Who's Waging Class War?

Oakland. New York repeatedly. San Francisco. Now, San Diego.

These are cities whose citizens have been exercising their rights to freedom of speech and assembly, in order to express their desires for self sustainability, self governance and self reliance, only to be met by brutal force at the hands of their city and state police forces. This reaction to peaceful citizen congregation is puzzling. Rousting, harassing, beating, tear gassing, macing, and tossing flashbang grenades at unarmed citizens who have destroyed no property and haven't threatened the physical safety of any of their fellow citizens has brought more attention to the movement begun by Occupy Wall Street in September than anything else, and for good reason.

It wasn't long ago that many Americans were glued to their televisions, watching with hope, joy and pride as the people of Egypt rose up and threw off the clenched fist of a dictator who had abused and exploited them for thirty years. American media and politicians went on long, angry tirades when forces under the control of Hosni Mubarak used devastating and brutal force against the citizens of his own country who sought nothing more than the freedom to express themselves without fear of government reprisals, to assemble in order to discuss the problems their society faced and the right to self governance. President Obama issued stern, clear language in support of the people seeking to exercise those rights.

Now, President Obama, and mayors across the country are faced with a population of people seeking exactly the same thing, but this time there are many less strenuous appeals to the civility, humanity, decency and patience being voiced from the people in power in our media and governments, because this time, they represent the structures of power being questioned. Now, our president says nothing about the brutality being leveled at the citizens of the country he is supposed to be leading. The majority of other politicians have either remained silent, attempted to appease the Occupiers with the familiar empty rhetoric or have insulted the Occupy movement as lazy beggars, drug addicts and so on. Some in our media, who believe themselves "journalists" have gone so far as to attempt to smear a Marine who returned home safely following two tours in Iraq, only to suffer a brain injury as the result of having his skull cracked by a tear gas canister while participating in a protest in Oakland. Scott Olsen is a member of the Veterans for Peace, and as he lies in a hospital, unable to speak because the swelling from his injury is effecting the speech center in his brain, members of the so-called "right-wing" of America's imagined "political spectrum" are saying he hates the Marines, and that he's an anti-Semite. Marines across the country, active or not, have voiced anger about what has been done to one of their brothers.

Others are decrying the movement as class warriors, hell bent on stealing from the rich, dividing Americans for their own gain, and trying to get what they do not and never did deserve. These attacks on a diverse and widely spread population have continued even as it's become clear exactly who is waging some variety of war. Peaceful protesters, gathering together in public spaces to voice their grievances, discuss those grievances and possible solutions are being assaulted as if they attempting to throwing Moltov Cocktails through daycare windows. The majority of these protesters are poor, working class or middle class people from all walks of life, and elected officials whose campaigns can not exist, let alone succeed, without funding from corporate pimps are ordering that these people be removed, silenced and definitely not allowed to gather together for a long enough period of time to be able to develop common sense solutions to the problems created by the same conglomerates that are buying those same politicians. Police are dispatched in riot gear with tear gas, pepper spray, flashbangs, rubber bullets, bean bag bullets and though it has yet to be used, LRAD sonic weapons. So, I ask you, exactly who is it engaged in class warfare?

This is in no way to suggest that the police aren't in a terrible position. They are. It's very easy to decide to turn on the police in situations like this. But they too are caught in the tangled web resulting in the kind of government for auction we now have. They must unfortunately follow the orders they are given or face the same job market the rest of the 99% are facing. It's a position no one would want to be in. Face crowds of people who are becoming increasingly suspicious and unpredictable because of the kind of violence they are seeing all over the country, and repress rights many of the individual officers know protesters are guaranteed or risk the loss of a steady job, health care benefits and relative security in the midst of the worst economic situation in seventy years?  Few people could answer that question honestly without actually being faced with a remarkably similar situation. There are certainly some police who are taking to these duties with a bit more zeal than is acceptable, but the majority of them are people who needed a job, and police officer was their best option. The problem is, how exactly does a society weed out the good from the bad, when the orders that all are given are the will of the corrupt and immoral? This is the argument the Occupy movement should be making to police forces and citizens across the country. The police are not the enemy. They are the unfortunate proof of that age old adage that you can always hire half of the poor to kill the other half. They may not be killing Occupiers, but there is no doubt that many of the locations across the country have been experiencing violence and intimidation of a severe enough nature that if it does continue, there will at some point be a casualty. If it weren't for these "freeloading hippie" protesters (who had a flashbang grenade thrown at them in their initial attempts to help him) Scott Olsen might very well have been that first casualty.

Ask yourself this; Why is dissent and the right to self governance something to be celebrated and praised everywhere in the world, except in your own country? There's something seriously wrong here, and that is why the Occupy movement is growing. Each new police action, each new instance of brutality and unnecessary force makes that fact clearer. They are calling attention to a cataclysmic breakage in our system of government and our society as a whole, and the people who have profited from that breakage, that wound, have been sucking the life's blood out of us for decades. Those people, who've profited from starvation, sickness, poverty, ignorance and death, believe that the Occupiers and the American people can be intimidated into stepping out of the way to let them back to the business of profiting through the creation of misfortunes for us to survive.

I believe those days are finally over.


  1. I hope you are right. Because the longer the inequality, greed and injustice goes on, the uglier it is going to get. The US govt likes to point the finger but when push comes to shove it's not better than any other.

  2. I've always wondered why someone like Chief Norwood would provide support and promises to the Occupy Richmond protestors, then one freezing cold night, intimidate them with State and City Police cars, horses and bulldozers. I used to think he was a do the right thing guy. He promised me he would not commit violence against the protestors as long as they were nonviolent, as he stood outside of Monroe Park. A man is only as good as his word. Today he dodged questions from the press, and that reminded me of Cantor cancelling his Wharton School of Business speech in Philly because the "public" had been invited. So, Alex, as least you know they are concerned, feel like fools, and do not want anyone to disagree with them. All while Steven Spielberg happily films his new movie about Abraham Lincoln two blocks from the raided Kanawha Plaza. The irony strikes me. Wonder if Spielberg can remember the history of his own people.


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