Thursday, October 20, 2011

Police are "Cleaning Up" at the Occupiers Expense

Police at Occupy San Francisco
Police departments throughout the US are getting a workout, enlarging their paychecks by putting in overtime and making their presence as the strong arm of the establishment felt. And this development is not due to a renewed war on crime, which has mysteriously fallen a bit in the ravages of this depression. No, the boys in blue are out in force, trying out new toys like pepper spray, zip-tie handcuffs and orange "kettling" nets as well as relying on reliable old traditions like beating and unwarranted mass arrests. All because the Occupy Together, Occupy Wall Street, movement that has taken a foothold in thousands of cities across the world.

After Wisconsin, I had hoped the blue meanies had changed their ways and would fight with other workers for their own interests like health benefits and pensions. But I was naive. The police are paid to defend the interests of the 1%, not the 99%. That is part of what keeps the engine of capitalism oiled and running. The Occupy Together crowd are now coming to this realization as well.

Occupy San Francisco's tents, food and supplies were taken by the SFPD last Sunday after "curfew." This confiscation was the second one since the encampment began. The rationale for this dismantling and expropriating equipment is that the "parks must remain safe for everyone." Except, of course, the people exercising their freedom of speech by camping there.

In Oakland, mayor Jean Quan is taking a more tolerant approach for the time being. She, and the government forces behind her, are allowing Occupy Oakland to remain. It's numbers are growing however, and when the occupiers tried to expand onto the adjoining concrete plaza, they were rebuffed by police. It was more of the same story when they tried to take over Snow Park as a second site due to overcrowding.

Some journalists are already setting the stage for a showdown between cops and city government officials and the occupiers by circulating stories about the protest bringing rats and dirt to downtown Oakland. Rats have always resided in Oakland and, yes, they do come out at night to scavenge the debris left by humans. Like all wildlife, they share our space. No-one was worried about rats when homeless people slept among them quietly.

The important thing to remember is that it is only a matter of time until the powers that be will try to sweep our public spaces clean of occupiers. That is when we must all converge to defend the right to speak out against economic injustice in the name of the 99 percent.