[Marxism] Fwd: Many Arrested Inauguration Day Protesters Will Face Felony Rioting Charges, Prosecutors Say « CBS Dallas / Fort Worth

Jeff meisner at xs4all.nl
Mon Jan 23 13:28:04 MST 2017


On 2017-01-22 21:34, Louis Proyect via Marxism wrote:
> 
> Black bloc tactics now have very high risks for the perpetually low 
> payoff.

I think Louis' remark introducing an article about mass arrests was 
unfair (in that context) and wasn't very well thought-out. Although some 
property damage took place in Washington, I doubt that the police 
actually have evidence of such actions by most of the 230 they arrested, 
or that anywhere near that number were directly responsible whether the 
police had evidence on them or not. When the police arrest demonstrators 
under any pretences, the last thing we want to do is lend credence to 
the validity of police charges without a clear picture of what happened 
and why. I'm sure Louis recognizes that principle and wasn't thinking 
when he paired the above remark with an article about mass arrests.

I do think Trump's inclination to use greater police repression is a 
great threat. But of course cases of police using repressive tactics and 
false arrests occur frequently enough regardless of the president. After 
all, this is usually the local police acting under orders of their local 
department, and prosecutors who do not answer to the national president. 
Trump will certainly shift things in the wrong direction, but there will 
still be greater differences between localities. For instance, I don't 
think there were arrests in San Francisco even though there was property 
destruction.

There are lots of points that can be made about black block tactics and 
the organization of united actions. But don't casually equate police 
violence and mass arrests with the presence of the "black block" or 
other identifiable groups, especially in public statements. Arrestees 
deserve the presumption of innocence as is technically professed by the 
law. In most cases police violence and arrests are political rather than 
responses to any "criminal" behaviour, and we shouldn't suggest 
otherwise. Tactics and organization of a demonstration (thus including 
questions regarding the black block) should be dealt with during the 
planning of the action, not after the police have issued explanations 
for their repression. When that explanation includes property damage, it 
could well be that only a handful were involved, or even that those 
actions were by a single agent-provocateur which we couldn't possibly 
prevent.

I guess one reason I reacted in this case is because I was also once 
charged with "riot" (though not as a felony) for simply sitting in a 
sound truck at the front of a demo (one that no one could describe as a 
"riot"). And anyway, I think it's great that the demonstrations against 
Trump have started out militant and loud, and with the women's march 
drawing more to Washington than Trump's victory rally (unless you 
believe his figures ;-)

- Jeff

> 
> http://dfw.cbslocal.com/2017/01/21/many-inauguration-day-protesters-will-face-felony-rioting-charges-prosecutors-say/



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