Thursday, November 17, 2011

OWS: Orwell's Wickedest Scenario

(By American Zen's Mike Flannigan, on loan from Ari Goldstein)

The only good thing about fascism and its brutal and oppressive tactics is that it's never subtle. Push these people and you'll always get the answer to Inspector Finch's rhetorical question in V For Vendetta: "What usually happens when those without guns stand up to those that do?" And always there are billions who listen to the answer and its inevitable, blood-tinged physical syntax.

Anyone out there remember the late Mario Savio? Mario Savio's name has been all but lost to history even to well-meaning and well-educated liberals who didn't happen to watch Rachel Maddow's eloquent show the night before last. Savio's speech on December 2, 1964 on Sproul Hall's steps briefly put him in the news in relation to the increasingly hostile conflict between University of Berkeley officials and the students' right to free speech.

Savio's fiery, impassioned "bodies on the gears" speech, as it came to be known, proved once again that great rhetoric is recyclable and that the abstract ideology underpinning it can be used to illuminate many controversies that endanger the rights of our fellow humans. As Maddow said, he could've been talking about Vietnam, civil rights or a whole host of other topics. But on December 2, 1964 he was calling the university on its greater allegiance to its board of governors than to the first amendment rights of its students.

Savio's spirit lives on in Occupy Wall's Street movement and it's impossible to imagine the man who'd briefly shared the same ideological stage as Martin Luther King, Jr. and Malcolm X not supporting this beginning of the uprising of the 99%. And perhaps some of the countless thousands of young people braving police brutality and exposure are the grandchildren of some of the people who'd surrounded Savio and the police car atop which he'd stood after they'd arrested Jack Weinberg for simply handing out leaflets informing people of their civil liberties.

That massive and frightening show of support for one of their own is reincarnated in Occupy Wall Street and its countless analogs all over the world. We see it when the NYPD tries to pick up and arrest a protester and the others link arms with him or her. We see it when police departments all over the nation forcibly evict Occupy protesters, even coming close to killing them, and they always, always come back in greater numbers.

Arrest one and they will, like the Hydra, come back twofold. Teargas them, they will wave away the smoke with their signs. Take away their tents, they'll huddle together against the cold even if they have to change shifts every hour. You could blow them up with mortars. They'll bury the chunks, hose down the street and come back after the funeral.

Friedrich Nietzsche, anyone?

"Stop Or My Mom Will be Shot!"

This is a picture from Occupy Seattle taken last Tuesday night immediately after an 84 year-old woman named Dorli Rainey was pepper-sprayed by police who apparently have lived their entire lives boning and chipping their batons and making X's across the tops of their bullets for the return of the 60's. It's getting some play in the blogosphere and the Twittersphere and for Goddamned good reasons. It serves to show that even the eldest and frailest of us are not immune to police brutality and that they hold nothing sacred save for the financial institutions and the political institutions they obviously control. It betrays a fascist, paranoid mindset that even regards a peaceful physical presence as a crime. No one can read the thoughts of the man on the street unless they're holding a sign showing it. But when anyone and everyone venturing outside their homes near a protest are assumed to be sympathizers or protesters and are pepper-sprayed in a frenzy of retaliation, we come dangerously close to committing what George Orwell infamously called "thoughtcrime."

Thanks to Occupy Wall Street, the corporate MSM knows it would be remiss in its responsibilities (or more than it already is and almost always has been) if it didn't repeat, therefore amplify, the movement's concerns: Corporate greed, its fallout and it buying up our democracy and the electoral process that renews it. For once, in stark contrast to its fawning over the Tea Bagger astroturf movement funded by the Koch brothers, the US Chamber of Commerce and Dick Armey's Freedom Works, the mainstream media get to report factually for a change about a populist movement that makes the all-but-forgotten Tea Party look like exactly what it was all along: A glorified and intermittently-armed flash mob comprised almost entirely of ignorant, hideously-educated racists that unwittingly became tools of Wall St. as well as poster children warning of the self-sabotaging genetic fallout of incest.

