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Police Thuggery at the RNC and the Arrest of Amy Goodman — time to Rage Against the Machine!

September 5, 2008

Justice Jukebox

In light of the outrageous behavior of police at both the Democratic and Republican national conventions, including the arrest of Democracy Now! host Amy Goodman and three other credentialed journalists at the RNC this week, the Justice Jukebox turns to Rage Against the Machine.

While the mainstream media for the most part has spent the last two weeks obediently jumping through the hoops carefully arranged for them in the two-ring political circus known as the Democratic and Republican national conventions, they ignored the tens of thousands of people who gathered in the streets to protest. Worse, the media almost completely ignored the heavy-handed tactics of police in both cities as they indiscriminately arrested people who were exercising their first amendment freedoms to speech and assembly.

Surprisingly, the police in Minneapolis-St. Paul far exceeded the police in Denver — though the revelation of Gitmo on the Platte” was a particularly fine moment for the mile-high city. The Minneapolis and St. Paul police arrested more than 800 during the week (compared to about 100 in Denver), including “pre-emptive raids” and hiring spies to infiltrate groups months in advance.  (Someone should ask ol’ Garrison Keillor to explain this one.)

Perhaps the most truly outrageous act was the Labor Day arrest of four fully credentialed journalists who had the temerity to leave the confines of the RNCs Xcel center to report on what police were doing in the streets — AP photographer Matt Rourke, two Democracy Now! producers and the show’s host Amy Goodman. Footage of Nicole Salazar’s arrest is truly chilling, and the footage of Goodman’s arrest was one of the most watched videos on YouTube on Tuesday and has been seen more than 500,000 times.

You can hear them desribe the circumstances of the arrest on Tuesday’s show, or read Goodman’s account. But for the most part, you can’t find out about this in the mainstream corporate media outlets nor even NPR — they are just sticking to the stories scripted for them by the parties

Folks, this is basic. Journalists aren’t arrested for covering demonstrations in a functioning democracy. That happens in Iraq, Iran, the former communist regimes — right? I don’t care if you’re left, right or center — we can’t tolerate this. Even if you think Goodman is a scurrilous lefty, you cannot let this stand and claim to believe in democracy. Reporters must be free to report what is going on in our streets. You can tell the St. Paul authorities what you think through a page Democracy Now! has set up.

In the meantime, have a listen to “Renegades of Funk:” by Rage Against the Machine. And get mad. Very mad.

RATM played concerts during both the the DNC and RNC. In Denver, their concert kicked off a large anti-war rally, and  Minneapolis police arrested 102 people following their concert during the RNC last week.

The video is a nice mash-up of the Renegades of Funk with footage from Michael Moore’s famous (but alas un-embeddable) video of their performance of Sleep Now in Fire on Wall Street — the filming of which shut down the New York Stock Exchange for a few hours.

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