Occupy Wall Street. Police vs people in NY.

Bloo Driver wrote:

the ways that are common to all large movements and groups.

My high school math teacher called this the 5% Assh*le Rule.

Plus, don't forget that we know that the FBI and local law enforcement are actively infiltrating groups like this, and trying to get them in trouble.

So look at accusations like that very, very carefully, because they could be false, all the way to the bottom. The American government is very fond of false flag operations.

Ulairi wrote:

The OWS is against privatized gain. They are for public gain and privatized risk. American's aren't for that. They are for privatized profits and privatized risk.

The completely decentralized (dis)organization of OWS ended up muddling the message a bit. It became an umbrella rally for every kook with a cause. Then there was all the fabricated disinformation spread about OWS; how they were all spoiled trust fund babies, communists, or lazy jobless slobs looking for a handout.

But still, at its heart OWS was not against privatized gain. They were against privatized gain at the expense of public risk. A tiny percentage of people wrecked the economy for all and then were rewarded with taxpayer money. That's what OWS fundamentally was about.

That's actually what the Tea Party was originally about, too, before the sociopathic arm of the conservatives moved in, strongarmed the original principals out, and took over.

OWS wouldn't let itself be coopted, so it got beaten bloody by the armed enforcement wing of the corporations, aka the police.

This is the sort of thing I'm talking about when I say nothing has really changed:

Private-equity firms are adding debt to the companies they own in order to fund payouts to themselves, a controversial practice now reaching a record pace. Leonard Green & Partners LP, Bain Capital LLC and Carlyle Group LP CG 0.00% are among the firms using the tactic, which rose in popularity before the financial crisis.

In these deals, known as "dividend recapitalizations," private-equity-owned companies raise cash by issuing debt. The proceeds are distributed in the form of dividends to buyout groups.

I can't link to the article because the Wall Street Journal is behind a paywall, but you get the drift. Why is this so awful? Because it makes companies weaker. In a downturn, too much debt is a company killer. People lose their jobs, but the private equity folks walk away richer as the company tanks.

Mitt Romney has made millions doing stuff like this, and half of America still wants to put him in the White House.

The major issue I see with OWS is that there's a violent subgroup of anarchists who try to get into any left-wing protests and break stuff. I don't know whether OWS embraced them, but they were pretty ineffective at keeping them in line.

Robear wrote:

The major issue I see with OWS is that there's a violent subgroup of anarchists who try to get into any left-wing protests and break stuff. I don't know whether OWS embraced them, but they were pretty ineffective at keeping them in line.

I think this is really the crux of the problem. It was so unorganized that they were really at the mercy of some of the worst elements of extremist views. this, combined with a lack of understanding as to what civil disobedience really is destroyed the momentum they had.

The point is really to get arrested in large numbers. But most organized groups that protest things like nuclear power plants spend a good amount of time teaching their members how to be arrested to avoid the conflicts that were so common.

Yes, the police went way over the line repeatedly. But so did protesters. there was just too much coverage of them acting like asshats for the general public to get as worked up over the aggressive police tactics.

While you saw lots of pleading by the protesters with the police to join them, you had too many attacking them and making their job harder. It built up resistance and fueled brutality. I'm not suggesting the police should not have been punished. I'm suggesting that OWS failed to protest in a manner that kept the public on their side.

there's a violent subgroup of anarchists

Or, very possibly, agents provocateur.... police infiltrators.

Malor wrote:
there's a violent subgroup of anarchists

Or, very possibly, agents provocateur.... police infiltrators.

I see both. One feeds off the other and it just keeps escalating.

Edwin wrote:
Malor wrote:
there's a violent subgroup of anarchists

Or, very possibly, agents provocateur.... police infiltrators.

I see both. One feeds off the other and it just keeps escalating.

As someone who hung around the protests out of curiosity in my local town I can say with authority that there are definitely regular old anarchists and that the structure of OWS was never such that it could keep them in line. They were trying, as left-wingers in the US often do, to create a movement that completely discarded the old ways. Conducting Democracy via heat checks and mic checks and pushing hard against any centralized organizing force. This almost ensured they would be less effective than past movements and incapable of keeping unsavory elements out of the camps.

That's fairly similar to what happened to the Tea Party. It started as a fairly mundane movement against big government, but without any kind of structure the idiots, racists, and bigots had nothing to restrain them. Then it became the movement of 'Get a brian, morans,' and keeping the government out of Medicare. Now it and the OWS movements have both been basically marginalized as dirty hippies and ignorant rednecks.

It does say something about the restraining powers of organized politics to keep the party's wack-jobs in check, but it also says something about how people are willing to believe the opposing side is comprised entirely of 'their' wack-jobs while 'our' side simply has a few outliers. There have been some fascinating sociology case studies written about both.

