Forwarded from Sol Dollinger (from the Solidarity mailing list)

Louis Proyect lnp3 at SPAMpanix.com
Tue Aug 15 11:59:16 MDT 2000


In response to Gil Contreras' article which included the statement:

"Approximately 15 minutes into their performance, the electricity to the
designated protest area was pulled, presumably by the LAPD. Apparently the
time limit on the permit for last night's concert had been reached and the
LAPD wanted to shut the area down."

Dear Gil Contreras, and everyone:

Our permit at the free speech area across the street from the Staples
Center was from 6pm --to 9pm. The unlawful assembly order from police came
over the sound system at 8pm---we had another full hour by law, as part of
the legal order stemming from the ACLU lawsuit against the city. The plug
was pulled on the sound about quarter to 8pm.

The federal judge in the case specifically said we had the right to be
present when delegates were, but my analysis is that the police decided
differently. The violent dispersal of the crowd, hitting an eleven year old
child, bystanders, news staff, and protestors alike with impact weapons and
some with chemical weapons, cleared the way for almost all delegates to
exit to empty streets.

Given the statements Commander Kalish had issued for days about his
concerns about the Rage Concert possibly creating a violent-prone crowd,
and immediately issuing a similar statement after the police action, it
seems clear that this was in no way a "response" to a few isolated
incidents near the fence that had injured no one, and according to
eyewitnesses were initially limited to throwing plastic bottles and to
climbing the fence in order to plant flags on the top, before police
responded with indiscriminate pepper spray. This was the police plan from
the get-go. Particularly when you consider that simultaneously, the site of
the Shadow Convention and of the Independent Media Center was shut down,
the IMC's satellite feed was prevented, AND the websites of the LA
Independent Media Center and d2kla.org went down.

The police riot serves the city and the state's interest of
intimidating,chilling and repressing the activities of protestors,
preventing their message from getting to delegates and to the public, and
possibly leading to the rest of the protests this week either drawing less
people due to fear, or to continued police attacks on protestors now this
precedent has been set. Kalish in his press conference, repeated the word
violence over and over again with regard to the demonstrators, despite
acknowledgment that almost all of the protests--and thousands of
protestors-were entirely peaceful.

The violence of the police is also clearly related to the multi-ethnic
character of the protest rally/concert. The LAPD is determined not to allow
too many people of color to gather unmolested in the City of LA in a
political way. They reference the so-called Laker "riots" for this(while
actually thinking of the 1992 Rodney King unrest) but the reality is that
the social order in Los Angeles is so unjust that control over the poor,
the disempowered, the majority people of color population is maintained by
only a thin cover of law( a cover exposed by the Ramparts scandal)--massive
force by the state is always near the surface to keep people "in their place."

The transformation of the mostly white protest movement in Seattle and D.C.
into a multi-racial force for fundamental social change in Philadelphia and
Los Angeles, that links the local with the global, is the
corporate/government leaders' worst nightmare, as it is our best dream.
They will try to nip these developments in the bud ---we will nurture them,
whatever it takes.

Sincerely,

Leone Hankey

NOTE: I am an activist in the So Cal Fair Trade Network and the D2k
Network, but here I speak only my own opinion.


Louis Proyect

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