Videos show police brutality at Occupy Wall Street protests

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203 Responses to “Videos show police brutality at Occupy Wall Street protests”

  1. onereader says:

    The gall of these people, who do they think they are? Who told them they could look hard-working police officers in the face? They should have lowered the eyes and just answered “yes, master, no, master” in a respectful tone.

    • michaeljohnprince says:

      DISCLAIMER: I rarely feel moved to comment on BB, I haven’t read all the comments in this thread, and I completely agree with the right to assemble, peacefully.  I also am 100% in support of civil disobedience.

      My office is outside of Zuccotti Park in downtown NYC and over the past week, walking through the park to my building, I have seen the protestors SCREAMING at police officers, inciting confrontations with passing pedestrians in suits/business attire, and behaving in a way that is not commensurate with civilized people.  This is not ALL protestors, but there have been more than a few.

      I just want to offer up some firsthand experience that over the past week, NYPD (I’m not their biggest fan) have been professional and respectful.  I am not surprised that tensions have risen and that it has come to this. Not to mention that most people working downtown aren’t even the “Wall Street” that is responsible for these people’s woes.  “Wall Street’s” offices are generally in midtown and in Greenwich, CT (excluding Golman Sachs).  It is unfair that a co-worker of mine (doesn’t even work in finance!) was confronted by a protestor and berated. With that said, i understand the symbolism of having the protest on Wall Street. Still unfair way to treat office workers that have no responsibility for “Wall Street’s” actions.

      Just want to remind everyone that the most important thing to consider when judging videos like this are CONTEXT and it seems that this video does not provide very much context at all.

      • youngtrout says:

        ” behaving in a way that is not commensurate with civilized people”

        And dressing up as Indians and destroying merchant cargo is so civilized. Being rough around the edges is what defines us… It’s what kept us from being Southern Canada.

        • michaeljohnprince says:

          Ok, but directing your “rough around the edges” behavior at people that have nothing to do with “Wall Street” is like injuring an innocent bystander.

          It’s ill informed.  It’s reckless and juvenile.

      • Cowicide says:

        My office is outside of Zuccotti Park in downtown NYC and over the past week, walking through the park to my building, I have seen the protestors SCREAMING at police officers, inciting confrontations with passing pedestrians in suits/business attire, and behaving in a way that is not commensurate with civilized people.  This is not ALL protestors, but there have been more than a few.

        I suggest you capture some video of this.  Also.  Numbers.  How many roughly were doing this compared to the rest of the people?

        The video would also be handy in catching some of the inevitable provocateurs paid to be there to discredit the rest of the protestors. (This isn’t conspiracy, by the way – this is reality)

        Sources/Facts/Reality:

        ACLU wants probe into police-staged DNC protest

        New York Police Covertly Join In at Protest Rallies

      • sgnp says:

        The flip-side of this is that the context you put forth is removed from the situation we’re watching. As upsetting as being berated may have been for your coworker, it has no bearing on these barricaded protestors being maced. 

        That’s not to say I don’t believe your experience. I’ve seen enough protests to know that people can be made to feel put out, uncomfortable, even frightened by them. I’m sure the police can keep up their professionalism in the face of taunts. However, if you’re actually factoring a week of this into your context, you may be able to convince yourself they somehow deserved this treatment. You might start seeing “the protestors” as one singular entity. 

        If you do this, the macing stops being seen as a pacification tool, and becomes karmic retribution for the inconvenience and antagonism you witnessed in that week. Your “context” overwrites the reality of that moment. Even if they got barricaded DIRECTLY after berating your doesn’t-even-work-in-finance coworker, getting maced after being secured is excessive. It’s a punishment. 

      • Ted Brennan says:

        Nothing a person says comes close to justifying the actions of the NYPD shown in these videos. Free speech is not just the freedom to do what the NYPD or Micaeljohnprince deems to be civilized. “I was just following orders” is not considered a valid defense for the military and frankly working for many of the the large banking institutions may not be considered right action in a moral sense. This country would probably be a better place if people did not distance their morality from their business. 

        I am sure that the people in Midtown Manhattan or Greenwich, CT feel equally outside the chain of responsibility. So your friend got berated. These people got corralled like cattle and maced.

        Talking about how the NYPD have been professional and respectful in this case is sort of like saying Charles Manson had good table manners when he wasn’t killing people. It ignores the brutal elephant in your civilized world. 

        SCREAMING as you so inelegantly put is the sort of speech that a free society puts up with. It is the ability to walk away from the confrontation of words that make us civilized. Since you don’t claim that the NYPD or your friends experienced anything more than words, maybe you should reconsider the value of speech and what is unfair. Your sense of CONTEXT is obviously missing a lot.

  2. floraldeoderant says:

    Here’s a fun thought: A requirement for working as a police officer should be 2-3 years teaching in a pre-school or elementary school.

    Teachers, especially of younger students, automatically get their crowd control infused with a specific kind of nonviolent gentility and understanding that should be necessary material for police officers.

  3. Jack Myers says:

    That is the most disgusting abuse of Police power I’ve seen this week.  I can’t say “ever seen” since the Cops in the USA are increasingly one-upping their flat-out-disregard for the bill of rights and civil rights in general on a daily basis.   I see those women being abused like that and it makes me furious.   Disgusting pigs.  

  4. Kelly Craven says:

    Slowed down video showing the NYPD officer who maced the girls immediately fleeing the scene to avoid video cameras. http://youtu.be/4IHHRyREDEk 

    • Jack Myers says:

      Simply unbelievable.  That cop should lose his job, and take his retirement away while they’re at it.   I can’t imagine the mind that is capable of just walking up to someone and doing that.  

    • Ryan_T_H says:

      That’s quite the thing. Thanks for making it. Never would have spotted the guy on my own.

      Officer doesn’t even stick around to see the results. Just walks up, sprays a random person point-blank in the face and walks away without looking back.

  5. lostinutah says:

    Very manly men, the NYPD, able to subdue women with mace.  As if unarmed American women are the enemy.

  6. Don says:

    If this qualifies as brutality, what happened to Rodney King?  Lowering the baseline for these words and phrases has consequences for our society.  

    • bru·tal·i·ty  (br-tl-t)n. pl. bru·tal·i·ties1. The state or quality of being ruthless, cruel, harsh, or unrelenting.2. A ruthless, cruel, harsh, or unrelenting act.

      • Don says:

        While you’re in your dictionary, you might look up ruthless, cruel and unrelenting.  Is being maced harsh? For me, that would depend on a context not provided by the video. What *is* shown on the video and the helpfully slowed down version by Kelly Kramer is a single cop (who will certainly be identified), not an out-of-control overall police response.

        • Guest says:

          “Is being maced harsh? For me, that would depend on a context not provided by the video. ”

          also not one which can be provided here. I recommend you try being maced, and stop witholding all compassion until your extraordinary proof ios provided.

          Because you sound like a real douche.

          • Don says:

            Been maced. It is unpleasant. As the officer on the bottom right of the “fence” is finding out.  I feel bad for those young women, they’re having a terrible day.  I can feel compassion for them without them being “brutalized”.

          • Cowicide says:

            Been maced. It is unpleasant.

            Why were you maced?  Were you part of a riot after a football game?  Also, was the mace sprayed directly in your face or was it more “pleasant” than that?

          • Guest says:

            Oh, yeah.

        • Guest says:

          Concern trollish, and patronizing… go mace yourself in the face (or, have a friend do it for you!) and see how it feels. Context is key, right?/s

    • Guest says:

       so does claiming pointless moral equivalences to distract from and derail a discussion you dislike the existence of.

      • Don says:

        I don’t mind the discussion at all, I’m afraid I am guilty of thinking a discussion may involve two differing views.

        • Guest says:

          actually, it requires two consistent views. When one side is being squirmy and wildly changing the topic back to his own needs…….. well. 

          • dorkus1218 says:

            I wouldnt say addressing the definition and connotation of the term we’re discussing is a change in topic, and I dont know how you’re in a position to know much about  don’s “needs”

            I have no qualms labeling the mace incident as brutality (but maybe not the arrest at the beginning of the video that the cameraman was shouting about)

    • saurabh says:

      Yes, lowering the baseline for brutality is a TERRIBLE idea. We should instead keep it high up there, so that the category of actions between “spraying someone in the face with mace” and “gang-beating an unarmed man until he is bloody” can maintain its legitimacy!

