OWS Makes a Point — and It’s Not Necesarily the One You Think

It’s strange. The longer the Occupy movement goes on, the more we hear about police brutality, use of excessive force, and other acts of violence perpetuated, not by the protesters themselves, but by the various authority figures of the cities where these protests are being held. What’s worse is that it seems like almost no one in government is standing up for these people, affirming their right to peaceful protest, or disciplining the various police forces who are clearly overstepping their bounds.

Regardless of what the OWS movement is actually about and regardless of what your personal opinion of the movement is, it’s become rather clear that the OWS movement is making a definitive point, and that point is a wee bit unsettling. What has become evident is that the various government entities in the US, whether it be at the city, state, or federal levels, don’t actually value and protect a citizen’s right to free speech nearly as much as they claim to. It’s interesting to me that what the OWS movement has succeeded in doing, more than anything at this point, is drawing out corruption in certain authoritative bodies and driving the rest to silence.

As a spectator it’s frustrating to watch because I’d like to believe that we live in a country where people have the right to gather peacefully and protest, whether or not you agree with the cause. It’s disheartening to see those rights being trampled almost every day and to realize that the only people standing up for civil rights seem to be bloggers and protest groups in other countries. It feels a little bit like the US has taken a step backwards these last few weeks — or maybe it’s really just that I’m discovering we aren’t really as progressive and enlightened as I thought.

I don’t know if the Occupy movement will ever accomplish its original purpose of weeding out corruption and greed in corporate America, but I do hope that, if nothing else, it wakes people up to the fact that many of our government officials are just as corrupt and tyrannical. Hopefully, people are paying attention, and with any luck, the Occupy movement will accomplish some good on more than one front.

2 thoughts on “OWS Makes a Point — and It’s Not Necesarily the One You Think”

  1. The thing is, I’ve yet to find a report where the police were totally unprovoked. While I agree that in a lot of cases their execution of orders is overzealous, if not downright brutal, but the orders themselves are well-founded.

    For example, at UC Davis, Police pepper-sprayed kids blocking their path when they were removing tents from the campus AFTER THE PROTESTORS HAD BEEN WARNED THE TENTS WOULD BE REMOVED. The protestors had the “no camping on campus” policy waived the first night they were there. Then they were warned that they had until 3:00 PM to remove the tents or they would be forcibly removed by the police. This warning was given to them twice.

    At 3:30 PM, police in riot gear came to remove the tents and arrested a few of the protestors. The rest of them linked arms in a circle around officers to prevent exit. Because they were participating in the obstruction of lawful activity, I believe the police were right to use force to get them to move. I don’t approve of the amount of force they used, but the concept was justified.

    The problem with reports of police brutality are that they focus solely on the actions of the police, and disregard the illegal or uncooperative behavior of those the police are exerting force against that necessitated police action in the first place. If a person is warned there will be consequences for their actions, and they do not cease to act, then police action against them is justified. But that’s not the kind of story that will get ratings, so you won’t hear or see that aspect from a media outlet…

    1. Sangheilioz ยป It’s not the use of force that I object to, necessarily. In some cases I’m sure it was warranted and necessary. But in a number of the cases I’ve seen reported (Oakland, for example), the use of force was way excessive, and it seems like no one in authority cares enough to do anything about it. I dunno — maybe the use of batons and pepper spray is considered fair use in peaceful protest, however legal or illegal the protest may be. It just seems to me, though, that in many of those cases, there should have been a better way. Maybe I’m just naive…

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