Deja vu all over again

In Editorial on October 27, 2011 at 10:27 am

[Phyne Dyning is supposed to be mostly about food and living a simple, rewarding life.  But, because we are living the Chinese curse of “living in interesting times”, this blog has a moral responsibility to play some part in making certain peaceful voices are not silenced by state violence.]


Violence is at the root of the state’s ability to dominate.  Absent of violence, duress and intimidation the state achieves very little.

Last night, I saw the first glimpse of the police in Oakland, California rioting.  This morning, I read a “Letter to the Editor” sent to the Des Moines Register asserting that it is disingenuous to draw similarities between the “Arab Spring” and the “Occupy” movement(s).

The writer blithely asserted that the Occupy movement does not face the same grave threats to personal safety that Egyptian pro-liberty demonstrators faced.  He asserted pepper spray used against Occupy demonstrators is hardly on the same level of force as the live ammunition that was fired on Egyptian demonstrators.

We could ask 24-year old Marine, Scott Olsen…

…but the war veteran is in a coma and may not survive.

The Oakland Police Department accomplished violence upon Olsen that Iraqi insurgents could not.  Olsen was peacefully marching toward Oakland City Hall when he was struck in the head by a police projectile…either a “less than lethal” beanbag device, a teargas projectile, or a flash-bang device the Oakland police now say they did not deploy against the demonstrators.

The police rioted in response to vaguely stated “concerns” about sanitation within the Occupy Oakland camp.  Those “concerns”, according to police, were rebuffed by demonstrators who “hurled bottles, bricks, and firecrackers” at the peacefully assembled heroes of the state.

The violence has begun.  Predictably, the disproportionate violent response has come from the heavily armed and highly militarized “civilian” police.

Oakland October 2011 (AP photo)

It is certain that many of the Occupy organizers who come from the left of the political spectrum are puzzled.  They believed armored vehicles, tear gas, ninja suits, and other such paraphernalia would be used against the TEA Party activists whom they were told, by the state’s toady media, “Were heavily armed and associated with potentially violent militias”.

You know, “terry-wrists” of the right wing.  Now that the fledgling original TEA Party has been successfully co-opted by the evangelical Christian wing of the Republican Party, the danger of terrorism from TEA Partiers has subsided and the state Cyclopes’ eye has turned to the other end of the political spectrum that dares believe in anything beyond maintaining the status quo that is so cherished by the elites.

The state’s violence genie is out of its bottle and “officials” in other jurisdictions are anxiously looking for the right excuse to use their Homeland Security toys.

Kent State University May 1970 (UPI photo)

In the coming days, there will be media murmurings about “allegations that some Occupy organizations have ties to potentially violent anarchist groups” or some other boogeyman.  (The disinformation specialists know it would be over-the-top to assert “possible ties to al Qaeda.).  The state will either use its agent provocateurs to promote violence at Occupy demonstrations or the state’s agents will rely on its proven technique of inciting unstable individuals within the movement to commit violent acts.

The media will cluck disapprovingly of the violence and give its nod of approval for police violence to restore “order”.  Then, they will exhort readers and viewers to “go buy something nice for Christmas”.

What can we do?

“The whole world is watching” is meaningless if nobody watches.

If you are unable (or unwilling) to participate directly in the Occupy movement, you can still be an advocate for free speech and freedom of assembly.  Even if you do not agree with what the Occupy movement is saying, you can still “do the American thing” and support the movement’s right to say it.

Pass along information of emerging violence by the state against peaceful demonstrators.  Americans have a short attention span and, in a few weeks, the Occupy movement will have become “old news” relegated to below the fold of the inside back page.  The probability of state violence against these peaceful protesters grows exponentially with citizen apathy.

Speak up and do not allow yourself to become just another spectator.

Do it for Scott Olsen.


Oakland Mayor Jean Qwan has issued a contrite statement about the police riot in her city.  The statement comes on the heels of national and international assertions of outrage at the police “crackdown” on unarmed and peaceful demonstrators.  The ACLU and the National Lawyer’s Guild have demanded a complete investigation of the police riot.  Also in response to the police rampage, Occupy Oakland organizers have called for a general strike on November 2nd.

The following is the full text of Qwan’s statement:

We support the goals of the Occupy Wall Street movement: we have high levels of unemployment and we have high levels of foreclosure that makes Oakland part of the 99% too. We are a progressive city and tolerant of many opinions. We may not always agree, but we all have a right to be heard.

I want to thank everyone for the peaceful demonstration at Frank Ogawa Park tonight, and thank the city employees who worked hard to clean up the plaza so that all activities can continue including Occupy Wall Street. We have decided to have a minimal police presence at the plaza for the short term and build a community effort to improve communications and dialogue with the demonstrators.

99% of our officers stayed professional during difficult and dangerous circumstances as did some of the demonstrators who dissuaded other protestors from vandalizing downtown and for helping to keep the demonstrations peaceful. For the most part, demonstrations over the past two weeks have been peaceful. We hope they continue to be so.

I want to express our deepest concern for all of those who were injured last night, and we are committed to ensuring this does not happen again. Investigations of certain incidents are underway and I will personally monitor them.

We understand and recognize the impact this event has had on the community and acknowledge what has happened. We cannot change the past, but we are committed to doing better.

Most of us are part of the 99%, and understand the spirit of the Occupy Wall Street Movement. We are committed to honoring their free speech right.

Finally, we understand the demonstrators want to meet with me and Chief Jordan. We welcome open dialogue with representatives of Occupy Wall Street members, and we are willing to meet with them as soon as possible.”      (Source:  San Francisco Chronical)

If Mayor Qwan is to be believed that “99% of our officers stayed professional”, then Chief Jordan’s 99% will be working diligently to oust and vigorously prosecute the 1% of officers who abused their power with disproportionate violence.  It also must be pointed out that the perpetrators of the Holocaust carried out their murderous duties in a professional manner.  Being “professional” is not a synonym for “lawful”.  -PD



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