February 6th, 2012 | Corey Pein News | Posted In: Activism, City Hall, Cops and Courts

Another View On Occupy Vs. The Police (Updated)

occupy flyer detail

With a press release about a planned "anti-police" protest tonight by Occupy Portland, the Portland Police Bureau probably did more to publicize the event than the Occupiers themselves. 

"Police are concerned about tonight’s rally and march because the tone and content of available information is decidedly more hostile and escalating," the bureau release says, which the police sent out Monday.

The protest flyer (pdf), urging Portlanders to "Fight Back Now!" against police brutality, does seem to mark an important change in tone from the Occupy movement: It doesn't mention the "1 percent" or the "99 percent"—a framing device over income inequality that has given the Occupy movement relatively widespread appeal.

"In Portland, we have felt firsthand the corruption of our police," the flyer says, conflating the Occupiers' cause with that of the young Egyptian revolutionaries. "We've seen the innocent killed and brutalized."

The shift in emphasis from economic justice to a "fight" with the police echoes so-called Black Bloc groups intent on confrontation—the subject of a column published today by Chris Hedges, the former New York Times war correspondent turned radical polemicist and author.

Most of Hedges' old colleagues at the bourgeoisie Times would probably consider his views to fall on the far left end of the liberal-to-Communist spectrum, which makes his argument all the more interesting.

Calling Black Bloc anarchists a "cancer" on the Occupy movement, Hedges says, they "confuse acts of petty vandalism and a repellent cynicism with revolution." He goes on to call Black Bloc agitators "stupid" and "criminals," who are likely infiltrated with agents provocateurs, and whose thoughtless, random violence will only make a crackdown inevitable.

Writes Hedges:
The corporate state understands and welcomes the language of force. It can use the Black Bloc’s confrontational tactics and destruction of property to justify draconian forms of control and frighten the wider population away from supporting the Occupy movement. Once the Occupy movement is painted as a flag-burning, rock-throwing, angry mob we are finished. If we become isolated we can be crushed.
Read the rest of his essay here.

Update Feb. 7: Portland police report making 10 arrests at last night's protest. 

An Occupy Portland PR committee recap says the protest was "not officially an Occupy Portland event," and that Occupy "is a non-violent movement and has not engaged in violence or property destruction during its four months of existence… The only violence during the evening was committed by the Portland Police Bureau who responded violently during the march."
 
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