I wonder if the OWS movement would have humiliated itself on camera the way the TP did if it had the chance during its heyday.

Quote:

there's a violent subgroup of anarchists

Or, very possibly, agents provocateur.... police infiltrators.

Because everything is better with a little conspiracy in it. (Any evidence that this is the case? For example, when the FBI does this with terrorists, the guys involve testify in court. Otherwise, this is just hammer seeing nails, since we know anarchists exist and commonly behave this way.)

Robear wrote:
Quote:

there's a violent subgroup of anarchists

Or, very possibly, agents provocateur.... police infiltrators.

Because everything is better with a little conspiracy in it. (Any evidence that this is the case? For example, when the FBI does this with terrorists, the guys involve testify in court. Otherwise, this is just hammer seeing nails, since we know anarchists exist and commonly behave this way.)

The Oakland OWS had some issue with plainclothes officers starting confrontations, allowing uniformed officers to take action against the crowd.
I don't think NYC had this issue (or if they did, I didn't hear about it) but Oakland definitely did.

The Oakland OWS had some issue with plainclothes officers starting confrontations, allowing uniformed officers to take action against the crowd.

Absolutely. But they also had anarchists, as did the other gatherings. There's a difference between "Yeah, anarchists exist and do this, but so do police" and "it's not anarchists, it's provocateurs".

Robear wrote:
The Oakland OWS had some issue with plainclothes officers starting confrontations, allowing uniformed officers to take action against the crowd.

Absolutely. But they also had anarchists, as did the other gatherings. There's a difference between "Yeah, anarchists exist and do this, but so do police" and "it's not anarchists, it's provocateurs".

The way I read Malor's post wasn't that he was claiming that all the anarchists were actually provocateurs, but that at least some of them were (which is correct for Oakland at least).

Jayhawker wrote:
Robear wrote:

The major issue I see with OWS is that there's a violent subgroup of anarchists who try to get into any left-wing protests and break stuff. I don't know whether OWS embraced them, but they were pretty ineffective at keeping them in line.

I think this is really the crux of the problem. It was so unorganized that they were really at the mercy of some of the worst elements of extremist views. this, combined with a lack of understanding as to what civil disobedience really is destroyed the momentum they had.

I agree that the above, IMO, is what did the most damage to the credibility of the protests. However, I think the crux of OW's ineffectiveness is that simple protests won't bring change to the financial industry. Honestly, I'm not sure what will, short of revolution. The people making the rules simply aren't bothered by these sorts of demonstrations, and won't be unless it hits their pocketbook in a significant manner.

I'll admit that I'm pessimistic about protests in general, because I haven't seen many in my lifetime that were effective at bringing change. But I'm even more pessimistic about their effectiveness in this venue than I am regarding their ability to bring social change.

Crispus wrote:
Jayhawker wrote:
Robear wrote:

The major issue I see with OWS is that there's a violent subgroup of anarchists who try to get into any left-wing protests and break stuff. I don't know whether OWS embraced them, but they were pretty ineffective at keeping them in line.

I think this is really the crux of the problem. It was so unorganized that they were really at the mercy of some of the worst elements of extremist views. this, combined with a lack of understanding as to what civil disobedience really is destroyed the momentum they had.

I agree that the above, IMO, is what did the most damage to the credibility of the protests. However, I think the crux of OW's ineffectiveness is that simple protests won't bring change to the financial industry. Honestly, I'm not sure what will, short of revolution. The people making the rules simply aren't bothered by these sorts of demonstrations, and won't be unless it hits their pocketbook in a significant manner.

I'll admit that I'm pessimistic about protests in general, because I haven't seen many in my lifetime that were effective at bringing change. But I'm even more pessimistic about their effectiveness in this venue than I am regarding their ability to bring social change.

Those protests moved millions of dollars from banks to credit unions. It wasn't enough, no doubt, but I definitely think it's possible for simply protesting to cause effective financial change.

The way I read Malor's post wasn't that he was claiming that all the anarchists were actually provocateurs, but that at least some of them were (which is correct for Oakland at least).

I'd buy that, except that he singled out just the one phrase, and had no qualifiers. I read it as the usual sweeping claim.

What I'm saying is that you can't really tell, since we know that police are infiltrating the organization. We know this to be true, so we can't make any further assumption about the particular provenance of any particular incident, nor can we pound especially hard on OWS for failing to contain the problems.

We know they're being framed by the authorities at least some of the time, so the default position needs to be that they are always being framed, unless and until it's proven otherwise.

Malor wrote:

What I'm saying is that you can't really tell, since we know that police are infiltrating the organization. We know this to be true, so we can't make any further assumption about the particular provenance of any particular incident, nor can we pound especially hard on OWS for failing to contain the problems.

