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Thursday, August 21 2014 @ 04:59 PM CDT

Portland: Red and Black Cafe asks cop to leave, mainstream media and boot-lickers throw a fit

For reasons unknown, former marine, Iraq-war veteran, current police officer, James Crooker went to the Red and Black worker-owned cafe in south east Portland and ordered coffee. He was given his coffee in a to-go cup and asked to leave due to the fact that cops make many people uncomfortable. This entirely reasonable act done out of concern for the well-being of other patrons has wrinkled the noses of Portland's cop-supporter community. The corporate media has jumped all over this not-very-exciting incident and loonies have been making anonymous threatening comments on blogs and what-not. Now is the time for all of us who have been supported by the Red and Black to show our support and solidarity as our friends and comrades come under attack.

Red and Black Cafe asks cop to leave, mainstream media and boot-lickers throw a fit

Portland Indymedia Center

On March 22, 2010, Officer James Crooker provided "lethal cover" as he and other officers presided over the dead body of Jack Collins, a long-time Portlander who lived outside and had just been shot to death by Officer Jason Walters at the Hoyt Arboretium. The picture that appears in the Oregonian, however, shows a smiling Officer Crooker at the Rose Festival, whom a suburbanite blogger has befriended and gushed over in her blog.

The suburban blogger witnessed the cop being asked to leave the Red and Black and just could not comprehend why cops make people, especially homeless people and political activists, uncomfortable. So she wrote on her blog about how terrible it was that Officer Crooker wasn't invited to stay at the Red and Black and make everyone feel intimidated, and for some reason all the local mainstream media goose-steppers have felt it necessary to amplify her message if incomprehension to the nth degree.

This incident and the following media backlash against the Red and Black demonstrates the split in society between the privileged and those who more often than not feel the pressure of the boot of authority on their necks. The Red and Black consistently takes its stand against oppression and those of us who stand with them can be proud of the fact that Officer Crooker was asked to take a hike. While I can't speak for others, I personally support whole-heartedly the decision to not tolerate the oppressive presence of a police officer in an otherwise safe space.

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Portland: Red and Black Cafe asks cop to leave, mainstream media and boot-lickers throw a fit | 18 comments | Create New Account
The following comments are owned by whomever posted them. This site is not responsible for what they say.
Portland: Red and Black Cafe asks cop to leave, mainstream media and boot-lickers throw a fit
Authored by: Admin on Sunday, June 06 2010 @ 12:18 AM CDT

Anarchists, libertarians and everybody else who thinks that a small business has the right to refuse service to somebody, should show your support for the cafe by leaving a comment on any of the news sites (like Fox News) which have stories about this incident.

Good on the cafe for kicking the terrorist in blue out of their space.

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Portland: Red and Black Cafe asks cop to leave, mainstream media and boot-lickers throw a fit
Authored by: kallisti on Sunday, June 06 2010 @ 10:43 AM CDT

Most of those commenters seem to have no idea what the cafe is about or anything about recent Portland events. It seems to just be a bunch of Internet tough guys. LOL at the commenters who said "the owner should fire that employee!" Yeah, the worker-owner is going to fire...himself. Hmm.

I also like how the white cop isn't called out on a flatly racist statement to the press.

The cop is lying. He knew it was a provocation. That "shocked" mother shouldn't be allowed back either. If she loves the cops so much, what was she doing at an explicitly anarchist cafe with anti-police fliers posted all over the front entrance? She's either *extremely* unobservant or it was some sort of stunt.

Needless to say I'll be at the cafe tomorrow.

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Portland: Red and Black Cafe asks cop to leave, mainstream media and boot-lickers throw a fit
Authored by: RekxDX72 on Sunday, June 06 2010 @ 03:39 PM CDT

Well, they didn't really refuse to serve him, they did give him his coffee after all.... :)

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Portland: Red and Black Cafe asks cop to leave, mainstream media and boot-lickers throw a fit
Authored by: DontEatSoap on Sunday, June 06 2010 @ 11:09 AM CDT

I recently had a good conversation about handling police presence in radical spaces, and we felt it was important to show they were not welcome, but that it could be a frightening/hard thing to ask them to leave (especially if one is working alone). So much props to the person/people who did this, it great to know that you all were willing to stand up and keep the space safe for everyone.

