5/3/07

A Minority Report or, I can't believe I am seeing it this way...

I went to both May Day marches.

I was at the shut down of the MacArthur park rally and have a very different view on what happend.

I arrived just as the march was reaching 7th street. I rode my bike toward the head of the march and continued to ride to the end of the marchers, who were just east of Olympic and Vermont. It seemed to be bigger than the morning march on City Hall.

I rode back to MacArthur Park to meet up with friends. I parked my bike on the side with the lake in it and stood on the cement wall looking across the street to where the rally was taking place. I was approximately in the center of the park. The park is split in half by Wishire Blvd. This was approximately 4:30ish. Everything looked great from my 360 degree view of the park.

The march was flowing into the park at the Alvarado and Wishire entrance and was filling up the rally area. I could see that people were laying down, relaxing, or walking around and eating from all the food vendors. I could also look over to other side of the park which is 7th and Alvardo in the Southeast corner. I could see that the last of the marchers had passed the corner of 7th and Alvardo; because there were only police standing in that area now. I then saw about 15 people run towards the area between the 99cent Store and the Metro Station. I also saw police on bicycles roll into the same area coming from the opposite end.

I rode my bike over to see what was happening. The Danzantes were coming down the grass toward where I was now in front of the boathouse. I asked one of them what had happend. He replied "The cops want to clear the street and move people into the rally area. We are leaving. We are done." He didn't say this with any anger or resentment, simply the streets need to be cleared.

I could see his point. If the march was bigger and we needed to keep the streets closed to accomodate the numbers of people, fine keep the streets closed. BUT the number of people there would have easily and comfortably fit in the area where the rally was actually happening. SO ofcourse Alvarado, 7th, Wilshire and 6th streets need to be open, if possible. It is rush hour and these are major streets. It was possible to keep the marchers moving along the route, into the park and into the rally. Ofcourse it didn' turn out that way.

There was no sign of an organized security/peace keepers/harmony keepers/ whatever you want to call them - instructing people lingering in the street, to keep moving to the rally area.

I rode up to Alvarado where I could see people just standing in the street hanging out. They weren't marching. Just hanging out. I saw some people with lime green flourecent hats on telling people to move. Some did. I saw some friends and asked them to follow me back the rally. They did. I looked back and saw others telling the masses to move to the rally area.

Back at the rally area it was all good. I had my hot dog, an esquita (corn in a bowl), and an orange. Heard some cool music on the wack, sub par for the course sound system. The most interesting thing I saw was this large group of people following this guy with a microphone and a portable speaker. He would get the crowd riled up, chanting and cheering with his raps and play with words in Spanish. I saw him move people from the west side of Wilshire Blvd., where the police were keeping Wilshire at Park Place closed, all the way back to the east side of Wilshire and brought people into the rally area.
see the speaker just below the 4th window from rightThe US Titanic

There were moments when I would see groups of people run towards the same area by the Metro Station. I guess people wanted to keep hanging out, instead of coming into the rally. This was another example of the disunity this march of the multiple starting points and times. People couldn't decide if they were part of this May Day march that ended with a rally in the park or if they were going to take a stand and make a piece of asphalt as the line in the 'great revolution.'

This I understand.
The police want to open the streets to traffic, this is obvious.
-It is not a 'tactic,' 'conspiracy,' or 'training exercise.'
It is called rush hour on Alvarado.
The people here for the march can all fit in the park.
Here are some people that don't want to let the street to open. They want to scream and shout at the front line of the police as if any of those trained drones are even hearing them.

Yelling at the police is lame.
They are a military structured body that moves and acts in rehearsed responses at the command of their leader on the field.
They cannot do anything, in a situation such as this, unless they are told to.
Yelling at a cop, trying to reason with him/her, trying to engage their intellect, guilt, humanity is pointless.
They are following orders that trigger trained, rehearsed responses.

Who do you think you are?
Superman? SuperXicano? Whodini? A hypnotist?
Are you that one guy that is going to yell the
one phrase
that will snap that cop out of his blind faith and make him stop following orders?
Dang you must be really bad ass or completely full of yourself.

We have seen it time and again.
We have seen this over and over.
Clinically speaking, to keep repeating the same action, expecting a different outcome is a sign of dis-ease.

You don't listen to the cops, but you think they will listen to you.
You don't get the hell away from them, but you think you can stand there and they will let YOU go, not HIT or SHOOT YOU. You must be really bad ass or completely full of yourself.

