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Forum Post: Can OWS Win The War Againt the NYPD?

Posted 2 years ago on March 26, 2012, 10:01 a.m. EST by weOccupy (26)
This content is user submitted and not an official statement

The attention of OWS has been increasingly focused on the tactics, motives and conduct of the NYPD. I wonder how people think this battle can end?

Is it good for the movement or is it a distraction from the banks, the corps. and the 1%?

If the relationship between OWS and the City continues to deteriorate, is there any sincere hope of actually occupying public space?

Does focusing on the NYPD not potentially alienate "civilians" in the 99% from participating in the movement?

These are questions I have been struggling with. What are other people thinking about it?

35 Comments

35 Comments


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[-] 1 points by RedJazz43 (2757) 2 years ago

Personally I think that encampments are extremely important for our movement for a number of reasons among them the fact that they are a defining characteristic of our movement and the very fact that local political administrations and their police departments are so hostile to permanent encampments is to me yet another indication that our efforts to re-establish them is exactly where we should be putting our energy on a day to day basis. My hunch is that the next big effort in that direction is likely to be around the May Day events.

[-] 0 points by weOccupy (26) 2 years ago

I agree. Do you think a protracted antagonism with the NYPD makes a reencampment more or less likely?

[-] 1 points by RedJazz43 (2757) 2 years ago

I don't see any way around it one way or another. Theoretically, I suppose OWS could go into negotiations with the city for permission to camp somewhere, but on the one hand the movement is not organizationally structured to facilitate such negotiations and ideologically it would oppose it on the grounds that the First amendment is all the permission we should need to protest.

From the city's point of view, I think superficially the behavior of the Bloomberg administration appears nuts. Of course the media catches movement behavior at its worst, but on the ground, what it looks like is overwhelming police presence (in the hundreds) standing against a couple of dozen peaceful young folks. Why? And there is also the issue of where we are not but might be. For example, while there are several hundred cops standing against us in Union Square there are also 100 or so cops at Zuccotti Park to deal with the possibility that we might show up there.

Meanwhile schools and hospitals close, garbage collection is limited and there is more and more limitation in public services. While we are a very long way from it yet, it seems to me that this is how a genuine police state evolves. Ultimately there will be no resources left for anything excepting the police and there will always be sufficient resources for police.

But the fact that the Bloomberg administration is taking this handful of often clownish but nearly always peaceful kids so seriously is an indication to me that OWS is doing exactly the right thing. And the Bloomberg administration is exposing the real role of the state as the defender of the 1%.

[-] 0 points by Ludog5678 (28) 2 years ago

The fact is the city is still on high alert rank orange. In your ragtag group of children someone might use that distraction to do something.

[-] 1 points by RedJazz43 (2757) 2 years ago

One can carp about the movement or participate in it. I'd be the first one to acknowledge that the decision making process of OWS is maddening, but the bottom line remains, which side are you on?

[-] 1 points by Ludog5678 (28) 2 years ago

The idea of the movement is sound the way it is going about is wrong. Every movement that has done something has had a figure head someone people can identify with.

[-] 1 points by RedJazz43 (2757) 2 years ago

But "figure heads" don't emerge out of nothing. They either fulfill some bureaucratic function or they are media celebrities. The fact is, there are already several public intellectuals identified with the movement from Cornell West, to Naomi Klein to Michael Moore. In addition organic leadership has emerged in virtually every local general assembly. Just because they aren't media celebrities doesn't mean that they aren't exerting leadership.

I lived through the civil rights movement and I've spent most of my life in the labor movement. Martin Luther King became the movement leader only after his death. During his life time he was not especially respected within the movement, especially not by its more militant elements such as SNCC and CORE who referred to him distainfully as "De Lawd." Speaking of SNCC and CORE, during the height of the civil rights movement its leaders or for that matter the leadership of more moderate groups such as the Urban League were viewed as much as leaders as was King.

As for the labor movement, rank and file militants always complained about media figures like Walter Reuther.

What local general assembly are you involved with? I go to one fairly regularly and I've attended over a dozen others. All I can say is the people I see who are active in the movement don't need any fucking figure head. All we have to do is look in a mirror.

BTW, I do not mean to imply that the movement is above criticism, but what is most important is to be engaged in the movement. That is where the most sound criticism comes from.

[-] 1 points by gailg (1) 2 years ago

I am thinking that we can all be more effective with a strike against the banks. On April 1 (FICO the banks Day) No one pays the mortgage or rent. We act swiftly. This will unite all of the people in one act and provide immediate relief for so many. The banks own our government lets go at the cause. I can't really get any traction on this. Am I aiming too high?

[-] 1 points by francismjenkins (3713) 2 years ago

The fight is against corruption and an unjust system. That police have aligned themselves on the wrong side of history is not OWS's fault. Indeed, I can't think of many protest movements that didn't have to deal with a government that was aggressively trying to suppress it. Freedom has never been free.

