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COUNTERCULTURES. “Police Crackdowns on Occupy Protests from Oakland to New York Herald the “New Military Urbanism,” Democracy Now , 11/16/2011. Interview with an Oakland Occupier: Countering Labeling, De-stigmatization

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“Police Crackdowns on Occupy Protests from Oakland to New York Herald the “New Military Urbanism,” Democracy Now, 11/16/2011

  • Interview with an Oakland Occupier: Countering Labeling, De-stigmatization

  • ALI: I mean, you know, this encampment has accomplished a lot, OK, for myself and—you know, we have discussions all the time, you know what I’m saying? And it comes to what society labels us as, you know? And this right here, this encampment, has given the people a chance to change what those labels are, you know what I’m saying? Whether you’ve been called a black man who’s a criminal or a Hispanic who’s a car thief or an individual who’s a racist, this is a place where none of that exists, OK? Because if you come with those, you’re going to have some type of change. OK?

  • And pretty much what I’ve seen happen here, because this is our own world, our own community, our own society, that’s by the people, we feed people, OK? We house people, OK? Not just people, but families, as well, you know what I’m saying? These people, if you go around West Oakland, the homeless encampments all across West Oakland are pretty much here. They are a part of the society, and they have to be recognized that they are here. You know what I’m saying? But everybody here is not a homeless individual. Some of us are hard-working class. You got these homeless people, crack addicts, heroine addicts, disabled people, right along with the same people that are doctors, lawyers, practitioners, chiropractors, teachers. We’re all here together, OK? We are parents. We are mothers, fathers, brothers, sisters. Everything here is together, no matter what label you put on us. You know?

  • I’m a criminal. I’m a thug. I’m a convict. I’m a gangster. I’m a womanizer. But you know what? That’s what society labeled me as. In this society here—I’m not none of those.

Cities under siege the new military urbanism stephen graham
Cities Under Siege: The New Military York Herald the “New Military Urbanism,” Urbanism, Stephen Graham

  • Studies links between military counterinsurgency tactics deployed in war zones abroad and methods of surveillance and control increasingly used in urban areas around the world

  • Police forces are increasingly using military ideas and tactics at the domestic scale to confront particularly mobilizations in cities, such as the Occupy movements

  • tactics and ideas and, increasingly, technologies have very close links, very big security- industrial complexes, to the moves in the military towards intense focus on cities and on counterinsurgency tactics in sort of war zone cities , e.g., Baghdad and Kabul

  • War on Drugs caused shift in North America & Europe towards paramilitarized policing, using helicopter-style systems, using infrared sensing, using heavily militarized weaponry

  • More recently, there’s been a big push since the end of the Cold War by the big defense and security and IT companies to sell things like video surveillance systems, things like geographic mapping systems, and even more recently, drone systems, that have been used in assassination raids in Afghanistan and in Pakistan and elsewhere, as sort of a domestic policing technology

  • It’s basically a big, booming market, particularly in a world where surveillance and security is being integrated into buildings, into cities, into transport systems, on the back of the War on Terror

Why i feel bad for the pepper spraying policeman lt john pike a madrigal
Why I Feel Bad for the pepper-spraying policeman, lt. John Pike (A. Madrigal)

  • “Structures, in the sociological sense, constrain human agency. And for that reason, I see John Pike as a casualty of the system, too. Our police forces have enshrined a paradigm of protest policing that turns local cops into paramilitary forces. Let's not pretend that Pike is an independent bad actor. Too many incidents around the country attest to the widespread deployment of these tactics. If we vilify Pike, we let the institutions off way too easy.”

Strategies of policing protest
Strategies of policing protest Pike (A. Madrigal)

MEME Pike (A. Madrigal)

  • A meme is the basic unit in which a message is transmitted in culture jamming

  • Memes are condensed images that stimulate visual, verbal, musical, or behavioral associations that people can easily imitate and transmit to others

  • Memes are seen as genes that can jump from outlet to outlet and replicate itself or mutate upon transmission just like a virus, i.e., “to go viral”

  • e.g., “Casually Pepper Spraying Everything Cop,” Lieutenant Pike, UC-Davis Police


Culture jamming no logo no space no choice no jobs n klein 2002
“Culture Pike (A. Madrigal)Jamming,” No Logo: No Space, No Choice, No Jobs (N. Klein, 2002)

  • Culture jamming, a tactic used by many anti-consumerist movements, is a mechanism in which an activist attempts to disrupt or subvert mainstream cultural institutions or corporate advertising

  • Many culture jams are simply aimed at exposing questionable political assumptions behind commercial culture so that people can momentarily consider the branded environment in which they live

  • Culture jams refigure logos, fashion statements, and product images to challenge the idea of "what's cool" along with assumptions about the personal freedoms of consumption

  • Culture jamming is usually employed in opposition to a perceived appropriation of public space, or as a reaction against social conformity

  • “Jamming,” interfering with or preventing the reception of signals, has long been a contentious political act, e.g., “jamming” radio stations broadcasting enemy propaganda in the context of war

Resisting commodification of the commons
Resisting Pike (A. Madrigal)“commodification of the commons”

  • commodification of the commons: is the process of privatizing, monopolizing, and commodifying common heritage resources and turning public services into corporate profit centers

  • commodification: transforming something into a commodity to be bought and sold

    (“A Better World is Possible!” International Forum on Globalization, Ch. 60, pp. 482-493 (Excerpted from IFG, A Better World is Possible!, report summary, 2002)

The yes men
The Yes Men Pike (A. Madrigal)

  • The Yes Men:a crew of activists that uses humor and savvy media tactics to bring attention to corporate wrongdoing

  • A key strategy is Identity Correction:

  • Impersonating big-time criminals in order to publicly shame them.

  • “Our targets are leaders and big corporations who put profits ahead of everything else.”

The yes men dow chemical hoax
The Yes Men Dow Pike (A. Madrigal)chemical hoax

  • The Yes Men claimed that dealing with the consequences of the accident was Dow’s responsibility

  • On the 20th anniversary of the Bhopal disaster, a Yes Man posing as "Dow representative" "Jude Finisterra," went on BBC World TV to announce that the company would finally compensate victims and clean up the mess in Bhopal

  • The story shot around the world, and by the time it was discredited, Dow's stock had declined in value by $2 billion