Occupy Veterans DayJuxtapoz // Friday, 11 Nov 2011
November 11th is indeed a day to honor veterans. Veterans who reject the war machine, who renounce wars of imperial aggression and commit their lives to fighting a different kind of war: a war for economic and social justice on behalf of all mankind, not just ones on the right side of a border. Scott Olsen was one of these soldiers, opposed to the Iraq war and yet willing to go do his job regardless. What he saw over there only served to harden his resolve. He was cut down not by Iraqi "insurgents" or an IED, but by a domestic police force intent on depriving him of the "freedoms" he ostensibly fought to protect overseas. When his Occupy Oakland comrades came to his aid, they too were barraged by the belligerent police forces. Scott is currently awake and aware, recuperating in the hospital, but his speech center has sustained damage from the police projectile and he is still unable to speak. Remember Scott.
Paolo Cravero discusses the phenomenon of US War Veteran participation in Occupy Wall Street and its sister movements in this Nation article.
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In other Occupy-related news, the backlash against the UC Berkeley administration and police department for their violent treatment of the nascent Occupy Cal protest continues to mount, as prominent satirist and former 9th level D&D Witch* Stephen Colbert picked up the story with his trademark dry wit. He also disseminates this chestnut, which illustrates just how cynical and manipulative UCPD is being about Occupy Cal, from Capt. Margo Bennett: "I understand that many students may not think that, but linking arms in a human chain when ordered to step aside is not a nonviolent protest." Pray for these jack-booted thugs. The wrong side of history is a cold, lonesome place to be.
A Strike and Day of Action has been announced, set for November 15, in direct response to the brutality of UCPD in their clearing of Occupy Cal. Once again, the violence of the police against the movement is the single most effective recruiting tool for the movement, but the police never learn. For the bullies commanding them, violence is all they know. When economic violence fails, out come the "nonlethal" weapons. This Strike focuses on Higher Education, specifically the cuts and fee hikes planned for the already reeling UC system. For more info on this event, go to www.berkeleycuts.org.
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Someone was murdered near the Occupy Oakland camp last night, and local news media tripped all over themselves to try to spin the story as Occupy Oakland "attracting a violent element and needs to go." The Chronicle article contains smug quotes from councilman Ignacio de la Fuente, Mayor Jean Quan, and professional hippie-stompin' quipsters the Oakland Police Union, but doesn't bother to interview any of the Occupy protesters who were actually present at the scene of the incident. These figureheads of a system which creates a violent underclass through exploitation, marginalization and deprivation see no irony in blaming violence on a movement seeking to end the very inequality which produces most violent crime.
Oakland musician/organizer/legend Boots Riley didn't let that stop him from responding. "If OPD is saying that they're wasting resources watching Occupy Oakland, then the logical thing to do is to stop watching Occupy Oakland. OPD is the only one of the parties to cause physical harm. And, as you see by the YouTube clips, they do so unprovoked."