LAPD’s Surveillance Exposed in LA11 Political Prosecutions

Secret Police Stalk and Spy on Refuse Fascism and the Revolution Club

| Revolution Newspaper |


Los Angeles prosecutors and the LAPD are revealing their true repressive nature in the prosecution of 11 members of Refuse Fascism and the Revolution Club (the LA11). The LA11 are facing criminal charges for a range of protests against the Trump/Pence fascist regime. These prosecutions are an escalation in the criminalization of political protest and a leap in state repression, moves that are greasing the skids for fascism.

The legal cases have just begun, and what has been revealed in discovery is outrageous: the LAPD used an informant to illegally and secretly record private conversations and even entire Refuse Fascism meetings; the police on a public college campus videotaped and stalked the Revolution Club and other political groups involved in First Amendment-protected political activities; and leaders were targeted with “conspiracy” charges—charges that the prosecutors were just forced to drop.

The state is arguing that these cases are only about protesters “breaking laws.” This is a lie. In fact, the police’s own records—their reports, recordings, and photographs—reveal they violated people’s basic rights for the purpose of criminalizing political protest.

The state is using these cases to make an example of what happens if protesters stop acting like an obedient movement of meaningless opposition—desperately and dangerously trying to keep people contained within the narrow bounds of what they consider safe and acceptable protest. But it is this system—their repressive apparatus, pigs, prosecutors, and spies—that need to be put on trial. In the service of an illegitimate fascist regime, they are harassing, surveilling, and criminalizing people who are acting in the interests of humanity. This needs to become a big question in society—exposing the nature of this system and the need for determined protest—with masses of people coming to the aid of these righteous defendants!

Who are the LA11?

The arrests of the LA11 stem from a number of incidents where members of Refuse Fascism and the Revolution Club were engaging in and/or supporting nonviolent civil disobedience and protests that took place between September 2017 and March 2018. These actions included holding banners across the Los Angeles 101 freeway on two occasions, stopping rush-hour traffic to send the message: “Trump/Pence Must Go!” (This group is called the Freeway 9.) Other protests in these cases took place on the UCLA campus, including a speaking event with treasury secretary Steve Mnuchin (the UCLA5).1

These protests—which went viral on social media—sounded the alarm about the Trump/Pence fascist regime and called on millions to fill the streets in a sustained, mass nonviolent movement determined to drive this regime from power. The defendants include revolutionaries, social democrats, an anti-imperialist military veteran, students, artists, and others.

The LAPD’s Criminality Revealed

The criminal cases against the LA11 have yet to begin trial and for them to be able to defend themselves in court, the defendants are demanding that the state turn over all the evidence being used against them. The small amount of evidence that’s been turned over reveals two things: a dangerous level of political surveillance involving illegal activity by the police and that the state is using this surveillance and the political stand of the defendants as the basis on which they are going after the LA11, making the prosecution’s whole case illegitimate.

Key points to note:

*The Role of the LAPD’s Notorious Anti-Terrorist Division:

The first arrest reports include not only investigative reports by the LAPD’s infamous Major Crimes/Anti-Terrorist Division (ATD) but also state that the ATD took over the directing authority of these investigations, which included directing the city attorney (the prosecutor) as to what charges should be filed against the 11.

What is the ATD? A department that has historically been engaged in POLITICAL suppression and repression. The ATD and its predecessors have a sordid history of illegal spying, using informants and undercover police to identify, target, jail, and attempt to silence those they deem political opposition to the ruling authorities.

If, as they claim, this is just about a criminal charge of trespass or blocking traffic, why is the Major Crimes/Anti-Terrorist Division not just involved, but dictating what charges should be filed?

Because this is not about criminal charges of blocking traffic or disrupting an event, this is about repressing and aiming to silence political opposition.

* An LAPD Confidential Informant

The ATD sent a confidential informant (in other words, a spy) into meetings of Refuse Fascism (RF) for the purpose of “gathering intelligence.”

This informant secretly recorded at least four meetings of RF and private conversations with people attending those meetings. In California, it is illegal to record conversations without the consent of both parties. The reports from the informant include the content of political discussions, names of people at the meetings, different roles people play in RF, personal connections between people, license plate numbers, and fundraising goals.

The LAPD admits to spying on constitutionally protected political activism—recording and documenting people exercising what are supposed to be First Amendment rights! What does what the informant documented have to do with the supposed “illegal activity” of Refuse Fascism? It doesn’t! This is clearly a bogus excuse to justify the suppression of political dissent!

* UCPD Stalking of the Revolution Club at UCLA:

The discovery also revealed a pattern of stalking the Revolution Club by the University of California Police Department (UCPD). UCLA is a public institution that is legally responsible to ensure and protect everyone’s constitutionally protected speech and rights on campus.

