Preempting Dissent

2014, Society  -   11 Comments
Ratings: 7.26/10 from 46 users.

Peaceful protests have been a staple in society for many decades, and in several cases throughout history, they've directly inspired positive social and political change. But in the wake of 9/11, law enforcement has adopted a new set of policies when it comes to the policing of these activities. By taking preemptive measures to quell a great number of public protests, they've wrongfully incarcerated thousands and trampled on the rights of ordinary citizens to practice free speech. Based on the book by Greg Elmer and Andy Opel, Preempting Dissent chronicles this disturbing phenomenon with great skill and insight.

Utilizing a wealth of footage captured from within the protest movement, the film opens on the 2010 G-20 Summit in Toronto. This influential meeting of world leaders drew mass protests on a variety of topics including poverty and oppressive government policy. While the vast majority of these protests were peaceful in nature, trouble did arise in the form of vandalism, outbursts of violence, and over a thousand arrests. Judging by the imagery featured in the film, many of these unfortunate incidents could have resulted from the intimidating presence of a militarized police force. In the wake of the summit, Toronto law enforcement agencies were met with widespread charges of wrongful arrest, unlawful strip searches and other abuses.

The film expands the conflicts of this particular event and places them in the context of history. From the civil rights movement of the 1950's and the Vietnam war protests of the following two decades all the way to the Occupy Wall Street and Black Lives Matter protests of today, violent skirmishes too often occur when the population gathers to demand accountability from their leaders.

Preempting Dissent places the blame for most of this violence directly at the feet of law enforcement. Armed with clubs, hoses, and cans of tear gas, these policing agencies set a tone of menace and impending eruption from the outset and with little provocation. As explained by many of the activists and outreach representatives featured in the film, these bullying tactics seem ultimately designed to stifle the voice and social consciousness of the people. When injustice goes unchecked, we are all made its victim.

More great documentaries

11 Comments / User Reviews

  1. DustUp

    I meant to write: damage their property and their community. Increased air pollution, water pollution, all under the guise of a few jobs they multiply the actual number by 2 or 4 or so.

  2. DustUp

    A split frame cartoon came to my email the other day. One side showed the years ago happy smiling faced policeman in a blue uniform and hat tilted up. The other side showed a camo fatigued gadget belted mega ammo clip pocketed vest wearing un-amused looking dude. Caption: What happened to America? ...or similar. Purdy much tells the story.

    Further, I had one of those camo wearing mega ammo clip wearing "policeman" knock on my door a while back. He got himself all mentally jacked up in stern boss mode, telling me I had to move my car. The mistake many make is returning same emotion as they get. I told him that I couldn't since it needs a part which I had just obtained but I could replace the expired tags with the new ones I had on my desk. (Gave him more than only a "no", which authoritarians hate worse than most crimes... but a reasonable course of action.)

    Suppose I had told him to ef off pig? Don't come at me with that attitude m-ef-r, I pay your salary and the vehicle will only be moved after everyone else who has a vehicle they haven't moved in a long time moves theirs. Equal treatment under the law ass hat. Would that have made your day ...after a tow truck takes your vehicle away?

    At least they asked me. Had a friend in a larger city come to find his sailboat being towed with no notice of any kind.

    Off the subject I suppose but a lesson in dealing with the new breed of soldier wanna be cops. Problem is, the new generations of school indoctrinated into emotionalism reactionaries cannot seem to see that the cops are now indoctrinated into ESCALATION. They bait you to see if they can escalate the situation into an arrest that looks better on their resume. Don't take the bait, that is in essence a version of love, mentioned in a prior comment.

    One lesson from the Tea Party gatherings of 2011. Weasels afraid of their increasing numbers planted trouble makers into their midst at rallies. No one there knew who these trouble makers were. Their rallies were always calm until the trouble makers showed up in an attempt to make the Tea Party look bad on the news; so less would be inclined to join ranks. That is Preempting Dissent.

    Another method is providing a forum where people can spout off about a corporate-govt project that will damage their property. Then the majority of them go away, never to do anything actually worthwhile, having released their steam. Have seen that too many times. Really ticks me off about how lame people are. The corp-govt money grubbers who relish in "they win you lose" projects have now gotten so blatant in their go thru the motions on the record "project hearings" they schedule them in hard to find locations at times when not many can attend. Then they have "company only hearings" where no opportunity to redress govt (as required by the constitution) is allowed. The politicians, when asked to do something are all quick to say: "nothing much we can do". Which is a lie. They know they can deny permits.

    Like it or not, the rule is: Politicians wait to see the direction the wind is blowing. If you don't care enough to try to prevent something bad from happening, why should they? You say it is their job? True enough. But they know the monied interests will run someone against them unless they have a huge following of protesters when they vote against a project. So it is up to you. Gather in numbers to twist political elbows -or- enjoy suffering the result of doing nothing, like far too many do. I rate the do nothings worse than the money grubbers.

