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The Occupy Education Continues

2011 November 15
by Ian Welsh

A huge coordinated attack in multiple cities occurred last night, in which even journalists were thrown in jail.  Many protestors are being denied access to lawyers.

Bloomberg and the police are in direct violation of a court order to allow protestors back into the park.

In other words, the law has been broken, openly and nakedly.  There will be no legal consequences for doing so which matter.

But the NY protestors built barricades while defending themselves, and they’re surrounding the cops now, at the park.  In Oakland, the General Assembly refused to pass a resolution banning all violence and condemning all vandals.

Radicalization continues.  The education continues.

The law in the US is, and has been for years, a tool which is used as a weapon.  Some people are given a pass, others are hit with the full force of the law.  That is to say, there is no rule of law in the US, it is a nation of people, not laws.  This is well known in certain circles, but needed to be shown to others at the end of a nightstick.

I’m proud of the Occupy people, however, especially the Oakland bunch.  A fool doesn’t learn even from their own experience.  The occupiers are proving that many of them aren’t fools.

We’re years from the endgame, Occupy isn’t going to convince the elites to do the right thing, it is, in fact, convincing them to do more of the wrong things.  OWS is necessary, but insufficient.

And the elites certainly are fools.

43 Responses
  1. Jack Crow permalink
    November 15, 2011

    Mayors of large cities, coordinating with the feds, pursue milice raids against unarmed campers and Occupiers, but manage to so with such bumbling stupidity that it was (a) immediately and widely made known and (b) likely to work against other coordinated efforts to co-opt the OWS into Democratic Party and MoveOn style electoral style politicking?

    That’s Christmas come early.

    This is Enclosure.

    A solid, jargon free history of former Enclosures might be a useful tool for providing historical context.

  2. November 15, 2011

    Heh. I borrowed your riff, Ian (credited, of course):

    The Education Of The Occupation – #OWS Day 60

  3. November 15, 2011

    Until I see something tangibly backfire against them, I’m far from convinced that the elites are fools. They are still getting their way. I’m also not convinced if they merely left the movement alone that it would eventually just fade away.

    They waited it out but this thing didn’t dissipate as they hoped it would. When they recognized that it was gaining a toehold they moved in to destroy it with force. OWS was talking about actually occupying wall street this Thursday. I’m sure that bastard bloomberg didn’t want to provide the visual of police fighting with protestors to protect wall street.

    When things have gotten beyond the elites control, they have moved in to control them … that’s expected. The city of Oakland probably erred in jumping in so early, but I don’t think that bloomberg made a tactical error in dislodging the protestors from the park. The protestors were digging in for the winter and it was looking like they weren’t going to be froze out easily. And if they sensed that they were going to eventually be froze out they were going to press the action prior to doing so.

    The elites’ actions show that they are being forced to show their hand, now hopefully that hand will be met with something that it can’t handle.

    Z

  4. Ian Welsh permalink*
    November 15, 2011

    These things play out over time. The elites are creating a radical cadre opposed to them, and creating the supporting class. That won’t come to fruition for years, but it is stupid.

    Bloomberg had to remove OWS because he didn’t initially pat them on the head and smile. Once he backed down once, he had to come in brutally later. Once you decide to be a thug, you have to go whole thug.

    And yes, in their own way, people like Quan (particularly, because she was regarded as a real leftwinger) and Bloomberg are doing us a huge favor. Amazing, really.

  5. Pepe permalink
    November 15, 2011

    “Those who make peaceful revolution impossible, will make violent revolution inevitable”
    - -JFK

  6. Frank A. permalink
    November 15, 2011

    Next year is election year. It will be 1968 all over again, only more ugly.

  7. November 15, 2011

    But, Ian, don’t you see how the refusal to condemn all violence and vandalism will hurt all the other Occupiers. If it wasn’t for the Oakland anarchists, the elites would just let eveyone camp out indefinitely. And their arguments are so good that it wouldn’t be long before the elites said, “Why, you’re right! We were wrong all along and your non-violent semi-protests really convinced us of that.”

    Not that i blindly condone violence.

