Thursday, December 8, 2011

Swirling Events

I tried to do some additional updates yesterday, but there was too much going on for me to keep track of coherently.

This was particularly true in San Francisco. But the swirling events of the Occupy Movement came to Sacramento as well as numerous other cities around the country and around the world.

The Movement is being suppressed everywhere, and it is growing everywhere. I wonder: is the suppression a necessary factor for the Movement's growth? When things settle down to a routine, people get on with their lives as best they can, and Occupy is merely a factor -- if even that -- in their day-to-day routines. But when Occupy is suppressed, as it is more and more, people who otherwise might not think it all that important righththisminute understand that it is "that important" and the Movement is re-energized.

When I say that "Those in power know not what they do," that's part of what I mean. Every suppression leads to greater growth.

But they do know what they are doing in some sense. They can't ultimately "win" -- that is, completely suppress the Movement and go on with their lives as if nothing had happened. Too late for that, way too late. But they seem to be following "Bush Rules" in the actions taken against the Movement. It's going on on several fronts, and I'll try to explain.

One thing I saw for example in San Francisco yesterday (on the livestream, I wasn't there in person) has been mirrored in other cities, particularly New York, but certainly not limited to New York. I was watching the live feed from the Market Street Rally after the eviction from Justin Herman Plaza (aka: "Bradley Manning Plaza"); it was relatively disorganized and spontaneous rally feeling, but the police were in heavy presence, organized into squadrons of maybe twenty or so, standing in formation here and there. Every now and then they would march around. At one point, the People were gathered on the sidewalks on either side of Market Street doing their usual things, and suddenly a squadron of police started marching from somewhere -- couldn't even tell where they came from except that it was from the direction of the Ferry Building. They marched in a squadron formation for a hundred feet or so, and then they formed a single line marching along the curb until a little past the location of the camera (it was magicmint's). Then a portion of the line formed a ring around a portion of the crowd, and from within the crowd two people were pulled out, seemingly at random, and arrested. The paddy wagon was brought forth and these two put in it and it was driven away. Then the police retreated.

Apparently this happened several times during the day.

Then that night, I was watching the gathering at Justin Herman/Bradley Manning Plaza (this was punkboy's and pixplz's feed). The People were gathering at the cleared site of the OccupySF encampment to hold their General Assembly. There were, I would guess, a few hundred people initially. The police came in squadron formations again and formed a double ring around a portion of the plaza, entrapping several dozen people inside their inner ring; most of the people were outside the rings, chanting and carrying on the way they do, but there was no violence at all. Then suddenly, right in front of the camera, police grabbed two men and pulled them roughly down into the sunken part of the plaza between the two rings of police. One appeared to be injured and in pain (it's probably a five or six foot drop into the area where he was being roughly manhandled, and there is a broad stone step that he apparently banged against before he hit the ground.) The man who appeared to be injured on the ground was roughly thrown onto his side whole the other was thrown onto his stomach and trussed with flexicuffs and then they were dragged roughly to what looked like a raised bed where the injured man was left writhing and apparently crying out in pain. I couldn't hear him, but others there could and were calling out to the police to get him medical attention. Of course, they paid no attention. There was a lot of chatter among the crowd concerning what this guy had done, and the answer was "nothing." He was just standing there with everybody else, and suddenly he was grabbed by police and thrown into the lower part of the plaza. It was impossible to tell what his injury was.

People were becoming more and more outraged at the utter cruelty the police were displaying by letting this man writhe in agony. People were calling 911 and ambulances were being sent (according to reports, I didn't see them) but the police were refusing them access to the victim due to "safety" concerns. Recall, there was no violence whatever, nor was there any threat of violence from the crowd. They simply wanted the man to receive medical attention.

The police instead let him writhe on the ground for at least a half an hour after the first Emergency Services personnel arrived (I'd say it was actually closer to an hour.) Finally, a EMT squad was allowed in, and eventually the man was put on a gurney and wheeled away.