      Wut? Are you serious?

      • Don says:

        I do not think the mace spraying here was legitimate.
        I do not think beating a man bloody is legitimate.
        I do believe they reside on a continuum of violence and that they are not side by side on that continuum and that language is important and powerful.  (“Patriot Act”, “Communications Decency Act”, “Operation Iraqi Freedom”)
        That is absolutely all I wanted to say.
        But you know what? “Uncle.” Y’all win. Enjoy your home here among the flames.  This has been a truly shocking and shaking experience. I suppose I expected when I posted an internet comment that I knew it was 50/50 I’d be called a prick, a douche and a douchenozzle as I have above, but as a lifelong liberal, Bernie Sanders-loving, blue collar worker who canvassed for CoPirg against Rocky Flats in’83 and participated in the (pitiably small) protests of the first Gulf War, I never thought I’d be called a corporatist pig. Whatever. This happened to punk rock back in my day. It went from a rejection of dogma to dogma. Then it became Hot Topic, so you’ve got that to look forward to… 
        I did learn something, as I had to look up “concern troll”, which I guess folks think I am. ‘Trouble is, it seems to mean someone from the other side.  That would sure make things easier. I watched quite a bit of the OWS live feed of their General Assembly yesterday.  I was struck by their system of hand signs. Not just the cleverness of having them, but how they were a system designed to allow for discussion within a large group of people that included editing, approving and vetoing, without shouting and rancor.  This comment thread could use a healthy dose of that. 
        I have a lot of respect for the organizers of OWS. From what I’ve seen and read, I agree with probably 95% of what they are saying, 75% of what they are doing on the street. I do not agree with all of it. If you do, fine, I’m not expecting to change anyone’s mind. But I really didn’t think it’s get all “youtube comments” in here if I had a dissenting opinion on a word choice. Lesson learned.  Feel free to put this in whatever dismissive “concern troll”, “paid derailer”, “douchenozzle”, “sheeple” labeled box you need to put it in to maintain thread purity. One sleepless night was enough, I’ve said my peace, and am moving on, won’t be back. (Gotta find the Koch brothers and get my check) However, if you are heavily invested in the success of this movement, I’d note it is tough to get people to march with you if you require strict lockstep.

        • Cowicide says:

          I do not agree with all of it. If you do, fine …  if you require strict lockstep.

          You are letting your emotions get the best of you instead of thinking this through.  Just because people don’t agree with you about your trite semantic argument over defining “brutality”, it doesn’t mean they suddenly agree with literally everything the protestors are doing in “strict lockstep”.

          You should step back and think about what you say.  You’re spouting off, being insulting, not making sense and blaming everyone else for it.

          I don’t care if you shared a bunk bed with Bernie Sanders in band camp…  trite semantic arguments are a bore no matter where they come from… because, in the end, they are unproductive, divide and frustrate people.

  7. Daniel says:

    Considering this a movement that has built its momentum entirely from social media, it is REALLY unwise for police to behave any less than entirely profession. You can be almost certain every square inch of this protest is ready to be filmed by dozens of people at any particular moment.

  8. Daniel says:

    I’m a little unsure myself what their actual point is. Their website sheds no light on this matter either.

    • kringlebertfistyebuns says:

      Did they have to have a “point?”   Is that a requirement?

      • Daniel says:

        Absolutely not. They have  a right to assemble. But as someone who probably agrees with whatever their platform is, I don’t entirely understand it. And I get the idea that I am far from alone here.

    • Porkrinds says:

      They (we) are mad that 1% of the US (world?) controls the lives of the remaining 99% financially. Hence why they are marching on wall street. Basically the financial meltdown that ruined the lives of millions was caused by the carelessness and greed of a few. Of course, im probably way over simplfying this.

  9. Guest says:

    “As if unarmed American women are the enemy. ”

    Ever since the 19th amendment, they have been. 

  10. The Chemist says:

    This is why all the FOP mailers I get end up in the recycling bin unopened.

    @boingboing-2df06710a4133692cfe559afe4ea4ac0:disqus
    So it’s okay to beat people up if they don’t have a point to their free speech. Got it.

    (And they do have a point.)

  11. DrunkenOrangetree says:

    Certainly that cop spraying mace in the woman’s face for no reason must be justified. My outrage is just me picking on poor Officer Friendly.

  12. sgnp says:

    Anyone from NYC know what the difference between the officers in blue and the ones in white are? The bald officer in blue seems to be surprised at what just happened. Are they getting their orders from two different places?

  13. Guest says:

    “Also what the hell do the protesters actually want?”

    Is your google broken?

  14. Childe Roland says:

    What do they expect when they take on the modern corporation? Since your life in the US is worth exactly the amount of profit you represent to a corporation, standing in their way means you are worth more dead than alive.

    If they want to protest without interference, they need to move over to the far right and take on a minority rather than rich white guys. Maybe carry a gun, spit on a civil rights hero, hold a sign noting God’s approval.

  15. Neural Kernel says:

    Even if you’re going into one of these things with peaceful intentions you need to be prepared to get maced or tear gassed… I’m not excusing the cops here but if you’re surprised by this sort of thing you haven’t been paying attention. Safety goggles and eyewash are BASIC equipment for protests these days! Keep trying to stay peaceful if you want but don’t think for a second that your good intentions will protect you…

    • Mantissa128 says:

      Carrying safety goggles and eyewash can get you arrested. It clearly identifies you as a troublemaker, expecting confrontation with police.

      • Neural Kernel says:

        You can be arrested just for being there in the first place. Whether you are a peaceful protester, a violent rioter, a member of the press or just an innocent bystander walking home from work there are decent odds you will end up zip-strapped to yourself in the back of a paddy wagon.

    • Cowicide says:

      Even if you’re going into one of these things with peaceful intentions you need to be prepared to get maced or tear gassed… I’m not excusing the cops here but if you’re surprised by this sort of thing you haven’t been paying attention. Safety goggles and eyewash are BASIC equipment for protests these days! Keep trying to stay peaceful if you want but don’t think for a second that your good intentions will protect you…

      That’s funny.  I never see the tea baggers wearing goggles.  They sometimes bring guns though.

      [picture related]
      http://4.bp.blogspot.com/_OtMlLqANzOg/TSs0RQcZKZI/AAAAAAAADVM/JCq_TQzRfdA/s1600/tea_party_gun_nut.jpg

  16. asterios9 says:

    Oy, Kelley’s annotated video is absolutely infuriating.  If you are a citizen of NYC I recommend contacting the mayors office.  (Sorry for the ugly URL:)

    http://www.nyc.gov/portal/site/nycgov/menuitem.bd08ee7c7c1ffec87c4b36d501c789a0/index.jsp?doc_name=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.nyc.gov%2Fhtml%2Fmail%2Fhtml%2Fmayor.html

    Our cops simply cannot be allowed to act like this.  Patrick Pogan got roasted by street video –  so should this guy.

  17. MB44 says:

    This strife is not meant to hold for long…

  18. mark says:

    Maybe this is a stupid question but what was going on in the seconds before this all went down? Everyone seems to be screaming in all directions and you can’t actually see any of the people near the police in the few seconds before a hand with pepper spray pops over the barricade. Since none of the cops on the barricade are wearing riot helmets i’d call it a bonehead move all around as the officers are just as exposed as the protesters, though of course they have more experience with such things. 

  19. millie fink says:

    Asking “what are these protesters asking for, anyway?” is (intentionally or not) a derail. 

    They’ve announced what they want, and even–surprise of surprises!–the corporate media have repeated it:

    The protests began on Sept. 17, when hundreds of protestors gathered at Bowling Green Park in Manhattan, home of the iconic charging bull in New York’s Financial District, as they prepared to “take the bull by the horns,” as a flyer advertising the event said.

    “The one thing we all have in common is that We Are The 99% that will no longer tolerate the greed and corruption of the 1%,” said a statement on the website Occupy Wall Street.

