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Gibson writes: "If enough people felt unsafe in the presence of so many guns, it would have deterred so many people from participating that the Occupy encampments would have been limited to just those with guns and those comfortable around guns."

The UC Davis pepper spray incident against un-armed students. (photo: Louise Macabatis)
The UC Davis pepper spray incident against un-armed students. (photo: Louise Macabatis)


What If Occupy Protesters Were Armed?

By Carl Gibson, Reader Supported News

23 April 14

 

he school bully will always pick on the scrawny 90-pound kid with no muscles, not the biggest linebacker on the football team. Bullies will only beat up the ones they know won’t fight back. Similarly, police will never hesitate to use an insane amount of force to break up an allegedly illegal encampment of nonviolent protesters, but the entire federal government will back down when faced with just a few hundred heavily-armed right-wing protesters. Should guns at political demonstrations be monopolized by conservatives, or would it benefit left-wing movements to arm themselves, too?

The Significance of Armed Self-Defense

When Nevada cattle rancher Cliven Bundy and other conservative activists used Twitter to organize a quick response to the Bureau of Land Management’s (BLM) blockade, it quickly became an armed standoff between federal agents and private citizens. Fervent private property rights activists came heavily armed, with AR-15 rifles, plenty of ammunition, and even bullet-proof vests, ready and willing to pull the trigger on the BLM agents if push came to shove. After pressure from state and federal government officials, the BLM backed down and allowed Bundy’s cattle to graze on public land for Bundy’s own private profit.

While many were hearkening back to the federal raid on David Koresh’s Branch Davidian compound in Waco, Texas, 21 years ago, there was a lot of speculation that if government agents had killed the few hundred gathered there – many of whom brought their wives and children – it could have started a nationwide right-wing uprising. The federal government would indeed be widely loathed and discredited, just as it was when national guardsmen killed antiwar protesters at Kent State University during the Vietnam War, changing national sentiment about the war effort. And should such an armed uprising take place, there’s no telling how far it would lead. It may even start a new Civil War. Regardless of how anyone feels about Bundy’s cause, there’s no denying that armed protesters made the difference in Bundy’s victory.

All that being said, one could ask why right-wing militia members didn’t vehemently defend First Amendment rights during the crackdown on the Occupy movement? One could also ask why Occupy protesters didn’t invoke the right to bear arms in defense of free speech?

If Occupy Protesters Were Armed

I was sickened, along with many others, at the militant response to the extremely peaceful Occupy UC Davis protest. Rather than merely arresting students and escorting them from the scene, Lt. John Pike, under the orders of police chief Annette Spicuzza, gassed nonviolent, seated protesters with military-grade pepper spray, as riot police wearing full body armor and face shields stood at the ready. Spicuzza disgustingly defended her police department’s actions, saying the students’ action of linking arms while sitting constituted a violent action, prompting a violent response.

It was equally sickening to watch the treatment of Army veteran Scott Olsen during the crackdown on Occupy Oakland. Riot police used tear gas and flash-bang grenades on groups of unarmed protesters, and sent Olsen to the hospital in critical condition after shooting him in the face with a tear gas canister. Olsen has since developed a speech impediment, and the police officer responsible for the attack on Olsen was just recently promoted to Assistant Police Chief, which made him second in command of Oakland’s police force.

The NYPD’s response to Occupy Wall Street’s protests was notoriously heavy-handed – unarmed female protesters who were already kettled into a corner were violently pepper-sprayed by Lt. Anthony Bologna (known by Occupy activists as Tony Baloney). Several hundred protesters were mass-arrested on the Brooklyn Bridge after police told them they were allowed to take the street. During the eviction of Zuccotti Park, the NYPD carelessly threw books from the People’s Library into trash bins, violently arrested people using batons and pepper spray for simply linking arms, and arrested credentialed journalists documenting the NYPD’s clearly unconstitutional behavior.

But one particularly viral video from the height of the Occupy movement’s encampment phase is of Sgt. Shamar Thomas, a marine veteran who served 14 months in Iraq, shouting at an entire crowd of NYPD officers about how there was no honor in arresting unarmed civilians. As Thomas’s shouting became more animated, more police gathered to hear him speak. All of them looked ashamed as Sgt. Thomas screamed reminders at them that there were no bullets flying, that nobody was trying to hurt them, and that he fought for the rights of his fellow Americans to not be bullied by police while exercising their rights.

After Sgt. Thomas’s outburst went viral, a group called Occupy Marines was born, full of grizzled war veterans who swore to uphold their oath to protect the Constitution from all enemies, foreign and domestic. They only allowed former service members to join, since active duty marines are forbidden to participate in political demonstrations. They insisted that anyone who wore their uniforms to demonstrations refrain from actually protesting. There was also a strict dress code for veterans who wanted to participate.

