the right of the people peaceably to assemble for the purpose of petitioning Congress for a redress of grievances, or for anything else connected with the powers or duties of the National Government, is an attribute of national citizenship, and, as such, under protection of, and guaranteed by, the United States.– Opinion from the Supreme Court’s decision in United States v. Cruikshank, 92 U.S. 542 (1875). This decision relates to the occupy movement’s actions. (via hermannview)
Editor’s note: This post was originally posted on Interesting Blogger. Its publication on Dissident Voice (a radical magazine for social justice) was rejected interestingly.
I was recently reading the Webster’s New World College Dictionary and I came upon the word “police state.” Sadly it applied more to America than I thought. The dictionary defined a police state as “a government that seeks to intimidate and suppress political opposition by means of police, esp. a secret police force.” With the coming of the Occupy movement this has proven to be true.
On Sunday May 20th, thousands of activists engaged in #StopNATO protests in Chicago. Soon enough, Chicago police in blue helmets, dressed almost like UN peacekeepers, started to surround the crowd. People in the front were beaten were beaten with batons and tear gas was ready to be deployed. An LRAD, Long-Range Acoustic Device, which could cause permanent damage to hearing was deployed but never used against protesters. Again, this is another form of intimidation. Still, protesters got to a fence, around the compound the NATO meeting was occurring; shouting anti-NATO slogans demanding the international organization stop war against help the 99%. This type of suppression makes one think its Egypt’s Tahrir Square last year, with people saying Mubarak has friends in the United States.
The protests on May 20th were not the first time there was repression by police forces. Occupy Baltimore, the occupation in Zucotti (Liberty) Park, Occupy DC and many other occupy sites were cleaned out by police forces. On May Day, international workers day, protests by the Occupy Movement were spread across America and the world. A couple of anarchists were locked up by the FBI for trying to supposedly blow up a bridge. As antiwar.com called it, it was a “fake Cleveland terror plot,” a sting set up by the FBI to frame occupiers. That is a form of intimidation and there is no question about it.
This wasn’t the first time it was evident there is police state in America. In February 2012, the FBI arrested a Muslim in DC after a supposed “terror attack.” In addition, last year numerous people related to Anonymous, the global hacking and justice group were arrested. This occurred because a huge entertainment company, Sony, was hacked. Many Mafia, Georgia militia members, Ohio Amish, people accused of cyber fraud, gang members in Buffalo, New York, bank robbers, and celebrity-email hacker were also arrested by the FBI. Also, an alleged cable modem hacker, those accessed of healthcare fraud, supposed Russian spies, people engaged in insider-trading, an Oklahoma teabagger for threats on Twitter and supposed Al-Qaeda blogger. As a result, activists and those supposed “terrorists” were not the only target of the secret police force, the FBI.
The previous year, 2011, powers of the police state increased. In May, the USA PATRIOT ACT was extended without any reform. It was subsequently signed by President Barack Obama. Months before, a blogger critic was questioned by the FBI, possibly to shut him up. The same year, additional cyber powers were given to the Executive Branch. Even before that, during Obama’s term in office “157,461 sites have been shutdown” in the war against online piracy or the “war on downloading.”
A major indicator of a new type of state was raids on peace activists. It was a continuation of President George W. Bush’s attacks on activists. Such people were designated as “terrorists” even though such people were not even connected to actual terrorists groups. The raids were considered an attack on the antiwar movement and denounced by fellow antiwar groups across the world. The Justice Department refused to drop the false charges of abetting terrorism. From this, it is no wonder that people’s historian, Howard Zinn, would call the FBI, the “Federal Bureau of Intimidation,” even before these repressive actions.
In all, the repression of the Occupy movement and other activists by state governments and the national government through intimidation and suppression is a new type of state. Recently, according to CounterPunch, heavily redacted documents from the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) were released by a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request, show that there was a “nationally coordinated campaign to disrupt and crush the Occupy Movement” stretching from the DHS, across the country and even to the White House itself. This included fake “background” statements to say that the DHS was not involved in cracking down on the Occupy Movement, approved by the White House. This makes it a police state, and a new, scary picture of America. It’s a place that seems to be more like Soviet Russia in terms of repression, something should be recognized.
By Burkely Hermann, Interesting Blogger Chief Correspondent
A pretty interesting video for any blogger out there.
“Alex Smith. Labour list.
What’s the key ingredient for blogging?
I think its about adding valiance in policy discussions, promoting people’s decisions, providing people with platforms that they may not formerly be heard. And just trying to advance the way we feel and what we believe about things.
Will Straw. Left Foot Forward.
What’s the key ingredient for successful blogging?
Well for Left Foot Forward I think its going back and providing some evidence on things, trying to move away from gossip and opinions. Actually drill down and see what’s really happening.
What’s one vital ingredient for blogging?
Short and succinct.
My name is Jessica Asato and I blog at the Progressive which is the progress blog.
I think it’s really important to provide a space for particularly for the unheard grassroots of political parties and movements to have their say. Otherwise they don’t really have somewhere to go which may be dominated by the leaderships of their political parties.
Sunder Katwala and I blog at Next Left, [inaudible] blog.
What do you think is the key ingredient is to political blogging?
I think it’s about finding something that people want to read, ideally what they want to talk about, write about themselves and that will carry around the blogosphere so that it gets the debate going.”