*Note: If your comment on this contains any kind of victim-blaming, cop-fluffing, or the word “hippie” combined with any derogatory adjective, I will ban your ass faster than you can imagine. I am not in the mood to be Little Miss Constructive Dialogue today.*
And now they are refusing to let the occupiers return in spite of a court order ordering them to do so. (There is another hearing at 11:30. Maybe another court order will be clear enough for the NYPD!)
…I don’t have a response to this. I mean, what do you say? I’m disgusted but not surprised? So I’m going to try to be positive.
If you haven’t already, I urge you to read Rick Perlstein’s Nixonland – it’s a brick-sized tome examining the divisions in American politics and culture through the lens of Richard Nixon. (It’s very expensive to buy as a book, but you can get the audiobook from Audible for about $15.) A good deal of it is about protests, urban rioting, and the police response. And a pattern emerges:
– Some fringe people with nothing to lose protest something
– Most of the population ignores it
– Those in authority overreact
– The situation escalates, leading to police action, generally of a brutal and oppressive kind; there may be deaths
– The mainstream press either straight-up supports the police or waffles
– Eventually enough real information trickles through – enough pictures of men with batons beating up women, enough iterations of a rich man in a suit decrying poor people as lawbreaking scum, enough impassioned slogans making their way into the popular consciousness – to tip the balance in the public mind
– The most mainstream, watered-down goals of the movement are accepted and even enacted, though the truly radical ones are pushed aside as impractical.
You’ll never change the minds of the 20-30% of hard-core authoritarians among us – those for whom the powerful are always right, no matter what – but you will change the minds of the wafflers and the don’t-make-a-scene types, as long as it isn’t too far.
I don’t have any religious beliefs anymore; I don’t have faith that any god will come in and save us, or magically change everything for the better, or that we can pray/meditate/Secret ourselves into freedom. But I do have faith in people. That if we work together and listen to each other and try really hard we can make the world a little bit better for each other.
So when the cops are beating you and destroying your stuff, remember – it’s not much, I know – remember that what you are doing cannot fail to change the world, even if it’s only a little ground gained with the maximum of amount of pain. And even if I can’t be there to take the blows with you, I and millions of others are behind you.
And I will totally bake you some vegan cupcakes and bring them to you in jail.