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The Cancer in Occupy

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Posted on Feb 6, 2012
Mr. Fish

By Chris Hedges

The Black Bloc anarchists, who have been active on the streets in Oakland and other cities, are the cancer of the Occupy movement. The presence of Black Bloc anarchists—so named because they dress in black, obscure their faces, move as a unified mass, seek physical confrontations with police and destroy property—is a gift from heaven to the security and surveillance state. The Occupy encampments in various cities were shut down precisely because they were nonviolent. They were shut down because the state realized the potential of their broad appeal even to those within the systems of power. They were shut down because they articulated a truth about our economic and political system that cut across political and cultural lines. And they were shut down because they were places mothers and fathers with strollers felt safe.

Black Bloc adherents detest those of us on the organized left and seek, quite consciously, to take away our tools of empowerment. They confuse acts of petty vandalism and a repellent cynicism with revolution. The real enemies, they argue, are not the corporate capitalists, but their collaborators among the unions, workers’ movements, radical intellectuals, environmental activists and populist movements such as the Zapatistas. Any group that seeks to rebuild social structures, especially through nonviolent acts of civil disobedience, rather than physically destroy, becomes, in the eyes of Black Bloc anarchists, the enemy. Black Bloc anarchists spend most of their fury not on the architects of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) or globalism, but on those, such as the Zapatistas, who respond to the problem. It is a grotesque inversion of value systems.

Because Black Bloc anarchists do not believe in organization, indeed oppose all organized movements, they ensure their own powerlessness. They can only be obstructionist. And they are primarily obstructionist to those who resist. John Zerzan, one of the principal ideologues of the Black Bloc movement in the United States, defended “Industrial Society and Its Future,” the rambling manifesto by Theodore Kaczynski, known as the Unabomber, although he did not endorse Kaczynski’s bombings. Zerzan is a fierce critic of a long list of supposed sellouts starting with Noam Chomsky. Black Bloc anarchists are an example of what Theodore Roszak in “The Making of a Counter Culture” called the “progressive adolescentization” of the American left.

In Zerzan’s now defunct magazine Green Anarchy (which survives as a website) he published an article by someone named “Venomous Butterfly” that excoriated the Zapatista Army for National Liberation (EZLN). The essay declared that “not only are those [the Zapatistas’] aims not anarchist; they are not even revolutionary.” It also denounced the indigenous movement for “nationalist language,” for asserting the right of people to “alter or modify their form of government” and for having the goals of “work, land, housing, health care, education, independence, freedom, democracy, justice and peace.” The movement, the article stated, was not worthy of support because it called for “nothing concrete that could not be provided by capitalism.”

“Of course,” the article went on, “the social struggles of exploited and oppressed people cannot be expected to conform to some abstract anarchist ideal. These struggles arise in particular situations, sparked by specific events. The question of revolutionary solidarity in these struggles is, therefore, the question of how to intervene in a way that is fitting with one’s aims, in a way that moves one’s revolutionary anarchist project forward.”

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Solidarity becomes the hijacking or destruction of competing movements, which is exactly what the Black Bloc contingents are attempting to do with the Occupy movement.

“The Black Bloc can say they are attacking cops, but what they are really doing is destroying the Occupy movement,” the writer and environmental activist Derrick Jensen told me when I reached him by phone in California. “If their real target actually was the cops and not the Occupy movement, the Black Bloc would make their actions completely separate from Occupy, instead of effectively using these others as a human shield. Their attacks on cops are simply a means to an end, which is to destroy a movement that doesn’t fit their ideological standard.”

“I don’t have a problem with escalating tactics to some sort of militant resistance if it is appropriate morally, strategically and tactically,” Jensen continued. “This is true if one is going to pick up a sign, a rock or a gun. But you need to have thought it through. The Black Bloc spends more time attempting to destroy movements than they do attacking those in power. They hate the left more than they hate capitalists.”

“Their thinking is not only nonstrategic, but actively opposed to strategy,” said Jensen, author of several books, including “The Culture of Make Believe.” “They are unwilling to think critically about whether one is acting appropriately in the moment. I have no problem with someone violating boundaries [when] that violation is the smart, appropriate thing to do. I have a huge problem with people violating boundaries for the sake of violating boundaries. It is a lot easier to pick up a rock and throw it through the nearest window than it is to organize, or at least figure out which window you should throw a rock through if you are going to throw a rock. A lot of it is laziness.” 

Groups of Black Bloc protesters, for example, smashed the windows of a locally owned coffee shop in November in Oakland and looted it. It was not, as Jensen points out, a strategic, moral or tactical act. It was done for its own sake. Random acts of violence, looting and vandalism are justified, in the jargon of the movement, as components of “feral” or “spontaneous insurrection.” These acts, the movement argues, can never be organized. Organization, in the thinking of the movement, implies hierarchy, which must always be opposed. There can be no restraints on “feral” or “spontaneous” acts of insurrection. Whoever gets hurt gets hurt. Whatever gets destroyed gets destroyed.

There is a word for this—“criminal.”


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Mark E. Smith's avatar

By Mark E. Smith, February 10, 2012 at 8:36 pm Link to this comment

OzarkMichael, since you claim that my “obnoxious style and halfbaked ideas are so over-the-top…” perhaps, instead of vague unfounded ad hominem, you could add something constructive to the discussion by specifying even one of those ideas and refuting it.

Oh wait—if there was something you could refute with logical argument, you wouldn’t have to resort to ad hominem. wink

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Dave Ewoldt's avatar

By Dave Ewoldt, February 10, 2012 at 8:16 pm Link to this comment

heterochromatic… there’s some rather broad sweeping generalizations that have been beat to death elsewhere, but since you bring them up I’ll quickly address them. 9/11 was a criminal act, not an act of war by a sovereign nation. While the majority of US citizens (and those in just about all other parts of the world) were in favor of catching the perpetrators, the vast majority were also very much against the illegal invasion of Iraq—who had no ties to 9/11 no matter how hard the Cheney administration tried to make them up. And bombing Afghanistan made as much sense as bombing Montana would have after the Oklahoma City bombing. However, there was an oil pipeline route to secure in Afghanistan. Maybe if Keystone XL doesn’t pass, they’ll do the same to Kansas.

And where is it writ that the right to peaceably assemble is limited? Let’s see… we want redress… one week later, no redress… oh well, I guess we have to go home and just put up with it now??? As far as occupying public parks and the regulations governing same, calling the Occupy tents squatting is to render it void of context. Park regs concerning overnight use have been put into place because it’s easier to put the homeless problem out of sight than to humanely deal with it, as well as the general issue that people can no longer attempt anything that might look like homesteading on the land that we do indeed own in common because they miss out on the indentured servitude that’s so deeply tied to the mortgage and usurious banking industry.

Only Libertarians can put aside basic moral issues long enough to think any of that actually makes sense, let alone can be justified within a culture that likes to pretend it is civilized.

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By Jerry Gerber, February 10, 2012 at 8:12 pm Link to this comment

“elisa—-how and when did university education become a right?

upon what is this putative right based?”


Every generation is free to decide what new rights are to be sought for.  The right to an education is a no-brainer because an increasingly educated populace is absolutely necessary for real democracy to even have a chance.  No society can maintain a democracy if its citizen’s are susceptible to lies, propaganda, superstition, mass fear, etc.  Education of the individual benefits everyone.  As so long as people understand that the more rights one has, the more responsibility to one’s self and to others one has, the expansion of rights is a good thing. 

Jerry Gerber
http://www.jerrygerber.com

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OzarkMichael's avatar

By OzarkMichael, February 10, 2012 at 8:10 pm Link to this comment

Nick_Lento said this of Mark E Smith:

You may be a sincere true believer or you may be an agent provocateur either way it’s irrelevant

Oh no, you are wrong. It is relevant. Lets not pass over this dilemma so thoughtlessly. If he is a True Believer we must face the fact that Occupy Wall Street spawns so many pathological followers that there must be something wrong at the foundation… either that or the pathological followers are intentional, serving some nefariouse purpose to OWS.

On the other hand, if Mark is an agent provocateur, then the conservatives must take the blame. Occupiers refuse to take responsibility for the results of their own dog-whistle Anarchist rhetoric that inspires the True Believers so ‘agents provocateur’ is the explanation OWS prefers.

Usually i frown on the process of dumping all your Leftist problems on my conservative doorstep. However, Mark E Smith’s obnoxious style and halfbaked ideas are so over-the-top that in his case we have to admit that he cant possibly be a True Believer. True Believers have an internal logic and Mark doesnt even try to achieve that, so he must be an agent provocateur. He is trying to make OWS look bad, yes, but he does it in such a hammy way that he even makes agents provocateur look bad.

Now a third option occurs to me. Mark is such a terrible agent provocateur that maybe he is a double agent provocateur! Yes, he might be a Leftist under the pay of George Soros, whose mission is to make it look like there are right wing agents provocateur infiltrating OWS.

I think it is wrong to be an agent provocateur, single or double, (both are reprehensible) so lets get together and solve the mystery. We need to out Mark L. Smith asap. Lets figure out which Boiler Room he works in and find out who is sending him checks.

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Mark E. Smith's avatar

By Mark E. Smith, February 10, 2012 at 8:01 pm Link to this comment

One of Occupy’s foremost proponents of nonviolence is a guy who took part in many protests when he was younger. At one of them he saw a cop beating up a friend of his, and without stopping to think he reacted the way any human naturally would, he ran over and knocked the cop out cold.

He then spent a while in hiding. He was never caught and nobody ever turned him in. Today he touts that particular protest as having been an example of the success of nonviolent tactics, as if his knocking out a cop had been nonviolent or had never happened.

I apologize for the sidebar, elisalouisa, but I’ve learned not to take everything the hucksters of nonviolence say at face value, because many of them are two-faced.

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Mark E. Smith's avatar

By Mark E. Smith, February 10, 2012 at 7:51 pm Link to this comment

elisalouisa writes, “The issue here is the future of the movement OWS.”

More specifically, the issue here is whether it is the government and those who wish to work within it, or those who oppose it who are a “cancer” that threatens to destroy OWS.

The Black Bloc have never harmed a human being. The US government has tortured and murdered millions of human beings. I believe it is the government that is the cancer, but many, like Chris Hedges, believe it is the Black Bloc.

What good is the survival of Occupy if it entails, allows, and condones the continuing destruction of the planet? Short-term thinking seems to be typical of capitalists and imperialists. Derrick Jensen himself has pointed out many times that it won’t much matter what we do if we no longer have a habitable planet to do it on.

If Occupy is on the side of global social and economic justice, it may perish with the rest of us, but it will do so trying to halt the destruction instead of accepting it. We;re all going to die eventually anyway—there’s only one way out of here. The question is if we utilize our time to make the world a better place, or just to make our own lives easier at whatever cost to the planet and to everyone else.

Jensen & Hedges seem to think it is about marketing Occupy to the masses, and that to accomplish this, nobody should “stand up, fight back,” but just sit down and be well-behaved.

Do you happen to remember Laurel Thatcher Ulrich’s phrase, “Well-behaved women seldom make history?” Must OWS preserve its image at the cost of its soul?

OWS began with a list of grievances and a method of solving them: direct democracy, to put power in the hands of the people instead of letting government make all the decisions. It is being co-opted by experts who want it to become a movement that peacefully, nonviolently, and politely asks government to make better decisions, but doesn’t attempt to empower people. That’s what I see as the cancer in Occupy.

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By elisalouisa, February 10, 2012 at 7:16 pm Link to this comment

The issue here is the future of the movement OWS.

Mark: There is a higher percentage of blacks in prison now than during the Civil Rights era.

So what do those statistics prove, assuming they are true? You can bet on the fact that more blacks were in rural areas during the Civil Rights era thus had a safety net of family and friends in times of need. Many blacks in cities were/are unemployed. “They may be free in spirit but hunger is on their mind.

No sidetracking or sidebars please.

