September 02, 2004
RNC vs NYC
Some notes from the Republican National Convention and the streets of New York. If all goes as planned a more essayish thing to follow...
- New York is just to big for these things to impact for real. Neither the RNC nor the protesters have the numbers to make more than a half skip in the patterns of the city that never sleeps. It now seems laughable that people actually bothered to leave town over this. None of this however is relevant to the unlucky few who happened to be at the precisely wrong spot as the NYP broke out the orange security fences trapping and arresting like deep sea fishermen.
- the police have fine tuned the art of using the physical form of the city against protesters. 1 city block + 100 cops on scooters and motorcycles = a mobile holding pen. The protests are divided and dispersed before they can even truly form. It takes active hard work to find an active protest. At the moment it seems the action is at 100 Center Street.
- the sms channels are marvelous sources of tactical news. Let us hope they refine further. The fact that police can listen in and in some cases post makes for a fascinating experiment in open systems. As a historical note, I first noticed these tactics in action during the post 9-11 Davos Economic Summit, held here in NY.
- many of the police seem to be without gasmasks of any kind. A clear indication they have dropped tear gas as a tactic. One wonders if the cops will soon be the ones getting tear gassed? Or perhaps the no tear gas rule is temporary, a gift to the poor Republican eyes, they clearly have enough trouble viewing reality already.
- on Tuesday the undercovers wore green bands around their arms or on their heads. Wednesday yellow. Today orange and red.
- has anyone ever seen a protester with a gun? if there was such a thing as a "violent protester" don't you think they would arm themselves?
- the standard tactic in anarchist channels now seems to be to blame any and all calls (and acts) to violence on undercover police provocateurs. One wonders if they get a different color armband. Maybe black?Posted by Abe at September 2, 2004 07:39 PM