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Richard (RJ) Eskow
Published: Friday 18 November 2011
“Citizen movements are inconvenient for the people in power, but look at it this way: Isn't it time they had a dank, drizzly November of the soul?”

State of Siege USA: Why Would They Want to Shut the #Occupy Movement Down NOW?

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Suddenly the Occupy movement is under siege everywhere. There's been a wave of simultaneous, seemingly coordinated clampdowns on peaceful demonstrators in cities all across the country. Why now?

It could be nothing more than one heck of a coast-to-coast coincidence, at least theoretically speaking. But there are indications that this might have been at least partially planned and coordinated at a national level.

Either way the timing's very interesting - and, for some people, very convenient. The nation's expecting a deficit package from the undemocratic Super Committee, anticipating another possible free trade deal, and waiting to see whether Wall Street will go unpunished for its foreclosure crime wave. All that makes this a very good time for dissident voices to suddenly disappear.

Unfortunately for them, it's not going to be that easy.

The Ides of November

Occupy Oakland became famous after the brutal police suppression that led to the wounding of Scott Olsen, the Iraq war veteran. And Occupy Wall Street is the flagship site, the Tahrir Square of the new movement. That makes them high-value targets.

This week the Oakland location was struck first, followed by the blow against Wall Street. Similar police crackdowns occurred in Portland, Denver, and Phoenix. Oakland Mayor Jean Quan may have let a little too much information slip when she told an interviewer that she “was recently on a conference call with 18 cities across the country who had the same situation."

The Oakland crackdown was quickly followed by Bloomberg's move against Occupy Wall Street. That one-two punch took out the two most visible occupations, and it was quickly followed by similar moves in other cities.

That led to widespread speculation that this wave of police actions was planned and executed at the national level. As Joshua Holland commented, it's unclear whether this wave of activity was "coordinated" or not.

There are a range of possibilities. This might have been a coordinated assault. or those mayors may have only been sharing information and ideas. Or it could have been something in between.

To know the answers we'llneed to know who was on the call, whether anyone participated from the Federal government (either on the call itself or in the planning process), and what was said. Whatever happened on that call - or before and after - there's been a lot of action all of a sudden. Doesn't it make you wonder?

Why now?

Whatever the background story is, if you're working for the 1% this is an excellent time to make the occupations vanish. Look what's coming down the pipeline:

Unrepresentative Democracy: The Congressional "Super Committee" has a deadline coming up. Everyone from the Wall Street Journal to the President of the United States are pressuring its members to come up with a deal. One of the proposals on the table would protect the tax privileges of the 1% by preserving their Bush tax cuts, and would fund that cushy deal for the rich by cutting Medicare and Medicaid while very possibly raising taxes on the middle class.

And that's the Democratic offer. What are the Republican ones like? Don't ask.

The Committee's ideas have been overwhelmingly rejected by a majority of American voters in poll after poll. But if the committee "succeeds," its agreement will be unveiled to the US public and then fast-tracked to Congress for a procedurally-rigged voted, on November 23. That's just about a week from now.

Free trade ain't free: Today President Obama attended the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation summit and worked his fellow leaders on behalf of the Trans-Pacific Partnership free trade accord. That accord is strongly supported by the US Chamber of Commerce and the same large corporate interests who pushed NAFTA and other free trade agreements.

At the same time, the President of South Korea made a surprise visit to his nation's legislature to push for the Korea-U.S. Free Trade Agreement. If he's successful, that accord could be announced at any time.

These free trade agreements aren't "free," of course. There's a price to be paid, and the 99% will pay it: in jobs, stagnating wages, and a struggling economy. Politicians in both parties want to bask in the glow of any new agreement, and would like to claim these are developments worth celebrating. Voices of protest aren't in the script.