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Mark E. Smith's avatar

By Mark E. Smith, February 10, 2012 at 6:58 pm Link to this comment

heterochromatic writes, “well, so much for Mark….Anybody wants to defend Gaddafi is an ass.”

I guess that includes Cynthia McKinney. Just in case you’ve ever wondered, which I’m sure you never have, why so many United Nation votes are the USA, Israel, and Vanuatu on one side and every other country in the world on the other, here’s a link to Gaddafi’s UN speech in 2009:

http://fubarandgrill.org/node/1056#comment-2618

But then I’m sure you believe that every country in the world except the US, Israel, and Vanuatu are just asses.

While you’re there, if you bother to look at it the link, you might read the whole thread and find out why I was rooting for Gaddafi and why I’m still using Brother-Leader-Martyr Muammar Gaddafi’s picture as my Twitter avatar. Many of the Egyptian revolutionaries who first opposed Gaddafi, thinking he was a dictator like Mubarak, have learned the truth and now understand what happened, but few US Americans have.

And the UN resolution on Libya, based on false CIA propaganda, was just for a no-fly zone, not for a bombing invasion. Not that the US or NATO are bound by any such things—the US acts unilaterally and only presents false evidence to the UN, like Colin Powell’s mythical Iraqi WMD’s, and Gaddafi’s mythical murder of civilians, when they feel like giving FOX News something with which to rouse the ignorant fascist masses.

I don’t suppose you’ve ever wondered why the US partnered with Al Quedah to invade Libya, when Al Quedah was supposed to be a terrorist group? Oh well, yours not to question why, yours just to vote, salute the flag, obey the law, and believe everything the government tells you.

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Dave Ewoldt's avatar

By Dave Ewoldt, February 10, 2012 at 6:50 pm Link to this comment

Lumpenproletarier… when you ask why people aren’t putting the time into creating a new way to live that they do into protest, I see the former happening on a regular basis. There’s the Transition Initiative movement, as well as permaculture, bioregionalism, green building and a number of other things.

That’s really the whole point of my coalition building teach-ins and workshops. Once people understand the framework for how we got to this point, what’s standing in the way of change, the supportive evidence for change and how rapidly it can occur, I present over a dozen things individuals and communities can actively do today to start building a foundation for a sustainable future.

Standing around with signs in the park may not accomplish anything big or even visible. But I do believe it serves a purpose. It makes people aware that somethings going on, it helps people become aware they’re not the only ones noticing (the Cultural Creative phenomena of 95 million people who all believe they’re the only person who feels this way), and it begins the connections between people to start working together on something different. It gives people hope that there is an alternative and a groundswell of support for it. Planting seeds, though, is a process. You don’t see the results until they’ve been nurtured in the ground for a while.

Now, I fully agree that if it stops there, nothing is going to change except people becoming even more disillusioned and disempowered. And we do have to make sure we’re asking for the right thing, as you point out with the “jobs” thing. What we really want is meaningful work. And with the advances we have in technology, 20 hours per week maximum should provide a living wage. And people must come to the realization that simply producing more stuff on a finite planet isn’t actually doing anyone any good—except banksters.

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By Macresarf1, February 10, 2012 at 6:43 pm Link to this comment

Mark:  Venezuela, Bolivia—these are young revolutions, fifteen years-old or so.

  Think where the French or Russian Revolutions—our own American Revolution—were fifteen or twenty years along.  Patience is the most precious quality that revolutions can have, and there is seldom enough of it. 

  Here’s to the Occupy Movements!  In patience is victory . . . .

  I’m done here.

                      Macresarf1

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PatrickHenry's avatar

By PatrickHenry, February 10, 2012 at 6:39 pm Link to this comment

Gaddafi’s got a peace prize, what do you have besides tired zionist spamming.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Al-Gaddafi_International_Prize_for_Human_Rights

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By elisalouisa, February 10, 2012 at 6:16 pm Link to this comment

Thank you Nick_Lento for your well written, sock it to him post. Hedges is 110% correct about the violent tactics being toxic to OWS’s agenda and potential. Another thing, as IMax Feb 10 at 6:25 am states, the current form of globalized capitalism is indeed eroding the middle-class social base on which liberal democracy rests. That is a real issue Occupy should include in their agenda.

Let’s stop this petty bickering and have some constructive dialogue as to Occupy Wall Street.

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By heterochromatic, February 10, 2012 at 6:14 pm Link to this comment

well, so much for Mark….Anybody wants to defend
Gaddafi is an ass

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Mark E. Smith's avatar

By Mark E. Smith, February 10, 2012 at 6:07 pm Link to this comment

Ardee, maybe you’re the one who should peruse the history books. You write, “The young are far from the only generation to defend against fascism…”

Yes, there was a very short window during WWII when it was permissible to be anti-fascist in the US. Those in the Abraham Lincoln Brigade who had fought against Franco before that window opened were labeled “premature anti-fascists,” penalized and persecuted. After WWII, the US smuggled over a thousand high-level Nazi war criminals into the US under Operation Paperclip, and they became the basis for what now is the CIA, ran NASA, and were placed in other US government policy-making positions as the window when anti-fascism was slammed shut and the Cold War began, a war which has never ended. It wasn’t just back when we installed brutes like Pinochet and the Shah. Just recently the CIA claimed that Gaddafi had killed civilians when he hadn’t, and the US-armed, US-trained, and US-funded Al Quedah terrorists we’d sent into Libya to attack Gaddafi quickly, based on the CIA lies, asked for NATO intervention and we destroyed another country, killing at least 100,000 civilians, because Gaddafi had the nerve to provide free housing, health care, higher education, a minimum wage, and other benefits to Libyans, using the money he got from nationalizing Libyan oil in defiance of the private multinational corporations our government calls “US interests,” and Libyan had enjoyed the highest standard of living in Africa, along with self-governance in the form of local councils.

There was no blood and repression until we decided to cook up a pretext to invade. Now that our puppets are in control, there is nothing but blood and repression.

If our fascist system is so great, why do we have the largest prison labor system in the world and why do we need to spend trillions on wars of aggression while US Americans lack health care, housing, and jobs, and while schools and infrastructure deteriorate?

You seem to think that history stopped with WWII. It did not.

As for those who protested the Vietnam War or took part in the Civil Rights movement, those are two of the biggest failures in US history. There is a higher percentage of blacks in prison now than during the Civil Rights era, and the US has engaged in many wars of aggression since Vietnam. Last time I checked the dictionary, neither “progress” nor “success” meant moving backward and making things worse than they were before.

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By heterochromatic, February 10, 2012 at 6:02 pm Link to this comment

Mark Smith was good critiques and lovely concepts to
offer. Don’t be so hard on him.

The real world will always seem weary, flat and
flawed when measured by the conceptual world.

He offers beautiful dreams. We need them as we go
about our flawed, actual lives.

Many of us want a world where we don’t need no
stinking badges, none of us have a workable plan
that’ll take us there in our lifetimes.

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By Nick_Lento, February 10, 2012 at 5:46 pm Link to this comment

In response to Mark E. Smith
http://www.truthdig.com/report/item/the_cancer_of_occupy_20120206/#4588
44

You are correct in finding numerous flaws in the way the US Constitution is
written and in how it is carried out.  I’m perfectly willing to concede that we
Americans live in a deeply flawed nation.

What you do not provide is ANY kind of viable, practicable alternative.

What do you have to offer us?  Anarchy?  ROTFLMAO

Occupy is a good and decent and productive and powerful movement that has
REAL grass roots energy and potency and your take on it is that it needs to be
consumed by old line anarchists who specialize in taunting the cops and some
petty vandalism!?!  That’s not revolutionary, that’s a cathartic temper tantrum
that plays into the hands of the cops who are pigs (not all of them are) and into
the hands of oppressive elements of our government who would like nothing
more than to impose an absolute police state.

You may be a sincere true believer or you may be an agent provocateur either
way it’s irrelevant in the sense that the direction in which you are trying to steer
the OWS movement is one that leads to more repression and eventual utter
irrelevance.

If you want to go off and start some kind of violent revolution in the USA go do
it on your own time and be willing to spill your own blood and serve your own
time.  Don’t hide behind crowds of innocent peaceful OWS folks who didn’t sign
up to be part of a violent mob.  They are the ones who get their heads busted
and get gassed while your boys are well protected and get to run free. 
Evidently the cops leave y’all alone.

Hedges is 110% correct about the violent tactics being toxic to OWS’s agenda
and potential.  To anyone except dyed in to wool hard core ideologues like
yourself that is
obvious.

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By Nick_Lento, February 10, 2012 at 5:44 pm Link to this comment

In response to Mark E. Smith http://www.truthdig.com/report/item/the_cancer_of_occupy_20120206/#458844

You are correct in finding numerous flaws in the way the US Constitution is
written and in how it is carried out.  I’m perfectly willing to concede that we
Americans live in a deeply flawed nation.

What you do not provide is ANY kind of viable, practicable alternative.

What do you have to offer us?  Anarchy?  ROTFLMAO

Occupy is a good and decent and productive and powerful movement that has
REAL grass roots energy and potency and your take on it is that it needs to be
consumed by old line anarchists who specialize in taunting the cops and some
petty vandalism!?!  That’s not revolutionary, that’s a cathartic temper tantrum
that plays into the hands of the cops who are pigs (not all of them are) and into
the hands of oppressive elements of our government who would like nothing
more than to impose an absolute police state.

You may be a sincere true believer or you may be an agent provocateur either
way it’s irrelevant in the sense that the direction in which you are trying to steer
the OWS movement is one that leads to more repression and eventual utter
irrelevance.

If you want to go off and start some kind of violent revolution in the USA go do
it on your own time and be willing to spill your own blood and serve your own
time.  Don’t hide behind crowds of innocent peaceful OWS folks who didn’t sign
up to be part of a violent mob.  They are the ones who get their heads busted
and get gassed while your boys are well protected and get to run free. 
Evidently the cops leave y’all alone.

Hedges is 110% correct about the violent tactics being toxic to OWS’s agenda
and potential.  To anyone except dyed in to wool hard core ideologues like yourself that is
obvious.

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By ardee, February 10, 2012 at 5:20 pm Link to this comment

Of course rule by the people, democracy, power vested in the hands of the mob and rabble probably can’t work here in the US until your generation dies off, and most of my generation and everyone up until the boomers who fear that if everyone had economic and social justice, they might lose their status and privileges.

Ageist much ?  But then, you do demonstrate a remarkable ability to believe that your opinions are written in stone and cannot possibly be debated. That makes you a fool, sadly.

I would remind you, and anyone stupid enough to buy into your childish crap, that the so-called baby boomers turned out in the tens, if not hundreds of thousands to protest and help end the Viet Nam war. To dismiss them as you do above is simply the case of a jackass bleating in public.

When I marched in the second Selma to Montgomery and first successfully completed march I was a boomer then as now and I was surrounded by other such as well.

Of course that was 1965 and I was young and thus I guess worthy of your support then.

as to:

I support the young ones precisely because they’re not dedicated to defending fascism.

How do you do it, Mark? Completely make an ass of yourself, unconsciously but effectively. The young are far from the only generation to defend against fascism , a perusal of your history books is certainly in order.

But then, what relevance do you have anyway, cooped up in your room, refusing to participate, to vote, to take any action that might prove effective. All you do is insult your betters. And refuse to offer another solution.

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By heterochromatic, February 10, 2012 at 4:42 pm Link to this comment

tomcat—-I do. So if you decide to attempt it, jump
right in.

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By elisalouisa, February 10, 2012 at 3:56 pm Link to this comment

Tomcat: Hedges is just a person, with no more value than you or me. What anyone has done in the past is meaningless here.