At 6:15 I began hearing the pops of the rubber bullet guns going off, the sirens of more police cars coming from EVERY angle, and I heard the helicopter announce to clear the area. When I heard this it was time to go. I made my way to the west side of the park, over to the northside and rode due east down 6th toward Alvarado. People were scrambling, the stage had been cleared.

The people on the street who made up maybe 10% of the people there for the march had not gotten off the street at the request of the organizers, friends and obviously not the police. SO like always if we can't police ourselves who is going to do it and they are aren't going to be nice or polite about it? The cops.

WE have seen and done this time and again.

The police did overreact by hitting and dissprecting the media. That is the only issue here. The pseudo revolutionaries got wacked for not getting out of the way after being given an hour and half to get off the street and get into the rally area. But the media in any case should not have been touched. Also just because you got a camera that you use to post pics on Myspace, a blog and Youtube does not make you part of the media.

This abuse of the media is the big issue that needs to be addressed all the way up to the White House because what the LAPD did is the same as what our troops have been doing to reporters in our war zones. Reporters are being killed and treated with no consideration. This has to stop. This needs to be made into thee issue. Ofcourse the media itself will only look at LAPD and scratch their chin and say they did over-react. The LAPD will say they gave notice to move. End of story. The connection of how law enforcement and the military are treating reporters needs to be brought to light. The whines of people who didn't move when it was clear that they should, could and had a place to go and continue hanging out are the distraction with their calls to fire Bratton will just divert from the issue of the end of media access and protection to do their job.

SO there I said it.

Sorry if I am not in line with the activists on this, but we had no reason to be on the streets. We had a rally area with plenty of room and great food.

*****

The marches shrank because of these reasons:

A) Lack of Spanish media endorsement

B) Fear of ICE in the wake of the recent raids

C) No immediate need for action, there is no specific bill in Congress to fight

D) Disorganization and disunity of the organizers and marches. Multiple starting points and times? por favor.


CONSPIRACY THEORY:

The Minutemen, not Anarchists, kept pushing the police to act.

TAMBIEN:

basic common sense

Cops are not our friends at marches.
When you see them coming armed and ready you leave, unless you want to get beat.

When at home and you hear pops of guns, cars screeching, how many of us run to the window to see?
When in the streets and you see one gang about to face off with another gang do you stick around holding your kid or do you get the hell out of there?

So when at a march with the LAPD (gang #1) surroundig the place, helicopters making announcements, sirens coming from every direction why would you stick around?

Yes it is our land, I want to walk another day on it, not be buried under it for fighting a pointless unprepared fight.

9 comments:

EL CHAVO! said...

How does the actions of a small group of people, far away from the rest of the crowd, justify the pummelling of the people at the rally? Many of those in the park had no idea what was going on in the street, it's unfair to assume they should be aware of that situation.

Pachuco 3000 said...

a) the people at the rally were unaware of the chaos, and has nothing to do with the few who started the attack. AGREE

b) unfortunately the few 'trouble makers' are considered part of the rally and if they are not responding to calls to clear the street, whether spoken or implied, (get off the fuckin street) so the reason those people were there was the rally so after an hour and half of no action, the rally needed to be closed to clear everyone.

c) where were the troublemakers running to, thus having the cops follow them? to the rally where people didn't do anything!

d) anytime you are at a rally, march or protest or walking down the street, living in the city! you should be aware of what is happening around you, near and far. otherwise you are not being smart and might just get your ass shot or beat.

KIKO said...

well, you are certainly free to embrace and promote a perspective that's in line with the elite and the power.

but I really hope you reconsider the larger context of what happened. I already gave my own brief analysis on daniel's blog, you can check it there if you want.

as for rush hour traffic: you say "FUCK THEM, let them get beat," to people who didn't listen to calls to disperse from both the cops and cop watch. this includes the azteca danzantes who were trying to finish up a ceremonial dance on Alvarado.

Fuck them? are you seriously siding with the cops against danzantes? wow. I say, how about FUCK RUSH HOUR TRAFFIC. what are you thinking, man? the streets, the whole fucking city, should have been SHUT DOWN, and I give PROPS to the danzantes for asserting their rights to the streets of AZTLAN.

FUCK RUSH HOUR! People should be on strike and should be taking the streets, shutting this city and its economy down--this whole country.

