Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Washington Irving HS Protest - Monitored by Large (15) Police Presence

UPDATED: Thurs. Dec. 22, 11AM - See Gary Rubinstein analysis -  Washington Irving High School — another school unfairly closed

A peaceful gathering of teachers was watched by riot police and regular police and 2 white shirts from across the street.   - Teacher report
Now, there weren’t many police in riot helmets. Maybe 3 or 4, plus another 15 police (including two White Shirts) milling around. When I arrived there were two NYPD squad cars, two vans, and three mopeds. You might say to yourself, as someone responded to me on Twitter, Hey man, 3 or 4 riot-helmeted cops with their hands in their pockets, looking bored, isn’t such a big deal. Well, you’re wrong. It’s absolutely a big deal. Not because the police were going to beat up anybody, or arrest anybody, but simply because 50 teachers protesting the closing of their school do not deserve to be treated like potential rioters — even by 3 police officers. -----Political media

The above is from two separate reports. Note my last post (NYC Police Turn Ugly Since Occupy Movement Began) on the growing police state (with video) from Bloomberg's private army - the NYCPD. I pointed to the growing threat education-based protests are facing. After all, Bloomberg's legacy is steeped in the schools and the growing opposition movement will be met with increasing monitoring.

We have been doing Fight Back Friday events for a few years in front of schools. But to send 15 cops with 2 white shirt supervisors?

Here's an idea: Let's do these in front of 50 schools on the same day and see how they handle it. Or maybe 1500 schools one day.

I noticed in the video below a few UFT officials. They should be concerned at the presence of 15 police at a rally of 50 people.

DEMAND THE UFT LODGE A FORMAL COMPLAINT ON WASTE OF TAX PAYER MONEY  IN A TIME WHERE CLASS SIZE ARE RISING ON WASTED POLICE PRESENCE AT PEACEFUL EXPRESSIONS OF PROTEST.
 
Here is a report with video from a teacher who is at another school in the building:
The Department of Education (=Bloomberg) announced the closure of Washington Irving High School.  The school, the teachers, the parents, the students and the community who knows and cares about this school fight back!

A peaceful gathering of teachers was watched by 3 riot police and about 10 regular police and 2 white shirts from across the street.  What's the message? Figure!
The video sums it up beautifully. There is some inspirational testimony by one parent in this video. Great testimony by teachers as well.  Feel free to watch and share!

http://vimeo.com/34010240

And another from reporter John Knefel.

http://www.thefastertimes.com/politicalmedia/2011/12/20/teachers-protest-closing-hs-nypd-don-riot-helmets/

Now, there weren’t many police in riot helmets. Maybe 3 or 4, plus another 15 police (including two White Shirts) milling around. When I arrived there were two NYPD squad cars, two vans, and three mopeds. You might say to yourself, as someone responded to me on Twitter, Hey man, 3 or 4 riot-helmeted cops with their hands in their pockets, looking bored, isn’t such a big deal. Well, you’re wrong. It’s absolutely a big deal. Not because the police were going to beat up anybody, or arrest anybody, but simply because 50 teachers protesting the closing of their school do not deserve to be treated like potential rioters — even by 3 police officers.
Police departments across the country are becoming increasingly militarized. Security contractors devise new methods of coercion against protesters constantly. As a result, confrontations between peaceful activists and cops often resemble paramilitary-style raids rather than restrained police action — most obviously in the way police have dislodged Occupy encampments nationwide. The aggressive theater that the PDs engage in is meant in no uncertain terms to intimidate anyone with the gall to raise their voice in dissent. Speak up and you will be kettled, pepper sprayed, jailed, beaten with truncheons, or simply advanced on by a phalanx of heavily armored stormtroopers. This morning’s action only serves to illustrate how deeply embedded the militarized reaction to all forms of protest is in the NYPD.
Why were there police there at all? Honestly, does anyone believe that one or two officers is an insufficient force to observe 50 teachers assembled, as is their right, outside their high school? It’s completely beside the point that the officers were bored, and that there were no confrontations. Or maybe it’s not. Maybe the lazy, uneventful, automatic militarized response is what I find so distasteful. The teachers I spoke with after the event were mildly concerned, but not seriously, about the police presence. They seemed to be bewildered by it more than anything else. But an activist and journalist who writes under the name Dicey Troop and I were more incredulous. Bloomberg’s army has become omnipresent for anyone participating in OWS, but their presence at Washington Irving was almost comically disproportionate.
Organizers of the event are calling for a massive public showing on January 31st at 6:30 at Brooklyn Tech to defend Washington Irving against the city’s proposed shut-down. According to information circulated this morning, 6% of the students at Manhattan’s high-need schools (of which Irving is a part) are special needs. At Bloomberg’s new Manhattan schools, the percentage is much lower, between .5-1%, according to the flier.
Bloomberg’s New York City is a city of increasingly privatized education, and an increasingly militarized response to all forms of protest. We would do well to remember his legacy accurately.
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1 comment:

  1. As people have pointed out, Washington Irving is in a prime location, and one of the less-noted aspects of charter schools is that they are a real estate play. Which politically-juiced charter chain is going to be handed this site? Moskowitz? KIPP? Or SED head King's Uncommon Schools?

    In the oligarchs NYC, Bloomberg's army - his words, not mine - is all about maintaining class and racial barriers.

    Class warfare: straight up. no chaser.

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