RSN Fundraising Banner
FB Share
Email This Page
add comment

Pierce Writes: "It was, as all of these things have been, a fully militarized operation, launched with a maximum of surprise by armored tactical police who even brought a helicopter, in case they needed air support. They also uncrated all their exotic toys for the occasion. The operation netted the police about 100 arrests, and it is being said that it went off peacefully, although accounts on that do vary. (Keeping the press out while the action is being taken is a particular tell.) The action followed several days of similar operations in Oakland, and Denver, and St. Louis, and a particularly nasty bit of business in Chapel Hill, North Carolina, where authorities appeared to require a tactical unit with automatic weapons to protect an abandoned building. All of them took the place by surprise, and in the middle of the night. These are basic military tactics."

Brent Schmidt, of Brooklyn, was arrested near the Occupy Wall Street encampment, 11/15/11. (photo: Mary Altaffer/AP)
Brent Schmidt, of Brooklyn, was arrested near the Occupy Wall Street encampment, 11/15/11. (photo: Mary Altaffer/AP)

A Militarized Force Takes to Zuccotti for the Economic Elite

By Charles P. Pierce, Esquire Magazine

15 November 11


Occupy Wall Street: Take the Bull by the Horns


our right to peaceably assemble for the redress of grievances, and how you may do it, and what you may say, will be defined by the police power of the state, backed by its political establishment and the business elite. They will define "acceptable" forms of public protest, even (and especially) public protest against them. This is the way it is now. This is the way it has been for some time. It's just that people didn't notice. And that was the problem with the Occupy protests. They resisted the marginalization - both literal physical marginalization, and the kind of intellectual marginalization that keeps real solutions to real problems out of our kabuki political debates. They could not be ignored. In 1831, the abolitionist William Lloyd Garrison wrote of his own cause:

I am aware that many object to the severity of my language; but is there not cause for severity? I will be as harsh as truth, and as uncompromising as justice. On this subject, I do not wish to think, or to speak, or write, with moderation. No! No! Tell a man whose house is on fire to give a moderate alarm; tell him to moderately rescue his wife from the hands of the ravisher; tell the mother to gradually extricate her babe from the fire into which it has fallen; - but urge me not to use moderation in a cause like the present. I am in earnest - I will not equivocate - I will not excuse - I will not retreat a single inch - AND I WILL BE HEARD.

That was the real problem with the Occupy people. They were being heard.

Late last night, the New York Police Department, apparently decked out for a confrontation with the Decepticons, cleared Zuccotti Park of the campers who had occupied it for nearly three months. It was, as all of these things have been, a fully militarized operation, launched with a maximum of surprise by armored tactical police who even brought a helicopter, in case they needed air support. They also uncrated all their exotic toys for the occasion. The operation netted the police about 100 arrests, and it is being said that it went off peacefully, although accounts on that do vary. (Keeping the press out while the action is being taken is a particular tell.) The action followed several days of similar operations in Oakland, and Denver, and St. Louis, and a particularly nasty bit of business in Chapel Hill, North Carolina, where authorities appeared to require a tactical unit with automatic weapons to protect an abandoned building. All of them took the place by surprise, and in the middle of the night. These are basic military tactics.

The former car dealership building at 419 W. Franklin St. is owned by Fayetteville businessman Joe Riddle and has stood empty for many years. The town condemned it Monday as unfit for human habitation.

Nice that they could finally get around to that. Urban blight? Okay. Urban blight containing political protest? Not Okay. Got it.

In almost every case, there was the ritual defense of the First Amendment by the nervous mayors who sent in the riot cops. There was the assertion that they were only acting in the interest of public safety and public health. The mayor of Portland, Sam Adams - proof enough that the Almighty has a deft touch with historical irony - seems like a decent enough skin. He makes as cogent an argument as you can on Twitter that the Occupy movement needs to get beyond simply occupying physical space, which is true enough.

(Although fobbing the whole thing off on "Washington" seems to be ducking the issue. Income inequality is everywhere. The theft of the nation's wealth was the theft of the wealth of the entire nation. That's been the whole point. Should the protests against the Vietnam War been restricted to the area around the Pentagon? Should every civil-rights march been confined to the National Mall?)

