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Men In Uniform (Cont’d). Officer James Vernon Clayton, North Las Vegas Police Department, North Las Vegas, Nevada

Trigger warning. Briefly describes the crimes of a male police officer working for the North Las Vegas city government, who, while in uniform, harassed and attempted to sexually assault several women that he forced to pull over.

Officer James Vernon Clayton, North Las Vegas Police Department, North Las Vegas, Nevada.

From Tuesday’s Las Vegas Sun, Officer James Vernon Clayton, a three year veteran ex-cop formerly working for the North Las Vegas Police Department, repeatedly used the power of his badge and gun in order to pull women over, sexually harass the women he was holding captive, pull down his pants and show his dick off to them against their will, used threats of false arrest to grope at least one woman under the excuse of a pat search, and to try to extort sexual favors by threatening them with legal retaliation if they wouldn’t. He did this to at least five women that we know of, while on duty, in uniform, in his police cruiser, and heavily armed. So the boss cops with the North Las Vegas city government gave him a six month paid vacation; then the government prosecutor cut a deal with him so he could plead guilty to five misdemeanors — none of them sex offenses. The government prosecutors wanted this serial sexual predator to spend four months in jail; the government judge accepting this plea decided to give him three years’ probation instead, and told him to pay off the government to the tune of $5,000. The women he harassed, intimidated and coerced[1] will, of course, get nothing.

The government prosecutor had this to say, about the case:

From the onset of this case, what the state found most disturbing is here??s an individual charged with our public safety — we??ve blindly given him our trust to protect community, we??ve given him a badge, and he??s vitiated all of that, including blemishing his department, Chief Deputy District Attorney Stacy Kollins said.

— Quoted by Cara McCoy, Las Vegas Sun (2010-05-18): Ex-officer who sought sexual favors during traffic stops sentenced

Well, sure, except that you ought to speak only for yourself — I never gave Officer James Vernon Clayton a badge or my trust, and neither did much of anyone else outside of the North Las Vegas city government. But that said, perhaps what you ought to learn is that it’s foolish to blindly give your trust to men with guns and uniforms, and dangerous to create an environment in which they wield incredible power over ordinary citizens, with a reliable expectation that even if they get caught, they will never face any serious personal consequences for their violent and abusive actions. Until you figure that out, expect your blind trust to keep getting vitiated, over and over again, by men who use those weapons and that unaccountable power to stalk, harass, and assault the women who they force under their power.

What as at stake here has a lot to do with the individual crimes of three cops, and it’s good to know that the police department is taking that very seriously. But while excoriating these three cops for their personal wickedness, this kind of approach also marginalizes and dismisses any attempt at a serious discussion of the institutional context that made these crimes possible — the fact that each of these three men worked out of the same office on the same shift, the way that policing is organized, the internal culture of their own office and of the police department as a whole, and the way that the so-called criminal justice system gives cops immense power over, and minimal accountability towards, the people that they are professedly trying to protect. It strains belief to claim that when a rape gang is being run out of one shift at a single police station, there’s not something deeply and systematically wrong with that station. If it weren’t for the routine power of well-armed cops in uniform, it would have been much harder for Victor Gonzales, Anthony Munoz, or Raymond Ramos to force their victims into their custody or to credibly threaten them in order to extort sex. If it weren’t for the regime of State violence that late-night patrol officers exercise, as part and parcel of their legal duties, against women in prostitution, it would have been that much harder for Gonzales and Munoz to imagine that they could use their patrol as an opportunity to stalk young women, or to then try to make their victim complicit in the rape by forcing her to pretend that the rape was in fact consensual sex for money. And if it weren’t for the way in which they can all too often rely on buddies in the precinct or elsewhere in the force to back them up, no matter how egregiously violent they may be, it would have been much harder for any of them to believe that they were entitled to, or could get away with, sexually torturing women while on patrol, while in full uniform, using their coercive power as cops.

A serious effort to respond to these crimes doesn’t just require individual blame or personal accountability — although it certainly does require that. It also requires a demand for fundamental institutional and legal reform. If police serve a valuable social function, then they can serve it without paramilitary forms of organization, without special legal privileges to order peaceful people around and force innocent people into custody, and without government entitlements to use all kinds of violence without any accountability to their victims. What we have now is not civil policing, but rather a bunch of heavily armed, violently macho, institutionally privileged gangsters in blue.

