This Is What Revolution Look Like - a weekly publishing of letter writing that will include snippets, insights and everything worth thinking about in the movement. The prominence of letter writing during revolution has always been an integral part of it's history. ~ ydlv
May 29, 2012
Dear Comrade Ryan,
Good morning. In regard to a letter of thanks to those who attended the STOP NATO protests, the people that have just returned from the Battle at Chi-town are in the deepest need of societal gratitude for their efforts in the Good Fight. Efforts that are today worn in battle scars across their foreheads and backs and disturbingly now, in their once precious sleep.
Cmr Ryan, I wanted to discuss something with you. I believe your thoughts on the matter would make a good catalytic difference, since you were one of the first amongst us in OLA ever arrested and also brutalized by the po-po. I remember the shock and angst we all felt when we read your emails from Occupy Oakland. How honorable was the display of courage by those of you who traveled north in solidarity to the protests of OSF and OO, bringing gas masks and media supplies from OLA in the aftermath of the Bay Area Occupy raids. I remember OSF's media tent getting bulldozed. That for me was the reality of war in our homeland, with images of the Oakland Police (OPD) aiming cannons or flash bangs whatever they were, directly into the crowd of their citizens. Oakland, god bless 'em. love & solidarity forever!
Back to the concern I wanted to speak with you about Ryan...
Last night, when Cmr Todd and I were presenting the "Letter of Thanks proposal", there was a girl that interrupted the process, apologizing that she was a victim of PTSD. I had never seen her before and I think she was among those that came from Chicago to LA on the buses coming back from the NATO Summit Protests. Well, when I woke up this morning, her presence was the first thing I thought of when recalling GA last night. It occurred to me that she stated her condition so matter of factually, and I have seen and heard this before in occupy, they announce their condition casually since it is become sadly, quite commonplace.
Last night there in Pershing Square, a light coming from the street made a spotlight that shone only on her as she spoke. Although she was flanked by others in the crowd, from where I stood at the front of the GA I could only see her. This morning she was there again, appearing as the first thing on my mind. I took it as a sign. Of what, I am still unsure of, but it led me to spend my morning meditation, on the topic of PTSD.
I do know this, that many are in need of real medical attention right now, but who can provide this need to an entire nation in their revolt, when big medicine (which I insist has yet to be occupied) is in the epicenter of Capitalism with the Banksters, thee 1%?
Cmr Ryan, there are now thousands of citizens with this disorder! Thousands globally really, think about it. We now have a nation of citizens that are all half-cocked. Holy hell.
Is the issue being addressed? Is there anyone interested in a demand for medical attention to the comrades that are now suffering from Post Traumatic Stress Syndrome (PTSD) as a result of the unwarranted brutality afflicted upon them? This is a new syndrome now, unique only to protesters, it's a "peaceful protest post traumatic stress disorder", or let's call it then "3PTSD".
The shock of pure evil while in a peaceful mindset is the first trauma. I myself have searched the faces of those with batons, looking for any sign of the human within, and have experienced an innate fear once I have calculated the true essence of brutality by those that would assault innocent and peaceful people, and for what? For our cries for fairness in the world, for our asking that we work together, all of humanity in creating a sustainable quality of life in peace and comfort, not in luxury I say, but simply... in comfort. And peace. We ask those more powerful to join us, help us. Instead, we are beaten for asking. We demand, yes, but the theme of Occupy has always been Peace.
In our battles of this revolution we arm ourselves with the words of Gandhi in our hearts, making signs with slogans of truth for those whose eyes have still not been opened, and with us always are memories of disappointments in the recent past of all of our lives. These disappointments are the wind beneath our wings along with the hope for real Change that only this Revolution can give us now. We don't believe the campaign slogans using "Hope" and, "Change" any longer since the reality is, they used our longing for hope and change only to court us, and ultimately broke our hearts in the long run. We are many levels of disparity as a nation, and in our protests, we have still not seen the answers we are seeking from the powers that be. And yet, upward and onward we continue.
Instead, on top of our dire living conditions, now we need medical attention. We ask for "better" they answer us with "worse" causing the afflicted to live with a new disturbing psychological disorder.
