Oakland Mayor Jean Quan checking her Facebook while citizens testify about their experiences with OPD during the J28 confrontations. From OakFoSho's video of the proceedings, Jan 31,2012.
I watched a portion of the Oakland City Council's meeting last night on OakFoSho's incomparable Ustream livestream. Many eloquent statements were made about the J28 events in Oakland and the multiple failures of the Oakland High PoohBahs and their lackeys that brought them about.
From time to time, someone in the audience would shout at the Council members: "Pay attention!" It has become standard practice for City Councils and their administrators (not just Oakland's) to ostentatiously ignore the comments of the public at their meetings, to leave the room, to text-message their friends, to chat among themselves or what have you. The public is of no interest to them, and what the people "think" or "say" about this or that matter is of no concern. The People's Voice is heard as noise if that; the People are not listened to.
Our civic rulers are very determined that their message to the masses be heard loud and clear:
"You don't matter; you've had your two minutes now go away."The testimony at the council meeting about the J28 events included a litany of abuse and cruelty by the police that would, in ordinary times, leave anyone with a conscience deeply outraged, and anyone in a responsible position mortified.
These are not ordinary times, thus the seemingly endless stream of the People testifying to the cruelty and brutality of the Oakland police and their helpers from around the Bay Area was met with blank stares or nothing at all. The council has no conscience, and the People's outcry is as nothing to them.
Many of those who testified at last night's Oakland City Council meeting were middle aged or even elderly white women who said they were terrorized and brutalized by the Oakland Police on January 28. One said she was thrown to the ground and beaten with batons on the steps of the YMCA. Another said that what she witnessed and experienced was unconscionable. The council cared not at all. They were otherwise engaged.
There are reports that hundreds of people who were kettled at the YMCA and arrested there were taken to Santa Rita Jail where they are being held on enormous bail and where they are being brutalized, beaten, gassed, and humiliated by guards who, according to reports, are "enjoying" their work immensely. Santa Rita is run by Alameda County Sheriffs -- whose own reputation for cruelty and brutality was solidified last November when they participated in beating student and faculty protesters at UC Berkeley during the initial Occupy Cal actions. Of course they were also heavily involved in the October 2009 beatings of students and faculty at Berkeley during the Wheeler Hall occupation. Plus ça change and all that. The brutality endemic to America's detention system is notorious throughout the world.
Almost off topic: I was held for several hours at Santa Rita -- on a bus with about 50 others -- some 45 years ago when it was a very different place than it is now. As I recall, it was a decommissioned WWII military camp that Alameda County had acquired to hold overflow county inmates, mostly antiwar protesters at that time. It was not a pleasant experience. Now it is the county's main jail.
The implacable disinterest of our elected representatives in the plight of the masses and the brutal conditions under which authority is implemented against the People has become one of the hallmarks of the Modern Age.
No one in positions of power or authority "listens" to the People.
They listen only to those whose positions require it. This means the mass of the People are ruled by a self-proclaimed pseudo-nobility for whom nothing else matters but their own power and prestige compared to others of their ilk and class.
Oh. And suppressing urban unrest... teach those little old ladies a lesson they'll never forget.
But as Spencer Mills (OakFoSho) states in the conclusion of one of his video documents, he too was just an everyday progressive going about his socially conscious business, voting and doing all the other things good progressive citizens are supposed to do, until he witnessed with his own eyes what the police were doing to the People under the authority granted by elected officials like the Oakland City Council. When he saw for himself what was really going on, he was radicalized like many hundreds or thousands of others in Oakland and throughout the country have been radicalized by the police state actions they have seen for themselves.
And that leads to implacable resistance.
Who'd a thunk.