What an awful piece. Where does one even begin?
"As for the violent protesters, they engender little, if any support, from peaceful people."
How does Lisa Sorg know this? Who in the world is she talking about? What is this inane babble? Had Ms. Sorg been at the two past marches, she would have noticed hundreds of furious people, cheering at the police headquarters being smashed. She also would have noticed that same crowd protecting folks from cop attempts to arrest those they thought responsible. And she would have noticed most of the crowd being mostly peaceful, even while screaming obscenities and violent gestures at the cops. This was not done just by a few anarchists--every reportback written displays the image of multiracial crews of skater kids, old Latinagrandmothers and mothers, the white and middle-aged, those with and without masks, participating, fluidly. Lisa Sorg's picture, neatly delineated between the violent few and the peaceful many, DOES NOT EXIST. Her way of understanding this historical moment is completely flawed, either through ignorance or a malevolent intent to portray a struggle in such a way as to reinforce her own liberal paradigm. The fact is that the chants of "Cops, Pigs, Murderers" which started with a whisper two months ago can now be heard as a roar. So much for "violence" finding no resonance with "peaceful people."
" I can't sympathize with the anarchist agitators. "
This is just trash. Obviously Lisa Sorg isn't an anarchist - her newspaper's support of the miraculously successful Greenbridge development alone would attest to that - but the real point of this statement is to confuse the reader into thinking, once again, that the anger and vandalism and fighting back that has happened on the streets of Durham is the work of a small number of presumably white, presumably outsider, anarchists. This is false. Every reportback, every witness, attests otherwise. The arrest records would themselves seem to attest otherwise. Of course, it is quite possible that the latino teens who have been arrested are themselves anarchists; but the point of Sorg's statement is once again to make the idea of confrontation or a refusal to dialogue with city officials seem dangerous, foreign, and alien, when in fact, on the ground, in reality, this confrontation seems to be exactly what large numbers of people desire. This is pretty logical, when you think about it: how you would feel as a broke-ass teenager, after the cops, who have never done anything but harass you, killed one of your friends? You probably wouldn't need an anarchist to convince you to throw rocks back at the cops, something you've wanted to do your whole damn life but have never had the chance.
"Their tactics are self-defeating, and do nothing to expedite justice, mend the rifts within the community or assuage the grief of Huerta's family. It's a pointless act of defiance."
Really? Self-defeating? How many reading this know who Jose Ocampo is? How about Derek Walker? Now, how about Jesus Chuy Huerta? Why is that? The other two men were also killed by police or in police custody, just several months prior. But there were no protests, there were no counter-attacks on police, no graffiti or propaganda put up around town, no tear gas or nighttime street battles in downtown Durham for these men. And there will likely be no consequences for the cops' actions. It is the same old story.
The fact that there even IS an investigation, even the slightest trembling on behalf of Durham's police hierarchy and political class, is because of the conflicts that have broken out. There is no reason, NONE, historically, to believe that police or their politicians give up authority or admit wrongdoing because they have been asked nicely. None. When writers like Lisa Sorg complain about this conflict, saying that the protesters should behave themselves, that they should calm down, they are telling us that they care more about the image of liberal Durham than the lives of the teenagers of thousands of families just like the Huertas. A CHILD DIED. Calmness be damned--let's do what it takes to make sure there is never another dead Chuy.
Speaking about Moral Mondays, Sorg writes, "The disobedience was civil, and thus the mass arrests eroded the credibility of the cops, not of the demonstrators. "
That's ironic, considering i havent heard a peep out of either media or activist friends or raleigh residents in general about popular struggles against the police taking hold recently in that city, or mistrust of cops increasing there. Contrast this with the obvious mistrust of the cops that has spread in the last three months in Durham! We don't undermine the authority of those we oppose by appearing like weak victims, but by appearing strong and able to defend ourselves. When a crowd cheers, " Burn it down" as masked youth break the windows of the police HQ, that resonates with a lot of people. Obviously it doesn't resonate with Sorg, but she ought to have the wisdom to recognize that she is not the center of the universe, that a lot of people have a whole lot more terrible experiences with cops than her chosen, tame arrest during a sanctioned, cordoned, authorized, and institutionalized Moral Monday. Perhaps after losing some family members or loved ones to prison, as i have done, she might understand why some of us are more inspired by a line of kids throwing rocks back at stormtroopers than we are by asking to be arrested for absolutely no foreseeable logical purpose.
All of this is a moot point: Lisa Sorg has nothing against the cops, anyway, and so her evaluating her Moral Monday experience by way of attitudes to the police is the wrong measuring stick. The purpose of those protests was to change the legislature's behavior, at which they utterly failed, as Sorg admits. The purpose of the demos and other agitation around Huerta and the DPD is not to make a legislative change, but, it would seem: a) force the DPD to answer questions or face an outside investigation, to at least provide answers to the grieving family b) make connections with other groups and individuals who oppose the DPD c) continue to grow and spread a social force capable of undermining DPD authority and generalizing broader tensions within the structures of racism, class, and State in Durham.
These are just three possible goals of these protests; others would certainly add more. But a participant would notice that ALL of these have already started to happen, not by the goodness of city officials' hearts but by the pressure from the bottom of a wide array of people who are opposing the authority of the police, and who in acting on this desire have refused to sell each other out, to give in to the good protester/bad protester crap that Lisa Sorg and her army of liberal journalists are desperately trying to print.
For actually decent reporting on this issue, including actual firsthand accounts by people WHO WERE ACTUALLY THERE, I would strongly encourage readers to take a trip over to prisonbooks.info
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