[-] 1 points by alexrai (851) 2 years ago

It's pretty frustrating to be sure, but waging war on the police is probably not a great idea at this stage of the game. I doubt its going to accomplish anything, certainly its not going to get too many police officers to change their mind.

Even considering some of the police misconduct, most of these officers do useful and respectful work the vast majority of their careers.

There is a reason for the brutal crackdowns, and that is because the people in power do not want to see support building, and that requires a base of operations. I realize the police are somewhat complicit in this, but what alternative to they have aside from being the first of their colleagues to get fired?

OWS will need to find another way to build support, the best day so far has been 30,000. That's a start, but no where near good enough.

[-] 0 points by weOccupy (26) 2 years ago

Agreed. That march, 11/17 at foley square, was the most optimistic I have felt that change was indeed possible. 30,000 people all with different politics, organizations, goals, dreams etc... agreed that the status quo was unacceptable. It was beautiful.

[-] 1 points by RedJazz43 (2757) 2 years ago

Well, if Bloomberg keeps acting the way he is, I'd say yes, we can beat them. All kinds of public services are being cut, from schools to garbage collecting, yet the Bloomberg administration seems quite content offering overtime to hundreds of cops every night in order to monitor a couple of hundred peaceful protesters. Maintained that policy will undoubtedly bankrupt the city in very short order.

[-] 1 points by imfumai (1) 2 years ago

Waging a war on the Police is a great way to alienate any current public support,so I'm in full support of your war on the Police. Fortunately OWS will lose,because OWS does not represent most Americans. Only Leftists and Anarchist's and Progressive Activist's.

[-] 1 points by MattLHolck (16833) from San Diego, CA 2 years ago

I heard soldiers were shot for the burning of the Koren

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[-] 1 points by jph (2652) 2 years ago

This is not a 'war' 'against' the NYPD. It is a straightforward demanding of basic public rights, like the right to assemble in a public space, and to air your grievances. If the NYPD can not behave lawfully they will be removed. The police need to be held to a very high standard as they claim authority over the rest of us. Any abuses of power should be dealt with quickly and severely.

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[-] 0 points by weOccupy (26) 2 years ago

You can choose any verb you think is appropriate but the point is the same, the NYPD is eating up the current lion's share of the OWS focus. Can we agree on that?

I understand the reason to focus on the NYPD. No doubt, their conduct has been appalling and in direct contradiction of the rights of people to protest. I find the pretexts for breaking up the protests particularly offensive. However, I wonder if by giving so much attention to the NYPD, is OWS shooting itself in the foot?

You say that "abuses of power should be dealt with quickly and severely". How do you propose to do that?

[-] 2 points by jph (2652) 2 years ago

No, I do not agree, I see a lot of occupy activity spring up since the winter. ;) many positive focused and constructive movements to make changes and educate the oblivious.

See; Disrupting Dirty Power; http://occupywallst.org/article/today-324-disrupting-dirty-power-eviction-fossil-f/

or new sites like; http://miccheckwallst.org/ or http://occupii.org/

and the build up to M1!

"How do you propose to do that?" by make a big enough noise when ever we see injustice that we force the broken system to enforce it's own laws, or where need be, unjust laws are removed or changed and replaced with regulations that work for the 99% not just the tinny <1% See; www.stopndaa.org

[-] 0 points by weOccupy (26) 2 years ago

True, there are a lot of actions centered on issues other than the NYPD. However, those actions are not getting nearly the same attention or numbers that the conflict with the NYPD is. I have been to many events, marches actions etc... and increasingly I am seeing many more anti NYPD signs and chants then anything else.

[-] 1 points by jph (2652) 2 years ago

well, apparently there are some issues with the nypd getting quite far out of hand. perhaps that is the most pressing issue currently in ny, you can't move forward till you maneuver the current obstacle, yes. we need to start filing charges against the criminal acts of the state, on all levels. individual cops that overstep need to be slapped down (fired, lose pension, plus prosecution for the crime, at least). this should be automatic and entrenched. built into our culture, that people in positions of authority who abuse it are dealt with harshly. that serves many purposes and i find it impossible to be argued against.

[-] 0 points by weOccupy (26) 2 years ago

Agreed, they should be called to task but by no means would I consider that the most pressing issue in NY. There are people losing their jobs and their homes those issues are far more pressing then the police conduct. The banksters and the corps have done a great job of deflecting the attention of OWS from them to the cops. If police conduct is the most bpressing issue in NY then the 1% has already won.