— GT 2007-12-21: Rapists on patrol

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  1. [1]Who chose not to speak out at the sentencing hearing, because they were afraid of retaliation from the would-be rapist who the judge then proceeded to turn loose.

Priorities

The government-installed administration at the University of Nevada at Las Vegas says that, what with the current round of massive state budget cuts, and the threat of future cuts one or two years down the line, they don’t have enough money to teach classes in unpopular majors. (Based on recent decisions from administrative committees, UNLV’s — excellent, but small — Women’s Studies program, among others, might just barely manage to escape the axe. For this round of budget cuts.)

But apparently they do have enough money to build a big memorial to dead government soldiers.

Of course they do; it’s a matter of priorities. When the allocation of money for the University is political, it’s always going to favor what’s politically popular over what’s educationally important. And there’s nothing more politically popular than Patriotically Correct monuments to dead government soldiers.

This is, of course, exactly why UNLV should be liberated entirely from government appointments of administration and from the government strings attached to government funding.

Supporters of the Women’s Studies department, and of academics at UNLV broadly, often view the prospect of privatization of the University with horror. I don’t–because if privatization just means turning UNLV over from governmental ownership to non-gvernmental ownership, that could mean a lot of different things. I understand the reaction, if they are thinking of the kind of legislative privateering where the University simply being sold off to the best-connected corporate bidder. What I think is that the University doesn’t belong to the state government in the first place, and so the state government has no right to sell it to anyone; it belongs to the students and the faculty who use it. And privatizing, or if you prefer socializing it, directly into the hands of the campus community is the only just way to dispose of the University.[1] It’s also the best thing that could possibly happen to education at UNLV. As long as a government-imposed administration is in charge of UNLV, UNLV will be about serving the priorities of administrators, and serving the priorities of the government. UNLV will be about learning and teaching when it’s controlled by learners and teachers; the sooner we end the government occupation of campus, the better.

NV out of UNLV!

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  1. [1]Of course, a plan like that — just handing the University for free over to those who work and study in it, with no political strings attached, instead of coming up with some scheme to create a subsidized sale to an bureaucratic efficiency-minded corporate management, with lots of lingering state control over what they can do — is almost certainly something that will never come out of a committee of the state legislature. Or rather, it’s something that will never come out of a legislative committee unless they are forced to it by events on the ground. If it’s going to come about, it’s something much more likely to come about by a strategy of campus organizing, concerted strikes by faculty, staff, and students, and student occupations of buildings and facilities, aimed not at legislative influence in Carson city, but at asserting effective physical and cultural control over the campus. But I see the need for people-power tactics, instead of bureaucratic gamesmanship and legislative lobbying, as an advantage of my proposal. Not a weakness.

This Thursday at Vegas Anarchist Cafe: a presentation by Jim Haber and a screening of “Death and Taxes” — on war, taxes, and direct action for peace. Thursday, April 8, 6:00pm

Please forward this notice far and wide! Pass the word along to anyone who you think might be interested in the film, the talk, or in learning more about direct action for peace.

The Vegas A-Cafe and Southern Nevada ALL are pleased to announce that this week’s A-Cafe will feature a special presentation and screening of the short film “Death and Taxes,” hosted by Jim Haber of the Nevada Desert Experience. The film and presentation discuss war tax resistance as a form of practical direct action for peace — depriving the warfare state of financial support, and redirecting our labor and our resources towards a positive countereconomy — a community that supports life rather than death.

WHAT: Screening of “Death and Taxes” and presentation on war tax resistance by Jim Haber

WHEN: Thursday, April 8, 2010, 6:00pm-8:00pm. (30 minute short film, with a talk and discussion to follow.)

WHERE: Back meeting room of the Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf, across the street from UNLV, 4550 S. Maryland Pkwy, Las Vegas, NV

WHO: Anyone interested in peace and freedom

Jim Haber is a long-time war tax resister who is transitioning from being an “income-reduction” resister to one who is refusing to pay part of his tax liability. He has been serving on the National Committee of the War Resisters League since 2002. Jim is currently coordinator of the Nevada Desert Experience which organizes interfaith resistance to nuclear weapons and war.