You’ve been Registered on Truthdig for only a few days , your principal role here has been to be a critic of Hedges while advancing Black bloc. Now you also speak with authority as to what is meaningless here. My response is Chris Hedges columns are the creme de la creme. The antithesis of such writing might be:

David Greaber: Here Gandhi remained resolute. It is always morally superior, he insisted, to oppose injustice through non-violent means than through violent means. However, to oppose injustice through violent means is still morally superior to not doing anything to oppose injustice at all. One could get the impression that Gandhi was in agreement with that last sentence. </b></i>

Such double talk may be common for the writer, it also might make one question his integrity.

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By tomcat, February 10, 2012 at 3:46 pm Link to this comment

heterochromatic,
I don’t discuss with close-minded trolls…
now I remember….“please do not feed the trolls”

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By heterochromatic, February 10, 2012 at 3:19 pm Link to this comment

Ana—-” The AUMF obviously violates the Due Process clause of the Fifth
Amendment.  It’s a self-issued unlimited license to kill.  It’s absurd that such a
principle could be entertained even for a moment in a supposed constitutional
republic, much less institutionalized as law. “

———

yes, Ana a declaration of war is indeed incompatible with what’s generally
recognize as a resort to use of the justice system to resolve things.

the Congress did not authorize the president to bring a suit at law against the
perps of 9/11 and their associates.
they quite clearly said that those people should be found and it was the will of
the people of the United States that military force should be considered an
appropriate response.

you are right. war is not the regular order of things…..

I do believe that Art I of the constitution grants the Congress that authority

I also believe that the only people who can say that the AUMF is in conflict with
the Constitution, Due Process Clause or any other part,  have not said that a
conflict exists.

————

as for the right to assemble on public land to petition for redress, yes, I agree
that it should be considered as existent and as important.


but again the right to peaceably assemble is not unlimited…..and it doesn’t
include living upon and occupying public land indefinitely and without to
previously enacted regulations for the use of public land.

squatting and refusing to accept the park regulations ain’t a First Am right

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By heterochromatic, February 10, 2012 at 3:02 pm Link to this comment

tomcat——you’re just so, so profound.


Yes, of course, when I said that kicking people out of the camps on public
property after a month was justified, I didn’t merely endorse baton beatings and
rubber bullets, what I really, really, really meant was that dropping a small nuclear
bomb on them was the way to go.

the United States has not lost all authority because you think it so and have made
the assertion.


please try to stop just jerking around and at least attempt to discuss things.

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Anarcissie's avatar

By Anarcissie, February 10, 2012 at 2:37 pm Link to this comment

heterochromatic, February 10 at 11:17 am:

no Ana, that’s not the principle that I approved.. What I did was cite the AUMF as authorization for the executive use military force against people who are terrorists AND had some part in the 9/11 attacks or are in the organizations that committed those attacks or affiliated with them….

—which is anyone the the president, or those operating under his authority, say it is.  Do we really have to go through this, piece by piece?  The AUMF obviously violates the Due Process clause of the Fifth Amendment.  It’s a self-issued unlimited license to kill.  It’s absurd that such a principle could be entertained even for a moment in a supposed constitutional republic, much less institutionalized as law. 


‘... Set up those camps on their own property and have them knocked down, and THEN we can start discussing repression.’

Property is a social convention, and as I’ve pointed out several times, the right to assemble and petition the government implies access to public space, which in any case the public ‘owns’ according to the conventions currently in effect.

Why are you so indulgent about the government breaking its own rules?

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By tomcat, February 10, 2012 at 1:56 pm Link to this comment

heterochromatic:
well…looks like your colors are showing…
“kicking people out of tent camps after a month or so doesn’t quite add up to repressive state violence when they hadn’t the right to set up the camps in the first place.”
Wow! Is that really what you want to say?...
So many ways to respond…but let’s try this:

So the use of pepper spray and rubber bullets, along with baton beatings, is ok because there was…what…
no permit?

But saying “they didn’t have the right to set up the camps” tells me which side you’re on.

I’ve learned now exactly what troll means…..YOU!

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By tomcat, February 10, 2012 at 1:23 pm Link to this comment

The U.S. government has no “authority”.
It no longer represents the people.
Hence, it is illegitimate.
Change your words…and your thinking will follow.

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By Mark E. Smith, February 10, 2012 at 1:23 pm Link to this comment

The French and Russian revolutions, Macresarf1? I was referring to the revolutions in Venezuela, Ecuador, Uruguay, Bolivia, and other countries where they managed to get out from under the heel of US capitalist imperialism and end rule by the 1%.

The cold war is over, Macresarf1. We won. The Soviet Commies were defeated, and while the French may be a bit too socialist for our tastes, still providing things like socialized medicine and taxing the rich, they don’t seem to have devolved into decadence and violence.

Last week a friend of mine stopped by when he and his wife were up here to visit his mom. He’s a US American ex-pat who has been living in Caracas, Venezuela for almost a decade. The Bolivarian revolution in Venezuela is about 13 years old now and hasn’t ended in blood and repression. He fully supports it and although Venezuela has just about eliminated poverty, he lives in an upper class neighborhood of Caracas and he and his neighbors are jokingly referred to as the “Bolivarian bourgeoisie.”

I think he’s right. As long as he and his wife can have a nice home and all the privileges of the good life, why should they care if poor peasants have food, shelter, education, health care, and dignity? How does that harm them? You’re living in the past. I may be ten years younger than you, but I do try to keep up with what’s happening in the world. Iceland is also writing a new Constitution that will vest power in the people instead of in the 1%, and they don’t seem to be headed for blood and repression either.

Of course rule by the people, democracy, power vested in the hands of the mob and rabble probably can’t work here in the US until your generation dies off, and most of my generation and everyone up until the boomers who fear that if everyone had economic and social justice, they might lose their status and privileges. It doesn’t happen to be true, but you can’t argue with beliefs, particularly with deeply ingrained authoritarian beliefs. But the young people of today are quite capable of self-governance. Nobody ever made them any promises and they see no reason to defend rule by the rich.

I support the young ones precisely because they’re not dedicated to defending fascism. Fuck the ancien regime and fuck the police and the good law-abiding citizens respecting and defending the plutocracy. I don’t care what the oligarchs, and what even they themselves call a goddamned piece of paper, promised them, nobody ever promised me anything, and the promises that were made to Native Americans and people of color have all been broken, along with every treaty and convention that the US ever signed.

Obedience to tyranny is treason to humanity. I don’t know who said that, but if somebody didn’t they should have.

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By ardee, February 10, 2012 at 1:19 pm Link to this comment

By Mark E. Smith, February 10 at 9:09 am

Oh Mark, your fanciful account of the Warsaw Ghetto uprising might fool anyone unfamiliar with that historical event…nice try though.

By the time that uprising began there were an estimated 55,000 Jews remaining there. Life was certainly not the normality you attempt to paint it as being. There were only about an estimated seven thousand resistance fighters engaging the German army there,a nd they fought to the last. But in any historical situation it is always a minority who take action. Perhaps you might link to the source of your silliness regarding Jewish intolerance of the fighters there?

But then you do seem prone to paint with a broad brush indeed. Once more I must ask; how do you propose to make changes if you persist in the absurdity that voting third party is supporting the government?

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By Ed Romano, February 10, 2012 at 1:17 pm Link to this comment

Dear Arkansas Ike,  I know that God must love stupid people. He made so many of you. What happened ? Did I step on your toes at some time ? You certainly seem to have worked up a head of steam when it comes to me.
I don’t mind a bit of give and take, but in the name of reason…try to be a little logical…You seem to have no idea what you’re taking about. I certainly can’t figure it out and I doubt that many others can either.
Have a real nice day now. y’all.

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By Macresarf1, February 10, 2012 at 12:27 pm Link to this comment

You don’t have to convince me that promises have been broken, or that our
Constitution was imperfect, and remains in some respects that today, but the
promises remain (and hundreds of millions of Americans believe in them), and the
Constitution has a flexibility for correction that no other working document of its
kind possesses.  [Read the Soviet Constitution of 1936; it’s the most complete,
democratic, close to anarchic document you might imagine;problem is it was
never implemented.]  Your “Counter-Revolutionary Constitution” may look good
on paper, but it has to be instituted.  That takes time and grief.  And if my soon
81 years have told me anything, it’s this: Better to build on something valuable
than, like petulant children,  exert the creative act of destruction and start from
scratch.

  Look at all the past revolutions you and your colleagues here presumably admire
—The French Revolution, the Russian Revolution, or a score of smaller ones—
they all started out to create a New World, but ended with blood and repression in
order to main control, in order to keep everything from flying apart in an anarchic
explosion.  What makes you think the present generation can succeed where
others failed if they use the old bloody methods?

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By katsteevns, February 10, 2012 at 12:19 pm Link to this comment

By OzarkMichael,

“Be aware that i am not an Occupy supporter, but yes thats an important point. You have big dreams and you want them to come true all at once. You should be more interested in those things that you have some control over. You should be extremely concerned about the process of how we interact with our government. Is OWS going to make this better or worse?”

Then what do you support if not Occupy?

“If OWS makes the process worse, we could have chaos, where force rules the day, and nobody will buy into the result except by coercion. It wont be better than what we have now, it will be far worse. It seems to me you dont mind that scenario.”

  Far worse for whom? We can not forget that Occupy, is not really a movement that grew out of a desire to end US imperialism in the global sphere it now dominates, but as a voice for the (newly, I might add) dispossessed here at home.
My point is that the global scene must be mended before we start demanding comfort and stability for ourselves.

  We owe it to humankind to take the control of our military out of the hands of the few and close hundreds of bases worldwide, disembowel the WTO, IMF and the World Trade Agreements such as NAFTA, GATT and a host of others. This should be the focus of any serious grassroots movement here in the states.

  As it stands now, the occupy vision is far too self serving and can only succeed in alleviating the symptoms of a much larger infection.

  “Far worse”, you say? It is far worse for many, many people throughout the world…..because of us.

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By heterochromatic, February 10, 2012 at 12:17 pm Link to this comment

Ana—— “That is the principle put forward by Mr. O, of which you approved,
that the president has the right to have anyone killed whom he deems to be a
terrorist, without any trial or hearing. “

no Ana, that’s not the principle that I approved.. What I did was cite the AUMF
as authorization for the executive use military force against people who are
terrorists AND had some part in the 9/11 attacks or are in the organizations
that committed those attacks or affiliated with them…

that’s broad but it’s not just ANYBODY.

Al-Awlaki fit that description and that’s who I keep mentioning as being
legitimately killed when people keep saying that the killing is either illegal or
unconstitutional or some such.

that said, I think that it’s best that the Congress re-evaluate the AUMF.


———


On the question of oppressive state violence, I’m against it.

However, kicking people out of tent camps after a month or so doesn’t quite
add up to repressive state violence when they hadn’t the right to set up the
camps in the first place.

Set up those camps on their own property and have them knocked down, and
THEN we can start discussing repression.

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By OzarkMichael, February 10, 2012 at 12:06 pm Link to this comment

Well, when you think about that you are standing on the threshold of real political education… Since it seems to be a policy in this country that any writing on the dark side should end on an optimistic note let me say that Lenin once said that a revolution could be made with the cooperation of of a mere 2% of the population. Of course, I know that what is optimistic to one man often gets a right winger’s blood boiling.

I love how Ed Romano considers the most evil man who ever lived(Lenin) to be his source for political guidance and optimism. Last time I pointed this out Ed immediately used Hitler to prove he was right. Hint: Dont go there this time, Ed!

And dont worry about “right winger’s blood boiling”. Worry about where your revolutionary philosophy will lead us if it ever gains traction. Read Lenin’s own letters and notes and ponder the evil results. Well, when you think about that you are standing on the threshold of real political education.

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By Mark E. Smith, February 10, 2012 at 11:56 am Link to this comment

Macresarf1 writes: “Mark:  I would not disagree with much you say, but it is foolish to equate romantics in black, paramilitary-type provocateurs, or just young vandals with the freedom fighters of the Warsaw Ghetto.  Those men and women never had a government who ever promised them anything, never had a constitution to defend.”