Edited on Sunday, June 06 2010 @ 11:10 AM CDT by DontEatSoap
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Portland: Red and Black Cafe asks cop to leave, mainstream media and boot-lickers throw a fit
Authored by: davesolidarity on Sunday, June 06 2010 @ 06:12 PM CDT

This is great-When I used to work at a Dunkin Donuts when i was 18, everytime a cop or a prison guard came in, I would just make the exact opposite of whatever they asked for, everytime, until they eventually stopped coming in when they saw me there.

At this point in my life,  I would probably go with the direct-asking-to-leave route, haha. 

Although, why does this have to be couches in terms of 'discomfort".  Why can't we just say that the cops are the enemy, and that they're not welcome in our establishments?

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Portland: Red and Black Cafe asks cop to leave, mainstream media and boot-lickers throw a fit
Authored by: Al Ligator on Sunday, June 06 2010 @ 07:27 PM CDT

Any radical space should refuse service to cops / politicians.

The rest of us in the service industry wish we could refuse service to these authoritarian pricks when they come into our place of work.

For example, in St. Louis, there is a worker-owned anarchist space that police won't even dare go into, as it was giving away free t-shirts for the "Free Kevin Johnson" campaign. (He fatally shot a police officer) Right-wingers also tend to boycott the place.

Edited on Sunday, June 06 2010 @ 07:28 PM CDT by Al Ligator
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Portland: Red and Black Cafe asks cop to leave, mainstream media and boot-lickers throw a fit
Authored by: moonscape on Tuesday, June 08 2010 @ 03:16 PM CDT

It seems that they had a particular reason to refuse this particular officer. But is it fair to refuse service to all police under all circumstances? For instance, a Highway Patrol officer has no jurisdiction over the coffee shop, therefore there's no reason why he would make people feel uncomfortable. And while many HP in many cases abuse their authority, they also save lives by stopping inebriated drivers and speeders. Obviously there are a lot of bad police officers out there, but categorically assuming any cop is a racist pig, or has hurt innocent people is like someone whose relative died on Sept 11th and is thus uncomfortable when someone speaks Arabic on a plane; cops are people too, and deserve to be judged as individuals not collectively as some monolithic entity. No doubt, someone who has been abused or mistreated by the police, no small population among people of colour especially, may be justified in their lack of comfort. But shouldn't we give all human beings the benefit of the doubt, at least as far as selling drinks, which all people have a fundamental right to? Anyways, if this particular officer was known to anarchist and affiliated political groups in the area for misbehavior, then it was provocation on that level.

Anyhow, I feel the state is merely an aggregate of individuals, and its the relations implicit in the state's structure that ensures that individuals, otherwise like everyone else, will become agents of oppression. It's not their individual fault that our entire legal, commercial and political structure is focused around the interests of capital, the military and the media. The point is to bring them over to the "other" side, and you're not going to win them over if you hate them categorically.

Edited on Tuesday, June 08 2010 @ 03:28 PM CDT by moonscape
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Portland: Red and Black Cafe asks cop to leave, mainstream media and boot-lickers throw a fit
Authored by: digit on Tuesday, June 08 2010 @ 04:01 PM CDT

 Obviously there are a lot of bad police officers out there, but categorically assuming any cop is a racist pig, or has hurt innocent people is like someone whose relative died on Sept 11th and is thus uncomfortable when someone speaks Arabic on a plane; cops are people too, and deserve to be judged as individuals not collectively as some monolithic entity.

