Saturday, November 12, 2011

Keeping Track of the Occupation Evictions

Yesterday and last night, city officials in Oakland distributed "eviction notices" to the Occupiers of Frank Ogawa/Oscar Grant Plaza at City Hall. Most of these notices were wadded up and thrown away in the dark. The lights haven't been on at the Plaza for several days, one of the "difficulties" officials have used to disrupt Occupations (they've used it in Sacramento and many other places as well). The tension level in Oakland is very high; people there have been expecting another violent police raid for days, with many unmet predictions of same flying through the Twitterverse every day.

Anyone who is watching knows this is psy-ops, of course; "preparing the battle space." The point is to demoralize the foe. It usually works. And when it doesn't, there are plenty of other means and methods available to vanquish the Enemy.

I saw what was for me the first reference to the Occupiers as "terrorists" (with whom one "does not negotiate") the other day, and I thought, "Well, it was bound to come to this; surprised it didn't happen sooner." It probably has happened previously; I just hadn't noticed before.

Terrorists, militarized police forces, psy-ops, "battle space..."


This is the language of the 1% -- this is how they see their objectives now. They are operating on the assumption that nothing has changed, and they can continue their wars of aggression domestically without any opposition they need pay attention to.

They are intent on continuing their authority and rule without adjusting anything.

Someone over at dKos has been keeping track of the evictions as of yesterday:

Fri Nov 11, 2011 at 05:22 PM PST

33 Occupy Evictions: Evicting Our Rights - Add Salt Lake City, Halifax, Paris, Berlin, Honolulu

Generally speaking, the evictions are not resisted violently at all. In Oakland, the lying muthafucker interim police chief has made many assertions about the "violence" of the Occupiers, and though he has been shouted down at several of his appearances, his lies are largely unchallenged.

And those lies have become part of the fabric of argument -- or at least rhetoric -- against the Occupations and the Occupiers.

  • The Occupiers and Occupations are violent. This is the core assertion of Howard Jordan, and it is a simple, bald-faced lie. He gets away with it by making rather vague claims of "objects" being thrown at his Brave Officers, objects including kitchen utensils, which everyone knows are dangerous. Witnesses have said that no objects were thrown at officers in Oakland prior to the assaults by police.

    The only visual evidence I've seen of "thrown objects" in Oakland has been of paint thrown on officers who were attacking demonstrators in the streets on the afternoon of October 25; of tear gas canisters thrown back at officers after the evening assault on demonstrators; and objects (including tear gas canisters) thrown at officers on the night of November 2 after their assault began.

    In other words, I have seen no visual evidence that anything was thrown at officers in Oakland before they began assaulting demonstrators and performing evictions. Given the fact that hundreds of demonstrators have been wounded in Oakland -- but no police have been (at least not so there is any evidence of it -- Jordan, being a very practiced liar, claims there have been police injuries but has never produced any evidence thereof)

  • The Occupations and Occupiers are uncleanly. Variation: They poop and pee all over the place. I first encountered this canard while virtually attending the Occupy Austin festivities via the Livestream. There was an order issued from the City to vacate the City Hall premises so that the PowerWashers could be brought in to cleanse the befoulment that had taken place. Occupy Austin folks blamed "certain types" who weren't "part" of the Occupation, but who came by every day for the free food and other goodies, and everyone knew they repaid the kindness of these Occupy strangers with pooping and peeing in the shrubbery and on the pavement. Everyone knew it. When I heard this bullshit, I said to myself, "Well, Austin is in Texas and Texas is in the South, and practically everyone in the South believes that some people aren't people at all and they know who these animals are, oh yes, and everyone knows these animals poop and pee all over creation. Remember the Superdome? Katrina? Yesss. The stories of the excrement and the urine! Oh my yes! Those Animals! And remember the stories of all those dead bodies piled up like cordwood in amongst the poop and the pee? Remember the babies being raped and then their heads bashed against the concrete. Sure! They were ANIMALS at the Superdome! Animals!" Of course absolutely NONE of it was true. It was all made up bullshit -- a lot of it came right out of Rich Lowry's Blackberry, too. But a considerable part of this mythology comes from deep in the racist Southern psyche. They believe -- especially white folks, but not exclusively -- that the "nigruhs" are literally nothing but animals, and if it weren't for the strict watch they're under, they'd just go hog-wild.

