Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Protesting and the Police

Those who make peaceful revolution impossible will make violent revolution inevitable.
- J.F. Kennedy

I was thinking more about Occupy Wall Street this week, along the lines I detailed in this post - mainly how what was once a peaceful protest is in many instances degenerating into a struggle between the police and the movement. What sparked this line of thought was this article about "just how powerless citizens are when accosted by police officers—even when the cops themselves are clearly in the wrong." Long story short: Both a trial court and an appeals court convicted a black man who protested a policeman searching him even though he "was doing nothing wrong before the incident, [and that the courts recognized] it was illegal for the police to stop, detain, and search him." Even more disturbing, "The trial court, the appellate court, and the prosecution all concluded that these two cops broke the law, yet still, all three have deemed that the cops’ testimony is more credible than the testimony of Crossland, his cousin, and the other witnesses—none of whom was doing anything wrong before the confrontation."

It's important to keep this philosophy in mind when pondering ways to protest against the current conditions of, well, just about anything. In other words, if saying "Fuck this shit" sparks a severe beating for which there's no legal recourse, then i'm not surprised if  citizens succumb to a bitter complacency or assume a posture of noncompliance. In America, where we are not only taught that our freedoms are special but endowed to us by our creator, this cognitive dissonance can really only last for so long. Combine this status with the increasingly powerful methods of control the state has at their disposal (see this post on The Soft-Kill Solution), and the quote at the top of this post becomes even more chilling.

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