Unfortunately, it's hard for people to hear reason from a mayor who's about to set upon them a faceless force in body armor that seems to have beamed in from Mars. Like all the other mayors in all the other cities, Mayor Sam is being led around by his "business community" and his police force. Never has civilian control over our thoroughly militarized urban police forces seemed so tenuous. Never have we seemed so close to being subject to a private police force that answers, primarily, to the economic power of the financial elite.

Some mayors don't care. Michael Bloomberg in New York clearly steps to the tune called by his peers, and by the New York Post, the local franchise in a vast criminal enterprise run by an Aussie T&A merchant. Mayor Sam out in Portland at least seems to have a vestigial conscience about what he was forced to do. The matter rests in New York with the courts, and the protesters won a preliminary victory there this morning. But the precedent has been set, all over the country: Public protest shall be polite, quiet, and invisible, and that is the way they will let us be free. your social media marketing partner


A note of caution regarding our comment sections:

For months a stream of media reports have warned of coordinated propaganda efforts targeting political websites based in the U.S., particularly in the run-up to the 2016 presidential election.

We too were alarmed at the patterns we were, and still are, seeing. It is clear that the provocateurs are far more savvy, disciplined, and purposeful than anything we have ever experienced before.

It is also clear that we still have elements of the same activity in our article discussion forums at this time.

We have hosted and encouraged reader expression since the turn of the century. The comments of our readers are the most vibrant, best-used interactive feature at Reader Supported News. Accordingly, we are strongly resistant to interrupting those services.

It is, however, important to note that in all likelihood hardened operatives are attempting to shape the dialog our community seeks to engage in.

Adapt and overcome.

Marc Ash
Founder, Reader Supported News

+85 # Michael_K 2011-11-15 21:43
When a pseudo-Mayor says that the convenience of downtown businessmen and a disingenuous concern for "health and safety" trump the Constitution, then he has willfully, resolutely and with malice aforethought, violated his oath of office... and that goes triple for Ray Kelly, who has presided over the metamorphosis of his police force into some odoriferous replica of the Pinkerton animals of the last century.
-38 # DaveM 2011-11-15 23:17
What can one say but: turnabout is fair play....
+66 # DPM 2011-11-15 23:31
Actually, he's done us a favor. The whole world sees what a farce our freedoms have become. How hollow are the words of our "leaders". The whole world! Our troops fighting for our "freedoms" must feel betrayed. These police actions are backfiring as they happen.
+12 # goodsensecynic 2011-11-16 04:56
I recall hearing Saul Alinsky (ca. 1972) saying that the best weapon against what he was pleased to call "the establishment" was its own rules. The ruling classes cannot live up to their own stated ideals, he said, and so the best way to expose them is to push them to the point where they exchange their rhetorical commitment to free speech and fair play for the exercise of raw power. Chris Hedges seems to be saying something similar.

Now, people like Chris Hedges are saying something similar. "Welcome to the revolution." he announced. "Our elites have exposed their hand. They have nothing to offer. They can destroy but they cannot build. They can repress but they cannot lead. They can steal but they cannot share. They can talk but they cannot speak. They are as dead and useless to us as the water-soaked books, tents, sleeping bags, suitcases, food boxes and clothes that were tossed by sanitation workers Tuesday morning into garbage trucks in New York City. They have no ideas, no plans and no vision for the future."

Fine words.

The problem in both cases is that the authorities may easily be shown to be hypocritical, but they do use state violence rather effectively. So, even when the velvet glove is removed from the iron fist, it's still an iron fist.
+57 # disgusted American 2011-11-16 00:27
We aren't in Kansas anymore. Actually, we never were but too many people weren't paying attention all these years.

Bloomberg and the mayors aren't the only problem. What about Obama and Hillary who stood up for protesters in Lybia saying they had free speech rights, etc.?

Has this blatant hypocrisy been picked up by the media? Of course not. Mainstream media merely disperses what the gov't wants people to hear and then distracts everyone with political posturing.

Looks like the monsters in D.C. who are spreading freedom and democracy to other countries - you know, invading them and killing off peaceful civilians - are now spreading that same form of freedom and democracy in America. Maybe no deaths yet, but it ain't over til the fat lady sings.

Sad and ugly, isn't it?
+9 # goodsensecynic 2011-11-16 05:16
Yes, but remember that the Civil Rights movement was built on the deaths of Emmett Till, Medgar Evers, James Reeb, Viola Liuzzo, Andrew Goodman, Michael Schwerner, James Cheney and many, many others.

