Yet another disaster at Occupy Wall Street. Unsurprisingly, the police have once again done in Oakland what they are paid to do. What they are designed to do. Use violence against protestors. That's how they operate. That really is the job. That's why they have handcuffs, and tasers, and guns. That's why they have riot gear, and tear gas, and flashbang grenades. Those are the tools of their trade- violence.
So why is anyone surprised that they use violence to solve the "problem" of Occupy Oakland? The police are hammers, and everyone who isn't a cop is a nail. What I fail to see is why people are so willingly giving themselves up to be hammered.
Occupy Wall Street and its various offshoots keep talking about their "commitment to non-violence". Which is puzzling to me. Because the government sure as hell doesn't share that same commitment.
And please don't think that anyone is safe from being the target of such violence. The police have beaten grandmas, they have maced people with no provocation, they have run people down with their vehicles. And in the latest (but certainly not last) orgy of violence, they shot a man point blank in the head with a tear gas gun. Marine Scott Olsen has a fractured skull, brain swelling, and if he lives, faces the possibility of permanent brain damage.
Mr. Olsen believed that his uniform protected him. The police will surely respect a Marine! If he lives, you can ask him if he still thinks that.
So far, the only thing Occupy Wall Street has done is provide targets. The OWS crowd is quite good at offering themselves up to be beaten, tazered, and tear gassed. And they are even better at videotaping it, then uploading those videos on YouTube. But the police must not subscribe to that channel, because so far the only thing these videos have done is provide more evidence for the police investigators to ignore.
So what is the solution? Ask Sinn Féin. They understood that a political movement must have two kinds of power. It must work both within the system, and outside of it. They understood the unbeatable combination of the ballot box, and the ammo box.
Danny Morrison of Sinn Féin said it best. "Who here really believes we can win the war through the ballot box? But will anyone here object if, with a ballot paper in this hand and an Armalite in the other, we take power in Ireland?"
The police beat and tear gas the Occupy Wall Street crowd because they know they can. Because they know they can do so with impunity. We've seen a police "supervisor" mace a group of women standing behind a barrier. It was in full view of the crowd. It was videotaped. And we actually know who did it. Deputy Inspector Anthony Bologna.
If anyone other than a cop maced a group of women, the crime is called, "Malicious wounding with a caustic substance" and will earn you five to 30 years in prison.
For his crime, Bologna was docked 10 vacation days and transferred to a different precinct. A transfer, by the way, that Bologna actually requested, because it provides a shorter commute. This is our two tiered justice system.
But image a third tier. A tier that isn't bound by the victim ideology of the OWS crowd. A group of people that aren't content with simply being mowed down like so much grass by the government's stormtroopers.
Imagine a different scenario with Bologna. Imagine that instead of earning a better drive to work, a group of serious, committed people do to him exactly what he did to those women. Imagine Bologna writhing on the ground, curled up in agony. Knowing in that moment exactly what those women felt- and more importantly- why this is happening to him.
This is justice. Justice which we obviously can't expect from the system. But can we expect this kind of justice from Occupy Wall Street? Or will they continue to work within a system that is obviously rigged against them?
Keep drumming, Occupy Wall Street protesters! Keep drumming.