Now imagine if a hundred veterans like Sgt. Thomas, along with veterans like those who threw their war medals away at the NATO protests in Chicago during the Summer of 2012, formed armed perimeters around Occupy encampments when police threatened to evict protesters. Police would have had to take an entirely different approach when dealing with heavily-armed military veterans who were unafraid to pull the trigger in defense of constitutional freedoms. Police likely would have backed down. Perhaps the encampments would still be around today, evolving into self-sustaining spaces that provide a safe haven for the homeless, free education with access to people’s libraries, access to basic healthcare, and centralized locations for grassroots organizers to strategize. If enough protesters were armed, it would force the police to respect First Amendment rights, just as armed protesters at the Bundy Ranch forced the federal government to respect private property rights.

The Problem with Armed Protests

In many movement circles, the mere presence of guns rightfully makes lots of activists feel unsafe. During the height of Occupy Houston, I remember several general assembly meetings in the early stages during which debates became fiercely heated when the question arose of allowing guns into the camp. It was ultimately decided that protesters with guns would not be allowed inside unless they left their weapons at home, under the reasoning that guns would give Houston police all the reason they need to justify a heavy-handed use of force.

If enough people felt unsafe in the presence of so many guns, it would have deterred so many people from participating that the Occupy encampments would have been limited to just those with guns and those comfortable around guns. The media would’ve jumped on the chance to demonize the Occupy movement as a dangerous group of radicals. It would’ve legitimized the FBI’s otherwise ludicrous classification of Occupy protesters as domestic terrorists who were plotting the violent overthrow of the government. The movement may have crumbled under pressure from both the activist community and mainstream America to disperse or to put their weapons away.

The catch-22 is obvious. If a revolutionary movement is armed and takes power, it becomes no better than the regime it attempted to oust, as the coup against Mohammed Morsi in Egypt shows. If a revolutionary movement is armed and fails in an attempt to seize power, then a needless number of lives are lost in vain and a regime becomes even more tyrannical as a result. And if an explicitly nonviolent movement arises, the state will use all the means it can to crush it if it feels threatened by its power. You’re damned if you do, damned if you don’t.

Guns or No Guns?

Our nation was indeed founded upon a violent uprising against a tyrannical government. But it must also be taken into account that the government that replaced the crown established a strict hierarchy of white landowners as the only ones who could vote, subjugating women and minorities as second-class citizens. The Constitution that came out of that uprising had to be amended 27 times. Even today, organizations on both sides of the political spectrum are working to amend the Constitution for their own ends.

Thomas Jefferson said the tree of liberty sometimes had to be watered with the blood of tyrants, and was ashamed at the idea of a government that went for longer than one generation without a revolution. But rather than a bloody revolt, we must work for change both on the outside level, with on-the-ground organizing for social justice, and on the inside, by running our own candidates for office. Any strategy leaning too heavily on one or the other is bound to fail.



Carl Gibson, 26, is co-founder of US Uncut, a nationwide creative direct-action movement that mobilized tens of thousands of activists against corporate tax avoidance and budget cuts in the months leading up to the Occupy Wall Street movement. Carl and other US Uncut activists are featured in the documentary "We're Not Broke," which premiered at the 2012 Sundance Film Festival. He currently lives in Madison, Wisconsin. You can contact him at This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it , and follow him on twitter at @uncutCG.

Reader Supported News is the Publication of Origin for this work. Permission to republish is freely granted with credit and a link back to Reader Supported News.

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+42 # tigerlillie 2014-04-23 09:03
If the Occupy demonstrators had been armed, they would be dead. Remember what happened to the Black Panthers?
 
 
+18 # RHytonen 2014-04-23 11:01
Quoting tigerlillie:
If the Occupy demonstrators had been armed, they would be dead. Remember what happened to the Black Panthers?

Yes.
They acually got SOME change.
Ditto the Weathermen.
Too few cared about ACTUALLY ending the war before Kent State.
 
 
+16 # Jim Young 2014-04-23 11:07
Quoting tigerlillie:
If the Occupy demonstrators had been armed, they would be dead. Remember what happened to the Black Panthers?


They would be dead and the cause would be lost, too.

Actually they were started as the "Black Panthers for Self Defense" and some government types (J.Edgar, etc) seemed just itching for an excuse to escalate and blame any fall out on those they could label as bad guys.

The hardest thing for John Edgar Hoover to fight was a disciplined and calming non-violent group that wouldn't under, any circumstances, respond as so many others would.
 
 
+15 # Nominae 2014-04-23 17:32
Quoting tigerlillie:
If the Occupy demonstrators had been armed, they would be dead.....


Good point !

It is important to remember that these militia meat heads in Nevada were facing BLM Agents.

As an article contributor to RSN noted a few days ago, if da Gub-mint had elected to bring in the 101st Airborne, those knuckle dragging militia members would have been wetting their pants trying to scurry back to their lil'spider holes in the various States they came from.

Even as it was - even against the BLM - those militia morons were going to hide behind women's skirts with their "savvy plan" to place women on the front line so that if BLM fired, the BLM would have to slaughter the women first.

These are some stunning "battle strategists" and "steel-gutted warriors" indeed.

They give a whole new meaning to the phrase "Ladies First" !

The ability to purchase military style rifles in this country *does* serve to make these cowards a bit less afraid of their own shadows, but having the gun, and having both the tactical knowledge and the guts to effectively *use* the gun against similarly armed individuals, turns out to be two vastly different things.