Are you serious that we should move out of the way to allow rush hour traffic to flow? allow capitalism to flow, and that if one group of people chooses to not move out of the way, especially in the face of blatant cop agitation and provocation, then FUCK THEM, side with the cops and not them? move meekly to our pre-appointed "free speech area" in the park, out of the way? and if we don't, you blame US, not the COPS, for beating us down?

whose streets do you think these are, P3000? Personally, I think they are OUR streets. and underneath them is OUR land, NOT the cops', NOT the capitalists' rushing home through the ghetto on their way back from work, NOT the vendido mayor, NOT the gentrifiers and their police force.

I saw very clearly, from early in the day, way before we even got to the park, that the cops were out in tremendous force, were ready, were prepped, were agitated. Your analysis completely ignores the larger context of where the cops were coming from, and fails to accurately read the writing on the walls and streets. if you want to talk about living in the city and being aware of what is happening around you, man...I don't know. maybe you might want to take another, closer look around.
KIKO
c/s

Pachuco 3000 said...

Kiko: the danzantes left the scene by 4:45pm I know them, I saw them, I spoke to them as they were leaving. Did you read that part of my blog? So as far as the danzantes, that was a non issue for at least an hour before the cops moved in force.

Are you saying you wanted to shut down the entire city over 400 (generous estimate) people on Alvarado, with no leadership, plan or goal? Are you serious? A city of millions shut down over a scuffle?

I do not read cops minds and do not pretend to guess their intentions for beating people. I do know that based on the hype of the marches, ofcourse there was going to be a lot of police just in case we actually got huge numbers, which we didn't. So maybe it looked like they were there in huge numbers, but remember last year, they were in the minority then.

If you want to start taking land back, and stop capitalism I think you picked the wrong day because most people there thought it was either a simple May Day or Immigrants rights march.

If you wanted to start the reconquista on Alvarado on that day, you really need to read some history of war, and realize context, timing and
preparedness.

When you set up training sites, get some arms, get at least 3,000 other heads ready to get in shape to go toe to toe to stop rush hour and capitalism, let me know. I got some skills I could contribute.

Lorena said...

I was surprised to see the AP image of faceless LAPD beating a pedestrian. Not "the anarchist," the copy mentioned but a middle aged brown man. I wondered who he was, what he had to say.

It made me think of arriving in the DF and our taxi driver telling us we should not head towards the Zocalo- due to the manifestaciones. My parents said, we were not tourist, we would walk through the Zocalo to our hotel if needed. This was not the first manifestacion any of us had seen, and at that moment my parents were more than cool. My father was a middle aged brown man.

On another trip in a small fishing village, in Mexico I was enjoying some lunch, when all you could hear were the thunderous sound of foot soldiers marching through the streets, the doors and windows were quickly drawn, and we were told not to leave. I was not sure if I was safer inside than out, but I was not a local and I trusted their response tactic. I did not know how long it was going to last. Amid that I heard my parents voices through the restaurant door. We had ditched them, and they had spent the whole narco- traficante raide, in a town on lockdown looking for their daughters until they found them. Fearless.

The point is, we are all in different stages of our rage. Somehow you need the raw fuel of the young and the fearless along with the wisdom of the elders to take on an issue of any magnitude.

I was not in Los Angeles, I only saw the image, then read the article and your words.

At one time you too would have stood in the street, taken a different stance, but now you understand differently. That is your process, and unfortunately like most things, you just have to let people go through their own.

Your citizen journalism merely adds a perspective. For all we know the middle aged man, standing in the park felt strongly enough to stay put, not run, not hide, knowing that the dehumanizing nature of the LAPD was know worse than what he faced from society daily.

KIKO said...

-the cops provoked by rushing into the danzantes. so, yes, it was an issue, it is STILL an issue, because that's what started all the tension in the first place.

-my point about your getting all queasy about rush hour is not that I'm agitating for revolution now, jesus man, I'm not stupid, but that fundamentally, you are supporting the same things the cops are supporting. you are justifying their actions by citing the need for rush hour traffic to flow, which I think is a really unsound point to support your argument.

when you are biking on critical mass, part of the point is to slooow traffic down, right? to protest against oil consumption and car culture and, yes, capitalism. same principle here--who's side am I ultimately going to support? the side that slows capitalist function down, or the one that protects it by beating up people? does my support equal an allout call for revolution etc? come on, man. it just equals a clear awareness of who and what exactly my logic and support are based on.

it's as if you and a bunch of other critical massers were holding up an intersection to get everybody through and suddenly got rushed by a bunch of motorcycle and then riot cops, and then got beat up for getting a little bent about the harassment and not moving fast enough, and then you just excused it afterwards, oh well, hey, we were blocking traffic anywayz, we should've just stayed within the bike lane or bike pathway far away from any real traffic...