    I’m with the idea (if my understanding of what the idea is is correct) to a large degree. But i’m not at all inspired by white, middle-class Americans finally waking up to the shit that they’ve let get out of hand and being angry about it. It’s a good thing, sure, but not impressive or inspiring.

    You’re right about creating radicals, but nobody can predict the path of radicals … they’re liable to make huge swings in ideology or take on the most unpleasant characteristics of the tyranny that radicalized them.

  8. November 15, 2011

    Ian,

    I believe that once the movement grew so large that push was destined to come to shove … it’s simply a matter of space … and that we would have reached this point regardless where the elites would be forced to use their elite guard … the police … to squelch the protests and protect their interests. And that’s why I don’t see it as a tactical fail by bloomberg, emanuel & co: it was inevitable becoz I don’t think that a pat on the head and a smile works well with people that don’t have much to go home to and have identified the people patting them on the head as the primary reason why.

    Z

  9. November 15, 2011

    And yet again Occupy has changed the public consciousness, but making visible the militarization of the police. A violent movement couldn’t have done it.

    There are times when I think Occupy is magic.

  10. November 15, 2011

    The Raven gets it. The Raven is not lamenting the carrion shortage. The Raven is Corvus Buddha.

  11. Tom Hickey permalink
    November 16, 2011

    The strategy and tactics are right on target. Tremendous gains have been made in the past few weeks thanks to the blundering of the 1% and their minions. The US is now convicted before the world as a nation that not only tortures and proudly admits it but also is a country that violently suppresses its own people.

    The 1% have completely trashed America’s moral authority. The empire was badly shaken by the incredibly stupid and mismanaged Global War on Terror, and it is now crumbling with the loss of its moral authority both at home and abroad. It’s just a matter of time and persistence now. The foundation is cracking for all to see.

    We are in this for the long haul. Keep on truckin’.

  12. Tom Hickey permalink
    November 16, 2011

    The Raven: “There are times when I think Occupy is magic.”

    Hey, we have both Obi-Wan Kenobi and Gandalf on our side.

  13. November 16, 2011

    @jcapan – Great links, thanks. I can’t help but think that I couldn’t imagine articles like those appearing even… I was going to say ago, but really, ever.

  14. November 16, 2011

    That was supposed to read “some time ago”, but I put less-than/greater-than symbols around it, which made it disappear, duh. Why, oh why, is there no preview here? (I know, I know) :)

  15. Ian Welsh permalink*
    November 16, 2011

    Occupy has changed public conciousness? No. It hasn’t. It has changed the conciousness of a small part of the public, and that’s what matters. And what it is changing for them is the understanding that the elites don’t play by the rules and that asking nicely won’t work.

  16. jcapan permalink
    November 16, 2011

    “And what it is changing for them is the understanding that the elites don’t play by the rules and that asking nicely won’t work.”

    A majority of Americans has always believed this of the ruling class. No, not the engaged, the partisan, or the comfortably bourgeois with a vested interest in denial. But the proles long wise to the venal misrule and predation of elites.

    After all, even in the high water mark year of 2008, only a 130 million people voted. Those newly awake to the inherently evil basis of our society should seek out their fellow citizens who’ve long thought participatory democracy a sham unworthy of their attention.

  17. Kropotkin's Beard permalink
    November 16, 2011

    This is bulding, the movement that is. It’s more than a political or social awakening–but a spiritual transformation. We are realizing, as a people, that we don’t have to cower in our homes, in front of the Idiot Box, while the Lords of Finance slice and dice the pie that we created with our surplus labor. We are rediscovering our humanity, and that’s a powerful thing. The elite can try, but they won’t put out the Passion of the People. It is too great, and it will spread, sea to shining sea, like a great conflagration.

    Someone like Obama or Hillary Clinton has to feel pretty small and irrevelant in the wake of our Revolution, a revolution they deny us–but laud and praise when it happens in farflung outposts of the American Empire. This is our time! They are merely bystanders.

  18. November 16, 2011

    Am watching the professional proggies clutch pearls in fear of what’s next. All the listserves are tEh worried about protesters actually doing something effective.

