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Removing Politically Active People from Society

Removing Politically Active People from Society
May 20
15:38 2014

Superficially, it seems all we have left from the Occupy Wall Street movement is the lingering rhetoric of ‘We are the 99 percent’ and ‘occupy this’ or ‘occupy that’.

Once the Obama administration cracked down on the encampments that flourished all across the nation, America was taught once again that she shall not speak her mind against her rulers. Freedom of speech is meant for places like Facebook and Twitter, but once it spills into public life, in a meaningful way, skulls need to be broken. Fear needs to be instilled back into the general public for ever thinking they could pull off such a stunt.

These issues are not as exciting as football games, baseball statistics, and celebrity mishaps, nor are they as savory as hot dog tattoos and foodie celebrations, but every American should do his or her diligence in at least reading about these issues and deciding where they stand. More outrage and more activism needs to be stoked in the hibernating American collective consciousness. But first you have to learn what the three branches of government are. Or how your bank account works. Or where Afghanistan is on the map.

So you can imagine how easy it is to forget the energy and activism of that Occupy period. There are young people who are being sentenced and will spend years in jail on trumped up charges of assaulting police officers, even when video evidence contradicts those charges. That evidence has been barred by judges from entering the trial. But don’t expect many people to get riled up over this. It’s not about your rights, after all. These are other people we’re talking about.

Chris Hedges, journalist and former foreign correspondent for NY Times writes:

Occupy activists across the country have been pressured to “plea out” on felony charges in exchange for sentences of years of probation, which not only carry numerous restrictions, including being unable to attend law school or serve on a jury, but make it difficult for them to engage in further activism for fear of arrest and violating their probation. McMillan was offered the same plea deal but refused it. She was one of the few who went to trial.

This really is about removing the most actively political people in American society from ever rising up again or demanding justice for the politicians and bankers who are not held accountable by the very same laws that should, technically, govern them as they govern the people.

It’s about turning them into fearful, non-active citizens like the rest of us. And planting another dose of fear into the hearts of those who harbor anger and disgust toward the more disconcerting elements of our society, like the burgeoning police state, where police brutality is not punished, and political protest is relegated to certain “free speech zones”, where the pepper spray soaks those who dare raise their voices, and activists are “kettled” before they are arrested, simply for having the audacity to take to the streets in protest of a growing hegemonic financial elite buying elections, politicians, and our democratic process.

Hedges reminds us:

Some 8,000 nonviolent Occupy protesters have been arrested. Not one banker or investor has gone to jail for causing the 2008 financial meltdown. The disparity of justice mirrors the disparity in incomes and the disparity in power.

If you don’t like it, then you can exercise your First Amendment rights in public, however, you risk getting beaten by police while flexing those rights. You also take the risk of going to jail or receiving felony charges for even just raising your arms to protect your head from a baton blow. That’s a felony in America.

[photo of NYPD, featuring Anthony Bologna on the bullhorn, just after he squirted mace in the face of four female bystanders, by David Shankbone]

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