Ah. So that explains it. You have a government which has promised you something. Would you mind telling us exactly what the US government has promised you? Forty acres and a mule, perhaps?

And you have a Constitution to defend. Oh it might need a few amendments, such as revoking corporate personhood and guaranteeing the right to have your vote counted, but basically it is worth defending because it ensures due process, unless the President uses the NDAA to bypass it, it ensures freedom from cruel and unusual punishment, except torture, which isn’t considered cruel and unusual these days, and it protects the right of the people to peaceably assemble and seek redress of their grievances, unless Homeland Security or local law enforcement doesn’t want them to.

The Constitution you’re defending is not worth defending. It is a counterrevolutionary document that betrayed not just blacks, but was treason to the Founders who shed blood for the ideals expressed in the Declaration of Independence:

The Counterrevolutionary Constitution

http://fubarandgrill.org/node/1085

When you see the 1% and their political puppets violating the Constitution with impunity, it is because the Constitution did not give you any way to hold them accountable and they know it. It vested power in the hands of the government, not in the hands of the people. Some countries have had successful revolutions, ousted their oligarchies (the 1%) and written new Constitutions that are democratic in nature and vest power in the hands of the people, not in the hands of the government. It can’t be done by amending a Constitution when an unelected Supreme Court has the sole power to interpret the Constitution and can make such absurd “interpretations” as finding that corporations are people and votes don’t have to be counted—interpretations that cannot be appealed no matter how absurd they may be.

The US government is and has always been a tyranny. It was just a more benevolent tyranny towards certain privileged whites than it was towards Native Americans, blacks, and the poor, but even a benevolent tyranny is still a tyranny, not a democracy.

The Constitution of the United States of America was written by the 1% of their time to ensure that the 1% who owned the country would always rule the country, and it is still functioning exactly as it was intended to. When you defend it, you are defending rule by the 1%.

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By Lumpenproletarier, February 10, 2012 at 11:49 am Link to this comment

Dave Ewoldt -

I appreciate all of your comments. My point is that if people are willing to invest time and labor in protesting, then why not invest time and labor in creating a new way to live? Standing around with signs in a park doesn’t really accomplish anything. Example: People say they want “Jobs”, and that the government is not doing enough to create jobs. Well, under our current system, “more jobs” means more Capitalism. Why would anyone want that? The average person doesn’t care about the inequality of the system, only that they get enough money and security so that they can get down to what they really want to do, which is to amuse themselves; which, apparently, is what people standing around in parks carrying signs are actually doing.

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By Anarcissie, February 10, 2012 at 11:38 am Link to this comment

heterochromatic, February 10 at 9:56 am

Mark Smith——perhaps you’re going just a tad too far when you keep equating the
revolt in the Warsaw Ghetto against extermination by the Nazis with throwing rocks
at cops here.

It seems to me similar principles are at work.  On the side of the authorities, the principle is that they can and should shut up, shut down, or eliminate anyone or anything that inconveniences them.  On the other side, the unauthorized demand a place to speak, to exist in spite of official disapproval.

It is true there is an enormous difference in degree between the Occupy conflicts and the siege of the Warsaw Ghetto, but there’s a connection.  That is the principle put forward by Mr. O, of which you approved, that the president has the right to have anyone killed whom he deems to be a terrorist, without any trial or hearing.  There are many people who are ready to define any sort of free speech as ‘terrorism’ and ‘treason’.

The central question here, which you seem to wish to avoid, is how we can cope with oppressive state violence, not whether some conflicts between freedom and power are too sacred or too mundane to be mentioned with others.

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By Libertys Ghost, February 10, 2012 at 11:18 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Good article Chris.  But to flush out the “strategy” theme you present a bit more fully we have to remember that the establishment which encompasses the leadership helms of both parties in America and their minions (i.e. the POLS, many cops, bureaucrats, etc.) have strategies too. 
This prompts me to remind the readers and posters here that at many protests various police and other “undercovers” have been suspected as agent provocateurs posing as anarchists and others.
The UK Independent had this article (with video) just last December: http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/crime/the-moment-protesters-found-a-plainclothes-cop-in-their-midst-6270908.html (just one example)
I can remember the press finding ties between supposed Black Bloc and FBI all the way back in Seattle in the ‘90s at the WTO protests.  They were outed in Canada at the G20, and in almost every other major protest in the last 2 decades.  History is littered with these tactics used to oppress protests and popular uprisings in many different nations. 
Does Black Bloc realize how easy it is to pretend to be them?  Or how useful they are to demonize a movement?  It may not seem so strange when London allows them permission to protest while denying an antipoverty group http://www.telegraph.co.uk/finance/g20-summit/5090596/G20-summit-Anti-poverty-group-banned.html

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By tomcat, February 10, 2012 at 11:15 am Link to this comment

Hedges is just a person, with no more value than you or me.
What anyone has done in the past is meaningless here.
The issue is what we’re doing now.

One problem I have with Hedges article is it wreaks of fear…His fear of the failure of “his” OWS movement, and the fear he spreads via the article…fear of the bogeyman…black bloc.

I’d rather listen to people who empower me, and gives me heart, including all of the beautiful, creative people in the movement.

If you seek perspective, try David Graeber, a “founder” of the movement, who offers reason…untainted by emotion:
http://nplusonemag.com/concerning-the-violent-peace-police

Finally,
If you haven’t seen Charlie Chaplin’s “Great Dictator”, this four minute clip is a must see:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QcvjoWOwnn4

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By Macresarf1, February 10, 2012 at 11:09 am Link to this comment

Mark:  I would not disagree with much you say, but it is foolish to equate romantics in black, paramilitary-type provocateurs, or just young vandals with the freedom fighters of the Warsaw Ghetto.  Those men and women never had a government who ever promised them anything, never had a constitution to defend.  After much negotiation and appeasement, they knew they were IT, and
they acted magnificently accordingly.  Your shatteringly strong points to the contrary, Americans can make this nation whole again, if we work together peacefully.

[BTW, your idea of “just not voting” might well be equated with apathy, for in most elections fewer than half the eligible voters exercise their franchise anyway.]

  David: I like your theoretical formulation.  I just don’t think the image of rat-like figures scurrying around smashing things on TV fits the paradigm.

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By heterochromatic, February 10, 2012 at 10:56 am Link to this comment

Mark Smith——perhaps you’re going just a tad too far when you keep equating the
revolt in the Warsaw Ghetto against extermination by the Nazis with throwing rocks
at cops here.

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By katsteevns, February 10, 2012 at 10:41 am Link to this comment

@ Mark E. Smith,

Excellent comments on authority and ‘communities of color’. Wow! You keep hitting the nail right on the head!

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By Mark E. Smith, February 10, 2012 at 10:29 am Link to this comment

Here ya go:

U.S. Marines unpunished after posing with Nazi symbol in Afghanistan

http://www.thestar.com/news/world/article/1129161—u-s-marines-unpunished-after-posing-with-nazi-symbol-in-afghanistan?bn=1

While many US Americans may believe that their government isn’t fascist, Afghans (and Iraqis, Pakistanis, Yemenis, Libyans, Congolese, Chileans, Hondurans, Guatemalans, Haitians, etc., etc.) have reason to disagree.

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By katsteevns, February 10, 2012 at 10:28 am Link to this comment

A comment worth repeating:

By Mark E. Smith, February 9 at 8:09 pm

“I was born and raised Jewish, but I’m an atheist. I’m not a Zionist and I support the Palestinian cause. But I think I know something about why the Israeli Zionists are so brutal. Because even at age 71, I still have something ringing in my ears from my childhood—the taunt that the Jews in Nazi Germany “went like sheep.”

Oh, there was the Warsaw Ghetto uprising, and a few uprisings in the concentration camps, but they were too little too late. Millions were rounded up, carted off, and killed, and they went like sheep. They did, because they didn’t believe that the German government would do anything like that, and they were good, law-abiding citizens. They respected authority and obeyed orders. Yes, some fled the country, but they were the paranoid few—the conspiracy theorists. The rest, when told to move to the ghetto, packed their things and moved to the ghetto. When told to board the cattle cars, they boarded the cattle cars. When told to enter the “showers,” they lined up for the gas chambers.

I was a child, so I didn’t really know at the time, but it was within my lifetime and I studied it a lot when I was old enough. How could it have happened? How could people have voted for a fascist government that waged wars of aggression and killed innocent people? You know, the “good Germans,” who never hated Jews, who were just suffering from a bad economy inflicted on them after WWI, and who wanted jobs and housing and health care. The same things that the good, law-abiding citizens of the US want today.

I don’t support or advocate violence. But I do support the right to self-defense, and I do think people should question authority and not blindly obey orders. Because nobody’s going to come to our aid if the US government decides to improve the economy by killing a few million US citizens, those with mortgages aren’t going to speak up, and after it is all over, when the nations of the world have decided that they’ve had enough of the sole superpower—the 5% that causes most of the world’s suffering by hogging 30% of the world’s resources—nobody is going to come along with a Marshall plan to bail us out.

Dave Ewoldt is right. Instead of being good little citizens, obeying authority, and voting for the system, we need a different system, one based on cooperation instead of on competition.

Some people have seen what’s coming. They stopped paying their mortgages, simplified their lifestyles, and are working to transition away from fascism to true anarchism, to helping each other instead of supporting the state and enriching the obscenely rich with their labor. They come to Occupy and they bring food from their organic gardens. But they don’t provoke or make themselves targets for the police because they have gardens to tend and families to feed. They give teach-ins. And some of them dress in black and wear masks because they know what a police state is. They will not go like sheep.

It’s those who respect authority who will go like sheep. It always is. They don’t see fascism as the cancer, they see those who don’t respect authority as the cancer. History repeats”

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By Mark E. Smith, February 10, 2012 at 10:09 am Link to this comment

Ardee wrote: “If you need something to take pride in try remembering those who fought to the last man in the Warsaw ghetto.”

You mean the cancer in the Warsaw ghetto who were roundly condemned by the law-abiding community for endangering their safety and welfare?

Authoritarians consider violence to be the sole province of the state, so many Jews think it is okay for Jews in the state of Israel to be violent on behalf of the state, but it wasn’t considered okay by the Jewish community in the Warsaw ghetto for people to take up arms against the state. They were brave, and I’m told that they had a better survival rate than those who didn’t take up arms, but they were still considered a cancer by the community at the time.

Authoritarians, fascists, and good law-abiding citizens only tolerate and condone violence by the state. Violence in self-defense against a state by citizens can only be condoned when their state is not closely allied with your own state, as with Hedges condoning violence by the citizens of Greece.

Most of the Jews in the Warsaw ghetto were suffering, but they continued to respect authority and to try to appease, obey, work within, and respect the authority of the Nazi regime. They were opposed to violence, even in self-defense. The Jewish Authority collaborated with the Nazis in selecting Jews for transport, believing that by doing so they were saving themselves and their families.

It’s like the people in corporate human resources departments here who collaborated with the corporations in outsourcing jobs, firing tens of thousands of their co-workers, and were startled and dismayed when their own turn to be terminated finally came.

The real question, is whether or not a government is legitimate. If it isn’t, then few people will condemn those who oppose it. As long as a government is considered legitimate, those who oppose it will be seen as a cancer endangering those who appease it.

The US is still viewed by many US Americans as a legitimate government because almost all of its crimes against humanity have been committed against people of color, usually thousands of miles away with the exception of certain places in the US like Oakland where there are large communities of color. People and communities of color are easily depicted as violent and therefore deserving of genocide by the state. Perhaps the Greeks fare better in Hedges’ eyes because they have lighter skin. Many Jews also have lighter skin, and in fact, here in the US most of us pass for white. There’s even a law in Israel making it illegal for an Arab to have sex with a Jew without first informing the Jew that they’re Arab, as it happens to be impossible in many cases, as with the Hutus and Tutsis in Africa, for them to tell each other apart just by physical appearance.

