Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. once accurately compared the use of non-violent protest in response to injustice to putting water on fire. He said if you throw a bucket of water on a fire and the fire doesn’t go out, it doesn’t mean water doesn’t put out fire. It means you need more water.
It seems to me more and more of this water is being used by the nationwide-and-beyond Occupy Wall Street movement. Some of these actions are achieved in stunningly creative and effective ways. One example would be the emotionally powerful response exhibited by hundreds of students from the University of California, Davis after police pepper sprayed students who were doing nothing more than sitting on the ground in support of OWS. The video of this brutality has been viewed well over half a million times at this writing. University Chancellor Linda P.B.Katehi’s authorization to use police force in response to this non-violent student protest has resulted in justifiable calls for her resignation. You can’t call in law enforcement in full riot gear and then act surprised when they use pepper spray which is essentially what she is doing.
Hundreds of students inflicted a breathtaking display of the power of silence when Katehi walked three blocks to her car after her press conference.
What is becoming increasingly clear is the fact that this movement will not be stopped by pepper-spray or by any other acts of authority-sanctioned violence. The OWS movement is not running out of water. Civil rights movements like this never run out of water. In this case, this truth is stronger than ever. 99% is far bigger than 1%. In other words, the numbers and the water supply are on our side. After all, they’re always on the side of justice.
I can tell you from firsthand experience that there are quite a few good and decent and blazingly courageous members of law enforcement. In fact, it was members of the NYPD that saved my life when I was held up and shot in the head in 1984. Nevertheless, facts are facts. From Oakland to NYC to Seattle and back there have been and continue to be glaring examples of police brutality inflicted on non-violent protesters who are doing nothing more than exercising the rights our constitution gives them, not to mention drawing attention to the fact the freedom that is supposed to come with being a citizen of the United States of America is slowly but surely disappearing. Not to mention the fact that the 1% are running the show and are clearly behind the violent response.
And much of the mainstream media is in bed with the 1% because the mainstream media is owned and operated by the 1%. Close to 30,000 New Yorkers marched in NYC the other night. Try finding that in mainstream media. You’re living on another planet of you think the majority of the mainstream media isn’t as invested or nearly as invested in squashing the Occupy Movement as big business and Washington (but I repeat myself) is.
When you see American veterans being physically assaulted by law enforcement, there is silence from the White House and Congressional leaders. When you see 84-year-old women like Dorli Rainey drenched in pepper spray there is silence from the White House and Congressional leaders. When you see non-violent protesters being beaten, doused with pepper spray, punched, trampled by those members of society who are supposed to protect them, the silence of our country’s so-called leaders is deafening in its support for the ongoing brutality.
Dorli Rainey after being doused by pepper spray by Seattle PD on Nov. 15 2011
The current silence of those in Washington as well as the silence of so many leaders in states and cities across the country when it comes to the violence being inflicted on non-violent protesters is no different than those who remained silent when Alabama’s governor George Wallace and Georgia’s governor Lestor Maddox waved the banner of racism; it is no different than those who remained silent when Birmingham Alabama’s Bull Connor turned fire hoses and police dogs loose on non-violent protesters including children.
As Dante Alighieri said: “The darkest places in hell are reserved for those who maintain their neutrality in times of moral crisis.” Many of our nation’s leaders are booking rooms in hell as we speak.
Save for foreign publications like The Guardian and some spotty coverage on our side of the pond, the American media seems to be engaged in a conscious effort to contribute to the stifling of what is essentially a national and increasingly global non-violent human rights movement called Occupy Wall Street. One exception has been Current TV’s Countdown with Keith Olbermann.
The sickening truth about the American media would seem surprising until you learn that six corporations control the media, meaning, they are owned by the one percent. The six corporations are: Time Warner, Walt Disney, Viacom, Rupert Murdoch’s News Corp., CBS Corporation and NBC Universal. It is frightening and eye-opening to realize that in 1983 50 corporations ran the media.
The OWS movement is going to be a long one. Given the one-percent’s ruthless hold on power and their willingness to wield that power (note the violent responses by certain law enforcement agencies along with increasing reports that the New York City Police Department is now urging and or transporting mentally ill homeless people and homeless drug users to Zuccotti Park to undermine OWS) it is likely there will be more bloodshed and lives lost.
In my view it is time for OWS to bring its message to the media. Occupy the NY Times, the Daily News, the NY Post, the Washington Post, the LA Times, and more. Occupy CBS, ABC and NBC. Just as it is the government’s job to make sure our system of capitalism is not, as Michael Moore recently pointed out, a rigged game, it is the media’s job to report what is going on in the country. If these folks aren’t doing their job, then occupy them too.
And yes, We Shall Overcome.