Wolf’s OWS Report Sparks Debate
Posted on Nov 28, 2011
Did Naomi Wolf get her facts straight in her Guardian report about American mayors acting in cahoots with the Department of Homeland Security in their recent crackdowns on OWS encampments, or did she engage in a little journalistic extrapolation? Those aren’t the only two options here, but at least one noteworthy critique calls some of her claims into question—and it’s not coming from Fox News. —KA
There has been a flurry of speculation surrounding various reports suggesting that a “coordinated,” nationwide crack-down on the Occupy Movement is underway. The problem with these stories lies in the fact that the word “coordinated” is too vague to offer any analytic value.
The difference between local officials talking to each other — or federal law enforcement agencies advising them on what they see as “best practices” for evicting local occupations — and some unseen hand directing, incentivizing or coercing municipalities to do so when they would not otherwise be so inclined is not a minor one. It’s not a matter of semantics or a distinction without difference. As I wrote recently, “if federal authorities were ordering cities to crack down on their local occupations in a concerted effort to wipe out a movement that has spread like wildfire across the country, that would indeed be a huge, and hugely troubling story. In the United States, policing protests is a local matter, and law enforcement agencies must remain accountable for their actions to local officials. Local government’s autonomy in this regard is an important principle.”
Wolf on the scene: Author and Guardian columnist Naomi Wolf was arrested on Oct. 18 as she joined OWS protesters in New York City.