The Revolution Will Be Made Of People: Anarchy, Direct Action, and Free-Market Social Justice
Freedom is not a conservative idea. It is not a prop for corporate power and the political-economic statist quo. Libertarianism is, in fact, a revolutionary doctrine, which would undermine and overthrow every form of state coercion and authoritarian control. If we want liberty in our lifetimes, the realities of our politics need to live up to the promise our principles — we should be radicals, not reformists; anarchists, not smaller-governmentalists; defenders of real freed markets and private property, not apologists for corporate capitalism, halfway privatization or existing concentrations of wealth. Libertarianism should be a people’s movement and a liberation movement, and we should take our cues not from what’s politically polite, but from what works for a revolutionary people-power movement. Here’s how.
With many thanks to Antonio from blog of bile, here is a recording of the talk and the Q&A session that followed. (Split into 10 minute segments, as per YouTube constraints.) A couple of quick notes before we begin:
Props where props are due. I intended to mention this in the talk, but barrelled through without remembering to. The story that I told at the beginning, about the Spokane Free Speech Fight of 1909-1910 is a story that I first heard through the late, great Utah Phillips, and he got it from FW Herb Edwards, who was there in Spokane working in logging at the time. I told the story just about the way Utah told it (and he says he was telling it just about the way he heard it from Herb Edwards, minus the Norwegian accent). If you want to hear Utah’s version of it, it’s Track 5,Direct Action, on Fellow Workers, the second album he put out in collaboration with Ani DiFranco.
Time constraints forced me to skip over a substantial portion towards the end of the talk, which was largely concerned with methods. If I had it to do over again, I would have spent less time on opening matters and the case against minarchism, and spent more time (as I originally hoped to) talking about why libertarians should not waste time or energy on voting, parties, paper constitutions, nationalist politics, or conservative mythology aboutFounding Fathersor the stupid slave empire so often passed off as a Republic; and would also have talked about how partisan politics punishes radicalism and rewards compromise (hence, effectively, locking us into the statist quo), whereas direct action politics rewards principle, radicalism, and political courage. Ah well; next time, next time.
Now, on with the show:
The Revolution Will Be Made of People (2010-03-20), Part 1 of 9.
The Revolution Will Be Made of People (2010-03-20), Part 2 of 9.
The Revolution Will Be Made of People (2010-03-20), Part 3
The Revolution Will Be Made of People (2010-03-20), Part 4
The Revolution Will Be Made of People (2010-03-20), Part 5
The Revolution Will Be Made of People (2010-03-20), Part 6
The Revolution Will Be Made of People (2010-03-20), Part 7 — Q&A
The Revolution Will Be Made of People (2010-03-20), Part 8 — Q&A
The Revolution Will Be Made of People (2010-03-20), Part 9 — Q&A
More left-libertarian material from the Liberty Forum coming soon as I collect it. Expect to hear a bit more from me, and to see and hear from Darian Worden and other ALLies and agorists gathering in the Shire.
Posts Tagged ‘Immigration’
Living Without Borders / Viviendo Sin Fronteras: an encuentro for immigration freedom and radical liberation. Nov. 6-8, 2009, Las Vegas, Nevada
The 2nd Annual Living Without Borders / Viviendo Sin Fronteras encuentro will be held the weekend of November 6-9, 2009, in Las Vegas, Nevada. Spread the word to anyone you think might be interested! Register to attend if one of the folks who might be interested is you yourself!
Living Without Borders is an activist and community meeting devoted to freedom and dignity for all immigrants, to the struggle against international apartheid, to envisioning and working to build a world without government borders, and to radical social transformation that tears down all the walls, including both the coercively-imposed boundaries of nation-states and also all the other, interconnected forms of oppression, exploitation and domination that confine and constrain us. The encuentro is organized by the United Coalition for Im/migrant Rights in Las Vegas; after the success of the first conference in August of 2008, we decided to make it an annual event, in the hopes that it will bring folks together, start conversations, make connections, and establish itself as an ongoing, transformative presence in our communities.
Here’s what the organizers* have to say about this year’s goings-on in Vegas:
This year’s encuentro will be devoted to the theme ofBuilding Autonomous Communities y Celebrando Cambio Social.
We’ll be starting conversations, sharing knowledge, meeting, connecting.
There’ll be keynote addresses by author Rinku Sen (The Accidental American: Immigration and Citizenship in the Age of Globalization), and by Hilda Garcia from La Mujer Obrera (an autonomous women’s community in El Paso, Texas).
There’ll be workshops on immigration freedom, the criminalization of immigrants, the interconnection of struggles, community organizing, activist skill-shares, defending social justice through language, and more.
There’ll be tabling space for participants to connect with artists and organizations in the community.
There’ll be meals to share, with a free breakfast and lunch for registered participants.
And there’ll be cultura, entertainment, and engagement — art, music, a bit of teatro rascuache, and hands-on activism for social justice.
We welcome anyone interested in freedom, equality and dignity for immigrants — in a discussion of how borders limit consciousness and how to break through them — in building autonomous communities and activism for social transformation. We hope to see you there!
Sound good? Then register and come on down. Consider signing up to table for your project or your organization. I think it’d be great to see a strong left-libertarian and anarchist presence at the encuentro.
Radicals, ALLies, agitators, Anarchists, left-libertarians, border-crossers, counter-economists, and everyone committed to tearing down the walls — see you there!
Trigger warning. This post includes narrative descriptions of sexual violence, sexual coercion, assaults, stalking, and harassment by police officers against women, men, and children, including several cases of extreme violence. It may be triggering for past experiences of sexual assault. It is certain to be extremely grim reading for anyone.
All of these news stories appeared in my feed reader at some point within the past month and a half. There are actually about four or five more on my list that I could have included (mostly domestic violence assaults), but I had to give up because I’ve been working on this for about twelve hours now and I cannot stand to type up even one more case tonight.
1. Officer Thomas Tolstoy, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. (Cont’d.)
You may remember Officer Thomas Tolstoy, the serial rapist on Officer Jeffrey Cujdik’selitenarco-police shake-down squad, who, besides participating in repeated evidence-less paramilitary drug raids, also repeatedly took the opportunity to pull women aside during these hyperviolent home invasions and sexually assault them. The police department’s response to three independent complaints from April 2008 to February 2009 was to temporarily place Tolstoy on desk duty (from October 2008 to January 2009), then put him back on the street to do more drug raids with Cujdik. The other stories about Cujdik’s wolfpack appeared in local newspapers in March 2009; Tolstoy was finally put back on desk duty in May 2009. Meanwhile, while Tolstoy is rewarded for his sexual assaults with an easy desk job, he continues to receive not only his regular salary of $57,800, but also thousands of dollars in overtime pay for sitting his ass on a court-house bench while the DA extends subpoenas on tainted drug cases in which he will almost certainly never testify. The bill for maintaining Tolstoy in the lifestyle to which he has become accustomed will, of course, be sent along to Philadelphia taxpayers, including Tolstoy’s three known victims. Deputy District Attorney John Delaney explains that the D.A.’s office continues to issue these money-wasting subpoenas on dead-end cases becauseWe want to maintain the status quo.No doubt.
2. Police Chief Michael Classey, Atlantic Beach, Florida.
The city government in Atlantic Beach, Florida hired a lawyer, allegedly toinvestigatecharges that chief Michael Classey had forced unwanted sexual contact on a female officer, Renee Jackson, who works sex crimes for the department. Instead, the lawyer put together a legal brief to defend the city from a lawsuit for sexual harassment — a charge that Jackson never made. Both the Jacksonville Sheriff’s Department and the Florida Department of Law Enforcement have refused to investigate the charges.Professional courtesy,I guess.
3. Deputy Gary C. Handley, Rogers County Sheriff’s Office, Rogers County, Oklahoma.
Earlier this month, Deputy Gary C. Handley turned himself in to face charges on one county of sexual battery for forcing unwantedinappropriate touchingon a female courthouse employee.
4. Officer Jeffrey John Sung. San Francisco Police Department. San Francisco, California.
Earlier this month,veteran San Francisco motorcycle officerJeffrey John Sung plead not guilty to charges for sexual battery andfalse imprisonment without violence[sic] for grabbing a female friend in her home, forcing unwanted groping on her while he talked about having sex with her, and refusing to let her leave when she tried to get away. When the victim managed to break free and call a relative for help, he ran away and left on his government-issue police motorcycle. Sung’s lawyer has told the media that it wasa misunderstanding of sorts.
5. Officer Roberto Pagan. Staten Island, New York.
Roberto Pagan, a patrol cop working for city government police on Staten Island, was suspended without pay last week after he started choking his girlfriend and then punched her in the eye during an argument on a public street. He has been suspended without pay and is facing misdemeanor charges; since he is a cop, this batterer was released on his own recognizance pending trial.
6. Officer Johnnie K. Hicks. Newport News, Virginia.
Last week, Johnnie K. Hicks, a cop working for the Newport News city government’s police force on theSouth Preinct High Impact Patrol Unit,was arrested for assaulting a woman in her home around 2:00am and brandishing a gun. While the Incident is being Internally Investigated by his coworkers, Hicks is being given a paid vacation at taxpayer expense.
7. Deputy Brian Gillespie. Broward Sheriff’s Office. Oakland Park, Florida.
Last week, Deputy Brian Gillespie, a cop patrolling turf in Oakland Park, Florida for the Broward County government’s sheriff’s office, was arrested and charged with domestic violence battery after he grabbed his wife’s arm during an argument, in order to force her not to leave the house without his permission, and then punched her several times and threw her down two steps onto the floor. This dangerous batterer has been given a paid vacation, at taxpayer expense, while under investigation, and was released from jail on a $250 bond.
8. Chief Deputy David E. Gidley. Tucker County Sheriff’s Department. Tucker County, West Virginia.
Earlier this month, while he was on duty and in police uniform, Chief Deputy David E. Gidley, a cop working for the Tucker County government’s police force, drove out in his police car to confront his estranged wife; in the course of an argument, he grabbed her by the arm hard enough to leave marks, and then chased her around her car while waving hisASPtactical baton and beating on her car with it. Unhinged wife-beater Chief Deputy David Gidley has been arraigned on misdemeanor assault and domestic battery charges, and has been released on a $600 personal recognizance bond.
9. Police Chief Robert Peterson. Maysville Police Department, Maysville, Oklahoma.
Earlier this month, the Maysville city government decided to fire boss cop Robert Peterson, the chief of their government police force, after witnesses (including two fellow cops) saw him slap his girlfriend in the face during an argument outside of their apartment.
10. Police Chief Anthony Batts. Oakland Police Department. Oakland, California.
In California, on the other hand, city governments don’t even maintain those minimal standards. Anthony Batts, formerly a cop working for the Long Beach city government’s police department, had at least four crime reports taken against him for domestic violence charges in the cities of Long Beach, San Pedro, and San Diego. At one point he gave his then-wife, Laura Richardson-Batts, a black eye; she later sought refuge in a friend’s house to get away from him. That didn’t stop Batts from being promoted by the Long Beach city government to chief of police, and once he was, he put the domestic violence reports under lock and key in the police chief’s office and altered reports to conceal their contents. Other cops working under him kept copies of the originals and used the reports to blackmail Batts to insulate themselves from disciplinary actions during a scandal over unprofessional conduct and retaliation and vandalism against whistleblowers within the department. Batts’s domestic violence history has caused him problems in securing FBI security clearances and in maintaining his permit to carry a firearm. None of which, of course, has stopped the corrupt wife-beater Anthony Batts from being named chief of police for the city government in Oakland, California.
11. Officer Ronald Montgomery. Tulsa Police Department. Bixby, Oklahoma.
Officer Ronald Montgomery, a cop working for the Tulsa city government’s police force, was arrested earlier this month for allegedly beating his wife and pointing his government-issued gun at her during an argument in front of their infant son and 8-year-old daughter. His wife went to the hospital with bruising and swelling to her arm and wrist; Officer Ronald Montgomery claims that hehad not touched herduring the argument. This dangerous batterer, who beat a woman and pointed a loaded gun at her during an argument, is currently roaming free on $11,500 bond.
12. Police Officer Sam Parker. Lafayette Police Department. Lafayette, Georgia.
Sam Parker, a cop formerly working for the Lafayette city government’s police force, is currently on trial on charges he abducted and murdered his ex-wife, Theresa Parker. The story this past Friday was that a former coworker, a Lafayette cop named Stacey Meeks, testified that Officer Sam Parker spent years openly bragging about killing people while on the job, and kept trophies to show off from people he had killed, such as the lethal bullet and crime scene photos from the killing. According to Meeks, Officer Sam Parker also carried a loaded weapon to the Grand Jury and said he planned to go out in a hail of bullets rather than get arrested if the jury voted to indict. After another Incident in 2003 where Officer Sam Parker fired off his gun on the job, several shrinks ruled him homicidal; Officer Sam Parker bragged about that with his coworkers, too. He also repeatedly watch Officer Sam Parker use chokeholds totake people downwhile on the job. None of this deranged, attention-seeking, hyperviolent behavior seems to have endangered his position with the Lafayette city government’s Police Department, or to have caused any legal consequences whatsoever for Officer Sam Parker; I wouldn’t be surprised if he expected no more consequences when he went on to murder his wife.
13. Officer Jared Rohrig, Orange Police Department, Orange, Connecticut.
In Milford, Connecticut, Officer Jared Rohrig, a cop working for the Orange city government’s police force, posed as his twin brother Joe to deceive his girlfriend into having sex with him. She realized while they were having sex that he wasn’t Joe, and tried to get up and leave, so he grabbed her by the arms, threw her down, and forced her to continue having sex with him while she cried and struggled to push him off of her. The woman reported the rape to the government police three days later; Rohrig was given a paid vacation from his job starting the next day pending the result of an Internal Investigation.
14. Officer Matthew Raymond, Eliot, Maine.
In Maine, Officer Matthew Raymond was allowed to take a two-month-long paid vacation (to keep getting paid while using up vacation and sick time) before finally losing his job yesterday, so that he could continue to extract his $45,000/year regular salary from perfectly innocent Eliot taxpayers, while awaiting trial on charges of domestic violence stalking against his ex-lover. Besides common stalking behaviors like showing up constantly at her hous, tracking her whereabouts, and incessantly calling her wherever she went, Officer Matthew Raymond also specifically used his legal privileges as a police officer to intimidate her and facilitate the stalking. After she moved out and went to live in another town to get away from him, he parked his marked police cruiser outside her house at least 68 times within a two-month period. He also used his police car, and his legal powers of detention and arrest, to force her to pull her car over so that he could ask her to come back to him.
15. Officer Jeffrey Luff. Bakersfield Police Department. Bakersfield, California.
Last month, Officer Jeffrey Luff was arrested and charged with misdemeanor battery and misdemeanor sexual battery committed while in uniform and on duty. He went out on a call to break up a loud party, which turned out to be a lingerie party; he then drove out to an after-party later that night and picked up two women there who he offered to drive back to where the first party had been. Then he took opportunity to grab one of the women’s buttocks and genitals without her permission.
16. State Trooper Derek S. Snavely, West Virginia State Police, Jefferson West Virginia.
Last November, State Trooper Derek S. Snavely pulled a woman on a chickenshit traffic stop (the claim is that she was driving left of the center line). He used the threat of a bogus DUI arrest (which would have cost the woman her job) and getting her car towed to detain her, force her to kiss him and unbutton her blouse, and then take him back to her house, where he repeatedly raped her. The story’s in the news now because his victim recently filed a civil-rights lawsuit after State Police Internally Investigated the Incident and the government prosecutor decided — in spite of records from home surveillance cameras and text messages sent by Trooper Derek S. Snavely to his victim’s cell phone — not to press any criminal charges.
17. Unnamed officer. Dunbar Police Department, Dunbar, West Virginia.
A woman in her 20s has come forward, through a public statement from her lawyer, with allegations that a police officer working for the Dunbar city government’s police force used intimidation and the threat of legal charges to force her to have sex with him, after pulling her over on a routine traffic stop. (She had been caught driving on a suspended license before the stop. The cop threatened her with charges on the traffic violations unless she would have sex with him, and then drove her to a dark remote location, where she was afraid for her safety not to comply.) The city government refuses to confirm whether or not the police force is investigating the report. As it happens, Sergeant R. O. Conley is currently onadministrative leave with pay for an indefinite period,which is to say a mandatory paid vacation, but the city government refuses to say in public whether or not Conley is the cop accused of the rape.