It's frightening to bolt upward and awake with your heart racing and the replay of the assault in dreams. I too have lived with this disorder and it is serious, therapy is needed. It does subside eventually, but can the movement withstand this? It's embarrassing to recount the uncontrolled reactions of anger and defense that you yourself might have displayed under the right antagonism because a volatile, unexpected behavior is also one of the symptoms of PTSD.
I almost believe they want us to take up arms, since the antagonism they practice is so very intense. This raises the financial stakes you know, and I would not put it past them - they are war mongers, the powers that be, and I sometimes suspect they want to finally break us with their beatings and they want war on this soil. If they destroyed America battling a revolutionary war with it's citizens of a wealthy home-stock artillery - why, Haliburton could simply rebuild. Oh, how they must see this, their orders to brutalize us must look like a win/win situation for them indeed.
And we are a peaceful army. This must be making them crazy if the above scenario is true. But in any case Comrade Ryan, this disorder needs to be addressed in a larger awareness.
Victims of 3PTSD (Peaceful Protest PTSD) should not be without care and I believe it's our responsibility. To be concerned is an act of solidarity not unlike Jail Solidarity in which, when our comrades are arrested, we follow through with them in their court appearances, raising bail and providing legal help.
I don't know, what do you think Ryan... what do you know about this? Are there groups reaching out to help those with severe trauma? And... are you okay Cmr Rice? Are you sleeping well?
Hit me back.
Love & As Always,
Greetings! I slept through the whole general assembly and march to ‘Occupy Main Street’ last night. Sleep catches up with us despite our best intentions. I remember running on three or four hours a night during the encampment… things were fine until that fourth or fifth day when I would fall asleep for fifteen hours!
I woke up this morning full of anger and fear, so your thoughts on PTSD were timely. (A quick but significant sidebar on PTSD: George Carlin has a great rant about euphemisms and PTSD. Shell shock has been intentionally driven to an obscure and safe four letters.)
We had three instances of targeted police intimidation, harassment, and brutality yesterday, culminating with at least two arrests. The arrests were targeted at vulnerable and vocal activists. The batons that swung were targeted at both occupiers who have held signs for months and those never seen before. The chopper spotlight and 70 cops they mobilized last night sure as hell were targeted at a bunch of people whose only shot at “political speech” is found in the streets.
It’s with a shocking synchronicity that you would write me about Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder. Your link about symptoms and signs rings true daily for both me and many of our comrades. We’ve read guides, we’ve had wellness tips and PTSD group sessions, but it’s tough. It’s tough because things like yesterday happened after learning of hundreds of arrests in Montreal the day before and getting off buses from a militarized zone formerly known as Chicago the day before that.
There’s hardly any time to process these violent acts as the state tries to destroy this movement. Bella, a live streamer, resident, and occupier of Oakland recently spoke Truth, Pain, and Rage to Power in front of the city council. I echo many of her words and emotions… we all do.
Her anger is ours as we get beat and get sprayed with chemical agents. Her tears are ours as we watch millions of people lose their homes, jobs, and lives from U.S. policy. All the while “good” people sit silent and do nothing.
Fortunately, her defiant power is ours as well, as we witness this movement growing with each new community joining the fray. So many organizations joined us on May Day in the streets. From the California to Montreal, so many students are beginning to recognize their power. Everywhere we look we’re seeing more signs of resistance.
Admittedly, I’m going for grandiose explanations and rhetoric while avoiding the brutal reality of what you wrote me about in the first place. How do we deal with cops pointing shotguns and flipping us off? What does it say when so-called “leaders” and politicians are silent or worse as Chicago police swing bats at peaceful demonstrators’ heads? (video below) When Oakland cops aim tear gas grenades and clubs at veterans? How are we supposed to cope with being terrorized, criminalized, and brutalized for exercising Constitutionally-protected rights?