And even the anti-war protests of the 1960s/70s featured four dead in Ohio, to say nothing of 50,000 in Vietnam.

I am not promoting martyrdom as a "tactic"; I am merely saying that the authorities will use state violence to whatever degree they deem necessary, both to break up demonstrations and to tell the American people: "YES, WE CAN!"

This is more than "sad and ugly."

And, let's also remember that the "fat lady" - Kate Smith - sang "America the Beautiful" at the beginning of the contest, not to announce that it was "over."
+1 # CL38 2011-11-16 10:31
the Civil Rights movement was built on the deaths of... and Martin Luther King.
+46 # cordleycoit 2011-11-16 00:35
This is how the hood is pulled over the presses eyes. For our own protection. A.P. ought to be suing the City and pressing for kidnapping charges but they are in on the crime. NPR ought to go for criminal assault charges against the brutes in uniform but they will not. Each of the detained journalists ought to be taking the Mayor to civil Court for damages. Or are you guys in the press accomplices to the police state?
+11 # Bodiotoo 2011-11-16 00:47
Since the occupation of Boston in the 17th century the American Spirit has been fighting the 1%...We The People have the right to take the streets, the parks and using a military police force is going to back fire. Ocuupiers: Keep it peaceful and we will win!
+3 # CL38 2011-11-16 10:29
They are our parks, after all. We pay for their upkeep and maintenance, not the 1%.
+18 # seeuingoa 2011-11-16 01:28
What about this idea?

Step 1: Sit down peacefully on the
Wall Street sidewalk.

Step 2: After a short while you will be

Step 3: After a few hours you will be
free again and go back to step 1.

OVERLOAD the whole system !

With thousands being arrested again and again, what can they do and where can they put people?


and show their real face!
+22 # seeuingoa 2011-11-16 01:40
And where the Hell is President Obama in all this?

When the Constitutional Right to Demonstrate Peacefully is violated,
it is no longer an internal state business for the mayor or governor to tackle.

It is on Obama´s desk.
So please do something mister President.

Don´t forget that the American Constitution begins with:

"WE THE 99%..."
+4 # krispykremeyum 2011-11-16 10:45
In the Land Down Under nibbling on some Vegamite sandwiches....y ep..that's the change we were duped into....((sigh) )
+1 # disgusted American 2011-11-17 23:57
seeuingoa, you ask: And where the Hell is President Obama in all this?

Obama is behind the violence against the Occupy movement while he pays vague and condescending lip service publicly.

Now he is using SEIU, AFL-CIO and MoveOn to further his 2012 campaign. Here's an example of how: Just this morning on Democracy Now, I heard an SEIU person named Mary say that the SEIU is in favor of the Occupy movement and is also endorsing Obama for 2012 b/c he is behind the movement.

Watch out. Gov't knows how to get the masses to follow the leaders right to the slaughterhouse while the massses think that these groups are supporting them.

Saw this with the Obamacare fight - MoveOn did a lot of Obama's dirty work.

Great article on Discordianism that explains how all of this works. Google to find it. Then you'll understand if you don't already.
+18 # DanStafford 2011-11-16 01:50
Why anyone calls the media in this country "mainstream" anymore is beyond me. They don't represent or fairly report on "mainstream" Americans. To me, they have proven themselves worthy only of the title "corporate".
+8 # Vern Radul 2011-11-16 03:57
It went off peacefully, the police say?

Here is a video of it going of peacefully. There is embed code in the post. Spread it around...

OWS 11/15/2011 Video: NYPD Police Attack And Beat Occupy Wall Street Protesters In Zuccotti Park
+9 # jabo13 2011-11-16 05:50
“Power concedes nothing without a demand. It never did and it never will. Find out just what any people will quietly submit to and you have found out the exact measure of injustice and wrong which will be imposed upon them, and these will continue till they are resisted with either words or blows, or both. The limits of tyrants are prescribed by the endurance of those whom they oppress.”

