Psychosis and State Repression
Constant harassment from law enforcement is always infuriating, but it can also have profound physical and psychological effects on individual and collective bodies. This is what Jasmine Gibson experienced while doing legal support during the NYPD’s witch-hunt of militants and radicals last winter.
Suddenly, the image of cops storming into my apartment and yanking me out of bed occupies my mind. I feel my body tense up. As I try to move, I realize that I can’t even feel my hands.
I identify as a black militant, and my stance on cops has been set on this: they’re bastards and will go to great lengths to make my own life and the life of anyone else who looks like me unbearable. And yet, I didn't know exactly how it felt to be under state repression. I had read accounts from Earth First! and other environmentalist militants who described what it felt like to be hyper-paranoid about being followed by law enforcement and being surrounded by snitches. I remember reading all of these accounts and the feeling of it being surreal. But, I was also aware that this was something many black and brown working class people experience on a daily basis. Everyday I wake up and read about black women having their houses broken into by the cops; seven-year-old girls, like Aiyanna Jones, being killed in their sleep during a raid; and black men being arrested. I knew this reality in theory, but I didn’t know what it felt like – the suffocating impact it has on your body and mind. That is, until this year, when my friends and I experienced it first hand when we were caught in the whirlwind of the Brooklyn Bridge witch-hunt of militants in New York City.
The Brooklyn Bridge case was the culmination of a series of actions from August to December 2014, during which people had been in the streets taking highways and bridges. During the “Millions March” on December 13, 2014, a group of activists allegedly “assaulted” two police officers.