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Nov 21 2011

Occupy Wall St.: You Cannot Evict An Idea

(10 am. – promoted by ek hornbeck)

Try as they may, the 1% and their elected and appointed puppets cannot evict an ideas whose time has come. Allowing the police to use strong arm tactics, chemical sprays and other “non-lethal” weapons against peaceful, passive demonstrators flies in the face of logic, constitutional and principles. Curling up in a ball or moving your arms to protect yourself will now warrant you a beating with a baton before you are picked up and arrested.

The latest incident last Friday at the University of California Davis Campus produced massive outrage across the country and around the world over the weekend as millions watched the campus police use military grade pepper spray against students sitting, arms linked, peacefully in a circle. Yes, they surrounded police who claimed the students were threatening. But, in order to spray the students, the officer had to step over the students, leave the circle to get the spray. What cowards.

UC Davis Chancellor Linda P.B Katehi had to walk back her initial statement of support for the campus police actions and held press conference Saturday late Saturday afternoon calling for an investigation of the incident. Outside the building where the presser was held, students had assembled around the building chanting “we are peaceful” and “just walk home.” The chancellor stayed inside for over two hours in an attempt to make it appear that the students were holding her hostage. After student representatives had the students stop chanting and form a three block long corridor, Katehi left the building accompanied by student representatives and an investigative reporter Lee Fang who asks her “Chancellor, do you still feel threatened by the students?” She replies “No. No.”. The video, “Walk of Shame”, the silence of the students speaks volumes:

Chancellor Katehi, under pressure to resign, has now suspended two of the officers involved and ordered the investigation to be completed in 30 days, not the 90 she original stated.

H/T John Aravosis at AMERICAblog, Lee Fang at Second Alarm and Jon Weiner at The Nation

More below the fold

Lambert Strether, who is guest blogging at naked capitalism, gives a blow by blow narrative of the 8 minute long video of what happened after the pepper spraying. The last two minutes shows the remarkable courage and ingenuity of the students as they “mic check” the campus police convincing the officers to take their weapons and leave, peacefully:

6:12 “Mic check! Mic check!” (hoarse, urgent) “Shame on you!” Shouting.

6:15 Three weapons raised horizontal.

6:20 [Kent State timer ends] “Mic check! Mic check! We are willing…”

Occupiers: “WE ARE WILLING…”

MC: “to give you a brief moment…”

Occupiers: “TO GIVE YOU A BRIEF MOMENT…”

MC: “of peace…”

Occupiers; “OF PEACE…”

MC: “so you may take your weapons…”

Occupiers: “SO YOU MAY TAKE YOUR WEAPONS…”

MC: “and your friends…”

Occupiers: “AND YOUR FRIENDS…”

MC: “and go.”

Occupiers: “AND GO.”

6:35 Policeman in front of line of weapons, now, holding two red cans, presumably pepper spray. Police faces behind visors puzzled.

MC: “Please do not return!”

Occupiers: “PLEASE DO NOT RETURN!”

MC: “We are giving you a moment of peace.”

Occupiers: “WE ARE GIVING YOU A MOMENT OF PEACE.”

MC: “You can go! We will not follow you!”

Occupiers: “WE WILL NOT FOLLOW YOU!” “You can go!” [confused shouting]

7:04 Occupiers: Chants, shouts, “You can go!”, “You can go!”, “You can go!”

7:11 And the police begin to back down the path. “You can go!”, “You can go!” “None of you is getting a pension!”

7:14 Now for the first time, the camera pans left to show who the police were facing: A loose crowd of students in hoodies and student gear, many of them holding cameras, chanting and shouting. No violent body language, no visible weapons.

7:20 Police still in a block formation, backing away.

7:45 Finally the police turn their backs on the Occupiers and walk down the path. Cheers. “Yeah!”

The rest of Lambert’s article, On the narrative of pepper spray at UC Davis, or “Mic Check for President!” is well worth reading in its entirety.