Frederick Douglass
+10 # Todd Williams 2011-11-16 06:17
I'm curious, are the PIGS using rubber bullets ot wooden "knee knockers?" When I was protesting Vietnam in May of1970 at Ohio U. the PIGS shot me with a wooden slug. It hurt like hell. Which hurts worse, rubber or wood? In those days the PIGS just wore their blue uniforms. Now they wear that cool shit that makes them look like troopers in a video game. Far out, man. They look different now, but they're still the same old PIGS. It's nice to know our PIGS still care so much about freedom of speech. Touching, isn't it?
+2 # MHAS 2011-11-16 12:40
Revolutions in the M.E. succeeded when the police and army refused to take aim at their civilian population. The police here need to understand their own children's futures are at stake here too.
+3 # Carolyn 2011-11-16 07:03
Wake up! to "change" we can count on.
+5 # turtleislander 2011-11-16 07:42
The big Media has a long history of being pro-establishme nt. I do think enormous protests have an impact.

I've been to three big marches on Washington in my life. Two protesting Vietnam and one protesting a bad supreme court decision on LGBT rights.

I will be one of those 60 years old veteran protesters if in fact there is an OCCUPY MALL protest. We should go, show our numbers, and then go to appointments we may have made with our ostensibly elected reps. And give 'em hell.
+10 # Lolanne 2011-11-16 07:49
If anybody ever had any doubt about what our country has become, surely these latest "actions" put it to rest. We have come to a sorry pass when our own government is turning militarized police on peaceful protesters. "For cleaning purposes"? BULLSHIT! But they will see even more clearly now that the people WILL be heard. This kind of particularly vicious repression will not set well with the country. This movement will grow ever larger and IT WILL NOT BE STOPPED.
+8 # George Baggett 2011-11-16 07:53
It sounds like high-tech Pinkerton thugs, similar to those used against unions and poor people during the 20s and 30s. I'm curious about the connection with police and how these "Militarized" folks obtained this equipment. Each move by the occupation appears to draw something from the elite, exposing the fear the elite have for the 99%.
+7 # davehaze 2011-11-16 08:08
When confronted by the police or the myriad security forces while protesting say, I am not the enemy. Chant we are not the enemy.

A simple truth. The people are not the enemy.
+11 # walt 2011-11-16 08:24
And so goes the cause of Occupy Wall Street in the "land of the free."

Imagine armored, fully militarized police with batons and even with air support to combat their own people!

All this is waged against US citizens exercising their right to free speech and protesting un-prosecuted crimes against the people!

How we are shaming ourselves in the eyes of the world. It may be time to recall Wall Street's billionaire Mayor Bloomberg!!

More importantly...i t is time to expand the movement!
+2 # krispykremeyum 2011-11-16 10:48
Expand yes...but OWS must EVOLVE. They do need to become more centralized...o therwise it may fail. Thankfully, OWS is now in the hearts and minds of citizens. Zuccotti Park should just be the launching point. Let's get a 3rd party going for 2016.
+8 # LessSaid 2011-11-16 08:35
I use to support a ban on guns/weapons by an individual, but no longer. I really think at some point we will need to be armed to deal with the growing Militarization of the police. At some point, the elite will be shooting down the citizens in the street because they aren't getting what they want. They didn't just attack OWS before they were protesing, but before they were being educated and the conversation of awareness was changing and growing.
+3 # Glen 2011-11-16 10:07
Be careful what you wish for, LessSaid. If guns are inserted into the mix, folks will have to be prepared to die.

Are you?
+11 # John Locke 2011-11-16 08:38
This was to be expected, do we really think the powers that be would roll over so quickly, they are fighting for control as are we, thery have all the guns, the politicians and the police, but what we have is stronger, it is an idea whose time has come, and its called Freedom.....
+2 # KittatinyHawk 2011-11-16 10:04
Wake Up world Read this, pay attention to the real Journalists about what is going on
do you see a pattern here like in your Dictatorships?
There is NO Such thing as Democracy or must work for Corporations who are nothing more than WarLords, They want you to work for nothing, so they can sell the products to you for much more than there garbage is worth, in fact most of it is either toxic of of little value.
Do you really believe that the Euro Countries, Israel or America is any better than Korea, China ,,, do not, we allow you to live and pay their way.
You buy homes which you give back basically when you die. You work and pay all your life and they take, take, take.
Remember Kent is getting to the point where these Paranoid, many on Drugs, Police Criminals are dealing with us like the Military in your Countries.
President like the other Politicians are nothing but Garbage, save a few, who they are trying to destroy or kill.
We are all looking for Freedom, it is time the 99% in all countries work together to overthrow the 1% and their paid assassins.

