Friday, May 27, 2016

The Anti-Trump Riot in Albuquerque

We got home from our day with visitors in Santa Fe the day before yesterday, turned on the TV to find out what was going on with The Voice (Ms. Ché's favorite won), only to witness several interruptions due to the ongoing protests inside and outside the Albuquerque Convention Center where Trump was holding forth the way he does before a crowd of frothing supporters.

People were outside driving around in cars and trucks waving Mexican flags of all things, and surely that was riotous. Tear gas was being deployed. Horse police were moving the crowd of protesters away from the Convention Center, and resistant women were being kicked and hauled out of the rally by police and private security to the cheers of the mob inside.

Oh it was a melée.

A good deal of the reporting on the Albuquerque Anti-Trump Riot later turned out to be false or inaccurate, but that's how it goes, doesn't it? My initial impression from the selection of video I saw was that that there was no riot (of course), and that those who were protesting most vigorously were not Bernie supporters (as they were initially being characterized) but were most probably part of Albuquerque's substantial anarchist community.

This is what they do, and they are good at it. It's not so much "riot" as it is confrontation with Power, and it can be very effective -- because in this country, Power is typically so out of touch with The People that almost any hostile confrontation will produce results. You can't always anticipate what they will be, but you can be almost certain that something will happen to delegitimize Power's authority.

So, that's why these things typically happen, and it seems to me from observations over years that the folks in Albuquerque who engage in this kind of disruptive confrontation know what they are doing and are pretty darned sophisticated about it.

There were people strategically placed inside the convention hall disrupting Himself's speechifying, doing it in a way that would incite Trump to behave badly, and I think they were partially successful in that -- though I saw very little of the confrontations, and it could be that Trump and his partisans bested the protesters inside.

Based on what I saw and read, the outdoor protests were both more confrontational and ultimately more effective --because they not only made their Anti-Trump points, they also pointed to the failures (once again) in the APD's response.

I read that APD was actually behaving much better in response to the "riot" than they have in previous confrontations with protesters. In a sense, that's true I suppose, but in other ways, you've got to wonder. The report I read in the Albuquerque Journal went on and on about how the protesters threw rocks and "urine bombs" (right, sure) and "molotov cocktail-like" devices (what the hell is that supposed to mean?) and how the police and their horses had been injured, and how awful it was and how This Must Not Stand! -- heads (of protesters) must roll. Pictures of likely suspects were shown (two young Hispanic males, ohhh scary).


The police, it turns out, did not use tear gas -- as was erroneously initially reported they did. No, they used smoke grenades. Oh. Never mind then. And yes these grenades were thrown or kicked back at police, a fairly standard response these days.

The horse police were deployed, yes, but not particularly effectively, partly because people are becoming less afraid of the horse police and are very sympathetic to the plight of their mounts.

One horse apparently fell. Not severely injured, but still. I've seen this happen in other confrontations, the officer on the horse unable to handle it carefully enough to prevent a fall on the pavement. This is one reason horse police should not be used on pavement, but who listens to me? Heh. The case can be made that horse police should not be used at all, but I've seen enough confrontations where the presence of horses defuse what might otherwise become an ugly situation, so I wouldn't go so far as to say, "no horses." At least not yet.

At least there seems to have been a recognition that the crowd of protesters was not on the whole -- maybe not even in part -- a Bernie crowd. It was apparently made up of mostly young, mostly male, mostly Hispanic activists who were protesting (rightly I believe) Trump discriminatory statements (which could turn into policies) toward Hispanics, Muslims and other "undesirables" whom he has a penchant for calling "criminals."

You know what? Protesting that kind of crap is necessary, and to be effective, the protests have to be disruptive and impolite.

Trump won no points except among his feverish supporters who would follow him no matter what he said over any cliff he wanted them to. He could not have come to New Mexico thinking he could get away with his anti-Hispanic schpiel. This ain't Texas. Thank you very much.

So this might be part of why the Anti-Trump "riot" in Albuquerque did not get the obsessive wall-to-wall coverage that the Nevada Democratic Convention did -- wherein the Bernie supporters were widely and falsely accused of violence. The Anti-Trump Riot in Albuquerque did indeed become disruptive and at times violent toward Power and Authority. There was one report I saw that claimed the high windows over the doors to the Convention Center were "cracked" by rocks thrown! Yeek.

Just remember, the point is to delegitimize authority and disrupt business as usual. I'd say that goal was accomplished. How much further this can go I don't know.

But it's completely different than what went on in Nevada.

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