18. Unnamed deputy. Bexar County Sheriff’s Office. San Antonio, Texas.
Earlier this month, n unnamed Bexar County sheriff’s deputy used his uniform and gun to pull a woman aside while she was walking down the street on the south side of San Antonio. He claimed (falsely) that she had an outstanding warrant for her arrest, and ordered her to get into his patrol car. Then he drove back to her house and then he grabbed her by the neck and forced her to have sex with him. As of the most recent news reports I could find (from about a week ago), the survivor had bruises around her neck, had been hospitalized for her injuries, and was being treated in a hospital psych ward for post-traumatic stress. The deputy, who was caught naked on the survivor’s couch by the San Antonio city government’s police, claims that thesexual relationshipwasconsensual. So far, the San Antonio city government has filed no charges against the rapist deputy, although his own bosses at the Bexar County government’s Sheriff’s Office have forced him to take a vacation from his job while he is under investigation.
19. Deputy Donald A. Harder III. Saratoga County Sheriff’s Office, Edinburg, New York.
Last week, Deputy Donald A. Harder III, a cop working for the Saratoga County government’s Sheriff’s office, was released on $25,000 bond after being arrested for forcing sex on a 27-year-old woman in his patrol car while on duty on a patrol car, armed, and in full police uniform. According to the Sheriff’s office, his victimbelieved she had to comply [with his demands for sex] because she was in the vehicle and he was in uniform.. Before raping women on the Saratoga County government’s police force, Deputy Donald Harder was a Marine working for the United States in its invasion and occupation of Iraq.
20. Officer Cleveland Reynolds. Birmingham Police Department, Birmingham, Alabama.
Last month in Alabama, Cleveland Reynolds, a cop working the 11 p.m. to 7 a.m. patrol shift for the Birmingham city government’s police force, was arrested for repeatedly raping a 23 year old woman while he was out on duty. Pending the outcome of the trial, Reynolds is being given a paid vacation at taxpayer expense.
21. Officer Perry Young. Birmingham Police Department, Birmingham, Alabama.
Also last month in Alabama, Officer Perry Young, a patrol cop who formerly worked for the Birmingham city government’s police force, finally went to jail for forcing a 19-year-old woman to have sex with him while he was on duty, armed, and in uniform, after he used his legal powers to force her into his custody and took her to a remote location to force sex on her.
22. Deputy Jonathan Bleiweiss. Broward Sheriff’s Office, Oakland Park, Florida.
In addition to wife-beater Deputy Brian Gillespie, the town of Oakland Park, Florida is also patrolled by serial-rapist Deputy Jonathan Bleiweiss, who repeatedly used his uniform and his legal privileges as a government police officer to target Latino men on routine traffic stops or bike stops, roust them out of their cars or off their bikes, force them to show identification, and then, if he found that they were undocumented immigrants — therefore legally vulnerable easy targets — threw them down against his patrol car, forced them to submit to frisking, grabbed their penises during thesearch,propositioned them in Spanish, and then forced them to have sex with him in his patrol car under the threat of being arrested or reported to ICE for imprisonment and deportation. He repeatedly demanded phone numbers after raping the men in his custody, which he would later use to stalk his victims and try to arrange futureencounters.Bleiweiss is known to have assaulted at least eight different undocumented Mexican and Salvadorean immigrants ranging in age from 17 to 30 years old. The Internal Investigation into Bleiweiss’s targeting of legally vulnerable men for serial rape began inearly Aprilwhen the boss of one of the victims approached police with a report — but Deputy Jonathan Bleiweiss was allowed to continue patrolling his regular turf for three more months while under investigation, during which time (beginning April 23) he repeatedly assaulted and later stalked at least one more undocumented Mexican immigrant who he had hunted down while out on patrol. Deputy Jonathan Bleiweiss was finally moved to a desk job and then later suspended without pay in July. His boss, Broward Sheriff Al Lamberti, says they were giving an accused serial rapist on active patrol dutythe benefit of the doubtuntil they completed their investigation. The case is likely to be difficult for government lawyers to prosecute because Deputy Jonathan Bleiweiss deliberately targeted undocumented Latino immigrants for his serial rapes; his lawyer has already used their undocumented status to smear the victims in court, and given that all of the victims face a standing threat of being arrested, imprisoned, and deported by the United States government’s federal immigration cops if they come into contact with the government criminal justice system, [many of the victims have been extremely reluctant to come forward to the government police or to testify in a government court]((http://www.sun-sentinel.com/news/broward/sfl-bso-deputy-arrested-sex-abuse,0,1484852.story).
23. Officer Billy Ray White. Louisville Metro Police Department, Louisville Kentucky.
In 2006, serial rapist Officer Billy Ray White, of the Louisville Metro Police Department, was found guilty of raping a woman at gunpoint in front of her 9 month old daughter of threatening to kill her if she reported it, and of using the threat of jail to coerce sex from another woman that he had arrested. The story is in the news again because an appeals court judge recently threw out Billy Ray White’s conviction and ordered a new trial, on the grounds (1) that the coerced sexual relationship with a woman he had arrested, conducted under the threat of imprisonment, was in some sense of the wordconsensual(?) and so different enough from the forcible rape that the joinder of the cases asimpermissibly prejudicial,and (2) that the trial judge should not have allowed testimony from several women about Officer Billy Ray White’s repeated and insistent use of his badge and uniform to stalk and try coerce sex from them after an arrest. According to Honorable government judge Thomas B. Wine, evidence that the Officer Billy Ray White, a heavily-armed, legally-privileged enforcer for the state, while acting in uniform and under color of authority over women under his legal power,was constantly on the prowl to use his uniform in furtherance of his lust,has little probative value in determining whether or not the man had a propensity to force sex on unwilling women. As a result of the reversal of the conviction, the new trial judge, rather than scheduling a trial date, told the government prosecutor to cut a plea bargain with White; they eventually agreed that this serial-rapist would cop a plea, get sentenced to time served, and get back out on the street.
24. Officer Julian Steele, Cincinnati, Ohio.
In Ohio, Cincinnati city government cop Julian Steele falsely arrested and imprisoned a teenage boy while investigating a robbery. Then he used this bogus imprisonment to force the boy’s mother to have sex with him in order to get her boy released from jail. Remarkably, the county government is actually calling this exactly what it is by charging Steele with 10 felony counts including abduction, extortion, sexual battery and rape.
25. Officer Jesus Sanchez and the Lorain Police Department. Lorain, Ohio.
A woman named Sarah Long recently came forward with a lawsuit against the city government governing Lorain, Ohio after the city government and its hired police department repeatedly ignored complaints that Officer Jesus Sanchez, a28-year veterancop working for their police force, repeatedly forced kisses on her, groped her, stalked her, made phone calls every day threatening her safety, and used the power of his badge and his legal privileges as a police officer to force her to pull over her car and deal with him 15 to 20 times. When Long complained about this pattern of harassment and the use of legal power to facilitate sexual violence, nothing happened; when she finally forced the issue by talking to the federal government’s Department of Justice and filing a civil lawsuit, Sanchez was charged withmenacing by stalking.After he was convicted, the penalty for singling out a woman for unwanted sexual contact, imprisoning her in her own home, and using police powers to make her constantly afraid for her safety was 60 days in jail. During his trial, Sanchez’s defense lawyer said that he had beendisciplined … by Lorain police years agofor his stalking and sexual coercion — purely administrativedisciplinewhich, of course, resulted in no legal consequences whatosever for Sanchez for six years, until the lawsuit forced the issue. Sanchez was allowed to retire from the police force after his trial in spite of his conviction. The story is in the news again because Sanchez, and fellow retired cop Dennis Davis, recently filed statements in Long’s lawsuit stating that pervasive harassment, sexual abuse and rape against women had been well-known and tolerated by the boss cops for years. Sanchez himself stated in his affadavit thatI have observed what I believe is a pervasive pattern of sexual misconduct by Lorain police officers committed while they are on duty. The Department persistently ignored these reports. I believed that nothing would happen to me as a result of my sexual advances …. The primary reason I made sexual advances …. while on duty was my knowledge of the City’s policy of tolerating such conduct and deliberate indifference toward such conduct by on-duty police officers.Retired cop Dennis Davis stated in his affadavit that other cops working for the Lorain city government’s police force repeatedly forcednonconsensual sexual misconducton women while on duty and thatIt appeared to me that Lorain police officers engaged in this misconduct without receiving meaningful discipline to the best of my knowledge.Boss cop Cel Rivera admitted that he had handled 30 complaintsrelating to non-consensual sexual contact involving a police officer and a third-partysince he took the job in 1994. Court documents listnumerous other incidents of alleged misconduct by other officers, including stalking, forced sexual encounters, armed threats and other behavior he contends shows a pattern of ignoring misconduct by Lorain police over the years.
26. Officer Timothy Gerek, Jr. Lorain Police Department, Lorain, Ohio.
One of those cops working for the city government in Lorain was Timothy Gerek, Jr., who was indicted in 2002 for beating and then raping his estranged wife in December 2001. Gerek threatened to murder their children if his wife left him or if she called police. When she told government prosecutors that she was too afraid to testify against Officer Timothy Gerek Jr. in court — while he was violating the protection order that required him to stay away from her and her children — the prosecutors decided to offer Gerek a plea-bargain that dropped the rape charge and reduced the domestic violence charge to misdemeanor assault. When Gerek accepted the bargain and plead guilty, this rapist and wife-beater was sentenced to a year of probation and ordered to pay a $500 fine to the county government. Some years later, Gerek tried to pull strings to try to get prior criminal charges expunged from his record, including getting the record of his misdemeanor assault charge from the beating and rape in 2002 sealed. If he had succeeded in getting the record sealed, it would have eliminated the public record of his agreement never to work in law enforcement again.
27. Officer Stanley Marrero. Lorain Police Department. Lorraine, Ohio.
Another cop working for the Lorain city government’s police force, who was frequenty mentioned in those complaints was Officer Stanley Marrero, was accused of raping a woman while responding to a call at her home in 1993. Then he was accused of using a routine traffic stop in 1995 to hit on the woman he was detaining, ask her personal questions and get her phone number, which he later called at 4:00 in the morning. The Incident was Internally Investigated and Marrero was exonerated. In 2003, another woman filed a complaint that Officer Stanley Marrero had followed her while on duty and in uniform and asked her personal questions. The Incident was Internally Investigated and he was ordered to leave her alone, with no further consequences. In 2000, when Officer Stanley Marrero was sent out to a woman’s house on a domestic violence call in 2000, allegedly to help keep her safe from an abusive husband, he took the opportunity to use his legal powers to order her husband to leave, then, once he had her alone, forced the traumatized domestic violence victim to have sex with him. When the woman filed a complaint with the police department, they Internally Investigated, pressed no charges against Officer Stanley Marrero, and gave him a 3 day suspension. In 2006, Officer Stanley Marrero was finally arrested and sentenced to 60 days in the county jail forpublic indecency, dereliction of duty, and intimidation of a witnessafter forcing sex on two different women while on duty and after forced his way into an acquaintance’s neighbor’s house under cover of an investigation, exposed himself to her and demanded oral sex from her, and then, after she refused and unleashed her dog to defend herself, threatened her with retaliation and arrest if she told anyone what happened. Officer Stanley Marrero is only now, finally, being investigated for the rape in 1993. When he was finally convicted in 2006, after years of acting with impunity as a stalker and serial rapist under color of legal authority, the judge in the case, Edward Zaleski, saidThe evidence appears overwhelming. Mr. Marrero, police scare the hell out of me. They sure scare the hell out of most people.
28. Deputy William Hatfield. Pike County Sheriff’s Office. Pike County, Kentucky.
In Kentucky, WilliamBillHatfield, a volunteer sheriff’s deputy working for the Pike County government’s sheriff’s office in return for gas money, a gun, and power, used that power to sexually assault a woman he had forced to the side of the road and detained for a routine stop.
29. Officer Dewayne Curtis Hart. Pittsburgh Police Department. Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.
Back in 2007, Dewayne Curtis Hart, a cop working for the Pittsburgh city government’s police force, went out on a burglary call at a woman’s house; a few minutes after he left, he came back, told the burglary victim that there was a warrant for her arrest on a robbery charge, threatened to arrest her, and then used the threat to forcibly undress and fondle her, then force her to fondle him. The story is in the news again because Officer Dewayne Curtis Hart’s trial on the sexual assault charges was recently delayed until October; meanwhile, while the charges are still pending, the Pittsburgh city government’s personnel refuses to say whether or not this accused rapist cop is still on the job.
30. Trooper Carlos Torres. Washington State Patrol.
Back in June 2005, a Washington State Trooper named Carlos Torres forced a woman to pull over on the highway on suspicion of drunk driving, placed her under arrest and forced her into his patrol car to give her a blood test, then drove her to a weigh station to be picked up by her fiance. (She wanted her fiance to pick her up at the jail; Trooper Carlos Torres refused, and forced her to go with him to the weigh station.) The whole time he asked her invasive personal questions about oral and anal sex; then, while keeping her locked in the back of his patrol car at the weigh station, he demanded her to undress and forcibly fondled her through the divider in his patrol car. The story is in the news again because Trooper Carlos Torres recently made an unsuccessful attempt to get a custodial sexual misconduct charge thrown out on the grounds that his victim was not in fact beingdetainedby him while she was locked in the backseat of his patrol car with no ability to open the doors or windows and no way to get out without his permission, after he had already forced her to get into the car against her will.
31. Deputy Police Chief Jody Beaudry, Mulberry Police Department, Mulberry Florida.
Back in 2004, a 40-year-old man Jody Beaudry, a cop working for the Mulberry, Florida city government’s police force, used his position as a police officer to threaten to revoke a 16-year-old girl’s probation, and used this threat of arrest and jail to force her to have sex with him. By the time he was arrested in 2008, he had been promoted to Deputy Police Chief. The story’s in the news because he just recently plead guilty tounlawful sexual activity with a minor, a crime which may put him in jail forup to7 years in prison. (The crime that he actually committed, by using the threat of retaliation and his powers of arrest to commit sexual battery, is, under Florida state law, a first-degree felony punishable by up to 30 years in prison.)
32. Patrol Deputy Michael Jared Boulware, Sumter County Sheriff’s Office, Wedgefield, South Carolina.
26-year-old Deputy Michael Jared Boulware is out on bond awaiting trial for sexually assaulting a 14 year old girl. According to the government prosecutor, who asked the judge to deny bail, the victim isextremely upset and worried he will locate her.According to his defense attorney, the fact that Boulware is a former cop is supposed to provide a reason for lowering bond. Actually, I think it’s a reason for thinking that he’s potentially more dangerous to the victim.
33. Kevin Yuhas, Streator Police Department, Streator, Illinois.
Earlier this month, Kevin Yuhas, a 42-year-old 911 dispatcher working for the Streator, Illinois city government’s police force, was arrested in Wisconsin for inviting a 14-year-old boy into his home, plying the boy with 10 to 15 shots of hard liquor, and then raping him. Yuhas admits that he invited the boy over and got him drunk, but can’t remember anything that came after.
34. Officer James Stackhouse. Nashville Metro Police Department. Nashville, Tennessee.
Earlier this month, Officer James Stackhouse, a cop working for the Nashville local government’s Metro Police Department, was forced out of his job as a result of an ongoing investigation into allegations that he had aninappropriate sexual relationshipwith a 12-year-old girl in Clay County.
35. Donald Silcott. Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office. Jacksonville, Florida.
Earlier this month,veteran police officerDonald Silcott, anevidence technicianworking for the county government’s Sheriff’s office was arrested for sexually assaulting a teenage girl in his home. The victim was taken to the hospital after she was found crying on a doorstep holding a photo of Silcott and a note with his name, address, and the date of the incident. The girl, apparently distraught and terrified, hid in the bushes and asked the woman who found her to dial 911 so she could be taken to the hospital. According to the arrest report, they performed a rape kit and recovered DNA evidence at the hospital.
36. Officer Aaron L. Jones. Harrington Police Department, Harrington, Delaware.
Aaron L. Jones, a 40-year-old cop working for the Harrington city government’s police force, was arrested earlier this month for having sex with a minor female who was staying in his home. Jones was released on a $2,500 unsecured bond and the government police have put him on a paid vacation from his job while they investigate the charges.
