0520080351 Protectors of Privilege: Red Squads and Police Repression in Urban America by Frank J. Donner. Berkeley. 1990. University of California Press. hardcover. 503 pages. 0520059514.




  This landmark exposé of the dark history of repressive police operations in American cities offers a richly detailed account of police misconduct and violations of protected freedoms over the past century. In an incisive examination of undercover work in Chicago, Los Angeles, New York, and Philadelphia as well as Washington, D.C., Detroit, New Haven, Baltimore, and Birmingham, Frank Donner reveals the underside of American law enforcement. Protectors of Privilege spotlights the repressive police tactics of the past thirty years, particularly the urban intelligence operations and abuses that burgeoned during the political unrest of the 1960s and 1970s. Donner examines the open police violence and corruption in Chicago; the power-hungry Frank Rizzo, whose fear mongering polarized Philadelphia in the 1970s and 1980s; the ties between the police department and right-wing movements in Los Angeles; and the tarnished professionalism of New York's finest. Meticulously documented, Protectors of Privilege traces the history of countersubversion and police misconduct from the late nineteenth century through the twentieth, beginning with the Gilded Age repression of economic protest and anarchist activities. Donner exposes the machinations of City Hall to curb organized labor early in this century, overheated police behavior during World War I, the ideological response to the Depression and its consequences, and police misconduct during the Cold War. More than just a description of police intelligence and abuse of power, Protectors of Privilege demonstrates how patterns of police behavior accord with patterns of city politics as a whole and uncovers the ties between police departments, the CIA, and private right-wing groups. Donner first documents the shift in police interest from crime to countersubversion and then traces the connections between police corruption and countersubversive activities, probing, for example, the role of infiltrators and agents provocateurs in stimulating the violence they then exposed. Protectors of Privilege offers the most comprehensive account yet published of police misconduct and violations of protected freedoms in America. In a period when protest movements and ghetto unrest could spur a renewal of police abuses, this book speaks to all Americans.




Donner Frank Frank Donner (November 25, 1911 – June 10, 1993) was a civil liberties lawyer, author and the director of the American Civil Liberties Union's (ACLU) Project on Political Surveillance. Born in Brooklyn, New York, Donner earned both his bachelor's and master's degrees from the University of Wisconsin and a law degree from Columbia University. Donner worked for the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) from 1940 to 1945 before leaving for private practice, primarily representing the United Electrical, Radio and Machine Workers of America and the United Steelworkers of America. With attorneys Arthur Kinoy and Marshall Perlin he founded the New York firm Donner, Kinoy & Perlin, which specialized in representing progressive and leftist clients, including Soviet spy Morton Sobell and the Labor Youth League. In the 1950s, the firm represented numerous individuals, including labor officials, who refused to take loyalty oaths or to testify on their membership in communist organizations, as well as several who were prosecuted under the Smith Act. Donner, himself, was brought before the House Committee on Un-American Activities in 1956, accused of membership in a Communist cell within the NLRB in the 1940s. He refused to testify, invoking his fifth amendment rights. Donner was a board member for the National Lawyers Guild. Beginning in 1980, Donner headed the Project on Political Surveillance for the ACLU. During that time he wrote several books outlining official use of domestic surveillance and the use of Red Squads, programs like COINTELPRO, and other agencies to infiltrate organizations suspected of political dissent. Donner also cited the government's use of scapegoats to divert attention from government criticism onto other political groups.


Zeno's Picks


The Neglected Books Page

20 September 2019

www.NeglectedBooks.com: Where forgotten books are remembered
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  • Chapters 1 and 2 from In Our Metropolis, by Phyllis Livingstone (1940)

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  • Businessmen as Lovers, by Rosemary Tonks (1969)

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  • Actors and Directors: Two Anecdotes from Letters from an Actor, by William Redfield (1967)

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  • The Long Sunday, by Peter Fletcher (1958)

    Church, prayer, going to Sunday services and weekday evening meetings remains the center of life for some families and communities. One hundred years ago, they were the frameworks of the rituals and values of many English people, particularly those of the class of shopkeepers and lesser professions. Each denomination and sect identified itself through its... Read

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    The paperback editions of The Fire Escape trumpet its message: “The tragic, unvarnished story of a prostitute.” Which is a bit like plastering the banner line, “The Story of a Cockroach” across the cover of The Metamorphosis: yes, well, I guess you could say it is, but that’s actually missing the point in a pretty... Read more

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  • Blitz Writing: Night Shift and It Was Different at the Time, by Inez Holden (2019)

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  • Journey Through a Lighted Room, by Margaret Parton (1973)

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  • The Mere Living, by B. Bergson Spiro (Betty Miller) (1933)

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