    According to statements on the website, the movement, an offshoot of online magazine AdBusters, is angered by what it calls the principle of “profit over and above all else,” which it says has dominated not only America’s economic policies, but also the way in which Americans view culture and humanity.

    http://abcnews.go.com/blogs/headlines/2011/09/occupy-wall-street-protests-turn-violent-video-shows-police-macing-women/

    • PaulDavisTheFirst says:

      our household has been on the adbusters mailing list since before the idea for OWS was hatched. i am very sympathetic with the broad “aims” of OWS (and even more adbusters itself) but in terms of actually stating those goals in a coherent, useful way (let alone a way that might actually encourage many more people to act, they’ve fallen miserably short of anything i could even call a beginning.

      stating what you’re against (“the greed and corruption of the 1%”) is almost worthless if you can’t accompany that with some alternative vision. there are alternative visions, but nothing associated with this protest has articulated them in a manner even remotely as convincing as the last auto dealer sales ad i saw.

      • strangefriend says:

        One thing the Wall Street Protesters are asking for is the criminal prosecution of  Wall Street employees & corporate officers for the acts that lead to the housing bubble & collapse.

        • PaulDavisTheFirst says:

          they’ve asked for a number of sensible, reasonable things. but they’ve done so incoherently. look, i’m as convinced as anyone that there are people in the financial services industry who are criminals and who made specific decisions and took specific actions that directly and irrefutably led to the crash of 2008 and its aftermath (which is far from over).

          but is there a clear enough case to be made the american people about this? republicans will claim that barney frank played just as a big a role, some will even go back to clinton (or earlier). you can’t sell something like “criminal prosecution of wall st … ” without a good story, and neither i, nor adbusters, has a good enough story. whose fault that is, i’m not sure. there are some good books on the whole episode, but even the ones i’ve read still don’t really provide a narrative that makes the case for criminal prosecution.

          put differently, we haven’t launched criminal investigations of the torture stuff either, and that’s a much more clear cut violation of international and domestic law (to the extent that it is clear cut). adbusters, of all organizations, should understand that you have to “sell” a narrative in order to get people to “buy” it – OWS has manifestly failed to sell any narrative, and has attracted the same set of people that many other similar gatherings could have. its not enough.

          • ripley says:

            incoherence  is a virtue. any demand that could be too easily met is not systemic change.

          • PaulDavisTheFirst says:

            ah yes, paris in the 60′s … be reasonable, demand the impossible.

            step one of getting demands met is having enough of the right bits of society on your side. maybe you can mobilize a movement of a particular kind of incoherence-respecting citizens, but in general, this doesn’t seem to have worked out too well historically.

            the only thing power respects is power. and the only way to get power is either through violence, or numbers. you don’t get numbers through incoherence, and i’m not fan of violence.

          • codesuidae says:

            > incoherence  is a virtue. any demand that could be too easily met [...]

            The recent behavior of the Republican part can be viewed as using this strategy as well.

          • Cowicide says:

            they’ve asked for a number of sensible, reasonable things. but they’ve done so incoherently.

            Sigh… I keep reading people saying this, but I don’t think many Americans understand how this works.  You want a perfectly “coherent” manicured slogan and agenda?  It’s going to take organizing, money and time to do that.  Who’s going to pay for this grassroots effort?  General Electric?

            Unlike the tea baggers who are provided buses via Koch brother money and printed signage, etc. – these people aren’t going to have some evil ass, corrupt, polluting company help them in any form.

            You really want a “coherent” message eventually built?  Send money here NOW.

            http://nycga.cc/donate/

            Otherwise, you’re just playing in the corporatist media agenda which is very obviously to discredit, divide and conquer when they can’t just simply outright ignore this potential movement.

      • Chandler Lewis says:

        Paul Davis, don’t you think expressing outrage because you’ve been rendered politically powerless is permissible in a free society?  I think corporate bankers would completely agree with you:  Your position essentially is “Until you have a list of well-articulated demands and an alternative, feasible fiscal strategy, please do not make any noise.”

        Frankly, it surprises me that more people don’t show up on Wall Street screaming incohently with rage but without a plan, agenda, or well-oiled ad-agency-produced shtick.

        How did you ever wind up on the Adbusters mailing list?  You must get frustrated when you open your mail.

        • PaulDavisTheFirst says:

           no, that’s not my permission at all. if you really want to try to boil my position down to a sentence, it would be something more like “don’t expect that an attempt to “mobilize” your fellow americans will succeed without a pretty stunning narrative, but do feel free to go ahead and protest in whatever way(s) work for you, with the understanding that a lot of people who might agree with you won’t stand with you”.

      • ripley says:

        I disagree. Protest matters in itself, and can be a flashpoint for starting more discussion. In fact, more people are discussing what wall street is for, and who the 99% are, than were before these protests. The point is to generate alternative visions through events and through gatherings, face to face (since the general assemblies are not only protests).

        Your auto salesman analogy is revealing. The protestor’s job is not to convince you that there is something wrong with the system and that you should “buy into” their vision. Instead, the protests reveal (as indeed many of our lives reveal) many of the things wrong with the system and suggest that it may be time to take up space to talk about changing it.

        If you already know there is something wrong, as you statement of sympathy suggests, then it sounds like you are just sitting back waiting for the perfectly crafted argument/movement to come along so you can jump on board. That’s hardly revolutionary or even that progressive – you’re waiting to be led by a better leader. If you want change to happen, you may have to jump in first and start working with other people.

        • PaulDavisTheFirst says:

            If you want change to happen, you may have to jump in first and start working with other people.

          sure enough. but if you’re going to be part of a movement that seeks change on a very wide scale (i.e. not a new food coop or local private school or land trust), then one of the very first things you’re going to need to work on with those other people is a narrative that will draw in even more people.

          the OWS effort has really done extraordinarily badly. one of the messages i got just before it started was an open and frank discussion that made it clear that the organizers didn’t really know what they wanted, and hoped that it would “emerge” from the protest itself.

          this is all very commendable, but i’m sorry, i prefer to take my lessons from the US progressive movement 1870-1940, or the civil rights movement, rather than various anarcho-syndicalists groups. substantive political change (at least in the US) doesn’t happen as a result of margaret mead’s oft-quoted “small groups of individuals” (though such groups have certainly had an issue on single-issue legislation). no, substantive political change, change that involves shifting the distributing of power and wealth, comes when large, reasonably well-organized movements stand between the existing power structure and the future.

          step one of a large, reasonably well organized movement is a narrative that will draw others in. i can’t offer you that narrative because i don’t even have one myself at this point, but rather more problematic, neither does OWS.

  20. blueelm says:

    Still wouldn’t hurt to try.

  21. “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.”

    • Florian, can I ask if you are in the US (Oceania) or not?  I only ask because I make some comments here and I’m in the UK (Airstrip One) If you are in the US, you can repeat all the constitutional amendments you like, didn’t stop the girls/ladies getting maced or the police officer getting his rocks off by assaulting defenceless women.

      Now then, if you are not from the US, no rules apply. They (the police)  can, and will kill you in the interests of ‘security’.  Or whatever.

      • Guest says:

        ‘Girls/ladies’…? :/

      • Article 22 of the Swiss constitution:
        Paragraph 1: The right to assembly is guaranteed.
        Paragraph 2: Every person has the right to organize assemblies, to participate in assemblies or to abstain from participating in assemblies.

        Article 8 of the German constitution:
        Paragraph 1: All germans have the right to assemble peacefully without proclamation or permit if no weapons are carried.
        Paragraph 2: For outdoors assemblies there might be limitations of this statute.

        The right to assembly is found in all european member states in is anchored in the constitution of all democratic countries. It is found in article 12 of the European constitution as well as in article 11 of the European Human rights convention.

        didn’t stop the girls/ladies getting maced or the police officer getting his rocks off by assaulting defenceless women.

        No it did not stop this from happening. However, the police is the governmental approved body charged with enforcing a variety of its rules. If those rules make it legal for a woman to get maced in the face if she did not pose a threat to the officer in question, then the legislative is not acting constitutionally. Alternatively the officer acted illegally. Make your pick.

        Now then, if you are not from the US, no rules apply.

        You might find this difficult to believe, but there are rules for govermental/police conduct outside of the US/UK (for instance, we take this pretty serious in switzerland). Not that we’re without fault, by far not, but it’s not like Central europe would be like say Mexico. We do have the right to peacefully assemble, and we do have the right not to be recepients of indiscriminate violence at the hands of police. Never forget that.

        They (the police)  can, and will kill you in the interests of ‘security’.  Or whatever

        I can’t quite decide weather you’re trying to threaten or intimidate me here to shut up.

