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Mon Apr 28, 2014, 08:06 AM

Chris Hedges: The Crime of Peaceful Protest


from truthdig:


The Crime of Peaceful Protest

Posted on Apr 27, 2014
By Chris Hedges


NEW YORK—Cecily McMillan, wearing a red dress and high heels, her dark, shoulder-length hair stylishly curled, sat behind a table with her two lawyers Friday morning facing Judge Ronald A. Zweibel in Room 1116 at the Manhattan Criminal Court. The judge seems to have alternated between boredom and rage throughout the trial, now three weeks old. He has repeatedly thrown caustic barbs at her lawyers and arbitrarily shut down many of the avenues of defense. Friday was no exception.

The silver-haired Zweibel curtly dismissed a request by defense lawyers Martin Stolar and Rebecca Heinegg for a motion to dismiss the case. The lawyers had attempted to argue that testimony from the officer who arrested McMillan violated Fifth Amendment restrictions against the use of comments made by a defendant at the time of arrest. But the judge, who has issued an unusual gag order that bars McMillan’s lawyers from speaking to the press, was visibly impatient, snapping, “This debate is going to end.” He then went on to uphold his earlier decision to heavily censor videos taken during the arrest, a decision Stolar said “is cutting the heart out of my ability to refute” the prosecution’s charge that McMillan faked a medical seizure in an attempt to avoid being arrested. “I’m totally handicapped,” Stolar lamented to Zweibel.

The trial of McMillan, 25, is one of the last criminal cases originating from the Occupy protest movement. It is also one of the most emblematic. The state, after the coordinated nationwide eradication of Occupy encampments, has relentlessly used the courts to harass and neutralize Occupy activists, often handing out long probation terms that come with activists’ forced acceptance of felony charges. A felony charge makes it harder to find employment and bars those with such convictions from serving on juries or working for law enforcement. Most important, the long probation terms effectively prohibit further activism.

The Occupy Wall Street movement was not only about battling back against the rise of a corporate oligarchy that has sabotaged our democracy and made war on the poor and the working class. It was also about our right to peaceful protest. The police in cities across the country have been used to short-circuit this right. I watched New York City police during the Occupy protests yank people from sidewalks into the street, where they would be arrested. I saw police routinely shove protesters and beat them with batons. I saw activists slammed against police cars. I saw groups of protesters suddenly herded like sheep to be confined within police barricades. I saw, and was caught up in, mass arrests in which those around me were handcuffed and then thrown violently onto the sidewalk. The police often blasted pepper spray into faces from inches away, temporarily blinding the victims. This violence, carried out against nonviolent protesters, came amid draconian city ordinances that effectively outlawed protest and banned demonstrators from public spaces. It was buttressed by heavy police infiltration and surveillance of the movement. When the press or activists attempted to document the abuse by police they often were assaulted or otherwise blocked from taking photographs or videos. The message the state delivered is clear: Do not dissent. And the McMillan trial is part of the process. ...............(more)

The complete piece is at: http://www.truthdig.com/report/item/the_crime_of_peaceful_protest_20140427



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Arrow 32 replies Author Time Post
Reply Chris Hedges: The Crime of Peaceful Protest (Original post)
marmar Apr 2014 OP
cantbeserious Apr 2014 #1
malaise Apr 2014 #2
G_j Apr 2014 #3
malaise Apr 2014 #4
L0oniX Apr 2014 #8
malthaussen Apr 2014 #13
malaise Apr 2014 #15
xchrom Apr 2014 #5
2pooped2pop Apr 2014 #6
freebrew Apr 2014 #10
L0oniX Apr 2014 #7
randome Apr 2014 #9
catnhatnh Apr 2014 #11
randome Apr 2014 #12
PotatoChip Apr 2014 #14
kath Apr 2014 #16
randome Apr 2014 #18
Madmiddle Apr 2014 #17
sabrina 1 Apr 2014 #19
Octafish Apr 2014 #20
sabrina 1 Apr 2014 #21
Octafish Apr 2014 #22
Donald Ian Rankin Apr 2014 #23
sabrina 1 Apr 2014 #26
Donald Ian Rankin Apr 2014 #32
Joe Shlabotnik Apr 2014 #24
struggle4progress Apr 2014 #25
sabrina 1 Apr 2014 #27
struggle4progress Apr 2014 #28
sabrina 1 Apr 2014 #29
struggle4progress Apr 2014 #30
sabrina 1 Apr 2014 #31