People who vote in the US are people who consider the US government to be legitimate. When I urge people not to vote, what I’m asking them to do is to stop recognizing and affirming the legitimacy of the government. It is a totally peaceful and nonviolent tactic, but it draws every bit as much anger and vituperation as do the Black Bloc. It isn’t violence, or even non-violent militancy that is being condemned, but failure to respect and support the authority of the state. That’s the difference between anarchists and those who condemn them. Anarchists do not respect or support the authority of the state, those who oppose them do.

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By Dave Ewoldt, February 10, 2012 at 9:41 am Link to this comment

IMax… I agree that “the current form of globalized capitalism is eroding the middle-class social base on which liberal democracy rests.” But this is also the point of the debate the left gets so completely wrong. In arguing for this, the left is implicitly stating that class hierarchies are a good thing.

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By Ed Romano, February 10, 2012 at 9:06 am Link to this comment

Some folks here have raised the question of why there is so little response from the left in the face of the disaster that capitalism has brought down on us. 
( and you ain’t seen nothing yet ). Radical response was more visible in the 1930’s in large part because we still had the remnants of the Socialist Party, there were still a lot of Wobblies around and the Communist Party had not yet been outlawed. This meant that the general population was familiar with arguments from the left. And the media in those days was not yet learned to lather folks with patriotic manure from morning till night. Today the mainstream media is owned by large capitalist enterprises ( G.E. etc.).The population never hears any serious crtiticism of the system and, in fact the media is used not so much to diseminate information as it is to dumb down the population. ( The fact that this enterprise is highly successful can be seen in many of the posts on this sight)....Another reason may be that the misery of millions of people in the 1930’s was far greater than that being suffered by most Americans today (thus far)....There were entire families found in the 30’s that had starved to death. In the early thirties there was no unemployment compensation, no social security, no workman’s comp, no food stamps and little if any welfare. I was child at that time and I can testify that we were often hungry. I saw numerous people living in alleys, in what looked like cardboard refrigerator boxes. We lived near a railroad terminal and saw ragged men who slept in empty railroad cars at night with railroad goons rousting them out in the morning… These conditions tend to make people a little radical. Roosevelt took the wind out of their radical sails when he threw them a few bones and put them back to sleep….I think it was one of the “founding fathers” who said that people will tolerate miserable condidtions just as long as it is humanly possible. On the other hand there was my own father who said that the government could walk right into their homes and take the food off their tables and the majority wopuldn’t do anything about it….When you think that in the history of mankind so many social situations could have been greatly imporoved if only the vistims had stood together…..and they didn’t do it…Well, when you think about that you are standing on the threshold of real political education….Since it seems to be a policy in this country that any writing on the dark side should end on an optimistic note let me say that Lenin once said that a revolution could be made with the cooperation of of a mere 2% of the population. Of course, I know that what is optimistic to one man often gets a right winger’s blood boiling.

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By Dave Ewoldt, February 10, 2012 at 9:01 am Link to this comment

Macresarf1… it’s true that nothing is “perfect” as that’s an abstract human conception that doesn’t exist in the real world. What’s your point, exactly? If you (and others in this thread) don’t like the term anarchy because of various pieces of baggage it’s become overloaded with, then let’s use the term I use outside of discussions like this, which is Riane Eisler’s partnership paradigm. This we are wired for. There is historical and current supportive evidence that we can in fact act that way because that’s the way systems science is showing us that nature works. In fact, it takes 24x7 propaganda, deep cultural and religious stories, and force-based ranking hierarchies of domination to cause us to work otherwise. Not only would we NOT be exhausted and frustrated to achieve (actually, return to) this state of being, it would require a whole lot less energy than we’re expending now to be unfulfilled.

And it would _perfectly_ fit the political definition of anarchy.

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By Preacher from the black lagoon, February 10, 2012 at 8:48 am Link to this comment

Chris you slave at your desk to continue feeding the hungry masses with empty words
bound and sold to justify your lives so comfortably nestled in the lap of capitalism. Leave
Them alone.

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By Wikileaks for Nobel, February 10, 2012 at 8:25 am Link to this comment

Glad to see a number of thoughtful comments preceding this post.  It makes me think we are engaged in a very good, ongoing conversation that will hopefully prove creative and lead to better Occupation.  The worst of the excesses—emotional and intellectual—seem to be subsiding, at least here.  I’d love to see us conjure once more the original, inspiring spirit that set Occupation in motion.  Wouldn’t you?

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By Anarcissie, February 10, 2012 at 7:56 am Link to this comment

I admit I don’t have scientific evidence, but my strong impression is that people who are the victims of successful violence lose popular support—most people like winners.  The significant exceptions occur when the perpetrators are already disliked and do a messy job (for example, racist Southerners during the Civil Rights struggles) or the victims can be sentimentalized or hagiographized in some way (usually, long after it matters). 

However, if the Occupy movements have lost popularity, it might be also because there appears to be no visible route through them towards the realization of the sort of social-democratic or welfarist state many Americans desire and cannot obtain from either major political party—the non-radicals temporarily attracted by the radicals, who, at the moment, are the only people who will speak to their concerns, although the solutions they recommend are too far-reaching for the public taste.  As I see it, there is a large, restless political force at loose out there and it’s going to do something to get what it wants; but it has not yet found a path.

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By Nick_Lento, February 10, 2012 at 7:56 am Link to this comment

A meta comment.  If anyone who works for/with Truthdig is actually reading
these threads, please be aware that it’s virtually impossible to get back to a
particular posting without reading through the WHOLE/ALL of what’s been
posted.

The email notifications give links that aren’t really links to anything but the
front page.

Your site would get MUCH more use if you could find some way to make the
links actually link to the actual thread/comments/conversations that the email
notifications refer to.

As it is this is just one long bulletin board…and you can’t even screen it in one
shot…....so even if you did a word search it would take multiple screens to find
the thread you’re looking for.

Thanks.

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By EmileZ, February 10, 2012 at 7:51 am Link to this comment

The ideas in this “Manifesto For Economic Justice and Ecological Sanity” are not particularly new, but they might be new to some.

http://www.truth-out.org/manifesto-economic-democracy-and-ecological-sanity/1328822232

Either way, it is worth a look.

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By elisalouisa, February 10, 2012 at 7:36 am Link to this comment

Going back to the beginning of this thread, many newly registered posters were highly critical of Mr. Hedges, but not all. One unregistered commenter mentioned the “ongoing sabotage of the Occupy Movement.” Another, concerning Black Bloc goes on to say: These juvenile insurrectionist tactics will only serve to give the state an excuse to brutalize all of Occupy (and whatever movement that the BBs are a part of) and to help discredit it in the public. I soundly agree.

There can be nonviolent resistance to authority through lack of cooperation. Not quite the same as “going like sheep.” Fine lines are drawn. Some here on Truthdig are quite open about effecting change through violence. The reasons set forth are almost convincing. Almost, for a moment,  until one steps back, taking in the entire picture.

Some critics come down on Mr. Hedges, more like a sledge hammer, because of his stand on nonviolence and Black Bloc, totally ignoring his lifelong dedication toward bettering mankind through continued efforts to bring about social and economic justice.

What Mr. Hedges has contributed shall live long after the violence some condone.

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By IMax, February 10, 2012 at 7:25 am Link to this comment

Something strange is going on in the world today. The global financial crisis that began in 2008 and the ongoing crisis of the euro are both products of the model of lightly regulated financial capitalism that emerged over the past three decades. Yet despite widespread anger at Wall Street bailouts, there has been no great upsurge of left-wing American populism in response. It is conceivable that the Occupy Wall Street movement will gain traction, but the most dynamic recent populist movement to date has been the right-wing Tea Party, whose main target is the regulatory state that seeks to protect ordinary people from financial speculators. Something similar is true in Europe as well, where the left is anemic and right-wing populist parties are on the move.

There are several reasons for this lack of left-wing mobilization, but chief among them is a failure in the realm of ideas. For the past generation, the ideological high ground on economic issues has been held by a libertarian right. The left has not been able to make a plausible case for an agenda other than a return to an unaffordable form of old-fashioned social democracy. This absence of a plausible progressive counter­narrative is unhealthy, because competition is good for intellectual ­debate just as it is for economic activity. And serious intellectual debate is urgently needed, since the current form of globalized capitalism is eroding the middle-class social base on which liberal democracy rests.

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By Jimmy, February 10, 2012 at 7:24 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

If Oakland has the most violence and “anarchists,” and is essentially the “cancer” of the movement, then why did a recent poll of
the Oakland Tribune show that they had 94 % of the support? Why do they have the highest support? THERE ARE REASONS..

BECAUSE


DO YOU REMEMBER SCOTT OLSEN?? Remember other vets that got hurt and beat
up by cops, that were nonviolent? THAT ENDED THE NON VIOLENT STANCE IN
OAKLAND, which may I add, does not have to speak for every other occupation.

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By trenton, February 10, 2012 at 4:41 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Some black Occupiers are actors from “intelligence” agencies representing vested interests including the Obama administration and multi-national corporations. I met one such actor in Feb. 09—a charismatic, extremely handsome African-American male, around 26 years old—in a Starbucks on “M” Street in Georgetown (D.C.). Wearing a black-and-white Palestinian scarf, he said he was on his way to Oakland and called President Obama the “N” word—very, very loudly. (Before he started in, a female intelligence agent [former International Monetary Fund]/Harvard College 1977 classmate, T.B., had just departed said Starbucks.) If Oakland/LA is on fire by summer, Obama wins re-election by looking tough cracking heads, putting up cameras, making nerds in Silicon Valley and Route 128 orgasmically happy.

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By ardee, February 10, 2012 at 3:53 am Link to this comment

You have got to be kidding:

Occupy didn’t lose support due to black-masked figures burning imperialist flags and breaking capitalist windows, they lost support because the cops destroyed the encampments and used extreme violence to frighten away any who weren’t willing to risk making the supreme sacrifice. Many Occupy cities have never burned an imperialist flag, and indeed, proudly wave, display, and defend the US imperialist flag, and have never had a single incident of property damage, but they’ve lost support anyway because they’ve been subjected to police violence and brutality designed to frighten away the middle class.

The violence committed against OWS by the police led to much sympathy for that movement and the numbers of folks who joined that movement grew as the violence escalated.

When your beloved children began committing acts of violence against the wrong targets the popularity of OWS began to wane. That movement should have strongly and publicly disavowed those testosterone overloaded tools of the establishment immediately.

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By ardee, February 10, 2012 at 3:47 am Link to this comment

By Mark E. Smith, February 9 at 8:09 pm

Your comment re: your Jewish heritage makes your unreasoning positions on other matters more understandable.

As another non-practicing Jew I say that embarrassment over the passive way so many went to their deaths is absolutely not a reason to become the enemy.

The State of Israel is committing horrific atrocities against the Palestinian people, after being responsible for their homeless condition to begin with.

If you need something to take pride in try remembering those who fought to the last man in the Warsaw ghetto.

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By Russian Paul, February 10, 2012 at 3:27 am Link to this comment

the problem i have with most the critiques of this article is they also fail to
scrutinize all the various black bloc tactics and properly define what is or isn’t
‘violence.’ here is the most well-rounded rebuttal:

http://www.counterpunch.org/2012/02/08/a-bustle-in-hedges-row/

here’s a much harsher, but interesting psychoanalytical take:

http://occupyeverything.org/2012/a-postcolonial-reading-of-chris-hedges/

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By Mark E. Smith, February 10, 2012 at 1:07 am Link to this comment

Macresarf1 writes: “Only if a full scale civil war were launched in America would the State institute concentration camps If the great majority of us stand together peacefully but militantly, we shall achieve systemic change.”

Of course you’re right, Macesarf1. Just because the United States runs secret prisons all over the world doesn’t mean it would institute concentration camps here—it only tortures Muslims in those prisons. Just because the United States has already built those camps, doesn’t mean it would institute them, unless it felt threatened by a Civil War. Just because the United States has the largest prison system in the world, doesn’t mean it would put innocent people in concentration camps.

