I'd been meaning to really check this disc out for a while but various obstacles somehow got in the way of really
being able to see this. However, after learning of police overreaction towards protestors at the G20 protests in Pittsburgh
back in September, this DVD came to mind so I decided to hunker down and really give it the attention it deserved.
We Ride tells the tale of the New York City chapter of Critical Mass (a group of bicyclists who ride en masse once a month
to assert the right of cyclists to use the roads) and their confrontations with NYC police. The clampdown initially
occured amidst the crackdowns during the 2004 Republican National Convention, the overreaction continued to escalate afterwards.
Using a combination of interviews, footage of rides and police actions adn the like, an account emerges of arbitray
mass arrests, seizing of bikes that were already locked (including an incident of someone arrested who wasn't part of the
ride), edited video footage used by police as evidence (snippets of police officer dialogue is also heard showing the cops
unaware of why the rides are actually happening in the first place) and brutality towards cyclists. It also shows related
police actions such as an attempted police raid on an environmental space that was having a party for example.
know some would cite the rides' nature of blocking traffic as a concern and say the police had to do something. However,
when taken into context, the actions against Critical Mass really are part of a bigger sphere that finds community interests
targeted in favor or corporate interests, with the criminalization and intikmidation of dissent as one of its core goals,
whether it be towards actisits at political conventions, the Critical Mass rides in NYC and elsewhere, ormost recently the
G 20 protests. While some of it has an it would be humorous if it wasn't scary vibe (a police helicopter infrared video
from one of the mass arrests found the camera repeatedly focusing on a copule making out on top of a building), it's still
a scary thing to consider when
Admittedly this is an ongoing story. However, the film makers
managed to capture the spirit of the rides overall as well as an attempt to link it to the larger picture of the possible
loss of freedoms during Bush 43's second term. It also marks why these incidents are interconnected and the reason why
eternal vigilance is necessary to keep the trampling on our civil liberites from going further than it already has, regardless
of who's in power.