These clowns didn't "win" anything. The BLM simply chose to avoid death and bloodshed over having some deluded Welfare Rancher continue to rip off the U.S. Taxpayer by stealing feed from public lands without paying Public Grazing Fees.

In addition, I suspect that this "dance" is not over.
 
 
-4 # RLF 2014-04-26 07:39
Yeah! Great! Bring in the military that, by the constitution, is not allowed to ever attack citizens inside the country. NDAA when it is convenient for the left? I don't think so!
 
 
+6 # CTPatriot 2014-04-27 04:05
Like so many right wingers, you have a problem with reading comprehension. Nowhere in the comment you replied to was the author advocating bringing in the military. The left was the first to come out against the NDAA, by the way, and has consistently been against it ever since.

If memory serves, it was the right's elected members in congress who loved this provision the most and overwhelmingly voted for it. The right also brought us the PATRIOT Act. So I guess you might want to look in the mirror when it comes to hypocrisy over authoritarian laws passed by our government.
 
 
+33 # gd_radical 2014-04-23 09:46
"Violence as a way of achieving racial justice is both impractical and immoral. It is impractical because it is a descending spiral ending in destruction for all. The old law of an eye for an eye leaves everybody blind. It is immoral because it seeks to humiliate the opponent rather than win his understanding; it seeks to annihilate rather than to convert."

The Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.
Stride Toward Freedom: The Montgomery Story
 
 
+7 # RHytonen 2014-04-23 10:52
Quoting jgorman:
"Violence as a way of achieving racial justice is both impractical and immoral. It is impractical because it is a descending spiral ending in destruction for all. The old law of an eye for an eye leaves everybody blind. It is immoral because it seeks to humiliate the opponent rather than win his understanding; it seeks to annihilate rather than to convert."

The Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.
Stride Toward Freedom: The Montgomery Story

The reason this doesn't work is that THEY -polluting opponents- 'seek to annihilate' (or at least accept it as an externalized cost) as their end.
Realize how bad it really is, because eventually, you will.
 
 
0 # RLF 2014-04-26 07:42
There was plenty of violence against MLK...and their cause eventually got addressed. Now the pols are paid by the killers...and completely ignore the protests. Something will catalyze the fight here and it will probably be protestors dying again.
 
 
+9 # harksongs 2014-04-23 09:55
You want to win this thing you gotta' change the LAWS. That's what they're doing - been at it for decades. Guns or no guns, it's the law that carries the biggest stick.
 
 
+17 # RHytonen 2014-04-23 10:59
Quoting harksongs:
You want to win this thing you gotta' change the LAWS. That's what they're doing - been at it for decades. Guns or no guns, it's the law that carries the biggest stick.

The poor will never defeat the rich by collecting money (the only way laws are changed.)
You don't defeat a violent aggressor who's winning, by allowing him to name the weapons and terms of engagement.
 
 
+8 # fredboy 2014-04-23 10:03
The energy of Occupy was misdirected. No one cares if you stand in the street and howl. You all have extraordinary communications access and learning tools. You understand the "system"--legal , political, media, etc. You know the power of simple, powerful, memorable storytelling.

Think of EFFECT, not just blowing off steam.

Sadly, Occupy has been a gift to those it despises. The Occupy approach simply diverted media and public attention from the real issues: causation, devastating consequences, wrongful legal changes (that allowed banks to steal), and financial piracy. Those are your targets; now it is time to develop a masterful tactical approach to dispatching them and right the ship.
 
 
+30 # RHytonen 2014-04-23 10:48
Quoting fredboy:
The energy of Occupy was misdirected. No one cares if you stand in the street and howl. You all have extraordinary communications access and learning tools. You understand the "system"--legal, political, media, etc. You know the power of simple, powerful, memorable storytelling.

Think of EFFECT, not just blowing off steam.

Sadly, Occupy has been a gift to those it despises. The Occupy approach simply diverted media and public attention from the real issues: causation, devastating consequences, wrongful legal changes (that allowed banks to steal), and financial piracy. Those are your targets; now it is time to develop a masterful tactical approach to dispatching them and right the ship.

Just like when they start to frack near you, there are stages to the grief of realizing just how bad things really are.
The "standing in the street and howling" stage can't and won't be passed over. For one thing, it actually does help to show others they're not alone nor mistaken in what they're realizing.
 
 
+26 # bmiluski 2014-04-23 13:19
I have to disagree with you frdboy....while the Wall St. Occupy was going on there was much discussion in my office of the inequality of the 1% vs. 99%. Once Occupy was dispersed the discussions stopped. However, I truly believe some seeds were sown.
 
 
+15 # Nominae 2014-04-23 17:43
Quoting fredboy:
The energy of Occupy was misdirected. No one cares if you stand in the street and howl. You all have extraordinary communications access and learning tools. You understand the "system"--legal, political, media, etc. You know the power of simple, powerful, memorable storytelling.

Think of EFFECT, not just blowing off steam.