Oh wait—more than a hundred innocent people have been released from death row because the Innocence Project proved that they were innocent of the crimes for which they had been condemned to death. Unfortunately the Innocence Project can’t afford to take on every case, so many more innocents have been executed for crimes they didn’t commit, but that doesn’t matter because most of them were black or poor.

After all, hasn’t Occupy already proven that if masses of people stand together peacefully, they won’t be beaten, pepper-sprayed, or arrested?

Uh, but what do you mean by “peacefully but militantly?”

Aren’t those who dress or act militantly the cancer?

This is a police state. It doesn’t matter how people dress or how peaceful they are, or whether they’re standing or sitting down. If they’re gathering, they’re a threat to the police state and they’re going to be beaten and arrested. If more people gather, the government will send in more cops. If there are too many for the cops to beat up, the government will send in the military. You’ve forgotten Kent State? And back then it was illegal to kill peaceful protesters. Since the US government has now legalized the assassination or rendition of US citizens without due process, the government can simply declare them terrorists and kill them legally.

How do you think Iraqis, Afghans, and Libyans felt when they heard the US government speeches demonizing them? How do Iranians and Syrians feel now when they hear the US government speeches demonizing them? Everyone knows what’s coming when they hear those Hitlerian speeches except you, because they’re not spoken in German?

Remember when Madeleine Albright said that the half million Iraqi children killed by US sanctions were worth it? Worth what? What had they done? What did we gain by killing them? The US kills innocent children just for the fun of it, to prove it’s the world’s mightiest superpower and can do whatever it wants. The US kills innocent people with drone bombs for sport, like a video game, racking up the points and cheering, for no reason whatsoever except that it happens to be in the defense industry and killing people is the best way to get defense contracts.

But that’s somewhere else, not here. The government wouldn’t do it here because….because…uh, because people here are peaceful. Well, so were the children in Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan and other countries. They weren’t wearing black, they didn’t have masks, and they weren’t even gathered. They were in their own homes doing what their mommies and daddies told them to do. They were children. Millions of innocent children, dead so that the US government could get more defense contracts.

Many of those defense contracts are for crowd control. Crowd control, like war, is big business for defense contractors. No matter how you act or dress, if you’re a crowd, and the government is in the business of crowd control, what do you think it is going to do?

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By heterochromatic, February 9, 2012 at 11:50 pm Link to this comment

Geoduck—-thank you for hilarious comment about common law grand jury. 

we await further news of this and send greetings both to you and other people of
bizarro planet.

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By Macresarf1, February 9, 2012 at 11:18 pm Link to this comment

Mark, I saw what was coming in Germany, too, when I lay on the floor listening to Hitler’s speeches coming over the short wave, as did my father, an old Cameron Highlander, but frankly, even for someone like myself who sees parallels, I think your analogy is hyperbolic. Only if a full scale civil war were launched in America would the State institute concentration camps If the great majority of us stand together peacefully but militantly, we shall achieve systemic change. But people running around smashing things just for the sake of smashing things will make the task incredibly more difficult.

  I agree with much found in the last few comments, but nothing will ever be perfect.

  David, I doubt “perfect” Anarchy is possible, no more than “perfect” Communism.  [That is the story of Soviet Russia; they soon gave up on the whole thing in a welter of “5 year plans.”]  We are not wired for the “perfect,” Anarchy, (and we would be exhausted and frustrated if we achieved it) is not in the cards, but we sure can ruin almost anything when we become violent.  The violence will ruin anything any of the sane among us might wish.

  Let’s see if Time will tell (as I predicted it would immediately after 9/11).

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By spencer15, February 9, 2012 at 10:59 pm Link to this comment

Ever wanted to have dinner with Derrick Jensen, discuss philosophy and resistance over the phone or webcam, or pore over the original manuscripts of masterpieces such as Endgame, Dreams, or What We Leave Behind? This is your chance! Help raise money for Deep Green Resistance and enter the raffle to win fabulous prizes! Ticket prices are not too high. deepgreenresistance.org/dinnerwithderrick/

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By heterochromatic, February 9, 2012 at 10:08 pm Link to this comment

“But Joe, you’re ten years dead,”
“I never died,” says he
“I never died,” says he

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By EmileZ, February 9, 2012 at 9:57 pm Link to this comment

@ cutherd

I was unaware that the IWW has managed to revive and recreate itself since what I thought was it’s demise in the 40’s.

I see OWS as an entirely different animal.

I would not equate the “Blac Bloc” activities with any kind of labor organizing. To strongly criticize the “Black Bloc” is not the same thing as criticizing sit-down strikes, or blocking railroads, ports, etc. (and hopefully being able to articulate why you are doing so beyond saying “Goldman Sachs profits from this port, I don’t know how, but I know it does” if you are doing so outside of a specific labor struggle which I know is not entirely fair to say on my part, but it is still worth considering).

Personally, I would like to see unions get more militant, but I am not aching for the return of gun battles with cops or Pinkertons or anything like that.

I don’t know what Hedges thinks about all that.

P.S. Non-violent civil disobedience might also be considered direct action don’t you think???

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By tomcat, February 9, 2012 at 9:48 pm Link to this comment

It’s funny, but rarely do I think about how serious the situation is. Maybe it’s my personality, or a self -defense mechanism which keeps me from getting bogged down in the negative.
Maybe it’s the same mechanism that’s at work with Americans, as it was, in Nazi Germany.
But a few difference, which make for more of a challenge here:
1. We have an uneducated population, which doesn’t know history- ours or anyone else’s, nor do they know current events.
2. We have this huge propaganda machine- mass media, which has been in existence for decades, which generations have imprinted in.
Many people are uneasy, but beyond their own financial woes, they really don’t know what’s going on.
Knowledge is key to freeing the psyche from the dominant paradigm.
In a way, it always comes back to education, but there’s just not enough time to do so in the traditional way.
So perhaps technology will be the key in this age of knowledge….AND a vibrant Occupy movement.

The frogs are in a kettle of hot water, and the heat is rising. Save the frogs!

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By Mark E. Smith, February 9, 2012 at 9:09 pm Link to this comment

Thank you Dave Ewoldt. I agree.

No, Macresarf1, fifty million in the streets couldn’t be ignored. But there won’t be fifty million because those with jobs and mortgages aren’t coming back in the spring—they have jobs and mortgages to think about. And six or eight million, if Occupy ever managed to get that many, can easily be suppressed. Homeland Security has already built the concentration camps to hold that many and spent billions on crowd control training and weapons.

I was born and raised Jewish, but I’m an atheist. I’m not a Zionist and I support the Palestinian cause. But I think I know something about why the Israeli Zionists are so brutal. Because even at age 71, I still have something ringing in my ears from my childhood—the taunt that the Jews in Nazi Germany “went like sheep.”

Oh, there was the Warsaw Ghetto uprising, and a few uprisings in the concentration camps, but they were too little too late. Millions were rounded up, carted off, and killed, and they went like sheep. They did, because they didn’t believe that the German government would do anything like that, and they were good, law-abiding citizens. They respected authority and obeyed orders. Yes, some fled the country, but they were the paranoid few—the conspiracy theorists. The rest, when told to move to the ghetto, packed their things and moved to the ghetto. When told to board the cattle cars, they boarded the cattle cars. When told to enter the “showers,” they lined up for the gas chambers.

I was a child, so I didn’t really know at the time, but it was within my lifetime and I studied it a lot when I was old enough. How could it have happened? How could people have voted for a fascist government that waged wars of aggression and killed innocent people? You know, the “good Germans,” who never hated Jews, who were just suffering from a bad economy inflicted on them after WWI, and who wanted jobs and housing and health care. The same things that the good, law-abiding citizens of the US want today.

I don’t support or advocate violence. But I do support the right to self-defense, and I do think people should question authority and not blindly obey orders. Because nobody’s going to come to our aid if the US government decides to improve the economy by killing a few million US citizens, those with mortgages aren’t going to speak up, and after it is all over, when the nations of the world have decided that they’ve had enough of the sole superpower—the 5% that causes most of the world’s suffering by hogging 30% of the world’s resources—nobody is going to come along with a Marshall plan to bail us out.

Dave Ewoldt is right. Instead of being good little citizens, obeying authority, and voting for the system, we need a different system, one based on cooperation instead of on competition.

Some people have seen what’s coming. They stopped paying their mortgages, simplified their lifestyles, and are working to transition away from fascism to true anarchism, to helping each other instead of supporting the state and enriching the obscenely rich with their labor. They come to Occupy and they bring food from their organic gardens. But they don’t provoke or make themselves targets for the police because they have gardens to tend and families to feed. They give teach-ins. And some of them dress in black and wear masks because they know what a police state is. They will not go like sheep.

It’s those who respect authority who will go like sheep. It always is. They don’t see fascism as the cancer, they see those who don’t respect authority as the cancer. History repeats.

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By Ron O, February 9, 2012 at 8:54 pm Link to this comment

Here’s another cancer in the Occupy Movement

Occupy Boston Website /2/8 article entitled
What the Boomers economic war against the Millenials has wrought

http://www.occupyboston.org

One quote, as if the title was not enough “But batten down the hatches, because if there’s one thing they’ve made abundantly clear, the Boomers are going to cling to life and power until the very last EKG blip, fleecing us all the while.”

How’s that for fortifying public support for the Occupy movements across all demographics?

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By geoduck, February 9, 2012 at 8:12 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Okay, one more time.  By English common law and the right of the American People to sovereignty by their victory in the revolution, a bunch of people assembled to debate current events and problems then voting on them constitutes a COMMON LAW GRAND JURY!  Do you get it now?  The ‘black bloc’ is disrupting a common law grand jury in their deliberations and saying ‘I’m not sovereign, you’re not sovereign.’

And that’s what Special Forces learned in Viet Nam.

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By Dave Ewoldt, February 9, 2012 at 8:05 pm Link to this comment

Macresarf1, yes indeed, _true_ anarchy is the goal. Not the nonsense that is nihilism, and not some romantic Marxist ruling hierarchy, but egalitarian non-coercive self-governance that is self-organized by the people into the mutually supportive relationships that function in pretty much the same manner that a sustainable climax ecosystem does. Since it’s been working rather well for billions of years for all the other creatures of the Earth, as well as for life itself, perhaps we humans could use our brains for something other than keeping our ears apart and put our innovative nature to work to do something other than destroy our one and only life-support system by believing in stories that say we are separate from it and so special we don’t have to suffer the consequences of our actions.

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By Macresarf1, February 9, 2012 at 6:37 pm Link to this comment

Mark:  Most of the 99% still have jobs, still have responsibilities to those closest to them.  They can’t always be running around in the streets, playing Lawrence of Arabia in black urban mufti.  They are disturbed, frightened, and frustrated by seemingly mindless destruction, of obstruction of their ingress or egress to the
places they have to work.  But, come Spring, if the romantics and covert police agents you defend don’t succeed in discrediting the Occupy Movements entirely, the 99% will return in swelling numbers, as the economy tanks (again) and the Middle East explodes in . . . anarchy and civil war.  They shall force the State to bend, even break—if government minions do not heed the peaceful but overwhelmingly powerful message:  WE CAN NO LONGER AFFORD IN ANY WAY WITLESS ECONOMIC AND MILITARY ACTS TO SERVE THE 1%!

  Take off the masks.  Stand up and be counted. Fifty million in the streets cannot be ignored.

  On the other hand, if you relish thousands of protestors shot down like in Syria, ask yourself the question:  Who will dare come rescue US?

  Is true Anarchy your desired goal?

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By Mark E. Smith, February 9, 2012 at 6:09 pm Link to this comment

Macresarf1 writes: “The 1% announce through governmental spokespersons: We shall protect the public from these hooligans!’”

