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What To Do When You're Stopped By Police - The ACLU & Elon James White

What To Do When You're Stopped By Police - The ACLU & Elon James White

Know Anyone Who Thinks Racial Profiling Is Exaggerated? Watch This, And Tell Me When Your Jaw Drops.

This video clearly demonstrates how racist America is as a country and how far we have to go to become a country that is civilized and actually values equal justice. We must not rest until this goal is achieved. I do not want my great grandchildren to live in a country like we have today. I wish for them to live in a country where differences of race and culture are not ignored but valued as a part of what makes America great.

Friday, May 10, 2024

‘Police raids are nothing new’: student protesters from 1960s see history repeating itself | US campus protests | The Guardian

‘Police raids are nothing new’: student protesters from 1960s see history repeating itself

group of young people seated on hallway floor give peace sign as an older person, in the foreground, peers out at them from behind a door

"Early last week, days before the NYPD raid, Eleanor Stein poked around the edges of the Gaza Solidarity encampment at Columbia University. The area was the hub of the pro-ceasefire, pro-divestment, pro-Palestinian protest movement that has, in recent weeks, spread across the United States (and, more recently, Canada and the UK). It wasn’t her first time witnessing clashes of protesters and counter-protesters on the lawns of the august Ivy League school.

In 1968, Stein was one of 700 students arrested at Columbia during protests targeting both the university’s ties to the US military apparatus at the height of the Vietnam war, and the college’s plan to build a segregated gym, at the height of the civil rights movement. “This was really a crisis moment,” Stein, 78, recalls. “Students were taking a moral stand. We were ready to risk our careers, and our lives and our futures, and take a leap into the unknown and say, ‘No. We are not going to budge.’”

man stands with microphone as others sit on the ground around him, in front of columned and domed building, in a color photo
tents in front of the same columned and domed building, in a color photo
  • Top: On the mall in front of Low Memorial Library at Columbia University, a young man with a microphone speaks to a crowd of students, faculty and onlookers during a protest in New York, 1968.

  • Bottom: Students camp on Columbia University’s campus to protest against the university’s ties with Israel in New York, 22 April 2024.

This year’s campus protests naturally call to mind similar demonstrations, undertaken by older generations, at previous crisis moments in history. There’s plenty of crossover between civil rights, anti-Vietnam war, New Left protests of the past and current actions: the role of college students, the actions of their administrative caretakers, even the manner in which campus radicals are demonized by politicians, parents and the mainstream media. But what hope – or cautions – do these older protest movements, and protesters, offer in the present?


Many of the resonances between then and now are so on-the-nose as to seem eerie. The Columbia administration’s decision to call in police to sweep through the campus encampment came 56 years to the day after a similar deployment, in which Stein, the child of a New Deal economist and a civil rights activist, found herself squarely at the centre.

six people sit behind a table with two flags apparently made out of paper - they appear to be cuba’s and vietnam’s - in a black and white photo
  • Eleanor Stein, formerly Eleanor Raskin, far right, with members of SDS (Students for a Democratic Society) at a press conference in 1969. Left to right are Jeff Melish, Dianne Donghi, Ted Gold, Bernadine Dohrn, Kathy Boudin and Stein.

Back in ’68, students protesting against the university’s complicity in systems of militarism and racism occupied outdoor campus space, as well as several buildings. Among them was Hamilton Hall, which was also at the center of the recent campus battles. Hundreds of police officers barreled through the campus, armed with truncheons, cutting telephone lines and bellowing for students to give themselves up. Students screamed “fascist pigs” while sitar music wafted through the tense, early morning air. Unshaven undercover officers dropped the fellow-traveller act, flashed their badges, and joined ranks with the uniformed boys in blue. “The police overreacted tremendously in 1968,” Stein recalls. “A lot of students were badly beaten. It was a nightstick parade.”

Stein got off (relatively) easy: arrested, charged $25 for the crime of trespassing, and released without bail. But this early action would prove formative, shaping a life of protest and activism. Returning to Columbia, she would join the New Left activist group Students for a Democratic Society (SDS) and take a leading role organizing on campus. She would go on to join the Marxist militant Weather Underground Organization, which regarded itself as the “action faction” of the SDS. (The FBI considered the Weather Underground a domestic terrorist cell.) She’d settle into a life working as a lawyer, administrative law judge and professor.

Observing the new protests from the outside, Stein found a great deal to admire. “I think the students have been incredibly organized,” she says. “And, let me say, completely peaceful.”

officer in helmet stands on steps while another man, standing, apparently pulls the hair of a person seated on the steps. others stand nearby or lie on the steps, in a black and white photo
officers in helmets on steps hold on to people wearing keffiyehs. at least one appears to have their hands tied together, in a color photo
  • Top: Police forcibly remove a Columbia University student from a campus building on 30 April 1968.

  • Bottom: NYPD officers detain dozens of pro-Palestinian students at Columbia after they barricaded themselves in at Hamilton Hall on 30 April 2024.

