So far I have resisted writing anything about the Occupy Wall Street demonstrations. Other than a few pro or con comments, that I have posted on other peoples posts.
I really wanted to see, what was to become of this movement, before I commented. However, with the happenings in Oakland, I feel a bit compelled to chime in.
I truly believe this is a good thing ( OWS that is ). That aside. A demonstration is a demonstration. Camping out for weeks, in a public place is simply behaving badly. If these were the homeless demonstrating their plight to the country, I could understand. However as I see it, most of these people do have homes to go to.
When I took part in demonstrations against the Viet Nam war, we were often met with billy clubs, and tear gas. Even though we had a right to protest. Even though, we went home after the demonstrations!
Now in the case of OWS, these people are camping out. I can understand this, as it is called “Occupy Wall Street”, but for many it is simply ( to use an ancient term ) a “happening”, or a flash mob as they would call it today. In some of these cases, the people were told to remove themselves from a park or square where it is not legal for ANYONE, to camp out. So in these cases, I simply can't support the Occupiers. On the other hand, when the police simply charge a group, for no reason other than to disrupt and hurt people, there I side with the protesters.
You can still “Occupy” a place without camping out there. You simply show up at a certain time, voice your concerns, protest whatever. Then you pack up and go home, having proven your point. You do it in a way, that gives them no excuse to use violence. When you blatently disobey orders to disperse, you are in fact inciting violence. Don't get me wrong, sometimes it's necessary to show some sign of unrestraint. Sometimes it's necessary to stand ones ground, to prove a point. Camping out for weeks, is not one!
Here in Tampa for example. Gaslight park, which is privately owned. Is often a place where protests take place. It is however, private property. In the case of Tampa, the protesters were told to simply move their encampment to a public park a few blocks away. The protesters cooperated, and there was no violence. Of course, in Tampa a very conservative city. There were not that many Occupy people, so they knew they were outnumbered.
In another year, Tampa will be host to the Republican Convention. I expect at that time, there will be a lot more protesters, or at least I hope so. Then it could get ugly and I would fully support the protesters. I remember when Dubya would come to Tampa to hold his little pep-rallies at RayJames Stadium, you couldn't get within blocks of the place, unless you were a supporter. You were arrested on the spot. ( I know because I worked at the stadium at the time, and I couldn't get in to do my job! )
When the police behave in this way, I feel it is perfectly right to disobey them! I hope next year, people refuse to obey them, when they are told they cannot protest within a mile of the convention center. I know they are already planning this. The First Amendment, gives us the right to "assemble, and protest peacefully". It does not give us the right to camp out wherever we like. Why give fuel to those who would put down this movement? The right wing is already using this, to call them a bunch of hoodlums and bums. This just gives them reason to point out how " the tea party, protests then cleans up before they leave". If we want people to pay attention to us, we need to let them know what we think. We do not however need to trash the place in the process. Maybe I'm just an old curmudgeon, but I have made myself heard on more than one occasion. I also am old enough to know what works, and what doesn't.
I also can't help but remember a bumper sticker I once had on my old VW Bug!
I'm glad to see, it's still around!