Big City mayors have hardly made a better account of themselves and couldn't have possibly handled the nationwide Occupy movement worse than if they'd held a strategy session with Hitler and Himmler themselves. Obviously, the irony-deficient Michael Bloomberg, a nasty little scorpion in an empty gabardine who has the look of a man who never once had to remove the top of the shell of his Eggs Benedict soft-boiled egg, never once stopped to consider what it would look like for a multibillionaire to evict protesters from a public park who are calling attention to the crimes of his vulture fund-managing running buddies on Wall Street and are managing the information better.

Indeed, Bloomberg, as well as jurists, banksters arresting those who try to withdraw their own money and police officials are giving the unmistakable impression that they're making up the rules as they go along. And this is understandable because, despite the long-gutted First Amendment, there's no actual mechanism in place to respect the thoughts, feelings and rights of people who do not agree with the system. And what does it say on the state of the greatest democracy in earth's history when two jurists on the same State Supreme Court, on the same day, can't even get on the same page regarding a simple abstract law such as the First Amendment?

That's why, in a frenzied retaliation in lieu of an actual rational and respectful response, the NYPD and the Portland, OR police department early Tuesday morning viciously tore down tents and removed protesters with batons, pepper spray, sound cannons (LRADs) and bulldozers, with helicopters circling overhead in case they needed air support from harsh language. The NYPD even arrested journalists and restricted the air space over Zuccotti Park with the avowed intention of keeping news helicopters from documenting their oppression and brutality.

And those on the side of that brutality, those who champion the curtailment of the rights of any faction of humanity, whether they be pro-slavers, southern racists, antiCatholic, antiSemites, homophobes or misogynists will always, always end up on the losing side of history. And such a fate is 110% guaranteed when trying to curtail the rights of 99% of a nation of 300,000,000.


At November 17, 2011 at 9:27 AM, Blogger D. said...

Mario Savio; I can't believe you linked to the article and still misspelled his name.

(I'd known of him since '64 and mourned him when he died.)

At November 17, 2011 at 9:35 AM, Blogger jurassicpork said...

You're right. Mistaken identity. Correction made. Please focus on post and not nitpick details.

At November 17, 2011 at 10:52 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

?? Eggs Benedict isn't served in the shell; it's like an open-faced egg sandwich (like a McMuffin), typically with hollandaise sauce. So nobody has to remove the shell from their Eggs Benedict, except the cook. I think you must just be thinking of a soft-boiled egg served standing up in a little egg-cup.

At November 17, 2011 at 11:04 AM, Blogger jurassicpork said...

I'm so glad my readers can stay focused like a laser on the thrust of my posts.

At November 17, 2011 at 12:04 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Then, can we also "misJUDGE" the bench-warmers AS JURISTAS?

At November 17, 2011 at 12:15 PM, Blogger demit said...

Maybe your readers can get the gist of your post and still point out factual errors. Which actually helps you. Sheesh. Try accepting them with a little graciousness.

At November 17, 2011 at 12:19 PM, Blogger jurassicpork said...

Well, so far, I have not gotten a single shred of an indication that anyone really focused on the bigger picture here. I feel as if this is time wasted.

At November 17, 2011 at 12:37 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

It's not time wasted, jp. I read your piece, agree with it, but usually do not comment on these things. I'm sure I'm not the only one lurking and nodding, "Yes, yes! Say it!" There's probably no way for you gauge that, though.

At November 17, 2011 at 12:40 PM, Blogger jurassicpork said...

Well, if I was telepathic, it would be. But Eric Bolling stole my tinfoil hat.

At November 17, 2011 at 5:21 PM, Anonymous Comrade Rutherford said...

Tinfoil hats are to STOP the telepathic waves, JP.

Great post, BTW. I am so happy Maddow is doing history reports on her show.