Response to marmar (Original post)

Mon Apr 28, 2014, 08:10 AM

1. The Oligarchs, Corporations And Banks Own And Control The Judges That Own And Control Us

eom

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Response to marmar (Original post)

Mon Apr 28, 2014, 08:11 AM

2. Please focus on protests outside of the United States

Only those are allowed. There you can 'Occupy' state buildings, kill police and overthrow governments in the name of 'freedom for the IMF and Western interests to fugg you over".

We are living an inversion of reality while our rights are snatched from us.

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Response to malaise (Reply #2)

Mon Apr 28, 2014, 08:19 AM

3. sadly,

you are correct. They approach the others as heroes, and don't report that our own peaceful demonstrators have been persecuted and charged with felonies, etc.
The general public doesn't even know about it, because it's not reported.

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Response to G_j (Reply #3)

Mon Apr 28, 2014, 08:31 AM

4. Never forget Kent State

That was my life long lesson.

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Response to malaise (Reply #4)

Mon Apr 28, 2014, 09:36 AM

8. Indeed! May 4th coming up.

 

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Response to malaise (Reply #4)

Mon Apr 28, 2014, 10:03 AM

13. Let's not forget Jackson State, either.

As I always feel compelled to add.

-- Mal

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Response to malthaussen (Reply #13)

Mon Apr 28, 2014, 10:14 AM

15. True and they happened days apart

Protest has been under siege for a long time.

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Response to marmar (Original post)

Mon Apr 28, 2014, 08:32 AM

5. du rec.

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Response to marmar (Original post)

Mon Apr 28, 2014, 09:22 AM

6. I guess we needed guns

 

Isn't that what they are saying by letting Bundy and his militia do whatever they want while the peaceful protests are taken down with force?

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Response to 2pooped2pop (Reply #6)

Mon Apr 28, 2014, 09:59 AM

10. Yep,

an armed Occupy movement would probably scare the bejeezus out of them, eh?

Damn those principles..

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Response to marmar (Original post)

Mon Apr 28, 2014, 09:34 AM

7. Occupy exposed our fascist government or I should say our government exposed itself.

 

I'm with Howard Zinn ...the only way to address and fix a major problem in our government is to mass protest and be civil disobedient. Voting will not work. Doubt that?
Women right to vote came from voting? Vietnam ended by voting? Equal rights came about by voting? Ok ..well ...enjoy your Hillary then.

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Response to marmar (Original post)

Mon Apr 28, 2014, 09:45 AM

9. I've never heard a disabled person say, "“I’m totally handicapped."

 

My guess is that she came into court with an attitude. Not a good way to get the judge on your side.
[hr][font color="blue"][center]A 90% chance of rain means the same as a 10% chance:
It might rain and it might not.
[/center][/font][hr]

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Response to randome (Reply #9)

Mon Apr 28, 2014, 10:00 AM

11. Social Security....

...to collect disability you must be "totally and permanently handicapped".I believe this is what she may have been referring to...

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Response to catnhatnh (Reply #11)

Mon Apr 28, 2014, 10:01 AM

12. Okay, that makes more sense.

 

Although I once worked for SSA and the phrase back then was simply 'be unable to work'. Perhaps that's changed.
[hr][font color="blue"][center]A 90% chance of rain means the same as a 10% chance:
It might rain and it might not.
[/center][/font][hr]

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Response to randome (Reply #12)

Mon Apr 28, 2014, 10:12 AM

14. This entire sub-thread..

Oy!

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Response to randome (Reply #9)

Mon Apr 28, 2014, 10:58 AM

16. Uh, Hello - Reading comprehension is your friend.

The DEFENDENT did not say she is totally handicapped. Stolar, who is one of her ATTORNEYS, was complaining that his efforts to defend his client are being extremely compromised (handicapped) by the judge's very bizarre rulings.

