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OpEdNews Op Eds    H2'ed 11/15/11

The Police State Makes Its Move: Retaining one's humanity in the face of tyranny

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Message Phil Rockstroh
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For days now surrounding Veterans Day, we have endured demonstrably false propaganda that the fallen soldiers of U.S. wars sacrificed their lives for "our freedoms."

Yet, as that noxious nonsense still lingers in the air, militarized police have invaded OWS sites in numerous cities, including Zuccotti Park in Lower Manhattan, and, in the boilerplate description of the witless courtesans of the corporate media, with the mission to "evict the occupiers."

U.S soldiers died protecting what and who again? These actions should make this much clear: The U.S. military and the police exist to protect the 1 percent. At this point, the ideal of freedom will be carried by those willing to resist cops and soldiers.

There have been many who have struggled and often died for freedom -- but scant few were clad in uniforms issued by governments.

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Freedom rises despite cops and soldiers not because of them. And that is exactly why those who despise freedom propagate military hagiography and fetishize those wearing uniforms -- so they can give the idea of liberty lip service as all the while they order it crushed.

When anyone tells you that dead soldiers died for your freedom, it is your duty to occupy reality and inform them of just how mistaken they are. And if you truly cherish the concepts of freedom and liberty, you just might be called on to face mindless arrays of fascist cops and lose your freedom, for a time, going to jail, so others might, at some point, gain their freedom.


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I was born in Birmingham Alabama, at slightly past the mid-point of the decade of the 1950s. Many of my earliest memories involve the struggle for civil rights that was transpiring on the streets of my hometown.

My father was employed at a scrap metal yard but also worked as a freelance photojournalist who hawked his work to media photo syndicates such as Black Star which then sold his wares to the major newsmagazines of the day.

Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. in poster by Robbie Conal (Robbieconal.com)

A number of the iconic photographs of the era were captured by his Nikon camera e.g., of vicious police dogs unleashed on peaceful demonstrators; of demonstrators cart-wheeled down city streets by the force of fire hoses; of Dr. King and other civil rights marchers kneeled in prayer before arrays of Police Chief Bull Connor's thuggish ranks of racist cops.

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In Birmingham, racist laws and racial and economic inequality were the progenitors of acts of official viciousness. The social structure in place was indefensible. Reason and common decency held no dominion in the justifications for the established order that was posited by the system's apologists and enforcers; therefore, brutality filled the void created by the absence of their humanity.

And the same situation is extant in the growing suppression of the OWS movement in various cities, nationwide, including Liberty Park in Lower Manhattan. The 1 percent and their paid operatives -- local city officials -- are striving to protect an unjust, inherently dishonest status quo. Lacking a moral mandate, they are prone to the use of police state forms of repression.

Dr. King et al faced their oppressors on the streets of my hometown. Civil Rights activists knew that they had to hold their ground to retain their dignity " that it was imperative to sit down in those Jim Crow-tyrannized streets when necessary in order to stand up against the forces of oppression.

At present, we have arrived at a similar moment. If justice is to prevail, it seems, the air of U.S. cities will hold the acrid sting of tear gas, the jails will again be filled, the brave will endure brutality -- yet the corrupt system will crumble. Because the system's protectors themselves will bring it down by revealing its empty nature, and the corrupt structure will collapse from within.

Yet, when riot police attack unarmed, peacefully resisting protesters, the mainstream media often describes the events with standard boilerplate such as "police clash with demonstrators."

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Phil Rockstroh is a poet, lyricist and philosopher bard living in New York City. He may be contacted at Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/phil.rockstroh

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