UfPJ list posting: police sentiment

Mike Friedman mikedf at amnh.org
Sun Mar 30 21:03:29 MST 2003

In line with what many comrades are commenting concerning the NYT article
and a shift to the "center" by sectors of the anti-war movement, the
following was sent to the entire UfPJ list. I may be misreading, but it
seems to urge a shift away from CDs and other "confrontational" tactics by
anti-war forces (to "make the police's job easier") and pays lip service to
the "few rotten apples" view of the police. The letter also flies in the
face of pervasive police repression at most protests in the recent period.
IMHO, the writer's argument concerning "choosing dissent strategies that
don't set up the police as the advocates of the war in Iraq, and therefore
our targets for protest," is a straw-man argument and quite dangerous for
activists. It is a red-herring in the sense that no anti-war organizations
have chosen dissent strategies that set up the police as the advocates of
the war in Iraq, to my knowledge. It is dangerous, in the sense that she
seems to be asking us to gear our strategies to police sensibilities,
rather than our goal of stopping the war.


 > Leslie-- would you send this out to the list? Thanks xxooJulie
 > Dear Friends--
 > As one of the 200+ people arrested at Rockefeller Center on Thursday, I want
 > to relay to others that there was considerable anti-war sentiment
amongst the
 > rank and file police officers. I am in no way trying to suggest that there
 > wasn't unnecessary and vindictive treatment of some by some officers, but
 > just to say that there was significant solidarity expressed to us by
 > officers.

 > This underlines the importance of choosing dissent strategies that don't set
 > up the police as the advocates of the war in Iraq, and therefore our targets
 > for protest. The cops were easily engaged in conversation about the
 > and economic ramifications of the war. When one officer claimed that we were
 > costing the City too much with these protests while we're in such a budget
 > crunch, he easily retracted his comment when the larger economic costs
of the
 > war were raised and the cuts the cops, firefighters, and schools are taking
 > to pay for it.
 > It's clear that the City was trying to make an example of those arrested on
 > Thursday. We were held twice as long as necessary. These were decisions made
 > at the top and not by the rank and file. All encounters are
opportunities for
 > dialogue, the longer we were held, the more conversations occurred between
 > protestors and cops. This had a positive outcome for us.
 > I was impressed by the comments of one Latino sargent speaking to a
young man
 > who had gone limp and struggled against those who were arresting him. The
 > sargent said, that he supported our right to protest the war, and reminded
 > him that the cops are not responsible for the war, and that making the cops'
 > jobs more difficult and oppositional was not appreciated.
 > I think we would do well to consider the possibility of increasing
 > engagement with the police in our further anti-war actions.
 > Julie Zuckerman

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