A billionaire autocrat orders his police force in riot gear to clear a public square of peaceful demonstrators in an early morning raid. This riot squad makes dozens of arrests and destroys the protestors’ personal property. The authorities also muzzle the press, confiscate cameras, order news helicopters out of the airspace above, and arrest journalists in an effort to keep news of this suppression of free speech and the right of assembly out of the morning papers.
This must be an old story out of Egypt or Libya, right?
Or did it happen yesterday in Syria or Yemen?
No, sadly. It happened here.
In New York City, Generalissimo Bloomberg sent his shock troops to evict Occupy Wall Street from the now legendary Zuccotti Park, which has become, according to one journalist, “the epicenter of the worldwide movement protesting corporate greed and economic inequality.”
At one o’clock in the morning on November 15, the NYPD announced that OWS protesters had to vacate Zuccotti Park with their belongings so that it could be cleaned. Following that announcement, hundreds of cops in riot gear raided the park. About 200 people were arrested: 142 in the park, another 50 to 60 nearby – including many journalists, despite their press credentials.
The problem for El Presidente for Life Michael Bloomberg – who should be paying more attention to recent history — is that such authoritarian tactics cannot stop a truly popular movement. Even as cops and the sanitation works trashed the tents and occupied the park, the Occupy Wall Street media team was already issuing a statement saying, ”You can’t evict an idea whose time has come”.
The statement continued: “This burgeoning movement is more than a protest, more than an occupation, and more than any tactic. The ‘us’ in the movement is far broader than those who are able to participate in physical occupation. The movement is everyone who sends supplies, everyone who talks to their friends and families about the underlying issues, everyone who takes some form of action to get involved in this civic process.
“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 per cent movement.”
Well said, OWS.
Within hours of the raid, the National Lawyers Guild obtained a court order allowing OWS to return with their tents to the park. Emperor Don Pedro Magnifico Bloomberg has said he’ll challenge that court ruling.
Big Brother may try to confiscate newsmen’s cameras and TV camera can be kept at bay – but the thousands of iPhones in the hands of Little Brother can capture the truth and post it for millions to see within minutes.
For instance, you can see a great photo timeline of the eviction at this link:
As comedian Rick Overton has said, “Big Brother may be watching. But Little Brother is watching Big Brother.”
You can’t evict an idea whose time has come.