As I write this post, I am watching the Occupy Wall Street LiveStream, where police are apparently gearing up to use tear gas against the assembled crowds, who are responding by singing “This Land Is Your Land.” There have already been reports of flashbang grenades, though I can’t yet verify them, and there’s word that the police may be using LRAD (sound-based weapons). The mainstream media is mysteriously absent, which seems to be a recurring theme lately. Word is that several of the subways have been shut down to prevent reinforcements from heading down to the camp. Per usual, the raid is happening in the middle of the night, when cameras have a hard time picking up footage and there aren’t many witnesses around–god forbid people see what the police are doing in their names or be able to easily document those actions. The police have trapped the Occupiers behind a barricade and are refusing to allow cameras into the park itself, where, I’m hearing word in real-time here, the police may be assaulting Occupiers who are still in the kitchen.
I hate to sound like a conspiracy nut (especially given how much I poke fun at conspiracy theories in my other writings), but it’s looking extremely likely as of this evening that the supposedly locally-initiated police actions against satellite Occupy sites such as those in Portland and Oakland the past few days were federally organized, initial strikes in a concentrated effort to wipe out the protests. Tonight, without warning, the United States government is striking at what it perceives as the head of the American Occupy movement.
The Department of Homeland Security had been on site in Portland for over a week before Mayor Sam Adams declared that Occupy Portland would be shut down; I recorded license plate numbers off two DHS vehicles–G62 4547H and E 234998–that were present most days. The official reasons given for ending Occupy Portland were health and sanitation concerns; in the interest of “health and sanitation,” the city (and a number of state and federal officers) injured protesters (though the media will tell you otherwise) and eliminated a resource that had been selflessly feeding the city’s homeless and providing them with free medical care for over a month. It’s true that the Occupation in Portland did a number on the grass (current estimates are around $19,000 to repair the damage), but as someone who was on the ground there daily, I feel qualified to say that the sanitation concerns cited by the city were overblown. I’m told by kitchen staff that the kitchen was inspected multiple times by the health department; the site was using portable toilets donated by local labor groups instead of public utilities, and these were cleaned and emptied by a professional service on a regular basis; it could get cold and muddy, but that’s what happens when you live in a public park for a month during the winter. The city didn’t have a legitimate reason to shut Occupy Portland down–but as the larger pattern comes into view, it’s obvious that it probably wasn’t the city that came to the decision to do so.
And so tonight the past week of attacks against Occupy sites around the country are revealed as (most likely being) a lead-up to the assault on the main encampment at Zuccotti Park in New York. Police in riot gear entered the park after midnight local time and cleared out the Occupiers, claiming they were simply there for a surprise inspection (though why the police should have the authority to run a surprise inspection on a group occupying private property seems an excellent question), but of course as soon as the way was clear, they began throwing the Occupiers’ property into containers that look suspiciously like dumpsters; there were allegations coming over the LiveStream feed that the police appeared to be purposefully breaking items, though of course that’s a judgment call on the part of the witness in question. Regardless, the clear intention of the so-called authorities is to dismantle the two-month-old site and make it as difficult as possible for the Occupiers in Zuccotti Park to continue doing what they’ve been doing, which is to say, peacefully and powerfully exposing the deep-seated corruption and incompetence rampant throughout the American political and financial systems and working toward a means to counteract and eliminate those issues.
Can we stop pretending that the Constitution, the rule of law, the separation of powers or legal limitations on the power of the federal government actually mean anything in this country anymore? As I put it in “The Council of Overseers,” where I was attempting to be tongue-in-cheek:
Lucky for the members of the Council, they also control the courts, which ostensibly watch the watchmen, but are mostly packed with watchmen as well, meaning even with the right to vote, run for office and file suit against the government, the serfs are effectively (though unofficially, and therefore legally) disenfranchised.
…Man, I hate it when I’m right.
That said, this reaction is one of fear–have no doubt that the United States federal government is shitting itself in terror right now. If it doesn’t look like fear to you, that’s because the people running the federal government are authoritarians, and the only way they know to react to any emotion–fear, anger, sadness, surprise–is to exercise the use of force.They are ignorant of the Discordian warning that imposition of order = escalation of chaos, even though George Lucas rephrased it so clearly for them in Star Wars:
The last thing they want us doing is talking about the things we’ve been talking about; the last thing they want us to realize is that we are more powerful than they are. What they may not realize is that it’s already too late. This will not be the end of the Occupy movement. All they’re doing is pissing us off and giving us back our motivation. No, this isn’t the end of the play–this is just the end of Act I.