Sadly, Occupy has been a gift to those it despises. The Occupy approach simply diverted media and public attention from the real issues: causation, devastating consequences, wrongful legal changes (that allowed banks to steal), and financial piracy. Those are your targets; now it is time to develop a masterful tactical approach to dispatching them and right the ship.


Yup ...... if Occupy was so "ineffective", why are people all over the World still talking about it ?

Why do chapters all over the World *still* exist, stronger than they ever were before ?

Like any new-birthed baby, Occupy has had growing pains, but growing it IS.

The fact that their opening gambit, their emergence from "The Egg" did not crush the System, they *definitely* started a dialogue regarding the income disparities between the 1% and the 99% that continues all over the GLOBE to this *day*.

Ineffective ? Occupy brought the conversation regarding *ALL* of the issues that you enumerate above into *open* discussion both here and in Europe.

In most assessments, that *IS* "EFFECT".
 
 
+7 # bmiluski 2014-04-23 10:03
I think it would be a great idea for the Occupy Marines to join forces and be the protectorate of the Occupy Movement. Unfortunately, the alpha male of one group would get into it with the alpha male of the other group and ......... Or worse, the Occupy Marines would evolve into a military force that would take over both movements and.......
 
 
+15 # Dust 2014-04-23 10:26
I think you're correct on this, and it brings to mind the fact that I see very little difference between the civilian "militia" members supporting Bundy and the armed government agents they purport to despise - both groups are primarily (but not all) composed of self-identified alpha-males who (seem to) want nothing more than to be justified in using force in some manner.
 
 
+14 # Capn Canard 2014-04-23 15:31
Yeah, they've got all these expensive 5.56mm caliber AR15's, or 7.62mm caliber AK47 toys and they want to put them to use, perhapsput some holes in those hippy BLM enforcement. When it comes to armed thugs who support Bundy, they are the lowest of the low. They are like agitators who are there for the only purpose of agitating. I would guarantee that they have very little knowledge or understanding of the Cliven Bundy situation and the arguments Bundy has made against paying the government what EVERY OTHER RANCHER IS REQUIRED TO PAY THE GOVERNMENT. In effect, Bundy's "supporters" are scum... But then again, someone like Bundy is cheating all the honest ranchers who abide by the law, so is it any surprise that he would associate with such people? The thing that irritates me off is then he has the audacity to bring in these reprobate miltia members to support his illegally grazing of his cattle on BLM land. Honorable men wouldn't behave like this. But in 2014 honorable men are truly rare.
 
 
+9 # Majikman 2014-04-23 16:37
I agree, bmiluski. How much better to co opt the police and convince them that they are part of the 99% and to stand down...just as that Marine Sgt. did without weapons.
 
 
-33 # David Macko 2014-04-23 10:26
The real left needs to get rid of its hoplophobia (fear of weapons). All Americans, left, right and libertarian need to resist the totalitarian government whether it attacks ranchers or Occupy resisters who understand what is really going on, which was why they were attacked.
Many leftists need to overcome their negrophilia so that they see Barack Obama for what he is and impeach and remove him from office.
All of us need to work to peacefully restore liberty and the Constitution to avoid civil war. Then we can peacefully solve other major differences, once we impeach Obama, and stop World War III, the police state and the planned economic collapse which is designed to merge us into a one-world government.
 
 
+27 # Farafalla 2014-04-23 11:00
Macko is quite whacko. "Hoplophobia" is rational. Guns, maim and kill. Just takes one little pull on the trigger.

But what really got me about your post is "negrophilia"!! ! Crikey. I wish I could be as racist as you so I could hate on Obama with all the ferocity that only a white racist can muster. But alas, I must be a negrophile, because with all the disappointments and reasoned alarm at his presidency, I would still take Obama over your McCain or Romney any day. At least now I have health insurance.
 
 
-1 # nickyus 2014-04-25 19:57
When you respond to Macko's sickness by comparing the relative merits (or demerits) of one particular individual against another, you're falling right into the trap. Obama is an abysmal president, and racism is a super-abysmal belief system, and these two facts are entirely unrelated to one another.
 
 
+17 # Capn Canard 2014-04-23 15:51
As much as I appreciate your suspicion of authority, I would like to remind you that if a nation wide police state were fully implemented, then I guarantee that your guns would become more like targets than defensive weapons. Drones would likely be deployed most heavily in ares of strongest opposition. In inner cities or areas where guns aren't as common, then they will concentrate men and armored heavy vehicles. They'd just use a heavily armed police presence for intimidation. In rural areas where gun owners are more visible, then they'd just use drones. Because drones are far cheaper than using people, but if they kill a whole family, well sh!t, that's just collateral damage.
 
 
+12 # Nominae 2014-04-23 17:58
Quoting David Macko:
The real left needs to get rid of its hoplophobia (fear of weapons). All Americans, left, right and libertarian need to resist the totalitarian government whether it attacks ranchers or Occupy resisters who understand what is really going on, which was why they were attacked.
Many leftists need to overcome their negrophilia so that they see Barack Obama for what he is and impeach and remove him from office.....