The evidence turned over in the UCLA5 cases contains videotapes, photographs, and reports on the Revolution Club at UCLA—while they were at permitted protests, campus events, or even just carrying out political outreach while on campus. At one event, the camera systematically zoomed in on the faces of members of the Revolution Club as well as members of the Afrikan Student Union (an official student group), and even people just standing by and talking with members of the Revolution Club.

Included in the evidence is a six-page report by a UCPD detective chronicling the activities of the Revolution Club while on campus for over two months, again at protests or even when members of the Revolution Club were just passing out flyers and talking with students on campus about revolution and communism. The report includes the fact that, in one instance, the UCPD followed organizers and wrote down the license plate number of the car they left in.

The police at a public university are stalking and surveilling the Revolution Club! They are so afraid of this message connecting up with students... they are afraid of people determined to stand up against the fascist regime as part of this... they are afraid of students stepping outside the bounds of what they deem “acceptable play-by-the-rules” protest, that their campus police are scurrying around shadowing the Revolution Club!

*Conspiracy Charges:

In addition to bringing a range of criminal charges against those who participated in the civil disobedience on the freeway, the city attorney also filed misdemeanor charges of “criminal conspiracy” against two of the leaders of Refuse Fascism, Michelle Xai and Perry Hoberman.

Historically, conspiracy charges have been used to go after political leaders and amount to making it illegal to be part of organizing—or sometimes even discussing—a political protest beforehand.

In an important victory, just this past week, the state was forced to drop the conspiracy charges. However, the fact that these charges were being prosecuted further highlights the political nature of these attacks. One of the ATD reports shows that they wanted to file FELONY conspiracy charges and contacted the LA County District Attorney’s Office (which is responsible for prosecuting felony cases) about this. The ATD detective concluded that “using a misdemeanor offense of Criminal Trespass to charge a felony Conspiracy is contrary to the spirit of the law where First Amendment freedoms are concerned. For this reason, I would ask that the Criminal Conspiracy be charged only as a misdemeanor.”

By the LAPD’s own admission, the freeway actions were First Amendment-protected political acts. So how are misdemeanor conspiracy charges any less contrary to the right to political protest than felony conspiracy charges? This is bullshit. While there is a difference in penalty, First Amendment freedoms are supposed to be protected, not criminally prosecuted on any level!

There was no justification for these bogus charges in anything the state has provided except for the fact that Michelle and Perry are well-known leaders of Refuse Fascism. This is why they were singled out—and in its report, the state has basically said as much.

Michelle and Perry’s lawyer demanded that the LAPD turn over information about the informant, including his identity so he could be called as a witness in the cases. The court agreed and ordered that these files be turned over. Instead of complying with the court’s order—which would uncover more details about this informant and the level of political surveillance—the city attorney dropped the conspiracy charges against Perry and Michelle!

While this is an important victory, the other defendants are demanding that this information be turned over as it is essential to all these cases.


The LA11 are not being gone after for “criminality” but are being targeted, politically persecuted, and prosecuted on the basis of their political activity and political affiliations. In the eyes of this system and its enforcers, standing up against the Trump/Pence fascist regime is their real “crime”!

What’s shown through all this is that the essence of this system’s so-called “freedom and democracy” is its rule through brutal dictatorship, through political suppression by force. This is seen in the whole history of murder, harassment, and surveillance of forces who have organized against this system. This includes attacks on the Revolution Club taking place right now in Chicago, and includes a whole history of political suppression against Bob Avakian, the leader of the Revolutionary Communist Party, and a history of the LAPD’s use of undercover agents, illegal spying, and brutal attacks and arrests against the movement for revolution.

While there are differences in the ruling class about how to exercise this dictatorship, as concentrated in the struggle at the top over the Trump/Pence fascist regime, they share a unity over the need to suppress meaningful political protest and especially, forces for revolution. But a deep strategic weakness is also revealed: their hold on power, their use of force and violence, is completely illegitimate, enforcing an outmoded and illegitimate system. They have no fundamental answers to the horrors their own system creates except more violence and terror and, because of this, they are deeply afraid of those who represent a challenge to their whole system.

What’s concentrated in these specific cases now—and what everyone who wants a better world needs to understand—is whether or not people will be able to meaningfully oppose this fascist regime and the system overall. There are great stakes here. Will people be able to act commensurate with the danger facing humanity without being shut down and criminalized?

There is a real need and opportunity for many people—from all different perspectives—to come into this fight, raising funds for the legal defense and providing the defendants with a platform to make these cases known. This needs to be made a big debate in society, further exposing the illegitimacy of these prosecutions and the legitimacy of all those standing up right now against the crimes of this system, heightened by this fascist regime.

