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Tuesday, November 15, 2011

The Education Of The Occupation - #OWS Day 60

Aerial: Police assaulting #Occupiers in NY

[Update: Gosztola: Why Tents Have Little to Do with Reason Behind Occupy Wall Street Eviction].

Kevin's daily liveblog: Live Blog for #Occupy Movement: Day 59, Occupy Wall Street Camp is Gone.

Ian Welsh, Education and retaliation in OWS:
The police and mayor are fools. By committing atrocities, they are forcing people to engage in effective action. They are forcing the protestors to strike back and do something which will actually hurt the powerful.

But the police and mayor are also doing the necessary work of educating people. These folks would not believe those of us who told them that simple peaceful protest would not accomplish anything. Only the police, and a Democratic mayor... could convince them of that.

The above quote is about Oakland, from an essay Ian published over two weeks ago, but he could as well have been reporting on the actions of Bloomberg and the NYPD early this morning (Update: which he did).

David Dayen:
...I happened to be awake last night when Bloomberg’s cops cleared Zuccotti Park...

The Brooklyn Bridge and almost all subway trains leading to Wall Street were closed over night. Counter-terrorism agents were on the scene. An LRAD sonic cannon was used. The NYPD blocked the airspace over the park to news helicopters. One journalist told a cop that she was press, and was told back, “Not tonight.” Even residential buildings around Zuccotti were locked down. This was real police state stuff.
I also "happened to be awake" (all the easier being here on the Left Coast), and was about to shut down and turn in when Twitter, the Bizarro canary of 21st century revolution, once again stirred to life.

Ian's essay, quoted above, goes further than I might advocate (see the comments thread there), but I do not object in principle to naked confrontation with the forces of the PTB. I am only interested in effective action, and my objection to property violence only exists insofar as it is a hindrance to the unavoidable public-relations element of a successful revolution:
As to provocation in general - I am aware that the very essence, the need, of the revolutionary goals of non-violent non-cooperation is to provoke... In light of this, my point is that we should be especially careful that the reactions we so ardently desire are limited to defensible exposure of the oppressor's pre-existing violent position against us, and not have the message muddled by ostensibly "justifiable" (albeit small-minded) defense of property... or shirt.

This is admittedly in the dirty sphere of psy-ops, but it is a milieu that cannot, realistically, be ignored in this world of we, the reactive, social animals that we are.
I still think that OWS has much traction to be gained by remaining as objectively passive as possible, but it is a grave mistake to proceed with "purity" on this question.

At the very least, cooperation with the permiticization of protest in America must stop. This is no time to be asking our oppressors for permission to speak. Take the public spaces, create new public spaces, take the country back from these thieves.

As in, fuck this shit:
Fortunately, there’s still a (nominally) independent judiciary in America, and they have begun to act.
A New York judge on Tuesday issued a temporary restraining order allowing protesters to return to Zuccotti Park only hours after police forcibly removed them, arresting dozens.

The order by Justice Lucy Billings set a hearing date for Tuesday at 11:30 a.m. and said that until the matter was considered at that hearing, the city and Brookfield Properties, the owners of Zuccotti Park, would be prohibited from evicting protesters or “enforcing ‘rules’ published after the occupation began or otherwise preventing protesters from re-entering the park with tents and other property previously utilized.”

Also, last night (will post video if it becomes available), I observed TimPool of The Other 99 being accosted by masked "anarchists" who objected to him livestreaming their action, which apparently consisted of letting the air out of the tires of police vehicles. As the line of so-called "non-violent" action can become blurred in situations such as this, I have no objection to relatively non-violent, if provocative, actions such as crippling the tools of the police. However, cowards who wear disguises and seek subterfuge are defeating the power of non-cooperation by seeking anonymity. If you are not willing to face the consequences of your actions, and instead wish to instill fear in your enemies and potential allies, then you are a counter-revolutionary force and deserve to be denounced for your actions. It is to Tim's credit that he is committed to the laudable and essential principle of OWS transparency, and faced them down in their assaults: His camera kept rolling.


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