“[T]his 2011 report indicates that DHS is paying NYPD three and a half times NYPD’s overtime budget annually: $180m of DHS money is spent on “intelligence gathering”; so $90m of NYPD’s budget, in one year alone, is from DHS. Thus, Holland and I are foolish to debate over whether there is “coordination” between NYPD and DHS. If you look at the numbers, financially, NYPD is, to some extent, DHS. Look at the Nemeth maps: geopolitically, lower Manhattan is, within certain boundaries, the province of DHS. This is true of Zuccotti Park, where NYPD received $25m to surveil and track license plates.”
— Naomi Wolf: The crackdown on Occupy controversy: a rebuttal
In the US, the message from the mayors is simple: You’ve made your point. Now go to your room and shut up. We’ve got a lawn to keep up, and you’ve spoiled it. America’s “grown-ups” as the political class likes to think of itself, have never had much patience when it comes to the “children”, as its mere citizens are known. And yet, America’s democratic revolutionary origins are at the very centre of a radically different vision of what American exceptionalism is all about.
The situation in Los Angeles is particularly exemplary. Although city officials welcomed Occupy LA at first, for weeks on end Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa and others have been saying it’s time to leave. Villaraigosa - like Obama - is a former progressive organiser turned neo-liberal politician. He was a teacher’s union organiser when I first met him in the 1980s, as part of a progressive precinct network aimed at getting disaffected progressive voters to the polls.
Also within the coalition’s core was the LA National Lawyers Guild’s executive director. When Villaraigosa first took office in 2006, his first big battle was against the teacher’s union he used to work for. He took them on with the backing of billionaire real estate developer and education “reformer” Eli Broad. Five years later, as he faces off against Occupy LA, the current NLG executive director, James Lafferty, is one of his major opponents.
With no sense of irony, Villaraigosa thought Thanksgiving weekend was the perfect time for an eviction. “It’s clear that this mayor cares more about dead grass than a dead economy,” Lafferty responded at an Occupy LA press conference. “The 99 per cent that have been thrown out of their homes, jobless, without proper healthcare and all the rest seem to be less important to him than that lawn.”
You should probably read this.
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“There is a conventional “narrative” that the Occupy movement is the product of social media. I hold the contrarian view that the Occupy movement actually results from the shortcomings of and dissatisfaction with digital culture. Occupy participants are proving that only by exiting a screen-centric digital cocoon back into the physical world can their discontent with political reality attain the critical mass necessary to achieve change. […]
I don’t want to diminish the role of digital media as an organizing tool. Blogging and tweeting are okay, but for protest it is ineffectual. It can be ignored. It can be switched off. And as satisfying as it is to vent, it is only a proxy for doing something in the physical world. At a certain point in political life — as in sexual life — it’s better not to be doing it alone in your room.”
“Yesterday, police at UC Davis attacked seated students with a chemical gas.
I teach at UC Davis and I personally know many of the students who were the victims of this brutal and unprovoked assault. They are top students. In fact, I can report that among the students I know, the higher a student’s grade point average, the more likely it is that they are centrally involved in the protests.
This is not surprising, since what is at issue is the dismantling of public education in California. Just six years ago, tuition at the University of California was $5357. Tuition is currently $12,192. According to current proposals, it will be $22,068 by 2015-2016. We have discussed this in my classes, and about one third of my students report that their families would likely have to pull them out of school at the new tuition. It is not a happy moment when the students look around the room and see who it is that will disappear from campus. These are young people who, like college students everywhere and at all times, form some of the deepest friendships they will have in their lives.
This is what motivates students who have never taken part in any sort of social protest to “occupy” the campus quad. And indeed, there were students who were attacked with chemical agents by robocops who were engaging in their first civic protest.”
Or as it’s called on the street: a paid vacation.