Jim is looking forward to presenting Death & Taxes a new 30 minute documentary produced by the National War Tax Resistance Coordinating Committee, and featuring several new and long-term resisters of different generations (and great music). The film directly addresses many fears and questions that people have about tax resistance in general and war tax resistance in particular.

For anyone interested in conversation. We look forward to seeing you there!

The Las Vegas Anarchist Cafe is a weekly meetup featuring informal discussion and the exchange of ideas about grassroots organizing, consensual society, and peaceful alternatives to war, taxes and government. Anyone interested in conversation is welcome to attend. See http://vegas.anarchistcafe.org/ for more information.

Rad Geek Speaks: “Ask An Anarchist!” THURSDAY, at the Vegas Anarchist Cafe. Las Vegas, Nevada, 1 April 2010, 6:00pm

This week, at the Vegas Anarchist Cafe — specifically, THURSDAY, 1 April 2010Vegas ALL will be sponsoring a special Ask An Anarchist! event with ALLy Charles Johnson. Ask An Anarchist! is a freewheeling Q&A session, where A-Cafers, guests, the anarcho-curious and anyone interested in a conversation about the idea of a stateless society, all get the chance to fire away with any question they care to ask about Anarchy, Anarchism, or Anarchists. As our handbill puts it:

re you curious to learn more about Anarchy, Anarchism, or Anarchists? Have you got questions about Anarchist ideas, the history of Anarchism, how Anarchism has affected mainstream culture, Anarchist solutions to contemporary social problems, or how Anarchists believe that a free society would work without government? Want to know whether the picture of Anarchism that you??ve gotten from the mainstream culture is accurate or based on misconceptions? Want to try and stump an Anarchist? Bring all your burning questions this Thursday, and our speaker will do his best to answer any question you care to ask. Come on in and fire away!

This event is for anyone curious about the ideas of philosophical Anarchism, or interested in conversation. All are welcome to attend.

The Q&A session will run from 6–7pm. An informal meet-up and discussion will follow from 7–8pm. f you??re in the Vegas area (or even if you??re not), it??d be great to see you there. If you know anyone around abouts who might be interested in a talk about Anarchism, or a chance to find out more, then please do forward the announcement on to them.

  • WHAT: Ask An Anarchist! Q&A with Vegas ALLy Charles Johnson.

  • WHERE: Weekly Anarchist Cafe at the Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf, Running Rebel Plaza (4550 S. Maryland Pkwy, right across the street from UNLV), Las Vegas, Nevada

  • WHEN: This Thursday, 1 April 2010, 6:00pm – 7:00pm. The regular A-Cafe informal meet-up and discussion will continue after the talk, from about 7:00pm to 8:00pm.

  • WHO: Anyone curious about the ideas of Anarchism, or interested in conversation.

Hope to see y’ALL there!

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The present anarchy of our commerce (cont’d)

So, here is the latest on the Alliance of the Libertarian Left at the Bay Area Anarchist Bookfair.

First — I’d like to give a big shout-out to the three very generous donors who chipped in to cover all of the costs for the table registration fee and the shoestring-budget travel expenses from Las Vegas to San Francisco. Thank you! You’re awesome. Seriously.

Second. Along with the selection of booklets and buttons that we had at last year’s Bay Area bookfair, and last month’s bookfair in L.A., James Tuttle from Tulsa ALL will be bringing along some new literature from ALL and from Corvus. And Southern Nevada ALL will be bringing along a passle of new literature, including four new Market Anarchy Series zines and several new button designs. If you’re curious, or interested, we’ve added the new items to our distro page. If you need some literature and merchandise for your ALL local, or just want to pick some up for yourself, check it out — everything’s available either as an individual item or for discounted bulk orders. It’s a great way to get the word out; also a way that you can pick up some solid left-libertarian materials while helping us defray the costs of supplies and printing for the Bookfair.

Here’s a sampler of the new booklets and buttons we’ve got in at the Distro.

Market Anarchy #13: Libertarianism Through Thick and Thin

Charles Johnson (2008)

(Specially commissioned by James Tuttle of Tulsa ALL.)

Government is Violence / think Anarchy for consensual alternatives [ALL] (1.5?)

