Monday, October 31, 2011

Occupy America

In the month since my last post, OWS has picked up steam and is now in many cities and towns across the country.  I do feel that I should give a bit of a retraction to my last post.  I didn't mean to imply that taking part in these protests was futile or a waste of one's time.  I guess that was a bit of nervousness in my part, as I'd just seen the videos of NYPD beating down protestors and herding them like cattle.  But if you do decide to protest, be very, very careful of the police.  If they become violent, do not respond with violence, as that is their stock-in-trade and you will lose.

These are a set of very nice photos, taken at the Occupy Austin (TX) protest.  Yes, the Occupy rallies have even spread to Texas.  But I do believe that Austin is considered the "liberal" part of Texas, and it's a very small part.  After seeing photos and listening to a podcast that took place at the event, I am beginning to become inspired to take part.  But I've been working every day lately.  I hear that there is a very strong sense of community at these events.  So, as I said, this system will collapse under its own weight eventually, with or without OWS.  But where OWS might be of use, would be that it would create a stronger sense of community, so that it can be possible for us to weather the collapse.  And if there is one thing we are deeply lacking (I know it's many things), it's a sense of community.  We're so segregated from each other, between our living arrangements in the burbs and while driving our cars.

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Occupy Wall Street

I'm embarrassed that I haven't posted anything on this story already.  I've been too tired to blog in the past few days, and was going to post yesterday but dozed off.  Anyway, there have been a series of demonstrations called Occupy Wall Street in NYC, and it has started to spread to other parts of America.  I wholeheartedly agree with their message.  In past days, I'd be very tempted to join them, and probably would.  But I've come to believe that nothing short of full-scale collapse will help tame the beasts of governmental and corporate power.  I feel that all the protestors, noble as their goals are, are doing is putting a big spotlight on themselves, and all that will accomplish is having all the wrong people take an interest in you.  After Gitmo and all this other stuff since 9/11, I believe law enforcement will think nothing of "disappearing" U.S. citizens who make too much a habit of questioning and disobeying them, or being violent and being actively involved in shutting down pieces of the system.  As you can see in the videos posted below, you can get in a heap of trouble just by being there and standing peacefully.  What I would suggest to those who want to rebel and fight the system, as an alternative, is to try to live outside of it to the extent that you can.  Do things like bank at a credit union rather than the big banks, grow a little of your own food and spend less on Big Ag's food, things of that nature.

Anyway, a big concern of mine, and one that I'd meant to post of more often than I have but just never got the chance, was how, especially after 9/11 but maybe before that too, you began to see an increasing militarization of law enforcement.  Things like increased involvement of SWAT teams, even in non-violent (drug-related) incidents, searches and seizures of vehicles from things ranging from terrorism alerts to hunting for drunk drivers, herding protestors into certain areas (free-speech zones).  There are no shortage of incidents that can be used as examples of this phenomenon.  I'm watching a TV series right now, "Battlestar Galactica", and in one episode, Adama (played by Edward James Olmos) makes an astute observation:  "the function of the military is to fight the enemies of the state.  The function of the police is to protect the people.  When you combine the two, the enemies become the people."  I feel silly quoting a TV show, but I think that sums up our state of affairs perfectly.  In these videos, you are looked at as an enemy of the state for merely standing up and wanting to be heard.  And while I do think there are good police officers out there, I think a majority of them, albeit a perhaps slim one, are pretty similar to the ones in these videos.  And even the good ones can only be so good.  It reminds me of that quote, "You can't expect a man to understand something if his paycheck depends on his not understanding it."  So the police are the intermediary between the protestor and the state, and the police are being paid by the state, so whose interests do they think they're looking after?

I'm starting to blabber, which I tend to do sometimes, so I'll end it here.  I just wanted to note something interesting.  JPMorgan Chase recently donated more than $4.5 million to the New York City Police Foundation, to "strengthen security".  I don't think additional comment is necessary.  And a group of inactive U.S. Marines are planning to serve as a barrier between the police and the protestors.  So I'm very interested to see how this turns out.  If nothing else, I think the police will act much more carefully; police attacking military might be so outrageous that even the corporate media won't be able to put a kettle big enough to cover it up.