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Police Attack Organized Labor at Staples Rally; Leaders Demand Apology

by Michael Everett, D2K Labor Organizing Committ Thursday, Aug. 17, 2000 at 12:04 PM
ia728@primenet.com 310-394-2596

Monday night's Staples Center rally was an officially sanctioned labor event. Labor has been and will remain an essential component of the Seattle coalition regardless of the wishful thinking of some. When the LAPD attacked those attending the Staples Center rally, they were also attacking organized labor. We demand an apology. An injury to one is an injury to all!

D2K Labor Organizing Committee
Contact: Michael Everett, 310-394-2596, 310-480-2871
Jim Lauderdale, 213-482-6660, ext. 231

August 15, 2000

LAPD Attacks Organized Labor at Staples Center Rally; Leaders Demand Apology

LOS ANGELES - Last night, August 14 at 8:30pm, the Los Angeles Police Department used clubs, horses, rubber bullets, and chemical weapons to attack up to a thousand union members as they attempted to peacefully disperse from the Staples Center rally site.

The D2KLA rally was cosponsored by a wide range of labor unions and was in fact an officially sponsored labor event. Some of the unions endorsing the event included the AFL-CIO San Francisco Labor Council, International Longshore & Warehouse Union, California Nurses Association, Film & Television Action Committee (representing members
of IATSE, SAG, AFTRA, Teamsters, WGA, DGA), Laborers Local 724, AFSCME Local 1108, and P.A.C.E. Local 8-675. The unprovoked attack on labor by the LAPD was unprecedented in recent history and was the bloodiest labor conflict in Los Angeles since the 1940's.

Organized labor has sponsored a series of events for the week of the Democratic convention in reaction to a Democratic platform, which embraces fast track and rejected amendments for fair trade, a living wage, and universal health care.

Following a speech by Farm Workers leaders Dolores Huerta, union members and their families, along with thousands of other protesters had been enjoying a concert by Ozomotli when at approximately 8pm the music abruptly stopped and the stage lights went out. An LAPD police commander announced from the stage that he was declaring the event an illegal assembly and ordered the crowd of up to 10,000 to disperse and giving them 15 minutes to do so. Many of the crowd were
able to exit the area before the police attacked, but thousands were still struggling to negotiate the narrow exit area and the three foot concrete barriers obstructing it when waves of police on horseback and on foot moved into the crowd and began firing indiscriminately on the fleeing protesters. Scores of protesters were injured, most shot in
the back, as they attempted to comply with police orders to disperse.

Labor activist Michael Everett, one of the organizers of the event said, "Labor is a key component of the Seattle Coalition - when the police attack any on of us, they attack all of us. Make no mistake about it, last night's attack was an attack on the labor movement and the working families we represent. It marks an ominous new direction
for relations between the LAPD and organized labor, and we call for an official apology from the city and from the LAPD. We ask the Democratic Party to publicly renounce and disassociate themselves from this sort of unprovoked and violent attack on labor."

The D2K Labor Organizing Committee has called for a mass labor turnout at this Thursday's global sweatshop and immigrants rights march through the Garment district. The march will be led by Justice for Janitors and will begin at 8th & Santee at 4pm. It will proceed to the Staples Center to join a final mass rally and protest to take place during Al Gore's acceptance speech. Regardless of police provocations, organizers pledge to maintain their adherence to the principles of non-violence and remind both the LAPD and the Democratic Party that the whole world will be watching.

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by Conan Thursday, Aug. 17, 2000 at 3:02 PM

The LAPD's actions illustrate pointedly precisely that which protesters have been moving to make: that corporate capital dominates the U.S. state. The police do not exist to protect the rights of average working people but on the contrary, to protect the rights of property, even if this clashes with basic human rights (such as the right to food, and shelter or even to protest).

The basic rights of average people can only be realized if organized labour and others join hands in solidarity to push for greater democracy, equality, and freedom. I applaud the efforts of the protesters in LA and say that these actions will not be forgotten but rather will form an important step towards even greater mobilization.

The world is watching and learning. And we will be heard.

Keep up the struggle,

In solidarity,

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LAPD Behavior

by Diana Davies Thursday, Aug. 17, 2000 at 4:59 PM

Dear Michael, Jim & all,

Thank you for your eloquent letter regarding the behavior of the LAPD on Monday evening. It was in stark contrast to Bernard Parks' cowardly and disgraceful attempt at "spin" in his Commentary piece in today's LA Times. Parks' pathetic claim to have saved us from something far worse sickened me and my four children, all of whom attended the protest and concert with me. My children learned hard lessons Monday night. Monday's images and insights will last them a lifetime. Something broke in my heart when I saw the look of terror on my ten-year-old daughter's face as not twenty feet from her the armed squad
donned their gas masks and prepared to fire.
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The New Left shall rise again

by Tim Thursday, Aug. 17, 2000 at 5:44 PM

This is the second time I'm attempting to write this message. I forgot to add the heading, so it said "go back and include more info". I did so, and for some odd reason, my original message was completely erased which really really REALLY irritates me.
Anyway, I'll try again.

