were pressed into a narrow gauntlet about four metres across. I heard a pop, and sparks and smoke emerged from a shotgun muzzle. There were more pops, dozens of them. A man beside me keeled over in pain. I saw hard rubber pellets the size of marbles on the ground. Those who moved back from the shotgun fire were clubbed by the officers on horseback. Some of us raised our arms in the air, moving to kneel on the ground. The riot police advanced forward, cursing us and clubbing people randomly. Those who asked for help finding an exit were clubbed repeatedly. The narrow street exit suddenly cleared, and we moved through the gauntlet toward it. My wife and I escaped just as the horses advanced again, trampling people as they went. We saw a man pinned under a horse, his friends trying to pull him out. Mr. Clinton burst from my headphones. "My fellow Americans, are we better off today than we were eight years ago? You bet we are. You bet we are." The crowd was corralled into a city street, slowly moving away from the arena. There was nowhere to move but forward. More pops filled the air -- they were firing rubber bullets into our backs from behind. There was more panic and running. An 11-year-old girl was struck in the back and fell. A group of cameramen sheltered an unconscious, older man struck in the chest. A group of people tried to hoist an injured man over a fence. The police fired in their direction. Those who lingered behind to help the injured were clubbed repeatedly. "Remember, whenever you think about me, keep putting people first. Keep building those bridges. And don't stop thinking about tomorrow," Mr. Clinton said. The dreadful Fleetwood Mac song by the same title -- Don't Stop Thinking About Tomorrow -- then filled the stadium. The Democrats filed out, staring at the field of debris, rubber bullets and bloodstained clothes. "It's all right if they want to protest," one woman said, surveying the scene, "but do they have to litter?" _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ Tom Atlee * The Co-Intelligence Institute * Eugene, OR http://www.co-intelligence.org http://www.co-intelligence.org/CIPol_Index.html ============================================================================ Date: Thu, 24 Aug 2000 15:28:09 -0700 To: Tom Atlee <•••@••.•••> From: Randy Schutt <•••@••.•••> Subject: Re: The surreal illogic of riot police Cc: "Richard K. Moore" <•••@••.•••> Tom, If you assume that the police are actually trying to stop the Black Bloc from harassing the police, setting fires, or breaking windows, the action described in this article would be extremely irrational -- they let the Black Bloc go and beat up ordinary people who were just attending a concert. Since it reflects badly on the police for them to corner people so they can't leave and then beat them for not leaving, then you might think that it is irrational for the police to behave this way. However, if you assume the purpose of this police behavior is to scare the daylights out of ordinary people and convince them they should stay away from the Black Bloc, stay away from demonstrations, and perhaps stay from anything "political", then it is completely rational. In fact, if you assume this is the purpose, then it would make sense for the police to infiltrate the Black Bloc with provocateurs who would harass the police and set fires, thus moving many of the police officers to feel their actions are justified. Hence, if we believe the police are not irrational or caught up in the moment (and the fact that the police have acted this way repeatedly in a large number of demonstration situations in the last 20 years would indicate it is not spontaneous, irrational behavior or sadism), then we have to assume that the police are deliberately targeting regular people who are attracted to demonstrations, probably trying to scare them away. When articles like this circulate widely, it makes the police look bad, but it also scares a lot of people away -- scares them from challenging the police or even being anywhere near a demonstration. So as much as the police lose in having their reputation sullied, they may gain in ensuring that lots of people are afraid to go to demonstrations. So even as we work to get the police to stop by publicizing their oppressive behavior, we scare away our potential supporters. We are told that the police seek to enforce the law and maintain a safe society. But actions like this indicate that the police actually seek to defend the status quo against progressive change. Their real goal is to ensure that "duly constituted authorities" can impose their policies and that dissent is only allowed to be voiced in the form of voting -- and, of course, voting is restricted to only a few mainstream candidates with a rightist or corporatist perspective. Free speech, free assembly, and dissemination of alternative perspectives are severely discouraged -- with tear gas, pepper spray, rubber bullets, and batons. The police action is quite rational and intelligent in accomplishing their limited goals. Their action is, of course, quite irrational in creating a democratic, civilized society -- but that is NOT their goal, that is our goal. --Randy <http://www.vernalproject.org> ============================================================================ Richard K Moore Wexford, Ireland Citizens for a Democratic Renaissance email: •••@••.••• CDR website & list archives: http://cyberjournal.org content-searchable archive: http://members.xoom.com/centrexnews/ featured article: http://cyberjournal.org/cj/rkm/Whole_Earth_Review/Escaping_the_Matrix.shtml A community will evolve only when the people control their means of communication. -- Frantz Fanon Permission for non-commercial republishing hereby granted - BUT include and observe all restrictions, copyrights, credits, and notices - including this one. ============================================================================ .