The reality is jarring. COINTELPRO happened, never went away and is now more pervasive than ever. According to documents obtained by the Partnership for Civil Justice Fund, “the Occupy Movement continues to be monitored and curtailed in a nationwide, federally-orchestrated campaign, spearheaded by the Department of Homeland Security (DHS).” On the ground, events surrounding the recent NATO Summit have further exposed this frightening reality. The police state in Chicago is terrorizing both protester and bystander alike. The neighbor said:
“It’s a really basic civil liberties issue. To me the bottom line is that you don’t have to be political at all to be affected and see that this was obviously wrong.” He declined to give his real name for fear of police retaliation, and said he’s considering leaving the city or even the country. He’s been having dreams about the raid since it happened.”
Trauma response is a tough issue, one that took me months of ignorance to even identify before I could define it. The only way I did was through occupiers that had the skills to help. Through this wonderful community, we’ve got the requisite skills to deal with whatever the biggest bully to ever walk the planet throws at us.
In reference to what kind of solidarity action could help, I guess that’s your answer. The communities that sprang up around the world last fall built a lasting foundation. Creating emotional support networks is needed, reaching out for more comprehensive care options is an amazing idea, but most important is being there for each other. The activists in Montreal penned this open letter to the mainstream media. Here’s a wonderful excerpt:
“That said, here is what I have not seen you publish yet: stories about joy; about togetherness; about collaboration; about solidarity. You write about our anger, and yes, we are angry. We are angry at our government, at our police and at you. But none of you are succeeding in conveying what it feels like when you walk down the streets of Montreal right now, which is, for me at least, an overwhelming sense of joy and togetherness.”
That’s what it’s about. The joy, solidarity, and anger found with this type of voluntary association. It reminds me of a passage in Horizontalidad about the joy and anger found in the streets of Argentina, over a decade ago and a mirror-image of the movement here. (Not surprising, given they’re both in respond to disaster capitalism).
“I was angry at my country and my neighbors before this rebellion. I saw that the whole economic situation had deteriorated a great deal, and that population hadn’t responded… And so people’s reactions on the nineteenth and twentieth (their Sept 17th OWS moment) were particularly unexpected… It was hard to believe what was happening… What began angrily, with people coming out into the streets in a rage, quickly turned joyful. People smiled and mutually recognized that something had changed” (pp 26)
That joy is everywhere. That’s how we’re coping, I think. Take Oakland: this town that has seen the most shocking brutalities continues to raise its fist. Despite the OPD class traitors using illegal weapons and tactics taught to them by the occupying Israeli Defense Forces, the Oakland revolutionaries persist. From Occupy Oakland is Dead. Long Live the Oakland Commune:
“In the rebel town of Oakland, we built a camp that was not so much the emergence of a new social movement, but the unprecedented convergence of preexisting local movements and antagonistic tendencies all looking for a fight with capital and the state while learning to take care of each other and our city in the most radical ways possible… This is what we began to call The Oakland Commune; that dense network of new found affinity and rebelliousness that sliced through seemingly impenetrable social barriers like never before. Our “war machine and our care machine” as one comrade put it... Here we fed each other, lived together and began to learn how to actually care for one another while launching unmediated assaults on our enemies: local government, the downtown business elite and transnational capital.”
So what do we do? We continue to build, resist, love, and fight. Let’s do everything we can to care for one another. That includes the beautiful chalking we leave wherever we go, the plates of free vegan food, the shared conversations and joints, the safe Women’s and Men’s circles, the Wellness committee, the drums, and laughter. Most of us realize that for us to succeed, we’re intentionally endangering our own lives. We’re not going to stop, so let’s continue towards that loving prefigurative society while we hoist the banners together.
Peace, Love, and Solidarity,
Occupy Los Angeles
Be sure to roll-over this article for hidden links. More links of interest from Ryan Rice below. Visit A Blog By Ryan Rice for updates on the Movement in Los Angeles. ~ydlv
Beaten war veterans video
Cops turn Violent, NYPD drag girl across the street. #OccupyWallStreet
Shocking police brutality at Berkeley 11/9/11 Occupy Wall Street
Police Beating Occupy Wall St Protester Viciously
POLICE UNLEASH MONUMENTAL BEAT DOWN ON WALL STREET PROTESTORS