Repression and Resistance: Week in Protest October 9-15

Cover photo by Sergio Olmos

“Repression and Resistance” is a column from Tribune of the People that highlights rebellions and repression happening in protests across the US each week. If you want us to cover a protest happening in your city, please send us a pitch.

National

This week, Commissioner Dermot Shea of the New York Police Department instructed all uniformed officers in an internal memo to prepare for deployment to put down anticipated protests in the lead-up to and aftermath of the November presidential election. Similar preparations are already underway in Texas and other states, taking the lead from arch-reactionary Donald Trump and his comments in an interview with the press monopoly last month.

“Look, it’s called insurrection,” Trump said in the interview. “We just send in, and we do it very easy. I mean, it’s very easy. I’d rather not do that because there’s no reason for it, but if we had to, we’d do that and put it down within minutes.”

Trump’s threats affirm what could have already been predicted by this year’s nonstop crackdown on the movement for Black lives and the intensifying antagonism between the people and the government. US imperialism is in crisis, and the escalating repression is the modus operandi of a state on the path to greater reactionization. Protest of the electoral farce, and the illusion of democracy it peddles, is especially intolerable for the ruling class at a time when its dictatorship has been under constant attack and the symbols of its authority battered with rocks, fireworks, and the rage of the people.

Portland, OR

On the ruling class ‘Christopher Columbus’ holiday, statues of US Presidents Theodore Roosevelt and Abraham Lincoln were torn down in Portland, and windows at the Oregon Historical Society were smashed.

“Dakota 38” was painted on the Lincoln Statue, in reference to the 38 indigenous men who Lincoln ordered hanged in the largest mass execution in US history. The men had been taken prisoner in the Dakota War of 1862, where multiple indigenous tribes united to fight against US colonialism.

The statue of Roosevelt, a notorious racist who helped shape the development of early US imperialism, was covered in red paint before being severed from its base with the aid of a blow torch.

Denver, CO

Matthew Doloff, a hired gun for a local ruling class news station, will be charged with second degree murder for shooting and killing reactionary Lee Keltner during competing protests last weekend, according to an announcement by state prosecutors on Thursday. Days after the shooting, video surfaced showing that Keltner had attacked a journalist and then Doloff before he was killed.

A mercenary contracted by the infamous union-busting Pinkerton agency, Doloff cannot and should not be compared to people’s heroes like Michael Reinoehl. He was not there to serve the people, and the happenstance killing amounts to friendly fire between reactionaries. The state’s case against Doloff seeks to criminalize armed protesters and protect police, but if Doloff beats the charges it will be a win for private security, not the people.

The killing happened in the context of a counterprotest to a “Patriot Muster” event. Although those opposing the rally sided more with the people than the reactionaries, their methods were childish, coming together under the name “BLM-Antifa Soup Kitchen.” More seriousness and organization is needed to combat the right and civilian fascist movement which continues to grow.

Austin, TX

Last Saturday, the Drop the Charges Coalition hung up a string of printouts along the Lamar Pedestrian Bridge depicting chain links representing the over 14,000 people who have been arrested since the May Uprisings.

“In Austin we demand District Attorney Margaret Moore and County Attorney David Escamilla to drop the charges against the roughly 200 people arrested in this year’s uprisings!” the coalition said in a statement. “We also demand that incoming District Attorney Jose Garza and County Attorney Delia Garza drop the charges against protesters when they assume office in 2021.”

Milwaukee, WI

Protests have raged on in the suburb of Wauwatosa after police officer Joseph Mensah was not charged last week for the murder of teenager Alvin Cole in February. Police have brutally arrested protesters and used tear gas to clear the streets in the area. Police also had previously arrested members of Cole’s family, including his mother and sisters.

Kansas City, MO

The occupation at City Hall continues in protest of the brutal arrest of a pregnant black mother Deja Stallings last week, consisting of more than 20 tents. The current demands include the firing of Police Chief Rick Smith and other officers who have killed or hurt the people, as well as recalling of local officials.

Seattle, WA

Detective Mike Brown was recommended for termination this week by the King County Sheriff’s Office after a months-long investigation into his social media posts, including one where he mocked protesters Summer Taylor and Diaz Love who were hit by a reactionary driver on July 4, with Summer later dying.

Hours after the attack, Brown had posted an image showing a crowd being hit by a car with the caption “All Lives Splatter.” His termination is another example of law enforcement agencies punishing anti-people behavior only to disguise the anti-people function of the police and their antagonistic hatred towards the working class.

Detective Mike Brown (photo KOMO News)

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