Last year, before the Occupy encampments fizzled, it was surely a comfort to parents of college-age “Occupy” protestors that police officers remained near the camps, where drug abuse and overdoses, violent fights, criminal acts of vandalism,and multiple sexual assaults were among the revolution’s few fruits. Protestors churlishly claimed that police alone pose a threat in their utopian tent cities, but scenes of Occupiers smashing store windows or recoiling in shock as police processed yet another suicide at a Vermont camp told a different story:
When nirvana tips over into chaos, the adults must step in.
The police presence at the camps cannot have been similarly comforting for parents and spouses of police. Their loved ones spent days and nights trying to keep order in volatile settings where hatred for police was openly celebrated, so openly that posters of cop-killers Mumia Abu Jamal and Lovelle Mixon were ominously affixed to tents. Mixon, a convicted child rapist, gunned down four Oakland officers in 2009 as they sat eating breakfast; he is now an annointed hero of the Occupiers.
Atlanta Occupiers re-named their entire encampment after cop-killer Troy Davis, who shot a policeman in 1989 as the officer came to the aid of a homeless man Davis was pistol-whipping. Impervious to irony, the Atlanta Occupiers thus re-christened a park where homeless people loiter after a man who bashed a homeless man, rather than naming it after the police officer who gave his life to try to save that homeless man from Davis’ violence.
The intensity of venom the Occupy protestors direct at street police, and not at the elected officials or even police chiefs, is part of an intentional strategy to incite and amplify confrontations with police and then scapegoat police for the ensuing incidents. This is a well-worn activist strategy, one that relies on both a complacent media eager to report “clashes” between protestors and police, and on elected officials eager to curry favor curry with the activists and constituent groups that support them.
The strategy worked perfectly for Occupiers in Atlanta, New York City, Chicago, and Oakland, where Mayors Kasim “Not-What-I-Seem” Reed, Michael “Egg Cream” Bloomberg, Human Lizard Rahm Emanuel, and the buffoonish Jean Quan pandered to protestors one day, then demanded police action the next. This was a low-stakes game for mayors but a high-stakes one for the street-beat cop who had to confront the protestors’ entrenched feelings of cop-loathing and entitlement.
While mayors and editorial boards postured, scolding the police one day and then wondering why they didn’t stop store-looting the next, the seasoned activists behind the visible Occupy encampments created no-go zones for the police on public property. This disturbing development, like others, was accepted by authorities with barely a whimper, even when the result was serious crimes such as rapes. Where were the feminist activists decrying Occupiers’ efforts to discourage rape victims — and witnesses — from cooperating to capture sex criminals? Where were the allegedly pro-woman council members, and mayors? The Occupiers’ strategy of creating ostentatious “safe zones” for women rather than using all their resources to unambiguously cooperate in capturing sex offenders placed them in the company of the disgraced football coaches of Penn State.
. . . while being watched over by designated monitors to prevent sexual assault in public parks: was this the utopia the Occupiers imagined?
Actually, it was. A few raped women, and men, was apparently not a price too high to pay for striking another blow at law enforcement (in activist argot, the “fascist police state”).
Behind the visible faces of the Occupy movement — students worried about repaying their loans, aging peaceniks, and drug-addicted hangers-on — there was a wide range of professional activist organizations united in principle and practice. The principle is dismantling capitalism, and the practice is delegitimizing capitalist institutions. While the street protests have largely gone away, and it is not yet known if there will be disruptions at the Tampa Republican National Convention, these activists are doing precisely what they have always done: plotting the next surprise attack in their ongoing revolution against Western Civilization.
The professionals occupying the Occupy movement will continue to do so even as the movement itself disperses like a thousand cockroaches scattering before the arrival of the bug man. Long before the first tent went up in Zuchotti Park, Angela Davis’ Critical Resistance “cop-watch” organization was teaching activists to writhe and scream for the cameras while being handcuffed, and the anarchist collective Ruckus Society was publishing how-to manuals with detailed instructions for invading buildings, disrupting mass transit and cargo movement, and maximizing chaos in the streets, while the Center for Constitutional Rights, the National Lawyer’s Guild, and the A.C.L.U. continued their tradition of defending such lawbreaking.
To wit, check out the poorly-named AdBusters, which is really one big advertisement advertising against advertisements by others . . . while its well-heeled editors direct the Occupt “revolutionaries” from very nice lofts elsewhere. But they’re ironic, you see:
In its own sweet way, our movement is now moving beyond the Zuccotti model and developing a tactical imperative of its own: Small groups of fired up second generation occupiers acting independently, swiftly and tenaciously pulling off myriad visceral local actions, disrupting capitalist business-as-usual across the globe.
The next big bang to capture the world’s imagination could come not from a thousand encampments but from a hundred thousand ephemeral jams… a global cascade of flash encampments may well be what this hot Summer will look like.
Meanwhile, tents are up once again in Tahrir Square and youth from Quebec to Auckland toMoscow to Oakland are rising up against a future that does not compute.
Stay loose, play jazz, keep the faith … Capitalism is crashing and our movement has just begun.
for the wild,
Culture Jammers HQ
While the Tampa City Council pretends that they are negotiating with the ACLU to ensure orderly and “fair” protests at the upcoming Republican convention, Adbusters is busy recommending that these protesters join forces with the most violent and radical groups for the next phase of the revolution. Conveniently, they publish their numbers, so the Tampa politicians don’t need to, like, Google them or anything:
Decide for yourself which groups you respect then call them for a chat or send them an email or a tweet. Ruckus Society is at 510-931-6339,firstname.lastname@example.org, @Ruckusociety; Rainforest Action Network at 415-398-4404,email@example.com, @RAN… Let’s nudge our friends back into the Occupy camp . . .
While it has become a cliche to say so, every one of these activist groups enjoys funding from George Soros, who not only provides millions to the legal organizations listed above but also donates hundreds of thousands of dollars to subsidize the Ruckus Society’s workshops teaching rope skills and building invasion techniques and the virulent anti-police rhetoric from Critical Resistance and the dozens of groups coordinated through the Center for Constitutional Rights’ Movement Support Coalition.
The police have always stood on the front lines against such groups, while the rest of us have the luxury of watching from a distance. The Occupy protests are merely the latest battleground in an ongoing war on police. What will happen in Tampa in August? With the Mayor and members of the City Council playing patty-cake with the ACLU, rather than behaving like adults and representing the taxpayers who fund them, only two things are certain:
It’s going to be hot, and when the cops aren’t busy handing out water bottle to protesters, they’re going to be under attack by them. What should the rest of us do? Make sure the people we elected remember the difference between a cop handing a protester a water bottle and the protester throwing a bottle of something else back at the cop. It’s simple, really, but somehow the politicians just don’t get it.