October 28, 2011

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Civil disobedience against NYPD’s stop & frisk « LBO News from Doug Henwood For Immediate Release Activists to shut down 73rd Precinct in Brownsville Stop ‘Stop and Frisk’ Comes to Brooklyn New York, NY, Oct. 28, 2011 – Nonviolent civil disobedience is on the agenda as local activists, community members and religious leaders gear up to challenge the NYPD’s controversial ‘stop and frisk’ practices at the 73rd Police Precinct in Brownsville, Brooklyn. The 73rd Precinct has the highest rate of stops-and-frisks in New York City. The Stop Mass Incarceration Network, on Nov. 1 at 4 PM, will stage the second of a series of similar events in neighborhoods around New York City targeting to stop the repressive NYPD practice of Stop and Frisk – a policy the Center for Constitutional Rights, the New York Civil Liberties Union and other advocacy groups have challenged as illegal. On Friday, October 21, a group of more than 200 demonstrators marched on the 28th Precinct in Harlem where 34 community members, activists, and allies from Occupy Wall Street, were arrested for blocking the entrance to the police station. Among those arrested were Dr. Cornel West, Carl Dix of the Revolutionary Communist Party, Debra Sweet of World Can’t Wait, Rev. Stephen Phelps of Riverside Church, and comedian/activist Randy Credico. During 2010 NYPD recorded more than 600,000 warrant-less stops — the vast majority Back and Latino youths — and are on pace to top 700,000 in 2011. This is up from 86,000 just ten years ago. The stop and frisk exchange, the humiliating is first step into the pipeline...
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The Tyranny of Consensus --Mark Read The occupiers have inherited and adopted a decision-making process that has come down from earlier left movements and is lauded as the most democratic form of decision making. Of courser those who wish to see a more democratic society naturally gravitate to what has been billed as the most democratic way to make decisions. Consensus is what the radical left has responded with, for generations. Those of us that have worked within a consensus process model should know better by now, and we do a disservice to younger activists by allowing the myth of consensus-as-always-most-democratic to persist. We were told that the trade off was less efficiency for more democracy, and this simply is not borne out by experience, and most of my long-term comrades have come to recognize this. The only place where I believe that consensus process is genuinely more democratic than a majoritarian (aka voting) process is within a close (and closed) community of collaborators/co-habitants that have practiced the process for years. In virtually every other instance it yields less democratic decisions and processes, not more. The consensus process, when applied to large heterogenous groups such as the one at #occupywallst, yields hierarchies at least as persistent and pernicious as other forms of decision making, probably more. I, and many others, would argue that voting yields more truly democratic outcomes, if practiced responsibly and ethically (ie requiring 75% majorities and allowing ample time for discussion). In the current context the consensus process favors those that feel comfortable...

Jodi Dean

Jodi Dean is a political theorist.

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