maxwatt, on 22 October 2011 - 03:32 PM, said:
OWS came to my neighborhood yesterday, marching from 125st St to Columbus Circle. Police escort. The helicopters were overkill, and their noise roused the roused the neighborhood.
Demo started in the afternoon in Harlem, for a local issue, protesting New York City's "Stop and Frisk" law, an authoritarian measure that allows police to stop and frisk anyone, for whatever reason. A tiny percentage of the 800,000 stops a year result in arrests, those mostly for marijuana possession.* 85% or the stops are black or Hispanic, and the whites stopped are overwhelmingly young. Princeton professor Cornell West was arrested when they marched on the 28th precinct house in Harlem. When evening came they began marching toward the 25th precinct, which brought out the police and news helicopters, at 95 decibels in my living room. Thus roused, I walked with the disparate group for about a mile down Broadway. The helicopters left -- the evening news cycle was over, and the threat level wasn't enough for a helicopter escort, but a lot of police were blocking a lane of traffic keeping the protestors on the sidewalk which was uncomfortably narrow for the 300 or more wending downtown. The crowd grew as people came out of bars and restaurants to join up for a bit, others waving and giving thumbs up signs. Some young men wearing yarmulkas seemed to disapprove. A few OWS chants: "Banks got bailed out, we got sold out" , "the people united can never be defeated" and "this is what democracy looks like/" Guitars and drums. Sometimes singing "We Shall Overcome", "This Land is Your Land" and other 60's movement chestnuts, from people who probably hadn't demonstrated since the sixties. My phone's camera cannot track in dim light, and I did not get good pictures.
Like Occupy Montreal, this and other OWS groups are beginning to focus on local issues, as well as the predominant theme that a tiny percentage of the wealthiest percentage of the population is exercising undue and undemocratic control of the government and of [our] lives., to which they have not yet issued specific remedies. Yes, this concern echoes the Tea Party. Instead of focusing on government, which is the tool used by the elite to control the populace, they seek to look behind the curtain at the elite who are manipulating the government, Government is but a tool, a weapon. It is a sword that cuts two ways. Those who would weaken the government do not wish it to interfere with their business, and use it to their advantage, against the general population, but it is the only tool that might curb corporate excess and enable us to deal with the real problems our technology has created. The free-market is only a feedback mechanism, it does not address purpose or direction.
*Another New York law forbids arrest for mere possession, as long as it is concealed, so technically these arrests are invalid, but unless a lawyer points this out and gets it dismissed, the arrest results in a criminal record. That prevents receiving student aid or joining the army. Almost like getting arrested for carrying supplements, which it may come to yet. My neighbor, a lawyer, tells me the cops often plant marijuana during the frisk, especially near month end to meet their arrest quota, which the station chiefs deny exists. Usually if a court appointed lawyer points out the arrest was near month end, the judge will try to find some technicality to dismiss the charge. But not always. Orwell and Kafka lacked imagination compared to this.
Yeah, unfortunately, the cops are dragging us down, as a nation, to their level of ignorant violence.
Anyone who hates this nation and wants to see us deteriorate should be cheering police behavior in these instances, since they are helping to promote an atmosphere of fear and ignorance: just what this nation DOESNT need if it wants to have some shot of continuing to lead the world (economically, at least).
If I were a full on conspiracy theorist, I would suspect these cops were planted here to destroy us from within. Destroy our liberties. Stifle vision, innovation, boundless spirit. Create just enough of a vague atmosphere of fear of being different, fear of standing out, fear of innovating, that it will doom us.
It almost seems like they are doing all the work of our enemies.
And, it's worse cause I bet all of these cops are flag wavers and feel really patriotic and warm themselves with 'America First' talk while they drink em down at local bars, but their deliberate attempt to quell the individual liberty and spirit that marries so well with American capitalism will practically guarantee that China will overtake us in the next 25 years.
People want to blame immigrants. They do nothing but enhance us as a nation.
People want to blame Wall Street. Thieves and liars, but not destroying American liberty.
Sadly, it's cops, judges, some politicians and some other figures in industry and media, etc. that are deteriorating our most precious asset: a feeling of boundless opportunity and a reverence for individual liberty and innovation, risk taking and (possibly to a fault) laissez-faire capitalism.
With the right blend of all of the above, we can continue to demonstrate what IS good about us.
But, again, what we least need of all things is law enforcement figures, among others, quelling any and all of these values and rights.
And, to the cops:
Keep waving those flags as you drag us down into ignorance and violence and ensure we will be behind in the decades ahead. Great job. See how much your 'patriotism' (which is a laugh, since you are actually traitors and, if I didnt know better, as I mentioned above, would say you were planted here by our enemies) swells with pride when we are behind China and India in 50 years.
You should be arresting people for ignorance and for not fully realizing their potential, not for social protest, which is a powerful American tradition.
Note: Not that either of these countries don't deserve all they have lying ahead of them. It's just that some here will lament our decline, and those that will most lament it will have probably done the most to bring it about.
Edited by Brafarality, 22 October 2011 - 04:40 PM.