We know they're being framed by the authorities at least some of the time, so the default position needs to be that they are always being framed, unless and until it's proven otherwise.

I don't see why that has to be the default. Innocent until proven guilty applies to cops as well, doesn't it?

Stengah wrote:
Malor wrote:

What I'm saying is that you can't really tell, since we know that police are infiltrating the organization. We know this to be true, so we can't make any further assumption about the particular provenance of any particular incident, nor can we pound especially hard on OWS for failing to contain the problems.

We know they're being framed by the authorities at least some of the time, so the default position needs to be that they are always being framed, unless and until it's proven otherwise.

I don't see why that has to be the default. Innocent until proven guilty applies to cops as well, doesn't it?

Well the same logic could apply to OWS, right? So...yeah, there's no default.

That said, since there's already the assumption/knowledge that the police are infiltrating the group, I don't think it's unreasonable to use that to skew your default. In other words, there's already evidence of guilt.

SixteenBlue wrote:
Stengah wrote:
Malor wrote:

What I'm saying is that you can't really tell, since we know that police are infiltrating the organization. We know this to be true, so we can't make any further assumption about the particular provenance of any particular incident, nor can we pound especially hard on OWS for failing to contain the problems.

We know they're being framed by the authorities at least some of the time, so the default position needs to be that they are always being framed, unless and until it's proven otherwise.

I don't see why that has to be the default. Innocent until proven guilty applies to cops as well, doesn't it?

Well the same logic could apply to OWS, right? So...yeah, there's no default.

That said, since there's already the assumption/knowledge that the police are infiltrating the group, I don't think it's unreasonable to use that to skew your default. In other words, there's already evidence of guilt.

In the situation's we're talking about, someone claiming to be part of OWS is known to be guilty. What we're evaluating is whether they're actually part of OWS, an anarchist using OWS as a cover, or a provocateur seeking to discredit OWS. The default would be to take them at their word, but if OWS claims the guilty party is not affiliated with them, and the police claims they're not employed by them, the default would be "anarchist using OWS as a cover" without proof that either OWS or the police is lying. Knowledge that the police have lied about this before would skew things towards them lying (if either group is), but OWS's lack of an organizational hierarchy would raise the question of "who decides who's 'affiliated' with OWS?"

We know they're being framed by the authorities at least some of the time, so the default position needs to be that they are always being framed, unless and until it's proven otherwise.

We know that anarchists are working to disrupt protests according to their own agenda at least some of the time, so the default position needs to be that it's always anarchists, unless and until it's proven otherwise.

(Nah, back to the drawing board Malor, the logic works both ways and so does not help us distinguish between the cases. Conspiracies are extra-ordinary, in the sense of being unusual, and as such require more evidence than just supposition. We know both cases are possible, but we also know that anarchist involvement is more common than actual provocation by undercover police. We also know that that tactic backfires; in Washington DC and New York, police forces have been held legally responsible for the abuse of rights triggered by this kind of action. Not sure about Oakland.)

Robear wrote:
We know they're being framed by the authorities at least some of the time, so the default position needs to be that they are always being framed, unless and until it's proven otherwise.

We know that anarchists are working to disrupt protests according to their own agenda at least some of the time, so the default position needs to be that it's always anarchists, unless and until it's proven otherwise.

(Nah, back to the drawing board Malor, the logic works both ways and so does not help us distinguish between the cases. Conspiracies are extra-ordinary, in the sense of being unusual, and as such require more evidence than just supposition. We know both cases are possible, but we also know that anarchist involvement is more common than actual provocation by undercover police. We also know that that tactic backfires; in Washington DC and New York, police forces have been held legally responsible for the abuse of rights triggered by this kind of action. Not sure about Oakland.)

Not sure about Oakland but UC Davis definitely had repercussions as well.

SixteenBlue wrote:
Robear wrote:

We also know that that tactic backfires; in Washington DC and New York, police forces have been held legally responsible for the abuse of rights triggered by this kind of action. Not sure about Oakland.)

Not sure about Oakland but UC Davis definitely had repercussions as well.

I'm not so sure about that. There's too much of a time gap between the incident of abuse and when the courts say the police shouldn't have done that. And then the only penalty is a cash settlement that I doubt actually comes from the police's own operational budget. That makes it so there's really no repercussions. And if there's no repercussions, there's nothing learned by the police.

Now if say if 100 cops couldn't get raises or more cops couldn't get hired because that money had to be used to pay restitution for a victim of one of their fellow cops, I'm pretty sure that peer pressure alone would greatly diminish any future incidents of abuse. It's easy to hide behind the blue line when there's absolutely no cost to you. It's a different story when doing so takes money out of you and your family's hands.