That’s exactly what Hedges is saying, that the Black Bloc are hooligans, a cancer, and that Occupy needs to be protected from them. Not from the government, not from the police, but from the hooligans.

Occupy didn’t lose support due to black-masked figures burning imperialist flags and breaking capitalist windows, they lost support because the cops destroyed the encampments and used extreme violence to frighten away any who weren’t willing to risk making the supreme sacrifice. Many Occupy cities have never burned an imperialist flag, and indeed, proudly wave, display, and defend the US imperialist flag, and have never had a single incident of property damage, but they’ve lost support anyway because they’ve been subjected to police violence and brutality designed to frighten away the middle class.

If Occupy now alienates the only ones left, those who ARE willing to endure police brutality, they’ll have no support left whatsoever, which is what Hedges wants. People concerned only about their mortgage payments aren’t Occupying because to risk being beaten and arrested by the cops would mean risking the loss of their jobs and then they’d no longer be able to make any mortgage payments at all.

The Democrats made the same mistake, abandoning their base in an attempt to win over the mainstream public by moving farther and farther to the political right. They didn’t win over the political right, and they lost much of their base. If Occupy abandons its base to cater to FOX News viewers, it will have the same result. People who want social change don’t watch the MSM, we prefer alternative media—and we’re the only base that Occupy has. The rest are infiltrators trying to co-opt Occupy into the failed electoral system.

http://www.truthdig.com/report/item/elections_are_for_suckers_20120209/

Yup, right here on TruthDig, “Elections are for Suckers,” by Robert Scheer.

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By heterochromatic, February 9, 2012 at 6:02 pm Link to this comment

I regret that I have but 9 lives to lose .......

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By tomcat, February 9, 2012 at 5:55 pm Link to this comment

blah…blah…blah….

As the OWS movement grows, representative of the 99%,
more black bloc will occur. It’s inevitable.
If you felt the call to this revolution as the best and perhaps last chance for this country, as I did, then we must accept the challenge of ending the most powerful empire ever, with heart and with solidarity, and ALWAYS remember which side you’re on.

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By heterochromatic, February 9, 2012 at 5:39 pm Link to this comment

How can we address the true violence of the state when people are pointing
fingers at us?
——

the olde-fashioned way

http://youtu.be/dOOTKA0aGI0

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By heterochromatic, February 9, 2012 at 5:31 pm Link to this comment

Thanks dave…yes, we can agree that it’s merely a generally good policy and that
the language of “rights’ is neither wisely nor correctly used in this matter.


I was twice as stoned as the niece way back in my high school days and far more
questioning of authority, but i also WANTED and VALUED an education and did the
work necessary to graduate high school and to induce people to offer me a free
university education.

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By tomcat, February 9, 2012 at 5:26 pm Link to this comment

Pwest,
The REALITY of the OWS movement is that most of those on the front line ARE non-violent (of the active form)...Agreed?..(and they’re beautiful people, too)
I think it’s a natural reflection of the general population in general.
Our population, at least old (traditional) middle America,is so isolated from conflict on this scale that they look at a protester throwing a bottle and say: Oh…that’s awful…I would never do that!
This mindset of purity is what must be changed…one person at a time….
This mindset looks first to the protesters to blame, and as Graeber points out, the media perpetuates this.
We’re all subject to it, and need to break free.

How can we address the true violence of the state when people are pointing fingers at us?
Please, accept and trust the people who are out there for all of us.
Ron

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By Macresarf1, February 9, 2012 at 5:24 pm Link to this comment

Mark:  I saw (and reviewed) Adam Curtis’s brilliant BBC documentary, THE POWER OF NIGHTMARES: THE RISE OF THE POLITICS OF FEAR, when the three-parter had one of its very few American showings at the Roxie in San Francisco, back in 2005 or so.  Curtis actually makes the same point I’m making, that the methods developed by those around bin Laden eventually played right into the hands of the governments he was supposedly confronting. [Yes, he WAS ‘a patsy’!]  As Curtis’s title suggests, the Bush’s, Maggie Thatcher, Tony Blair, et al, were able to scale back services to their people, following the collapse of the Soviets, and concentrate on promising security from nebulous “terrorists.”  Secret police and military intelligence, as others here have documented, have always welcomed, for nearly 150 years, “anarchists,” “nihilists,” “bomb-throwers.”  What better way of getting a worried, frustrated populace back on their side than to point to black-masked figures smashing windows?  The 1% announce through governmental spokespersons: “We shall protect the public from these hooligans!”

  That, after all, is the thesis of THE POWER OF NIGHTMARES: THE RISE OF THE POLITICS OF FEAR.

  And of course,  the police agencies now have media advantages that they did not have in the 19th Century, the heyday of the anarchists you champion.  The police now have a video cameras and video tape.  They can put on the 6’o'clock or 11 o’clock news footage of ant-like figures in black smashing windows, burning American flags, etc, and every time the footage is repeated or refreshed with new footage, the Occupy Movements lose thousands of those who had supported the earlier peaceful demonstrations.

  Those pictures, no matter how much you may argue to the contrary, were not taken 13 years ago; they are being taken weekly, daily.  And unless you have an equivalent to the Sixth
Mountain Division to defend the Anarchists militarily, they will be crushed (or simply slink away after causing tragic mischief) as they always have in the past.  The State is much more ready to act
in sheer firepower than anything the true romantics among your black blocs can even imagine mustering today.  But in the process, they will destroy the promise of the Occupy Movements.

  And at that point, the public will CHEER!

  Granting that some of these violent street rioters are sincere, too much is at stake to piss it all away now on the promise of wonderful drunken reunions for the nihilist   survivors, singing revolutionary songs, twenty-five years from now!

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By whitedog, February 9, 2012 at 5:24 pm Link to this comment

Black Boc is bad, obviously very very bad foil for real positive movements toward a better world. But there are other foils equally bad. My local Green Party, for instance, is invaded by people who will do anythig to make those involved look ridiculous who may be original thinkers, have clarity of world and local view, and sense of effective strategy. Violence is an obvious enemy of peaceful protest, but how do you counteract take over by insidious leaches?

All take heed, the progressive left is alive and well behind all sorts of thick and thin veils to conceal it.

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By Dave Ewoldt, February 9, 2012 at 5:23 pm Link to this comment

heterochromatic… ah, ok, I see what you’re getting at. And a valid point, too, that does require clarification as it gets overlooked quite a bit.

It is a right by we the people saying it is. This is basically the manner in which the US Constitution works. The Constitution _recognizes_ rights, it doesn’t _create_ fundamental, inalienable rights.

In the example you’re using of a wayward niece, the implementation and regulation are separate from the right itself. But let’s think a bit deeper about that particular case. If the niece should happen to mature, the education should be available to her. Also, we have to be honest about the way inherently intelligent people react to dehumanizing situations, which is what we have in the public education system today. If you question authority, you have a disruptive behavior disorder, and get pumped full of psychoactive drugs. Education should be fun, it shouldn’t be a brutal mind-numbing experience. For a social species that is inquisitive and innovative,

We also need to accept the fact that a cookie cutter educational system doesn’t work well for everyone. There is a general baseline that helps with developing a general curriculum for different age groups, and that often works for the majority of people, but someone isn’t bad because they don’t grasp advanced algebra until their thirties, if at all, while becoming an accomplished concert pianist, or whatever.

To address something else that often comes up on this subject, in a well developed educational system, testing to see whether someone with the desire should go to a masters program or to a technical school (just as an example) should be approached from the perspective of helping someone fulfill their potential. Currently, we assign totally arbitrary status to one or the other, instead of realizing that both are important in contributing to overall quality of life within a society. For example, there is no fundamental difference between a doctor and a mechanic. I mean, when you take a close look at medicine today, doctors are just technicians, they’re not healers.

Anyway… I digress…

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By TuffsNotEnuff, February 9, 2012 at 5:22 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

First, the most of “Black Bloc” is bussed in provocateurs/provos. They come armed with nunchukas for breaking windows and depressingly similar masks and clothing.

Second, a few dummies follow their lead.

Third, the first riot at an Occupy-related event was October 8th 2011—Air & Space Museum in Washington DC. Patrick Howley and Mike Stack conspired to distract gurds, springing Howley to run into the main display area without going through the metal detectors.

That scheme forced USASM to close immediately, plus getting dozens of peaceful citizens pepper sprayed. Investigation and arrests pending.

Righties recruit through Leadership Institute out of Virginia. That includes getting Rove out of high school and the likes of Breitbart, O’Keefe, Joe Basel, Stan Dai, and other assorted felons.

Screwing up Occupy ??? They’re copying Segretti’s Dirty Tricks crew and the Plumbers.

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By Wikileaks for Nobel, February 9, 2012 at 4:53 pm Link to this comment

Chris Hedges has not incited anyone to violence.  The irony of such rhetoric—which is all it is—is considerable, given that his concern is about people who have in fact shown, in a variety of locales and over time, a willingness for threat and coercion.  The grandiosity of Mr. Graeber’s granting of good intentions to Hedges is impressive, though possibly not in quite the way intended; there is—for all the “horizontal” cant in the world—a definite hierarchy, apparently based upon “who was there” and preferably “from the beginning.”  We leave it to those who are concerned about such rankings to determine where “there” was and what qualifies as “beginning.”

For those indisposed to such trivial pursuits, there is the matter taken up by Mr. Hedges in his article.  He is looking, you see, not inward to the subculture of the street-wise, but more broadly to those about whom the Black Bloc knows little and cares less:  the no-doubt “bourgeois” folks who have mortgages and payments and children to support.  These are the future of Occupation—if it has one.  It is those apparently contemptible fuddy-duddies who probably don’t know about Bakunin but do have a pretty good idea about being on the anvil side of banks; who haven’t checked out the latest autonomous zine, but are probably fretting about healthcare—or the lack of it.  Sometimes they are called “the 99%,” but whatever they are called, they are the future of any successful, major shift in the power tectonics of our society. 

I’m currently aware that in one of the larger Occupations, the current in-the-know term for anyone who transgresses the requirements of being Sufficiently Black Bloc, is ‘snitch.’  For those not aware, this is a term widely used in the federal penitentiaries, for someone who tells a guard someone that another prisoner did, possibly to gain some kind of favor.  Snitching is a serious matter in the pen, and it is telling that it is this term that has come, now, to be applied to anyone who takes a picture of one of the balaklava vanguard, or otherwise endangers their revolutionary pose. 

What was that you were saying about threats of violence, Mr. Graeber?  I’m sure, from your lofty vantage point, you must be aware of what I’m discussing.  Perhaps this will be part of that “tiny splinter” that seems to crop up wherever there is a Black Bloc.  Oh, I forgot—it’s just a tactic.  You know, the same tactic that knows each other by name and keeps in touch. 

I find it rich indeed to hear your name associated with Gandhi, who was the paragon of openness.  Nonviolence is not associated with accusations of snitching and the need to hide.  Didn’t you know? 

Finally, I must mention the fully delusional ranting of one of your fans, who speaking of Hedges and his ilk advises that “...when the rest of the world looks at them we see inhuman ghouls covered in the blood of their victims.”  I’m sure you’re charmed by this, Mr. Graeber, and you and the rest of the Gandhian Black Bloc will want to be sure to prominently post this at your next horizontal get-together.

In the meantime, there are bills to pay and the real world to Occupy, where real suffering is going on.

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By heterochromatic, February 9, 2012 at 4:37 pm Link to this comment

Dave——education is a good policy and a boon to the individual and the
society…..I get that and I’ve gotten it.


I believe it.


But how is it a right?


If my niece has trouble learning, refuses to study math or history, and spends
her high school years smoking dope and getting drunk, doesn’t study and only
barely graduates high school because her father does her homework, does she
have a RIGHT to a free university education?