  19. someofparts permalink
    November 16, 2011

    “Every institution in American society has failed. Every single one. They must all be shut down and the purposes they were meant to serve must be assigned to new institutions. You cannot save the Fed in its current form. You cannot save the banks. You cannot save the military or the police or the judiciary or the universities. And, most importantly, you cannot trust or do business with the elites who currently run society. They must be run out of power entirely, their riches taken away from them, and those who have committed crimes (virtually all of them) must be thrown in prison.”

    yep

  20. Jack Crow permalink
    November 16, 2011

    Non-violence is short term. It cannot move the actual capitalists. It might make their bought men and beholden politicians – especially the corral masters of the Democratic Party – a bit queasy, since it plays to their horn. But, it doesn’t actually frighten or trouble those with the property.

    And anyways, it’s sort of silly to think that the American people, of all the world’s people, have the sort of problem with violence that would make them condemn a resistance or protest movement, on those grounds. The American people have had, to this point, a near limitless supply of tolerance for endless wars, state violence, police action and the institutional violations of human existence which account for business as usual.

    Undermining the ruling class control of property, and the economic foundations of wage slavery, can’t be done with any sort of spiritualized non-violence. The people with the property welcome non-violence. It is no threat to their holdings. And if push comes to shove – and it will – they’ll buy themselves the political front men who will deal with it on terms favorable to those who rule.

    It’s not yet time to form up revolutionary cadres, or to prepare for comprehensive armed struggle, but it is a bourgeois conceit to imagine that “strategic non-violence” is anything but an initial offering.

    Austerity will proceed at pace. The final touches of the transformation of the welfare state into a military-policing adjunct of corporate power are occurring as we type. The US, England, France and the UN are doing their damnedest to provide cover for an Israeli strike on Iran, and subsequent police action or war, which would undercut the the efficacy of protest theater* literally over night.

    Then, “non-violence” will be worse than useless. It will be self-satire.

    * – which is dependent upon the good humor of an already hostile corporate press

  21. November 16, 2011

    And yet again Occupy has changed the public consciousness, but making visible the militarization of the police. A violent movement couldn’t have done it.

    Seriously? The militarization of the police has been plainly visible for some time especially after 9/11. The idea that it was not visible to the “public consciousness” until Occupy is an…interesting…assertion.

  22. Lisa Simeone permalink
    November 16, 2011

    ks,

    But lots of people still deny it. Including most members of our esteemed journalist class. I was recently told by one (well-known) member of said class that by pointing out the police state tactics and condition of our nation, I was “starting to sound like a lunatic.”

    So I think they need to have the lesson drummed into their heads repeatedly.

    By the way, all, Chris Hedges:
    http://www.truthdig.com/report/item/this_is_what_revolution_looks_like_20111115/?ln

  23. Kropotkin's Beard permalink
    November 16, 2011

    Lisa,

    Yeah, they do have a predilection for denial. But these media shills are part of the elite system, so they are invested in the big lie. I remember John Lennon saying in a video that he might be called insane for pointing out the insanity of our leaders.

    Guess they need to maced a few times by our “finest” in order for the scales to be pulled back. But that’s unlikely since they live in a bubble, and don’t dare ask what regular people think and know about our violent state.

  24. November 16, 2011

    Hi Lisa,

    I don’t think they are in denial. I think they either agree with it or, more likely, are indifferent to it because it doesn’t affect them. Great read from Chris Hedges as usual but I reamin a bit wary of folks who only recognize “revolution” when it comes in a form that’s pleasing to them. If anything, I’d say the Occupy events are a counter-revolution. The 1% had theirs and they pretty much won and now the rest of us are fighting back.

  25. Nostradamus, Jr. permalink
    November 16, 2011

    Your tax dollars at work… http://tinyurl.com/d799vgb

  26. Lisa Simeone permalink
    November 16, 2011

    Kropotkin’s Beard,

    This journo happens to be a black woman, and has no problem seeing racism and calling it for what it is. But other kinds of oppression? Nah. “Lunatic.”