The Pakistani British political activist and intellectual Tariq Ali, 80, is similarly buoyed by the images of the protests he sees on TV and social media. “I feel very joyous,” he says. “It does bring back memories.”

Ali has a trove of such memories. He cut his teeth when he was still a child in Lahore, protesting against the 1958 Pakistani military coup. Spirited away to Britain, he studied at Oxford, where he immersed himself in local and global political movements. He marched in the streets, met Malcolm X, debated Henry Kissinger. He trekked through war-torn Cambodia and maintained a lifelong friendship with Edward Said, the pioneering philosopher of post-colonialism, whose 1979 treatise The Question of Palestine remains a critical text on the conflict. He also inspired both the Rolling Stones’ Street Fighting Man and John Lennon’s single Power to the People.

man speaks into megaphone, with a wrigley’s spearmint gum ad behind him, in a black and white photo
  • Pakistani-British political activist and intellectual Tariq Ali speaks at a demonstration in Piccadilly, London, on 30 June 1973.

Ali sees a direct line between the anti-war protests of the Vietnam era and the current movements. And he locates their power in the ability to encourage beleaguered Palestinians in Gaza and the West Bank. “The most important thing,” he says, “is how important this is for the Palestinians, and how they must be feeling in Gaza and the West Bank,” he says. “That’s what we used to think when we were marching in the 60s. ‘Does it have any effect at all? Do the Vietnamese watching us know what we’re doing?’ And they did! Later on we found out that many images of demonstrations … were shown to the Vietnamese people, and to the Vietnamese army.”

Thanks to social media and 24-hour news coverage, US students haven’t had to wait to see thank-you notes from Palestinians in Gaza.

Stein sees a similar comparison, in terms of how Vietnam and Palestine serve to exemplify, and crystallize, the more egregious excesses of US (and US-backed) military campaigning. “In my day, the moral issue of our time was Vietnam,” she recalls. “When I look at the students today, I think they’ve identified the ongoing genocide in Gaza, and the US’s role in arming and providing high-speed, high-scale weaponry, 1,000-pound bombs, for Israel, and they’re saying: ‘Business as usual can’t go on.’”


For other veterans of the American left, the direct comparison between the Vietnam war and the military incursion in Gaza feels a bit incomplete. The American writer John B Judis – a Berkeley grad, frontliner at Vietnam war protests, and self-identifying democratic socialist – thinks the current situation is more complicated. “I welcome protests against America’s unconditional support [for Israel],” Judis says. “For me, it’s a question of whether the student protests are an effective way of doing that.”

For Judis, the current movements evoke some of the missteps of earlier protests. “They recall, to some extent, the errors that the anti-imperialist wing of the New Left made in the 60s,” he says. “They’re not focused on ending America’s unconditional aid to Israel, but on these broader goals: free Palestine. Or they want to see a secular democracy of Palestine, which I think is really unfeasible. It’s not going to happen. The Israelis are not going to allow that to happen.”

The mission statement of the Columbia University Apartheid Divest coalition states: “We envision a free Palestine. We necessarily envision an entire world free from colonialism and imperialism, and from all the interrelated systems of oppression that uphold them … We believe in liberation. All systems of oppression are interlinked: the fates of the peoples of Palestine, Kurdistan, Sudan, Congo, Armenia, Ireland, Puerto Rico, Korea, Guam, Haiti, Hawai’i, Kashmir, Cuba, Turtle Island, and other colonized bodies are interconnected.”

Judis argues that such broadly anti-imperial aims are not only unrealistic, but also indulge a certain tendency toward “romanticizing foreign governments” that has long dogged American leftism. He cites previous generations’ glorification of Fidel Castro, Mao Zedong, and Ho Chi Minh as examples. He worries that students flying Palestinian flags, or calls to “globalize the intifada”, risk alienating outside observers, doing more harm than good. “The sloganeering is self-destructive,” he says. “It undermines the practical goals. I think the focus should be on divestment; it should be on what the American government is doing.”

people march with flags and posters of ho chi minh outside a campus building, in a black and white photo
people stand with palestinian flags outside the same building, shot from the same angle, in a color photo
  • Top: Anti-Vietnam war demonstrators carry posters of the president of North Vietnam, Ho Chi Minh, during a rally at the University of California, Berkeley, on 5 September 1969.

  • Bottom: Hundreds of pro-Palestinian protesters and students gather at the Berkeley encampment area on 7 May 2024.

While understanding them as part of a larger history of campus protest and resistance, Stein also regards the current movements as historically unique, in large part due to the extremely controversial nature of the Israel-Palestine conflict. She has, even lately, faced a different strain of censorship. Late in November 2023, she gave a talk on the subject of the climate crisis at New York University’s law school. Stein, herself Jewish, asked to be introduced as a member of the advocacy organization Jewish Voice for Peace. She says she was pulled into a back room by organizers and told not to mention the organization by name, or even raise the issue of Gaza.