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Response to kath (Reply #16)

Mon Apr 28, 2014, 11:17 AM

18. Whoops.

 



But McMillan was the one who allegedly faked a seizure so I think I can be forgiven for reading too fast.
[hr][font color="blue"][center]"There is a crack in everything. That's how the light gets in."
Leonard Cohen, Anthem (1992)
[/center][/font][hr]

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Response to marmar (Original post)

Mon Apr 28, 2014, 11:09 AM

17. The Bundy affair

 

tells us that occupy protesters must be armed.

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Response to marmar (Original post)

Mon Apr 28, 2014, 11:28 AM

19. This isn't a democracy which the treatment of OWS protesters made very clear.

There was not a word from our 'leaders' to stop the violence against those peaceful protesters despite the even a request from the UN Rappateur, something that never should even be necessary in a democracy.

Yet our leaders feign 'concern' about the treatment of protesters in other countries EVEN WHEN THOSE protests are VIOLENT.

I think the attorneys in this case are facing a judge who has a huge conflict of interest and should ask for a different venue, a different judge who is unbiased. This one is apparently far too biased against OWS protesters to be fit to hear this case.

Any ruling from him should, and I'm sure will be, instantly challenged if he is not allowing critical evidence into this farce of a 'trial'. Another puppet for Wall St it seems like.

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Response to sabrina 1 (Reply #19)

Mon Apr 28, 2014, 11:40 AM

20. FBI was ready to greenlight SNIPERS.

FBI Document—“(DELETED)” Plots To Kill Occupy Leaders “If Deemed Necessary”

By Dave Lindorff
June 27, 2013 WhoWhatWhy.org

Would you be shocked to learn that the FBI apparently knew that some organization, perhaps even a law enforcement agency or private security outfit, had contingency plans to assassinate peaceful protestors in a major American city — and did nothing to intervene?

Would you be surprised to learn that this intelligence comes not from a shadowy whistle-blower but from the FBI itself – specifically, from a document obtained from Houston FBI office last December, as part of a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request filed by the Washington, DC-based Partnership for Civil Justice Fund?

To repeat: this comes from the FBI itself. The question, then, is: What did the FBI do about it?

The Plot

Remember the Occupy Movement? The peaceful crowds that camped out in the center of a number of cities in the fall of 2011, calling for some recognition by local, state and federal authorities that our democratic system was out of whack, controlled by corporate interests, and in need of immediate repair?

That movement swept the US beginning in mid-September 2011. When, in early October, the movement came to Houston, Texas, law enforcement officials and the city’s banking and oil industry executives freaked out perhaps even more so than they did in some other cities. The push-back took the form of violent assaults by police on Occupy activists, federal and local surveillance of people seen as organizers, infiltration by police provocateurs—and, as crazy as it sounds, some kind of plot to assassinate the “leaders” of this non-violent and leaderless movement.

CONTINUED...

http://whowhatwhy.com/2013/06/27/fbi-document-deleted-plots-to-kill-occupy-leaders-if-deemed-necessary/

Peaceful people are the enemy of Secret Police. Secret Spying. Secret Laws. Secret Courts. Secret Detentions. Secret Executions...

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Response to Octafish (Reply #20)

Mon Apr 28, 2014, 11:47 AM

21. Omg, not that it is surprising, after watching come close to killing people on several occasions.

There should be an investigation into this IF we truly are a democracy. Perhaps it's time to reverse the infiltration process now, the people need to infiltrate the political system.

Has Congress this treasonous plot to kill Americans for exercising their Constitutional Rights? I know, a stupid question, one would have to live in a democracy for that to happen.

People need to be very careful obviously. I remember being told we were being hyperbolic at the time for being concerned that people were being so brutally treated that it appeared the robo cops didn't really seem to care if they did kill someone.

Thanks for that link. It SHOULD spark outrage but so far I haven't seen much.

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Response to sabrina 1 (Reply #21)

Mon Apr 28, 2014, 01:33 PM

22. Can't spark outrage if nobody knows.



So, they do their best to choke off discussion in their assumed roles as gatekeepers of all media.

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Response to marmar (Original post)

Mon Apr 28, 2014, 02:15 PM

23. Take a look at this video. "Peaceful" does not mean "for a cause I like".



McMillan is not denying elbowing a policeman in the face; her defence is that she did it because he grabbed her breast.