  27. Lisa Simeone permalink
    November 16, 2011

    Nostradamus, yeah, I passed that one around to my mailing list this morning (including to some reporters).

    The use of the “non-lethal” but vicious sonic wave weapon, in a densely populated city (as was done in Pittsburgh in 2009), is a disturbing if not surprising element.

  28. November 16, 2011

    I seriously wonder if a nation (or a significant part of a nation) that’s just now waking up to the militarization of the police deserves to be saved.

    This shit started with Nixon and the Drug War. SWAT teams crashing through doors and shooting family pets over a little bag of weed (or getting the wrong address) happens all the time. Nobody complained…except maybe brown people who’ve been on the receiving end of most police action, but it’s not like they matter, right?

    To anyone paying attention, 9/11 was just the coming out party for a system that was well established and ready to go. So while i regularly agree with The Raven, i’d amend his statement. The Occupy movement is waking up white, middle-class people to the horrors of the system they created and had no problem with until it got turned against them.

    Again, that’s swell, but it’s a far cry from heroic. It’s not like any fourth rate attorney from a third-rate correspondence law school couldn’t have told us all that you never volunteer information to the police, that you always treat them as a hostile force. Their training has always been to end-run the Constitution and civil liberties, and/or to trick you into giving up your Constitutional protections. Right down to the “Do you know why I pulled you over?” question in a traffic stop. That it took riot squads to start drumming the basic facts of life into the heads of white people tells me more about white people than it does about the Occupy movement.

  29. Marsha permalink
    November 16, 2011

    Do you think the concerted effort of the Mayors would make a 1st Amendment argument more substantive? It’s not just one occupation but many – all across the country.

    It seems that the feds were involved in the mayor’s conference call – which would, IMHO, implicate the federal government in suppressing free speech.

  30. Jack Crow permalink
    November 16, 2011

    The First Amendment doesn’t do what its biggest fans think it does.

  31. Lisa Simeone permalink
    November 16, 2011

    Lex, some of us have been screaming bloody murder about this stuff for a long time. And yes, we recognized long ago that the so-called war on drugs was just an excuse for violation and for legalized slavery. Also, frankly, the attacks at Waco and Ruby Ridge. And the attack on the MOVE members at their house in Philadelphia in 1985.

  32. November 16, 2011

    At four in the morning in lower Manhattan, as what remains of the Occupy Wall Street encampment is loaded into trash compacters, some protesters have still not given up on the police. Kevin Sheneberger tries to engage one NYPD officer in a serious debate about the role of law enforcement in public protest. Then he sees them loading his friend’s tent into the back of a rubbish truck. Behind him, a teenage girl holds a hastily written sign saying: “NYPD, we trusted you – you were supposed to protect us!”

    The sentiment is a familiar one. Across Europe, over a year of demonstrations, occupations and civil disobedience, anti-austerity protesters have largely shifted from declaring solidarity with the police – as fellow workers whose jobs and pensions are also under threat – to outrage and anger at state violence against unarmed protesters. Following last month’s police brutality in Oakland, and today’s summary eviction of the Occupy Wall Street camp, American activists too are reaching the conclusion that “police protect the 1%”.

    The notion that law enforcement is there to protect a wealthy elite from the rest of the population is not news to those protesters from deprived and ethnic minority backgrounds, many of whom have been subject to intimidation in their communities for years, but for those from more privileged backgrounds, the first spurt of pepper spray to the face is an important education in the nature of the relationship between state and citizen in the west. “Who do you guys work for?” Shouts one Manhattan protester, as police load arrestees into a van. “You work for JP Morgan Bank!”

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2011/nov/15/occupy-wall-street-police-violence

    Z

  33. November 16, 2011

    An important question with a potentially explosive answer:

    Where Is the Money for These Raids on Occupations Coming From?

    http://fdlaction.firedoglake.com/2011/11/16/where-is-the-money-for-these-raids-on-occupations-coming-from/

    Z

  34. Jean Paul Marat permalink
    November 16, 2011

    Do you think it is pure coincidence that the most emotionally charged news stories are being reported the same time that OWS was raided?
    Child rape.
    Look here — no
    Look there

  35. Lisa Simeone permalink
    November 17, 2011

    It’s Thursday morning 11:30 as I type this — lots of action in New York, both at Zuccotti Park and Wall Street, as police continue to crack skulls and arrest people, including journalists.

