Tuesday, August 23, 2011

The BART Protests Continue

And thank doG they do.

This video of last week's confrontation during which Melyssa Jo Kelly, who was at the Civic Center Station when Charles Hill was shot dead on the platform by a BART Cop is riveting and wrenching.

"There is something deeply wrong and deeply sick inside of the BART Police Department..."

Isn't that the truth, though. This is the kind of confrontation with Authority that, if persisted in, will in fact have a profound influence on the course of events. Persistence is the key. Right now, the Authorities are counting on the protests not persisting. Recent history shows they won't.

But that's what they were counting on in Cairo, in Madison, and in Columbus too. This is a year of Revolt, which is very likely to turn into an era of Revolution.

Watch the faces of the BART cops. Some of them, not all, are feeling intense guilt and shame as Melyssa Jo Kelly harangues them. She's like their mom, chewing them out.

And she's right.

UPDATE: Apparently the Wednesday BART board meeting I mentioned in comments happened in the morning rather than the evening, it was sparsely attended, and the only agenda item addressed by the public was the cell-phone disabling issue -- which the Board has, in its wisdom, agreed to reconsider and develop standards and policies as suggested by the public, ie: to limit cell-phone restriction of access to true emergency situations rather than to interfere with public protest.

Meanwhile, the protests (of the killings) are slated to continue. Counter-protests are also on tap.


  1. Both rousing and heart-breaking. The anger and resentment is palpably real. Not produced. Not manufactured. Our government and governments around the world better wake up to this. If they think this movement is just about Arab monarchies and dictators, they're not paying any attention.

    This is all about the government-capitalist nexis, stomping on the people, and the people finally pushing back.

    The conundrum, of course, is how to resolve this, if it can be resolved. I get the sense that the libertarian moment is growing in power in the states and the UK, especially among the young -- and with each vision of police killing citizens and abusing their power, their view is reinforced. It makes perfect sense to want to take power away from corrupt governments that abuse it and crush the people and go to war at the drop of a hat.

    But power doesn't die, it's just transferred, like energy. Which is the rest of the equation, and libertarians generally don't deal with that part.

    What is the best configuration of individual liberty and social responsibility? What is the right degree of public versus private authority? How do we maximize personal autonomy without enabling predators, etc.?

    I don't have the answers, and have no delusions of certainty. But I think right-libertarians do believe they have that certainty and those answers.

    Humility, at the very least, is in order. Along with a new kind of (broader) empathy.

  2. There's no way to watch that video without a visceral reaction. Her determination, honesty and sincerity shine through it all.

    It is exactly the kind of confrontation that must go on, incessantly, if our slide into a total Police State is to be arrested. I have my doubts it can be slowed let alone stopped at this point, we're so far down that path, and yet I have hope too. The female cop at the end of the line, near the end of the first video looks like she is crying or is about to cry as Melyssa Jo winds up her harangue. Yes, well. I hope she is thinking about all the people who have been shot down -- and how any of them could have been her mother.

    The protests are pretty straightforward liberationist actions. Libertarians are certainly involved, especially with regard to the cell phone business. But Libertarians aren't really liberationists. I doubt too many of them have a problem with shooting homeless people or Negroes on principle. Those who have been manning the barricades for weeks now appear to be mostly tuned in young and old, of all races and ethnicities, who are sick of the death dealing, the bloodshed, and the terrorism of ordinary people by Authority. They've had enough and they are putting their own comfort and convenience at risk to confront these issues and the people who are the real threats.

    What's happening in San Francisco is mirrored all over the world as more and more ordinary people stand up for themselves and say "Enough."

    God love em.

  3. Lotsa complexity involved as well. Like, the police really being in the same class as the protestors. "Class warfare" is being waged against them as well, but they're the shields and the spears for the folks stomping on them, financially and politically.

    (I know the above is old news. As in, centuries old. But it strikes me as relevant.)

    Kent State, etc. It's going to spread.

  4. I kinda doubt the Bay Area police forces believe they are in the same class as the men they've shot down lately, and I don't doubt that they are somewhat shocked to see so many San Franciscans and others of all classes, races, ages, and so on joining together to call them out for their behavior. That's gotta hurt.

    The history of police abuse in the Bay Area is long and ignoble, especially for BART cops, but it is shared by most of the police forces in the region. They rarely get this much cross-class pushback though, and that's what I suspect will be the turning point. BART is having a public meeting in Oakland tonight which should be interesting. Ostensibly it will be about the cell phone issue, which they've pretty much resolved with the ACLU and EFF. But the killings and overall assholitry of the BART Police will be very much on topic. There will be plenty of venting.

    Public agencies can change. They can be changed. This is a chance to see if the People have any power of change left.