Here’s another video of unwarranted police brutality against peaceful protesters, this time in Oakland CA, that’s sure to go viral on the Web today:
How do you think the NY Times is covering this story? Not surprisingly, the Times presents the story largely from the establishment point of view, focusing on how cities are “losing patience” with the Occupy movement, with “officials…grappling with growing concerns about crime, sanitation and homelessness at the encampments.”
Well yes, we do need to be worrying about “crime, sanitation and homelessness.” But not especially at the Occupy encampments.
The Occupy Wall Street folks have shown themselves able to handle these issues very well themselves, without any help from city officials or police, and we can expect that their example will be followed by other protesters across the country.
However, there are other, far more serious instances of crime, sanitation and homelessness on which city officials should be focusing.
For instance, the criminal behavior of the major American banks, which, as Nick Kristof observed in his column yesterday on American crony capitalism, “privatize profits while socializing risk.”
Or the criminal behavior of the U.S. military establishment, which, in a heinous disregard for the health of U.S. Marines and their families, ignored the fact that the water at Camp Lejeune was highly unsanitary–in fact, totally toxic–for years, until the undeniable incidence of cancer and birth defects, including the biggest cluster of male breast cancer victims in the nation, forced officials there to acknowledge the problem.
Then there’s the issue of homelessness. Not the kind represented by the tents and sleeping bags that have sprung up in cities and towns across the country in a deliberate effort to draw attention to soaring American inequality.
No, what officials should be concerned about is actual homelessness caused by record numbers of home foreclosures by the very banks that manufactured this crisis to begin with.
I don’t think it’s any coincidence that President Obama has lately snapped out of the zombified sleepwalking he’s been stuck in for the past year or so.
The Occupy movement can and should claim the credit for waking him up and giving him the inspiration and courage to start fighting back again. These young people may be his salvation in the next election, too, if he can break the chains that have bound him to Wall Street and take up a more populist stance.
According to the U.S. Census Bureau, in 2010 there were 26.1 million Americans ages 18-23. A good portion of those–say, 90% or so–have every right to be upset with the dismal state of the economy they’re about to enter as working adults.
Many of them have crushing student loans, and come from families that have been struggling to keep up with their mortgage payments in a flat-lining middle-class economic environment.
And seriously, do you know ANYONE who has not been touched by cancer at least indirectly, having to watch friends, neighbors and family members fight the good fight against this manufactured scourge?
Do you know anyone who doesn’t think we in the 99% need access to affordable health care, and better governmental protection from toxic chemicals in our food, water and air?
President Obama needs to get back to his community organizer roots, and come out as the man we thought we were electing, the defender of the 99%.
We need to hear from the youthful idealist Obama who worked so hard to improve conditions in Chicago’s ghettos. I know he’s in there somewhere.
Maybe these young people in the nation’s streets, standing firm against the onslaught of the riot police, will rekindle the fire that’s been all but extinguished in the White House lately.
In this wet, gloomy autumn, there’s nothing we need more.