What the Oakland assault tells us

As I feared, the authorities are starting to use force on the Occupy protestors, starting in Oakland. Charles Pierce says that the assault symbolizes the militarization of the police:

Make no mistake about it: The actions of the police department in Oakland last night were a military assault on a legitimate political demonstration. That it was a milder military assault than it could have been, which is to say it wasn’t a massacre, is very much beside the point. There was no possible provocation that warranted this display of force. (Graffiti? Litter? Rodents? Is the Oakland PD now a SWAT team for the city’s health department?) If you are a police department in this country in 2011, this is something you do because you have the power and the technology and the license from society to do it. This is a problem that has been brewing for a long time. It predates the Occupy movement for more than a decade. It even predates the “war on terror,” although that has acted as what the arson squad would call an “accelerant” to the essential dynamic

It’s time for the country to realize that something is dangerously out of control here, and that it’s not a bunch of people in sleeping bags in the public parks. There is a tradition of public protest in this country. Hell, this country is itself an act of public protest. Preserve that, or preserve nothing else, because there’s nothing else worth preserving. Police officers are public servants. They are not soldiers, facing down enemies. This is not a war. This is America.

It may not be a war as yet, but the oligarchy sees this as an uprising that must be quelled in its infancy.


  1. Tim says

    As was true in New York, the Oakland protestors are to be commended. Had the crowd not been focused on non-violent protest, this could have gotten far uglier than it was.

  2. ollie says

    Actually, this is nothing new. Google “depression era” protests; these were more violent and were met with more violence.

    Heck, google “Kent State”.

    This country has a tradition of using violence to suppress protest.

  3. ollie says

    PS to my last message: it isn’t always “the oligarchy”. Americans really don’t like to be inconvenienced and if those “dirty hippies” are blocking the way…well, one could get mad!

    Sorry to be so cynical.

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