[-] 1 points by jph (2652) 2 years ago

You are assuming that the police violence can not be put down. Perhaps though protest and media shining a light on the issue, people who have not personally experienced this violence from the nypd can learn about it and add their voices to ours and force the pd act with more respect and civility. Then having reversed a culture of violence in the police force, giving us the room we need to work, occupy turns to the next issue.

[-] 1 points by RedJazz43 (2757) 2 years ago

It's not a matter of violence. Ultimately it is a matter of police overtime. The police force is essentially the military arm of municipal governments and the power of the 1% municipal governments will be broken in the same way that small wars and an escalating military budget bankrupted the USSR and are today bankrupting imperial America.

Every cent that Bloomberg spends on police patrolling peaceful protestors is a cent that won't be spent on schools, collecting garbage hospitals or other social services. So long as he continues to monitor peaceful protestors with overwhelming police presence, he will continue to bankrupt the city until ultimately we win. Fuck the 1%. Fuck the institutions of the 1% whether they be megacorporations or police departments. Long live OWS! Long live the Revolution!

[-] 0 points by weOccupy (26) 2 years ago

So you are proposing bankrupting the city in order to "win". Whose interests are served by that plan? Do you live in the city? Were you there in the 70s when it actually was bankrupt?

[-] 1 points by RedJazz43 (2757) 2 years ago

It's their fucking state. It is the state of the corporate elite. If they choose to bankrupt it by giving their police departments excessive overtime and chasing peaceful protesters around the streets of our cities (our cities, not theirs) then that is their choice. I say fuck um and we will begin to construct a new, more democratic, more egalitarian, more just and more peaceful society within the shell of the old.

[-] -1 points by Reasonistheway (-13) 2 years ago

It's just like the fixation they developed with Oakland. Really, Oakland, the center of the problems they claim to care about. 99%? Nope, just the 5% that wants to break shit and fight with the police.

[-] 1 points by trader (9) 2 years ago

Running a business is concentrated on making money, and they're always looking for ways to do that. Most of those ways, you will find, are not about selling more product for higher prices. For example, employees have to feel happy and cared for and productive, to feel as if they're valued.

Let me explain: Occupy is by no means one-dimensional. It cannot achieve its ends by simply standing in the streets - it must consider all of the factors which affect it - in this case, the NYPD, whom it faces daily. It must look out for the safety of its Occupiers; how they are feeling and taking care of themselves and those around them is vital to the survival - and indeed, progression - of the movement.

Does it potentially alienate the civilians in the 99% from participating? Of course not! They are those with the talents to keep the movement alive. They are those from which you came to contribute. If one person can organize a protest, and others can show up en masse, and it is the skill of another to focus on and learn the tactics of the NYPD in order to keep his fellow Occupiers safer or better prepared, then they are all contributing equally to the cause.

[-] -1 points by ReasonIsgood (9) 2 years ago

Yes, it does alienate everyone else.

[-] 0 points by betuadollar (-313) 2 years ago

They're charged with keeping the peace; period, end of story. And they see OWS as a civil antagonist. Couple this with the fact that they're the biggest GANG in NY, and I'd say, good luck with that.

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[-] 0 points by ReasonIsgood (9) 2 years ago

Provoking the police is a cheap tactic for getting noticed. But then that's all you become are these nuts that spend all their time railing against the police.

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[-] -1 points by ironboltbruce (371) from Miami, FL 2 years ago

Q: Can OWS Win The War Again[s]t the NYPD?

A: Police are not our enemy, and no such war exists. Our enemy is the PuppetMasters, not the Puppets.

Next Question?

[-] 0 points by weOccupy (26) 2 years ago

Good answer.

Next question, if what you say is correct, why is so much attention and angst directed at the NYPD? Also, if "no such war exists" how do you have an enemy [the "PuppetMasters"]?

[-] 1 points by RedJazz43 (2757) 2 years ago

I think the real question is why is the NYPD focussing so much attention on OWS? In many instances police outnumber peaceful demonstrators by as much as 10 to one. To me the very fact that the NYPD feels the need to focus so much attention on OWS suggests that our orientation is exactly correct.

[-] 0 points by weOccupy (26) 2 years ago

But we know why the NYPD is focusing on OWS, you already answered this question - the puppet masters. The banksters and the corps are using the NYPD to deflect the attention of OWS and the 99%. What I am trying to figure out is why we are giving in to this ruse?

[-] 1 points by RedJazz43 (2757) 2 years ago

I do not think that OWS is giving in to any ruse. It is true that the media tends to focus in to the movement at its worst, but the fact is, most of the time and for the most part the movement is completely peaceful and the more that is true the more the media cannot avoid it and the more sympathy the general public will have with the movement. What is more important is the general public perception that the real role of the police is to protect the 1% and beyond that the movement of more and more people from mere sympathy to actiivism. It is all part of the process of movement building.

[-] -2 points by Dell (-168) 2 years ago

who isn't OWS fighting ?