OG_slinger wrote:
SixteenBlue wrote:
Robear wrote:

We also know that that tactic backfires; in Washington DC and New York, police forces have been held legally responsible for the abuse of rights triggered by this kind of action. Not sure about Oakland.)

Not sure about Oakland but UC Davis definitely had repercussions as well.

I'm not so sure about that. There's too much of a time gap between the incident of abuse and when the courts say the police shouldn't have done that. And then the only penalty is a cash settlement that I doubt actually comes from the police's own operational budget. That makes it so there's really no repercussions. And if there's no repercussions, there's nothing learned by the police.

Now if say if 100 cops couldn't get raises or more cops couldn't get hired because that money had to be used to pay restitution for a victim of one of their fellow cops, I'm pretty sure that peer pressure alone would greatly diminish any future incidents of abuse. It's easy to hide behind the blue line when there's absolutely no cost to you. It's a different story when doing so takes money out of you and your family's hands.

Who's budget does it come from? If it's a budget that's higher than the police's budget then those people will still be pissed and still want to crack down, no?

SixteenBlue wrote:

Who's budget does it come from? If it's a budget that's higher than the police's budget then those people will still be pissed and still want to crack down, no?

It typically comes from the city's overall budget, which means it's too far removed from the source of the problem to have any impact. Worse, the city likely has a budget line item for court settlements, so it's just viewed as a cost of doing business not as a punishment designed to change behavior.

There's a world of difference between a police chief getting called on the carpet by the mayor who, at best, is just going to say "don't let this happen again" and the same police chief having to explain to his officers that 15 of them have to get laid off and no one's going to get a raise for the next three years because Officer Johnny lost his cool and beat the sh*t out of a suspect.

In the first scenario you might get some updated training manuals, some tweaks to the ROEs, and a nice PowerPoint deck touting the changes to the brass, but not much more. In the second scenarios, however, it would be made exceptionally clear to officers that their f*ck ups have consequences for everyone in blue and that incidents of police actions that ended in million dollar settlements would result in rapid changes to how police respond to similar incidents in the future.

OG_slinger wrote:
SixteenBlue wrote:

Who's budget does it come from? If it's a budget that's higher than the police's budget then those people will still be pissed and still want to crack down, no?

It typically comes from the city's overall budget, which means it's too far removed from the source of the problem to have any impact. Worse, the city likely has a budget line item for court settlements, so it's just viewed as a cost of doing business not as a punishment designed to change behavior.

There's a world of difference between a police chief getting called on the carpet by the mayor who, at best, is just going to say "don't let this happen again" and the same police chief having to explain to his officers that 15 of them have to get laid off and no one's going to get a raise for the next three years because Officer Johnny lost his cool and beat the sh*t out of a suspect.

In the first scenario you might get some updated training manuals, some tweaks to the ROEs, and a nice PowerPoint deck touting the changes to the brass, but not much more. In the second scenarios, however, it would be made exceptionally clear to officers that their f*ck ups have consequences for everyone in blue and that incidents of police actions that ended in million dollar settlements would result in rapid changes to how police respond to similar incidents in the future.

Weren't those University police, with the University itself making the payout?

absurddoctor wrote:
OG_slinger wrote:
SixteenBlue wrote:

Who's budget does it come from? If it's a budget that's higher than the police's budget then those people will still be pissed and still want to crack down, no?

It typically comes from the city's overall budget, which means it's too far removed from the source of the problem to have any impact. Worse, the city likely has a budget line item for court settlements, so it's just viewed as a cost of doing business not as a punishment designed to change behavior.

There's a world of difference between a police chief getting called on the carpet by the mayor who, at best, is just going to say "don't let this happen again" and the same police chief having to explain to his officers that 15 of them have to get laid off and no one's going to get a raise for the next three years because Officer Johnny lost his cool and beat the sh*t out of a suspect.

In the first scenario you might get some updated training manuals, some tweaks to the ROEs, and a nice PowerPoint deck touting the changes to the brass, but not much more. In the second scenarios, however, it would be made exceptionally clear to officers that their f*ck ups have consequences for everyone in blue and that incidents of police actions that ended in million dollar settlements would result in rapid changes to how police respond to similar incidents in the future.

Weren't those University police, with the University itself making the payout?

That's what I thought.

absurddoctor wrote:

Weren't those University police, with the University itself making the payout?

In the case of UC Davis, yes.

But as Robear pointed out protesters in DC and NYC have also sued, and are continuing to sue, the cities over everything from false arrest to getting pepper sprayed. As far as I know none of those cases have actually made their way through the court system yet, which kinda just reinforces my position. The settlements will trickle through over the years and there will continue to be very little connection between police behavior and those payments.