What is this post - fist-pumping for the KKK and White Supremacists ?

The post is a mish-mash of cognitive dissonance and intellectual dissolution.

First you champion guns and White Supremacy, then you try to cover your fear, bigotry and racism with some standard boilerplate blather about peace.

You thought that was going to make it past the hard-wired B.S. detector in the average Third Grader in this country ?

Alas, given your "grasp" of other facts, you probably did.

The left is not afraid of weapons. The left is simply literate, and, as such, they realize that maintaining "A well-regulated Militia...." is not the same thing as guaranteeing the "right" of frightened little citizens to amass private personal arsenals.

Duh. Especially not in neighborhoods where our children play.
 
 
+3 # Billy Bob 2014-04-24 13:37
Nominae,

I haven't had a chance to comment much lately. But, even reading articles that I don't have time to comment on, it's reassuring to see that you're commenting.

I really appreciate your comments. You have a style of dealing with people similar to my own, and I think we'd have a lot in common.

GREAT WORK!

KEEP IT UP!
 
 
+2 # Nominae 2014-04-24 22:22
Quoting Billy Bob:
Nominae,

You have a style of dealing with people similar to my own, and I think we'd have a lot in common.


Thanks, man, I totally agree. Good to have you back.
 
 
+30 # Billy Bob 2014-04-23 10:35
You have to remember, we have a double-standard in this country. What if Trayvon Martin had shot George Zimmerman to death, and then said he was doing it in self-defense? I think we all know how that would have played out.

If Occupy protesters came armed, like the terrorists currently threatening the United States of America to "defend" the fat thief/rancher out west, they'd be shot. THE END.
 
 
+10 # Capn Canard 2014-04-23 15:56
Damn straight, Billy Bob. If OWS were in any way armed(Let's say 3-4 with guns) then it would have been a blood bath of perhaps close to 20-40 college aged protesters shot with 10-15 dead. The super wealthy are sacred sh!tless and perhaps even willing to kill to protect their hold on power.
 
 
+2 # CTPatriot 2014-04-27 04:20
And the funniest (but not in a funny way) thing if that did happen? You can bet your ass that every one of those "freedom fighters" on Bundy's ranch would have been cheering on the government's shooting at Occupy protestors.

Did you also notice how not a single one of those right wing freedom lovers uttered a peep when Bush was herding left wing protestors into "free speech zones" during the Bush era, but the second it happens to them, OMG!!! Travesty of Justice. Look what the left is doing to us! (ya, only there is no left in our government and the real left is still completely against free speech zones no matter who it is used against).
 
 
-35 # arquebus 2014-04-23 10:36
Apparently the rights of citizens to peaceful transit an area using public sidewalks is a non-starter. If anyone paid attention, the protestors at UC Davis blocked public sidewalks thereby preventing non-protestors to use them. No question that people have a right to protest, but why should protestors of any stripe be able to block sidewalks and streets thereby denying other citizens the right to use public sidewalks and streets? Seems many people figure their rights trump those of others.
 
 
+24 # tpmco 2014-04-23 12:47
Don't talk about stuff you know nothing about, arguebus. I was at many rallies protesting the Vietnam war, on the quad at UC Davis. The sidewalk goes all around that quad, and there are other walkways through it too. We never faced any problem back in those days.

The situation faced by the Occupy people at UC Davis in 2011 was entirely different, and totally deplorable.

Stick to what you know son, and try not to arbitrarily impose your fiction on the rest of us.
 
 
+16 # Capn Canard 2014-04-23 16:01
Perhaps you've never been on a college campus with a protest going on? Most people would just walk around them. They are making a statement, the wise thing would be to just let them. No harm, no foul. That used to be S.O.P. but now they use displays of force to send a strong Authoritarian or Fascist message to all who witness it... The Authoritarians get a lot of mileage from such sleezey behavior by POLICE.
 
 
+9 # RHytonen 2014-04-23 10:42
When you Occupy, you're "around guns" anyway.
The difference would be:
before, they were ALL aimed at YOU.
 
 
+3 # Cassandra2012 2014-04-23 15:00
provocateur ?
 
 
+4 # Capn Canard 2014-04-23 16:09
Kinda... I would bet that Snipers aiming at protesters is now standard procedure. If you are in a protest you may expect to have the cross hairs on your forehead. Remember Iran in 2009 when Iran had snipers shooting youthful protesters. They generally will shoot the most attractive woman or most muscular/athlet ic looking man to send the message, "see! you best and brightest are shot down and your will not succeed" Hence, you ALL are very vulnerable.
 
 
+8 # karenvista 2014-04-24 16:42
Quoting Capn Canard:
Kinda... I would bet that Snipers aiming at protesters is now standard procedure. If you are in a protest you may expect to have the cross hairs on your forehead.


I don't know why more people haven't heard of this but there were snipers on downtown rooftops during at least one Occupy protest here in Houston.

The FBI knew what was going on but didn't tell the police according to the Houston Police Department.

There have been FOIA requests to the FBI for their files but the first request was a brushoff and the second was heavily redacted, although they did admit to having 17 pages in their report. They have been sued for more information. They apparently know who the snipers were, or at least who paid for them.

