'Baltimore unrest' thread

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Juan Conatz's picture
Juan Conatz
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Apr 27 2015 21:40
'Baltimore unrest' thread

Figured Id get this started. Theres been clashes with police and protests for the last week there due to the police killing of Freddie Gray. From what Ive read, he suffered a severed spinal cord while in police custody but they havent explained this.

I know we got a couple posters from that area, maybe theyd like to post updates?

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Apr 27 2015 22:53

headed over in a lil bit so i don't have a ton of time but this has not been the work of "external agitators" - it is a bunch of pissed off youth.

state troopers and armored vehicles have headed to west baltimore

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Apr 27 2015 23:10

National Guard has been placed "on alert". Supposedly the Nation Of Islam brokered a truce between the Bloods & Crips. Police put out an alert that this truce has killing cops as its goal.

Lots of videos of cops retrating from showers of bricks and rocks. On my phone so cant share em tho

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Apr 27 2015 23:14

there was a truce called from what i understand in effect saturday, crips and bloods were at the protest on saturday

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Apr 27 2015 23:48

governor of Maryland declared a state of emergency. ive been seeing stuff about "activating" the National Guard but not sure how this differs from putting them "on alert". Havent seen anything about deployment yet.

http://baltimore.cbslocal.com/2015/04/27/gov-hogan-puts-maryland-nationa...

News says dozens of officers are injured, some with broken bones, and one was "unresponsive"

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Apr 28 2015 00:18

national guard was coming up 695 about an hour ago

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Apr 28 2015 00:53

curfew imposed by mayor apr 28th-may 4th 10 pm-5am

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Apr 28 2015 02:36

This milktoast fuck makes it sound likes he's reporting on perfectly natural phenomena

"The police are doing their job and 'the crowd' seems to have dispersed. The police are doing exactly as they were trained."

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Apr 28 2015 03:22

7 hours in Baltimore

Quote:
I’m just a working class guy—a property manager. I have some properties on North Avenue. I did attend the demonstrations on Saturday, because I’ve been pulled over a few times, and the police treat me like shit every time I’m pulled over. But it shouldn’t be like this. All the right wingers—this is exactly what they want. Fox News, Breitbart. We look like hooligans.

For the 'academic' thread: Are property managers an impediment to revolution?! tongue

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Apr 28 2015 04:38

I see the citywide curfew was mentioned. A Wob in Baltimore mentioned there arent really protests going on, just a lot of street fighting. Havent had time to get to a computer today but tomorrow Ill throw more links and pics Ive seen yp on here

EDIT: Theres some decent info in here, despite the sensationalizism http://www.baltimoresun.com/news/maryland/baltimore-city/bs-md-ci-freddi...

bastarx
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Apr 28 2015 05:45

http://www.anarchistnews.org/content/last-night-baltimore

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Apr 28 2015 06:08

Wire creator David Simon pleads for order http://davidsimon.com/baltimore/

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Apr 28 2015 06:11

While Ta-Nehisi Coates gets it:

Quote:
When nonviolence is preached as an attempt to evade the repercussions of political brutality, it betrays itself. When nonviolence begins halfway through the war with the aggressor calling time out, it exposes itself as a ruse. When nonviolence is preached by the representatives of the state, while the state doles out heaps of violence to its citizens, it reveals itself to be a con. And none of this can mean that rioting or violence is "correct" or "wise," any more than a forest fire can be "correct" or "wise." Wisdom isn't the point tonight. Disrespect is. In this case, disrespect for the hollow law and failed order that so regularly disrespects the rioters themselves.

http://www.theatlantic.com/politics/archive/2015/04/nonviolence-as-compl...

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Apr 28 2015 06:18

Crowds have reportedly captured police horses:

(haven't been able to verify this, and I dunno where you'd learn to ride horses in Baltimore, but I hope it's true)

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Apr 28 2015 07:10

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Apr 28 2015 07:18

I have to say, out of all the recent police brutality protests, watching the footage of this appeared to be most similar to what I experienced during the Gezi.

Anyway, I think the stuff about the gangs establishing a truce (which we also saw, apparently, during the London riots), I think is really one of the most interesting developments to come out of this. It really points to the way a militant class movement or revolutionary situation could transform those most marginalized elements of society.