The only reason the police, government, mainstream media and corporate america are against us is because they are aware that we are bringing the truth to the surface. They are trying their hardest to subdue us and not allow our messages to reach the masses. Why do you think Indymedia was not allowed to interview the protesters? Why do you think the mainstream media says "there were 4000 protesters, when in reality, there were 10,000? Why do you think the media has not mentioned a single word as to WHY we are there to begin with?
As a protester at the republican convention in Philadelphia, I know very well how eager the police is to brutalize us, which is part of what we are protesting against!!!!!!
I believe that the protests in Seattle opened a "can of worms" and brought to light many of the atrocities that the middle and poorer classes face every single day at the hands of our corrupt establishment.
Many of us in this developing movement are saying "the whole world is watching". Unfortunately, I don't believe that is true. The media, government and police refuse to allow our messages to reach the public for fear of losing their vast authority and control over us. The Key-word here is CONTROL. They are fully aware that we are onto them. This is why they are ONLY showing the stupid testosterone-driven protesters on TV who threw rocks at the police as reflections of all of us!! They are making ALL of us out to be raging lunatics when 99.9% of us are non-violent and peaceful activists.
What will happen when corporate america elects George W. Bush (or Gore)?? Will more of our rights be stripped from us? Will we recieve the death penalty as a result of the insane "drug war"? Will more "minorities" be executed due to their racial background? Will globalization become a reality?
I suggest that more and more people join this movement towards Freedom, Justice, Equality and Peace and fight for our lives. I feel a revolution coming on, as does the establishment, and they are deathly afraid of us. THAT is why they are treating us so violently. That is why the police are shooting rubber bullets and tear gas at us even when we cooperate with them. They fear us, and rightfully so.
If you are not part of the revolution, then you are probably an enemy...so choose your side soon.
The New Left shall rise again, it's already begun....

In Total Solidarity,
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Media, cops, protesters, etc.

by Amy Thursday, Aug. 17, 2000 at 8:16 PM

I don't want to defend the media in any way...and I assume an article on this will be up tomorrow. I couldn't get to the protest today but I did watch the big late-afternoon stand-off on TV. The media was treating it like the Rose Parade in most ways, but some credit was given to the protesters. DA Gil Garcetti was talking to the NBC anchors, saying that the people out there were respectable, they were teachers, workers, union members, students. Mayor Riordan didn't say anything bad, either, he said he thought it was great that these people were out there getting out messages they thought were important. I was pretty surprised by both of these things. This doesn't make up for Monday or the general bullshit treatment the media is giving the protesters, the patronizing and the ignoring and everything else, but I thought I'd add this...
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Unprovoked Violence by Police More Common

by Azel Beckner Friday, Aug. 18, 2000 at 5:16 AM
azelb@wildmail.com (502) 782-3258 2039 Russellville Road Apt. 24 Bowling Green, KY 42101

Police do not have to be provoked to attack. They attack everyone when they are rioting.
I think the police should be charged with rioting. This sort of thing is getting beyond the reasonable expectations of police response to unrully behavior and should be limited by immediate punishment for the police who participate.
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The Revolution is under way

by Martin Chalfont Friday, Aug. 18, 2000 at 7:04 AM

This is all part of what has to happen. Revolutions are oppposition, and The U.S. gov., LAPD and whatever political funny party that they can throw at us are just there to complete the big picture! Do not lose sight of that friends of the Revolution! Keep on going through the motions, and momentum is at hand. This will allow us time to gain numbers for the masses, and the truth will reign free as it always has through-out history - except now it will be the largest revolution of numbers EVER.
S. Suzuki; "The world goes round and round, not up and down", There are no bridges to build, there is no economy to improve; the world goes up and down for Mr. Clinton and his imaginary business called the USA - it is NOW on its way DOWN!
Keep on pushing friends, and yield when necessary, and we will grow towards the SUN.But do not fight anything, there is no war, only peace.
Peace & Love to all mankind, MC
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Police on the wrong side

by Doug Friday, Aug. 18, 2000 at 7:59 AM

If ever there was an unenviable blue collar job, being a copper has to be it (I'm sure y'all can think of others, but go with me here...). Helping the police to understand that they are on the wrong side of the struggle is one of the fundamental principles of revolutionary behavior. I know there's a lot of animosity towards the police, and that's understandable, but hating the cops is the easiest, most fashionable, and least effective of strategies for change. Convince the police that they on are the wrong side - the side of capital - and if you can get them to join the side of true justice - the side of labor and the people - then perhaps we can see the leaders of capital tremble. After all, these guys aren't owners, they're workers blue through and through, and what we stand for will benefit them and their working class families too.