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By pwest, February 9, 2012 at 4:35 pm Link to this comment

Mark, it is absurd to say that Hedges, in an article denouncing violent tactics, is somehow, inciting violence. It was a poor choice of words to call Blac Bloc a “cancer” to the movement, but it is far from inciting violence against them. It merely points out that their actions are undermining the movement. This is easy enough to concede as these “militant tactics” employed by Blac Bloc can be used by Fox and other national media to condemn the movement as a whole, as well as open the occupiers to massive manipulation by police who would like nothing more than to be given a reason to close the movements down.

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By Dave Ewoldt, February 9, 2012 at 4:29 pm Link to this comment

heterochromatic, I’ll tackle that one (education as a right), but you’re going to have to put your thinking cap on and be willing to connect a few dots.

Education in an advanced, supposedly civilized society should be much closer on the spectrum toward a _right_, as opposed to a _privilege_ of money or birth. See The Underground History of American Education by John Taylor Gatto for more on this and how the elites have gamed the system in this area.

Just a few of the reasons this is important—the more educated a society is the more it tends toward true democracy, the more educated a society is the higher its level of progress and prosperity, and the more educated a society is the lower its level of poverty and discontent. These are all net social goods, which means the overall society is safer and more secure, thus lower per capita outlay for law enforcement and prisons. By the way, you can substitute health care for education in all of the above.

Also, if you’re a believer in capitalism, two of its supposed advantages (as opposed to how it actually works in the real world) are increased support for innovation and entrepreneurship. Both of these require an educated populace to be maximally effective.

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By Mark E. Smith, February 9, 2012 at 4:27 pm Link to this comment

Read this Open Letter to Chris Hedges:

http://goo.gl/2S56I

Post the link on your social networks. Print it out and pass out copies at your local Occupy.

Here’s the long link to the same article:

http://news.infoshop.org/article.php?story=20120209134436916

Hedges’ divisive tactics and incitement to violence must be averted if the Occupy movement is to survive.

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By Mark E. Smith, February 9, 2012 at 4:20 pm Link to this comment

Why is Chris Hedges inciting violence? That’s the question that asked in the Open Letter to Chris Hedges that possums, wardad, and skchgo cited, and which Hedges and his supporters would do well to read.

Here’s a better link to the article:

http://news.infoshop.org/article.php?story=20120209134436916

And if that doesn’t work, try the shortened version:

http://goo.gl/2S56I

Graeber is a much better student of Gandhi than Hedges. And he was one of the original NYC Occupy planners.

And he’s right. Calling someone a cancer is demanding that they be excised. It is a call to violence of the sort that is used to incite genocides and ethnic cleansing. It is dehumanization. And it is aimed at people in the interests of protecting property and a media image that doesn’t exist anyway.

Graeber gives Hedges the benefit of the doubt, but I think Hedges knew exactly what he was doing. When he and his liberal supporters look in the mirror they see good, decent, law-abiding, well-meaning citizens, and they are oblivious to the fact that when the rest of the world looks at them we see inhuman ghouls covered in the blood of their victims.

I think Hedges knew he was inciting violence and dividing the Occupy movement—he’s much too experienced a writer to say things he doesn’t mean or to not be aware of what he is saying and its implications.

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By pwest, February 9, 2012 at 4:13 pm Link to this comment

Tomcat, I don’t deny that people can be beaten or even killed while they engage in non-violent protest. This goes with the territory. Of course, this is easier said than done. I do listen to those on the front lines and I appreciate the courage that it takes to be there. That being said, those on the front lines are not right in their approach simply because they are on the front lines. We should listen, yes, but all the evidence suggests that non-violent resistance is the way to go.

I’m not saying be a pollyanna, but that non-violent resistance is not only morally superior to militant tactics, it also is pragmatically the best approach in our case. It is not for the weak, however, and actually takes great commitment and courage to carry out. It is not “pacifism,” but direct action, in the face of evil, carried out non-violently. This is why groups like Blac Bloc are so important, we need the courage and the strength coming from those groups to join us.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nonviolent_Soldier_of_Islam

I would check out this book, if you have time, Tomcat, it’s about Khan Abdul Ghaffar Khan, who endured great suffering at the hands of the British Empire, before becoming an ally of Ghandi’s in non-violent protest. He was a man on the front lines, so to speak, and faced much greater circumstances than those in our current struggle, and yet adopted non-violent resistance.

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By Ed Romano, February 9, 2012 at 4:12 pm Link to this comment

The Occupy movement can grow and thrive ONLY by non violent means. If it approaches all of its events non violently it will attract more and more Americans when the violence and injustice visted on them by the police and legal system is witnessed. And one thing you can always count on…..the system ALWAYS over reacts to what it sees as the slightest threat. Changing the system is the most serious undertaking a people can attempt. If it seems that they will be successful, no matter how slight that success may be, the repression that will come down on them will be terrific. BUT to start out thinking you can get anywhere by violent means in this country is truly the delusional thinking of raw amateurs.

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By OzarkMichael, February 9, 2012 at 4:03 pm Link to this comment

I said:“I see signs that we are headed for much worse government than what we have now. “

kat answered: 

I thought the Occupy Movement was about EVERY nation that suffers from US sponsored murder, exploitation and environmental rape.

.........I guess not. This is just about us and our shattered American Dream. Give us THAT back and we will be quiet.

Be aware that i am not an Occupy supporter, but yes thats an important point. You have big dreams and you want them to come true all at once. You should be more interested in those things that you have some control over. You should be extremely concerned about the process of how we interact with our government. Is OWS going to make this better or worse?

If OWS makes the process worse, we could have chaos, where force rules the day, and nobody will buy into the result except by coercion. It wont be better than what we have now, it will be far worse. It seems to me you dont mind that scenario.

I also want to make you aware that if the US is less free, we might actually perform worse on the world stage than we do now.

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By heterochromatic, February 9, 2012 at 3:55 pm Link to this comment

no tom… I DO disagree but I’m quite happy to learn…....I happen to think that the
Oakland pol,ice ARE too violent, but that’s not the main point. the protesters can’t
win by throwing rocks and bottles at them.

not only will they get their asses handed to them, but they’ll keep turning people
off from the goddamned reasons WHY people are protesting and diminish the
support that the protests are supposed to engender.


bad tactics are bad tactics.

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By tomcat, February 9, 2012 at 3:35 pm Link to this comment

Elisalouisa,
thanks for that…
and I recommend you stay away from heterochromatic…
he doesn’t want to learn…just wants to disagree.

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By heterochromatic, February 9, 2012 at 3:11 pm Link to this comment

elisa—-how and when did university education become a right?


9. Education – all people have the right to a high quality, publicly-funded and
broad education from pre-school through vocational training or university.


upon what is this putative right based?

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By heterochromatic, February 9, 2012 at 3:08 pm Link to this comment

tomcat—-that’s very interesting…... please provide the evidence that military-style
force is being used w/o cause.

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By elisalouisa, February 9, 2012 at 3:07 pm Link to this comment

Occupy Wall Street Washington D.C.
Fifteen Core Issues The Country Must Face

These are the core issues identified by the October2011 Movement steering committee.

1. Corporatism– firmly establish that money is not speech, corporations are not people, only people have Constitutional rights, end corporate influence over the political process, protect people and the environment from damage by corporations.

2. Wars and Militarism – end wars and occupationYahoo! Mails, end private for-profit military contractors, reduce the national security state and end the weapons export industry. War crimes, crimes against humanity and crimes against peace must be addressed and those responsible held accountable under
international law.

3. Human Rights – end exploitation of people in the US and abroad, end discrimination in all forms, equal civil rights and due process for all people.

4. Worker Rights and jobs – all working-age people have the right to safe, just, non-discriminatory and dignified working conditions, a sustainable living wage, paid leave and economic protection.

5. Government – all processes of the three branches of government should be accountable to international law, transparent and follow the rule of law, people have the right to participate in decisions which affect them.

6. Elections – all citizens 18 and older have the right to vote without barriers, all candidates have the right to be heard and to run and all votes should be counted.

7. Criminal justice and prisons –end private for-profit prisons, adopt evidence-based drug policy, prisoners have the right to humane and just conditions with a focus on rehabilitation and reintegration into society, abolish the death penalty.

8. Healthcare – create a national, universal and publicly financed comprehensive health system.

9. Education – all people have the right to a high quality, publicly-funded and broad education from pre-school through vocational training or university.

10. Housing – all people have the right to affordable and safe housing.

11. Environment – adopt policies which effectively create a carbon-free and radio-active free energy economy and that respects the rights of nature.

12. Finance and the economy – end policies which foster a wealth divide and move to a localized and democratic financial system, reform taxes so that they are progressive and provide goods, monetary gain and services for the people.

13. Media – airwaves and the internet are public goods, require that media be honest, accurate and accountable to the people.
14. Food and water – create systems that protect the land and water, create local and sustainable food networks and practices.

15. Transportation – provide affordable, clean and convenient public
transportation and safe spaces for pedestrian and non-automobile travel.

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By tomcat, February 9, 2012 at 3:00 pm Link to this comment

pwest,
Having read your post a few times, I sense you’re far away from the reality of what’s happening in the streets.
You are aware of the highly militarized state of many cities’ police, yet, as with the military, they HAVE the weapons to USE the weapons, regardless of your non-violence…and they do so WITHOUT provocation in cities like Oakland.
Ask the resisters there, on J28, about the value of black bloc who used peace shields to keep their comrades from being beaten.

Graeber: “One expresses what solidarity one can with others who share the same struggle, and if one cannot, tries one’s best to ignore or avoid them, but above all, one keeps the focus on the actual source of violence, without doing or saying anything that might seem to justify that violence because of tactical disagreements you have with fellow activists.”

What I’ve learned in reading, discussing and listening over the past three days is this:
Listen first and foremost to the people on the front lines.
Decide which side you’re on, and embrace it fully (though not blindly),
and look at mainstream media as theater.
Our comrades are preparing for the American Spring.
Now is the time to get our hearts and minds clear.

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By Karen, February 9, 2012 at 2:52 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

When violence began in the labor movement, it was not
the protesters that started it; their violence was a
reaction to the unspeakable brutality of the State when
it sees a threat to the well-being of the few.  Hedges
is articulate and I used to like him, but the hate
speech in this article makes any Black Bloc “violence”
pale in comparison.  Apparently Hedges forgot all his
reading of the New Testament way back when in school. 
For a more balanced view of the bloc and what’s
happening in Oakland, try:
http://www.truth-out.org/occupy-oakland/1328726021

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By Reinhold, February 9, 2012 at 2:50 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

It’s also telling that you finish your critique by suggesting that “full-scale revolt” is a delusional and worthless idea, since this amounts to a repudiation of the idea of real resistance to neoliberalism. You’d prefer that people martyr themselves to the police, and as David Graeber pointed out in his recent response to Hedges, this attitude is what is seriously damaging to a popular movement, not some outbursts of frustrated bottle-throwing. It is a revealing perversion of the situation to say that it is the ‘black bloc’ which is fracturing and discrediting the movement when it is those who attempt to discredit their fellow-protestors who are THEREBY fragmenting it. NO ‘black bloc’ protestor would EVER turn a fellow-protestor in to the police, or call them a “cancer” undermining their own movement. There are no historical facts to support the idea that violence in response to state repression undermines popular movements; it is those who denounce their own who inevitably give credence to the claims of authorities.

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By zoskia, February 9, 2012 at 2:41 pm Link to this comment

http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/programmes/hardtalk/9690344.stm 
                                    DR Gene Sharp talking to the BBC about violence….and dealing with repressive governments.

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By zoskia, February 9, 2012 at 2:28 pm Link to this comment

Sometimes To Prepare For Some Things, That Are Important, Is Important.

“Dictators are never as strong as they tell you they are.    People Are Never As Weak As They Think They Are”       
Below is an educational tool in a world awash with violence… I recommend you glance at this link,as it may show you things that may help A Lot. http://www.aeinstein.org/organizationsde07.html    198 Methods of non violent action/and From Dictatorship to Democracy/ these are free downloads..http://www.aeinstein.org/organizationsde07.html

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