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Apr 28 2015 07:57

So apparently there were no protests planned yesterday (the day of the funeral), but school kids walked out (there were conflicting reports as to whether this was a walkout, or whether cops cancelled buses and classes were let out, or some combination. Someone on twitter was saying they're a teacher and, 'their' kids were pulled off buses then 'dispersed' by cops).

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Apr 28 2015 08:01
bastarx
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Apr 28 2015 08:19
Joseph Kay wrote:
Wire creator David Simon pleads for order http://davidsimon.com/baltimore/

Saw this on facebook: "Season 6 of The Wire has been great so far."

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Apr 28 2015 08:30
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Apr 28 2015 09:46

Found that teacher's account:

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Apr 28 2015 12:45
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Apr 28 2015 12:46
Juan Conatz's picture
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Apr 28 2015 14:30


National Guard outside City Hall

Gangs dispute truce is for attacking police: http://m.wbaltv.com/news/gang-members-we-did-not-make-truce-to-harm-cops...

Some images: http://www.theatlantic.com/photo/2015/04/baltimore-riots-photos/391613/#...

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Apr 28 2015 14:32

DeRay and Netta (#blacklivesmatter activists with lots of twitter followers*) have set up a site with key information for people resisting in Baltimore: http://baltimoreuprising.org/

* What's the terminology here; not really leaders. High degree nodes?

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Apr 28 2015 15:44

High net-worth individuals? Link-lords? (only kidding)

In peer-to-peer networking the term for the more highly connected nodes that serve as relays and wider network access for more sparsely connected nodes, is "supernode". But that doesn't seem appropriate in context.

edit: The Harry Halpin & Kay Summer article on this in Turbulence 4 suggested "hubs".

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Apr 28 2015 16:26

I have been following this as it unfolds. Let's talk about it...

The first thing I want to point out was how these confrontation started. High School students in West Baltimore organized on social media to meet at a well known and large bus stop. Police decided to "ride out" and confront them there, for whatever reasons, maybe because of the students allusions to the film "The Purge".

Self-organized action without much outside influence. "Spontaneous". Hopefully we can frame the discussion around these issues.

I also think it's interesting that it seems most baby boomers have labeled the youth revolters "thugs" and their is this akward tension between the youth and their parents as highlighted by this youtube video

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=u5V0YpGn6wo

Edit: Thanks admin for merging threads wink I'm a newbb

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Apr 28 2015 15:16

Law, Order, Property. These are the rallying cries of counter-revolution. I don't mean to suggest that these riots are revolutionary, but of course looting and property damage steps on the toes of bourgeois society. It is my understanding that all the old, conservative, "leadership" groups are calling for non-violence, and a peaceful solution.

The irony of that shit is that there is a relatively "simple" solution, but it is not a politically viable one: Disarm regular police. Not every cop ought to have a gun. We all know this would not fix class society, and it would not outright end police murders, but it would significantly reduce them and signal to people that police "trust" their citizens and citizens SHOULD trust their police.

But instead, in moments like these, the most conservative of perspectives erupt. The petit-bourgeois desire for counter-revolutionary violence against those who would profane property, the racialized denigration of protesters as animals, the complete mystification of their actions. "Why are they looting? Who does that?!" It's treated like a weather event.

On Imgur, a popular image sharing site, the top voted comment for THIS IMAGE:

Was:

Quote:
That woman with the black power shirt and smiling in the midst of a loot should feel incredibly ashamed of herself.

Why does a website that consists mostly in making fun of almost everything, suddenly get serious, and start policing the activity, attitudes, of rioters?

Here is the list of images: http://imgur.com/gallery/ReITb

That girl looks like a champ to me. I guess I bring this stuff up because my co-workers tend to vocalize and intone the petit-bourgeois response. So I usually try and walk them through the chronology and then get to the point that any of us (people with small means) would grab some food or a tv if the repercussions were slim. When did we all get so moral about fucking snack food?

