Police Boast of Political Repression

March 27, 2006

Internal documents prepared by the New York City Police Department and recently made public show how police repress political activities through such tactics as "proactive arrests," massive displays of force, and undercover police provocateurs.

Heavily edited excerpts from five internal reports of the NYPD were published on March 16 under the orders of a federal judge. This ruling came as part of a lawsuit brought by people arrested at an animal rights demonstration held in February 2002 during protests at the World Economic Forum.

One of the police reports boasts "that a large part of the success in policing the major demonstration on Saturday, Feb. 2, 2002, was due in part to the proactive arrest policy that was instituted at the start of the march at 59th Street and Eight Avenue, and directed toward demonstrators who were obviously potential rioters." Other reports praised the tactic of "staging of massive amounts of equipment in key areas (e.g. armored vehicles, command posts, prisoner wagons, Department of Correction buses, city buses)" which "had a powerful psychological effect." Another report admitted that large numbers of undercover police infiltrated the protests and recommended that, in the future, they be used to "distribute misinformation within the crowds."

In short, the police are consciously and systematically suppressing the right to freedom of expression and treating political opposition to the current state of affairs as criminal activity.

And not only in New York City. The FBI has adopted a nationwide policy of spying on and infiltrating political organizations and activists. In the latest exposure, information released under the Freedom of Information Act shows, in Pittsburgh, that the FBI began investigating the Thomas Merton Center for Peace and Justice solely because it opposed the war in Iraq. The FBI decided to carry on surveillance of the Center after November 2002 because it "is a left-wing organization advocating, among many political causes, pacifism" and "is currently focused on....opposition to the potential war on Iraq."

Many documents released over the last several months show that the FBI has initiated similar surveillance and infiltration in cities across the country and against scores of political and community groups.

The FBI is operating as a national political police - compiling dossiers, invading our privacy, infiltrating political organizations, etc.

This growing fascism reflects the crisis and weakness of the capitalist state. The government is completely unable and unwilling to respond to the urgent demands of the American people. Instead of guarantying peace and the economic rights of the people, the government imposes war and poverty. Thus it cannot deal with the growing political opposition except by trying to criminalize and repress anyone who opposes it.