It's structural, not personal.  That analogy to an Arabic speaking terrorist makes no sense.  Not all Arabic-speaking people are "terrorists" (duh) but all police are in positions of illegitimate authority backed by the state's monopoly on violence.  So no, cops don't deserve to be judged as individuals, they need to be understood in an institutional context.  It's not that the people in the uniform don't deserve to exist, it's that they shouldn't be cops.  Besides, it takes a real asshole to want to become a cop. 

The point is to bring them over to the "other" side, and you're not going to win them over if you hate them categorically.

Why should we want to "bring them over to the 'other side'?  Why should we possibly want to win over cops?  If we should want to win over anybody, it should be working people to organize to get the cops off their block and take back control over our own communities.

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Portland: Red and Black Cafe asks cop to leave, mainstream media and boot-lickers throw a fit
Authored by: moonscape on Tuesday, June 08 2010 @ 06:50 PM CDT

I think the point is to win everyone over on to your side. Perhaps the Russian and Chinese revolutions aren't always the best examples, but one of their successes was in convincing those who upheld the state monopoly of violence that the revolution was open to them too. Now I know you're probably no Leninist, but it's important to recognize that no revolution has been successful against a citizen's army or police force without turning the individuals within that army against the state.

 

I'm not saying you need to go inviting cops to your house or radical action committees. But I don't think that kicking them out of your coffee shop will help to get them out of that uniform any faster, fundamentally alter their relationship to the state monopoly on violence. I'd be more tempted to agree if these were military recruiters, or another case where people could actually 

 

I've known some non-asshole cops. A lot of cops are assholes, but there are plenty of social, economic, or historical reasons why someone would want to become a police officer. Perhaps he comes from a family of police officers, perhaps it was the best or safest job opportunity, perhaps he was the victim of a crime as a young age ... is there a necessary link between being a cop and being a bad guy? I'm not doubting that there have been countless "bad cops" who have and still to this day victimize people of colour, but I wouldn't assume all cops by their nature believe in that or support the entire structure. A lot of people out there are just chasing one paycheck after another.

 

Also, doesn't this coffee shop, in a sense, exist in the same legal and political structure as the police officers? Aren't the laws that define its property relations a part of the same legal scheme that makes the police the defenders of that property? Doesn't the coffee shop pay taxes to the state, paying for the police, and wouldn't it benefit, presumably, if the store was robbed or the owner threatened with violence? Or is it some kind of extra-state free space like they have in copenhagen? I don't know if it's actually hypocritical or not, but something seems contradictory behind having a tax-paying coffee shop that probably has a business license and a legal lease for the property, rejecting the part of the state tasked with "enforcing" those legal relationships.

 

Ultimately tho this is a total non-story. So many businesses refuse the business of a customer for any number of reasons, usually pretty stupid.

 

Edited on Tuesday, June 08 2010 @ 07:10 PM CDT by moonscape
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Portland: Red and Black Cafe asks cop to leave, mainstream media and boot-lickers throw a fit
Authored by: Morpheus on Tuesday, June 08 2010 @ 11:43 PM CDT

The police did not side with the people in the Russian Revolution.  The police were defeated by rioters, and consequently the military was called in.  The military mutinied, and thats what caused the revolution.  There have been many revolutions where the police did not side with the revolution.  There have also been revolutions the military didn't side with (eg. Vietnam).

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Portland: Red and Black Cafe asks cop to leave, mainstream media and boot-lickers throw a fit
Authored by: moonscape on Wednesday, June 09 2010 @ 12:35 AM CDT

I lump the military and police in together as the hands of the state. Either way, both are responsible for maintaining the state's monopoly on violence, and the power of the police is only powerful insofar as the police is backed up by an army or militia which can respond with strategic violence when the police fail (as police lack the equipment and organization to deal with sustained resistance). Anyway, my reading of history shows that martial law is far worse than judicial law, insofar as military law is even more authoritarian and structured than even the police. Either way, it was necessary for the Bolsheviks to win over enough of the individuals within the machinery of state to achieve victory-being within the state machinery does not make one essentially evil, I think that's the real lesson in Hannah Arendt's work on the "Banality of Evil".