37. Officer Todd Spikes. Florala, Alabama Police Department. Florala, Alabama.
After driving to Flagler Beach for what he thought was a meet-up for sex with a 13 year old girl he met on the Internet, Officer Todd Spikes, a cop working for the Florala, Alabama city government’s police force was exposed as a sexual predator on national television and arrested in December 2006. The case is in the news again because government prosecutors recently offered their former colleague Todd Spikes a plea bargain which would give him probation with no prison time. Spikes turned the offer down, because it would have required him to register as a sex offender.
38. Officer Todd Lengsfield, Newnan Police Deartment, Newnan, Georgia.
Earlier this month, Officer Todd Lengsfield, a 34-year-old cop working for the Newnan, Georgia city government’s police force, was arrested for having sex with a 15-year-old girl. His bosses were tipped off byinappropriatecontact with the girl using a government-issued cell phone. A blogger at eXaminer.com claims that the story is a reason whyParents have to be careful with children and technology.Actually, it sounds to me like a reason parents and children have to be careful around cops.
39. Officer Luke Morrison, Henderson Police Department, Henderson, Nevada.
You may remember Officer Luke Morrison of Henderson, Nevada for the time when he shot and killed a distraught Albanian ice-cream truck driver after she had already been knocked to the ground with a taser. Before lighting up Deshira Selimaj for the Henderson city government’s police force, Officer Luke Morrison was a former soldier who fought in the United States government’s army’s war and occupation in Iraq. Anyway, it turns out that when Officer Luke Morrison is not busy gunning down middle-aged women with no legal consequences, he also enjoys sleeping with 15 year old girls. Commenterlv2genon the Las Vegas Sun website wants us to know thatA few bad apples don’t mean every cop is dirty.
40. Officer Nathan Amosa. Hurricane Police Department, Hurricane, Utah.
Last year, Officer Nathan Amosa, a cop working for the Hurricane, Utah city government’s police force, responded to a call from a distraught mother and went to her house, allegedly to help her find her missing child, who had wandered away. Instead, he threatened to cite her for child neglect and have the government take her child away from her unless she would have sex with him. The victim says that she felt she had to do what he demanded because of the threat against her child and because Officer Nathan Amosa wasin uniform and had a gun.After raping her, Officer Nathan Amosa later went on to intimidate his victim at a local grocery store. This rape is dignified by the news media as anon-duty sex episode; the story is in the news again because the government prosecutor and government judge agreed to let Officer Nathan Amosa — who had been charged with forcible sodomy and two counts of forcible sex abuse — plead no-contest to a charge ofcustodial sexual relations,, for which he will spend 60 days in county jail and get three years’ probation. According to the government prosecutor, this confessed rapist will get only 60 days in jail (and, becausecustodial sexual relationsconvictions don’t require it, will not be required to register as a sex offender) because he is a cop and (therefore?) because he believes thatit would have been difficult to prove the victim did not consent. During sentencing, the government prosecutor told the government judge thatIf this was anyone other than a police officer, we would not even be here. No doubt. Over at the Desert News website, a commenter going byCopswants us to know thatThere’s a lot of great cops out there and just a few high-profile incidents like this that can give them all a bad name.
41. Officer Anthony Rollins. Anchorage Police Department, Anchorage, Alaska.
Last month in Alaska, Officer Anthony Rollins, a 13 yearveteranof the Anchorage city government’s police force was arrested on 10 charges of sexual assault for raping at least 6 women that he encountered while on patrol and lured into his police car, from March 2006 to April 2009. This serial rapist, who repeatedly used the power of his uniform and his legal privileges to force sex on unwilling women (including at least one rape committed at a police substation) was finally arrested after a local anti-rape group approached the police department in April, and during the investigation five more women came forward to report sexual assaults. The investigation is ongoing and more survivors may yet come forward. Meanwhile, although unwilling Anchorage taxpayers were forced to pay Anthony Rollins over $142,892 last year for his unrequested services as a patrol officer, and were forced to pay him $78,668 this year prior to his arrest, and have been forced to pay him and his wife (who also works for the city government’s police department) over $1,100,000 over the last five years, this millionaire government cop has been declaredindigentby the government judge handling his trial, so that innocent Alaska taxpayers, including his six victims will be forced to pay for a government-appointed defense lawyer for his trial. Rollins’s former boss, Anchorage boss cop Rob Heun, issued an angry statement to the press in which he called Rollins’s career as a serial rapistaberrant and detestable.Well, I certainly agree with him about the latter.
42. Officer Kenneth Moreno and Officer Franklin Mata. New York Police Department. New York, New York.
Last December in New York, a pair of cops working for the city government’s police force responded to a 911 call from a cab driver about a woman he had driven home who had gotten sick from being extremely drunk. They showed up around 1:00am, allegedly to help her get home safely; instead they decided to make up a cover about their whereabouts, go back to the apartment, and rape her while she was half-conscious, violently sick, and physically helpless. (Apartment security cameras show them returning to the apartment; Officer Kenneth Moreno was recorded on the phone admitting to the victim that he had sex with her.) NYPD boss cop Ray Kelly — who knew about the case for months before any charges were filed or any allegations made public, and who didn’t even suspend the cops accused until the charges hit the newsmedia — claims thatThe allegations are so egregious here that its imperative that I speak out. This is a shocking aberration in stark contrast to the good work that the members of the New York City Police Department do every day.
Yeah, a huge fucking aberration. Just like all the others.
Back in Anchorage, when a reporter asked him how serial-rapist Anthony Rollins could get away with attacking at least six women while he was out on patrol over a period of three years before the police began an investigation, boss cop Rob Heun responded that there was nothing other police could have done about Rollins becauseNo policy or procedure is going to preclude anybody who wants to break it to do just that … This is a matter of behavior — just like no law will preclude anyone from breaking the law.Of course it is true that any written law or policy can be broken, but the problem here is not just the laws that are being broken; it’s the laws that are being followed, government laws which create an institutional environment of entitled privilege, and which give any male cop who happens to be a sexual predator an arsenal of legally-sanctioned weapons and immense unaccountable power over any woman or man who he wants to place under his power while out on patrol. As I said in December 2007 about a case involving several male patrol cops in San Antonio:
What as at stake here has a lot to do with the individual crimes of three cops, and it’s good to know that the police department is taking that very seriously. But while excoriating these three cops for their personal wickedness, this kind of approach also marginalizes and dismisses any attempt at a serious discussion of the institutional context that made these crimes possible — the fact that each of these three men worked out of the same office on the same shift, the way that policing is organized, the internal culture of their own office and of the police department as a whole, and the way that the so-calledcriminal justice systemgives cops immense power over, and minimal accountability towards, the people that they are professedly trying to protect. It strains belief to claim that when a rape gang is being run out of one shift at a single police station, there’s not something deeply and systematically wrong with that station. If it weren’t for the routine power of well-armed cops in uniform, it would have been much harder for Victor Gonzales, Anthony Munoz, or Raymond Ramos to force their victims into theircustodyor to credibly threaten them in order to extort sex. … And if it weren’t for the way in which they can all too often rely on buddies in the precinct or elsewhere in the force to back them up, no matter how egregiously violent they may be, it would have been much harder for any of them to believe that they were entitled to, or could get away with, sexually torturing women while on patrol, while in full uniform, using their coercive power as cops.
A serious effort to respond to these crimes doesn’t just require individual blame or personal accountability …. It also requires a demand for fundamental institutional and legal reform. If police serve a valuable social function, then they can serve it without paramilitary forms of organization, without special legal privileges to order peaceful people around and force innocent people intocustody,and without government entitlements to use all kinds of violence without any accountability to their victims. What we have now is not civil policing, but rather a bunch of heavily armed, violently macho, institutionally privileged gangsters in blue.
- GT 2009-07-31: The Police Beat (on rapist-on-patrol Officer Feliciano Sanchez)
- GT 2009-06-11: The Police Beat (on rapist-on-patrol Officer Thomas Tolstoy)
- GT 2009-05-14: Rapists on Patrol (#3). Officer Gary Pignato. Greece, New York.
- GT 2008-03-10: Rapists on Patrol (#2). Officer David Alex Park, Irvine, California.
- GT 2007-12-21: Rapists on patrol. Officers Victor Hugo Gonzalez, Michael Anthony Munoz and Raymond Ramos, San Antonio, Texas.
- GT 2009-04-19: Men in Uniform (#3). Los Angeles, California.
- GT 2007-12-02: Men in Uniform
- GT 2008-02-26: Cops are here to protect you. (#2)
Common ground. Chicago, Illinois; London, England; Tehran, Iran; and Ramat Gan, Israel. It turns out there’s one thing the governments in Iran, Israel, the U.K., and the U.S.A. can all agree on: massive police brutality against political protesters.
Lausanne, Switzerland. World Radio Switzerland (2009-06-09): Perjury claim reopens police brutality case. A cop in the Swiss city of Lausanne stopped a 16 year old Eritrean immigrant twice on New Year’s eve; the second time, they decided to douse him with pepper spray and leave him out in the woods. He tried to lodge a complaint, but the local police wouldn’t accept the complaint. When the case finally got investigated and went to trial, the cop was acquitted in court because his gang-brothers lied for him on the stand. The case is back in the news because it’s been re-opened after a former cop accused them of perjuring themselves in order to cover up police brutality.
Sergeant Naofumi Nomura. Okayama, Japan. A 75 year old woman recently got Served and Protected by Police Sergeant Naofumi Nomura when he stole her purse and about 10,000 yen inside it. He was arrested after two high school boys chased him down on their bicycles. (Via Reason Daily Brickbats.)
Northern Territory police. Darwin, Australia. Tara Ravens, Brisbane Times (2009-06-10): Coroner slams NT police over man’s death. Northern Territory police pulled a former journalist named Greg Plasto off the street and forced him into the hospital for amental health assessmentbecause they thought he wasacting strangely,in their arbitrary judgment, which apparently is good enough to put you in a psychoprison these days; after he had been forced to wait nearly two hours in an ambulance, he got up and said he wanted to go outside. Rather than asking him why he wanted to go outside, or just letting him get up and walk around, a gang ofup to sixcops tackled Plasto, who, again, had not been accused of any crime at all, then wrestled him to the ground, smashed his head into the ground, and held him down on the ground for four minutes while he turned blue and smothered to death. The coroner who reviewed the case says that the problem is that police needbetter training.
Officer Joseph J. Rios III. Passaic, New Jersey. (Cont’d.) I previously mentioned the case of Officer Joseph J. Rios III, who was videotaped beating the hell out of a defenseless black man, over and over again, for not having zipped up his jacket on command. (Rios, formerly a counter-insurgency soldier in occupied Iraq, remained on active patrol duty while the incident was being Internally Investigated, right up until after the video evidence was released to the public, at which point the city government’s police department let him keep his job, but put him on a desk job. Then, in response to public protest, Mayor Alex Blanco had the city government’s police department give Rios a [paid vacation](http://www.northjersey.com/breakingnews/Officeraccusedofexcessiveforce_suspended.html instead. Later, in response to ongoing protests, he had it changed to an unpaid vacation.
Officer Joseph J. Rios III has since come out with a public statement for the press, insisting that hestands by his actions; saying (through his lawyer) thatThere were communications by Mr. Holloway and the officer as well as an earlier encounter during the day between the men that wasn’t on the tape(apparently thinking that verbalcommunicationsmight somehow — how? — justify this relentless beat-down); he asserts that hedid what was properand (what he wrongly believes to be the same thing) hedid what I was trained to do.Supposing that’s true, what does that tell you about the training?
Well, if you say so …. Botched SWAT raid. Prince George’s County Sheriff’s Department. Prince George’s County, Maryland. Radley Balko, Hit & Run (2009-06-20): Prince George’s County Sheriff’s Department Declares Itself Blame-Free in Cheye Calvo Raid In which the Prince George’s County Sheriff’s Department issues a report in which it is reported that the Prince George’s County Sheriff’s Department did nothing wrong in the no-knock, no-evidence SWAT raid on Cheye Calvo’s family home. (This is more or less what passes forinvestigationwhen cops commit violence against merecivilians.) Sheriff Michael Jackson says the Internal Investigation’s resultsare consistent with what I’ve felt all along: My deputies did their job to the fullest extent of their abilities.No doubt.
Oops. Our bad. (Cont’d.) Botched SWAT raid. Mustang, Oklahoma. Six heavily-armed strangers in black bullet-proof vests stormed Terry Speck’s house back in March and, without telling her who the hell they were or what they were doing in her house, told her they were looking for her 20-year-old nephew, Cory Davis. Terrified, she tried to tell them he was in prison. They didn’t believe her, so they ransacked her house for 20 minutes before they left, without ever identifying themselves. The Specks were later able to figure out that they were police by reviewing the tapes from their home security cameras. Cory Davis had in fact been in state prison since November, but apparently when an arrest warrant on new charges was issued, none of the narcs bothered to check where he was, instead of storming first and asking questions later. Of course, for being terrorized at the hands of six heavily-armed strangers for absolutely no reason, Terry Speck got anOops, our badfrom the state. (Via Reason Daily Brickbats 2009-06-14.)
Murderers and batterers on patrol. Officer Jason Thomas Anderson. Big Lake, Minnesota. I’ve remarked before on the connections between paramilitary policing and violent hypermasculinity. So I’ll just mention, here, that it turns out that when Officer Jason Thomas Anderson is not busy shooting teenage Hmong bike-riders in the back (or shooting them five more times in the chest after they’re already bleeding on the ground), he also likes to get himself arrested on domestic violence charges.
Roughing up and arresting an innocent woman for filming the police. Richmond, Virginia. Richmond police were dealing with a lot of drunks down in Shockoe Bottom at 2:00am last September. Joanne Jefferson decided to observe and film how the cops were handling people in the crowd; so the cops responded by ordering her to leave, then grabbing her arm, slamming her into a wall, and then forcing her down onto the ground and arresting her forimpeding traffic.The story is now in the news because the Richmond D.A. has decided to drop the charges against Ms. Jefferson. Even though filming the police on public property is not a crime, and even though the D.A. has determined that the police had absolutely no basis for arresting Ms. Jefferson, let alone grabbing her, slamming her into a wall, and forcing her down onto the ground in order to do so, he thinks thatthe officers did not act with excessive force.If the appropriate level of force is zero, how is this not excessive force? Nevertheless, the D.A. has stated that he seesno evidence that would support a criminal investigation of a police officer.
Arresting an innocent priest for filming the police. Officer David Cari. East Haven, Connecticut. East Haven cop David Cari arrested a Roman Catholic priest, James Manship, for filming police treatment of Latino immigrants in East Haven. The police report claims that he had to be arrested fordisorderly conductandinterfering with an officerbecause he was holding anunknown shiny silver objectin his hand (with the obvious intent to suggest that the cop thought it might have been a gun) and struggled with a cop who tried to take it from him. Turns out that the video footage from the camera shows Officer David Cari asking the priestIs there a reason you have a camera on me?Manship replyingI’m taking a video of what’s going on here,and Cari approaching Manship and saying,Well, I’ll tell you what I’m going to do with that camera.The police department’s lawyer saysYou’ve got to conclude that he was out there with a video camera in an attempt, in my view, to provoke the police to do something.(Well, whatever you want; but if cops just can’t help butdo somethinglike arrest an innocent man for a non-crime whenprovokedby the public they allegedly serve trying to record their behavior, then why should such dangerous thugs continue being cops?) (Via Reason Daily Brickbats 2009-06-01: Caught on Tape.)
Roughing up and arresting an innocent woman for raising her voice at a police officer. Officer Bobby Wright and New Mexico State Police. Española, New Mexico. In New Mexico, a couple of State Police, responding to reports ofshots fired in the area,rolled up on Dolores Jacquez, a 17 year old pregnant girl, and her boyfriend, who were sitting in a car minding their own business. They pointed automatic rifles at the two of them and ordered them to stand outside the car with their hands in the air. Her boyfriend has only one leg, which made it hard for him to do what they were ordering. Rather than acting like human beings, and in spite of the fact that neither of these kids had committed any crime, the State Police shoved the 17 year old pregnant girl and her one-legged boyfriend down to the ground. During this absolutely pointless manhandling, Jacquezspoke angrily to the officers, raising her voice while talking to them, using profanity at times;for which the State Police decided that she and her boyfriend ought to be arrested. So they shoved her into their patrol car and called up a city government cop, Officer Bobby Wright, to take her to jail. When she asked what would happen to her boyfriend, he repliedShut up, [expletive].Then he handcuffed her to a bench at the State Police station, making the cuff so tight that it cut into the skin and left a mark on her wrist for days, refused to let her use the bathroom, and threatened to make the cuffseven tighterif she did notshut up.This complaint makes at least the fourth complaint for brutality or unlawful arrests against Officer Bobby Wright. The State Police never bothered to file any charges, because, of course, cussing at cops is not a crime. But while you can beat the rap, you can’t beat the ride, so they arrested the kids anyway, because they could. The State Public Safety Department has settled the separate lawsuit that Jacquez filed against the two State Police cops for terrorizing her, roughing her up and arresting her forspeaking angrily; public servants that they are, the State Public Safety Department will be sending the bill for the settlement to a bunch of innocent taxpayers who had nothing to do with the assault or the false arrest.
