(To follow is an edited excerpt from Occupy this Book: Mickey Z. on Activism, which can be ordered here.)
Each of us can believe what we wish to believe about the notorious “Black Bloc” but even if the most sensational media stories were true (and they’re not), such behavior would pale in comparison to that of the gangs in blue roaming our streets with little or no accountability
They dress alike.
They often hide their faces behind masks.
They even hide their identities.
They are armed, well armed.
They have demonstrated an irrefutable willingness to utilize their weapons.
They travel in groups. They sometimes travel alone.
They act in groups. They sometimes act alone.
They interpret or ignore laws as they see fit.
They are infiltrators and provocateurs.
They watch your every move.
They have been terrorizing certain communities since, well…forever.
They are a clear and present threat to nearly everyone’s freedom.
They are the Blue Bloc.
The Blue Bloc is made up of the local, state, and federal law enforcement (sic) officers and agents who possess a wide array of taxpayer subsidized, military-style weaponry—including biological and sonic—in the name of unleashing a coordinated, relentless, and often unlawful assault against an enemy (sic) armed (sic) with signs, chalk, musical instruments, cameras, mobile libraries and kitchens, and the truth.
What do you do when the gang wears blue?
Never forget, law enforcement agents are fastidiously trained to deceive you. They are schooled in tactics like good cop/bad cop, telling you your comrades sold you out, threatening you, “be-friending” you, and tricking you into talking.
Memorize these 13 “magic words” when dealing with Blue Bloc members: “I am going to remain silent. I would like to see a lawyer.”
If you are detained and searched, however, do not remain silent. Silence is consent. State clearly: “I do not consent to this search.”
Then: Refer back to the 13 magic words: “I am going to remain silent. I would like to see a lawyer.”
Never forget: Cops, judges, and lawyers are trained to deal with situations like police stops, arrests, and other legal proceedings while most of us live in a bubble of TV-induced misperceptions. There is so much to know and so many mistakes to be avoided that nobody can afford the luxury of not learning these ropes.
Ask for help…
Cops are a symptom, but they are not “pigs”
One of the more counterproductive yet enduring activist tendencies is to focus way more time and energy challenging the Blue Bloc of law enforcement than challenging the dominant culture. For this reason, I offer some not-so-subtle reminders:
- Of course cops are brutal and violent
- Of course they interpret the law whenever and however they see fit
- Of course they target specific populations
- Of course they only protect and serve the status quo
- Of course they infiltrate groups like OWS (why are so many shocked by this?)
- Of course they wanna make us paranoid and do things like hang a “snitch jacket” on comrades (choose solidarity, not paranoia)
So, if you really wanna goad cops into arresting you and/or scream “fuck the police!”—go ahead. Diversity of tactics, and all. But please recognize that such gestures will do virtually nothing to bring about serious, sustainable social change or help lure more folks to activism. Ultimately, I feel these tactics have zero impact on the power and control wielded by the 1%.
Yes, we must expose Blue Bloc malfeasance and stand in solidarity with those most commonly victimized by police behavior. But if we lose sight of the big picture, well, we’ve seen that show a few thousand times, haven’t we?
Blue Bloc tactics are merely symptoms. We must stay more focused on the disease…before we run out of time.
Postscript: Pigs are sensitive, intelligent beings, worthy of our respect. Therefore, by definition, cops are not “pigs” and calling them “pigs” not only doesn’t help the struggle for justice but it also reveals a speciesist bias. Surrender all privileges, challenge all hierarchies.