  22. forzaq8 says:

    when american soldiers get 3 years for killing afghans for fun what do you expect ?

  23. strangefriend says:

    PJDK, I just flagged your comment.  This is too close to saying They Asked For It.

  24. lavardera says:

    I think what they are demonstrating is that the financial system and corporations that it largely serves have greater rights than individuals. I think they have done a pretty good job demonstrating that.

    What do they want to happen? I think they want to remind people that we have an economy and a banking system to serve people, not to serve the corporations and the very narrow slice of people and other corporations that largely own them. 

  25. millie fink says:

    To claim mace (mace!?!) is brutal is like saying that airbags in a car are too painful. Yeah, they sting, but are nothing compared to smashing your head on a steering wheel.

    Your analogy is invalid. 

    And so is your point. Pointblank pepper spray directly into the face of someone who’s not resisting is police brutality. 

    Now go away, and take your derailing trollery with you.

  26. travtastic says:

    Before I clicked on this post, I had no idea that it was physically possible to actually smell astroturf through a computer screen.

    • PJDK says:

      Out of interest am I one of the smelly ones?  How does one get in on this astroturf money everyone’s so excited about?

      Actually reading that kind of comment really worries me because it implies that you think any political opinion you don’t share is so crazy the only people who could hold it must be paid agents of some conspiracy.  That is not a healthy position to conduct democracy from.

      • travtastic says:

        No. You just seem to be here to mock the protest, and that’s fine.

        At no point did I say anyone who disagreed with me is typing for money. Why so defensive? Hell, I didn’t even clarify where I fall on this issue.

        • PJDK says:

          To wander off topic, it’s not you specifically, rather a thing I see on blogs quite often that comments are “astroturf” and unless it’s of the incredibly obvious chineses nationalist variety I think it’s a really unhealthy mindset.

          Back to the protestors, I ended up looking a bit more at this, and the macing incident does seem to be out of order (although it’s hard to tell for certain).  It is a single cop making a single bad decision, it doesn’t show that you’re one tiny step from a police state.  Many states that you wouldn’t consider police states do much worse things than this (http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-1299622/YouTube-video-police-brutality-mothers-babies-sparks-outrage.html).

          Not to say what is done here is right, but it isn’t one step from facisim.

          But that doesn’t change my position on this protest, and those of it’s ilk.  Financial reform is incredibly complicated.  We need banks, we need international trading, how we make sure it doesn’t cause the kind of problems we’ve had again is an incredibly complicated and delicate issue.  Do it wrong and at best you’ll severely disrupt growth for decades, at worst you’ll create stupid rules that end up making another crisis more likely not less.

          Now it could be that these protesters disagree with my basic “we need banking and international finance” tenet.  It’s a free country and they can think and say what ever they like.  But they need to be incredibly persuasive to convince me of it.  If it is instead their intent to bully me into accepting their view with incredibly disruptive direct action, well that’s the sort of thing I could legitmately ask the police to protect me from, to protect my right to free speech.  If not what can I do to stand up for how I think the world should be run?  Should I direct action against the direct action (chain myself to a protester?).  Down that road lies maddness.

          In short having a protest to try to raise awareness of an ignored issue by all means, but direct actioning until you get your way, well you’d better have a hell of a lot of moral weight on your side (black people should be treated like human beings is a good one).  “I hate corporations, unless they make sweet DSLRs” is not, to me, one of those issues.

          • Ed Ligget. Tuba. says:

            “We need banks, we need international trading, how we make sure it
            doesn’t cause the kind of problems we’ve had again is an incredibly
            complicated and delicate issue.”

            Just because the current mechanisms are complex doesn’t mean the solution is.  Repeal the Gramm-Leach-Bliley act and reinstate the separation between investment banking and commercial banking that provisions of Glass-Steagall once maintained.  Problem Solved.

      • travtastic says:

        I have to admit, though, that I am impressed at how many loaded terms you managed to squish into four sentences.

      • The Chemist says:

        But macing protesters is the best medicine for democracy, suuuuuure.

        And you wonder why people can’t take you seriously.

      • Derek Cook says:

        Hmmm..you mean kinda like the truly grassroots Tea Party has been labeled as “astroturf” over and over by the left?  I don’t know that these protesters are astroturf.  I suspect they are merely socialists and truly believe in the destruction of our commercial infrastructure that they are seeking.

        • teapot says:

          “Truly grassroots tea party”.

          How do I stop this fountain of milk that is spewing from my nostrils?

          PS: America looks like a shit place to live while the rich get off with tax breaks. My suggested new motto for America: Land of the free and home of the other 99%

        • Clark Starr says:

          Sorry… “truly grassroots”? Really? You think so? I suppose if you, like the supreme court, view corporations as people, you might call it grassroots, what with Koch Industries being such an important player in it.

  27. dewinter0 says:

    The police in blue seem to be the NYPD and their asking the cops in white “Jersey, pepper spray for what?”. Seems to be the same problem as the riots in England where police untrained in riot/people control as brought in to fill the ranks and throw their weight around.

    As for pepper spray not being police brutality, if being beaten with a baton isn’t as bad as being shot then unprovoked beatings aren’t police brutality either?

  28. Ian Brewer says:

    This never happened to teabaggers even when they were carrying guns to town hall meetings to intimidate people. 

    It’s fascinating how many self-proclaimed Libertarians are so eager to justify authoritarian state tactics and brutality when their precious Wall Street is threatened by the people. It speaks volumes about the inherent poverty of their philosophy and makes clear their real intentions: the destruction of democratic government as an instrument to give people an effective voice in the economic system and replace it with a stripped-down draconian national security state that exists only to protect the interests of wealth, privilege, and power.

    Judging from the number of far-right trolls desperately defending the police actions wherever this video is posted, the Occupy Wall Street movement is being highly effective. They do not want this story to get out into the media. The Wall Street elite are quaking in their boots afraid that the lid is about to blow off their protracted class war against working people and that the American people are finally waking from their slumber. 

    • Guest says:

      I hope you’re right…. :/

    • kringlebertfistyebuns says:

      “This never happened to teabaggers even when they were carrying guns to town hall meetings to intimidate people. ”

      Well, that’s cause the Teabaggers were good, God-fearin’, law-abidin’ Murricans, just exercising their constitutional rights.  These are hippies.  And they’re being inconvenient at that.  Can’t have millionaires being inconvenienced.

      Also, there’s a the non-zero chance that a violent intervention w/ a crowd of armed people might not end the way the police envision.

    • youngtrout says:

      “This never happened to teabaggers even when they were carrying guns to town hall meetings”

      And that’s exactly why it didn’t happen to them.

      • Cowicide says:

        “This never happened to teabaggers even when they were carrying guns to town hall meetings” And that’s exactly why it didn’t happen to them.

        I disagree.  It’s because tea baggers are propped up by the very same people that the Wall Street protesters are there against.  See what happens if one of the Wall St. protestors brings a gun.  It’ll spiral out of control.

        Unlike the idiot, corporatist pawn tea baggers.  Our side doesn’t need weapons to make our point. Actually, our side would only be hurt by anyone carrying a weapon.  Tea baggers could show up with a tank and the establishment would hardly give a shit.

        • youngtrout says:

          I agree to a point. The tea-party has been co-opted by some very powerful interests and is, unfortunately,  completely co-opted at this point. It’s sad that the people who call themselves Tea Partiers don’t see this. Of course, from an Imperial view, it had to be done, too many variables with a true grass roots movement with ill defined leadership. And that is why what is currently happening terrifies them so badly.

          That said, if this continues in this fashion, IMO, there will be guns. One side will lose it, doesn’t matter which in the big picture, it will end up with the same result either way.

    • Derek Cook says:

      If there is class war, it is coming from the left who seek to demonize success and anyone who dares to earn profits, make higher incomes, etc.  Rather than protesting, why don’t these people who seem to have nothing more constructive to do than to camp out in NYC for over a week, get out and actually contribute to society in some meaningful way?

      • millie fink says:

        I’ve long been curious–how much do you get paid per hour, to come to places like this and post comments like that? 

