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America's Authoritarian Turn

Speaking truth to power becomes a crime.

JOHN MINCHILLO

Ever since the rise of Occupy, corporatist authorities have been trying to figure how to squash our emerging social movement. First they tried a media blackout, but when over 700 nonviolent meme warriors were arrested on the Brooklyn Bridge our Gandhian ferocity catalyzed a thousand encampments and the 1% could ignore us no more. Next elites tried the Bloomberg model of midnight paramilitary raids backed up by excessive force and sometimes-lethal munitions. That worked well to evict encampments in New York City, Oakland and nationwide … but it backfired when occupiers became diffuse, appearing at scripted events and interrupting the spectacle of corporate-funded politics with mic checks of truth. Now they are trying the new tactic of “lawfare” – using draconian laws to squash free speech in a last ditch effort to put an end to people power.

A week before the G8 Backdown, the US House of Representatives voted in near unanimous consensus in favor of an authoritarian law, H.R. 347, that makes it a federal crime to disrupt “Government business or official functions” or to enter any building where a “person protected by the Secret Service is or will be temporarily visiting.” In other words, to mic check Obama is now a federal crime punishable by a year in prison. And so too is the banner drop if it takes place in any building that a “protected” person might be visiting in the future, even if jammers don’t know it. And so is the anti-globalization tactic of blocking road access to a meeting of world elites, there is a special clause about that too. Obama signed the bill into law on March 9.

History shows that using authoritarian laws to silence the authentic, legitimate concerns of the people always boomerangs into a fatal loss of legitimacy. Governments derive their authority and right to exist from the people and when the people are ignored and beaten back regimes fall.

Read more about H.R. 347 at the dailyagenda.org and the lawfareblog.com and then brainstorm below on how Occupy can outmaneuver this new tactic of repression.

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97 comments on the article “America's Authoritarian Turn”

Displaying 51 - 60 of 97

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Anonymous

Why do these protesters have so much time on their hands? I'm a full time student and I work. Maybe these protesters need to focus on school and work. I wonder how many of them are unemployed. Then they can become politicians and change the laws themselves.

Anonymous

that's BS. many (maybe most) of the people protesting in occupy related events also go to work and/or school. your attack line is so tired and even more pathetic b/c you know you're not right. it's precisely because people are educated and working that they care about these issues.

Anonymous

So true; a pathetic response, that the 1% is all too happy to either PAY people to post in forums like this or pay plenty to get fools to propagate it FOR them! Although, it's also a sign of somebody who is woefully out of touch with reality and the facts that there is an unemployment problem in the US and tuition/fees have skyrocked (tuition has TRIPLED over the last 10 years alone in CA) - making education accessible ONLY to the financially privileged. I won't even get into the insulting and utterly disgusting perspective displayed here, suggesting that people actually WANT to be under employed or educated either, because that is truly some serious BS there!

Sadly, far too many Americans couldn't care less about the problems of "others" and will only speak up when it becomes their problem too; the 1% has done a magnificent job of creating herds of self-interested idiots. When will people finally wake the hell up and realize that a rising tide lifts ALL boats? Meaning that a falling tide eventually leaves ALL stranded too. Most people who share the 1%'s mindset, often complain that "others" are taking from them, without recognizing that a little sharing (via the commons) would actually go a lot further in serving their selfish interests. The return on investments in education and jobs means prosperity for all and eliminates the cost of "taking" out of necessity. It would be really nice if, just once, the tightie-righties would try to engage in some full circle logic and abandon their hypocrisy when it comes to their "compassionate conservatives" mantra; but holding one's breath for that to happen, is just waiting to die of suffocation.

Anonymous

Your post reads like astroturf. They have different priorities than you do. You can't really infer much more into it than that.

Anonymous

They have time on their hands because they are unemployed, thousands of dollars in debt for a college education that has become a trap, rather than an opportunity.

Or, they have time on their hands because they have been laid off, victims of corporations that use the tax structure of the U.S to their favor, and then send the jobs overseas.

Or, they have time on their hands because they are retired, and are finding out that crooks on Wall Street have sabotaged the savings that have taken them a lifetime of work and planning to accrue.

Or, they have time on their hands because they are concerned with their fellow man, and the way they see that the current state of corporate owned government effectively denies them any hope of advancing themselves to a better position in life. So despite working AND studying, they protest.

Or, they have time on their hands because they are disabled, and cannot obtain health care in the country known as the land of the free, in which they are held captive.

Or they have "time on their hands" because they are young and idealistic, with brains that have not completely fogged over from the mind-numbing onslaught of garbage flung at them 24/7 by the MSN. Because they realize that anything that smells as foul as what is currently being served to the 99% MUST be...HAS to be...the detritus of the "America Dream" going badly, hatefully, greedily, selfishly wrong.

@HeistDoc

The new documentary, Heist: Who Stole the American Dream? speaks very cogently to these points. We are in the clutches of a handful of oligarchs and mega-corporations who no longer have any allegiance to the US or to preserving the planet and democracy, despite their insistence on "freedom." Thank you for continuing to call a spade a spade. We hope you embrace our film, and encourage you to visit our website, www.Heist-themovie.com.

Anonymous

Or they MAKE time, because it matters.

I'm a full time grad student, full time parent, part time professor, but I make time for protests when I can. Most people at the actual protests are not the hippie kids everyone thinks, but rather working adults who make time to speak out against the system that is screwing us all.

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