Organizing Notes

Bruce Gagnon is coordinator of the Global Network Against Weapons & Nuclear Power in Space. He offers his own reflections on organizing and the state of America's declining empire....

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Thursday, December 11, 2014

Undercover Cops Busted by Crowd in Oakland

An undercover cop last night in a Berkeley, California protest was caught flashing his gun at protesters after he and another undercover operative were outed when someone pulled his mask off his face.  Some witnesses claimed the two cops were previously seen banging on bank windows and trying to incite protesters to commit violence.  The two cops were eventually identified as California Highway Patrol sent into Oakland supposedly unknown to the Oakland Police Department.

This makes total sense.  If police are going to put agent provocateurs inside of protests then it would be wise to use guys from other departments so they are unknown to local cops or at least there is deniability for local cops if they get caught.

I have no doubt that much of the so-called violent protests across this country are to some degree or another initiated by such undercover cops.  Local activists often make such reports.

I've had personal experience with such an undercover cop trying to take over a protest I organized.  On March 8, 1983 Ronald Reagan came to Orlando, Florida to deliver his famous "evil people" speech before the National Association of Evangelicals. He called the then Soviet Union the root of all that was wrong in the world.  Referring to the Soviets, Reagan said, "Yes, let us pray for the salvation of all those who live in that totalitarian darkness - pray they will discover the joy of knowing God.  But until they do, let us be aware that while they preach the supremacy of the state, declare the omnipotence over individual man, and predict its eventual domination of all peoples on the Earth, they are the focus of evil in the modern world."

For several weeks before the event I worked hard to build a protest at the Sheraton Twin Towers where Reagen was to speak.  We got the unions, women's groups and the growing numbers of people moving into the peace movement involved.

Just as the Reagan caravan was pulling into the vast hotel parking lot a young guy rushed up to me and urged me to help him get people to block the caravan's path to the hotel entrance.  I had never seen this guy before (Orlando then had a fairly small and predictable activist community) and I had made a fatal organizing error by earlier giving him my only megaphone when he had approached me and asked if he could use it to help lead chants.  He now was using the megaphone to try to whip up the crowd to descend on the Reagan caravan.  In a moment of clarity I took back the megaphone and next thing I knew the guy had vanished into thin air.  I looked for him throughout the remaining time of the protest but never saw him again.  It was evident to me that he was part of an attempt to create an escalating situation that would be met by a fierce police response and would have then been shown on the national news since all the Washington media was there covering the Reagan speech.

It would have been the perfect story - Reagan caravan attacked by crowd of leftists as the president was going to talk to 'religious leaders' about how evil the left was.  


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