Britons Strike as Government Extends Austerity Measures – NYTimes.com. Public sector workers on Wednesday began Britain’s biggest strike in a generation to protest austerity measures, a day after the British government said that it was falling behind with its deficit-reduction plan and that the measures would drag on for two more years.
Any issue that has these two in agreement ought to make us think twice.
Senator Rand Paul:
“It’s not enough just to be alleged to be a terrorist. That’s part of what due process is – deciding, are you a terrorist? I think it’s important that we not allow U.S. citizens to be taken.”
Senator Dianne Feinstein:
“Congress is essentially authorizing the indefinite imprisonment of American citizens, without charge. We are not a nation that locks up its citizens without charge.”
What are they talking about? There are provisions in the National Defense Authorization Act that will require that the U.S. military dispose with anyone who is suspected of terrorism, without regard to where they are, or who they are.
Let’s be clear about this. Under this law, if it passes, United States citizens, arrested within our own borders, could be imprisoned indefinitely without trial for the mere suspicion of having terrorist sympathies.
Yesterday I watched in dumbstruck awe as tens of thousands gathered in New York City and throughout our nation for a day of action, commencing with a demonstration in the financial district and culminating in a nice little stroll by more than 30,000 across the Brooklyn Bridge (and other bridges around the country).
The significance of these events has still not quite set in. It is clear that this movement is not going away. Other than that, the moment is simply too large for me to grasp.
Remember those images from the Arab Spring? Tens of thousands rose up against military dictatorships and toppled them by their mere refusal to be obedient any longer.
As nearly as I can reckon, this is like that.
Full Coverage From OccupyWallSt.org: November 17: Historic Day of Action for the 99%.
NYPD Swarming Liberty Square in Bloody Assault. [OccupyWallSt.org] – It is unsettling in the extreme to watch paramilitary style assaults on peaceful protestors via livestream. Many arrests and injuries today…
DHS Denies OWS Eviction Role. [Salon] – “DHS has not been coordinating evictions with local law enforcement agencies, DHS Spokesman Matt Chandler told Salon. The only exception he said, was Portland, Oregon, where the Federal Protective Service arrested protesters in federally-owned Terry Schrunk Plaza.”
Mayors, police chiefs talk strategy on protests. [The Associated Press] – “As concerns over safety and sanitation grew at the encampments over the last month, officials from nearly 40 cities turned to each other on conference calls, sharing what worked and what hasn’t as they grappled with the leaderless movement.”
Oakland Mayor Jean Quan Admits Cities Coordinated Crackdown on Occupy Movement. [Capitoilette] – During an interview with the BBC, Oakland mayor Jean Quan mentions that she was part of a conference call for mayors of 18 cities to discuss the Occupy Wall Street “situation.” Her statement lends credence to suspicions that the recent raids around the U.S. were in some way coordinated.
UPDATE – 3:57 PM:
Occupy Crackdowns Coordinated With Federal Law Enforcement Officials. [Examiner.com] – I am skeptical about this report, but felt that I ought to at least share it. The reporter cites an unnamed source in the Justice Department who claims that the recent crackdown on Occupy encampments across the nation “was coordinated with help from Homeland Security, the FBI and other federal police agencies.” Though I don’t want to tread too far into tinfoil hat territory, I think it’s reasonable to consider the implications of this report should it turn out to be true.
Under cover of darkness, with short warning, on orders directly from Mayor Bloomberg, the New York Police Department moved into Liberty Plaza around one o’clock this morning in full riot gear, with bulldozers, sound cannons and tear gas. What followed was a violent, wantonly destructive and illegal eviction of the Occupy Wall Street protestors.
The Website of the New York City General Assembly has a timeline of events from 1:20 AM to 3:36 AM.
There were widespread reports of credentialed press being physically restrained from covering the raid, yet they couldn’t keep everybody out. Here is one eyewitness report from Rosie Gray of The Village Voice.
According to witnesses, the police treated everything in the camp as if it were garbage. People were not allowed to retrieve even their personal items. Police destroyed the camp kitchen, and apparently even cut down trees in the park. In the end, they used powerwashers to remove the last physical traces of the occupation.
Very shortly thereafter, a New York State Supreme Court Judge issued a restraining order against the city and Brookfield Properties to prohibit them from barring protestors from the site, from evicting them from the site or from enforcing any rule that was not already in place prior to the occupation. As I type this, the protestors in New York City are gathering at Canal and 6th to strategize and to take action.
The raid this morning was the latest in a series of police raids over the past few days against the Occupy movement in places like Salt Lake City, Denver, Portland and Oakland.
Despite these brutal and lawless attacks on behalf of “the powers that be” this movement will not be stopped, because you cannot evict an idea whose time has come. You can’t beat it. You can’t buy it. You can’t bomb it. You can’t bulldoze it.
This moment is nothing short of America rediscovering the strength we hold when we come together as citizens to take action to address crises that impact us all. Such a movement cannot be evicted. Some politicians may physically remove us from public spaces – our spaces – and, physically, they may succeed. But we are engaged in a battle over ideas. Our idea is that our political structures should serve us, the people – all of us, not just those who have amassed great wealth and power. We believe that is a highly popular idea, and that is why so many people have come so quickly to identify with Occupy Wall Street and the 99% movement.
— From a Statement by Occupy Wall Street Issued as Police were Massing for the Raid
I stand in solidarity with the protestors in New York City and around the globe. In the now rather infamous words of Anonymous “We are legion. We do not forgive. We do not forget. Expect us.”
Here are some resources for those interested in taking direct action.
There is also this guide on how to occupy.