The "FBI's David Hardy, asserted in his declaration to the court that the records were exempt from FOIA because they were part of the FBI’s investigation, a national security-orient ed terrorism investigation of Occupy Houston protesters for potential terrorist activity, including advocating the overthrow of government."

If you look at U.S. history government violence is always used on the poor, unions or workers and liberal groups. It is never used on the rich, conservative or rich people.

I don't think the government will be swayed by empathy. It never has been and it is not getting any more empathetic.
 
 
+2 # Icon 2014-04-23 10:42
The way I see the Occupy movements demise was, that it was an organized crackdown by the Obama controllers, ie the big Banksters! The same is true in what going on in Ukraine, it's the giant western Banksters causing & directing this confrontation there! They are the ones telling Obama what moves to make. The bottom line being the Petrol Dollar & it's shift to something other than the $$$$! This scares the shit out of the West & this is what it's all about!

This is an interesting article in so far as it give us an idea of what's to come in America as the Great Davide between the rich & poor continues to grow.

One question I've not been able to find an answer to & perhaps someone can help here; Just who was behind the Occupy Movement? Russia, China, who was it????
 
 
+10 # Jim Young 2014-04-23 11:37
While I appreciate most of your comment, the question you asked on who's behind it, well, I can answer it for me. I never joined any group to protest anything, but did go to the Occupy General Assembly as a concerned individual citizen, to hear what other individuals thought, and see where our common interests meshed.

To me, that quickly became fighting against the types of phony grass roots organizations and ALEC that so many on the other side think occupy would have to be modeled after. I believe those models are easily corrupted, whereas the Occupy movement deliberately avoided any such top down leadership.

Is it that hard to believe that the "odd fellows" of OWS may be as diverse as the original Odd Fellows but don't need or want to be part of a larger group (like the diverse, but narrow issue, groups Grover Norquist forms into well controlled power hierarchies for other purposes)?

We are just a bunch of individuals gathered together to fight a common outside enemy.

It would be easier to see if the group(s) was as openly against our interests as Japan and Germany were in WWII, when we had rich and poor, Jew and Gentile, even Americans who's ancestors, or themselves had come from Germany, Italy, Japan, France, Poland, Czechoslovakia, Austria, and so many other places. We, as I see it, are against evil greedy abusers of our system as we knew it.

We are not where we could have, and should have, been by this time in our history.
 
 
+4 # Nominae 2014-04-23 18:11
Quoting Icon:
The way I see the Occupy movements demise was ....


Uh, yeah ..... as much as I hate to "rain on" a lively conspiracy theory, your report of the "demise" of OWS is greatly exaggerated.

The entire Occupy movement is now literally Global, with chapters in cities all over the world (*except* China). It hasn't gone *anywhere*, it has simply been forced to reassess targets and tactics in order to achieve maximum effectiveness.

The fact that you were not aware of this is not proof that they all died or disappeared. Any search engine will back me up.

Happy research !
 
 
+9 # ladypyrates 2014-04-23 10:45
This article raises an interesting question. Were the sincere elements of the right and left to agree to support each other in the streets, could they find mutually acceptable accomodation in massaging the government away from being the globalist Frankenstein that it has become? Undoing generations of deliberate polarization of the voters by the media would be a Herculean task...but the very thought of it terrorizes the entrenched tyrants. As a reminder, Jefferson commented that the Constitution was left as a benign instrument rather than one designed to prosecute every eventuality as "we are counting on the virtue of the people."
 
 
+8 # Dust 2014-04-23 10:53
That's a good point. Arlo Guthrie once said that his experience was that people who felt strongly about things, even when on opposite sides of a given issue, ultimately had more in common than those who were more lackadaisical and just happened to agree on certain issues at a certain point.
 
 
+10 # bmiluski 2014-04-23 13:07
I have to disagree with you DUST. This may have been true, in the past. However, when I try to talk to my neo-con friends about a topic on which we both disagree, and ask them to substantiate their points with facts, they either ignore me or start shouting koch bros sound bytes at me.
 
 
+10 # tpmco 2014-04-23 10:54
Carl--Here's the problem. You ask the wrong question, seeking an answer to what amounts to a symptom of a larger problem.

If you people in the press paid attention to what is going on early-on, these armed confrontations would not happen. You only pay attention when the pot boils, and as such are nothing but a bunch of opportunists. Yes, Carl, I'm talking to you.

This symptom with Mr. Bundy has been festering for a long time--maybe 20 years or more. And here you come, Mr Johnny-come-lat ely, trying to rake in a dollar on an old story. This is where you guys in the press really piss me off. You're just a bunch of hacks!

I have brought stories to journalists before which were just developing. And you know what I get? An arrogant response. I've brought 3 to our law-beat reporter in Grants Pass lately, Mr. Shaun Hall at the Daily Courier, and he just blows them off. And it pisses me off. The question you ask is "should I go down to his office openly carrying a firearm to get his attention?". That is absolutely the wrong question.