After another couple of hours of a stand off between police and the Occupiers, and some negotiations between police and a member of the San Francisco Board of Supervisors, the police departed.

The General Assembly then continued. In triumph -- or as if nothing had happened.

The message was clear, and this is why punkboy's quote that I used as a heading in the previous post, "Fucking Nazi Germany!" is actually germane for once.

What we saw all yesterday in San Francisco were intimidation tactics that I wouldn't say were pioneered by the Nazis, but were certainly used and perfected by them. It wasn't solely Jews who suffered from these tactics by any means, but they provided a great deal of testimony about them and so their experience is the best known. But they were initially used against the political opponents of the Nazi Party and regime, particularly Communists and Social Democrats.

Raids were commonplace. They were often conducted in the dead of night when people would ordinarily be sleeping. They were conducted with overwhelming numbers of militarized police, acting essentially arbitrarily and destructively to terrorize the targets -- and the People as witnesses -- into complying with whatever the orders were. They used physical force (including summary execution) from time to time, but often didn't need to do anything more than show up to gain compliance. Even when the targets were compliant, they would often single out individuals for "special treatment" -- pulling them out of crowds and brutalizing and arresting them; people who had often done nothing at all to resist whatever aktion was under way. And anyone who did resist or tried to run was dealt with extremely harshly or fatally.

All this and more was meant to inspire extreme fear and terror in the target populations, and it worked, at least for a while. A big part of the psychology behind this brutal and arbitrary behavior by police is to terrorize the witnesses. They would do these aktions where and when many people could witness what was happening -- because they wanted people to see it. They wanted people to be afraid and to follow orders. Some of the things reported from Poland and the Ukraine (and I'm sure elsewhere) were incredibly brutal and cruel, and they were intended for the purpose of inspiring terror in the populations.

And that's what I think was happening yesterday in San Francisco. It looked objectively absurd, cruel, indeed monstrous in the case of the destruction of the camp and the arbitrary -- and apparently very painful -- arrest of the man who was pulled into the lower level of the plaza, but that's the point. That was one of the factors of the "Bush Rules" that were imposed on the various overseas wars. The point was to terrorize the peoples of Afghanistan and Iraq to comply with their new overlords.

Similar rules of engagement were adopted with regard to domestic dissent as well. This arbitrary cruelty toward dissent in this country goes back at least to some of the protests during the Bush regime. But some would say it goes back to 1999 and the Battle in Seattle.

The point is to be mean, to show you're mean, and to intimidate and terrorize the People.

This is what our rulers want their militarized police forces to do.

The People, however, continue to fight back with a wide -- and growing -- range of tactics.

This isn't over yet.

Here is the video of the men being pulled through the police line onto the ground.

I saw it happen live and literally couldn't believe what I was seeing.

This is a video of some of the aftermath taken from a different angle:

I was watching this one live, too, and was saying "WTF!" over and over.


  1. Dang, that's heinous. How pushy of me, and worse, you, to notice. It'll take a lot of booze, etc., to make me forget that.

  2. It was truly awful, and reflecting on what it meant was even worse.

    They left that man writhing in agony in full view of hundreds (screaming "get him medical attention now!") while police ignored him yet actively prevented emergency aid from reaching him -- for quite a long time. This is something they obviously wanted people to see.

    "See how mean and tough we are!"

    The whole point is to intimidate and terrorize by shows of totally arbitrary force.

    Those who stand up to this kind of police state crap are very brave.

    The police who engage in this sort of shit have lost any moral standing they might have once had. They've sold their souls.

    One of the striking things about many of the people standing up to this shit in San Francisco is that they are trying to redeem those souls. It's a remarkable and very moving phenomenon to witness...

  3. The good news is, it's not working very well, at least so far, this Police State tomfoolery. Americans have a vestigial memory of freedom, even if the cops have let it slip their minds at the moment.