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Friday, October 28, 2011

#OWS Occupier Email: 'Push youngest/oldest to the front lines'

By Susan Duclos

"Push youngest/oldest to the front lines….This is a battle over images, not just over the park."--- Charles Lenchner, Occupy Wall Street activist, Oct. 13, 2011

Inciting deliberate confrontations with the police in order to garner sympathy for the Wall Street Occupiers has every chance of backfiring as Wapo's The Fix explains, but what will damage the movement more as a whole is the tactics of using the young or the elderly as human shields once Occupiers have instigated a police confrontation, simply to create an environment where they can take pictures and videos to display. (Embeddable links to those emails found at link above)

I keep seeing First Amendment rights being quote by Occupiers or Occupier supporters, yet I see nothing in the First Amendment that allows for private or public parks to be occupied, rules about camping there violated, rules forbidding sleeping in the parks violated, drumming all day and night and creating noises disturbances, gathering without permits for protests, etc...

Here is the First Amendment:

Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the government for a redress of grievances.

The right to peacefully assemble does not give the right to break the law. Once any laws have been broken, then the police have every right, in fact, an obligation and responsibility, to address those violations and if the Occupiers resist arrest or removal, then the police in any state have the right, again, the obligation, to enforce the law.

Further more, now public resources are being used to protect the general population from some of those violations, evidenced by firefighters and police having to enter Zuccotti Park this morning to remove generators and gas canisters because they pose a fire and safety hazard.

While some Democrats and Barack Obama have embraced and in Obama's case, deliberately created the narrative for the Wall Street Occupiers in order to distract from his dismal polling numbers and failed policies, there are others that have not commented or have spoken out against the continued illegal occupation of the Parks.

One example is Democratic Senator Dianne Feinstein (CA) who stated "I don’t think the protesters have the right to ‘Occupy’ forever. I don’t think people, for example, can sleep in a square for weeks on end. You have to have some order to it."

There is no doubt that there are Occupiers that have legitimate grievances and would like the protests to be peaceful, but the ones using terrorist tactics, inciting violence so they can capture an "image" they believe will garner them sympathy, are the ones making headlines.

SFGate provides an example of the two factions within the Occupy movement:

Debate on tactics

But the street confrontations are bringing focus to a central question that those in the Occupy Oakland camp debated repeatedly during their 15 nights outside City Hall - whether demonstrators should opt for violence against police, meeting force with force.

The majority has supported nonviolence, and many are frustrated that some in the crowd threw bottles and paint at police. But some protesters favoring aggression are determined to continue the tactic. At the heart of the debate is what message the movement wants to project and in what way.

David Hartsough, who helped lead civil rights sit-ins and marches in the South in the early 1960s, said he has urged Occupy participants in Oakland and San Francisco to redouble nonviolence efforts.

"If people had fought back when police put the dogs on them in Selma and Birmingham, they wouldn't have gathered the support they got," said Hartsough, who founded the San Francisco-based Nonviolent Peaceforce.

When Tuesday's protest devolved into a volley of rocks and tear gas, some organizers took to bullhorns. "If you throw something, you're as bad as a cop," one speaker said to the applause of several hundred people.

A chant followed, conveying the same message, but then someone from the back of the crowd lobbed a glass bottle that shattered on police helmets. Officers responded, lobbing tear gas again.

Occupy Oakland protester Casey Jones, 28, wore a T-shirt Wednesday reading "thrash and burn," and skateboarded up and down Broadway yelling, "Bring it on!"

"I'm all about the riot - we need to be violent," he said. "We need more numbers. We'll just keep marching on."

If a protester is going to lob something at the police, expect to get something lobbed back.

If those that are encouraging a peaceful protest want their statement to be heard, they need to get a handle on those that are fomenting violence, because if the violent antics are the only thing making the headlines, then violence is all that will be associated with the Occupy movement in the end.

[Update] You can find all WuA's Occupier antics posts at the class warfare label page here.