You need to ask what is the source of this conflict. Until you do, we'll continue to suffer with this sensationalist story coverage. The problem does not lie with Cliven Bundy, it lies with you and an absolutely inept press.

Sorry dude, I didn't mean to pick on you, but I just had to say it.
 
 
+5 # PaineRad 2014-04-23 13:29
No question that the sorry state of news reporting in this country is a disgrace. But if you want to get at root causes, you have to look at ownership of the media and the rules under which news organizations operate. But most importantly, you have to follow the money.

We have to get rid of BIG MONEY and its illegitimate influence on everything from news, entertainment, corporate consolidation, inequality, etc. To do that we have to eliminate the tools used to create and expand BIG MONEY.

Move to Amend is one approach to getting at those tools. While there is no one solution to our descent into hereditary oligarchy, their amendment campaign, when successful, will level the playing field and make it far easier to accomplish the more specific changes needed.
 
 
+1 # tpmco 2014-04-23 17:11
Another way to move forward might be to let everyone vote for 5 Senators and 20 Representatives in every national election--that would be every two years. It would also require a constitutional amendment, but would give every voter a great deal more power and might even negate the big money in elections.

It would surely change the way we do politics in USA. I would really like to vote out some of the deep south politicians who are making national policy.
 
 
+6 # mrbadexample 2014-04-23 11:19
Bad idea. There are Occupy supporters and sympathizers who have offered space or donations to Occupy who would probably withhold such aid once the first person armed with a firearm turns up at a rally. Furthermore, it's not legal for anyone except police to carry in NYC. And the problem Occupy has right now is that it doesn't attract new people--I'm pretty sure that embracing firearms will make the problem worse.
The group that came out yesterday for the Earth Day protest at Zuccotti was mostly people who've always been part of OWS. The message of Occupy about corporate power is becoming mainstream, even as the number of supporters dwindle. The pepper spray attack by Bologna on restrained arrestees should have been a 'Bull Connor' Moment to galvanize others to join (and move legislators to take sides). It won't happen that way because both parties fear the message.
 
 
+8 # DaveM 2014-04-23 11:34
In their early years, the Black Panthers commonly marched with shotguns, a perfectly legal practice in that time and place.

There are any number of "open carry" states in the United States where Occupy protesters (or any others) could "bear arms" without any problem. However, the express point of Occupy was to avoid violence and even the trappings of violence. An armed Occupy camp would have sent a very different message.

And frankly, if Occupy camps set up in open carry states and the protesters were packing heat....chances are they'd have far more to worry about from local rednecks than from the police.
 
 
+9 # Stilldreamin1 2014-04-23 11:48
In most cases, lefties shy away from the use of force. It would seem that in order to be taken seriously by the police and justice dept., it's necessary to speak to them in a language they understand-forc e. Of course, to do that, you have to be willing to put your life on the line. Another fundamental difference between left and right is we on the left are suckers for the inherent goodness in all people-otherwis e, we wouldn't hold much hope in the capacity of regular people to govern ourselves, I.e., democracy. The right suffers from no such ideals. This makes them much more willing to carry guns.
 
 
+6 # jwb110 2014-04-23 12:01
I am not so sure that there will be violence in order to make any change in this country It will become a question of what is being fought for.
The Koch Bros. gave a tremendous amount of money to the NYD Police Pension Fund. This shifts the argument of whether the right to property supersedes the right to human life. It certainly seems to be that way. Bought and paid for police depts will never give the plain folks who pay police salaries with taxes a even break.
I lives in NYC and the only PD I know that is worse in terms of corruption is the New Orleans PD.
 
 
+3 # liteguy 2014-04-23 12:37
I am so liberal and I do believe violence begets violence...
on the other hand I am a vietnam vet and I do believe in self protection. ..and I own guns..
remember the harrison ford amish movie...
"He's our cousin from ohio.." even though I'm from Pa... i' ll be him if need be.....
 
 
+4 # bobaka 2014-04-23 13:06
How is self-defense bred out of people? How are children trained to submit to authority?What has to be crushed in an individual's development to bring about his complete compliance with orders that lead to his death? Every child is broken into submission by violence. Children expect violence from their parents or delegates if they disobey. Collectively, slavish conditions and indignities are given different names--euphemis ms belying their intent or function:duty to the great chain of being. We still live under the kings and queens and other murderers, and all of us are afraid our rapists will not let us live any longer.
 
 
0 # hwmcadoo 2014-04-23 13:15
Very interesting article covering ideas that have concerned me for a long time. In any fight it is very hard to win following the rules when the opponent does. not.
As mentioned in the article there is selective enforcement arresting the peaceful and overlooking arrest for the militants.

At this time there is an acceleration of the repression of rights, heavy handed police, spying and at some time soon the sleeping masses will awaken. Since it is all for the rich with no bones thrown at all to the 99% it is clear that more peaceful actions will be taken and stopped. Violent revolution will be the only alternative.

I hate to see this happen because as the study this week reveals that the 99% have no influence no matter what they do. An exception I suppose could happen with massive demonstrations an an educated population but it is so far from what exists now that I consider it impossible.

