Friday, November 19, 2010
When myself and JR were in Barcelona a few years ago we happened to find ourselves in a really fun squatter anti-eviction riot in which a bunch of banks were fucked up, buildings were occupied, graffiti was thrown up everywhere, billboards were wheatpasted and a freeway was occupied. It was a blast. There was a really cool rally beforehand with all kinds of theater, fireworks and music. Quite impressive. They really had their shit together.
For the most part, until the freeway was taken over, the cops stayed at the back, kind of lurking back there or lingering on the margins. But once we all hopped the wall and got on the freeway, they finally let loose on us with everything they had, rubber bullets, batons and the usual. Quite exciting. Afterward, I remember being on the train, breathless from running, telling some Spanish guy, himself bleeding from a vicious welt inflicted by the cops, that we'd never seen anything like that in the US, and wasn't that too bad.
One tactic that the squatters used against the police in particular caught our attention. In order to keep plain clothes cops out of their march, they had constructed several stylized, giant fingers that pointed down towards the ground, saying "police" on them. The fingers were attached to poles so that they rose clearly above the crowd, in plain view of everyone. People carrying those signs would follow cops through the crowd, calling them out and driving them out. It seemed to work like a charm.
So, we've kicked around doing something similar here for quite a while but never did it, mostly because it seemed like we never needed to. However, the recent rise of the police tactic of using plain clothes snatch squads to infiltrate and grab people from within our marches and rallies reminded us of what we'd seen in Barcelona. So, before the anti-NSM action a couple of them were constructed and taken to the courthouse on the appointed day. They worked like a charm. In fact, one set of plain clothes cops fled never to be seen again that day. It says a lot that the only people arrested were grabbed after the action, I think. Of course, that means we need to think of ways to stop that from happening next.
So, our photo of the day shows one happy militant putting the tactic into practice. Look at the smile on his face! And the frustration on the officer's! Priceless!