"Photo courtesy of Kyle McQueen"
Mic check! Good, I hope I have your attention. Last week, as we all know, everything changed due to the raid by the LAPD. The stories of mistreatment continue to surface, and there are some arrestees who continue to be incarcerated (far longer than what was considered to be normal for protesting—until now). It is natural to feel pain in this situation, whether one was arrested or not, though the arrestees have been more profoundly affected than those of us who escaped being arrested. I know, for myself, that hearing about our friend’s treatment by the authorities, once arrested, and the tales of people being chased down and beaten outside the eye of the media, is disheartening to say the least. It would also be ignorant of me to forget to mention the fear associated with the massive police presence at the post-raid General Assemblies. I am currently hearing stories of people being arrested for minor infractions, and people have been ticketed for things as insignificant as honking their horns in support of Occupy Los Angeles.
I’m sure we all knew how difficult this movement would be to keep moving in the right direction; however, I didn’t see, as many others likely didn’t see, that our city would eventually turn up the pressure against the occupation in a way that would affect the Occupy Los Angeles movement as a whole. To top it off, the city council has been passing resolutions that many occupiers favor, such as the ending of corporate personhood, so there seems to be a very strange bipolar attitude coming from the city of Los Angeles’s leadership.
That all being said, I think there is an important lesson, as well as opportunity being missed: While it is easy to see that there is little friendship among LAPD and Occupy Los Angeles, this doesn’t mean that we are enemies. And the two should not be considered enemies. For one, they must feel what we all feel: that the dream that is America is surely in its last phase. How can those officers with children have hope for the future when our government has been hijacked by banking and corporate interests? How can these officers not see that perpetual war and globalization are destroying the United States? The American dream is surely on its way to becoming an American nightmare. If the police do not understand this line of reasoning, it is up to us to educate them. While there are some officers, who will likely never budge from their stance of militarism, there are others who will. I for one, could see sadness in some of the eyes of officers the day after the raid. Of course there were those who were gloating, but nonetheless we should redirect our energy. If we make the LAPD the enemy, we will never get those officers who secretly support the Occupy Movement to either come forward, or protect us from the officers that surely want to harass and intimidate us.
So to end this, I want you all to think about this carefully. I’m sure there will be controversy at what I am about to say, but I feel it needs to be said. We need to seek peace with the LAPD. For one, they are very, very powerful. If we keep poking at “the beast” with a stick, we will surely be bitten. Two, our fight is with the banks and multinational corporations—not necessarily all of them, but the ones who make their living off parasitic behavior. You know, the ones who perpetuate starvation, poverty and violence on a global scale? When Martin Luther King Jr. led the people against segregation, he kept civil rights as his focus. I don’t think he stopped to put all of his energy in to fighting police; he kept his eye on target…just as we should do. While the following statement is easier said than done, we should forgive the LAPD for their ignorance and for their abuses. It’s what any man or woman who holds any real value of righteousness would do. This is not to say the pain will automatically subside, but it will inspire others to rally around the Occupy Movement’s true concerns. It is important that we remember a great many Americans are watching to see what the Occupy Movement does post-eviction. If all the Americans standing on the sidelines see is anger toward the LAPD, and fear about the N.D.A.A. (currently making its way through congress), then that feeling will shape the movement, and ultimately kill it. This is what the powers that be want. The strongest emotion we can convey to the American people, is our love. Love inspires hope. I believe that if the people see our non-violent movement is based on love and understanding, then our numbers will continue to grow. However, if we show the people our anger and ferocity, we will fail. Anger, fear and suspicion increase division, while love, understanding and forgiveness inspire unity. It is a very old formula, relevant to any time.
I end this with one final phrase: LOVE CHECK!