Four broken ribs forapproachinga police officer. Modesto, California. Back in January 2007, Margaret Shepherd went out to a Modesto bar with her son to celebrate his 21st birthday. One of her son’s friends got thrown out of the bar anda scuffle appeared to break outbetween the bar’s security guards and some other people in the party. Ms. Shepherd, who had nothing to do with any of this, tried to approach some cops who were in the club to ask them what the hell was going on. So they broke four of her ribs, arrested her forresisting arrest,and then threw her in a paddy-wagon and refused to get her medical attention while she struggled to breathe in the back of the wagon. The story is in the news again because a jury just cleared the cops of any civil liability for this hyperviolent assault on an innocent woman who had done nothing other than try to ask the cops what was going on.
Beating and pepper-spraying a man after he’s been handcuffed for arguing with a police officer. Lieutenant Chuck McBrayer and Officer Danny Williams. Valley, Alabama. Amy Weaver, Opelika-Auburn News (2009-06-09): Third claim filed against Valley, police. Valley cops Lieutenant Chuck McBrayer and Officer Danny Williams forced their way into 64 year old Joseph E. Coker’s home. Joseph E. Coker wasn’t accused of any crime; they were looking for his son, Brandon Coker. Joseph Coker and Lieutenant Chuck McBrayer got into a verbal argument, so McBrayer threatened to pepper spray him for arguing with a cop who was intruding into his own home. So McBrayer ordered Officer Danny Williams to handcuff this 64-year-old man; then, after he was already being handcuffed, Lieutenant Chuck McBrayer pepper-sprayed him in the face; then he pried open Coker’s right eye and pepper-sprayed him again, directly in the eye. Then they forced him down onto the ground and, while he was still cuffed and physically restrained, smashed his nose so hard he passed out and had to be hospitalized. After going on this unprovoked hyperviolent rampage against a 64-year-old man in his own home, McBrayer and Williams arrested Coker in the emergency room fordisorderly conductandresisting arrest.This is the third claim of police brutality filed against the Valley police department in the last three months. The boss cops in Valley refuse to comment on anydisciplinary actionsbecause the incident is being Internally Investigated. (Via @InjusticeNews.)
Bludgeoning a stabbing victim after he was already handcuffed to a wheelchair. Officer William Cozzi. Chicago, Illinois. In Chicago, Officer William Cozzi, a 15-yearveteranof the Chicago Police Department, was caught on video handcuffing a stabbing victim to a wheelchair, in the hospital emergency room, and beating him with a sap. He was called into the emergency room help the man out after he had been stabbed bya female companion.But his victim was drunk, and Cozzi was busy Investigating, so he gotfrustratedat the alleged beneficiary of this investigation, and decided to deal with his frustration by shackling the man to a wheelchair and beating him with a sap. Then he made up some complete lies for his police report about his victim having attacked him and hospital workers. After the video came out, Cozzi plead guilty to misdemeanor charges and got 18 months of probation.
Later, a series of scandals over repeated and unchecked police brutality and corruption within the Chicago Police Department forced Chicago Police Superintendent Jody Weis to refer the case to the FBI for a federal civil rights investigation. Cozzi was just recently convicted and sentenced to three years in federal prison. In response, the Fraternal Order of Police in Chicago has made a public complaint about the fact that Cozzi will go to prison for beating the hell out of an innocent, wounded assault victim who was shackled to a wheelchair at the time, and who Cozzi was supposedly called in to Protect and Serve. Terence Gillespie, Cozzi’s defense lawyer, says thatThis is a message to all those officers in blue out there that after 15 years on the job you’ll get thrown under the bus.
(See also the case of Hope Steffey for cops beating the hell out of an assault victim who gets toofrustratingwhile the cop is doing his Investigating.)
Gang-beating a man after he’s been handcuffed. Officer Brian Quilici, Officer Ronald Pilati, and Officer Jerome Volstad. Fox Lake, Illinois. Three off-duty cops — one on the Richmond city government’s police force, and two on the Spring Grove city government’s police force — went to a bar in Fox Lake to get drunk back in April 2005. Along the way they got into a verbal argument with a man named Ryan Hallett. When he tried to leave, the three cops followed him out of the bar, handcuffed him, and then beat him down to the ground while he was cuffed. Then, while Hallet was lying on the ground, one of the cops, Officer Brian Quilici, kicked him in the face so hard that he Hallett suffered a broken facial bone and later had to get multiple surgeries. Fox Lake police who responded to this mob beat-down by their gang brothers recommended that their victim, Ryan Hallet, be prosecuted, until a series of newspaper reports revealed that Officer Brian Quilici had already racked up multiple complaints for harassment, battery and disorderly conduct, somehow without charges ever having been filed against him or his job prospects having been hurt in the least. After the newspaper stories forced their hand, the State Police eventually started their own investigation, and Qulici was eventually charged and convicted ofmob action,official misconduct,andobstructing justice,which got him a two-year prison sentence. His comrades-in-arms, Officer Ronald Pilati and Officer Jerome Volstad, plead guilty on misdemeanor charges. The story is in the news again for two reasons. First, because a federal jury recently imposed a $450,000 judgment against Quilici and the city government of Richmond for the beating. (The Richmond city government will, of course, force innocent taxpayers to pay for the government’s decision to keep an out-of-control hyperviolent cop on their police force after multiple complaints.) Secondly, because a state appeals court just threw out Officer Brian Quilici’s conviction, on the grounds that the judge in the original criminal trial should not haveconfusedthe jury by telling them thatA police officer executing an arrest outside of his jurisdiction has no greater arrest powers than a private citizen executing a citizens’ arrest.Becausearrest powerswould have made it O.K. to pick a start fight, handcuff your victim, and then kick him in the face while he’s lying on the ground?
Highway robbery. Officer Jonathan Lutman. Slidell, Louisiana. In Louisiana, Slidell Police Officer Jonathan Lutman repeatedly used his police car to pull over Latino drivers (whom he targeted because he thought they’d be less likely to report the stick-up) and then demanded that they hand over their wallets. When he had the wallet, he would rip out the cash and pocket it. Officer Jonathan Lutman stole about $3,000 on these highwayman traffic stops before two of his victims reported him. The story is in the news again because he plead guilty to 12 counts ofmalfeasance in officein May. If you or I or any other non-cop were convicted of practicing highway robbery (in the most literal sense) while armed with a dangerous weapon, we would be imprisoned at hard labor for not less than ten years and not more than ninety-nine years, without benefit of parole, probation, or suspension of sentence. But since Officer Jonathan Lutman robbed people using a government-issued weapon and under color of government authority, he plead guilty to a crime that normally carries a 5 year prison sentence. And then the judge suspended the sentence, and gave Lutman probation instead, and ordered him to complete 200 hours of community service. (Via Reason Daily Brickbats: Copping a Plead.)
Corporal Jason King. South Bend, Indiana. After a high-speed chase, Corporal Jason King was filmed on his dash cam beating up the Suspect Individual he was arresting, even though his victim posed no threat and was not resisting arrest. The Chief of Police in South Bend punished Corporal King by giving him a 30-day unpaid vacation and dropping his rank topatrolman.. When even the Chief of Police concedes that he was needlessly assaulting and battering a man who posed no physical threat, why isn’t Corporal Jason King going to jail?
Officer John Mailander and Officer Mersed Dautovic. Des Moines, Iowa. Two Des Moines city government cops were responding to an unrelated emergency call back in September; a car with a black couple in itfailed to immediately yield, so instead of driving on to the emergency, the cops stopped the car, screamed orders and pulled the driver, Erin Evans, out of the car, and, when her boyfriend, Octavius Bonds, tried to get them to stop assaulting her, blinded him with pepper spray, and then beat him black and blue with batons, breaking his left hand and his right arm, and cracking his head open with a gash so big it took eight staples to close. Then they lied about it in their police report to try and cover up their brutality. The story is in the news again now because Des Moines Police Chief Judy Bradshaw just recently fired the two cops responsible for this out-of-control assault on helpless victims who had not committed any crime. So, great, they lost their jobs. Why aren’t these dangerous assailants in jail?
Quid custodiet…? Officer Paul Abel. Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Pittsburgh cop Paul Abel was an eight yearveteranof the police force, and also a former counter-insurgency soldier in the U.S. government’s war on Iraq. He had already racked up three outstanding complaints against him for brutality and filing false police reports on the night he went out to celebrate his wife’s birthday. He decided to drive drunk — after four beers and two shots. Some dude came by and punched him in the face while he sat in his car at the stoplight. So Officer Paul Abel got out, grabbed his government-issued gun, and drove after the suspect. Then, with a blood alcohol level over 0.111, he rolled up on a young man from the neighborhood named Kaleb Miller. Miller says he wasn’t the man who punched Abel; two tow-truck drivers, who were in the area and saw the punching happen, say that Miller looks nothing like the man who did punch Abel. But Officer Paul Abel, drunk off his ass, decided that he had his man, so (out of uniform, at 2 in the morning) he charged up on Miller, waving his gun around, and bellowing arbitrary commands to get down on the ground. Miller didn’t get down quickly enough, so Officer Paul Abel grabbed Miller, pistol-whipped him five times, and thenaccidentallyshot him in the hand. Even the Pittsburgh Police Chief had to publicly announce thatThe gentleman who was in the physical altercation [sic] is an innocent victim as far as we can tell.The story is in the news now because, when Abel was brought up on aggravated assault, reckless endangerment, and DUI charges, he opted for a trial before a government judge (because government cops know that they are much more likely to be acquitted by a government judge than by a jury), and Common Pleas Judge Jeffrey A. Manning has just recently acquitted him on all charges, even the DUI. Manning himself called the beat-down, pistol-whipping, and shootinginappropriate, imprudent and ill-advised.But Manning chose to dismiss all the charges because Officer Paul Abel is a cop, and therefore (according to Manning) he cannot be held legally responsible for his admittedly inappropriate, imprudent, and ill-advised hyperviolent beat-down against an admittedly innocent man. Because, according to Common Pleas Judge Jeffrey A. Manning, cops are a class apart, who cannot be held to account for their unrestrained violence in mere civilian courts; or, in his own words,It is not the obligation of this court to police the police department.
So if the courts don’t police the police, who does?
The answer is, of course, that most of the time, nobody does. Other arms of the government hardly ever hold government police accountable for abuse because they fob off responsibility to thediscretionof their legally-privileged-and-immunized enforcers. The government police hardly ever hold other government police accountable for abuse because they have no incentive to restrain the conduct of their fellow government cops, and a distinct professional interest in giving their colleagues as much latitude as possible in the exercise of unchecked power over their chosen targets. And nobody outside of government can hold police accountable for abuse, because government refuses to recognize the right of any independent person or association to sit in judgment of its own actions, and so has legally declared the State and all its agents accountable to none save God alone. And if you want to know why, week after week, you see the same pattern of rampant, relentless, unchecked, unaccountable, unrepentant, overwhelming and intense violence, committed by government cops against people who are obviously harmless, helpless, or defenseless, in the defense of police prerogatives and inflicted against the very people who they are allegedly being privileged and paid to Serve and Protect — well, that’s pretty much why.
Absolute power corrupts absolutely.
Because the cops we have are already doing so much… Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Departments, North Las Vegas Police Department, and Henderson Police Department. Carson City, Nevada. Meanwhile, in the capital of Nevada, the bosses of several Nevada police departments — which currently pay the second-highest average police salaries of any state in the U.S. — rolled into the state legislature in the state of Nevada demanding the second half of a quote-unquoteMore Cops tax,a special tax increase to be inflicted on Nevada taxpayers, in the midst of the state’s worst economic crisis in three generations, solely for the purpose of hiring even more police to go on saturating Nevada city streets and doing all the things that cops do with their time, on our dime, and supposedly in our names.
- GT 2009-06-11: The Police Beat
- GT 2009-06-02: The Police Beat
- GT 2009-02-23: The Metro Police Beat
- GT 2009-04-19: Men In Uniform #3
- GT 2009-05-08: Cops are here to protect you. (#9)
- GT 2009-01-12: Cops are here to protect you. (#8)
- GT 2008-09-09: Cops are here to protect you. (#7)
- GT 2008-06-03: Cops are here to protect you. (#6)
- GT 2008-05-20: Cops are here to protect you. (#5)
- GT 2008-05-11: Cops are here to protect you. (#4)
- GT 2008-05-10: Cops are here to protect you. (#3)
- GT 2008-02-26: Cops are here to protect you. (#2)
- GT 2008-02-18: Cops are here to protect you.
- GT 2007-11-09: You got served and protected.
The other day I mentioned an exchange that I had with regular R.-J. columnist and occasional libertarian Vin Suprynowicz, over an ill-tempered blog post he wrote on so-calledillegal immigration. Since my most recent comment on the post was deep-sixed into a moderation queue and shows no signs of reappearing, I offer this post as a way of recording the conversation so far in full.
Vin’s original article, Speaking in code words to disguise what they really mean,, is an extended complaint about a recent immigration freedom rally in Vegas — not the 1 May marcha that I participated in, but a more recent rally by Reform Immigration for America, focused on family reunification. Suprynowicz reacted with a polemic against the allegedeuphemismsbeing used by thoseradicals(his word; he says it like it’s supposed to be a bad thing somehow) who would dare propose even the smallest rollbacks of government constraints on voluntary migration. One of these euphemisms, he says, is calling people who move to Nevada without a permission slip from the United States federal governmentundocumented immigrants,or evenimmigrantsat all; instead, we are told, they should be calledtrespassing illegal aliens.We are also told that fewer government restrictions on immigration would lead to the swarming and bankrupting ofour current [state] socialist policieslike government-run schools and hospitals. And he tells us that anyone who does not support the most rigorous and aggressive enforcement of the Fugitive Alien Acts by federal police agencies ispromoting amnesty,which is, apparently, supposed to be a condemnation beyond any hope of appeal:
These radicals [sic] can use all the euphemisms they please to avoid the word, but anyone who believes illegal trespassers should not be deported — or imprisoned and THEN deported — is promoting amnesty, and needs to answer the question: How does giving amnesty to a couple million knowing law-breakers not encourage the next set of knowing law-breakers, inviting them in no uncertain terms toCome on in and enjoy all the free stuff; after a few years you can get?amnestied, too!
Well, I wouldn’t know; but one of the advantages of being an unterrified radical is that you don’t have to live in fear of boogey-words, or waste time defining down your goals to suit the status quo. (On which, see GT 2007-11-12 Sin Fronteras.) I don’t know all the details of what Reform Immigration for America stands for, but, in any case, I’ll be your huckleberry: sure, I’m for amnesty — immediate, complete, and unconditional amnesty, without any penalties and for every single criminalized immigrant in this grand old country. I’m promoting amnesty, and I’m promoting open borders, too, so I don’t care how many people show up in hopes of thenextamnesty. If I really had my way, there’d be nonextamnesty — because there’d be no government border laws left for anyone to violate.
So here was my first reply. (In which I chose, for rhetorical reasons, to use Vin’s own terms, usingsocialistto meanstate socialist,and alsoillegal immigrant,for undocumented immigrants, a phrase that I would never choose for myself in conversation, because I think it’s dehumanizing and brutal. But in this context, I chose to use the phrase rather than criticize it, because part of the basic problem here is the underlying notion that there’s something morally wrong with breaking government laws.) Anyway:
The people to whom Ms. Arguello-Kline refers asimmigrantsaren’timmigrants,by that sensible definition, at all. They’re trespassing illegal aliens,
Atrespasseris someone who intrudes on another person’s property against the will of the property-owner.
Let’s pretend I’m an illegal immigrant renting an apartment, working for a meat-packing plant, shopping at the local grocery store, et cetera. Presumably my landlord is willing for me to live on his or her property: if the owner didn’t want me to live there, he or she wouldn’t have signed the lease. Presumably, also, my boss is willing for me to be inside his or her plant; otherwise he or she wouldn’t be paying me to do it. Presumably, also, the stores I shop at are willing for me to be inside their stores: otherwise, they wouldn’t welcome my business.