I know more cops/military that do drugs than not. Over use of drugs leave one to become Dictator like Hitler. paranoid, schizoid, they will be laid off when their use is over.
Cops all over USA are laid off we fight for them...very strange
+2 # bobby t. 2011-11-16 10:26
the answer to where is waldo is: da ta! in Darwin, Australia, way the hell down under, and as far away from ows as he can get. coincidence? i think not.
Darwin is where the Japanese planes bombed Australia in 1942. it is only the fifth visit by an american president in history to the land of shrimps on the barbee. the whole country has 22 million people, or almost is the size of california. very convenient timing, would you say?
+2 # bobby t. 2011-11-16 10:42
years ago i was in a protest against the idiotic bomb shelter drills at brooklyn college, you know, where you stick your head between your legs and kiss your ass goodbye? there were fifty of us. we were almost suspended by the college until an aclu lawyer reminded the president of the first amendment. later on, time magazine sent down people who tested all of us to see if we knew "current events" as they called the smoke and mirrors then. seems that we actually did, about twice as much as the "american public" in general. if you go to the american "heartland" and ask a twenty year old if he or she has ever heard of ows, i wonder what they would say.....this government depends on the ignorance (not stupidity, please, there is a difference) of the population here. maybe we need pamplets, like back in 1775. hand em out. educate the ignorant to what is happening. just be sure to bring an aclu lawyer with you. now do you understand whey we need the aclu? of course the right and extreme left hate the aclu. they follow the constitution!
+5 # reiverpacific 2011-11-16 10:53
Watch out for the drones -their deployment against us all is probably in the planning stage now, as Texas (where else?) has them already.
BUT there are a lot more of us if we act en masse and they can be brought down.
The wealthy will always have the money to arm the police to the teeth and bring them to military status AND hire mercenaries if that is not enough.
The sad part is that the police should be protesting with the rest, as they are economically right down there with us but they basically work for us.
Sadly, the old Woody Guthrie song still applies:
"Yes, as through this world I've wandered
I've seen lots of funny men;
Some will rob you with a six-gun,
And some with a fountain pen."
"And as through your life you travel,
Yes, as through your life you roam,
You won't never see an outlaw
Drive a family from their home".
We need to identify and punish the REAL outlaws who are presently making and manipulating the laws, which were always canted in their favor since the county's beginnings. That's not democracy that most of us (note that "most") want and deserve, it's dictatorship and we WILL resist!
+2 # bobby t. 2011-11-16 12:00
thanks for the woody song. never heard that one. banks of marble is great too. or the talkin union song.....time to pull em out and start singin....
+4 # oldleftie 2011-11-16 12:14
The entire Occupy movement should come down to DC and camp in Anacostia Park, site of the original Bonus March Encampment in 1932. Do what the Bonus Marchers did. Set up a clean, formal encampment. I'm sure there are enough sponsors who will pay for potties and showers.

Then, every day, all those at the encampment should get up at 6:30 a.m. and march down Maryland Avenue to the Capitol and spend the day visiting their Senators and Representatives . Every day until they get something done, like a nationwide Section 8 subsidy program so that everyone pays 1/3 of their monthly income for housing.

Let's get organized, Fellow Workers!
+2 # davidhp 2011-11-16 13:02
Democracy at its finest, is this the new American dream - a fascist police state. The voice of the people will not be silenced by fascist tactics.
+1 # Buddha 2011-11-17 11:08
"Your right to peaceably assemble for the redress of grievances, and how you may do it, and what you may say, will be defined by the police power of the state, backed by its political establishment and the business elite."

Anybody remember George Orwell's 1984? Remember when he is being tortured, and constantly asked what 2+2 equals? And how that torture finally stopped when he realized that 2+2 equals whatever Big Brother, the State, SAYS that it equals. Welcome to the Authoritarian American future folks. I wonder how long before borders are closed and nobody will be ALLOWED to leave, always the final straw and admission of what a Police State really is...
0 # Progressive Patriot 2011-11-19 05:44
Sam Adams is on his way out. He is not seeking reelection.

HOWEVER, the current police chief _is_ seeking the mayor's job, and he mad a lot of enemies last weekend.

THE NEW STREAMLINED RSN LOGIN PROCESS: Register once, then login and you are ready to comment. All you need is a Username and a Password of your choosing and you are free to comment whenever you like! Welcome to the Reader Supported News community.