The Empire Strikes Back:
Opposition to occupy activities has made itself apparent in many ways. Let's take a look at a few examples. Naomi Wolf was arrested not long before this article was written:
“But just when Americans thought we had the picture – was this crazy police and mayoral overkill, on a municipal level, in many different cities? – the picture darkened. The National Union of Journalists issued a Freedom of Information Act request to investigate possible federal involvement with law enforcement practices that appeared to target journalists.”
“The picture darkened still further when Wonkette and Washingtonsblog.com reported that the Mayor of Oakland acknowledged that the Department of Homeland Security had participated in an 18-city mayor conference call advising mayors on 'how to suppress' Occupy protests.”
On November 19, a CLGC memo surfaced brought to you by Chris Hayes
”The proposal was written on the letterhead of the lobbying firm Clark Lytle Geduldig & Cranford and addressed to one of CLGC’s clients, the American Bankers Association.”
Then we had Mayor Quan confirming that the feds were coordinating the use of massive police force prior to Oakland raid. A series of similar raids followed and have continued almost daily, Occupy San Francisco evicted using the same tactics yesterday:
“I was recently on a conference call with 18 cities across the country who had the same situation," said Quan.
That resulted in the Oakland debacle, complete with flying tear gas cannisters, bean bags, batons and other dramatic effects that put Ms. Quan on a bus out of town for a few days, returning after the raid to face calls for her resignation.
Of course, all of this did not reflect well on the public relations gurus on Wall Street, and when you consider the timing of the NDAA and the use of military equipment against protesters, the implications are rather ominous as they pertain to the Constitution (what used to be known as civil rights prior to the Patriot Act).
So when the Empire strikes back with Orwellian legislation like the NDAA, it seems to confirm Gandhi's famous quote: “First they ignore you; then they laugh at you . . . “
There are some thorny issues that remain for the opposition, one of which appeared to challenge the religious right with the obvious. The Archbishop of Canterbury pointed out that, let's face it, Jesus himself would be a part of the Occupation Movement.
The Vatican published a piece on social justice as well, which appears to be an endorsement of OWS.
Then we saw the NDAA flying under the radar, then passing 93-7. It appears to target American citizens which is difficult to chalk up to coincidence under the circumstances. The Senate made the distinction rather clear when Senator Feinstein's amendment to section 1031 was dismissed:
“Later that day, Senator Feinstein offered an amendment to the bill in an effort to preclude that outcome, by explicitly altering section 1031 so as to state clearly that citizens are not included. This amendment failed.”
Now we'll get a lesson in the law courtesy of the Supreme Court that will rule on the use of surveillance without judicial review by the same authorities:
“The upcoming Supreme Court decision on Antoine Jones’ GPS case could have a drastic and disturbing impact on the privacy of every American citizen.”
Pardon the alarmist tone, but none of this would be believable except that military armor has already been deployed against occupy protesters.
“The police in the United States have been steadily militarized over the past decade to the point of absurdity, as recently exemplified by police rolling out an armored personnel carrier (APC) to the Occupy Tampa protests."
Pretty scary stuff. Especially when one considers that the Occupy movement has steadfastly adhered to a policy of non-violence. There have been instances of isolated violence, hardly a surprise at a location a few blocks from Skid Row. There have been occasions when the protesters may have used bad judgment regarding tactics.
But there were many more examples of people walking into the encampment for no other reason than to commit violence, disrupt meetings, use hard drugs or otherwise perform for the security cameras aimed at the occupy site from virtually every possible angle. Those include the high-tech surveillance capabilities of the LAPD fortress, the proximity of the federal courthouse and other elevated security areas making City Hall a rather conspicuous venue for law enforcement.
Our meetings are open and sometimes noisy. We have nothing to hide, nothing to fear as far as violations of the law. Many of the issues that are part of the occupy dialog are already making their way through the courts, a traditional path for non-violent groups affecting social change in the U.S.
The issues are self-evident. There has never been any mystery about the objectives or the message which Time magazine explains along with the announcement that the Occupy Wall Street phenomenon is the Top News Story for 2011:
“To some, Occupy Wall Street is the left-wing iteration of the Tea Party, directing their rage not at big government but at the big banks that gutted the world economy and took billions in bailouts from the U.S. government while awarding themselves hefty bonuses.
“But many in the movement see their cause as part of a more global zeitgeist, in keeping with the anti-austerity demonstrations in Europe and the leaderless uprisings of the Arab Spring.
“[T]he sheer persistence of the occupations, galvanized by incidents of heavy-handed policing in New York and California that shocked the nation, have given the protesters’ appeals for economic justice a weight that may play a real role in the upcoming presidential election.”
So the reaction by groups like CCA, the American Bankers Association, and the subsequent response by the law enforcement community is predictable. As noted previously, there exists a symbiotic relationship between government and the major financial institutions in the United States, Europe and indeed every other industrialized nation on earth.
In good times, this relationship is not so apparent. But now we have arrived at a point where Americans have finally learned that they are the chumps who pay for all of it, one way or another. That the economic hardships they are experiencing now are directly related to the malfeasance and collaboration of banking and financial services executives that profited at their expense and continue to benefit from government sponsored bank-welfare programs while they endure hardships not seen since the Great Depression.
The movement is not an “outcry” or the ranting of a radical fringe group. The various scams executed by the financial services industry have become common knowledge, organizations across the political spectrum coming together on this single issue. And if you don't believe it, take a look at some of the threads of typical conservative thinkers on this subject. We have all been put in jeopardy, financial and otherwise, by an inherently flawed system that rewards cheats and incarcerates dissenters, often using violent tactics along the way.
Looking back at history, we are reminded that wherever and whenever people stand up for their rights, you'll also see a reaction proportionate to what the government and their supporters perceive as the threat to their status and power. Apparently the Occupy Wall Street message has struck a chord that does not resonate with the powers that be.
They have made it clear this message is not welcome, and the mainstream media have apparently decided these socio-economic issues are not worth substantial, or accurate, reporting. But as has been said many times before, you can't evict an idea, and so the dialog that continues while we wait for the spring of election year 2012 is crucial to the future of the movement. Thanks to all the contributors, forum writers, commentators and others for keeping the movement alive and growing during these months of trials and tribulations.
Here's another example of why protesters are now spread out across America:
“Nearly a quarter of all U.S. homeowners with mortgages are now underwater, representing nearly 11 million homes, according to CoreLogic, a real estate research firm.”
And more specifics on the NDAA:
Andrew Napolitano has spoken extensively on the subject. Here's an extended series of interviews with Jon Stewart:
Some examples of fun with photos collected from articles about all of this: