In the aftermath of the May Day 2007 police riot targeting migrant workers, members of the MacArthur Park area, youth and others joined together to support those targeted, those with no papers, those with less means, all others, from the bottom up.
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Friday, November 25, 2011
Will the Looming American Police State Unify the Resistance?
The recent police crackdowns have brought an interesting new dynamic to the Occupy Wall Street movement. With scenes of blatant and unprovoked police brutality going viral on the web almost daily now, it is becoming apparent to everyone in the streets and even at home that Wall Street is just one of many institutions run amok in the American establishment.
OWS has now turned a corner; the movement may still be about Wall Street corruption at its core, but it has now exposed the existence of a police state that rivals the most authoritarian dictatorships in the world. This is a glaring fact that the entire activist community needs to recognize and point out to the world so that this police brutality can take center stage in the public dialogue.
Even if you disagree with some of the politics that seem to be involved with the Occupy Wall Street movement, that certainly doesn’t justify the kind of violence that these protesters are being subjected to. I myself have been vocal about staying away from political demands, especially those involving taxation, but when I see this kind of force used against nonviolent people, all of those minor political disagreements automatically take a back seat.
History has shown us that tyranny marches ever onward, and this brand of authoritarianism will only get progressively worse if it is not relentlessly opposed by a large portion of the country. When you give the government or the elite an inch they always take a mile, so we don’t even want to give them a centimeter. This tragedy has played out many different times over the generations, as Martin Niemöller highlighted in his legendary poem “First they came for the Jews”.
All of the revolutions that have happened around the world in the past year have gained immense amounts of support because of the scenes depicting oppression and brutality that were filmed in the streets. The support that these movements gathered had very little to do with their demands or political agenda, but was simply a result of the empathy that people feel when they see goodhearted people being terrorized by their alleged “protectors”.
Unfortunately, many of these worldwide movements have been co-opted or met with harsh military force. However, there is certainly a lot that we can learn from observing what is happening in these other areas of unrest, so hopefully we don’t end up becoming victims of the same pitfalls.