      • Jack Myers says:

        But Derek, protesting injustice or something that a group perceives as fundamentally wrong is the greatest of all American rights and is thus a mammoth contribution to our society in general.  The voice of we the people steers the nation as much as our votes do. The right to protest without repercussions like jail, beating, police abuse, political exile, a life in a gulag, death, are the one thing America had listed as a right of the people before anyone else in post revolutionary America.  It’s what used to really and truly set us apart.  It’s the thing every free culture emulates.   Having a voice protected by law in the USA is the most meaningful contribution anyone can make.  You need a refresher on what it means to be a citizen and not a Corporate work slave.

  29. sgnp says:

    As long as we’re getting into arguments of definition here, “police brutality” is often used interchangeably with excessive use of force and even intimidation. It’s been applied in the past to various non-lethal forms of crowd control and individual non-physical abuses of power. You can dislike the term as a whole if you want, but I don’t think Xeni used it outside its common usage. 

    Regardless of what one thinks of the protestors’ reasons for being there, macing them when they were already contained was a punitive act, and therefore one might argue unnecessary.

  30. $16228947 says:

    Welcome to Corporate America. :-

  31. Antinous / Moderator says:

    Comments orphaned.

    Don’t feed trolls.

  32. RJ says:

    It seems like a lot of protests play out this way. The protestors show up and rile themselves into a shouting mob. Somebody, either cop or protestor, takes a swing, throws a rock, fires a shot or something, and then it’s on. Protestors get clubbed, hit with CS, tear gas, fire hoses or whatever the cops are using that day. Finally, if you look at the picture accompanying this post, you’ll see one protestor getting her hair pulled by a cop while three other protestors stand around and take pictures with their phones (not counting the actual photo we’re looking at, taken by a fourth observer). Protesting isn’t so much a societal statement anymore as it is simply a way for disgruntled idealists to get together, raise a little hell and take photos so they can relive the good times later.

    That said:

  33. travtastic says:

    Remember when that dude got punched at that tea party rally a couple years ago? That was brutality!

  34. millie fink says:

    Good parody! Except that trolls rarely know what “eviscerate” means.

  35. Fabi Fala says:

    posted by lightswitch: “…I mean the kind who really consider themselves superior to, well, everyone, and in the process of so doing manage to inflict a great deal of misery on those around them. In my experience they typically fall far short of their own imaginations of themselves.”
    Funny – to a non US-citizen this looks like a description of the US foreign policy. Even funnier when you realize that this behavior seems to rub off on how they treat their _own_ citizen now.

  36. Rootboy says:

    Hey, I was in Union Square yesterday afternoon! I bought some corn and radishes at the market.

    I saw a big mob of protesters, but that’s normal for Union Square on a Saturday. But there was also a big mob of cops all staring at them and that gave me pause. That many cops in one place means someone’s getting hurt sooner or later.

  37. James West says:

    This happens in just about every big protest in NYC it seems.

    Also, how is fencing in protesters legal?

  38. bkad says:

    I think people ask about the reason for the protest for two reasons. First, at least from mainstream coverage and interviews, it’s not clear. I for one, want to know. Even the passage one of you quoted:

    “The one thing we all have in common is that We Are The 99% that will no longer tolerate the greed and corruption of the 1%,” said a statement on the website Occupy Wall Street.”

    ..tells me nothing about what the protesters actually want to accomplish. Stop banking? Increase regulation? Raise taxes on capital gains? Beat up bankers? So I think asking what they want is a legitimate question, not a intent to derail.

    The second reason is probably some of us still believe the world is basically a good place and that you only get trouble if you ask for it, and they want to understand whether the cause is ‘worth it’ (trying to effect change) or not (just being angry and annoying).  I’m guilty of this thinking sometimes. I think police brutality absolutely should be punished, but what I know of history and social psychology is that some people on both sides of protests sometimes overstep their bounds and hurt each other, and it may not actually reflect on them as individuals or the institutions they represent.

    [edited for tone and content to be friendlier]

  39. Pat McComb says:

    The police are fighting for the wrong side. Which stakeholders here want to break the police unions and loot their retirements?

  40. doggo says:

    Protestors and the police need to stop demonizing each other and address the real enemy.

  41. Djinn PAWN says:

    Saying things about protesters like ” just by being in the wrong place at the wrong time, I should not be surprised that humans will act like humans and I may get my ass kicked” is kind of like saying “just by wearing a skirt girls are doing the wrong thing at the wrong time and should not be surprised when humans act like humans and are raped.”

    Is protesting legal? Yep. So there is no “wrong-place-wrong-time” argument to be made there. Anyone who makes that argument is victim blaming and/or condoning the police’s actions.

    Is macing someone illegal? If they are not committing a crime – Yep. If I walked up to anyone in the street and did that it would be a crime. Regardless of whether I wanted to claim the “wrong-place-wrong-time” defence.

    Is a police officer committing police brutality by macing someone not committing a crime? Yep. Commits a violent assault and abuses his position in order to avoid repercussions and punishment. Sounds like it fits the bill to me.

    And one other thing… since when did *ANY* police officer ever mace or not mace anyone provided the citizen had an articulate action protest plan that they could present to a police officer? I doubt that officers are saying “Hey, please outline a sound economic action plan with several actionable points or I’m pulling your hair!” The idea that because *YOU* don’t know what some citizens are protesting for allows police carte blanche authoritarian powers is ridiculous at best. I’m sure if you asked any one individual at the protest they could tell you exactly why they are there.

  42. ripley says:

    If you are really interested, you could go to the various websites from the protestors to get an idea. Also, a lot of what they want is the space to enter the dialogue about what our economy and political system is about.  To that end, they have been having a series of General Assemblies at which people talk together about what their priorities are.

    David Graeber has also made some attempt to explain to people who don’t understand public protest except in terms of sucking up to power, why it is important not to tailor everything in terms of narrowly defined issues.

    You do get, right, that this is not about tweaking a law, or the tax code, or changing a particular legal ruling, or getting a particular person off Death Row. This is a protest to the system under which we are living. So the first point is to get people involved, get them  to stop assuming everything will just be manageable if we just suck up one more indignity, and instead start thinking big.

  43. bkad says:

    Saying things about protesters like ” just by being in the wrong place at the wrong time, I should not be surprised that humans will act like humans and I may get my ass kicked” is kind of like saying “just by wearing a skirt girls are doing the wrong thing at the wrong time and should not be surprised when humans act like humans and are raped.”

    I don’t deny the analogy, and I don’t have a better response to it than what I gave. I do think there is a very sharp distinction between victim blaming and risk management. To use a less inflammatory example, there is a difference between saying I deserve to be mugged if I wave cash around in public and saying, as a general rule,  that it is risky to wave cash around in public. One is prescriptive (you get what you deserve) and the other descriptive (certain behavior incurs certain risks, whether you would like it to be that way or not).  I do not excuse the cops, rather I assert that it is not reasonable to expect perfect behavior from cops OR protesters. You set guidelines, you punish (hopefully) when they are crossed. But you don’t honestly expect perfection, just as you don’t expect the justice system to eliminate all crime.

    The idea that because *YOU* don’t know what some citizens are protesting for allows police carte blanche authoritarian powers is ridiculous at best.

    Respectfully, that was not my point. I said I sometimes participated in that line of thinking, and I tried to imagine why several people on the board were asking similar questions. Brutality, expected or not, is never acceptable. 

  44. Lucifer_Oxy says:

    FYI, the ones in white are the officers, lieutenant or higher. You can see than the rank and file are just standing around thinking “wft did he just do?”, but can’t actually do anything about their crazy supervisor.

  45. MarcVader says:

    I’m really really fascinated how a lot of people will bow to authority even if it acts against their interests and takes away their freedom and prosperity. Is their subconscious need for strong (rich/loud?) white leaders so great that they can internally justify insulting other citizens who are protesting obvious inequalities of a horribly broken system? Why defend that system? Why not gently point the protesters to better ways of getting a message across? Why the callousness? I just don’t get it. But it’s really really fascinating…

    • PaulDavisTheFirst says:

      Why defend that system?

      most people don’t want to jump out of a building, even a burning building unless either (a) they are going to die either way or (b) there’s a safe landing zone.

      it is easy (and correct) to say that the current system is broken. the safe landing zone, however, is just not that apparent to most people, and as a result, they’re not yet ready to jump. blame whoever you want for that – we’re probably all collectively responsible to some degree, with the rich and powerful and the media taking a disproportionate amount of any rationale blame – but it doesn’t change the actual situation.

      its not callousness. its more like fear, or doubt, or uncertainty or all of them.

