Ok, the movement has hit a turning point. It may be doomed and have been ill-conceived or it may be hitting its Act II, its big growing pain, and becoming the real thing. Whether you agree with the message or medium of the protests or not, you’ve got to recognize that what’s going on *right now* is a face-off of the very American action of peaceful protesting versus the very Anti-American action of violent repression. Not just the eviction of the occupations across the country, but the police action at these.
Now, I will not deny the obvious- there is a “criminal element” , which the mainstream media is so obsessed with, that is seeping into the occupations and wreaking some havoc. Anytime I’ve seen or heard of someone causing trouble, they are dealt with by “99%” of the crowd around them and stopped/kicked out. And clearly the air is not free of any tension particles. But what helped push that along quickly were major symbolic police assaults, pushing the fear of our “protectors” to archetypal levels, and evoking images of past revolutions. Isn’t it unreal?
No it’s real… These symbolic yet very painfully real events were flung to all by the internet age such as Iraq War marine Scott Olsen hit by a flash grenade/tear gas in the head and another (near hit?) while he was on the ground, surrounded by assisting protestors (he is just regaining ability to speak, suffering brain damage). Became a “flashpoint”. Or the rest of those violent Oakland protests (as captured in video at the bottom, Olsen is in the video, on ground/in stretcher), or the beatings at Berkeley or Portland and anywhere else.
**UPDATE But wait, there may be an awakening among the police**: U.S. Sheriffs Rise Up Against Federal Government: Sheriff Threatens Feds With SWAT Team
Last night I read that another protestor was beaten, this time in Portland where the main Occupy group was evicted from their occupation site by police today (which according to the news reportedly never amounted to violence). Justin James Bridges, musician & ASL translator for Portland General Assemblies, complied with police and remained lying on the ground as cops beat him badly. From
He was beaten repeatedly in the back and has now lost use of his right arm. Though Justin was lying on the ground in compliance, Portland Police continuously beat him in the back with clubs until his eyes rolled back in his head. Fellow protesters thought he was dead. He is now in critical care.
Really? This is fucked up. This isn’t necessary. Disgustingly, sickingly, downright goddamn shameful. There is no excuse in the world for this kind of bullshit, and these police should all be reprimanded. Are they? No. Many of them have been commissioners. And, of course, as in the cases of Berkeley, with the baton prods, Oakland, with the tear gas/flash grenade firing, and well the nationwide occupation evictions, there is clearly an agreed-upon action. And where else could that come from but above?
The media now seems to be reading from the same script, repeating everything about the isolated crime incidents at the occupation sites. Sure, these are out in public, and there are crimes in public, unfortunately. I’m not downplaying the seriousness of any crimes, and it’s understandable the law wants more control. And there has obviously been poor communication- the police have been showing up in riot gear and certain guys, not like most of the cops but also undeniably influenced by the top guns- and the occupiers being very outspoken and persistent on their presence- and a very tense air.I just saw the movie “The Fall” by Tarsem Singh the other day, one hell of a movie (director of The Cell and Immortals), and the evil black-suited knight-type soldiers fending off our heroes from their destination in very brutal and terrifying ways, with nonhuman growls (mostly dogs) and no distinction, couldn’t help but remind me of some modern villains (compare some pictures below with this picture to the side). So, I can’t help but wonder, well I mean remind myself, this is all a cartoon.
Anyway- seriously- the calls for violent revolution by participators in the protest, I disagree with. And as do many others, the vast majority who kicks out these troublemakers. Of course, the police may have been intimidated… by the power of the movement, and really, if they continue following their orders, what is to come. And now I think is the perfect time for the movement to evolve and transform into something truly meaningful. For now, we read to remember this:
Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.
(And thanks for this that I found right after posting this blog, hope that the good police, which I know must be the majority, take action based on their intuition and truth and join the right side, which they, as American workers and citizens, are really a part of “us”- posting this link twice because it’s amazing hope, right after I posted this worrisome blog: U.S. Sheriffs Rise Up Against Federal Government: Sheriff Threatens Feds With SWAT Team)
And now, here are some of those videos, and photo gallery below:
Berkeley students attacked by batons, especially girl in lower left, police appear to be unprovoked:
Tear Gas/Flash Grenades at first Oakland clash, and shot of Scott Olsen after he was shot:
Cameraman shot by police with rubber bullet at Occupy Oakland
Joe Rogan on Police Brutality at Occupy Protests- Great & to the point