This video is from a fair way away, and doesn't rule that out, but it looks highly unlikely to me.

There may well be a case to be made that excessive force was used in her arrest. But describing her as a "peaceful protestor" entails an unquestioning acceptance of her version of the facts which I do not think is justified.

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Response to Donald Ian Rankin (Reply #23)

Tue Apr 29, 2014, 12:41 AM

26. You really had to dig deeply to find that. Do you have any idea how many people across this

country were involved, PEACEFULLY, in the first phase of this movement?

Would you like me to post some video, there are literally hundreds of them, showing the brutality of the 'army' that was sent out, coordinated at a federal level, we know now for certain, towards people who were doing nothing more than standing or walking as is their right to do, expressing their opinions on issues that are of the utmost importance to the people.

I could start with the woman in her eighties, a surviver of Nazi Germany, who was brutally attacked by what passes for civilian police, with pepper spray for simply BEING THERE.

I can show you more of an Iraq Veteran who was nearly killed by an unprovoked attack from a coward dressed like a robo cop who then attacked the peaceful, decent people who rant to try to try to help him.

Or the beating of another Iraq Veteran who lost his spleen, by another mob of cowards dressed like robo cops for simply walking to his home.

And you post a video of one woman out of tens of thousands of peaceful protesters but neglect to show the brutality towards the old, the young, veterans, women, and men for exercising their supposed rights in what is supposed to be a democracy?

What IS your point? The WORLD witnessed the brutality of the US towards its own people for over two weeks and were appalled to the point where the UN Rappateur on Human Rights made an appeal to the US Govt to intervene on their behalf to protect those innocent people from the brutality they were exposed to.

And yet, despite the horrific behavior of these thugs in uniform, the people showed incredible restraint.

Did that cop sexually assault that woman, most likely, in fact more than likely considering what was done to other women by them..

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Response to sabrina 1 (Reply #26)

Tue Apr 29, 2014, 02:42 AM

32. Why is any of that relevant, (except the last broad-brush)?

Someone posts a thread about a specific incident, I google for details of that incident to see if their description of it is accurate, find out almost immediately that it is probably misleading, post the relevant video, and comment on the incident in question.

You describe this as "digging deeply" and go off on a long tirade about a large number of other, completely unconnected, incidents with nothing whatsoever to do with this thread.

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Response to marmar (Original post)

Mon Apr 28, 2014, 03:55 PM

24. K&R n/t

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Response to marmar (Original post)

Mon Apr 28, 2014, 04:55 PM

25. This is a splendid illustration of many problems with the Occupy! "movement"

Nonviolent civil disobedience can be an effective tactic, if it is part of a larger political strategy, with definite and well-chosen goals, and with careful attention to organizing people for further action

But when one chooses to use civil disobedience, it is important to train people so they know what to expect and are prepared to avoid unfortunate reactions: if you elbow a cop in the face while being arrested, you can expect to be charged with assaulting an officer, even if you feel it was an accidental reflex on your part -- and, in fact, if it WAS an accidental reflex on your part, that strongly suggests you weren't adequately prepared to engage in nonviolent direction action and probably weren't trained appropriately. One can't simply issuea blanket call to the population-at-large -- Come down to participate in our civil disobedience! -- and expect good results

Zuccotti Park itself, unfortunately, is a site of little or no political or military strategic value. There is no doubt many people enjoyed drumming, eating, or discussing current issues with new friends there. But establishing a right to camp in Zuccotti really accomplishes nothing. Moreover, the situation in Zuccotti appears to have eventually evolved into a situation where a rather limited collection of citizens decided as a group who could be in the park and who should be escorted off-site -- which is hardly ideal