All those who care about the future need to stand up against these outrageous prosecutions and demand the charges be dropped! In the Name of Humanity, We REFUSE to Accept a Fascist America!

1. There are 11 people being charged in cases stemming from six arrests. Some people arrested on the freeway were also involved in arrests at UCLA.  [back]


The arrests and prosecution of the LA11 for acts of political protest are unjust and illegitimate. With a fascist regime in power, tearing up what are supposed to be protected civil and legal rights, and ruling through open terror and violence, these protests were not just needed, they were right. They were meaningful forms of nonviolent civil disobedience and, on a changing political and legal ground, forms of protected speech!

It is NOT illegal to shout fire in a crowded theater IF THERE IS A FIRE. To say the least, what we are facing is, by analogy, a fire of such extreme proportions, it demands that people defy protest as usual. The Trump/Pence regime is bringing into being a theocracy, with open white supremacy, ethnic cleansing, genocide, the ripping away of women’s basic and essential rights, attacking science and the basic understanding of truth... and as an essential part of this, the shutting down of what are our supposed civil liberties, right to speech, protest, and the freedom of the press. With the threats of nuclear war and even more rapid environmental destruction, it is not hyperbole to say this is a regime that threatens to destroy civilization. (From Greasing the Skids for Fascism... Ominous and Illegitimate Persecution, of 11 Members of Refuse Fascism, LA and the Revolution Club, LA, September 26, 2018)

In November 2017, five protesters unfurl #TrumpPenceMustGo banner on the LA 101 Freeway.

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No! In the name of humanity, we refuse to accept a fascist America! is a movement of people coming from diverse perspectives, united in the recognition that the Trump/Pence Regime poses a catastrophic danger to humanity and the planet, and that it is our responsibility to drive them from power through non-violent protests that grow every day until our demand is met.

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Who Is the LAPD’s Major Crimes Division, aka Anti-Terrorist Division?

A police report connected with the Freeway 9 case reveals the Major Crimes Division of the LAPD sent in a confidential informant to meetings of Refuse Fascism to “gather intelligence” and illegally record conversations unbeknownst to those the informant talked with. The Major Crimes Division is part of the Counter Terrorism and Special Operations Bureau of the LAPD.

There is a long, sordid—and murderous—history of the LAPD illegally spying on a vast range of progressive, radical and revolutionary individuals and organizations which began in the 1950s. At the time, this was part of the U.S. government’s response to the political support and influence of the Soviet Union. For decades since then, the LAPD has illegally spied on, infiltrated and attempted to disrupt such groups involved in constitutionally protected political activity. In 1970, the LAPD established the Public Disorder Intelligence Division (PDID). It was revealed that PDID operatives posed as student members of “radical groups” including Students for a Democratic Society at UCLA as well as such groups like the United Farm Workers. Some time later, it was exposed that the PDID had over 55,000 intelligence dossiers on not only radical groups, but tens of thousands of people, from Hollywood notables to journalists, and that these records were shared with right-wing organizations. In exposing the illegal operations of the PDID, the ACLU uncovered undercover cops who admitted to illegally spying on political organizations, including the Revolutionary Communist Party (RCP).

Here is one deadly result of one of PDID’s illegal operations: In 1980, the Revolutionary Communist Damian Garcia along with two other revolutionaries raised the red flag over the Alamo in Texas denouncing it as a symbol of U.S. imperialist conquest and domination. Twenty days later, Damian was murdered in an East LA housing project while carrying out revolutionary work, building for May Day 1980, by someone who declared “you hate the government, I am the government, your flag is red, mine is red, white and blue.” This same person was himself mysteriously murdered, which may have been a cover up itself. It was later exposed that at the time of Damian’s assassination, an undercover LAPD cop was standing 5 feet away from Damian. This same pig had written internal LAPD reports identifying Damian as his assigned “target” based on Damian’s political affiliation with the RCP.

In 1983, in light of the revelations of the LAPD’s illegal spying and targeting of political organizations and individuals, it was forced to disband the PDID and a new division, the Anti-Terrorist Division (ATD) was created. But the ATD incorporated key functions of PDID in addition to stepped up surveillance, especially electronic spying. While he was chief of the LAPD, the notorious Darryl Gates ran an international political spying operation. In 1992, the RCP led a political battle to shut down a secret INS (Immigration and Naturalization Service, the forerunner of ICE) concentration camp in Pico-Union, a heavily populated Central American neighborhood. The LAPD viciously attacked and arrested 21 people during a series of protests. During the prosecution of these 21 protesters, the charges were dropped when the LAPD refused to turn over the names of all ATD officers who may have been present during the demonstrations as well as any documents related to ATD planning in advance of the protests. The ATD is now named the Major Crimes Division, the division which admits to the illegal political police spying on Refuse Fascism in relationship to the Freeway 9.



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