YouTube Liberating Force

One of the videos that I immediately downloaded from YouTube was the UCLA Police incident involving a student in the library who was hit with tazer blasts. It is a powerful video clip, made all the more meaningful because it was recorded by another student using a video-camera-phone, then uploaded to YouTube.

There are several videos like this on YouTube--someone documenting injustice in an impromptu way with the technology tools at hand. Since I find these stories great illustrations of how technology enhanced an individual's power to connect and collaborate on problems that might have been under-reported by mainstream media, I like to collect them.

Here's a story that came to me via D'Arcy Norman: , where I quote from one of the sources mentioned:

In case you missed it, here is the Youtube link showing the confrontation at Montebello between Union organizer Dave Coles, President of the Communications, Energy and Paperworkers Union, and three members of some security force (RCMP? Surete du Quebec?) disguised as protesters.

There is no real room for doubt here. The three are burly, well built guys (the protest crowd usually tends to the young and scrawny or over-weight and middle aged… not a lot of “pumping iron” folks in the anti-globalization movement.) The men are dressed as hoodlums. Bandanas over their mouth and nose. Caps down over their eyes. One of the three has a rock and is threatening to lob it at the police line. Dave Coles, in open shirt and sports jacket, moves in to call for only peaceful protest. In the moments that ensue, Dave gets very suspicious of the so-called protesters. As he related later, he looked at one and said “you are a cop, aren’t you?” (that part was inaudible to me on the tape) Very clearly, you then hear him say “Take your masks off, the three of you. … It’s a peaceful protest.” They refuse to remove their masks, so he points at them and calls out to the crowd “These three guys are all cops.”

...When asked what to do if someone in your group starts talking about explosives or advocating violence, Clay answered: “You get a picture of them. You tell them you now suspect they are under-cover agents for the RCMP. You don’t tolerate that sort of suggestion.” Dave Coles is a hero. He not only acted to stop what he thought was an outraged youth with a rock, he took the time to notice the incongruities. He went for the evidence: show me your face. The fact that a video camera captured the whole confrontation is huge. Even more amazing is that thousands of people have already gone to the Youtube site to watch for themselves.
Source: Green Party of Canada

D'Arcy Norman makes this point...

What scares me is this - what would have happened without YouTube to get the video out? There was video taken at Seattle and Quebec City, but it stayed on analog tape and didn’t get as widely circulated. This is why “Web 2.0″ is important. Never mind personal publishing for cat blogging, and ego surfing and identity management. The reason Web 2.0 is changing the world is by putting the power back into the hands of individuals. Democracy in mass media, in action.

Does this happen in America?

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