|Oakland Docks: hoonored to have been there|
Throwing people out of their homes (shelter) or jobs (means of subsistence); having 2 million people in the nation's prisons and others in Guantanamo (ever wondered why the US has a base in Cuba?) without a trial or being accused of anything for almost a decade is not violence in the extreme?
The violence at protests is brought about by the state imposing austerity measures on working people and the people resisting. The way the unelected rulers of society want to minimize violence is not by allocating the collective wealth of society in a different way like providing a secure, safe and productive existence for people as opposed to making society and the world safe for profit making. No, they want to increase punitive laws against free speech and protests so that they can justify violence on their part when you break their laws. This is a society of laws after all.
In Chicago Obama's friend Mayor Rahm Emanuel is proposing limited permits for protests as well as the hours of the day that protests are allowed at all and increasing fines for violating these laws. The fine for violating parade rules will go from $50 to $1000. To deal with the increase in criminals this will cause, the chief of police will be allowed to "deputize" cops form other agencies. They'll be "deputizing" security guards as well, the new Pinkertons.
"People will have their First Amendment rights protected and the law will be enforced. Those two aren't in conflict" says Rahm. The First Amendment is important but there is a catch. It's OK to say what you think but you must not act on it other than through channels that the 1% know are ineffective. It's like Rand Paul's support of workers' right to organize. We can get together but we shouldn't be allowed to force business to do anything that it finds objectionable.
The Democratic National Convention is taking place in Charlotte NC in September and the one percent's politicians there will be banning anything that might be considered a terrorist weapon like felt tip markers, 18 different categories of items in all like wearing armor for example. There will be an all out ban on throwing anything, camping and fires on public property. The new laws will also allow cops to arbitrarily decide, what or who should be taken away much like the Arizona anti-immigrant law. If a person is carrying backpacks or scarves, then the cops "will have to decide whether protesters are carrying them with malicious intent". The history of cops on picket lines and protests is full of examples where they make the correct decision about intent isn't it? You're all guilty.
At the general strike here in Oakland I was driving closer to the docks so I could park and not walk so far. A cop was in the road on his bike and I asked him if I could pass. He said I could but "they might not let you" pointing to the marchers going through the intersection ahead. "They'll let me through" I replied. "They might turn your car over with you in it" he shot back. This is their mentality. Charlotte's City Attorney says that "respecting and protecting legitimate First Amendment rights" is a must but cops deciding what "intent" a person has allows them to "'engage' suspect protesters."
Florida is actually easing laws against protesting by making some minor changes to administrative rules. The cops will kick ass though if anything beyond expressing yourself in a way they consider is proper occurs we know that.
It will be interesting to see how the state responds to our blocking the loading of a ship up in Longview Washington. The ship is coming in under military escort with helicopters and all. It is quite possible that there will be massive police presence up there including Federal Marshals. The bosses are determined to crush the Occupy Movement and any attempts by the organized workers to fight back against the austerity plans they have for us and our families. The ILWU has the ability to close the West Coast docks entirely and California alone is among the top ten economies in the world. The shutting down of shipping trade in a state that is about 12% of US GDP is not something the bosses will allow without a fight and I am sure the ILWU international leadership is coming under massive pressure to get any local leaders and dissenting voices to back off. You know Homeland Security has been in touch with them.
The use of the military in a Labor dispute is an ominous sign of things to come as the crisis of capitalism ripens. But we have been here before. The bosses may have the money but we have the numbers and the social power. Unions were illegal at one point, even workers getting together to discuss increasing wages violated conspiracy laws.
These laws are just the beginning. The strategists of capital read history, they are aware of the revolutionary and militant history of the US working class but they are driven by the laws of their own system to drive us further and further backwards and they will use violence, the courts, the police etc. The Occupy Movement has shown that you can defy their laws, laws that protect their interests, the interests of the minority 1% in society, not our interests. The Occupy movement has a lot of passive support. But working class people must join it, bring our class issues in to it and our ideas. Is this movement pretty, without confusion? It is not. It is difficult and time consuming and a political struggle of ideas, some we don't agree with and some that may seem absurd. But movement's don't come ready made and movements in the US have traditionally been full of different and unusual forces--we come to movements with a lot of baggage, some of it we keep and some we discard to make room for new ideas and methods.
What is true is that this movement is made in America, it is full of a lot of courageous and dedicated people, many of them young people, some of them older, some of them homeless and other that have only recently lost their homes. The bosses want to crush it, we must not let them. Some of us have waited a long time for this.