So just whose property, exactly, am Itrespassingon?
How does giving amnesty to a couple million knowing law-breakers not encourage the next set of knowing law-breakers, inviting them in no uncertain terms toCome on in and enjoy all the free stuff; after a few years you can get?amnestied, too!
You sayknowing law-breakerslike it’s supposed to be a bad thing to knowingly break the law. Coming from someone who so vocally praises the American Revolution, this seems odd.
If the radicals who gathered downtown on June the first want to demonstrate in favor of a mass amnesty — for open borders, over which hundreds of millions of the world’s poor and oppressed would be invited to come here and swarm our free public schools and free hospital emergency rooms until our current socialist policies drive us finally, completely, bankrupt — let them at least say what they mean.
That sounds like a problem with the socialist policies, not a problem with free immigration.
Why exactly do you want to save socialist policies like government control over schools and hospitals?
(For more on conservative welfare statist arguments against immigration freedom, see GT 2007-12-13: On the dole.)
So, presumably, if I wrote warning people not to let their children swim in the river because there are crocodiles,Rad Geek,hiding behind a cloak of anonymity, would ask:
Why exactly do you want to save the practice of crocodiles eating little children just because they go swimming in inappropriate places?
Signing my name, standing tall and risking the consequences, I have fought a radical, no-compromise battle for the complete shutdown — not some kind of half-assedreform,but the literal dynamiting (once the children have been removed to a safe distance) — of the government schools, and every government income redistibution bureaucracy, for more than 15 years.
Warning of — heck, simply observing — the consequences of allowing unlimited millions of people to violate American immigration laws, arriving here to flood the government welfare schools and enormously expensive tax-subsidized hospital emergency rooms every time they come down with the sniffles, means I want tosavethese evil redistributionist schemes?
How does acknowledging a reality of which we disapprove indicate we want tosaveit? By this logic, if you believe the Constitution forbids government agents from restricting your right to carry a loaded firerarm into a federal courthouse (as it most certainly does), you MAY NOT leave your firearm in the car; you MUST carry it into the courthouse in defiance of the orders of the armed guards there, lest you stand accused byRad Geekofwanting to save all their unconstitutional gun laws.
You must, in short, PRETEND that all current conditions of which you disapprove DO NOT EXIST.
In the real world, this is a good way to quickly get yourself killed. ButRad Geekwill accuse us ofwanting to saveany current condition that we merely acknowledge ascurrently existing.
Do the illegal aliens stand up and declareWe reject your laws, here we stand with our guns, we’re willing to risk death to proclaim that your laws have no dominance over us,like the patriots at Lexington and Concord?Are they fighting to free us, as well as themselves, from unconstitutional tyranny? I haven’t noticed them doing that. What I notice them doing is walking away from car crashes and hospital bills and orders to appear in court to answer for their crimes, refusing to take any responsibility for the damage they cause.
Yes, if there were no tax-fundedcommons,and none of us were numbered or taxed, the arrival of a million strangers seeking work would do me little harm, provided they maintained reasonable sanitary safeguards. WhenRad Geek,hiding in the shadows of anonymity, has managed to accomplish goals to which courageous Libertarians have been unable to win over even 5 percent of our casually socialist neighbors in 40 years of effort, I hope he’ll let us know.
Meantime, since he wants to speak in hypotheticals, let’s pretendRad Geekis a landlord or an employer, telling all applicants who speak poor English,I’m not going to rent to you or offer you a job, because I think you may be an illegal immigrant and I don’t want to become an accessory to your crime.Do you think our brave federal bureaucrats will congratulate him and back him to the hilt, demanding the applicant prove he or she is here legally?
Those employers and landlords soon find themselves in an Alice-and-Wonderland world, threatened with fines by the EEOC and other alphabet bureaucracies, you simpering innocent.Presumably my boss and landlord are willing?Go talk to a few of them, before you go presuming too much, you ivory-tower twit.
Why do you suppose Barack Obama declines to putE-Verifyinto widespread use?
Yes, I would prefer noSocial Slave numberorinternal passportwere necessary to go about my business. But if we WERE allowed to take one state of 50, and make it a Libertarian state, hasn’t it occurred to you that we’d have to require new immigrants to forswear socialism, under oath, and upon penalty of immediate exile, before granting them the right to vote? Otherwise, we’d be swarmed by socialists fleeing their own dysfunctional enclaves, who would immediately vote to tax their wealthier neighbors for their own sustenance, at which point we would have accomplished nothing at all.
My reply, from behind that cloak of anonymity:
“Rad Geek” is a pseudonym, but it’s hardly a “cloak of anonymity.” If you spent a minute searching for it on Google, you’d find my website, which (among other things) talks at length about what my views are, who I am, where I live, what my real name is, and what I’ve published under my name. I don’t usually post comments on the Internet under my given name because it’s a common name, which happens to be shared by at least one prominent blogger with radically different views from mine, so that “Rad Geek” actually provides you with a more reliable way of finding out who I am and what I stand for thanCharles Johnsonwould.
Not that your sniping about pseudonyms as against big manly signatures, or your thuggish anti-intellectual sniping at “ivory-tower twits” has anything to do with the argument; these are simply textbook examples of argumentum ad hominem (abusive form).
Warning of — heck, simply observing — the consequences of allowing unlimited millions of people to violate American immigration laws, arriving here to flood the government welfare schools and enormously expensive tax-subsidized hospital emergency rooms every time they come down with the sniffles, means I want tosavethese evil redistributionist schemes?
The question is simple. If you don’t want to save government welfare schools and tax-subsidized hospitals, then why in the world do you care whether or not they are flooded? Are you normally in the business of advising government bureaucrats about how to keep their unsustainable socialist schemes running?
By this logic, if you believe the Constitution forbids government agents from restricting your right to carry a loaded firerarm into a federal courthouse (as it most certainly does), you MAY NOT leave your firearm in the car; you MUST carry it into the courthouse in defiance of the orders of the armed guards there, lest you stand accused byRad Geekofwanting to save all their unconstitutional gun laws.
Well, no. All that I think youMUSTdo is refrain from cheering on government agents when they go to arrest, exile or kill those who DO choose to exercise their rights.
If you stand by government police when they do try to enforce tyrannical gun laws on innocent people exercising their rights, then yes, you are trying to save tyrannical gun laws. Otherwise, no, you aren’t.
Of course, the problem here is that you ARE explicitly calling for bigger and more aggressive government when it comes to monitoring, policing and punishing illegal immigrants. Even though you haven’t anywhere stated who they aretrespassingagainst by living in the U.S. without a permission slip from the federal government. And one of the reasons you give for this is the alleged effects of free immigration on cockamaimey socialist schemes that you yourself consider wasteful and foolish.
Yes, if there were no tax-fundedcommons,and none of us were numbered or taxed, the arrival of a million strangers seeking work would do me little harm, provided they maintained reasonable sanitary safeguards.
It’s true that when you combine something basically moral (free immigration) with something completely immoral (government subsidies for education and medicine) you may get bad results from the combination. But why spend your time attacking the moral part of the combination, instead of the immoral part?
Are they fighting to free us, as well as themselves, from unconstitutional tyranny? I haven’t noticed them doing that. What I notice them doing is walking away from car crashes and hospital bills and orders to appear in court to answer for their crimes, refusing to take any responsibility for the damage they cause.
I don’t care whether or not illegal immigrants fight to free me from tyranny. A little help is always appreciated, but I don’t think that fighting for everybody else’s freedom is necessary for people to be justified in breaking unjust laws. Do you think the American Revolutionaries should have been expected to fight not only for their own freedom but also to free the Irish, the Scots, the Welsh, the English commoners, or any number of other victims of tyrannical English government? Do you expect Ford to make cars for GM?
As for those fighting their own freedom, maybe it’s a matter of who you know. I know plenty of undocumented immigrants who are actively engaged in pro-freedom politics and against the bordercrats’Papers pleasepolice state.
And as for irresponsibility, I’m sure there are some individual illegal immigrants who are irresponsible. So what? I hear some native-born Americans are irresponsible, too. In a free society, institutions work to hold individual people responsible for what they do. They don’t launch massive collectivist campaigns to hunt down and exile whole populations regardless of whether or not they have ever actually done any of the things you mention.
But if we WERE allowed to take one state of 50, and make it a Libertarian state, hasn’t it occurred to you that we’d have to require new immigrants to forswear socialism, under oath, and upon penalty of immediate exile, before granting them the right to vote?
No. I don’t believe in using government to police political thought.
I also don’t know how you intend to enforce these immigration restrictions you plan on implementing without exactly the sort of Officially Permitted Citizen,Papers-pleasedocumentation requirements that you claim you would prefer to abolish.
Those employers and landlords soon find themselves in an Alice-and-Wonderland world, threatened with fines by the EEOC and other alphabet bureaucracies, you simpering innocent.
Oh, please. If you think that Tyson wouldn’t be hiring any illegal immigrants but for the nefarious manipulations of the EEOC, I think you probably need to think about this harder.
Of course, in specific cases where a landlord would like to exclude illegal — or for that matter legal — immigrants from renting apartments, or a boss would like not to hire them, I think that he or she ought to have the right to do so, and that if the EEOC tries to interfere, the EEOC is violating the rights of that boss or landlord. But of course this doesn’t answer the question of who illegal immigrants aretrespassingagainst. If the landlord doesn’t give a damn where the tenant comes from as long as she pays her rent — and many landlords don’t — and if the boss doesn’t give a damn where the worker comes from as long as she does her job — and many bosses don’t — then just who the hell is left for thistrespasserto trespass against?
(For more on how border laws necessarily entail police state measures, inflicted on immigrants and natives alike, see GT 2009-04-17: Death by Homeland Security #3: The Disappeared and GT 2008-01-27: Someone must have slandered Thomas W…..)
The question is simple. If you don’t want to save government welfare schools and tax-subsidized hospitals, then why in the world do you care whether or not they are flooded?
Because I am taxed to pay for them. I am given no choice in the matter. If I refuse to pay the (ever-increasing) taxes to fund these things, the government will (it has, since I have fought these battles for real, not merely as alet’s pretendintellectual exercise) ) seize(d) my paychecks. It will eventually seize and expel me from my house.
Illegal immigrants, who are trespassing because they come where they have no legal right to be, violating the laws of the place to which they travel , tend to vote socialist, because they are looters. Ask those charged with collecting hospital bills how many illegal aliens make good faith efforts to pay their bills. Those who wouldamnestythem will guarantee the continued spread of socialism, bankrupting us all.
There IS a theory that this is a good thing:Let socialism be overburdened and collapse. Then we will build a better, more Libertarian society on the ruins.
Interesting theory. It can be argued, for instance, that a society more respectful of the Rights of Man [sic] was built on the ruins of Rome, once Rome fell.
It was. The only problem is … it took about a thousand years.
If there is no right to exclude looters from our midst; if we must allow free entry of anyone who wants to come to our community — and the smallest community is my house — and then allow them to decide how my stuff shall be redistributedby majority vote,then freedom of a family of three can last only until fourguest workersbreak down their front door andvoteon how to divvy up the food in the refrigerator.
This is the current reality.Rad Geeksupports it, apparently under the delusion this is some kind of admirableconscientious objection.,whereas organizing a campaign to track down and punish lawbreakers is inherentlycollectivist.I rarely find myself supporting the existence or activities of the FBI, but I fail to see how it’s despicablycollectivistfor them to try to catch and punish runaway rapists, murderers, and stickup men.
Or those who violate our perfectly constitutional immigration laws.
I would wish him a happy life in the Looters’ Carnival he prescribes for all of us … if only I were not forced at gunpoint to share it with him.
I have no idea how an open demand for the abolition of all existing border laws constitutes supportingthe current reality,but whatevs. In any case, my reply was posted to, and appeared publicly in, Suprynowicz’s comment section, on the next morning, but within a day it was deep-sixed into the WordPress moderation queue. Of course, Vin’s blog is his place, and he can choose what to print or not to print; but if the unabridged version of the conversation won’t appear there, I’ll publish it here, as a matter of record, and to keep things open for further discussion and comment:
Because I am taxed to pay for them.
This is pretty rich, coming from someone who vocally insists on the right of tax-mooching immigration bureaucrats and a jackbooted federal police agency to reach their hands into the tax slush fund to enforce immigration policies that I never asked for and don’t want, and then tax me to pay for it against my will.
In any case, in a welfare statist system, it is true that government forces to pay for everyone—and that it forces everyone to pay for you. But this is true regardless of immigration status. Every time some pair of Officially Approved Citizens send their Officially Approved children to government schools, the government spends money which is ultimately extracted from your pockets and mine. I have no idea why you would blame this on people who could not possibly have shaved one cent off of your taxes by refusing to accept government hand-outs — do you suppose that if government doesn’t spend tax funds on schools, it’ll give the money back to taxpayers? ho, ho, ho — rather than blaming it on the people who are actually taxing you.
But in any case, if you are going to blame the people who reclaim government-seized money, rather than the government that seizes the money in the first place, then you do realize, don’t you, that illegal immigrants aren’t special in any particular way on this count? That you could use this argument just as easily to justify government force against just about anyone — government-enforced population control (since children receive big tax subsidies for education, healthcare, etc.), internal passports (since immigrants from poorer states tend to move to richer states and take advantage of the more plentiful welfare benefits), summarily jailing and exiling everyone over the age of 65 (seeing how they mooch of Social Security and Medicare, usually far in excess of what they paid in when they were working), or any other collectivist horror you might dream up.
Perhaps, rather than creating a police state in order to hunt down, round up, and punish those who take receive welfare payments funded by taxation, the thing you should be doing is focusing on the real problem — the welfare state and confiscatory taxation?
Illegal immigrants … tend to vote socialist, because they are looters.
Dude, what you are talking about? Illegal immigrants don’t tend to vote at all in the U.S., because illegal immigrants can’t legally vote.
Maybe you’re worried about what would happen if currently undocumented immigrants were able to become citizens, and then to vote. The fact is that right now, in the real world, immigrants from California pose a much bigger threat to freedom in Nevada than immigrants from Mexico do. And the real threat is not immigrants from anywhere, but rather from unlimited majoritarian democracy, which is always going to have these problems regardless of who can or cannot immigrate. Maybe you would be better served by focusing on the real problem, rather than on trying to get government to police political beliefs (!) or on getting government to inflict punishment on all members of a population for the bad thoughts or bad behavior of some of them?
Ask those charged with collecting hospital bills how many illegal aliens make good faith efforts to pay their bills.
You know, as it turns out, there are already perfectly just laws against refusing to pay your bills, without getting the federal bordercrats involved.
Surprisingly, it turns out that the appropriate punishment for this is not exile from the country.
Also, surprisingly, they don’t take a federal police state or “Papers, please” checkpoints to enforce.
Also, as it turns out, the laws against running out on your bills generally only allow for you to go after the individual person who actually defaults on the bill, or occasionally close family members — in any case, not against complete strangers and entire populations on the collectivist premise that everybody in that population can be held to account for the bad behavior of a bunch of perfect strangers who just happened to come from the same country as they did.
I have no idea what the hell you think this kind of collective guilt-by-association smear, let alone your proposal for addressing it by means of collective punishment of both the innocent and the guilty, has to do with the politics of individual liberty.
If there is no right to exclude looters from our midst;
You have a perfect right to exclude anyone you want from your private property, for any reason, or for no reason at all. What neither you, nor the United States federal government, has any legitimate right to do, is to go around excluding people from my private property, let alone inflicting a massive system of “Papers, please” documentation requirements and checkpoints on me in order to do so, without my permission and indeed against my will.
So, please, exclude whoever you want from your midst. But who’s “we”, kemosabe? Keep your preferences on your own property.
if we must allow free entry of anyone who wants to come to our community
You have a perfect right to evict trespassers from your own property.
The problem is, you see, that “the community” as a whole is not your private property. Or the United States federal government’s. Sorry.… and then allow them to decide how my stuff shall be redistributed “by majority vote,” then freedom of a family of three can last only until four “guest workers” break down their front door and “vote” on how to divvy up the food in the refrigerator.
This is of course a ridiculous strawman of my position. I explicitly argued above that private property owners should have a right to exclude anyone they want from their own private property.
