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The Way It Is

By       Message Gene Marx     Permalink
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With less than a week to go before Black Friday, when the holiday season becomes official, nothing brings out the kid in each of us this time of year quite like an Occupation Wall Street crackdown, a police cordon, or a baton wielding SWAT team. What's next, tanks?

We've all seen the news coverage, at least through social media. Now the whole world's watching, intently, as our sleeping giant of informed ignorance and apathy is finally starting to stir from a decades-long, debt driven coma, but it will be a longer time yet before this sleep stink subsides -- if ever. Not since the streets and jails were filling up with anti-war demonstrators protesting another hell, in another Asian occupation, have we witnessed such fervor, now with government and corporate hubris morphing into angst.

Much of the demographic on the receiving end of 2011's blunt force remains the same -- students, jobless graduates, the impoverished and middle class -- and the elders are still there, once again looking to reap justice. After all, it was they who learned that by stepping into the streets, the impossible becomes the probable, like ending the Vietnam slaughter and reclaiming their lives and futures. They kept showing up, again and again, in spite of the cops, in spite of the tear gas, in spite of Kent State. And they won.

Today's multitudes are showing up everywhere, and occupying, growing with each setback and still coming back. The cuts and contusions from the nightsticks, the smell of the gas -- everything's the same, and yet somehow so different.

Corporate malfeasance with Congressional complicity has replaced the draft board and the Red Scare. Another endless war, this time with hydra repercussions far beyond the casualty count of the latest province to be stabilized, has created collateral damage of epic proportions at home. Joblessness, legions of homeless, economic collapse, a crumbling infrastructure, and meaningless elections of disaffected legislators by all counts should numb surrendering inhabitants into a total immersion of complacency or realty TV.

Singer/songwriter Joe Paquin once sang, "The way it is, the way it was back then ... the way is was is the way it is again."

But it's not, now with a burgeoning police state rearing its many heads.

21st Century so-called crowd control tactics now include arresting journalists, beating legal observers, bludgeoning pregnant women in Portland, Berkeley and Seattle, manhandling wheelchair bound demonstrators, the use of flash grenades and rubber bullets, now stock and trade for suppressing peaceable assembly.

"What did you do at work today daddy -- or mommy?"

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Rambo wannabes in Oakland went so far as to fire a projectile canister into a crowd of occupiers and into the skull of 24-year-old Iraq veteran Scott Olsen, inflicting the damage he managed to avoid in combat, traumatic brain injury. With another projectile they dispersed a group that came to his aid.

"Who did you spray today daddy?"

After being corralled by a police squad on bicycles in downtown Seattle, 84-year-old Veterans For Peace activist Dorli Rainey took a direct shot of pepper spray while standing in solidarity with Occupy protestors, or in the words of a police spokesperson, refusing to "disperse or engaging in assaultive behavior toward officers." Well, who can blame the police? How else is a cop expected to subdue all 4'10" of Dorli?  

Fortunately, as the attacks on civil liberties continue to mount unabated by hapless mayors and their shock troops, now choreographed by Homeland Security, freedom "insurgency" is on the rise. As history has proven, movements like the Occupy Movement are the beneficiaries of misguided brute force, and empires never learn from history.

Historian and social activist Howard Zinn once said, "Civil disobedience can arouse people and provoke us to think, and when we organize with one another, when we get involved, when we stand up and speak out together, we can create a power no government can suppress." This time around we have the numbers.

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And who knows, these goons and thugs who call themselves police officers, the right wing of the 99%, might even start protecting the real victims -- not minding at all the queries of the innocents at their doorsteps.

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The author of this piece is Vietnam Veteran and former Naval Aviator Gene Marx. He currently serves as a member of the Veterans For Peace Membership Committee and was the past Secretary of the VFP National Board of Directors. He lives in (more...)

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