I'm going to take a wild guess and assume that you read this blog because you are into punk music. I'm also going to assume that you have been to see punk bands in a house during your lifetime. Maybe you went to a dance party afterwards, full of boozy punks swaying along to shit they would never listen to while hanging out in their own rooms sober...like MILLI VANILLI. Now, what if you were hanging out on the porch at that party and suddenly you were surrounded by cops who were part of a terrorism task force that had been assembled to bust this suspicious Anarchist meeting that you all had organized? "But I'm just at a dance party!", you might exclaim. Exactly, but in this police state that we have come to live in, the cops can now find a myriad of reasons to get you convicted of a felony for simply drinking cheap beer and listening to crappy dance music (or even crappy [or good] punk music). Some readers may be acclimated to this kind of police harassment living in the post-9/11 world that we inhabit, but this story takes place 6 months before the World Trade Center attacks...and just because police repression is infinitely more prevalent than it was 11 years ago, that still doesn't make it acceptable.
In this installment of LIFE DURING WARTIME audio zine (for the uninitiated, think of it as a book on tape), Erin Yanke and Moe Bowstern interview punks that were held on trumped up felony charges after simply being radicals at a party in Portland in 2001. They tell the stories of the paranoia and harassment on the part of the cops and how they (the cops) organized a joint terrorism task force that portrayed fun-loving, harmless punks as bomb-throwing, bloodthirsty anarchists. These incidents helped to organize and politicize the Portland punk scene while also increasing paranoia and distrust within the activist community. It is a great listen and the download also includes the written introduction included in the liner notes penned by Iggy Scam.
I think this audio document is still important and relevant in light of the ongoing Occupy movements around the world. I also think it is important to remind ourselves of the perceived authority and power that police think they have over us and the ways that they fuck up our lives for no real reason. This could happen to any of us and it's helpful to try and be informed about our rights.