Glenn Greenwald at Salon expresses several points on the event in his article, The roots of the UC-Davis pepper-spraying:

This is the most important effect of the Occupy movement: acts of defiance, courage and conscience are contagious. Just as the Arab Spring clearly played some significant role in spawning, sustaining and growing the American Occupy movement, so too have the Occupy protesters emboldened one another and their fellow citizens. The protest movement is driving the proliferation of new forms of activism, citizen passion and courage, and – most important of all – a sense of possibility. For the first time in a long time, the use of force and other forms of state intimidation are not achieving their intended outcome of deterring meaningful (i.e., unsanctioned and unwanted) citizen activism, but are, instead, spurring it even more. The state reactions to these protests are both highlighting pervasive abuses of power and generating the antidote: citizen resolve to no longer accept and tolerate it. This is why I hope to see the Occupy movement – even if it adopts specific demands – remain an outsider force rather than reduce itself into garden-variety partisan electioneering: in its current form, it is demanding and re-establishing the indispensable right of dissent, defiance of unjust authority, and sustained protest.

In NYC, #OWS protesters were prevented from getting near Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s residence on the upper east side when police barricaded off 79th Street between Fifth and Madison Avenues. That didn’t stop the protesters as they assembled at the edge of Central Park with colorful signs and music. They expressed their concerns about Bloomberg’s suppression of their right to peacefully assemble, freedom of speech and the press, police abuse and brutality, as well as, the mayor’s disregard for the laws and courts.

“I’m actually a pretty staunch capitalist, but to be honest with you, when Bloomberg moved to have the police arrest all the Occupy Wall Street people, I was fed up, that’s enough,” said one protester holding an “Impeach Bloomberg” sign. “I mean, that should not be going on in the United States of America.”

“Bloomberg is not respecting our First Amendment rights nor yours,” said another protester. “He’s blocking access to the press, arresting journalists.”

“All New Yorkers have had the wool pulled over their eyes by Bloomberg and his billionaires for way too long,” said a third protester.

Also, community leaders held a press conference to express their concerns about Mayor Bloomberg’s actions:

State Senator Eric Adams and civil rights attorney Norman Siegel said the New York City Police Department violated its own policies by not issuing receipts to protestors after their property was taken away.

The pair said city officials violated a court order by cleaning out Zuccotti Park and should be penalized.

“The question becomes, should the Bloomberg administration be held in contempt of court for not following the judge’s order?” said Siegel.

“If there are rules and regulations that are put in place that the occupation individuals must follow, then the City of New York must follow the same rules just as well,” said Adams.

“I want to know why our First and Fourth Amendment rights, our rights to assemble, I want to know why these things are being violated openly. It’s not fair,” said Occupy Wall Street protester Aaron Black.

Adams and Siegel also demanded to know why several members of the media were arrested or otherwise prevented from entering the park.

Freezing Free Speech: Winter Tents Are ‘Contraband’ For Occupy Boston

Occupy Boston is one of the largest and best established occupations of the 99 Percent movement, in the city known as the Cradle of Liberty for its role in sparking the American Revolution. With a court order preventing the city of Boston from tearing down the encampment, the occupiers are planning to maintain their protest indefinitely at Dewey Square, in the heart of Boston’s financial district, in the shadow of the Federal Reserve and Smith Barney. Despite the temporary restraining order that finds that the Occupy Boston plaintiffs “have clearly met their burden of establishing that abridgment of their First Amendment rights (pdf) would constitute irreparable harm,” the Boston Police Department is preventing the occupiers from winterizing their encampment.

Occupy Folks Seek to Save Minneapolis Professor’s Home

The members of the Twin Cities branch of the Occupy movement might be under near-constant official harassment, but that certainly doesn’t mean they’ve given up their efforts on behalf of those of us in the 99%. Just as they worked earlier to get another foreclosure victim the needed time and aid to move her and her disabled father to a new home, they’re now, with Nick Espinosa taking a key role, working to keep a Minneapolis university professor in her home

1 comment

  1. TMC

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