“The idea that this is too controversial, or will produce such a conflagration of ideas, is exactly the opposite of what the university is for,” Stein says. “And students who want to discuss it have been silenced. I think that has led to frustration, and anger, among the students. Protest does have a history on campus. But in this case, the protests were necessary to even get a conversation started about what’s happening in Gaza.”


Seventy-three-year-old Maurice Isserman, a former SDS member, has fond memories of his youth, marching in the streets during the Vietnam war, chanting “One side’s right! One side’s wrong! Victory to the Viet Cong!” Now, he regards such slogans as a little naive. “That’s not what the Vietnamese needed,” he says. “We needed to get out. Who came to power in Vietnam was not our business.”

Isserman’s more moderate stances have seen him scrape against prominent leftwing groups. A founding member of the Democratic Socialists of America in 1982, he publicly split with the organization, after witnessing its reaction to Hamas’s 7 October attacks on Israel. “It’s a cliche, but I haven’t changed,” he says. “I have the same politics I’ve had since 1982 when I helped found DSA. DSA changed.”

A man of Quaker and Jewish upbringing, Isserman condemns Israel’s inordinate response to Hamas’s aggression, while maintaining that the nation has a right to exist, and to defend itself “within limits that it too often violates”. And he has a hard time watching socialists (new and old) throw their lot in with fundamentalist groups. “These people are not our friends,” he says of Hamas. “You’re talking about a rightwing fundamentalist sect; a murderous sect. [The protesters] are making a very old error. Just in a new time.”

The New York University historian Michael Koncewicz notes that the anti-Vietnam war movement drew a broader coalition: not just progressive college students and American communists but liberals of all stripes. “There were people who viewed the Vietnam war as a tragic mistake that we needed to end. And then there were those who viewed it as a criminal act perpetrated by the American empire,” he says. “Those two sides were both on the streets.” That said, in his research and reporting, Koncewicz has found broad levels of support for the current movement among older radicals. “This is something that not a lot of young New Leftists had in the 60s and 70s: actual support from elders.”

people walk on a field with signs, including one saying ‘harvard out of africa’, in a black and white photo
people walk by tents near a campus building. A sign says ‘divest’, in a color photo
  • Top: An anti-apartheid rally at the John F Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University, Cambridge, Massachusetts, on 23 October 1978.

  • Bottom: An encampment of students protesting against the war in Gaza in Harvard Yard on 25 April 2024.

Such elders have a long legacy on campuses. In the 1980s, student groups took cues from the Vietnam movement in mobilizing to oppose institutional investment in apartheid-era South Africa. Across the US, student groups erected “shantytowns” on campuses – an effort to call attention to the miserable living conditions of Black South Africans. The calls for universities to divest from South Africa resounded, with no less than Desmond Tutu praising the movement for its ability to raise the consciousness of everyday Americans. These methods endured through subsequent movements, from Occupy Wall Street to Black Lives Matter to the present demonstrations.

Generally, however, such consciousness-raising may fizzle on the home front. Historically, the US role in foreign conflicts hasn’t really moved the needle in domestic electoral politics. “We’re in uncharted territory here,” says Koncewicz, “in terms of trying to figure out whether a foreign policy crisis will actually impact an American election. Because very few do. Most times, these things don’t matter.”

But the recent action across campuses speaks to a more intimate front emerging in the conflict. Another key distinction between the wars in Gaza and Vietnam is that the latter also took the form of a domestic crisis, with the mandatory military draft drawing American families (and voters) into this far-off conflict much more directly. The campus protests could have a similar effect. Images of militarized police forces sweeping through campus quads, rounding up students, professors and other assembled sympathizers, may win hearts and minds more than the images of a war being waged halfway across the world. “We saw that in the 60s and 70s as well,” says Tariq Ali of the police presence on campuses. “This is nothing new. What is interesting is they’re not being called by the governors of the states concerned [as in the 60s], but by the heads of the universities.”

police, including some in helmets, hurry down a street in a black and white photo
a large group police in helmets walk down a street in a color photo
  • Top: NYPD officers run in to head off striking students during protests at Columbia in 1968.

  • Bottom: NYPD officers in riot gear march on to the Columbia campus, where pro-Palestinian students are barricaded inside a building and have set up an encampment, on 30 April 2024.

The disgust at the authoritarian response to these protests seems to run across the various splinters fracturing the contemporary socialist left. “I have some criticisms with the encampments,” Isserman says. “But when you send in the cops, then my sympathy is with the students. That’s a separate issue from whether they could be more effective if they moderated their stance.”

Eleanor Stein hopes that, if history is any precedent, the reaction to these protests may be the thing that shifts public opinion. Like the draft, images of students being rounded up in paddy wagons wheeled on to college campuses may have a way of bringing the war home, and moving the needle of public opinion.

“In 1968, Columbia was quite divided about the protests,” she says. “But once we were all arrested, and the police were occupying our campus, the tide of opinion shifted dramatically in our favour. And that’s what you see happening now. This is how people learn … It represents a tremendous force for change. And without it, I shudder to think of where we would be.”

‘Police raids are nothing new’: student protesters from 1960s see history repeating itself | US campus protests | The Guardian

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