Sure, torching a police car is exciting, but it's pretty much off point.
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Media gets a beating, too

by glenn Friday, Aug. 18, 2000 at 8:31 AM

Hey. I figured you guys might be interested in our columnist Borys from Canada's first-hand account of getting shot, beat and trampled after the Rage show, posted on www.popculprit.com. Keep up the good work.

Our link:

On getting a beating by the LAPD
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the police are not your friends. (a rant)

by Sofie Esperanza Wednesday, Aug. 23, 2000 at 7:51 AM

While I agree that torching police cars will not do a thing to help our cause, it is not because I think we need to make nice with the police. It's because we need to pick our battles. Using violence at this point only escalates police repression, and we have no concerted strategy to act against that at this point. Basically, the police are not our friends. If they do join our side, which is of course the ideal, that would signal a landmark turning point in our struggle. Right now, however, we shouldn't naively assume that will happen just because we're nice. If anything, the events in LA this past week should demonstrate that. The police are there to provoke conflict. They do this because they know it will cause confusion and they can commit acts of violence against assembled people without reprecussion.

The police have a long history (millenia, you know, ever since the first power structure existed) of this sort of repression of free speech, freedom of assembly, you know, our supposed constitutional rights...unless they interfere with the program of the upper class. Remember the Haymarket "riots" at the turn of this century, in which a peaceful assembly of workers, anarchists, and trade unionists was disrupted by police throwing a bomb? This kind of repression is nothing new. Some of the violent acts we have been seeing at protests may actually be committed by undercover cops, or by kids hired to provoke conflict. This may not be the case, but how can we know for sure?

Yes, police work is a blue-collar job, but it is a blue collar job where you are called upon to commit violence against the poor and any working or middle-class upstarts. They are mercenaries, hired thugs, cossacks, the armed wing of the state/capitalism, whatever you want to call it.
The contradiction is that they are also exploited labor, but that doesn't mean they won't use and abuse the little power they have. That's why they exist- to protect and serve-the wealthy. They are the go-betweens between REAL power and the powerless.

The upper class will never get down and dirty on the ground level of class/race struggle - they employ (mostly)willing members of the working class to do it. The upper class uses laws, universities, government and private agencies and all the various and sundry social institutions to legitimize and further their control, economic, social, whatever. However, without both a domestic and international military, there is nothing material to back up this domination. That's what the police are- a domestic military. The middle-class and most of the white working-class almost never experience the ugly side of the police state that we live under, unless they are voicing opposition to the status quo-which we have seen time and time again this past year- in Seattle, DC, Philly, and now LA.

This violent action by the LAPD is the kind of thing that the poor (African Americans and Chicanos especially) in LA deal with on a day to day basis, but that those of us in the working and middle classes don't see unless we challenge the status quo. As capital seeks to increase its profits by driving down wages for both the working and the Professional-Managerial Class, we can expect to see more and more of this sort of police repression, not just at protests, but in general. As capital tightens the screws on these two classes, they are speaking out against economic oppression of all classes. This is a positive development, but the protests need to be more widespread and more oriented towards a strategy for real change rather than simply protesting "the system".

And while torching police cars might be a source of glee and give upper-middle-class college kids a taste of rebellion, it doesn't do anything. A lot of the violent acts committed at rallies and protests, when not by the police, are committed by wealthy student activists. This is not to say that wealthy kids can't have a part in the movement, but it would be nice if they were a little less prominent, and more humble. The arrogance of wealthy white activists is sometimes astounding and often disheartening. It also replicates the power structure that they want to overcome. True, this is the same argument that the media uses, but there is more than a grain of truth to it.

I say this not to immobilize any action but If these activists don't own up to this, I don't see real change as a possibility. There is a history of wealthy whites co-opting grassroots movements and immobilizing them by believing that they are more intelligent and more qualified to head up movements than the actually oppressed. Their bourgeois (racist/classist) education feeds them this notion of "using their privilege" to "help the helpless", which translates into "we are more qualified to lead".

This is not a strategy that is useful for long-term change- it is only useful for domination of the movement by oppressors (reproducing the power structure). Many young wealthy students are also rebelling against their parents by siding against the status quo, thus acting in a self-determining way for perhaps the first time. This can be a positive, radicalizing development, but it can also be a mere establishment of autonomy that is necessary for the upper-class to survive. These kids are those who will one day hold power, and to do that, they are taught that they are powerful and have complete autonomy. Rebelling against their parents is one way they establish this, and dominating grassroots movements reproduces the structures of domination that their parents engage in.

Until the movement is headed up and by the truly oppressed, there is no movement. So no, don't bomb a police car just so you can tell your friends back at Stanford or Yale or in your wealthy anarchist enclave how hardcore you are. Bomb a police car when it's part of a mass movement, a strategy for real change.
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how is buring a police car violent???

by -------- Sunday, Sep. 03, 2000 at 9:22 AM

how is buring a police car violent??? its a frigging car not a person. and i rasie a question...since police are private property is it violent to smash them??
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