I keep trying to tell the Republicans I know that patriotic Americans dies for them to have 8 hour work days, weekends off and safe work environments and safe food to eat. But all I get is 'damned Liberals!'...

At November 17, 2011 at 5:39 PM, Blogger jurassicpork said...

"But, safer drinking water, cleaner air, safer drugs..."
"Don't you dare abridge my right to unwillingly multinational, bottomline corporations to put poison in my body, you damned lib'rul!"

At November 17, 2011 at 9:40 PM, Blogger Rehctaw said...

JP, what Orwell acknowledged and what the Right has exercised is its options on the squishy middle. 50% + 1 is a majority. 99% is a nice, true and fine number, but a country of slivers will never maintain a critical mass movement long enough to achieve its highest and best.

Apathy, fuggetall, proxy scams, disenfranchisement and inertia are sufficient for POG purpose.

Keep in mind, that beneath it all, it's still just a money trick. When you control the flow and source, the screams from the streets matter not a whit. The money still flows. Jettison strategic counter-measures and opposition splinters further.

"Thank you for playing our game."

At November 17, 2011 at 9:44 PM, Blogger jurassicpork said...

I don't think any of us can afford to be so cynical about this movement. These folks have more than staying power. The harder we get pushed, the more of us that show up. I don't see them going anywhere this winter or anytime soon.

At November 18, 2011 at 1:39 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

This is good stuff, not time wasted. Actually the Eggs Benedict, I wondered if it had something to do with Benedict in like, Bloomie's a traitor to the human race.

I think this will last. The inspiration for it, that most of us are getting the shaft, isn't going away. I DO find it funny that the response is brutality, that the concept of opening a dialogue with "the people" doesn't cross the PTB's mind. I mean when many folks (far more than 9%) are unemployed, and idiots say "get a job" and our government talks of a 3xNafta program, I mean, c'mon, they seriously think people will just go back home (which may be a tent in the woods) and "suck it up"?

At November 18, 2011 at 1:50 PM, Blogger jurassicpork said...

The complete and utter lack of a cogent, eloquent opposing dialogue with #OWS proves that right now, our system is not equipped to handle widespread dissatisfaction with the current financial and political system.

And I don't think that the #OWS protesters braving macings, batons, pushing, shoving and audio harassment think the police's brutal response is "funny." I pity those kids but I admire them just as much for what they're doing for us all.

What I truly find funny are right wing ass-talkers who are just as victimized by Wall St. as we are pretending to take Wall Street's side just so they can exploit an excuse to bash liberals.

Are 99% of us liberals? Hardly, although I wish that were the case. If 99% of the country was liberal, we wouldn't have half the problems we do now, starting with who got voted into the WH and Capitol Hill.

At November 18, 2011 at 2:46 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Well, I have long searched for a word to replace "funny" in this type of commenting. I suppose "pathetic" may be more useful, or "disheartening". I surely didn't mean HaHa funny, people getting bloodied, and 84 year olds getting peppersprayed, oh how entertaining. If you think I am "anonymous" to sockpuppet, you're wrong, I go by SharonMI mostly but didn't see where to type it in here. And there's even a video of me (it's occupya2 #20 on youtube) at Occupy Lansing.

At November 18, 2011 at 2:51 PM, Blogger jurassicpork said...

Perhaps the word you were looking for is "ironic."

At November 19, 2011 at 7:57 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Great post JP. I agree, we made progress against the rich ruling class before, and we will again. This is our time. If not us, then who? If not now, then when?

At November 21, 2011 at 5:50 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Mr. Pork:

I'm the person who wrote about the Eggs Benedict not having a shell. I'm sorry, I was just messing with you, since you had just told the first commenter to focus on the substance of the post. It was just meant to be a joke, I didn't mean to bum you out. I really enjoyed your post, as did the other Balloon-Juice reader who sent me over here.

I hope you're right about the staying power of OWS and that the tide of history may be turning away from our most recent Gilded Age. Thanks for the post and sorry I distracted from The Fight.


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