Chris Hedges is a bright and energetic man -- but his major experience has been as a war-correspondent, and it shows. Hedges craves the adrenaline rush of cosmic life-and-death struggle and (sadly) really doesn't think effectively in organizing terms. McMillan's childhood poverty, memories of small-town Texas racism, experiments with avant-garde theatre, and so on, might make for a good personal-interest piece, though that seems not to be what Hedges is writing, since he also launches into a discussion of oligarchy. In the end, Hedges has produced nothing but muddy mush here: camping in Zuccotti park did not strike any meaningful blow against the class divisions in American society, nor could it have produced meaningful organization for future change; the movement involved no definite analysis and hence could not produce concrete goals; and all we really have left are questions such as, Is putting a young woman on trial, for elbowing a cop in the eye, evidence of a crackdown on peaceful protest? One can engage in endless polemic, trying to convince people to adopt a particular answer to that question, but in the end one still won't get anywhere worthwhile



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Response to struggle4progress (Reply #25)

Tue Apr 29, 2014, 12:49 AM

27. Chris Hedges understands what this movement is all about. It's clear you never did, which is fine.

But I will take his observations over all those, most of them from the far right, who from the beginning found this hugely successful movement to be a threat for some reason.

This was the beginning of a growing global movement against the greed, corruption and criminality of those who collapsed the world's economies and so far, got away with it.

Btw, if you had understood the movement you would have known that if you believe you know more about how to get the world's attention than those who showed up, all you had to do was start your own Occupy and show us how to do it. That was the beauty of it, anyone could start an Occupy group.

I assume since you did not do that, you were opposed to the protests themselves. Thanks for all your expert advice, but we didn't see you out there. I did see Chris Hedges many times, among other great Americans and the success of the movement was way beyond the original intentions of the initial organizations. It was a huge success, and is now entering a new phase.

Thank you Occupiers for forcing this issue into the public debate!

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Response to struggle4progress (Reply #28)

Tue Apr 29, 2014, 01:13 AM

29. Did you think this was the first OWS member to run for office? He is not fyi. Of course it is

interesting now to see more focus on those who are entering that phase of the movement. But he is NOT the first. Nadin, eg, reported on this over a year ago airc, but most Occupy supporters and members stopped writing and discussing the movement here on DU. Shamefully, this forum is no longer a place to discuss these important and exciting issues. There are far better places for that, most people involved in this Social Justice movement, Hedges eg, among many other well known Americans, are busy DOING things and are not interested in wasting time, as I am now doing, even talking to people who oppose Social Justice movements such as this one. That may be why those here who always opposed it, are unaware of all that has been going for the past couple of years.

Until the issues that created the need for this now Global movement are resolved, the movement will continue to grow, but not on forums like this. The social media has been very useful for the continuation of the growth of the movement, definitely not here which is a shame, but that is the way it is.

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Response to sabrina 1 (Reply #29)

Tue Apr 29, 2014, 01:18 AM

30. This is the paragraph that caught my eye:

... White calls Occupy a “constructive failure.” Urban street protests, he says, only have a life cycle of about a month before their time is up. The encampments, the People’s Library, and the spirit of the general assemblies are all fun and games until everybody gets kicked out of the park. “It was magical thinking,” he says. For White, Occupy Wall Street challenged the core assumptions that activists have about how to achieve social change. “We believed that people’s assemblies were enough to gain political sovereignty. This turned out to not be true. To gain political sovereignty we must win elections” ...
An Occupy founder says the next revolution will be rural
28 Apr 2014 8:10 AM
By Amber Cortes

(emphasis added)

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Response to struggle4progress (Reply #30)

Tue Apr 29, 2014, 01:43 AM

31. As I said, he is not the first and won't be the last to run

for office. I am very glad he is running, and thrilled that it was OWS that inspired him. It has inspired many others to do the same, but as I said, most people who are out there doing things in OWS are not here talking about it on DU.

White is a great example of what OWS achieved. It challenged people who were just sitting around complaining, not knowing what to do about everything that they knew was wrong about this country. What he thinks about the initial phase is unimportant, what is important is it inspired him to become more than just someone who knew things were not going well for the people, but to go out and do what he thinks is the best way to make the changes he knows need to be made.

Again, thanks Occupiers for all the inspiration.

Like everyone else who supports and/or is a part of this movement, I can't waste any more time talking to people whose only goal in life seems to be to try to denigrate those who ARE out there doing something.

Have fun looking for the negatives, I feel extremely positive about the future and am thrilled that OWS got people like White and the others who have decided to enter politics, to get up and start participating.

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