Tag Archives: occupy

What will it take?

17 Dec

Wow, NDAA and SOPA in one week. 220 years to the day after the ratification of the bill of rights, the NDAA passed congress and is now on it’s way to the white house where Obama has said that he will NOT veto the bill. What’s the big deal? Indefinate detention of Americans SUSPECTED of being terrorists. Suspected, not “proven guilty in a court of law.” If the government doesn’t like you, all they have to do is say the “suspect” you of being a terrorist and you’re GONE!

It’s ok, I wasn’t using my basic human rights anyways.

Meanwhile, SOPA has been being rushed through congress, despite many of the legislators not understanding what it is they are passing. The bill would essentially break the internet. Copyright holders would be able to go to Internet Service Providers (whoever you get your internet from) and demand that they censor websites they don’t like. If the ISP doesn’t censor it, they can sue them. This would remove some websites from your computer’s address book, meaning not everyone’s address book was the same. (Thus, in layman’s terms, “breaking the internet”)

Claims could be filled against anyone who uses copyrighted content in any way. Think of it this way:

It is the equivalent of copyrighting letters in the alphabet and then suing people who use those letters in writing a sentence. Think of everything on the internet that references something else, be it to comment on it, or to redesign it to express another idea. All of that would be illegal if SOPA passed.

It looked like the bill might be postponed until 2012, which is what the major media outlets are reporting, but the people in favor of the bill have quietly agreed to meet on the 21st to push it through.

I see all this and I’m beyond outraged. I’m not even shocked or surprised. THIS is why I want to leave this country so badly. It’s stuff like this.

I went to go copy the URLs to these stories and post them on facebook so my friends could see what was going on right under their noses, but then I stopped. What’s the point? Nobody is going to do anything about it. Some of my like minded friends might chime in with their outrage, but it’s ultimately just a circle-jerk.

People don’t want to hear about it. It’s not immediately affecting them, so don’t bother. But what will it take?

You have no rights. You have no freedom. Your future and childrens’ futures are being stolen from you in plain view for all to see.

What will it take for people to do something? For them to stand up and fight back? Thousands already have. The Occupy Wall Street movement has been speaking out against this immoral system of disfranchisement and thievery for months, but everyone is trying their damnedest to sweep them under the rug, to paint them as fringe with no clear agenda.

What would it take for the rest of the population to wake up?

10% unemployment obviously isn’t enough. Would 20% do it? 40%? Do we need to reach the same levels as Spain and other countries currently facing financial collapse?

The bill of rights has effectively been repealed by post 9/11 legislation and yet we do nothing. What would it take? Would people need to be round up in camps? It has happened before, but there seems to be this notion that it can’t happen again. It won’t happen again. That happens somewhere else.

I’m reminded of Hartley’s famous line: “The past is a foreign country: they do things differently there.” While this may be true for a great many things, it is not true of political oppression. There is no comfortable distance seperating us from the horrors of the past. Surprisingly enough, MTV seems to understand this:

Sadly, history shows us that a people will not wake up to the danger of what is happening until it is too late.

First they came for the communists,
and I didn’t speak out because I wasn’t a communist.

Then they came for the trade unionists,
and I didn’t speak out because I wasn’t a trade unionist.

Then they came for the Jews,
and I didn’t speak out because I wasn’t a Jew.

Then they came for me
and there was no one left to speak out for me.

Permits, protests, and pepper spray

19 Nov

In the above video you can clearly see a police officer walk up to a group of students who are sitting down, and casually hose them with pepper spray. Unfortunately, this seems to be a common police response to peaceful protesters. Some of the more famous victims include an 84 year old woman, a 19 year old pregnant woman, a priest, and a small group of women who were just standing there before being penned in by police and misted with perfume de fuego.

A common argument I’ve personally seen and heard used to defend the officers is “They are just following orders…” and “the protesters did not have permission to be there.” Since when did the Nuremberg defense excuse someone from their behavior? Secondly, requiring “permission” to protest defeats the whole point of protesting. No shit we don’t have your permission to protest you, we’re protesting specifically because of you!

State and local governments have long been employing various tactics to crack down on dissent. Let’s not be coy here people. Bloomberg didn’t really send in the storm troopers to zuccotti park because he was concerned for the health and safety of the protesters occupying it. No, he wanted them gone and just needed some bullshit excuse since expressly crushing a protest because you don’t like the protesters is bad press.

No, permits and requiring permission from the authorities before you protest violates the freedom of assembly. Some might argue that permits and permission are needed so business as usual isn’t disrupted. Well what if the point IS to disrupt business as usual? What if the point IS to bring the whole system to a screeching halt? To make people be inconvenienced? What? No? We can’t have our protest in the first place? I’m sorry, you seem to be missing the point of the first amendment. It’s not there to protect people you agree with, it’s there to protect those you disagree with, no matter how fiercely you disagree with them.

