Kafka alive and well, and working for the NYPD

Emmanuel Goldstein, one of the guiding forces behind the hacker magazine 2600, was arrested and detained for over 33 hours during the RNC, for doing nothing more than covering protests which are supposed to be every American citizen’s right. The story of his arrest, and the long, slow, grinding process of being processed through the “justice” system is available over at 2600.

One thing that I’d like to hear about his story is: exactly what was he charged with? Also unnerving is the fact that his attempt to avoid arrest due to him just being a reporter who was working for two news agencies to cover the convention protests was ignored, because he didn’t have an “official NYPD press pass.” I wasn’t aware one neeeded to have an official license to be a reporter.

It seems to me that the right to “peaceably to assemble” has come under attack ever since the 60’s, and is accelerating post 9/11. The razor wire and chain link “free speech zones” we saw here in Boston during the DNC were the first insult. To use tactics more akin to tuna fishermen than law enforcement to pen in people (who may not even be associated with a protest) and arrest them indescriminately seems to spit in the face of the first amendment. The mantra of “security” too easily trumps our fundamental freedoms these days.

One thing is for sure… the methods used by the police today are certainly a lot more “media friendly” than the police dogs, fire hoses, and truncheons used in years past. It’s more media friendly in that the press can easily ignore people just being netted and carted off, since theres no real dramatic footage. No conflict. Just people being shipped out on busses.

Perhaps I’m hopelessly naive. And, you have to be careful of the probably biased source. But I just get the sinking feeling that in the mediaocracy we live in, your rights can be silently lifted from you, just as long as they are done so in a bureacratic and non-violent manner. No more jackboots… it’s all orange nets and endless paperwork.


  1. Well amen to what you say.

    I’m pretty despairing about all this, and after the election I’ll be either even more despondent, or else filled with a new hope. But in the meantime I put my faith in the web and wifi and other power-to-the-people technologies. Our best hope of resisting ORSON is to keep exposing these kinds of stories.

    Wish I could think of something more cogent to say. But I think my energies would be better spent preparing a draft of that article that Harold and I are working on about wireless…

  2. My thoughts keep turning to Yusuf Islam (aka Cat Stevens) and the poem “First they came for the Jews and I did not speak out

    because I was not a Jew.” (http://www.telisphere.com/~…)

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