It’s also pretty rich, hearing this stirring defense of the sanctity of the family home and private property, come from someone who is so angrily insisting that the federal government has a right to send federal police agencies around and stage stormtrooper raids on my private home or workplace, if some elected government passes a “perfectly constitutional” law that says that I can’t invite who I damn well please onto my own damn property.
Or those who violate our perfectly constitutional immigration laws.
Your immigration laws, maybe. Not mine. I wasn’t asked, I didn’t pass them, I don’t enforce them, and I don’t support them; they are inflicted on me and on people I care about without my permission, against my will, and over my explicit protests. Keep that “our” to yourself.
organizing a campaign to track down and punish lawbreakers is inherently “collectivist.”
It is when the laws you’re trying to enforce are collectivist.
Illegal immigrants, who are trespassing because they come where they have no legal right to be, violating the laws of the place to which they travel ,
Again. Trespassers against whom? You can only trespass against the will of an aggrieved property owner; that’s part of the meaning of the word “trespass.” But the laws you’re talking don’t come from the owners of the property on that illegal immigrants live on, or work on. They are passed by government.
Staying somewhere in the U.S. that the United States federal government doesn’t want you to stay is “trespassing” only if you think that the United States federal government is in fact the rightful owner of all the land in the United States. Do you?
I don’t. My view is that the government is not the rightful owner of my home or my business. I am. If I want to invite anyone to peacefully move in on my land (for love or money), or to work for me in my shop, that is exactly none of the government’s business, and the fact that people have not gotten a permission slip from the federal government doesn’t make them “trespassers” on my land — when they have permission from me.
As for whether or not It’s The Law, who gives a damn? Seriously? So’s tax evasion; so’s nonviolent drug use; so’s owning an unlicensed fully-automatic AK-47; lots of things are Against The Law that government actually has no legitimate right to prosecute or punish people for doing. When that happens, the problem is with the government law, not with the law-breakers.
—Rad Geek, June 17th, 2009 at 10:46am
On which, see also GT 2006-04-09: Freedom Movement Celebrity Deathmatch.
Elsewhere, Tom Knapp stages atough loveintervention against border-creep libertarians. And while I’ll thank him for the support, I can’t agree with Justin M. Stoddard (2009-06-18) that Icompletely owned Vin Suprynowicz.Inalienability, you know.
I am back home, footsore, throatsore, exhausted and happy. The marcha was awesome. I hope there will be some pictures and some video soon. Unfortunately it leaves me absolutely no time at all to prepare one of my usual May Day orations. In its place, I offer you this, from my 2006 May Day post, which I made at the beginning of the current explosion of the immigration freedom movement. I hope that it offers some idea of what this day for LIBERTAD and SOLIDARIDAD SIN FRONTERAS is all about.
May Day is and ought to be a Day of Resistance, of defiance against the arrogance and exploitation of the bosses — whether corporate or political. A day to celebrate workers’ struggles for dignity, and for freedom, through organizing in their own self-interest, through agitating and exhorting for solidarity, and through free acts of worker-led direct action to achieve their goals. So what a real joy it is to see May Day 2006 honored through general strikes across the country, demanding freedom and respect for immigrant workers…
Of course, there’s no actualextortioninvolved in refusing to work for a day; workers are not your servants, not even immigrant workers, and declining to freely give their work for a day is not forcing you to give up anything that was yours to begin with. But you’re damned right that this is about confrontation, and you’re damned right that it’s about defying the law.
You express a great deal of anxiety over our willingness to break laws. This is certainly a legitimate concern. … One may well ask:How can you advocate breaking some laws and obeying others?The answer is found in the fact that there are two types of laws: There are just and there are unjust laws. I would be the first to advocate obeying just laws. One has not only a legal but a moral responsibility to obey just laws. Conversely, one has a moral responsibility to disobey unjust laws. I would agree with Saint Augustine thatAn unjust law is no law at all.
And it is an unjust law: neither you nor the government has any right to commandeer the lives and livelihoods of innocent workers to satisfy your Law-and-Order hang-ups, or your theo-national power trip. …
What we are witnessing today, and have been witnessing for the past few weeks, is nothing less than an explosively growing freedom movement. A freedom movement bringing millions into the streets, bringing together labor militancy and internationalism. And it is being done in defiance of the violence of La Migra, the bullying bigotry of the nativist creeps, and the condescending hand-wringing of thesympatheticpoliticos. It is exactly what May Day was made for. And exactly what the kind of creeps behind theLoyalty Daysof the world — whether state-communist or state-capitalist — fear the most: ordinary people standing together, celebrating together, free, happy, irreverant, and unafraid.
There will be a time when our silence will be more powerful than the voices you strangle today!
—Last words of August Spies (1887-11-11), immigrant, anarchist, and Haymarket martyr
Happy May Day, y’all.
One of the things that I said in my speech about ALL to the Libertarian Party of Clark County, which was deliberately provocative and carefully worded, wasI am here today to bring you two messages. So let me cut to the chase and deliver both of them right now. They are the point of this entire talk, and I can put them both in ten words or fewer. Here’s the first: Las Vegas will be free soil in our own lifetimes. And the second is: We are all going to make it happen.That may seem ridiculously optimistic, given the immensity, the scope, the pervasiveness, and the ruthlessness of the many-headed monster we call the modern State. I try to discuss a bit in my speech why it is not overly optimistic, focusing on the second claim — that we all, meaning not ALL or the Libertarian Party, but just about everybody in Las Vegas — can and will take part, if those of us who care about these things play our cards right, through the use of populist organizing, coalition building, direct action, and counter-economics.
But another thing that I didn’t focus on much, which I’d like to mention, is the importance of the first thing I said, when I said Las Vegas will be free soil. I said that, and not something else (the U.S. will be free soil;the word will be free soil) because I think that’s an achievable goal. It’s not that I don’t want the whole U.S., or indeed the entire earth to be free soil; it’s not even that I think either couldn’t be free soil in the forseeable future. They could; I hope they will; if I can help, I will. But Las Vegas is where I live, and where Southern Nevada ALL intends to act, and I think it’s immensely important to begin there, and not to sell yourself on the idea that action has to be directed against the largest possible targets, or, more importantly at trying to strike some decisive blow at those targets that will somehow defeat Power everywhere and forever. Real empires almost never fall that way, unless they are conquered by some outside force, usually another rising empire, and for anarchists that’s not an acceptable option. So we need to think about getting the empire to crumble, not to implode, and to help it along by chiseling wherever and as hard as we can. If we win, it will crumble in some places faster than it will crumble in others. The basic problem is that a central aim of the imperial State has always been to get people to forget, effectively, about their neighborhood, their friends, their family, and everything else actually around them, and to understand theirhomelandin strictly political terms, in terms of a flag and a set of lines on the map and a capital hundreds or thousands of miles away. If anarchists ever want to get anywhere, we’re going to need to break that link, to pry people’s notion of home from out the talons of the State and its notion of political citizenship. Which strategic point brings me to a really excellent recent post by Jeremy at Social Memory Complex (2008-06-13), which is working towards some of the analysis that goes along with:
Or does our whole approach to this dissonant national endeavor need retooling?
I think it does. Is the lobbyist-driven agenda of corporations, special interests, and political culture really any less distant than U.S. foreign policy? Do we have any authentic control over the decisions in our society that affect us? Or are we just treated as fungible units of polity that have only to be deftly mobilized by public relations wizards in pursuit of an agenda fundamentally alien to us? What, in other words, is the difference between our powerlessness within the borders of the U.S. and the powerlessness endured by the residents of Iraq and Afghanistan?
Instead of contrasting our experience under our government with that of its foreign victims, we might do well to compare the experiences. We’ve been taught from a very young age to distinguish American citizenship from that enjoyed by citizens of other countries, chiefly by virtue of our unique institutions of governance. But it is these same institutions that are being built in Iraq: a democratic, constitutional government with corporate control and obedience to international capital, with an established U.S. military presence to ensurestability in the region. These features are proving just as confounding to their freedom as their American counterparts are for us.
Through overwhelming military force, claims of moral privilege, and alleged threats - not unlike the P.R. which allowed the U.S. to conquer the west and the south in the 19th century and frame it asliberation- the U.S. government is imposing a democratic government and a market economy on an unwilling people. Meanwhile, the U.S. government is also continuing to ratchet up the police state at home even as it practices martial law in Iraq. Just as there were Tories and other people loyal to the crown during the American Revolution, the federal government finds plenty of lackeys in the fifty states, Iraq, Afghanistan, and indeed throughout the world to do their dirty military or paramilitary (law enforcement) work. Legislative creep and sheer audacity constantly expand the scope of lawful authority, defining down the degree of liberty an individual can expect to enjoy. Participation in the decisions that affect us is framed as a set of predetermined choices provided by the establishment rather than a direct say at the local level. And all of these features bring more and more of the world under direct control of Washington - both the world within U.S. borders and the world outside them.
For it is into Washington, in the District of Columbia, that all the spoils of these policies flow. The D.C. metro area is among the fastest growing in the nation, despite having no productive civilian industry to speak of (except perhaps I.T., but no more than any other city if you discount government contracting). Not only is it the seat of governance for the country, it is the clearing house for the international policy of most nations. By enticing Americans to “work within the system” to influence policy, citizens legitimate the process by which power and authority are steadily concentrated. An entire lobbying industry has sprung up from the need to have some say in this process; doing business in the empire has a high cost of entry, and once you get a seat at the table it’s plunder or be plundered. As more people see D.C. as the place where decisions are made, rather than local governments or foreign capitals, the amount of money and people pouring into the city will continue to grow, while localities and other countries become bureaucratic appendages of D.C. policy.
But it’s not just that Washingtonians rule over an overseas empire; it’s that domestic U.S. territory is increasingly treated as part of the conquered territory, rather than as the source of state legitimacy. Sure, we have elected representatives we send to D.C. from all over the country, but experience shows that only in the rarest of occasions do they not adopt the Beltway outlook of going along to get along with the system. Instead, theyplay the gameto bring home as much of the spoils of empire (taxation and government contracts for further imperialism) as possible. In the process, they cease to represent their constituents in D.C., preferring to represent the Washingtonian agenda in their respective localities. They become little Paul Brehmers, advocating policies that promote the more effective rule of the domestic and foreign empire. They measure success in terms of how they can coax or coerce the locals into compliance with necessarily foreign interests.
If it is policies in Washington, D.C. that are changing this country into an empire, it is inaccurate to label the empireAmerican. Clearly, the vast majority of Americans are not participating in it, but are merelypreferred subjectsin territory as occupied as that in Iraq and Afghanistan. […] If the decision-making bureaucracy, military might, and economic clout are all based in Washington, doesn’t it make sense to call this system the Washingtonian empire, rather than conflating it with the disenfranchised subjects in the fifty states? It’s no more an American empire than it is an Iraqi or Afghan one.
The Washingtonian Empire is the largest, richest, most powerful, most hierarchically distributed, and most subtly maintained in history. It is so successful that it has even managed to proceed with its agenda without much notice as to its true nature. We should stop trying to get people to take responsibility for the decisions of a foreign city-state, because this only encourages the conflation of their American identity with an alien one.
By drawing on our revolutionary, anti-colonial legacy, we can frame the American political experience as one of historically consistent subjugation. We can then find common ground with other victims of American imperialism while articulating an authentically decentralist agenda.
Make sure you read the whole thing, especially Jeremy’s very salient discussion of the impact of this kind of analysis on strategy.
Let me just add that one of the most important dimensions in which to emphasize the nature ofAmericaas occupied territories is the connection with the daily lives of the most thoroughly oppressed and exploited people under the bootheels of the United States government and its praetors and proconsuls: especially black people, brown people, poor people, immigrants, people labeled crazy, women (especially the women most marginalized and criminalized by the government and civil society), etc. etc. etc. During the 1960s, the Black Panthers, the Young Lords, and many other New Left liberation groups explicitly linked the conditions and struggles of people in the brutally police-occupied, white-controlled ghettoes of the U.S. — which were founded in slavery, lynch law, apartheid, and immiserating land grabs, which were treated politically as presumptively criminal, unruly elements of the body politic, to be reformed, contained, or eradicated; which were regimented and patrolled on every street corner by the occupying paramilitary forces of the white government — with the conditions and struggles of colonized peoples throughout the so-called Third World, recognizing that just because the lines on the map separated Harlem and Watts from Johannesburg and Nairobi, the people in each had far more in common with each other than any of them had with the handful of white men sitting in the halls of power in D.C., in London, and elsewhere. The false dignity of a morally and practically meaningless imperial citizenship was dismissed; in its place was offered self-understanding for people facing the violence of colonization and solidarity with people rising up against Power in their own homelands throughout the world. In the 1970s, Detroit feminists elaborated the thought by pointing out that, in an important sense, women throughout the world constituted aFourth World,which faced subjugation and colonization at the hands of petty patriarchs and male States, whether those sites of colonization were located in the capitals ofFirst,SecondorThird Worldregimes. Anarchists can and should learn these lessons well, and take the thoughts to their logical completion, by showing how the State, just as such, always and everywhere, operates as a colonizing force, against all its subjects, and for the profit of the handful of beneficiaries who constitute the ruling class. (Of course, the fact that it operates like this against us all does not mean that it operates this way against all of us to an equal degree. The point here is not cheap sympathy; it’s solidarity, especially with those who are the most trodden upon by this monster State.)
While the legacy of 1776 is worth understanding and learning from, and an important weapon to turn against the power in Washington; but so are many other things, and I think it is vital for the Libertarian Left to take up and learn from this tradition in articulating our anti-imperial theory and practice.
As promised, here is (finally) the text (more or less) of my speech at the Libertarian Party of Clark County. There was a scheduling mix-up, so I got about half the time I expected in which to speak; parts that are struck out are parts that I omitted in the interest of time. I should note that, if you’re not familiar with public speaking, reading from a more or less completely prepared script like I did can be both a crutch and a handicap at the same time; if you’re nervous it provides a guaranteed route from where you are to the end of the line, but having it ready at hand also encourages nervous tics, including obtrusive glances down to the sheet, that can really detract from the reading. In my own case, I’m fairly familiar both with talking from notes and with reading prepared papers, but the written-out script was mainly the result of time pressures, and, since I didn’t have time to rehearse it, and also found out, too late to do anything about it, that I wouldn’t have a lectern to make my glancing at the sheet less obtrusive, I know my delivery suffered a bit because of it. The best thing to do in your local groups is, no doubt, to try to make sure you have enough time to meet beforehand and practice your talk. Anyway, on to the content:
I am here today to bring you two messages. So let me cut to the chase and deliver both of them right now. They are the point of this entire talk, and I can put them both in ten words or fewer. Here’s the first: Las Vegas will be free soil in our own lifetimes. And the second is: We are all going to make it happen. And when I sayWe all,I don’t just mean the people in this room. I don’t just mean the people in this political party, either. I don’t mean the people in my own organization, the Southern Nevada Alliance of the Libertarian Left. I mean all of us, everybody. The LP and Southern Nevada ALL and you and me, yes—but also our friends and our neighbors and our fellow workers. I believe that in my lifetime, all of us in Las Vegas will rise up and we will make ourselves free of the oppression and exploitation inflicted upon us by government laws, government regulation and regimentation, government cops, and government bureaucrats—local government, county government, state government, federal government, and transnational governing bodies like the UN, WTO, and IMF. We will become free because we have, individually and cooperatively, made ourselves ungovernable. We will do this with or without the cooperation of the rest of the world, and whether or not the political powers that be have been persuaded of the truth and virtue of the freedom philosophy; if the souls of politicians and political institutions can be cured, then that will make it so much the easier, but even if they cannot, we can and we will make it no longer worth their while – no longer even sustainable – for them to rule us against our will. We can and we will dump the bosses and the bureaucrats off our backs—politically, socially, economically—and we will stand upright, in control of our own destinies.