Lastly, I just have to wonder about the contrast to how the police are treating the OWS protesters and the Tea Party.

The OWSers tend to be more liberal.

The Tea Partiers tend to be very conservative.

The OWSers show up with drums and tents.

The Tea Partiers show up with guns.

The OWSers protest the deregulated banks and corporations that destroyed the world economy and doomed my generation to a life of wage slavery, debt, and unemployment.

The Tea Partiers protest the half-assed regulation of the above mentioned banks and corporations along with universal healthcare.

The OWSers are a grass roots movement with no leaders.

The Tea Partiers are bank rolled by some of the largest corporations in the country.

The police do nothing to the Tea Partiers.

The police protect and serve the shit out of the OWSers.

I really have to wonder, how would everyone who is defending the police brutality respond if instead of liberals, the police were crushing the Tea Party? I bet they would be singing a different tune…

The Occupy Wall Street movement will fail….here’s why:

2 Nov

We don’t live in the same world that saw the civil rights movement succeed. Ours is a world of more control and more distractions.

The Occupy Wall Street movement will fail just like the anti-Iraq War protests failed. Why? Several factors, but most of all, timing:

Ok, let’s think about this.

On one hand we have a bunch of angry protesters sleeping in tents in New York city. On the other hand we have the world’s most powerful business men working in ivory towers and going home to their mansions.

The protesters need to eat, and to eat they need to have food, and to have food they need to have money, and to have money they need an income, to have an income they need a job. Eventually these people are going to run out of money for food and will have to go home to try and get more income. On top of that, winter is coming, it will be snowing in New York city and many of these people will freeze. It is a race against time, and the mega powerful people in wall street have all the time in the world. They’re not sleeping in tents, they’re not running out of food. The worst they have to endure is possibly a slightly longer commute to work past all the protesters.

 

I pointed this out to a friend of mine and she remarked “Yes, well many of the people are there protesting precisely because they don’t have jobs to go home to.” Yes, this is true, but it’s a null point. The fact is, they still have to eat, whether they have a job or not, and the restaurants around wall street are not going to take to charity. You can also be damned sure that the powerful are not going to let the most expensive real-estate on the planet turn into something akin to a refugee camp.

Eventually the numbers of protesters will drop and the movement will lose momentum. Winter and the long stretch of time between now and elections will only exacerbate this decline. Eventually people will go home out of exhaustion and necessity.

The movement also has to contend with the news media. Angry people sleeping in tents is only interesting news for so long. Eventually people will get bored of the same old thing over and over again. This is not to mention the fact that many of the news outlets are owned and controlled by the very people the protesters are protesting. Inevitably there will be negative spin control on the movement. Fox “News” predictably has already taken the stance that the protesters are evil slobs aiming at destroying capitalism. (Which is ironic because a lot of them are protesting big government bailouts of firms that were so fiscally irresponsible that they fucked the world economy. You’d think that a principled conservative could get behind that, but no, hypocrisy is always the soup du jour at Fox “News”) Eventually the news media will stop covering the movement all together.

This type of media control and spin did not exist during the days of the civil rights movement. The powerful have more tools at their disposal beyond just beating protesters and sicking dogs on them.

Which brings me to the only hope for the Occupy Wall Street movement:

Police Violence

Nothing keeps a movement alive and energized like martyrs. Martyrs get the fence sitters off the fence and in the streets. It galvanizes those already committed to the movement, and most importantly, it makes great news, keeping the national spotlight on your cause. (Although there is no guarantee that the publicity will be good publicity. Hell, there have been several occasions where police have either beaten of killed protesters in wheelchairs and Fox News always seems to defend the police.)

“But GP, even if the protesters have to go home for winter and to get food, the conditions and factors that caused the protest will still be there…”

Yes, that’s true, but I think the conditions have to get a lot more extreme before more people take the protests seriously. Yes things are bad, yes unemployment is at 10%, yes foreclosures are at an all time high, yes we’re being robbed blind by the mega rich, but the general populace won’t take up arms until unemployment soars much higher. Only once the majority of people can’t put food on the table, then perhaps things will start to change. I have no idea when that will come.

If if that day does come, there is no guarantee that the protest will have any real effect. You see, there is an entire industry of “non-lethal” and “less-lethal” weaponry that serves authority, enabling them to control and disperse crowds in new and innovative ways that the police in Birmingham Alabama during the civil rights movement could only dream about.

S0 enough bullshit. What’s the endgame?

Let me just say that throughout history, the powerful have never voluntarily given up that power.