    Same with the White-Trash. They're all nothin' but Animals.

    So, comes the Occupations, and guess what? Many of them are at least temporary home place for all kinds of excluded and rejected (un)members of society. And by definition of some included members of society, these (un)members are "animals" -- therefore they must poop and pee, rape and destroy; it is what they do and who they are.

    Even if they aren't that bad, they make a mess (which is often true enough.) And The Occupation Mess cannot be tolerated. Never mind the much greater mess the Occupiers are protesting.

    This is actually very obvious in Oakland. I'm finding myself feeling a good deal of empathy for the predicament the officials in Oakland find themselves in. Oakland has serious economic and social problems that have been dealt with for years with official brutality and violence (including murder), through currying favor with the high and the mighty, and through rituals of civic exclusion that have left the city a sort of empty husk with a handful of corporate interests calling the tunes for the city "leaders" to follow. They have done their best. They really believe that. And it's come to this. A rag-tag assembly on the steps of City Hall, calling them out and calling them FAILURES. In fact... I think they know they have failed, miserably, and they don't know what to do about it except lash out at any convenient target.

    Ah! The Occupy! Yes! Scapegoat them! It's heartbreaking in a way, because they have, they really have, tried so hard to please the People Who Matter, and if that meant that the People of Oakland were left out or neglected, Oh Well, too bad, so sad; there are more important things for The Fair City of Oakland to worry about. There are. Really. And so here's this encampment staring them down for once: "What's more important than the People?"

    For all the brickbats hurled at Jean Quan, she really does seem to have a semblance of a conscience. She really does seem to be trying to "balance" the needs of the People Who Matter and the People. And realistically, it's too late for that. It can't be done.

    The People Who Matter need to step back; the People need to step up -- and if the People Who Matter insist on sending the Goons to trash and destroy and bang away again with their flash-bangs and gas grenades, then I don't doubt that we will be very close to an end game.

    I don't know how it will end.

  • The Occupations aren't safe. Not only do people die at these things (a man was found dead at the edge of the Plaza in Sacramento two weeks ago, but it didn't make The News at that time because these deaths weren't yet part of the Narrative of Unsafety) people get crazy and do drugs and sometimes they fire up portable stoves and barbecues, and gosh knows, they run electrical cable from generators that run on gasoline, and damn all they even welcome homeless people and shhhhh, criminals! Yep.

    So it's not Safe on its face, and bluntly put, there is no element of "safety" in what these people are doing in any shape or form. They're deliberately throwing away "safety" -- at least temporarily -- for...freedom. What a concept. Freedom especially to speak their mind about horrifying and worsening conditions for the many, and freedom to demonstrate some of the possible ways to fix it.

    "Safety" is not their concern, otherwise they would not be doing this at all.

    Isn't that clear yet? And homeless people and criminals and the excluded and the rejected of all kinds have come together to find some way forward that actually serves the interests and needs of the People as opposed to the handful of "Persons" who now control our governments.

    It's interesting to me that in response to this lack of "safety" in the Occupation camps, Authority decides it is best to beat and gas and grenade and arrest the activists in their hundreds and thousands... what's wrong with this picture? We know there is something wrong here, but what can it be? Whatever can it be?

It's clear that there is a coordinated -- and apparently global -- effort to dismantle the Occupation Movement, somewhat as if it were a terrorist operation. And the way this is going, we're liable to see a great deal more official violence before the end of the year.

I've said that we'd start seeing some of the issues raised by the Occupy Movement addressed sometime next year as part of the election campaigning, but so far, the governments -- and the banks that own them -- have turned their backs on the call. They do not believe they need to listen to or serve the People in any way. Because they have long believed, sincerely, that the People will do nothing about it that they have to pay attention to.

Except that now the People are doing something about it.

We'll see what happens with the next round of evictions.

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