I’m saying these things today because I think they are important. I think they are important because they seem impossible, and yet they are true. It’s easy to doubt that Las Vegas can be free—really, totally free—in our own lifetimes. Government is big. Government is everywhere. Government consumes somewhere between one third and one half of every dollar that you make. Every dollar that you make and every dollar that you spend is itself part of the world’s largest and most powerful government monopoly—the government-centralized banking cartel and its fiat money monopoly. City government patrols every street. The federal government of the United States is the richest, most technologically advanced, and most militarily powerful organization in the history of the world. The two major parties, which thoroughly dominate the electoral process at every level, show no real signs of wanting to roll back government in any major area of policy, or even to contain it at its current levels; no matter whether a Demopublican or a Republicrat candidate wins, the party in power is more or less guaranteed to aggressively push government further and further into our lives. It’s easy to get dizzy just looking at the size and scope of government. It’s easy to lose hope entirely in the face of such an enemy. And it’s just as easy, and just as destructive, in the long run, to lose hope by deferring it, by concluding that freedom is only for our children or our grandchildren or our great-grandchildren, that it takes a long and slow process of chipping away at the edges of invasive government, in the hope that, after the next several four-year election cycles, we might begin to get a little freer, and we might be able to contain or even roll back government a little, leaving the rest of the task for future generations. I am here today to say that that’s not good enough. I am here to say that freedom is much closer than any of us think, if we fight for it, and if we know where to take that fight. And I am here today to ask you all to get into that fight by having the hope to believe in, and the courage to say some things that are both crazy and true.
Well, O.K., then. Now that I’ve said all that, let me back up a bit, so that I can give you an idea of where I’m coming from, and then come back around to the details of where I think we can go from here. My name is Charles Johnson. I’m here on behalf of a new radical libertarian project called the Southern Nevada Alliance of the Libertarian Left. I write for a weblog called the Rad Geek People’s Daily, at radgeek.com. I’ve been a libertarian writer, activist, and organizer – both inside and outside of the Libertarian Party, especially the Libertarian Party of Alabama – since about 2001. Since 2000, I’ve also been a writer, activist, and organizer for many groups and causes within the radical Left and the radical feminist movement. Depending on where you are coming from, that may or may not seem strange; it may even seem incoherent. I think that with the right understanding of both the Freedom Movement and of the radical Left – or, rather, the right understanding of the particular tendencies within the Freedom Movement, and within the radical Left, that I am working in – it won’t seem that way anymore. But I’ll come back to that in a bit.
First, I want to say a few words about Southern Nevada ALL. We are a new organization, a local chapter of the Alliance of the Libertarian Left, which also has active chapters in Kansas City, Richmond, Virginia, and a new chapter forming in the Chicago area. The locals are autonomous and work together as equals: there’s no big central ALL office that tells local chapters what to do, but we keep in touch with the locals in other towns and we share our experiences and our materials, which each local chapter can adapt to the conditions in its own community. We use the ALL name because our groups have certain principles and strategic priorities in common with each other. Let me try to break down what some of those are. The Alliance of the Libertarian Left believes in….
Radicalism – we pull no punches, and we make no compromises, in our presentation of the freedom philosophy. We don’t shy away from emotional and controversial issues, either. We are anarchists, not limited-governmentalists; we are extremists, not moderates; and we’re not afraid to say so.
Populism – we believe that libertarianism is for everybody, and the people who have the most to gain from, and the most to contribute to, the movement, are the people who are the most downtrodden, the most thoroughly oppressed and exploited, in our current social and political regime.
Solidarity and social justice – we believe in many of the goals associated withProgressivesor the statist Left today – anti-racism, anti-imperialism, gay liberation, feminism, environmental sustainability, radical labor solidarity, and many of the other commitments that are commonly grouped together under the heading ofsocial justice.Unlike state Leftists, we believe that these goals can and should be achieved by free people in a free society, using free association and cultural activism to change existing social and material conditions, without getting government regulations or bureaucracies involved. We intend to achieve Lefist goals through libertarian means.
Non-electoral social change – we are not affiliated with any political party or any candidate for political office. We do not try to achieve change by petitioning the politicians currently in power, or by trying to replace them with other, better politicians. There’s a place for that kind of activism, but lots of other organizations – including the Libertarian Party – are already working on it. If we tried to do it, we wouldn’t be very good at it, so what we specialize in are other means of social change: mass education, targeted persuasion, non-violent direct action, and the creation of alternative institutions that counter or bypass the State.
I’ll have more to say about all of this later. But for now, let me say a few things about what Southern Nevada ALL has done so far, and where we are going from here.
Right now we are a new organization, and we are in the process of getting our bearings, making contacts, and looking for allies. Southern Nevada ALL’s first public action was a bit of guerrilla education that we did on Tax Day, April 15th – by posting these flyers around town in Las Vegas, mainly on UNLV campus and in the surrounding neighborhoods. The action had two immediate goals. First, to get out a radical anti-tax message that would appeal to anti-authoritarians of all stripes, and also specifically to anti-war Leftists. Second, to get our name out and let likely new ALLies and contacts know that we were forming this new organization. I consider it to have been a smashing success – at least, insofar as it ended up almost tripling our membership (growing from the two founders, David Houser and myself, to five members after the flyering), and laid the groundwork for future actions. I’ll come back around to talk about those in a minute.
First, though, I want to say a few things about non-electoral methods for social change, and then about the Left.
I’m not about to deny that electoral politics – voting, party-building, running better candidates – has some role to play in making social change. I think it has played a very important role in the past, and that it can play a very important role in the future – both through efforts to destabilize or reorient the major parties, as with Ron Paul’s campaign within the Republican Party, and also through efforts to create alternatives to the two-party system and open up new spaces for libertarian ideas, as with the Libertarian Party. What I do want to stress today is that it’s important for us not to limit ourselves to electoral politics. There are all kinds of ways that social change happens, and electoral politics is only one of them. While it can be a very powerful method, it’s also a very difficult one, and a time consuming one, and a slow one. So while I encourage you all to do whatever you find it worth your while to do through electoral politics, I am here to stress the need to add other forms of activism to your toolbox. If we are going to become free in our own lifetimes – and I believe that we will – then relying on electoral politics alone will never be enough. After all, running candidates and voting can only effect a change once you have managed to convert 50%+1 of the electorate over to your position; there’s very little room for accomplishing small changes on the margin. It also imposes a very rigid and quite slow schedule on making social changes: you only have a shot at changing anything for one day every two to four years. And an elections-only strategy necessarily excludes large numbers of people – including especially the very people that are the most thoroughly oppressed by the current political regime, who have the most to gain from a fight for freedom – people like drug war prisoners, and illegal immigrants, who are legally excluded from voting at all. If we want to make lasting change within our lifetimes, we will need to adopt some other methods of social change – methods that don’t have to wait on the next election, methods that don’t have to wait on 50%+1, and methods that can be for everybody, with or without a permission slip from the State.
To give you an idea of what I mean, let me tell you a couple stories.
[Spokane Free Speech Fight, 1910]
I know this story more or less by heart, so I told it off the cuff instead of writing it out. If you haven’t heard it told before, my version was just a slightly shortened version of Utah Phillips’s version. —R.G.
There are a lot of ways of doing direct action. Here’s a recent one that I read about, from a group of middle-schoolers in Readington, NJ. [Pennies work-to-rule in Readington, NJ]
Another special kind of direct action that I want to mention, which is very important to the ALL and to many other libertarian Leftists, is the concept of counter-economics. Counter-economics is the underground practice of radical libertarian theory. Counter-economics means creating your own, unregulated institutions, independently of the State, in which you profit by ignoring or defying the institutionalized requirements imposed by the government and by the business establishment. Counter-economics builds alternative institutions through illegal black markets, and quasi-legalgrey markets.And counter-economics is everywhere: it’s the unlicensed pharmacist slinging drugs to willing customers on the street corner. It’s the illegal immigrant dodging government border controls and then working under the table, without turning over the fruits of her labor to the IRS. It’s the waitress building up a nest egg from cash tips that she doesn’t report to the IRS. It’s e-gold and the Liberty Dollar and the Ithaca Hour producing durable currencies as an alternative to the Fed’s fiat money monopoly. It’s your cousin downloading free MP3s on his college network, in defiance of government-enforced copyright monopolies. It’s agrey marketoutfit like Food Not Bombs, where activists cover their own food costs and provide hot meals to homeless people by dumpster-diving surplus food from grocery stores (which is still fresh enough to eat, but no longer fresh enough to sell under existing government food regluations), cooking it, and serving the food for free in public spaces like parks.
It’s important to see that this kind of black market and grey market activity is itself a form of direct action, no less than filling the jails, and no less than a sit-in or a work-to-rule action. One of the ALL’s chief goals is to promote freedom through direct action, including through counter-economics, to encourage people who haven’tgone counter-economicyet to support the legitimacy and the importance of counter-economic businesses, and to encourage people who are already engaged in counter-economics to become self-conscious and organized counter-economists – that is, to see that what they are doing is not only personally profitable, but also politically valuable, and to see themselves as part of a larger movement to evade, undermine, and ultimately eliminate the invasiveness of the State.
One of the great advantages of counter-economics is that it’s one of the few forms of political activism in which people can strike a blow for freedom without having to become something that they are not, and which most people never will be – that is, die-hard, self-sacrificing activists who have a perfect grasp on libertarian philosophy and consistently make the right policy decisions. Counter-economics puts libertarianism into practice naturally; a practicing counter-economist is a practicing anti-statist as a matter of day-to-day business, whether or not she understands the whole philosophical theory that backs up her practice. And counter-economics also does something that almost no other form of political activism does: it produces direct, immediate profits for the person practicing it (because she makes money she wouldn’t otherwise be able to make, or keeps money she wouldn’t otherwise be able tokeep, or gets goods and services she wouldn’t otherwise be able to obtain). Part of the reason I said that I believe that we are all going to be part of Las Vegas becoming free soil is because I believe that if we take this fight not only to the electoral arena, but also to the streets, in the form of self-conscious direct action and counter-economics, we will have a tool at our disposal which will empower the most marginalized and least privileged people to join the struggle, and which will also make fighting for freedom the most selfish and most profitable thing for people – especially poor and oppressed people – to do.
Now, of course, there’s a downside to direct action, and especially to counter-economics: it can be dangerous. Nobody in ALL saying that you should get out there and start your own multimillion dollar heroin ring. (If you have started one, anyway, I’m not about to talk about it, and I’d rather you didn’t tell me about it. The first rule of a counter-economic business is, you don’t talk about a counter-economic business.) I’m the first to acknowledge this, and also to acknowledge that that means we shouldn’t put all our eggs in the counter-economic basket. I don’t think we should put all our eggs in any tactical basket. Counter-economics is important, and other forms of direct action are important, but so are a lot of other things. For the LP, that can mean electoral politics. For Southern Nevada ALL, it means mass education and targeted persuasion – through our flyers, through literature drops, through our website, through public speaking events like this one, and by creating alternative institutions (which I’ll come back to later) for distributing information and views through new channels. Neither education alone nor direct action alone will bring about victory; but when they are put together, each can become much more powerful than they were alone. Educating the people at large about libertarian ideas, and trying especially hard to persuade a handful of people who are especially open to radical politics, can make direct action much more powerful by creating the above-ground and underground networks of supporters that direct action needs to be successful. On the other hand, putting libertarian ideas into practice through direct action also reinforces education and persuasion, and makes them much more powerful than they would be on their own: people are much more likely to get involved, and to stay involved, in a project that leads to concrete action and real results. Libertarian talk accomplishes little if libertarianism remains nothing more than a talk shop; but talk can accomplish a hell of a lot when talk pulls people towards public and private action, and when public and private action get more people talking.
Now, some words about the Left. From the mid-20th century onward, movement libertarians have mostly conceived of themselves as the enemies of the Left (and vice versa), and the radical Left especially. Many libertarians came directly out of Right-wing or conservative movements (such as Young Americans for Freedom, the Republican Party, or the Right-wing talk radio scene). Libertarians mixed fairly freely with, and often worked with,small-governmentconservatives, and, even when they criticized conservative forms of government intervention (especially socially conservative policies, such as the Drug War or anti-abortion laws), they generally reserved their harshest words and most of their political activism for Left-liberal politicians, for redistributionist government social programs such as welfare and food stamps, and forsocial justiceorganizations like the anti-sweatshop movement and labor unions.
Well, to be clear, I for one have no problem attacking Left-liberal politicians, or government welfare programs. I oppose all efforts to expand the scope and power of government, and all forms of government-directed regimentation of trade or redistribution of wealth. But it is important to realize that criticizing the political means that many Leftist reformers have adopted over the past century doesn’t necessarily involve criticizing the ends that they adopted. And it is just as important to remember that the relationship between libertarians and the Left has not always been so chilly on either side. If we distinguish radical Leftists – think the Industrial Workers of the World, or Students for a Democratic Society, or the Black Panthers, or Noam Chomsky – from establishment liberals – think Albert Shanker or Teddy Kennedy or the AFL-CIO – then we’ll find that, while the establishment liberals have always been rock-ribbed defenders of the State, the radical Leftists – especially the radicals of the late 19th century, early 20th century, and, for a few years, the New Left of the late 1960s and early 1970s – have been some of the fiercest critics of the welfare-warfare State, as opponents of imperialism and COINTELPRO domestic surveillance, and also as proponents of people-powered, grassroots projects that provided mutual aid directly to people in the community, without any government welfare bureauracy. (Teddy Kennedy pushed for government welfare and healthcare. The Panthers argued that black people should forget about the government bureaucracy, and served voluntarily-funded free breakfasts in the ghetto instead—while they derided government welfare as a means of alienating poor blacks from their own community and keeping them dependent on the white man’s government.)
Similarly, there was a time when libertarians saw themselves not as the enemies of the Left, but as the most radical and consistent part of the Left. Nineteenth century libertarians such as Lysander Spooner and Stephen Pearl Andrews came out of the radical wing of the Abolitionist movement, and, after the Civil War, allied themselves with other culturally and politically radical movements against political and social privilege – including the labor movement, the anti-racist movement, thefreethoughtmovement, and First Wave feminism. The individualist anarchist Benjamin Tucker, whose magazine Liberty was one of the most influential libertarian publications in America from the 1880s through the first decade of the 20th century, described his position asAbsolute Free Trade; … laissez faire the universal rule,but he and his circle also routinely identified themselves as socialists – not because they were setting themselves against the ideal of the free market, but rather because they were setting themselves against actually existing big business. They argued that a handful of men exercised control over finance, capital, and (thus) the daily lives of ordinary workers, not because of free market processes, but rather because of plutocratic government economic regimentation and government-granted monopolies – especially theBig Fourmonopolies of government centralization and regulation of banking for the benefit of finance capital, government protectionist tariffs for the benefit of industrial fat cats, government-granted monopolies on the use of ideas through patents and copyrights, and government seizure of control over wild and unused land. The Tuckerite individualists saw the invasive powers of the State as both the root of, and the reason for, the dominance of Big Business and entrenched capitalists over smaller competitors, workers, and cooperative shops. And they suggested that the Freedom Movement should strike at the root of the problem by organizing workers into countervailing organizations such as boycott leagues and labor unions to expose, challenge, resist, and ultimately simply to bypass the economic regulations that the State and the bosses were conspiring to impose on them by force. In the early 20th century, American individualists like Dyer Lum and immigrant anarchists like Emma Goldman fought for much the same vision, and their influence produced one of the largest and most influential labor unions of the early 20th century – the Industrial Workers of the World, which viewed government planners and bureaucrats as the tools of the bosses and the enemies of workers, and who urged workers to look not to the government, but to themselves, through the creative use of free association, agitation, direct action in the workplace, voluntary strikes, union solidarity, and voluntary mutual aid between workers, which would bypass the State, and create alternative, non-coercive institutions like union hiring halls and workers’ co-ops, which wouldbuild a new society within the shell of the old.
If the labor movement is statist today, it is only because it is now what State regulation and patronage have made it. The I.W.W. was targeted for massive government repression during the 1910s and 1920s, most notoriously in the Wilson administration’s World War I political prosecutions and the laterPalmer raids,in which Wilson’s goon squad rounded up, jailed, and deported thousands of I.W.W. unionists and other anarchists, solely on the basis of their political beliefs. In the 1930s, a conservative, pro-government wing of the labor movement collaborated with theProgressivebusiness class and theNew Dealpro-government liberals to create the modern National Labor Relations Board system, in which centralized, establishmentarian unions like the AFL-CIO have been granted government privileges in organizing and negotiating, in return for submitting to extensive government regulations on the methods and goals that they can adopt. These new laws served as both a subsidy for conservative unionism as against radical competitors like the I.W.W., and also as a form of insurance that the subsidized labor unions would not do anything that fundamentally challenged the fundamental principles on which the state-corporate system and the interventionist political regime were founded.
