Friday, December 9, 2011
I've been sitting on this story for a while, and I still haven't fully processed it -- I mean Max Blumenthal's incendiary piece that appeared in the Exiled Online last week but which has yet to turn into the kind of explosive viral piece that it could.
In all the hoo and hah over Naomi Wolf's claim and reclaim that DHS has been coordinating the raids on the Occupy encampments, the story of Israeli participation in the training of the law enforcement teams that have been most notorious in the suppression of Occupy hasn't been that widely noticed.
It's partly because Max Blumenthal wrote about it. Max is -- of course -- the World's Top Self Hating Jew® which -- of course -- makes anything he says or does defamatory of the kind and generous people known as Jews, especially those who have returned to their ancient homeland on the balmy shores of the Mediterranean Sea from which they were so rudely expelled some two thousand years ago.
But that aside...
What he's writing about is the fact that law enforcement in this country in general has adopted "Israeli" tactics (and in some cases weapons) for putting down domestic insurrection and revolt, following the path taken by the Israelis in their dealings with the various uprisings of the Palestinians in the Occupied Territories and occasionally in Israel itself.
So far as we know it hasn't come to the point of targeted assassination of Occupy "leaders" in this country yet, but there's little reason to believe that it couldn't or wouldn't happen under some scenarios. We haven't yet seen or heard of Occupy participants being disappeared, but there's little reason to believe that it couldn't happen.
But it's not merely that Israeli tactics in suppressing the Palestinians have been adopted by American security state operatives. What has got to me from practically the beginning of the Occupy Movement-cum-Revolution is that metaphorically what happened to the Jews of Europe under Nazi rule is being repeated by both the Occupiers and security forces. I doubt they are doing it consciously, and yet...
Occupy tactics include the creation of temporary intentional communities on public property. From a metaphorical perspective, these communities under tents and tarps can be seen a "ghettos" created by their inmates, which are then destroyed and utterly wiped from the face of the earth by the overwhelming power of the security state.
This scene has repeated over and over and over again, heartbreakingly if you witness it. The propaganda organs of the corporate security state have turned these violent and destructive episodes, spasms of state violence and destruction against non-violent protesters, into games, almost fun to engage in and watch. Whoo-hoo! Look at that! Come on, blow shit up!
The inmates of these temporary camps lose all their possessions in these raids, and every bit of (temporary) infrastructure and social benefit they had established in the course of the Occupation is destroyed. The Occupiers often face mass arrest -- along with bystanders and media. The Occupiers are said to be scattered and confused. They vow to return, but after the repeated destruction of the Oakland encampments, sometimes with extreme violence (for the USA but not for Israel) against the demonstrators, there is little will to repeatedly re-establish encampments once they have been destroyed. There may instead be a symbolic re-establishment -- such as one or a few tents set up and then voluntarily removed -- but no long-term encampment has been re-established once destroyed.
Strangely, there are many encampments that have gone largely unmolested by the authorities, indeed, some have been embraced and aided by them. We don't hear about those so much, but I hope to be able to write a bit more about them in the future.
The Siege has not begun for those encampments, and it may never. On the other hand, those encampments that have been under siege and eventually destroyed have obtained the status of Martyrs in the Movement. There are individual Martyrs, to be sure, such as Scott Olsen, but the destroyed encampments as a whole have each achieved Martyrdom, which is really quite a different thing than celebrating Heroes For The Cause. (As I've said before many times, I'm no hero worshipper.)
Oakland is still the central Martyr Encampment. They lost two encampments on Frank Ogawa/Oscar Grant Plaza, and they lost two others elsewhere in the city as well. Yet the Oakland Occupation Movement appears to be as strong as -- if not stronger than -- ever: they are the lead Occupation for the December 12 Port Shut-Down Action. They were also in the forefront of the Stop Foreclosure Actions. I'm sure they will keep up the pressure.
The original Occupation in New York City has been undergoing a remarkable transformation into something akin to an established non-profit/NGO, but with such a legacy of direct democracy and spontaneity along an astonishing variety of demonstrations of that Other World That's Possible, that I can't see it turning into just another agency. No, they are turning into something that hasn't been seen in this country since the hey-day of Utopian Alternatives.
But back to the point of this post. There is no doubt that this country is grossly overpoliced. Absurdly so in the context of Occupy. Indeed, the temporary intentional communities that the Occupations established were or are self-generating, self-sustaining, and self-policing. There has been all kinds of whining about how much it has cost to "police" these encampments (including the costs of eviction and destruction), when it has been obvious all along that if they were just left alone, there wouldn't have been any costs at all. What is the social cost of official harassment, eviction and destruction of communities such as the Occupy encampments? What is the social cost of the wholesale destruction of communities in general that has come about due to the greed and the machinations of the "1%"?
The dozens or hundreds or thousands of police officers who have been repeatedly assembled to lay siege to and destroy encampments is an embarrassment and an absurd waste of resources.
But they want to show off, don't they?
They need to.
No. The answer is no. No they don't.
They are being driven to do it, though, by a culture of rulership in this country that is so completely divorced from the interests and needs of the People that it has no conception of either.
And Max Blumenthal has helped show us where some of that culture comes from.
Just stop it.