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Apr 28 2015 16:10

i was out last night until 10pm, by lexington market passing out water and snacks, as well as the legal aid number that we had to anybody we came across, as well as treating one person for pepper spray contact. we arrived after the main looting had happened, so the police presence was heavy, with a line of riot cops in front of the market. the pigs were looking for any excuse to harass any black youth in the area, so we hung out for a while observing to make sure that they behaved themselves.

i didn't grow up in baltimore, but i should put it in perspective for y'all - the impoverished neighborhoods in baltimore are the worst that i have seen in the us; there are often more abandoned row houses on a street than occupied houses. i have visited a number of these neighborhoods while helping with organizing for a mainstream union, and the conditions of occupied houses are usually terrible, compounded by the terrible slumlord landlords who do jack shit to repair or fix anything, with many people living in a house since it is the only way to make it affordable.

there are no jobs, and any entry level job will get hundreds of applicants, all for the honor of making $8-$9 an hour.

to be black and young in baltimore is to invite yourself to open harassment from the store owners, cops, and anyone who thinks that you look suspicious. there are very few 'public' spaces for youth to go to, compounded by the closing of the rec centers and after school programs, as well as the very rational desire of the youth to not want to hang out in their neighborhoods. a lot of the places that were targeted for looting are places where youth constantly faced a base level of harassment - 7-11s, lexington market(which always has a huge police presence), the downtown gentrified area by the harbor - which i saw happen fairly regularly as a bystander, such as cops tailing kids around the downtown mall area; i've even seen cops chasing groups of kids with their truncheons out while loudly yelling threats at them. there is a daily base level of violence by the police that i think may be hard for people to understand if they have not seen it themselves.

i will echo jamal and say that most of what i saw & heard of happening was spontaneous, and usually was able to stay one step ahead of the cops because they had mainly stationed themselves in defense of the downtown wealthy areas.

there is another march scheduled at 3pm at the location that freddie gray was picked up at; i'm about to go pick up some more first aid supplies, but i will try to update what else i see today.

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Apr 28 2015 16:22

I think you need to take a many-sided view to looting.

On the one hand, for people on low incomes with some experience in shop-lifting, they have a chance to directly appropriate stuff to satisfy some of their own material needs. However, despite what some of the more giddy and less astute "communizers" might think, the problem with proletarian shopping is that it's still shopping - i.e. seeking your own individual material advancement in a competitive (or at least, devil-take-the -hindmost) fashion - i.e. it's not that really that far outside the bourgeois horizon. (And this needs acknowledging in dialogue with all those people who live within that horizon that see looting solely in that way - i.e. still capitalist, but just more selfish and more violent - i.e. even worse than playing by the rules).

But on the other hand, a lot of what goes on in mass looting situations is people who've never stolen a thing in their lives, pitching in a grabbing armfuls of stuff - much of which turns out later to be of little value (use or exchange) to them - cf the many tales of inexperienced 2011 looters who ended up with bottles of water, packs of crisps or junk food (like the schoolkid in the foreground of the picture above). Here people are taking part because they're seeing other people doing it, and it's the joy of suddenly being able to break the taboos against the respect for commodity-right. On the one hand this can be seen just as commodity-fetishism unleashed. But on the other hand it can begin the process of a collective de-fetishisation. You can see this sometimes when people start throwing out the loot to the rest of the crowd (and not just their cohorts). Or one of the stories from St Paul's in the early '80s that stuck in my mind, where during the riot a camera shop window got done and the crowd emptied it of (then very expensive) early-80s video cameras. Which they then appropriated for an entirely different use-value of chucking at the riot cops (early-80s video cameras had a lot of metal in them) in joyful disregard to their market-value.

But the more strategic aspect is this. What can a few hundred unarmed schoolkids do against legions of US paramilitary robocops. If they do the "decent" thing (according to the values of those weird freaks who seem to think that fighting the police is honourable, but looting is shameful) and try and fight the cops directly (aside from a bit of missile throwing) then the only damage that will be done will be to their own bodies and families. But by smashing windows and looting, they can potentially cause millions of dollars of damage to the class enemy (the store owners claim insurance or compensation from local or national government). If the object of the exercise is to turn the slogan "no justice, no peace" into something other than an empty threat, then causing real damage, financial damage, to the powers that be, means that looting is a basic guerilla tactic of asymmetrical warfare.

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Apr 28 2015 16:42

Thanks everyone for the updates here, especially to those of you on the ground in Baltimore. Stay safe and please continue to let us know what's going on!

Ocelot, very good point about looting