Photo credit: Mickey Z.
Mickey Z. -- World News Trust
Aug. 19, 2013
"Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the government for a redress of grievances."
Key word: Peaceably.
Activists of all stripes love to brandish the First Amendment as a shield, but in reality it's just a jumble of words vague enough to validate, say, the NYPD tear-gassing the unarmed humans who ran a public kitchen that operated on bicycle-generated energy and supplied free food for the homeless.
As long as our enemies control the definition of the word "peaceably," justice will remain elusive if not impossible. Like a casino, the game is rigged and house plays only to win -- and this often means re-imagining language itself.
You might even call it the "Dictionary of the 1%."
I remember back in October 2011, when NYPD Commissioner Ray Kelly told tales of (unarmed) protestors (purportedly) "targeting" (heavily armed) cops at the original Zuccotti Park occupation.
"These people wanted to have confrontation with the police for whatever reason. Somehow, I guess it works to their purposes," Kelly told WCBS in New York before adding the obvious: "They're going to be met with force when they do that."
Kelly went on to add: "We're going to accommodate them as long as they do it peacefully and in accordance with the laws and regulations."
He had no comment, of course, on members of his police force "peacefully" remaining in accordance with any "laws and regulations."
Over the years, I've often heard activists talking (boasting, even) about how peaceful they are. Without getting into the pros and cons of dissidents being so proud of obeying laws, I will confidently declare that dissent in the U.S. is definitely notpeaceful.
There's nothing truly non-violent about any environment surrounded by heavily armed defenders of the corporate status quo -- no matter how many folk songs you sing or organic banana peels you compost.
The reason why the Zuccotti Park occupation was perceived by most as a non-violent protest is because the mercenaries of the 1% created a ring around it -- filming the occupiers' every move and threatening immediate and unrestricted violence towards anyone it deemed as a worthy target.
The occupiers may have displayed almost exclusively peaceful behavior but the brutal logic of violent deterrence was a 24/7 factor influencing this choice. If someone in OWS had wanted to try a different tack, well, Ray Kelly already explained that one: "They're going to be met with force."
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