They are called guerrilla projections. Visible from Manhattan, an apartment window in Brooklyn became the projection booth of the Occupy Movement. Projected on the white marble face of the Verizon telecomm building as thousands crossed the iconic Brooklyn Bridge during the evening rush hour last Thursday, was a simple but powerful Happy Birthday slide show. The message greeted commuters and most of Manhattan’s East Side: “We are the 99%! Look around, you are a part of a global uprising, we are a cry from the heart of the world, we are unstoppable, another world is possible. Happy Birthday Occupy Movement.”
At the University of California-Davis, a peaceful sit-in was the site of yet another example of what I now call ‘Police Violence Tourette’s Syndrome’ (PVTS), where one rogue police officer decides when ‘enough is enough’ and takes authority into his own hands. In this instance he angrily and smugly walks down the sit-in line emptying an entire canister of pepper spray. The officers then gather up the suffering protestors, offer no treatment for the spray and place them under arrest.
Spray and then arrest peaceful protestors? Patrol the perimeter with rifle toting armed guards while protestors are armed only with cameras and their voices shout “Shame!?” They had no purpose other than inciting violence which only came from their side. They had no purpose and could have easily created a “Kent State moment” on that campus. What if outside agitators had been present and one fired a shot? Would those rifle-toting police have mowed everyone down on the spot? At what point is there accountability for police thuggery in the US?
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The next image in the opening montage is from a YouTube video too violent to be shown here, while everyone is speaking in Arabic, there is no translation needed. It shows vividly how Mubarak’s police thugs beat and humiliated pro-democracy protestors into submission. They know the face contains literally thousands of powerful nerve endings that resonate throughout the entire body. You cannot watch this man being slapped, then collapsing whilst other officers laugh, without becoming repulsed. This is the short version. The goal is to beat one into submission. While many want to see shades of justification for police action, this is different from the pepper spraying of peaceful protestors how precisely?
Finally, the iconic image of Mubarak thugs riding camels and horses into Tahrir with canes to whip those peacefully protesting led to 48 hours of mind-numbing violence during the Egyptian Revolution. Yet no one left the Square. Indeed even more showed up when they saw their comrades being attacked. By the time Mubarak fell, some estimates had more than 14 million Egyptians on the street marching in Cairo, Alexandria, Suez and other cities. That represented 15% of the population on the street. In the US that would be 45 million people, not coincidentally the number of un/under-employed and uninsured.
What Commandants Bloomberg, Quan and others need to learn is that although you may succeed in temporarily evicting people from occupying parks and “send them a message,” you cannot extinguish a global movement by force alone. You will need to kill everyone to stop that which you alone have created through arrogance and greed. That a billionaire mayor can manipulate the charter to then rule by fiat and protect his cronies on Wall Street is exposed daily.
It only brings out more angry people and, as we saw in Egypt, can topple entire governments. The over-reactions always bring to mind the famous quote: “first they ignore you, then they laugh at you, then they fight you, then you win” by Mohandas Gandhi. This is why Occupy is now a global movement. As the iconic 84-year old Dorli Rainey, the woman pepper sprayed in Seattle, said referencing her activism during the women’s movement of the 1960s: “Screw us and we multiply.”
Two months old the Mainstream Media or MSM started to lie about and deride the Occupy movement. Now as the façade of so-called independent news agencies continues to crumble under phone hacking and corporate control memes, they sound even more pathetic. Calling the deranged madman who allegedly took shots at the White House with an assault rifle a member of the Occupy movement, lying without consequence as FOX did this week, is beyond the pale. As in Tahrir Square in Cairo, citizen journalists are documenting and telling the real story to overcome State controlled Television memes that are both a false narrative and antithetical to what is really happening on the streets.
Occupy is a marathon vs. a sprint. The creativity of the Occupy Movement will continue to flourish. The MSM love labels, “the protestors are anti-capitalist dirty hippies who have no toilet training” has been an ongoing theme. Mubarak though has been replaced by Bloomberg and like Hosni, Michael cannot see he is headed for the same train wreck. Too, he and his generals on the police force are even trying to follow the dictator’s playbook (see Page 11 of this extract of the book Egypt Unshackled). The problem is… we’ve all seen it and it doesn’t work.
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Overwhelming force never beats overwhelming public determination. When a movement understands themselves, that is dangerous for those they fight. The Pixar film “A Bug’s Life” (begin at 1:00) shows best what happens when people step fully into their power:
Egypt’s revolution took an astonishingly quick 18 days, the playbook is there from their pro-democracy demonstrators. Now it is being adapted and revised daily as the global Occupy movement continues to grow. The 1% are very scared. They should be.
This is their 5:30 am wake-up call and there is no snooze button.
UPDATED: Reuters reports: Two University of California, Davis police officers have been placed on administrative leave while the school investigates the apparent use by campus police of pepper spray against seated student protesters, the university said Sunday.