Market Anarchy #14: Libertarian Feminism: Can This Marriage Be Saved

Roderick Long and Charles Johnson (2005)

(Specially commissioned by James Tuttle of Tulsa ALL.)

Deporten a La Migra! [ALL] (1.5?)

The Best of BAD Press: Tracts in Individualist Anarchism 1986–1999

BAD Press (2001)

i don’t pay war taxes [ALL] (1.5?)

MA15: Property to the People! Expropriate the Expropriators!

Where Are The Specifics? Karl Hess (1969)

NO BORDERS / NO STATE [ALL] (1.5?)

MA16: Liberty, Equality, Solidarity

Charles Johnson (2008)

(Specially commissioned by James Tuttle of Tulsa ALL. Ships on or after March 1, 2010.)

The General Strike

Ralph Chaplin 1933)

(Produced and distributed by Southern Nevada ALL for an ad hoc organizing committee of the IWW in Las Vegas.)

Crypto Anarchy and Virtual Communities

Timothy C. May (1994)

Market Anarchy Zine Series: full print run

16 Market Anarchy zines for $1500

I’d like to take special note of a couple new items in the Market Anarchy series . There is, first, the most recent issue (#15), which is a reprinting of Karl Hess’s Where Are The Specifics?. For those of you familiar with Rothbard’s (in)famous Confiscation and the Homestead Principle (already part of the Market Anarchy series, as Market Anarchy #1: All Power to the Soviets!), this is the article by Hess that Rothbard was riffing on when he wrote that essay. (The two were first published together in a single issue of Libertarian Forum, along with a polemic against the government assault on People’s Park.) Since the two are of a set, to go along with All Power to the Soviets! I gave the Hess booklet the title Property to the People! Expropriate the Expropriators! Hess’s article is shorter than Rothbard’s, and raises a lot more questions where Rothbard aims for a specific answer (Hess asks what would become of General Motors in a free society; Rothbard tries to answer the question). But it’s notable, among other things, for Hess’s shout-out to militant reclaim-the-land movements in the Southwest U.S. / northeast Aztlan, and for the really excellent programmatic statements at the beginning, on the difference between the defense of individual property and freed-markets, on the one hand, and apologetics for actually-existing property claims and the typical business practices of state capitalists, on the other.

And, second, there is the upcoming issue (#16), which is — at long last — a reprint of my essay Liberty, Equality, Solidarity: Toward a Dialectical Anarchism, which will be freely available for reprinting with attribution at the end of February 2010. (As a result, the booklet ships on March 1 at the earliest.) It used to cost somewhere between $60 and $80 to get a printed copy of the essay; come March, it can be yours in an attractive booklet edition for only $1.75. The essay ranges pretty widely, from the anarchist case against limited government to radical equality to the interconnection of struggles and thick conceptions of libertarianism to individualist anarchist engagements with radical feminism, the labor movement, and the great capitalist conflation controversy. Thus: The purpose of this essay is political revolution. And I don??t mean a “revolution” in libertarian political theory, or a revolutionary new political strategy, or the kind of “revolution” that consists in electing a cadre of new and better politicians to the existing seats of power. When I say a “revolution,” I mean the real thing: I hope that this essay will contribute to the overthrow of the United States government, and indeed all governments everywhere in the world. You might think that the argument of an academic essay is a pretty slender reed to lean on; but then, every revolution has to start somewhere, and in any case what I have in mind may be somewhat different from what you imagine. For now, it will be enough to say that I intend to give you some reasons to become an individualist anarchist, and undermine some of the arguments for preferring minimalist government to anarchy. In the process, I will argue that the form of anarchism I defend is best understood from what Chris Sciabarra has described as a dialectical orientation in social theory, as part of a larger effort to understand and to challenge interlocking, mutually reinforcing systems of oppression, of which statism is an integral part??but only one part among others. Not only is libertarianism part of a radical politics of human liberation, it is in fact the natural companion of revolutionary Leftism and radical feminism.

(This booklet edition of Liberty, Equality, Solidarity was, incidentally, made possible by a generous commission from James Tuttle of Tulsa ALL.)

Anyway. If you’re there at the Bookfair, these items and some others will be out on the table for you to check out. If circumstances force you to be square rather than there, they are all available now through the Southern Nevada ALL Agitprop & Artwork Distro.

Enjoy!

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