Let me call you "sweetheart": The Administration has been pressuring the Attorneys General of our largest states to accept a shamefully sweet "settlement" with Wall Street that would grant them immunity from prosecution from their well-documented mortgage crime wave, a spree that included documented cases of perjury, investor fraud, and tax evasion. Nobody would go to jail, people wrongfully evicted from their homes might receive as little as $1500 in compensation, and banks would still have the mechanisms in place (through "MERS") to do it all over again.

The Occupy movement has highlighted the legal double standard that lets Wall Street executives commit crimes over and over, and yet these sweetheart deals keep coming. Only last week Citigroup executives were allowed to pay a fine (actually, their shareholders will pay it), "admit no wrongdoing," and promise not to break the law again, for a kind of fraud for which they had they had already paid fines, admitted no wrongoing, and promised not to do it again.

Five times.

While the timing is closely held, an agreement could be announced at any time. It's easy to see how they might want to keep lower Manhattan clear of the 99% for that one.

November Again

"Whenever I find myself growing grim about the mouth; whenever it is a damp, drizzly November in my soul; whenever I find myself involuntarily pausing before coffin warehouses, and bringing up the rear of every funeral I meet .. then, I account it high time to get to sea as soon as I can."- Herman Melville, "Moby Dick"

We're seeing the same plays being run from the same playbook, over and over again. One year ago there was another "bipartisan" panel, the President's Deficit Commission, whose proposal was scheduled to being fast-tracked through Congress by bypassing normal legislative procedure. Republicans were still holding the line on low taxes for the rich while Democrats were willing to do a deal with them, crooked bankers were getting off scott-free, and both parties were pushing job-killing trade agreements.

Plus ça change and all that. Except that this year we have the Occupy movement. And whether they're coordinated or not, a lot of people are going to lot of trouble to take it away from us. If they expect us to go "out to sea" like a Melville character they''ve got another think comin'. (Besides, who can afford an ocean voyage these days?)

It's November again. But Occupy's here and it's not going away. There will be a new wave of demonstrations on November 17. You can learn more about how to participate here. Nothing clears the rainfall of the spirit like the bright light of direct action.

Citizen movements are inconvenient for the people in power, but look at it this way: Isn't it time they had a dank, drizzly November of the soul? Or at least let us have a little glimpse of the warm sun they've been keeping all to themselves? The rest of us have had more than our share of rain already.



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ABOUT Richard (RJ) Eskow

Richard (RJ) Eskow is a well-known blogger and writer, a former Wall Street executive, an experienced consultant, and a former musician. He has experience in health insurance and economics, occupational health, benefits, risk management, finance, and information technology.

The 1% aren't just the 1% of

The 1% aren't just the 1% of this country, I think, they are the 1% of the world.
Just as the simultaneity of the American crackdowns smells like a centralized effort, so does the equally simultaneous crackdown in Egypt where things were looking good last spring. Why do the multi's want to keep the military in power there? Follow the money. Remember how laid back the military was until Mubarik got ousted? Follow the money. Its not just US lawmakers who need to play nice with the 1%, its every world leader. I think the 99% underestimate the power and control of the 1% at their (our) peril.

dear xfilespoker, i like what

dear xfilespoker, i like what you have to say too. a tip of the hat to the narrowing of the margin...a shrinkage of the 1% is a delicious idea...attrition by conversion (i too tend to believe there is more 'help' from that camp than we might think because we are so focused on 'the enemy'); or by the aforesaid 'inversion' i.e. feeding frenzy...when the money-suckers turn on each other and get stuck in an endless spin cycle of their own creation. suffice to say the end game is a death-wish...a slow motion train-wreck that seems to be speeding up as we speak..it occurs to me that perhaps we as a species are closing in on the mement when each unique fractal of the whole collective consciousness on this planet, and in it's own time will be irresistibly drawn to the ultimate intersection of heart and mind and perforce be compelled to make a conscious choice regarding the degree to which it is able and willing to occupy it's own heart and soul. the mind and the heart often struggle. the truth is that ultimately, the heart will have the last word...and it's a mind-blower.question reality.

I like what you did here in

I like what you did here in this article, touched a nerve. How do we get the caring "wealthy" to help our cause more. There are some out there, we need more.