I'm just suggesting that you reconsider what your reasoning fundamentally supports. my point was that, given the ongoing war, the ongoing police state violence here (which includes multiple beatings over the last year as well as recent harassment of families protesting AM790 radio and its racist attack on Semillas del Pueblo), the ongoing escalation of surveillance and fascist tactics, which were in abundant evidence throughout the day, the ongoing ICE raids and detentions and separations of immigrant families, people should be outraged, and this city should have been shut down for may day, just like last year--that is the larger, underlying, fundamental reality.

of course, it's not going to happen, but I was just pointing out that to cite rush hour traffic as a reason to support the cops was a really unsound tactic in this larger context. did I see the danzantes and the "bandana-wearing youth" as having the preparation to really shut it down? no man, that's ridiculous. and it's lame to say I'm agitating for reconquista and taking land back etc. i feel like I'm arguing with a minuteman. you're totally ignoring the principles of my argument and the fundamental bases of my reasoning, and twisting what I'm saying into some ridiculous position.

more than anything, I think that you are playing into the same story the powers that be love to trot out, about a few bad apple "troublemakers" etc, about cops just doing their job, and you are failing to provide or take into consideration an adequate larger context.

sorry, we're really on opposite sides of this one, bro, but I apologize if I've insulted you, it just got me really upset to hear how harshly you came down on folks who got beat and I probably overreacted.

Anonymous said...

Thank you Lorena and kiko! Well said!

Pachuco 3000 said...

No need to apologize. This is what we do here.

I wrote about land and reconquista because you used that rhetoric, 'our land,' 'Aztlan,' etc. I know wassup. I do tend to get a little sarcastic.

OK the cops rushed the danzantes. The danzantes left right afterwards. If they could let it go, why couldn't everyone else? I have worked with danzantes and was there when the roots of harmony keepers emerged from some danza groups, because once in while danzantes take over streets, or hold positions to finish a round, but overall they will move and not sacrifice the march or larger cause over a danza. They moved on and went home. Why were so many people so upset still? Were they looking for an excuse to be mad? Looking for an excuse to start an attack? Maybe helping the cops to have a reason to attack?

I am moving into this line of reasoning, the infiltrator aspect, in light of your reasoning. You wrote: "my point was that, given the ongoing war, the ongoing police state violence here... the ongoing escalation of surveillance and fascist tactics, ... the ongoing ICE raids and detentions and separations of immigrant families,." So let's go there. Following your logic, the police (who were looking for an excuse) had to have sent people in undercover to start this drama for them to be able to beat some ass. So the police moved on the danzantes, dissed them and their under covers began their moves.

Shouldn't we know this already? Haven't we read our own history books written by Barrera, Acu~a, Vigil and many others that outline agent provacateurs, infiltrators and how they ruined, killed, and destroyed the various incarnations of our movement? We have seen and read how, in a state of oppression, the state uses fear and violence to make more laws and breed more oppression by instigating it themselves. So why then did we fall for it again? In this light we are the fools for falling for that old trick. Shame on us.

You also wrote: "this city should have been shut down for may day, just like last year--that is the larger, underlying, fundamental reality." Should is the operative word but only if "it was like last year." It wasn't last year, not even close. So basing a reality on a 'should' that didn't happen is faulty reasoning and thus doesn't exist.

About your first point of the police state wanting/leading to this, well we should have been prepared, and not let them get their way by having proper means of watching out for instigators. When I saw people on the streets, I also saw the excuse the cops would have to start some shit. This thing was disorganized and it went to shit for it.

I am not on the cops side. I know they over reacted, but nothing will be done. Who should have been prepared better was the march organizers. There was no visible sign of anyone in charge, no security, and no effective communication. But maybe they have been infiltrated and didn't want to have security, a unified start place and time and knew that it would get messy. Hey it is all part of the overall big picture, right?

I have seen how good security can isolate trouble makers, escort them away, or simply surround them until no else is hearing them and they move on their own for lack of an audience, and in some cases security simply hands them over or points them out to the cops as disturbing our protest/march/event.

As far as critical mass, we do hold traffic while we move through intersections, and we usually take up a lane just for us. A 'result' of this is the stopping or slowing of traffic. READ: result. That is not our goal. We are not about taking the streets over and claiming they are all ours, for our use as we see fit at the expense of others. We want people to learn to share the road, to be aware that you don't need a car, and that this is a viable option.

Diana Marie Delgado said...

Wow, Gery, thanks for publishing such an insightful, and what I consider to be fair and frank assessment of what happened out there.