The reality is that, through government regulation of the labor movement, export subsidies, the Big Four monopolies, government support for regulations that benefit entrenched market players, and through corporate welfare (whether in the form of direct monetary pay-offs, or in the form of land seized, Kelo-style, through eminent domain), big corporations like General Motors have benefited at least as much from government patronage as big unions like the UAW. Yet libertarian criticism of the magntes of state capitalism is hardly expanded into criticism of all businesses as such; while many 20th century libertarians have written as if the labor movement did not exist before the passage of the Wagner Act in 1935, and as if the faults of existing conservative unions are a sort of original sin for which all labor unions ought to b condemned. This difference in treatment is no doubt closely connected with the emphasis many 20th-century libertarians placed on defending the free market against the attacks of Communists and other state socialists. While they were right to argue that existing modes of production are distorted by government intervention, should not be even further distorted by increasing government regimentation, this insight was often perverted into the confused belief that existing business practices – the way that Wal-Mart does business, say, or the way that Nike treats its workers in third-world sweatshops – are themselves the natural outcome of an undistorted market. But these practices did not emerge from a free market in the first place; they emerged from a market already heavily distorted by government intervention. The answer, then, is clearly less government, not more; but there is also good reason for libertarians to condemn the economic distortions that already shape the state-capitalist labor market, and to promote anti-statist models of labor organizing as an essential part of the libertarian defense of free markets.
It’s for precisely these reasons that those of us in the ALL support wildcat unions and state-free forms of voluntary mutual aid, and look back to the history of those radical Leftist efforts that organized the oppressed and made use of people-power to challenge, resist, or simply bypass the State – such as the I.W.W.’s free speech fights. Or the nonviolent civil disobedience campaigns against British imperialism in India and against government Jim Crow laws in the Southern United States. Or the Jane network in Chicago, in which radical feminists learned how to perform simple first-timester abortions, and provided safe, affordable illegal abortions to hundreds of women in Chicago years before Roe v. Wade. Or the Black Panther Party’s efforts to replace white-controlled government policing and government welfare in black neighborhoods with community-based, non-governmental mutal aid and self-defense. And so on.
So, with these tools in hand and with these examples in mind, what can we do?
As I mentioned, Southern Nevada ALL is a new organization, and what we have done so far has focused on getting our name and our basic message out, on networking and making contacts, and on preparing a base for future activism. Our choice of present and future actions has been guided by a particular understanding of the situation in Las Vegas, and of the place where we can best fit ourselves into the existing activist scene. Southern Nevada ALL can act as a partner for, and as a sort of interface between, three different groups of activists within the Las Vegas area, each of whom we have some significant differences with, but also many overlapping interests: first, voting libertarians such as y’all in the Libertarian Party, and the movement that has grown out of the Ron Paul MeetUps; second, other non-electoral, anti-statist activists, especially Black Flag anarchist groups and projects; third, Leftist social justice groups working on issues such as immigration, civil liberties, police brutality, abortion rights, or the decriminalization of sex work.
Our role and the issues we have chosen come from our analysis of the particular situation here in Las Vegas. There’s clearly a tremendous thirst for anti-war, radical libertarian ideas in Las Vegas – as demonstrated by the groundswell of support for Ron Paul this past year, in direct opposition to the old guard of the state Republican Party. And also as demonstrated, in a different way, by the massive turn-out for immigrant freedom marches two years ago, on May 1, 2006. But this interest has not yet been converted into effective action, and there is a danger that, when election season ends five months from now, and the excitement of campaigning fizzles, a lot of that interest and that organizational energy may dissipate back into the background. We believe that at this point it is vital to reach out to energized, creative activists, and give them a channel for their enthusiasm and their activism that doesn’t require them to wait four more years before they see any action. Now is the perfect time to advance non-electoral methods of social change, and the building of alternative institutions that don’t revolve around multiyear election cycles, in order to keep the push for freedom going beyond the end of the election season.
And here in Las Vegas, the peculiar issues that we face have informed our decision of what sorts of groups to work with and what sort of issues to stress most in our activism. We have chosen to focus most closely on issues that intimately affect the lives of ordinary people in Las Vegas – such as police brutality (especially relevant, in light of the heavy police presence in Las Vegas and the recent string of brutality complaints lodged against the Henderson police), freedom from government border restrictions (especially relevant in a town with as large an immigrant population as Las Vegas, and where so many turned out for immigrant freedom marches only two years ago), and the collusion between politically-connected real estate developers and government interventions such as eminent domain and politically-drivendevelopmentschemes (especially relevant in a town so thoroughly dominated by the Convention Board and other private-public partnerships, not to mention a town which has been hit so hard by the collapse of a government-driven real estate development bubble).
With that in mind, since our Tax Day flyering on April 15th, Southern Nevada ALL has also:
Done literature drops of left-libertarian pamphlets around town, getting our message out on labor solidarity, freedom of immigration, voluntary mutual aid, how government creates and entrenches urban poverty, and so on, using these pamphlets – from William Gillis’s excellent Market Anarchy zine series, and a Vegas Anarchy series of our own;
Done some low-level networking and outreach events with this chapter of the Libertarian Party, the United Coalition for Im/migrant Rights, and local feminist and gay liberation organizations;
Started holding informal dinner meetings of ALL members and sympathizers, for networking, talking shop, and launching new projects. (The next one is planned for June 18th; if you’re interested, I’ll hook you up with the details later tonight.)
Participated in the May Day immigrant rights rally at the federal court house in Las Vegas, where we called for the decriminalization of all peaceful immigrants.
Worked together with other organizations to help build the infrastructure for anti-statist and social justice activism in Las Vegas – by creating a listserv for all libertarians in the Las Vegas area, and by helping to organize, and marching in, the United Coalition for Im/migrant Rights’sMarch for the DREAMon May 23rd.
We are just getting started. Our plans for projects in the immediate future include:
We will distribute literature more widely, both through contacts with other anti-statist and social justice groups (like the LP and UCIR), and also through literature drops in stores and public spaces.
We are planning a second, wider flyering event, focused on police brutality. (This will be coordinated with distributing pamphlets on police brutality, connecting it with the legal privileges involved in government policing, the militarization of police, and the effects of the racist War on Drugs.)
Over the longer term, we intend to use Southern Nevada ALL as a spring-board for creating alternative institutions that will help us more effectively push for freedom, and help create a more vibrant activist community within Las Vegas. In particular, we plan to help re-organize a couple of projects which have mostly lapsed over the past few years – a Las Vegas Independent Media Center, which will provide an open, grassroots publishing forum for anti-state and social justice activists in the Las Vegas area, and which will create new channels for information and analysis outside of the mainstream local media; and also revitalizing the Las Vegas chapter of Food Not Bombs, which provides agrey market,counter-economic form of mutual aid outside of the State welfare bureaucracy and the corporate food market. As Food Not Bombs becomes more stable and sustainable, we plan to regroup and begin to talk about other grassroots mutual aid projects, in order to take stock of what’s most needed in the community, and what sorts of projects present the most transformational opportunities.
Each of our plans and projects is a fairly small undertaking, especially when you compare it to the size of the problems that we face. But I am confident that these small pieces, loosely joined together, can serve as the building blocks for something much larger. Something which I believe Southern Nevada ALL will be an important part of, but in which we all will have a role to play, and in which our power standing shoulder to shoulder will be much greater than the power any of us have separately. Electoral politics can pressure the powers that be and soften up their will to strike back at us. Education can create public support for freedom and make it dangerous or disastrous for government to try to strike back. Direct action, combined with education, and when carried out through a large and vibrant network of people-powered Leftist and anti-statist organizations, can and will make us ungovernable – without depending on petitioning or begging, and without depending on the good will of the powerful. I believe that it can be in our hands sooner than any of us realize, if we make full use of non-electoral, radical, populist methods to create alternatives to the State, to bring everyone into the struggle, and to take direct action against government oppression. That’s a fight we can begin right now, by reaching out to our friends and neighbors and our activist comrades. We don’t need to wait until the next convention or the next election. We don’t need to wait for sympathetic politicians. We can take the power into our own hands. And when we do, we will become free.
Thank you for your time, and your very gracious offer of a forum in which to speak. I’ll be glad to take any questions you may have and to talk some more about anything that you’d like to hear more about.
All power to the people!
As far as success goes, the discussion following the talk was lively and interesting. We got a certain number of folks staring at me like I was from Mars, which I expected, but also a fair amount of interest and sympathy, and we made a couple new contacts who may be good prospects for ALLies or fellow travelers. I hardly convinced the entire LP of Clark County to join the Revolution, but I hardly expected to, and I’d call the whole affair a reasonable success, given my goals for the talk. As far as lessons for the future go, the main ones that I’m keeping in mind for myself, and which you may want to keep in mind if you’re going to give a similar talk, are the following:
The most interested people will always seek you out after the talk, but if you want to get a little something into everybody’s hands — e.g. pamphlets, contact sign-up sheets, handbills, etc. — don’t count on people to come up to your table for anything. Remember to hand it around at the start, if you possibly can.
Because of time pressures, some sections of the talk drew pretty heavily from material that I had already written elsewhere for print publication. Historical references are important but I intend to make the talk for future events somewhat less bookish, somewhat more attuned to my speaking style, and somewhat more present-oriented.
Go to some meetings beforehand so that you can scope out the audience and the space. If you make an appointment at one meeting, to give the talk at a later meeting, and there’s a substantial time period between the meeting where you made the appointment and the meeting where you’ll speak, make sure that you touch base (on whatever pretext; information, double-checking, follow-up, whatever) with the people who will be in charge at the meeting where you give your talk. I went to LP meetings beforehand but neglected to do the follow-up contacts I should have done; as a result there was some unclarity about who they were expecting to give the talk, and I wasn’t confident enough from a previous paper trail to speak up. Touching base more often would have resulted in having more time for the talk. (On the good side, having attended previous meetings gave me a much better sense for who I was pitching to and how to pitch it.)
Keep your audience well in mind. This talk is pretty directly calculated for voting libertarians, like LP members or Pauliticos. If you want to talk to social justice groups, antiwar groups, lefties, and so on, obviously you will want to cover much of the same ground, but probably from a different angle of approach.
Remember that, especially for a new radical effort like ALL, for any large group you are really looking for only a handful, maybe only one or two, new contacts in a much larger audience. Make sure that you have a gaff for anybody who bites — contact sheets, handbills, literature, and especially a well-defined upcoming event (like the dinner meeting, or even better an action that you’re planning) — to pull in likely new ALLies. But don’t worry if many in the audience give you the blank stare. You’re not there for them, except to give them some notional idea of your existence. You’re there for mass education and targeted persuasion, and the one or three or five potential ALLies or fellow travelers in the audience are your target.
Anyway, as I said, I consider the talk to have been a reasonable success and a good start. I hope that we can continue giving talks like this to other local groups in the future.
Other ALLies who are thinking about hitting up local groups for similar talks should feel free to appropriate, repurpose, and re-use the material in this talk.
Have y’ALL given any talks for your local chapter of ALL, or made any plans to give talks in the future? Let me know in comments. I’ll be glad to discuss any questions you might have about how my talk went, and to use the blog to talk up any talks that you have given or will be giving in the future.
Rad Geek Speaks: a talk on the Southern Nevada ALL TOMORROW, at Libertarian Party of Clark County meeting. Las Vegas, 3 June 2008, 7:30 PM.
The Southern Nevada chapter of ALL has been busy over the past few months doing some outreach, literature drops, and making contacts with the local networks of anti-statist and social justice activists. In addition to our April 15 Tax Day flyering action, and some informal get-togethers, Southern Nevada ALLies have also:
Done literature drops around town, using William Gillis’s excellent Market Anarchy zine series, and a couple of Vegas Anarchy pamphlets of our own (more on that, soon, I promise) using a version of his template adapted to our local situation;
Put on a small networking and outreach event for the Libertarian Party of Clark County’s last monthly meeting, to get our name out and pass out some literature;
Participated in Las Vegas’s May Day rally against the criminalization of peaceful immigrants; and
As a result of our outreach event last month, I have been invited the give a talk about Southern Nevada ALL, and left-libertarianism more broadly, at the next meeting of the Libertarian Party of Clark County, TOMORROW, Tuesday 3 June 2008. The meeting will last from 7:30 PM to about 9:00 PM; the LP hosts an informal coffee-klatsch (or bier-klatsch, or whatever) sort of meet-and-greet after the meeting from 9:00 PM onward. I plan to pass out some literature, give a prepared talk — about 1/3 about Southern Nevada ALL itself and what we do, about 1/3 about anarchist and left-libertarian goals broadly, and about 1/3 about direct action, counter-economics, and other means of effecting social change outside of electoral politics — and then to field some Q&A. Mild-mannered and uncontroversial as I may be, I hope for some lively discussion.
Here are the details on the event:
- WHAT: Talk by Charles Johnson on Southern Nevada ALL, left-libertarianism, and non-electoral activism
- WHEN: Tuesday, 3 June 2008, 7:30 PM
- WHERE: Boomerang’s, 6650 Vegas Drive, Las Vegas, Nevada; located on the corner of Vegas Drive and Rainbow Blvd.
One logistical note for those in the area: Boomerang’s is way out on the edge of town; it takes me about half an hour to get their by car. If anyone wants to go but needs help with transportation or wants to carpool, get in touch with me either privately or in comments, and let’s see what we can work out.
For the record, Southern Nevada ALL does not work through electoral politics and is not affiliated with any political party or candidate. But the talk should provide a good opportunity to do some outreach, get our name out, pass out some literature about ALL and left-libertarianism, and maybe find a few new ALLies or fellow travelers. It’s also a good chance to practice some good old soapboxing, and if it goes tolerably well, I hope that we can use it, or something like it, as a model for outreach and talking with other groups — voting libertarians, organized Pauliticos, non-libertarian lefty social justice groups, social anarchists, etc. — with whom we have significant differences but also substantially overlapping interests, and amongst whom might be possibly find a few new ALLies or at least fellow travelers.
It will also be a good opportunity for anyone in the area who’s interested in learning more about ALL to do so, independently of how much or how little interest they may have in the Libertarian Party specifically. So if you know anybody in Las Vegas, or in the area of southern California, southern Nevada, or northwestern Arizona, more broadly, who might be interested — whether or not the Libertarian Party is particularly their thing (after all, it’s not particularly my thing, either, but I’m happy to talk with and work with them on many issues of common concern) — then please do forward the announcement on to them.
More to come soon; watch this space.
This is happening in three days. We’re counting on the community to spread the word as far and wide as possible. If you’re in the Las Vegas area or know people who are, please pass along the word to anyone you know who might be interested.
The United Coalition for Im/migrant Rights in Las Vegas is organizing a street demonstration THIS FRIDAY, 23 May 2008, at 3:00 PM, beginning with a march through the streets from Valley High School to the UNLV campus, followed by a rally at the UNLV amphitheater. UCIR has called this march as a continuation of the May 1 movement for immigrant rights and against government harassment of peaceful workers and students.
The demonstration this Friday is specifically intended to raise awareness of the predicament of undocumented immigrant students, to speak out against the as a demonstration to raise awareness of the predicament of undocumented immigrant students, to speak out against the criminalization of immigrant youth, and in support of the DREAM Act, which provides a process for undocumented immigrant children to gain permanent residency, avoid the threat of deportation, and eventually gain citizenship while pursuing a college education.
Marching for the Dream: 3 PM May 23, 2008
We will meet at S. Eastern Ave. in between Karen and Vegas Valley Drive (in front of Valley HS) and conclude with a rally at the UNLV amphitheatre.
Children and youth should not lose their capacity to dream; on the contrary, they should cultivate the necessary rebellion to not conform to the unjust and degraded world that we have inherited them.—Rigoberta Menchú Tum
Education, not Deportation!
Marchando por el Sueño / 3 PM, 23 de mayo 2008
Nos reuniremos en S. Eastern Ave. entre Karen y Vegas Valley Drive (frente a Valley HS) y concluiremos con una protesta en al anfiteatro de UNLV.
La niñez y la juventud no deben perder su capacidad de soñar; por el contrario, deben cultivar la rebeldia que es necesaria para no conformarse con el mundo injusto y degradado que les hemos heredado.—Rigoberta Menchú Tum
Si a la Educación, No a la Deportación!
You can support the struggle against international apartheid and anti-immigrant segregation by joining the march, bringing a sign or placard with a strong anti-criminalization message (some of the signs already prepared include:Education, not deportation;Keep your borders off my education;End International Apartheid,Immigrant students are not criminals,andThis is our home. We are not going anywhere,andPapeles para tod@s). Most importantly, bring yourself and as many friends as you can (non-coercively!) get your hands on. We are taking to the streets, and I hope to see you there.