Update: Must-read by Chris Hedges
“And the real crime committed is not the crime of speaking out or defying the rules, but the crime of exposing the charade.”
Hero of the Movement:
"'I will not idly stand by while law enforcement is administered only to the poor and disenfranchised while the rich flaunt their immunity,' Lewis told a crowd of 40 occupiers and reporters gathered near a stone engraved with the First Amendment.”
Ray Lewis is one of a generation that understands the sacrifices that were made by our forebears to correct some of the injustices that characterized this country prior to the civil rights era of the 60's. Ray Lewis, true to his heritage and his principles, has made himself a symbol for the rebirth of the movement that was dormant for almost 40 years prior to September 17, 2011.
He was arrested at Zuccotti Park, endured the harshest of criticism from the cop brotherhood, but returned to Philadelphia to take part in an event promoting free speech, the most fundamental of all civil rights. Meanwhile, police commissioner Charles Ramsey was expressing his outrage at the former captain wearing his old uniform.
“Ramsey wrote previously that he was 'prepared to take any and all necessary actions' against Lewis if he continued to wear the insignia of the Philadelphia police.”
OK, so the commissioner has a quasi-legitimate gripe, but Mr. Lewis knows that part of free speech is symbolism, and there is nothing artificial about Lewis or his uniform. He walked the walk his entire career, so why should he be any different that the thousands of former military folks that adorn themselves with their memorabilia when they attend a VFW function or march in a parade? Has the former chief ever represented himself as the current chief of police? Of course not.
The uniform is only to draw attention to the fact that some cops see themselves as part of the 99%, which they most definitely are, and not willing stooges for the criminal element in the banking industry that has flaunted the law, then absconding with ill-gotten gains. When artificially-valued securities, credit swaps, derivatives, illegal foreclosures and other banking scams produce profits for the banksters, it is at the expense of the 99%.
When someone wins a bet short-selling stocks in vulnerable sectors, made that way because of the phony valuations that are part of the scam, it is at the expense of those that rely on those investments for their retirement. When the real estate market collapsed, a process that continues today, it is at the expense of those who work their entire lives to pay off their homes, those investments suffering horrendous losses since 2008.
Public service unions and their pension funds were among the hardest hit by the criminality of the 1%, and whether they realize it or not, those investments continue to be jeopardized by the people that just bought their way out of a jam with the settlement agreement announced last Thursday.
Ray Lewis understands this. Not only is he smart enough to understand this dynamic, he was also around when Martin Luther King was paving the way for the civil rights movement. Probably more than most, he knows that the paradigm we've criticized, the symbiotic relationship between banksters and lapdog regulators, is part of a bigger picture and it isn't pretty.
Ray Lewis doesn't need his uniform to make his point, but the symbolism is part of the message he has embraced to the chagrin of the 1%. That makes him a target, just like the rest of us that have dared to criticize and educate. But Ray Lewis is not a man easily deterred, and for that reason he is one of the Heroes of the Movement. He knows that sacrifice is part of the equation.
He was after all, 17 years old when Dr. King was assassinated, reaching adulthood in a time of turmoil and social upheaval. He understands better than most what is at stake and the hidden cost of exercising civil rights in the United States. And he has accepted the criticism, the isolation, the hazards of standing up for his principles in the tradition of Dr. King.
“In time, bemused Occupiers and conservatives were shaking hands and bonding over their mutual disdain for government bailouts. Occupy's Anarchist Alliance set up a sign reading 'Welcome, NCPPR!' A conservative held up a sign, 'Can't we all get along?'”
The suspected outcome of a meeting between arch-conservatives and occupiers was somewhat validated by the encounter described here. Is it possible that the both ends of the political spectrum actually join, (perhaps overlap is a better word), at some point?
It has been mentioned repeatedly here that a debate between the two groups might prove that the issues are the same for all Americans, that we are only arguing about how to address those issues. What if we came to find out that this degree of separation was not as vast as the mainstream media would have us believe? That, of course, would be a big problem for the 1% who know that suppression of the message, the critical reliance on stifling debate and knowledge, are necessary for their business model to remain intact.
