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Tag: Police

Masked Up For Your Protection: In Praise Of Black Bloc Heroes (#GonzoNotes)

Posted in Austin, Creative Commons, Gonzo Notes, and Journalism

What do you feel when you see the black bloc?

I feel pride, solidarity, and hope.

Though their faces are masked, I see a group of beautiful humans willing to get injured or imprisoned in order to keep all of us safer.

What the mainstream media wants you to feel is fear. Strangely, they want you to feel the opposite around the police, who come out to the protest dressed for war, driving military vehicles and with a sniper team ready on the roof tops. In addition to bullets, they’ve got bean bag guns, pepper bombs, noise cannons, the whole array of nightmarish “less lethal” weaponry that late stage capitalism can bring to bear.

Meanwhile, the black bloc have just their bare hands and their bodies, or if they’re lucky, a handful of flags on sticks and some homemade shields.

Security Culture And Punching Nazis In Texas (Kit O’Connell On Radical Underground Podcast)

Posted in Act Out!, Audio, Austin, Creative Commons, Journalism, and Occupy Wall Street

I really enjoyed talking with the Radical Underground podcast and the episode turned out great, full of lively conversation and fab music.

In our conversation, we talked about security culture and the ways our smartphones turn us into snitches against ourselves — but also touched on the human element, which is just as vital as technology when it comes to staying secure.

We also talked at length about the Oh Shit What Now collective, the recent incident at my “Punching Nazis” class in Houston, and other fascist and antifascist activity in Austin, Texas (including copwatching).

What Is Black Bloc? Why Do Activists Wear Masks?

Posted in Creative Commons, and Journalism

Black bloc are the masked activists in matching black clothes you may have seen at protests or on TV. There are many misconceptions about black bloc, especially about who they are and why they look the way they do.

One common misconception is that antifa (antifascists) and black bloc are one and the same, or that block bloc are all members of a particular activist movement. In reality, black bloc is not a movement but a tactic that has been used by diverse groups and movements over the years. Originally developed by autonomists in Europe, black bloc tactics first came to America during the protests against the World Trade Organization, including the famous “Battle of Seattle” in 1999.

By wearing masks and near identical clothing, activists in a black bloc protect their identities while creating a sense of unity and common purpose. While acts of property destruction by masked individuals tend to receive most media attention, one of the most common purposes of a black bloc is to protect other activists from attacks by police and fascists.

Diversity Of Tactics Keeps Your Enemies Off Balance (Gonzo Notes)

Posted in Creative Commons, Gonzo Notes, and Occupy Wall Street

September 17, 2012: the financial district was in chaos.

On the morning of the one year anniversary of the Occupy Wall Street movement, marking the day that tents first went up in Zuccotti Park, activists flooded Wall Street for hours.

Some held birthday parties in bank lobbies until the police came. Others took the furniture out of buildings and threw it in the street. One group I knew blocked traffic with a makeshift donut stand, offering dumpster-dived pastries and coffee to the NYPD.

Unpacking The Fascist Rampage On May Day In Austin: What Happened, What Went Wrong

Posted in Austin, Creative Commons, and Journalism

On May Day, 2017 in Austin, Texas, a coalition of heavily armed Nazis shut down a radical activist march.

The international workers holiday brought a variety of activist events to the Texas capital, from workers’ protests organized by Fight For 15 to a sit-in at the Governor’s Office in opposition to SB4, the brutal and inhumane anti-Sanctuary Cities bill.

In the afternoon, a Communist organization in Austin had called for a radical (“red bloc”) march. While these kind of events are a fixture in cities like Portland and Seattle, but has only begun to appear in Austin in the last couple of years, and with far fewer numbers attending.

At 4pm, the designated start time, a couple dozen radicals dressed in black began to trickle into the meeting place, a downtown intersection near Republic Park. However, the fascists were already in the area and on the march, even as our people began to gather.

Although Republic Park is a historic meeting place in the city, it’s currently shut down for construction and surrounded by high fencing. In fact, the entire area around 4th and Guadalupe is full of construction, creating a boxed in atmosphere that the fascists used to their full advantage. Additionally a security camera operated by the local transit service, along with what was most likely an undercover cop disguised as a homeless man, were present at the site, further placing activists at risk.

Who Would Jesus Arrest? Conservative Alabama Megachurch Could Get Its Own Police

Posted in Journalism, and Lee Camp

A megachurch in Alabama could soon begin hiring its own cops.

Approved by the Alabama Senate on April 11, civil liberties experts are warning that the move will mark a major escalation in the growth of the American police state if, as expected, it’s also approved by the House and Governor Kay Ivey.

Briarwood Presbyterian Church, located near Birmingham, isn’t just one of those oversized churches with a bunch of giant flat screen TVs and its own coffee shop. With 4,100 members, and 2,000 students in its own K-12 school, church officials claim neither deputies from two nearby communities nor private security are enough to keep their religious community safe.

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