Maybe a concert for Occupy Wall Street, you can't tell me that all this insanaty is not rocking their worlds. Most I'd figure are peeing themselves.

They drive on the same roads, sleep in the same Vegas Hotels as we do. (Well, some of them) I never stayed at the Four Seasons but I've been to many big name hotels.

I agree, the same old same old has to end.

People need to be accountable for this mess, we must weed them out and get them all "talking," turning each other in.

We need to get to the women, no doubt their hearts are heavy , sitting in the front pews of church Sunday morning. *Cough* Well, a few of them. We need to add fuel for the 1% eating frenzy, only make them eat each other. There must be many people with souls willing to stand up with this movement. (One who have the balls , like the police Captain from Philadelphia

Too many talented people in this movement, good people. It's going to work eventually if we move on all this together and keep the peace, at least having it turn direction away from the iceberg that's dead ahead.

My OWS site, if you care to take a look. I watching all this BS with a long lens too.

http://occupywallstreetphotography.com/why-i-occupy-wall-street-from-hom...

NEW DIALOG FROM REPUBLICANS

NEW DIALOG FROM REPUBLICANS AND THE 1% .

Did you ever wonder what Republican / Wall Street big shots say in their ivory towers?
Here you go.
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“ I ran the numbers J.B., and it’s cheaper to pay out for a few dead people than build safety controls into our food processing equipment.”

“We use Walgreen’s for our women’s healthcare. They have drive-up breast exams now.”

“So J.B., is bringing back slavery still off the table, or…..?”

“The Koch brothers new how-to book, “Fun with World Domination” is a must read.”

“Cantor, Ryan, Walker, Bachman, are all actually Cybernetic Robots. Wow, you really gotta hand it to those Koch brothers!”

“These grapes from Argenovia are dirt cheap. Of course I don’t eat ‘em, are you crazy? They use their own urine as a pesticide.”

“A classroom size of 85 gives kids the “tools” to understand a kill-or-be-killed work environment.” said Governor Walker.

“What oil spill? People will love these self-igniting shrimp.”

“Get your fresh dolphin filets here!”

“Let’s cut more Firemen. People have garden hoses don’t they?”

“Let’s cut more Policemen. People can run can’t they? Hey, remember that Seinfeld episode where that fat guy got mugged? Now that…was funny!”

“So J.B., you never answered me about that slavery thing…”

“Global warming, pollution, deteriorated o-zone, blah, blah, blah. What can happen?”

“Get your fresh polar bear burgers here!”

“Nice job killing off Planned Parenthood. Sweet! Now we’ll have enough new product coming in to launch our “Buy a Baby at Wal-Mart” program.”

“We made billions each time we moved our off-shore manufacturing from America to Japan, to China, to India, and now…to Africa. Ha, ha, ha! Sure, it’s great sticking it to the Germans, British, and Italians…but we really love screwing the French!”

“Air safety, nuclear safety, food safety…blah, blah, blah. What can happen?”

“Hey boss, that’s a great idea, putting nicotine in baby pacifiers. “Start ‘em young” we always say right? Haw, hawww!”

“FEMA was too costly, but now we’ll give you earthquake victims the “tools” to be self-sufficient. Here’s a shovel. Oh, and we’ll want that back later.”

“Get your fresh snow leopard fritters here!

President (!?) Walker said today, “As a cost cutting measure, every state will only be allowed ONE air traffic control tower…but it should be really, really tall.”

“Uh, Mr. Cantor, did you say…Michael Moore is a hit, or…put out a hit on Michael Moore?” …Ohhhh…right…we’re Republicans.

“Hmm…you know J.B., I’m really warming up to this slavery thing….”

“We’re cloning chickens for KFC, making mystery meat for McDonald’s…hey, so why not Soylent Green in school lunches?

“Hey kids, get your fresh Soylent Green meat-balls here! Mmmmm…yummy…”

11/18/2011 By V

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