    Live feed: http://occupywallst.org/

    NYT live blogging: http://cityroom.blogs.nytimes.com/2011/11/17/protesters-and-officers-clash-near-wall-street/?hp&gwh=D6B47B1CD12AE3ADCBF67DC8535CBC57

  36. November 17, 2011

    Libruls and tEh progiies are all worried about #OWS shutting down the subways. ZOMG! They might do something that akshewally inconveniences me! Oh my.

  37. soullite permalink
    November 17, 2011

    Sean, ‘liberals and progressives’ on the internet are rarely any such thing. These are the same upper-class twits who claimed that abortion was the end-all, be-all of liberalism five years ago, and who didn’t give a damn about economic issues until OWS scared them into it.

    These idiots have always been with us, and they have always screamed ‘EXTERMINATE THE BRUTESS!!!!’ every time they got scared. These people only think the oppressed are cute only when they don’t fight back; when those selfish morons can sit back and watch them get punched in the face, and then feel better about themselves because their ‘pets’ (and make no mistake, that’s how they view others) didn’t punch back. They will never really put themselves on the line, and they will always disappear when they are really needed.

    They are worthy of nothing but the contempt you post shows them, and for that, I thank you.

  38. tatere permalink
    November 17, 2011

    If this is preparing people for more revolutionary times, in the USA at least it seems that’s for a role as splinters of resistance, defending small pockets against the general thuggery. Actual armed revolt, if it happens, seems much more likely to come from the right than from the left. They don’t have any big debate about the proper role of violence. There doesn’t seem to be much of a problem with opposing the established forces of law and order, either, if those forces are seen as being controlled by Those People.

    Sitting here in San Francisco, for a long time it’s felt like we’re *already* occupied. We send out an enormous portion of treasure as tribute to the empire, and in return we get the standard training cadre package, recruiting and arming forces for the local puppet governments. California is by no means any kind of liberal wonderland at heart, nor is SF, but I think we’d still make better choices left to ourselves. But we aren’t and we won’t be.

  39. Lisa Simeone permalink
    November 17, 2011

    Libruls and tEh progiies are all worried about #OWS shutting down the subways. ZOMG! They might do something that akshewally inconveniences me! Oh my.

    Sean, Americans have exalted “convenience” to the status of a deity. Where the rallying cry once was “Give me liberty or give me death,” now it’s “Don’t inconvenience me!”

  40. Celsius 233 permalink
    November 17, 2011

    Lisa Simeone PERMALINK
    November 17, 2011
    now it’s “Don’t inconvenience me!”
    =======================

    And there you have it!
    Says it all; and answers all questions, no?

  41. Mark Gold permalink
    November 20, 2011

    Some great comments from Paul Woodward on War in Context Site (http://warincontext.org/2011/11/17/the-threat-of-solidarity-when-power-becomes-afraid-of-the-people/) on UC Berkley and revealing comments from UC Berkley chancellor on authority’s greatest fear, solidarity:

    After a police assault (shown in the video above) on non-violent student protesters — whose only arms were the ones they interlocked — Robert Birgeneau, the chancellor at Berkeley, issued a statement saying:

    It is unfortunate that some protesters chose to obstruct the police by linking arms and forming a human chain to prevent the police from gaining access to the tents. This is not non-violent civil disobedience. By contrast, some of the protesters chose to be arrested peacefully; they were told to leave their tents, informed that they would be arrested if they did not, and indicated their intention to be arrested. They did not resist arrest or try physically to obstruct the police officers’ efforts to remove the tent. These protesters were acting in the tradition of peaceful civil disobedience, and we honor them.

    What Birgeneau objects to is resistance in any form and interlocking arms in defiance of an advancing line of police is indeed an act of resistance.

    But more than that, it is an act of solidarity and nothing threatens institutional power more than unity among ordinary people.

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