On the importance of learning from past movements
October 23, 2012 10:35 AM Subscribe
Gideon Oliver spoke to me of the devastating effect this kind of surveillance has had on activists. “People fear that detectives are following them around. They panic. It’s a movement-dismantling tactic.” Most Occupy protesters are new to activism and are emotionally unprepared to deal with this kind of intimidation. Nor, so far as I have seen, are they inclined to seek the advice of older activists who were under surveillance in the 1960s and 1970s, before the protections of the original Handschu Decree, which prohibited political spying, were put in place. Those activists nevertheless found ways to continue their political work.From an article on the NYPD's Intel Division.
The linked article references the Handschu Decree - here is a longer background on police surveillance of activists.
Spying on First Amendment Activity - State-by-State
On the other coast, there's the Seattle grand jury proceedings which appeared to have targeted anarchists for their political beliefs.
Back in the day, it was the FBI's COINTELPRO (more here). When COINTELPRO was discovered and publicized, it created a large enough stir that future political surveillance by law enforcement in the US generally gets compared to it. "Return of COINTELPRO" previously on the blue: 1, 2, 3.
Information about how activists resisted surveillance in the 1960s and 1970s is (perhaps not surprisingly) not so easy to find with a quick online search.
This thread has been archived and is closed to new comments