"First they ignore you, then they laugh at you, then they fight you, then you win." Mahatma Gandhi
At 4 pm Tuesday, around a thousand 99 per-centers who were enraged at the abridgment of free speech rights, gathered in front of the Oakland Main Library on 14th Street where the head librarian, Carmen Martinez, refused to close down for the protest as the police department requested. Librarians, like other public sector workers, remember all those threatened closings, reduction in hours and and cuts in pay, health benefits and pensions. Go librarians, my people of the book!
Now, Oscar Grant Plaza has been fenced off and drenched it with chemicals in order to "grow new grass." The police in their true colors have delivered excessive violence and brutality with their barrage of rubber bullets, flash bang grenades and massive clouds of tear gas. And the mainstream media is not far behind with a propaganda war of its own bringing the staples of fear and intimidation directed at the occupiers and all the 99 percent. Funny though, how the ridicule has diminished.
So we are officially in the fight portion of Gandhi's formula.Yesterday, a canister hit and injured an American veteran of the Iraq war, Scott Olsen of Daly City. He is now in Highland Hospital in critical but stable condition suffering swelling of the brain. Ironic, to survive combat only to come home to this.
This brutal response is echoing around the country in San Jose, Denver, Chicago and cities too numerous to mention, the class war is on. Now Occupy San Francisco is issuing ultimatums to the protesters in Justin Herman Plaza. SF Mayor, Ed Lee like Oakland Mayor Jean Quan before him has now issued an edict declaring food, rats and self-government are keeping these sacred "public" parks from being used by the people. Gosh, it's almost like this is a coordinated effort or something. So what are the protesters and the 99 percent, chopped liver? Who exactly are the people anyway?
We must find our footing under stress. With any new movement there will be growing pains. In an increasing repressive society we will make sacrifices and there will inevitably be casualties. We must run this like a marathon, not a fifty yard dash. As we used to say in the lesbian community of the old days, "we ain't got it easy but we got it."