What if Americans came together, putting aside their perceived philosophical differences, long enough to realize that the crooked bankers and corrupt politicians are the root cause of most of the problems plaguing the economy, causing so much suffering amongst the 99%? Is there anyone that would care to debate otherwise, to defend those that just bought their way out of the consequences of their own malfeasance?
That is why it is important to make the effort to actually hold a debate at some point. It is incumbent on both ends of the spectrum to argue their philosophies in an open environment. If either group is not prepared to do so, how can they ask for support from anyone? However, most occupiers know that debate is welcome, that the exchange of information and ideas can only benefit the 99% and therefore the OWS movement. If someone would like to argue for the banksters, they are welcome to help us make the point in the course of a debate.
What is much more likely is a scenario like that described above, where Americans realize that they need to pull together instead of falling into the Red-Blue trap, victims of the divide-and-conquer strategy that has served the elite so well. If this artificial barrier fails, the banksters and probably a few corrupt politicos will have a lot of 'splainin to do, so they know that any sort of exchange, especially a debate, is to be avoided at all costs.
So once again, let us extend an invitation on behalf of those that would love to participate in such and exchange, to those that perceive vast differences in philosophy, objectives and political agendas.
The time has come for such a debate, especially in an election year that will once again prove how the Red-Blue paradigm favors the status quo. The only way to change it will require action, education and debate, so what better opportunity will there be to bring both ends of the political spectrum together for an exchange of ideas?
The only people that fear it are the 1% that has to be worried that it might actually happen and a repeat of the event described above becomes the norm. To avoid such a meeting or stifle debate, is anathema to the Constitution and what it was designed to encourage and protect.
Slight change in press release:
The following action was described by Occupy Oakland in an announcement yesterday, but apparently was subjected to a revision overnight. The revised version is shown below the original post:
“Join us on Valentine’s Day to express our love for each other, and our
beautiful city, on a march through the downtown Oakland area.
Participants should wear red and/or pink in celebration of Valentine’s
Day, and are encouraged to bring flowers, bubbles, Valentine’s candy
to share, glitter, confetti, and flower petals.
“We will hold a 6:00 PM rally at LOCATION CHANGED TO 19th & Telegraph.
Oscar Grant Plaza (14th and Broadway in downtown Oakland), followed by
a march starting at 7:00 PM. We will march through the downtown area,
offering flowers and candy to bystanders, and inviting them to join
us. In the event of a potentially oppressive police presence,
participants are encouraged to offer police officers flowers and
candy, and couples will be encouraged to stop marching and kiss in the
streets in front of the police line.
“This is to be a completely nonviolent, family-friendly action, and
will be open to all who are interested in joining us in an expression
of love for our community and each other.”
- the Tactical Action Committee
Revised edition: No candy for cops
Join us on Valentine’s Day to express our love for each other and our beautiful city on a march through the downtown Oakland area. Participants should wear red and/or pink in celebration of Valentine’s Day, and are encouraged to bring flowers, bubbles, Valentine’s candy to share, glitter, confetti, and flower petals."
SCHEDULE OF EVENTS
6:00 PM – Make Love, Not War Rally – Fox Park (19th and Telegraph in downtown Oakland): In solidarity with Syria, Egypt, and other nations whose people are currently suffering from state and/or police repression.
6:30 PM – Reproductive Health Rally: Safer sex supply giveaways.
7:00 PM – Hella <3 Oakland March: "While people are encouraged to bring candy and flowers to share with fellow marchers, and with bystanders, it is important to note that these things are not to be given to the police. In light of recent events, it would be insensitive to diminish the suffering of the people of Oakland at the hands of OPD in such a way. In the event of a potentially repressive police presence, everyone is encouraged to hug and/or kiss someone nearby. While this is still a peaceful and family-friendly event, the police have shown us time and time again that they are not our friends and are not to be treated as such."
"This is to be a completely nonviolent, family-friendly action, and will be open to all who are interested in joining us in an expression of love for our community and each other."
OK, so the cops don't get candy. Whatever.
Don't forget to Break Up With Your Bank:
This just in: Thanks to LL
Is 'communique' really a 'commie' word?