  46. Nick Gold says:

    Totally lame.  I was at a protest once and the police tried to walk across us with horses.  And then they started nailing us with truncheons.  However, ha ha, I was smart enough to be wearing a military helmet and goggles, so I came away unhurt.  Getting hit with mace and crying about it?  Bah, protesters these days…

    • MarcVader says:

      If you go to a protest and expect a war you’re probably going to get one. Right?

      edit: Oh no, I fell for it..! :)

      • Nick Gold says:

        It was a clearly-stated (non-violent) direct action protest, and involved many people blocking traffic on Constitution Avenue in DC.  If you don’t know what you’re getting in to in that kind of situation, and act surprised when you’re hurt, you probably shouldn’t be doing it.  In all seriousness, I was lucky as hell, and I certainly don’t condone it when the police go too far, which the videos above seem to be a very clear example of.

        • MarcVader says:

          Thanks for the clarification Nick. I thought you were just trolling. However I believe it’s not so much surprise people are experiencing. Outrage seems more like it. But no surprises. And that’s sad.

  47. MarcVader says:

    I flagged your comment. It was just offensive and stupid and sexist for no real reason. I hope I’m not hurting your feelings.

  48. kmoser says:

    Would it have been illegal to crawl under those barricades? Because that’s what I would have tried to do.

  49. Nick Gold says:

    One thing I’m kind of wondering is, if you just freaking look around, how can you NOT understand what these folks are protesting?  Isn’t it, uhm, kind of OBVIOUS?  I don’t need to see a specific list of issues to understand what they’re getting at.

    • PaulDavisTheFirst says:

      what they’re protesting is obvious. what to do about is less obvious. 

      • mistwolf says:

        I think that perhaps the best ‘what they want’ would probably be for progressive leadership to actually lead. They want the people who DO know what they are doing re: law, finance, and so on to step up and fix things. The people protesting are, by and large, likely very unqualified to even pinpoint exact problem points. They know something is broken. They know things in finance are broken. But they need people who really, deeply understand the details of those sectors to step up,and noone is doing it. So all we have is an infocused voice, because all we can do is beg for help. And largely be ignored and shrugged off because we aren’t financiers and politicians, so don’t have bills and solutions, and so have no right to have a say in anything in most people’s minds.

        ‘Don’t complain unless you have a solution’ is BS. And a very big distraction, since it basically amounts to ‘only people in finance and in politics can complain, not you uneducated peons’. Which is no small part of the complaint!

        • PaulDavisTheFirst says:

          you know what? doug henwood (left business observer) among many, many others (even just among nobel laureates, we’ve got both steiglitz and krugman) have been talking about what’s wrong and how to fix it for decades. but enough people voted for people who voted (in congress) for the wrong to continue that … it continues. its not a mystery how to make things better, but people don’t want to vote for the right people and/or the right people don’t want to stand up and be voted for.

          i’m sick and tired of hearing about how the common man are “likely very unqualified to even pinpoint exact problem points. They know something is broken”. the facts on the ground are that enough people voted for the current and past congresses (or in parallel, enough people didn’t bother to vote) that a bunch of representatives of the rich and powerful continue to run the show. most people don’t vote. most people talk about how its impossible to change anything. they don’t blame it their own ignorance of how financial markets operate.

          the overwhelming majority of people in this country don’t care enough about these sort of issues to actually do anything about it. its that simple. for now, that analysis includes me, and it probably includes most contributors to the thread. i would love for that to change, but OWS is not the change i’m waiting for.

          • Cowicide says:

            but OWS is not the change i’m waiting for.

            Then I’m surprised you find so much interest in this thread, really.  I’m not terribly interested in stripper pole dancing, so I made one or two smarmy comments there and left.  Just sayin’

          • PaulDavisTheFirst says:

            i guess i’m interested in whether there’s anything happening at the edges of the OWS universe that is the kind of movement/change/effort that i could get behind. not so much on the pole dancing front (though I guess getting behind that wouldn’t be all bad).

          • Cowicide says:

            i guess i’m interested in whether there’s anything happening at the edges of the OWS universe that is the kind of movement/change/effort that i could get behind.

            http://fixcongressfirst.org/takeaction/

          • millie fink says:

            the overwhelming majority of people in this country don’t care enough about these sort of issues to actually do anything about it. its that simple.

            I may be feeding a troll again, but, ahem–

            The overwhelming majority of people do care very much about these sorts of issues. They’ve just been so atomized and conquered-and-divided that they don’t realize the collective power they could have, even if a lot more of them just went to NYC and did the supposedly unfocused thing that these protesters are currently doing. If enough of them did it, change would happen in their favor (and no, the pre-Iraq protests, while big, weren’t nearly as big as they could’ve been, if most people actually realized, and/or remembered, that collective protest that’s big enough does work).

            People do know that the country’s a mess right now, especially the economy, and many, many people are hurting because of that. They “care” all right, and they basically know what the problem is (i.e., greedy rich fucks). Trouble is, they’ve just been trained to think like you do. 

          • PaulDavisTheFirst says:

            if that’s true, then why do they consistently (statistically speaking) vote against candidates who offer a more radical platform of reform? i’ve read “what’s the matter with kansas”, and while good, it doesn’t really explain “what’s the matter with the USA”.

            collective protest that’s big enough works .. yeah, but the collective protest that the last 3 generations have been trained to idolize are mostly the anti-vietnam war protests, and there’s a good case to be made that they did not work.

            you have to go to the civil rights movement, which is perceived by many as a rather narrow or specialized agenda (read “colored folks”) or back the 1880-1940 era when wobblies and progressives were out in force to find any collective protests that actually worked. most americans today know very little about the progressive movement, so …

            i was in the pre-iraq protests for gulf wars 1 and 2. and yeah, they weren’t big enough. they were a hell of a lot bigger than OWS though, and replicated across the country. it didn’t stop a war. it didn’t stop the loss of thousands of lives on both sides. you’re going to have to do better than “trained to think like PaulDavisTheFirst” to avoid the clear implication that we have 2-4 generations in place right now that are pretty sanguine about the power of street protest to change things.

            and sure, i agree that “They’ve just been so atomized and conquered-and-divided that they don’t realize the collective power they could have“, but then we need proposals and ideas that help people get past that, not that just cross-your-fingers-hope-they-show-up to overcome it.

          • millie fink says:

            if that’s true, then why do they consistently (statistically speaking) vote against candidates who offer a more radical platform of reform?

            Because they get taught by the corporate media that those candidates don’t have a chance in hell of winning, and that their ideas are (supposedly) ridiculous, and usually “un-American.” Those candidates also get relatively ignored by the corporate media (which is what especially helps to create the impression that they don’t have any chance of winning).

            most americans today know very little about the progressive movement, so …

            Riiiiiiight. And why do you suppose that is, hmm? (Hint–follow the stench of money)

            Proposals and ideas that help people get past their alienated atomization? It’s a slow, grassroots process. People are out there working on it, and it does appear that the snowball is growing, and rolling downhill faster and faster, as we type. Why not jump on and increase its size, despite your fear that the direction it’s going in isn’t quite clear to you now? Street protest isn’t the only way to protest.

  50. Protesting during Gulf War 1 wasn’t this hazardous. Protesting Operation Iraqi Liberation (quickly changed to Freedom because Operation OIL was too close to the truth) was worse. I experienced some police intimidation during the WTO riots as an innocent bystander…But this is awful. When they chant “This is a Police State! This is a Police State!” what will these “supervisors” do, shrug and say “Yeah, ain’t it great?”

  51. mylesnyc says:

    You’re right. They should just go the fuck home and shut the fuck up until they can present a cogent and reasoned argument that will be given a thorough airing on the nightly news. Stupid protesters. Unless you’ve been living in a fucking cave the last 3 years, I suspect you have some idea why they are on Wall st.

    • PaulDavisTheFirst says:

      so … what’s your idea on how to get enough people convinced that some seriously criminal activity went down in the run up to the crash of 2008 that something actually changes?

      or are you just content with a decent on-street ruckus that shows that the man doesn’t rule your brain, even though he is going to carry on ruling your life?

      • mylesnyc says:

        There are already plenty of people convinced of that, I am also one of them. I do not know how to affect change, if I did, I would be doing it. I’m not commenting on the effectiveness of contemporary street protests, I’m commenting on the simple acceptance of police brutality in response to those protests and how disgusting I find it.

