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Simultaneous Evictions at Occupy Camps: Conspiracy, Yes. Theory, No.
Occupiers Are Evicted Everywhere Within Days
Doesn't it seem just a little too coincidental? In New York, Toronto, Dallas, Oakland, London, Portland, Berkeley, Nova Scotia, Salt Lake City, Saint Louis . . . dozens of Occupy camps all evicted or threatened with eviction within a shorter period of time than the duration of Kim Kardashian's first marriage. And that prompts people to ask: Why were all these groups being evicted right now? If there is coordination, who is doing the coordinating? And isn't it strange, that if it is not coordinated, the evictions all happened at the same time, but the camps were set up on different dates? There seems to be little doubt that somehow, these evictions are meant to distract us and divide us. But there is also one thing it proves: the Occupy protests are working, because some group of people, somewhere, is getting very uncomfortable.
Did Local Police Receive Federal Help?
Could this near-simultaneous action have been coordinated in the United States on a federal level? One Justice official reportedly says so. And Oakland Mayor Jean Quan admits in a BBC interview to a conference call with eighteen other mayors of large cities about the Occupy protests. Conspiracy, yes. Theory, no. Here's a list of just some of the Occupy camps who have been evicted, or are currently facing eviction, as gathered from newspaper reports:
- Salem, OR
- Dallas, TX
- Portland, OR
- New York City, NY
- Nova Scotia, Canada
- London, England
- Toronto, Canada
- Salt Lake City, UT
- Saint Louis, MO
- Berkeley, CA
- Oakland, CA
- Zurich, Switzerland
- Tulsa, OK
- Wellington, New Zealand
- Denver, CO
- Saskatoon, Canada
- Adelaide, Australia
- Regina, Canada
- Burlington, VT
- Vancouver, Canada
- Chattanooga, TN
- Charlottesville, VA
- Eureka, CA
- Calgary, Canada
- Phoenix, AZ
- Colorado Springs, CO
- Mobile, AL
- Los Angeles, CA
Over the Top
In almost all cases where Occupiers have been evicted, police have shown up in the middle of the night, using horses, motorcycles, S.W.A.T. teams, helicopters, and LRADs (sonic cannons) on people who were mostly just peacefully sleeping. Most people have trouble understanding why such an over-the-top show of force is necessary against people who are asleep. In all cases, the concern has been for "public health and safety." Yet the police do not show such force when breaking up much larger homeless camps, if they even bother to show up there at all.
The more recent, and horrifying incident of pepper-spraying protesters who were peacefully sitting on the sidewalk at the University of California Davis protest underlines the over-the-top tactics that are being used worldwide. There's something going on here behind the scenes that we, the general public, are not privy to . . . but it shows us how uncomfortable the powers that be are with the Occupy movement.
Why at That Time?
Several events occur to me as to why at that particular time: the Super Committee in the U.S. Congress had its recommendation due out in a few days, the Black Friday shopping spree was upon us, Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi had just handed in his resignation, and the Arab League's condemnation of the Syrian government had ripples elsewhere. Someone, or a group of someones, was getting very worried about what might happen next. What or who is behind this coordinated crackdown is still partly uncertain, but keep your eyes on the news, and think about each event's relationship to the Occupy movement, and whether that event could figure into the timeline of the crackdown. For a while, only privileged insiders had the answer. With some luck, and continued releases of documents by Anonymous and Wikileaks, one day perhaps the rest of us will know the full answer, too.
History teaches us that when you break up a protest, it starts to resurface again, almost immediately, and in a form that is harder to control. The Occupy camps were all located in convenient, easily contained places. If the mayors of the cities who have evicted Occupy protesters think that they have the situation under control, history tells us that they are likely to be disappointed. The causes of the anger that people feel have not gone away, and if the Occupy movement is driven underground, then one has only to look to the former Eastern Bloc countries to see how widespread it will become. People, instead of going to Occupy camps, are going to start meeting in living rooms and coffee shops around the country, and planning short-term protests that are going to be staged without cooperation extended to local authorities. The "flash mob" may be one form of protest that no-one will be able to control. Destabilizing a protest movement is always a very risky undertaking.
Some of the former supporters of the movement, such as Adbusters, have stated that it is time the protesters should "declare victory, and pack up and go home." I think that shows a devastating lack of understanding of what has awakened across the world, and if Adbusters or any organization thinks they are going to tell the Occupiers what to do, they have a very unpleasant surprise in store for them. The Occupiers, with their General Assemblies, are not going to sit back and follow orders--from either the left or the right.
United States President John F. Kennedy said it best: "Those who make peaceful revolution impossible make violent revolution inevitable." I suggest the city mayors think long and hard about this statement, and then look at the historical similarities between "Let them eat cake" (the wheat harvest failed and there was no flour) and "Get a job!" (there are hundreds of applicants for each opening).
The Next Steps
Rather than blindly subscribing to the talking points of either political party, it's time for people who are serious about change to do some in-depth research. While most of the Occupiers I met were informed far better than the average person about economics, balance of power, and government, we must take up the challenge to go far beyond that information into a deep understanding of how to effect change. The violent reaction to the peaceful Occupy movement showed that it was perceived as threatening (even regarded as domestic terrorism) to the status quo, and so it was effective. Now we must figure out how to be even more effective on a stealth and individual level. Wherever you choose to begin, whether by beginning an ethical business, growing some food in a food desert, boycotting a business, feeding the homeless, or some other method, we must find the most effective ways of doing so and begin there. While large-scale protests will continue to take place, we must also protest effectively but silently. The books that follow have been carefully chosen to provide just such an education into both what has worked historically, and what kinds of actions might be useful in the future.
This book predicts that change to the capitalist system is inevitable, and shows how small-scale (even for companies as small as one person) efforts for reform can drive large changes.
While still working in stealth, it's important to work together and co-ordinate our efforts. In addition, we can all learn from each other, so we can work more effectively. This book shows us how we can, together, start to implement change on every level.
An inspiring and informative look at the history of social change, with examples to follow for ourselves in bringing about change on a small scale that grows into a larger movement.
Presents the conflict between our natural social bonds, and those that are imposed on us by industrialization. Incredible insight into the conflict, which may lead readers to devise creative solutions.
An insider's tale of economic imperialism, similar to Naomi Klein's groundbreaking Shock Doctrine. The book proposes specific actions to take to counter such power grabs.
With collaborative sites such as blogs, forums, social media, and Wikipedia, individuals all over the world are transforming our society. This is a look into how such change is occurring, why it occurs, and how this change can benefit people who wish to fight back against the plutocracy.
© 2011 progressivist