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ARA News

January 7, 1997, "The Copwatch Issue"
Columbus ARA, PO Box 82097, Columbus, OH 43202

As many Anti-Racist Action groups are making Copwatch a priority, it made a fitting focus for this issue of ARA News. The first two pages are devoted entirely to Copwatch. Unfortunately, the largest article on the first page ("Who Polices the Police?") mostly recounts individual cases of police brutality, only one of which is local to Ohio, and several of which have received attention in the mainstream media. The second front page story ("The Copwatch Movement") begins with a brief history of Copwatch, nationally and locally, and then moves on to discuss the recent experiences of Columbus Copwatch, including attacks from the police. One complaint on how the editors presented this piece: the Columbus accounts are important in their own right, and ought not be hidden on the inside of the publication when the article at first appears to be a history of the movement.

The third Copwatch-related story, "Columbus, Ohio: A Case Study," is in its entirety a chronicle of local police abuse cases from the last several years, excerpted from a Copwatch pamphlet. This goes far in establishing the degree and variety in the police problem of the Columbus area.

The rest of the magazine is devoted to the more general topic of (anti)racism. It includes a worthy analysis of the recent Texaco scandal, reports on ARA actions near and far, and an excellent factsheet on welfare and corporate welfare.

All in all, the politics are good, and ARA does a remarkable job connecting racism to other issues -- police brutality, corporate culture, class struggle, sexism, prisons, the oppression of the young, and so on. Its approach to fighting racism is both broad and direct, clear and sophisticated, militant and approachable. Unfortunately most of this is lost in a sea of collaged, uninspiring "newsbriefs", taken entirely from other papers. Many of these items deserve reprinting but the effect is overwhelming, and the amateurish ap-pearance of the collage undermines the slick look of the first pages.


LIP Collective vol. 2, no. 1: Mar-Apr 97
140 W Devon #243, Chicago, IL 60660

LIP is a collectively produced zine from Chicago, though this issue came out of Seattle. Nothing here directly relates to Copwatch (except an ad for Seattle's Copwatch 206), but it's pretty good reading anyway. Sometimes explicitly anarchist, LIP is theoretical, even philosophical, yet remains accessible in a way few left-based political zines manage. Still, despite professional-quality layout and sophisticated (and interesting) articles, it may be too text-ridden for many zine fans. Occasionally, the zine comes across as a sort of political academic journal, especially with articles such as its lengthy, fact-filled analysis and critique of consumerism. But, whether discussing the Green (Party) Movement or the Promise Keepers you can expect the writers to have an opinion, and to offer well-grounded arguments .

Two articles are of particular interest to those concerned with police accountability. One is the first installment in a series exploring the CIA-crack connection, its relation to the drug war and the imprisonment of many African Americans. This account is detailed and thorough, including many facts omitted from major papers, while remaining clear and easy to understand. The other article is an account of this spring's ruckus in Seattle, in which police attacked the Critical Mass bicycle ride. The author discusses the importance of biking, critiques Critical Mass' strategy for making bicycles and biking issues more visible, and discusses the police and community response.

Overall, there is little here of nuts-and-bolts day-to-day use for activists and community organizers, but it does have great appeal for the political theorist.

Back issues of LIP and the police abuse list-serve archive available:

  [People's Police Report]

August, 1997
Also in PPR #12

Chief Undoes Council Misconduct Vote
Police Shootings, Shootings of Police
 • 18 Years: One Dead Cop, 100s of Dead Workers
 • What is a Hero?

Drug-Free Zones Modified
Day Laborers Resist Immigration Raids
Sheriff Wants Double-Bunking in Jail
Eugene Cops Attack Peaceful Tree-Sit
Updates PPR #12:
 • Beanbag Bullets Now on the Beat
 • Special Duty
 • Pepper Spray to be Banned in Berkeley?
 • Cop-Friendly Capitalism
 • Police Spying Update (again!)
 • Hawthorne Copwatching Update
 • Grant to Copwatch: Update

Report: National Conference in Phillie
Quick Flashes PPR #12:
 • Slap on the Wrist for Rapist Cop
 • Sacramento Cops Target Zapatista Supporters
 • ACLU Updates Police Abuse Manual
 • Portland Copwatch in Media, at Conference

Reviews of 'Zines
Rapping Back #12

Portland Copwatch
PO Box 42456
Portland, OR 97242
(503) 236-3065/ Incident Report Line (503) 321-5120
e-mail: copwatch@portlandcopwatch.org

Portland Copwatch is a grassroots, volunteer organization promoting police accountability through citizen action.

People's Police Report #12 Table of Contents
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