  52. Tim Drage says:

    they want you to stop posting

  53. Ian Brewer says:

    I’ve never seen so many professional concern trolls on any other topic. You don’t usually see so many of them until election season. They’ve really sprung into action across the Web in an effort to beat down and contain this story. I’m pretty sure if one tracked down all their IP addresses, they’d lead back to one or two Wall Street PR firms. The thieves on Wall Street are really running scared right now.

    • PaulDavisTheFirst says:

       feel free to track mine down.

      OWS is the type of protest that will itself be co-opted by the right, by the powerful, by the banking industry. you toss around terms like “concern trolls” when in fact some of us feel that OWS is going to actually set back prospects for meaningful reform and criminal lawsuits (not that the prospects for either are looking too good).

      if you want a counter-example, take a look at what is happening in PA regarding fracking. you’ll find a protest movement that is doing a fantastic job of involving regular citizens, inviting people in who don’t really feel so connected to the movement (with excellent narratives), and stands a good chance of, if not actually blocking fracking, then at least seeing changes in the legislative environment and possibly some limitations imposed on this insane industry.

      OWS … not so much. until the police stepped in with mace, perhaps.

      • Ian Brewer says:

        I wasn’t addressing you. It was something I noticed while searching web sites for information on the demonstration. If you don’t think it’s happening, more fool you. Before you showed up on this thread, there was plenty of concern troll activity, looks like it’s been deleted by the moderator for the most part.

        Having a tactical disagreement with the protesters is one thing, using strawman arguments to dismiss the reality of police brutality is another. No one needs more “context,” it’s easy enough to see that what this officer did in this video was malicious and unprovoked. There are many other videos of police grabbing people and throwing them violently to the ground as well. It’s clear that the police are using fear and intimidation tactics to try to scare people away from the protest. Not too surprising given Bloomberg’s latest attack on Warren Buffett for saying the rich aren’t taxed enough.

        And please, anyone who pretends they don’t understand what they’re protesting has either had their head in the sand since 2007 or is just being disingenuous. 

  54. Kimmo says:

    The ABC News report on it has an outright lie for a headline, contradicted by the story underneath it. I guess they figure the folks who’ll notice it are the ones who pay enough attention to actually read articles rather than head-lies, and such folks are already aware the corporate media are tools of the oppressors, same as the cops. Meantime, they’ll keep on lying to the idiots.

    Plenty of comments on that page asking nicely for the headline to be fixed though, so I guess not everyone who reads articles gets it…

    One commenter who was also a witness to the protest related how nobody seemed to be resisting arrest, but cops would be brutally driving their knee into people’s backs or something, shouting, ‘Stop resisting!’

    I suspect he was labouring under the misapprehension that the cops were referring to arrest rather than fascism.

  55. Stupid pigs abusing innocent people?  In America?  Poppycock!  We’re “free”, so this must be staged!  Welcome to a post Patriot Act America!

  56. youngtrout says:

    All you really need to know about his video is that these women were exercising their God given, Constitutionally protected rights, in a peaceable manner. They were then set upon by the Corpro-Imperial preatoriate and brutalized with chemical weapons.

    The next thing is to ask yourself, “What would I do if this was my wife or daughter brutalized in this fashion?”

  57. Cowicide says:

    I’d like to take this moment to sincerely
    THANK wonderful people like Xeni and the rest of the Boing Boing gang.

    It’s not getting very much coverage by the mainstream media and if it wasn’t for people like this, I doubt many would know about it at all.

    • millie fink says:

      Seconded!!!

    • blueelm says:

      Yep. Aside from re-posting on facebook/twitter  from actual people who were there… it was being so ignored it was scary. I’m really glad BB is going with this. People need to pay attention.

    • Rindan says:

      you have to go to the civil rights movement, which is perceived by many as a rather narrow or specialized agenda (read “colored folks”) or back the 1880-1940 era when wobblies and progressives were out in force to find any collective protests that actually worked. most americans today know very little about the progressive movement, so … 

      Yeah… but do you know what all of those protests that worked actually have in common?  They all had clear and coherent goals and victory condition.  The civil right movement had perfectly clear and coherent demands.  They gave people on the outside something to work with, and once their demands were made clear it let people on the sideline decide if they were reasonable.  With clear demands, it let vastly more people join the movement.  Once you know what is wanted, not just what they are pissed about, you can decide if you want those things too.  “We are angry!” and it “it isn’t fair!” and “it shouldn’t be this way!” are not demands, but  “End all Jim Crow laws”, “Mubarak must step down”, and even “end the war” are all coherent demands that have worked.

      Just read their “mission” statement from their website:
      ~~~~~~~~~~
      Our Mission

      On the 17th of September, we want to see 20,000 people to flood into lower Manhattan, set up beds, kitchens, peaceful barricades and occupy Wall Street for a few months.

      Like our brothers and sisters in Egypt, Greece, Spain, and Iceland, we plan to use the revolutionary Arab Spring tactic of mass occupation to restore democracy in America. We also encourage the use of nonviolenceto achieve our ends and maximize the safety of all participants.
      ~~~~~

      Their goal is to have a protest.  They cite as inspiration the successful protests in Egypt that had a very clear goal, kick out the dictator and install a democracy, and protests that are utterly incoherent and have accomplished nothing (Greece).

      What exactly am I signing up for if I support OWS?  Anarchist utopia?  Campaign finance reform?  Some sort of financial regulatory agency?  Changes in tax law?

      I’m not saying that they must have a clear goal or else I will give them my stern disapproval.  I am saying that they need to have a goal if they want to actually achieve anything.  I can’t name a single protest that has ever accomplished ANYTHING without a clear goal.  A clear goal isn’t magic sauce that will make your demands be met, but actually having some basic coherent demands is in fact, step one.  This protest hasn’t even gotten that far.

      • Cowicide says:

        That wasn’t me, you quoted someone else.  ^_^

      • Cowicide says:

        I can’t name a single protest that has ever accomplished ANYTHING without a clear goal.  A clear goal isn’t magic sauce that will make your demands be met, but actually having some basic coherent demands is in fact, step one.

        http://boingboing.net/2011/09/25/videos-show-police-brutality-at-occupy-wall-street-protests.html#comment-319872454

        • Rindan says:

          Cute response.  Now, let me go ahead and ask the same question you didn’t answer again.  Literally, name a single protest that didn’t have a clear goal that accomplished anything.  I can name a few dozen that had goals that achieved there goal.  Can you literally name one protest without a clear goal that achieved anything? 

          Psst, if you can’t even name one, it probably means it is a losing strategy.Protests with an agenda have a chance.  Protests that are just a mish-mash of people who are upset at the status quo fail.   I can name countless protests with a clear agenda that were victorious (and certainly many that failed).  I can’t name a single protest without a clearly stated ‘victory’ condition that has succeeded.  If your problem is England in India, the answer is, “get England out of India”.  If your problem is a dictator sitting around for a few decades, the answer is “remove that asshole”.  If your problem is blacks being treated like near slaves during the civil rights movement, the answer is “repeal Jim Crow Laws”.  That isn’t to imply that achieving one victory means that you are done.  “remove Jim Crow Laws” didn’t spell absolute victory or the end of protests to achieve new goals, but it was a clear goal that could be achieved.  It was a major step forward on the path.I’ll be blunt, the reason why the protesters don’t have a clear agenda is because the answer isn’t clear.   Talk to 10 different protesters and they will give you 10 different solutions, if they even have a solution to offer.  Global economics is brutal, ugly, complex, and every action is filled with unintended consequences.  None the less, there certainly are things that the protesters could demand.  I’m not an economist, but I bet that there is at least one asshole out there that has proposed a law to alter the structure of corporations to make the CEO’s less likely to be asshats being circle jerked by their friends for fat wads of cash.  Champion that as a start.  Pick a policy and run with it.  If you want middle class Americans with a job who can’t afford to go sit around protesting for a few months to be on your side, offering them something tangible.  They won’t fund your anarco-socialist utopia, but they might get behind a law to restructure corporations, if it makes sense and there are some sane people with credibility who can defend it.  A proposal that would meet demands could be debated.  Proving that a few people who have time on their hands to go be chilling out in NYC protesting for a few weeks doesn’t do anything unless there is an actual goal to be pushed and brought into the spot light.  As it stands, these protesters have brought to light that everyone thinks people on Wall Street are assholes.  Good job.  What is next?  A lecture on how the sky is blue and that no one likes lawyers?