Any violent revolution will be identified by NSA and squelched instantly with missiles, drones, machine guns, tanks and Apache helicopters. Our government and police have shown no concern for brutality for turning on her own citizens.

I wish I could find a better outlook but realism is the only way to evaluate any serious situation. Maybe someone can find a good solution that does not require the Congress, the President or the Supreme Court and has massive support from the 99%. Then there might be hope.
 
 
+4 # PaineRad 2014-04-23 13:48
Today's grim reality will not be the reality of the next decade. That reality may be better; it may be worse. If we sit back in cynicism and resignation, I guarantee that it will be worse.

We never know when a spark will catch and turn into a wildfire. No one has ever been very good at predicting revolutionary moments or movements. I'm sure that most Americans in the 18th century thought that no one could defeat the British empire. Few in France thought they could overthrow the monarchy a few years later. At the middle of the 19th century, most folks thought slavery was "the will of God" or just the natural order and would always be with us. No one accurately predicted the dissolution of the USSR.

Change, big change, happens unexpectedly. This president will not be here three years from now. Most TBaggers may not be in Congress five or even one year from now. Blue Dogs and ConservaDems may be either replaced or chastened over the next few years. I have no crystal ball that reliably foretells the future. But neither has anyone else. All we have is history and our own passion and knowledge.

Those should arm us against the onrushing tsunami of corporatism, oligarchy and fascism. Cowering in the corner is not an option for anyone claiming citizenship in this country. We have to do what we can to turn back that tsunami and keep the tinder of social change dry, awaiting the spark that becomes a wildfire.
 
 
+2 # Dorcus Mallorcus 2014-04-23 14:37
Change, big change, happens unexpectedly.

True. And Revolutions almost never turn out as planned...
 
 
+1 # Dorcus Mallorcus 2014-04-23 14:35
This essay presupposes that the government will always back down the way the BLM did in their standoff with Bundy. It doesn't always work out that way - and the U.S. government isn't easily outgunned. And then what happens when you get your fool self killed AND everybody thinks you had it coming for taking up arms against the government? You not only lose the moral high ground and public opinion, you lose your life too. Bad move.
 
 
+3 # Kathymoi 2014-04-23 16:24
I am not for the Occupy Movement toting guns. I am not for an armed peaceful protest. That's an oxymoron.
True that right wing groups get away with whatever they do, including carrying guns, but they are the beloved of the right wing powers that be. The left would not get the same treatment from the police or the government or the courts. Count on that.
We, the people, are not going to overthrow the US government, corporations and military by armed revolution. The moment we take up a single rock, the government and law enforcement will react with even more violence and extreme measures than they have so far. It would give them an excuse. It's not in our interests, and it's not in line with our goals, either. It wouldn't accomplish anything.
We need a great deal more communication, organization and cooperation among ourselves than a fired up war cry and a mad rush out into the streets with rocks and rifles.
Please think harder.
 
 
+3 # ganymede 2014-04-23 22:11
Let these idiots have their guns and the police their pepper spray. The Bundy affair is a perfect example of why the rightwingers are losing and will continue to lose, and the Feds handled the situation very wisely.

I see all the insurrection craziness as being very positive. I see building every day a huge backlash against these people. First, the economy's anemic but slowly improving; thousands of people are going to die, mostly in red states where Obamacare has been rejected by their idiot governors, and now these whacko gun worshippers are showing all their ugliness to a larger public.

I don't hear many people saying this but I see a rout for the Republicans this fall - they're going to lose the House, and more. But this won't happen if left/progressiv e people don't go out and beat the drums for Democrats. Alas, that may not happen because the left feels let down by Obama and the left really doesn't like to win, even when the future of our country is at stake. Guns are really useless stupid tools for fearful and misinformed fools.
 
 
-2 # fredboy 2014-04-24 14:26
Again, if Occupy as we know it was so effective show me one senior financial official who was arrested, prosecuted, and convicted of wrongdoing.

I'm still waiting...

Done effectively, Occupy--and all of us--could have changed the world.

When we had the chance.

But we didn't.
 
 
+1 # Dennyc 2014-04-26 00:14
It's interesting, very interesting. When American citizens carry weapons to insure their rights, they are labeled as 'domestic terrorists'. When American citizens are armed and turned loose in foreign nations, they are called 'heroes'. One thing can ALWAYS be counted upon - our government will never hesitate to use violence in ANY situation they believe could possibly wind up out of their complete control and they have countless times. I believe eighty-two people were killed at Waco, over fifty of them women and children.
 
 
+1 # RLF 2014-04-26 07:50
The issue here seems to be...why were occupy protestors arrested, even though they were peaceful, and the right wing assholes weren't? Why didn't the gov look at the picts and identify these aholes and arrest them, preferably at work. This different treatment under the law is all over in this country now days. Laws are enforced against the regular citizen and never inforced against the rich and the corporate and the right. This will not end well. Once this starts, it will be taken advantage of over and over until the country is gone. This arrogance and uneven laws are epedemic in colonial English treatment of occupied peoples and is usually the beginnings of the end for the government.
 

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