Overnight, the police in both Oakland and Atlanta forcibly tried to shut down the Occupy movements in those cities.
The reaction of Oakland police was extreme, firing beanbag rounds and flash canisters into the crowd and launching tear gas at them and driving them from a park they had occupied for two weeks. Atlanta's finest were more peaceful as they just arrested all fifty people occupying a park in downtown Atlanta and handcuffed them and carried them off to jail, but the result was the same, a metropolitan police force at the direction of its mayor attacked its own citizens for peacefully assembling and protesting its government. If this had happened in China or Syria, our state department would be filing letters of protest as we speak.
Some rogue elements in the Oakland crowd did not act perfectly as they were evicted. We are not all saints. There are reports of some flipping off police in Oakland and one report of someone throwing paint on the police. But, in Atlanta, everyone behaved beautifully but the result was the same.
The powers that be, the banks, the big corporations and our two terribly corrupted and bribed political parties, are beginning to feel the heat of this movement that refuses to be labeled or controlled. Unlike the Tea Party that wanted to work within the Republican Party to accomplish reform, the Occupy folks have made it clear they want to operate outside the two political parties. This is a threat to both political parties.
We have lived for thirty years now with banks and big corporations exercising an inordinate amount of power in our economic lives and using their vast economic might to capture our politicians, rewrite our laws and the rules we live by and do possibly permanent damage to our democracy. The current global economic crisis is a direct result of this power surge into politics and governing by these banks and corporations and their removal of regulations meant to protect the country and its people from their greed and recklessness, something not lost on the Occupiers. But now, the stakes have been raised. If these powerful banks and corporations and corrupt political parties and local and federal governments are going to use physical force to try to control the people, it is time each of us made a decision as to what side of this fight we wish to be on.
After Mayor Daley had his police attack demonstrators at the 1968 Democratic Convention in Chicago, many naïve Americans assumed that if the police reacted violently they must have had good reason, they must have been provoked. Today, the question remains, have we learned from our past? Do we now understand that there is no place in America for its police forces to use violence against its own citizens exercising their rights of free assembly and free speech?
You don't have to agree with everything the Occupy movement stands for to lend your support. But we must put an end to this police-instigated violence. Speak out against it. Tell your friends you think it is wrong. Write your mayor and your congressman. And if you are still too afraid to join the movement, at least get out of your recliner and come down to your local Occupy movement to see what all the fuss is about. You need to see for yourself what democracy of and by the people looks like. I can assure you the corporate-owned media, dependent on banks and corporations as their advertising sponsors, are not going to televise a fair picture of what is happening into your living room. As they say, the revolution will not be televised. You need to get involved. To date the protesters have been working selflessly for you and your family, it is time you returned the favor.
John R. Talbott is a best selling author and economic consultant to families. You can read more about how he will work One on One with you on your financial situation at www.stopthelying.com.