    A lot of LABELS get tossed around today, purposely attempting and clearly succeeding in confusing people about who is who and what is what. A CONSERVATIVE wants to conserve the tried and true good things. A politician who causes bad things who happens to be of a particular party, such as violating people's rights, is not a "conservative" but is labelled as such by the media and the indoctrinated in order to berate ALL conservatives as evil. That notion is preposterous. It is like calling all liberals messed up in the head, when only 99% are. hahaha. Anyway. Watch out for those labels and how the govt school emotionalized generation are so easily manipulated by and key off on such "labels".

    Ask yourself if you like to be lumped in with scum before you start applying your resentments or hatred to all of a particular "label" the scum media has applied on purpose; even if that is the name of a political party. If an individual in that party is doing wrong things, it is likely because they don't care about anything else but the big boy club. For instance Hillary was more corrupt than ANY running on the right. So to the media which never covered obama's nor hillary's extensive corruption. WAKE UP. Pull your head out. I'm no fan of Trump. Simply far less corrupt than Hillary. Lies and all, that is why he won. It is a humorous but annoying thing to see the kissin cousins to the soviets, being the democrat/socialists point fingers saying Trump is in bed with the rooskies. Even if so, he certainly isn't the only one. Look in the mirror first. How was it that Hillary signed over 20% of the usa uranium to Putin?

    Turn off the boob tube, do your own research, it simply isn't that difficult. There is a number of independent news sources.

  3. Aisling Kelledia

    A definition of Neo-liberalism is that it wraps itself in the flag of free speech and democracy, yet in fact is working only for its own interests and that of fellow 1%'rs. It allows us to vote for only pre-approved candidates with financial gain their true priority.
    A big part of the neo-liberal landscape is the rule of authoritarianism, which by design is meant to keep citizens afraid, on-edge and compliant. The Prison Industrial Complex is a weapon of mass incarceration. The police are no longer your friends, but in fact are the tools of a war against democracy itself.

  4. Chuck

    Police have become one more part of the military-industrial complex, and are being supported by governments which fear the people. The G8-G20 Summit in Ontario was a prime example of a right wing, fearful party - Steven Harper's Conservatives - using this meeting in order to (a) field test a policing model whereby police routinely and intentionally ignored and abused citizens' rights, and (b) provide over half a billion dollars indirectly to Canadian police forces in capital funding in order to strengthen the bond between the police and the ruling government. Steven Harper claimed that he was interested in security, and yet he chose the absolute worst location from a security point of view in all of Canada - downtown Toronto in the heart of the financial district - in order to hold the Summit. Clearly this was intentional, and resulted in massive rights violations. This is an important documentary - the days of the local cop on the beat being your friend are almost gone, and new training models instill new police with fear of the public. More needs to be done to continue to shine light on this very pressing issue.

  5. Roma Fraser-Engler


    Lately comments by people that have a) left Alberta for another Province returned to Alberta
    b) Alberta is backwards the Mayor fearful of litigation does not permit prayers in the morning before sessions are held and during the day. c) The Mayor is correct men and women must work together peacefully - Commonwealth Charter d) Apparenlty People are made unemployable - conditioned to go to Workstart where dehumanization apparently occurs .

    Miami Style of protests - This is Canada - We have a police force that is peaceful and attempts to positive quantative physics and we have the Shrine at Lac St. Ann Holy land of the aboriginal population who share peacefully. All Our Hope is in GOD. These statements are made without prejudice - true to the best current accurate written data and are not allegations.END

  6. boot-tread

    REAL cops will protect those they supposedly signed up to serve (citizens) and allow protesting without interfering.
    It's the sad/duped ones that go for militarization and protecting the assets of the greedy people who try to control them and the rest of the world that I'm concerned about. Hopefully they will see whats really going on and refuse orders that go against human rights.

  7. bluetortilla

    Ain't about cops. Cops do their job with honor when they protect, they shame themselves when they attack the innocent. The main lesson that history shows us is that time and time again soldiers cannot ultimately control the people. A new leader will emerge, military leaders will shift their alliances. The time for fighting in the streets and revolution is here again.

  8. Mic

    scubahalo you are doing the same thing that you claim Bob is doing. You could say it to Bob's face instead of the internet? but it isn't about that. Not every police officer is bad however you do kind of compromise your moral by joining a corrupt system that is based on quotas and working for profit. We need to stop hating each other we are all the same no matter how bad your day is or how shity ones life can be. So far in my existence I have learned that love is powerful and love is what creates change. Lets try to treat one another with respect and love for once it is a better feeling than bitterness and hate which we are all used to.

  9. scubahalo

    Awwww, are we feeling oppressed by the mean policemen? Pretty tough talk there, Bob. You should walk up to one and tell it to his face instead of posting your silly BS on a documentary site. Typical though.

  10. mike

    poor bob. low self esteem.

  11. Bob

    The only good cops are those that meet an untimely demise... Nothing but part of the corrupt thug arm of the NANNY/POLICE/SURVEILLANCE state