by Cindy Sheehan
Cindy Sheehan’s Soapbox Blog
Cindy Sheehan’s Soapbox
February 12, 2012
(SOAPBOX #120) – Cindy remarks: Journalist/activist, Chris Hedges, caused quite a stir this past week when he wrote a column for Truthdig saying, in essence, that the “black bloc anarchists” were killing the Occupy movement. The response was immediate and sometimes fierce. Although, I agree with Chris that violence for the sake of violence is counter-productive, it’s been my experience that the violence usually begins with law enforcement, with little, if any, provocation. What should our response be within a society where top-down violence is perpetrated with near impunity all over the world? These are questions that need to be asked and the answers need to be devised with the greatest and highest good (fostering peace and justice) kept at the forefront. I had the opportunity to interview Chris a few days before he released the article, but we did talk about the violence in the Occupy movement somewhat, as our topic was really the lawsuit Chris filed against President Obama and DefSec, Leon Panetta, regarding the recent National Defense Authority Act (NDAA). Please listen to the show – it’s very informative, as usual. The show is available streaming online at 2 pm (pacific) at our new home, Community Progressive Radio and forever at the archives at Cindy Sheehan’s Soapbox.
Chris Hedges spent two decades as a foreign reporter covering wars in Latin America, Africa, Europe and the Middle East. His latest books are Death of the Liberal Class, and The World as It Is: Dispatches on the Myth of Human Progress.
Chris Hedges: Obama Has Broken Almost Every Campaign Promise He Made In 2008
Interview With Chris Hedges About Black Bloc by J.A. Myerson
Chris Hedges: Black Bloc Could Kill OWS
The Cancer of Occupy by Chris Hedges
Chris Hedges on the reality and the seriousness of the NDAA
Why I’m Suing Barack Obama by Chris Hedges
Occupy Wall Street on Dandelion Salad
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The Occupy movement was important for many reasons, including its ability to engage people who hadn’t been involved before. But what made the Occupy movement impossible for corporate media to ignore, and what completely changed the national dialogue from deficit and austerity to wealth inequality and regaining power, was the fact that Occupy took over, and held, highly visible public space. Thousands of people were involved in this, including old people and families with kids. It wasn’t considered violent, and it wasn’t considered seeking confrontation with the police.
Now things are different, and the combination of corporate power, Homeland Security, local police, and corporate media are determined to crush Occupy by any means necessary, including stun grenades, using tear gas, using rubber-coated bullets, in short, violence. But the other half of this assault is ideological bullying: the media and politicians are now screaming and demanding we consider the very things we brought our kids to a few months ago, occupying public space, as us being violent and seeking confrontation with the police. The police and media’s accusing us of violence is like the 1% accusing us of class warfare.
Any effective challenge to the profit-making economic machine will be attacked by the police. That’s what the police exist for. That’s why we say the 1% is a “class,” because they not only hold the wealth but also the power to stay in power: government, media, and the police. We challenged that. These police attacks are scary and daunting, but just as we have times of advance, we also have times of retreat before we advance again. We will never be free of violence until we’re free of capitalism. Until then, we’re behind enemy lines, and it’s like guerrilla warfare, choosing your battles carefully, but keeping the end in sight. In the meantime, please, let us not turn against ourselves, and jump onto this 1%-inspired campaign against “violence.”