 

Also, as for revolutions where the "people" defeated the state without any help from large-scale defections from or infiltration of the state, those only happened in places where there was some kind of outside support, or where the "people" were not citizens, or where the "people" actually possessed a large standing army of their own. Now, the Vietnamese weren't French citizens and as such were far more willing to rebel against France. In addition, "Uncle Ho" had plenty of anti-Japanese guerillas built up to fight the French too. By the time of the war with America, it was partially a state conflict, with the NVA helping the VC or even shouldering much of the burden themselves. Unless you're thinking of organizing a half a million-man guerilla army of course, you'd have less success than the Viet Mihn did.

Edited on Wednesday, June 09 2010 @ 01:11 AM CDT by moonscape
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Portland: Red and Black Cafe asks cop to leave, mainstream media and boot-lickers throw a fit
Authored by: Al Ligator on Tuesday, June 08 2010 @ 09:45 PM CDT

Giving police the benefit of the doubt. Now that's an interesting one. How many times have some of us 'tried to reach out' to cops at protests or whatnot, them all standing in a row with their robocop gear on as you try to explain that they would also take advantage in abolishing class society, and they either ignore us as they wait for instructions to attack us, or just stare blank eyed not hearing anything you say.

As police, they serve their duties in the same manner as a robot is expected to. They are LAW ENFORCEMENT. They 'enforce law', you cannot 'reason' with them, there are no emotions to appeal to, they really don't even give a fuck. If they are told to shoot you, attack you, imprison you, deport you, they will. Sometimes they do it full of rage and relentlessly abuse you, other times they carry it our coldly while talking shit with other cops about innane things.

We have tried that route. It doesn't work. They only way to stop robots is to keep them from functioning. And also, something else that deserves to be said, is that refusing service to authority is the FIRST step in changing the normalacy of everyday life. We can break all the windows we want at night, but if the status quo is upheld normally during the day, then not much has changed. Bureaucrats & authority should be refused service in as many places as possible, and heckled & undermined anywhere and every time it is possible.

 

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Portland: Red and Black Cafe asks cop to leave, mainstream media and boot-lickers throw a fit
Authored by: moonscape on Wednesday, June 09 2010 @ 01:04 AM CDT

I think you need to invert your argument. The police, it is true, when "at work" are automatons. They are there to act on behalf of the law, protect property holders, and use violence where "necessary". That does not mean that they are equally inhuman when "off the beat". To the contrary, this means that the personal exchange or relationship between them is the only time in which they can be related to as individuals. At all other times, you and the police officer are enemies, beyond any understanding of one another. Is it really so dangerous to try to reach out, see the world from their perspective, ect? More importantly, isn't this an opportunity to remind them that you're human too?

 

Relating to a particular group as any kind of absolute, undeniable, structural "other" is almost always a short-sighted way of viewing the world. The "police" are a particular institution, just like any Church, Mosque or Temple, university, state, charity or business. These institutions always have a particular logic, history and political interest unique to them. Why was it created? Where did it come from? And if it has internal contradictions, or contradictions with other sectors of society, why is there a difference between its perspective and another? To understand power, you need to understand where that power comes from, and how it justifies itself to itself. The police aren't unique in that, the only real difference is their structure as the source of law. I also think that they, unfortunately, view the anarchists as an "other", and this is short-sighted on both sides. No group has ever been defeated, except with extreme violence, by having the individuals within that group being turned into an absolute other. Instead, it is by seeing the logic inherent in the institution, and the individual reasons for why that logic was accepted as a "good" paradigm for their life, that one can honestly and fairly critique that institution and lead to its inversion, seizure, or overthrow.

Edited on Wednesday, June 09 2010 @ 01:05 AM CDT by moonscape
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Portland: Red and Black Cafe asks cop to leave, mainstream media and boot-lickers throw a fit
Authored by: Chuck on Wednesday, June 09 2010 @ 02:59 AM CDT

Every cop who has arrested somebody has performed acts of violence against people. If any of us when up to somebody, slapped them against a wall, handcuffed and kidnapped them away to some shithole, we'd be accused of being violent terrorists.

