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Call It a Revolution

by MISSY BEATTIE

Snarling riot cops evicted protestors and raided Zuccotti Park Tuesday morning, two months after Occupy Wall Street (OWS) was launched in lower Manhattan.  Spin-off groups across the country were shut down as well.

Just minutes after I wrote the above paragraph, my son called from NYC to update that activists, amassing again, are being arrested.  Several hundred demonstrators are marching through the financial district to block traffic.  “Who do you serve?  Who do you protect?”  These questions are directed at the arresting officers.

This past week, I’ve viewed videos of policemen, stomping their official authority across the necks and backs of members of the 99 percent who’ve gathered to demand change with focus on lack of jobs, social inequality, injustice, the taxpayer bailed-out bankers responsible for crashing the economy, and the failure to hold corporate criminals accountable.  Meanwhile, protestors are being cuffed (as I write) and pepper sprayed by a paramilitary-like police force.

Criminal, too, is the destruction of libraries at occupation areas, an act almost as unthinkable as the loss of human rights.  Books are venerated, the compilation of ideas, an author’s vision, life map, revelations, inked to paper, like lyrics swirling to music, records of the past, present, what could and/or shouldn’t be.

Just hours before morning on Tuesday, police descended to machete freedom of speech and the right to assemble.  Let’s make this less visible, the mayors must have said during conference calls. Like George Bush, they instructed their serfs to act in the absence of light— so Bushian and reminiscent of a president’s directive that dead soldiers would arrive to shattered families only at night.

What Americans can’t see, they, most likely, will not acknowledge.   George Bush prevented photographs of returning war dead. Barack Obama learned from the experts and is, now, the master of universal subterfuge.

Good morning, Australia.  Please welcome the US Marines.  This is a policy shift to counter China’s power.  You Aussies will be grateful.  We will call this a partnership that’s, um, similar to a coalition.   Of the coerced.  Imagine you are ten years old, hands against the wall, and the United States of America is, as Obama says, “…here to stay.” Disregard the slapping sound.  This is horseplay.  The bases are yours, not ours.   The US is with you in a constructive role to protect oil and minerals.  This will not hurt.  And don’t complain to anyone or Mommy and Daddy might be assassinated.

It’s just that we are “winding down” wars in Afghanistan and Iraq and the horses require other ranges to roam.  The Empire rides, hard and fast.

Forgive the detour.  I wandered from my intent to examine the mayoral edict to rid the 99 percent of its voice and accede to the 1 percent.  And to emphasize that these smaller political fish miscalculated the repercussions of their order.

The battle for justice didn’t end this past week when local politicians allowed acts of violence not unlike the violations we condemn in countries we bomb to spread “democracy.”  Witness to this is inspiring increased action.  Protests are mounting.  Activists are strategizing.  This movement isn’t going to whimper.  We are watching the aftermath of a decision that underscores the viability of OWS.  This is not a one-act drama.

More:  I just returned from Occupy Baltimore where we assembled at the Howard Street Bridge.  “This is what democracy looks like,” we shouted, along with “jobs not cuts.”

The crowd, numbering well over 200 participants, has grown since my last visit to the occupation zone. In solidarity with protestors at raided sites, we stood on the busy corner during rush hour.

We must choose our targets wisely.  How about the buildings in midtown Manhattan where the morning talk shows broadcast inanities such as how to bake the perfect turkey?

The times are imperfect. Perilous, really.  Actions, small and large, demand maximum impact.  Again, this is not a one-act drama.  People are angry.  And they will not acquiesce to big business, as usual.  I think we can call this a revolution.

Missy Beattie lives in Baltimore, Maryland.  She can be reached at: missybeat@gmail.com.

Missy Beattie has written for National Public Radio and Nashville Life Magazine. She was an instructor of memoirs writing at Johns Hopkins’ Osher Lifelong Learning Institute in BaltimoreEmail: missybeat@gmail.com

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