I'm disturbed that anybody would post a comment to an anarchist site defending the police.

Chuck

 

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Portland: Red and Black Cafe asks cop to leave, mainstream media and boot-lickers throw a fit
Authored by: moonscape on Wednesday, June 09 2010 @ 04:30 AM CDT

Perhaps I have faith in the ability of anarchists to have a reasonable and free debate about this (which seems to be accurate so far, I didn't detect any open hostility)? :P Anyways, I'm not meaning to defend "the police" as an institution by any standard, but that doesn't mean we can't recognize that the "police", like any institution, is constituted by individuals. Is it possible to be a radical (of any kind, anarchist, socialist ect) and hate the police as an abstracted social institution, while still being able to see the individuality of a particular policeman? I've had some damn rotten encounters with the police, but I've also had one or two good ones, it often depends on the circumstances.

 

Nor am I condemning the actions of the cafe. They were within their rights, and they still sold him the coffee. But if this really was meant to be a "provocative act", doesn't it fulfill their agenda to rise to the provocation?

Edited on Wednesday, June 09 2010 @ 04:34 AM CDT by moonscape
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Portland: Red and Black Cafe asks cop to leave, mainstream media and boot-lickers throw a fit
Authored by: Chuck on Wednesday, June 09 2010 @ 03:01 AM CDT

Yelp.com removed my comment supporting the cafe, but left up most of the comments attacking the cafe.

Chuck

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Portland: Red and Black Cafe asks cop to leave, mainstream media and boot-lickers throw a fit
Authored by: butternut on Wednesday, June 09 2010 @ 10:52 AM CDT

Of course, we want people to come to our side, but cops cannot join us as cops.

A cop in one of our spaces in full uniform, with handcuffs and a gun, should be quickly escorted out if they're even permitted to enter.  He's clearly not there to read the latest Fire to the Prisons or find new reading on his subject position in the prison-industrial complex--he's there as an act of provocation and repression.  His very existence is imbued with violence, and his presence is an act of violence.

We all know cops, they went to our high schools or they're our neighbors.  If you have the opportunity and patience to develop a relationship with a cop when he's not a cop (i.e. out of uniform), you're more than welcome to do so.  Likely they're not going to change; part of their training involves brainwashing and pro-State loyalty.  But if you can get through to them, more power to you, though in this economy good luck getting one to change professions.

Whether off-duty, non-uniformed cops are allowed into our spaces should be decided by each collective, and respected by everyone else.  If one infoshop takes a no tolerance stance, it should be respected; if another wants to allow cops in so long as they disclose their jobs, don't come in in uniform, don't pack, and still can't come into events where snitching could occur, I wouldn't agree but that's their choice.  But none of this capitulation.  Cops aren't our friends, cops are trained to kill and they kill our friends.  We need to stop treating power with more deference and respect than we receive.

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Portland: Red and Black Cafe asks cop to leave, mainstream media and boot-lickers throw a fit
Authored by: Mohawkwindmill on Thursday, June 10 2010 @ 06:48 PM CDT

I totally understand why a person in an anarchist space would feel uncomfortable with a uniformed police officer around and want to ask him to leave.  As for an out of uniformed officer, well personally I'd be alright with it, inless he started asking very strange personal question that made it clear he was an spy or something.  But I would understand if others were uncomfortable and wanted him to leave, and I respect the Red and Black's right to ask him to.  I view police officers as people, people who are involved in an institution I don't approve of, but people none the less.  Most anarchists are involved in institutions that go against their beliefs, they have jobs, or buy thing, or own things, it's almost impossible not to be a hypocrite.  I'm not saying these things are the same as being a cop, I'm just saying that while I think being a cop is bad, I don't think it's so bad that I'd stop viewing a cop as a person with rights.   

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