          • Cowicide says:

            Can you literally name one protest without a clear goal that achieved anything?

            Yes.  Most of the Arab Spring protests in the beginning.  It was very chaotic.  Actually, this goes for nearly every movement I can think of.

            What do YOU want?  You seem to have lots of criticisms minus constructive ideas.  Let’s hear your grand ideas on what should have been done (that you haven’t done yet).  Or maybe you should get hustling and DO IT instead of ranting incessantly about how this protest doesn’t live up to your glorious standards?

            Cute response.  Now, let me go ahead … [and bloviate on and on... without addressing your response.]

            I suppose now you want to have an exciting and nonproductive argument about how I didn’t respond to you.  Well, I did, but you simply chose to ignore my point.  So we’ll just have to agree to disagree.  Or you can continue your masturbatory rants that go on and on…  it’s up to you.

            As it stands, these protesters have brought to light that everyone thinks people on Wall Street are assholes.  Good job.  What is next?  A lecture on how the sky is blue and that no one likes lawyers?

            If you can’t see what else has been accomplished thus far, it’s because you won’t see it.  And, there’s nothing anyone can do to help you.  You’ve got some kind of hostile mental block.  Keep whining about the protest, see if that helps.

            They won’t fund your anarco-socialist utopia, but they might get behind a law to restructure corporations, if it makes sense and there are some sane people with credibility who can defend it.

            Anarco-socialist utopia? Ah… troll alert.  I looked through your drivel, stumbled upon this and realized you’re just a waste of time.  Bye, troll.

          • Rindan says:

            Yes.  Most of the Arab Spring protests in the beginning.  It was very chaotic.  Actually, this goes for nearly every movement I can think of.

            Chaotic doesn’t mean that they had no goals.  All of the Arab Spring protests had at least two clear and obvious goal.  They all wanted the removal of whatever asshole “war powers” were in place that let their “president” stay in power for decades without competitive elections, and once they saw that the powers that be were starting to crack, tossed in the new goal of “get the asshole out now”.

            Sure, in the case of Tunisia there was an event that started a small snowball that was without a clear goal, but once it picked up any steam the goal was clear.  Even when they were just starting to protest with more minor demands, “remove that asshole and install a democracy” was always the obvious final destination, even if people feared to think it could be possible.

            The NYC protests don’t have this feature.  The whole city could riot, and I still don’t think they would know what they want.  Mucking around in economic systems is hard and less than intuitive.  “Remove that asshole from power” is easy.  “Fix the economy” is hard.  They could gather up all of the critical mass in the world (they won’t) and it isn’t going to do a lick of good because no one knows what to do with it.

            Whether you care to recognize it or not, there is no coherent message to the protest and it isn’t working towards a final goal.  Ask one person, and they will tell you that the ‘goal’ is to elect more democrats and keep Obama in power.  Ask another and they will tell you we need to end the capitalist order.  A third will tell  you about their pet corporate governance law they read about in a popular book they want passed.

            Bitch and moan that I don’t have a magic answer all you want, but it doesn’t change the simple fact that protests with no clear goal fail – always and without exception.

            If you REALLY want a “goal” they could champion, I would suggest something plausible and that can be made easily palatable to the vast majority of the population.  I would offer up that they advocate re-jiggering corporate governance. The methods by which boards and CEOs are elevated and paid is controlled by laws, and that shit doesn’t work.  It is a big warm incestuous circle jerk where billions of dollars get passed around by well networked individuals.  A law to rewrite how those boards can be chosen, how pay and benefits get decided, and how many and what flavors organization a single person can be on would go a long way to breaking up that entire fucked up system of entrenched power.  

            Someone with more knowledge than I would need to plow through the details, but it would limit how many power structures a single person can be in.  It would likely involve forced disclosure of pay, and likely involve some sort of greater shareholder oversight of such pay.  It would likely regulate who can move up and down top power structures inside of a company.  

            Instead of looking like a bunch of incoherent hippies getting stomped on by NYC’s “finest”, they would have a clear political demand, and likely have the majority of Americans on their side.  Victory obviously would be no sure thing, but it would at least have a chance.  If they won the first round, it would open them up to press other demands.

            But no, go ahead and cheer on the current incoherent protests.  In a year, let me know how it turned out and what they changed.

          • Cowicide says:

            Chaotic doesn’t mean that they had no goals.  All of the Arab Spring protests had at least two clear and obvious goal.

            Talking straight out of your ass again. ALL of the Arab Spring protests?  Citations.  None of them started as general unrest similar in any way to the Wall St. protests at all?  Prove it or back off that ludicrous statement.

            Why are you even arguing this point to death, anyway?  What purpose does this serve?  Just wondering if you have some goal in mind or just like to argue with people.

            Sure, in the case of Tunisia there was an event that started a small snowball that was without a clear goal,

            You’re not helping your case here.  Whoops. Go up there and read you first quote.  You’re contradictiing yourself badly.

            The NYC protests don’t have this feature.  The whole city could riot, and I still don’t think they would know what they want.  Mucking around in economic systems is hard and less than intuitive.  “Remove that asshole from power” is easy.  “Fix the economy” is hard.

            Just because you are absolutely clueless at this point what the message is, doesn’t mean the rest of the country is going to be obtuse.  And, despite your dire predictions… you’re wrong, the struggle is resonating and spreading:

            Cities supporting the Occupy Wall Street resistance are national and worldwide: Madrid, Spain; San Francisco, California; Los Angeles, California; Toronto, Canada; London, England; Athens, Greece; Sydney, Australia; Stuttgart, Germany; Tokyo, Japan; Milan, Italy; Amsterdam, the Netherlands; Algiers, Algeria; Tel Aviv-Yafo, Israel; Portland, Oregon; and Chicago, Illinois.

            Cities in the process of joining Occupy Wall Street are: Phoenix, Arizona; Montreal, Canada; Cleveland, Ohio; Atlanta, Georgia; Kansas City, MO; Seattle, Washington; and Orlando, Florida.

            So I wonder what else you’re wrong about?  Maybe you should wonder that too?

            Bitch and moan that I don’t have a magic answer all you want, but it doesn’t change the simple fact that protests with no clear goal fail – always and without exception.

            You’re wrong.  And, you proved yourself wrong when you mentioned the humble beginnings of Tusnia.  And, you are being actively proven wrong as this spreads all around you despite your bewilderment.

            If you REALLY want a “goal” they could champion, I would suggest something plausible and that can be made easily palatable to the vast majority of the population.  I would offer up that they advocate re-jiggering corporate governance.

            Then DO IT.  Why are you wasting your valuable time with this thread for something so beneath you?  Prove everyone wrong with ACTION.   I mean, obviousy proving everyone wrong is your goal above all else anyway… gawd…

            GO FOR IT, DUDE.

            Instead of looking like a bunch of incoherent hippies getting stomped on by NYC’s “finest”

            Well, that’s nice and condescending.. but I guess you’re going to focus on what you’re good at.  Yes, the corporatist media focuses mostly on the “hippies” in the footage, and apparently you’re lapping it up instead of actually thinking for yourself and taking another look:

            Here’s a 77 year old and from Prarie, Illinois who might just laugh in your face if you called him a hippy: http://www.flickr.com/photos/jimkiernan/6180108091/in/photostream

            But no, go ahead and cheer on the current incoherent protests.  In a year, let me know how it turned out and what they changed.

            Speaking of ineffective…. Ok, be a condescending ass to people and see what action you can scare up beyond a jealous bowel movement.  Your attitude sucks.

      • PapayaSF says:

        we want to see 20,000 people to flood into lower Manhattan, set up beds, kitchens, peaceful barricades and occupy Wall Street for a few months.

        “Peaceful” doesn’t exactly fit with “barricades” and “occupy” or even “blocking traffic.” Preventing someone’s movement can be a form of assault. This doesn’t excuse any police brutality, but it seems relevant to point out that it’s a bit of a stretch to describe what many of the demonstrators are doing as “non-violent.”

        • MertvayaRuka says:

          “Preventing someone’s movement with barricades can be a form of assault.”

          How about preventing someone’s movement with barricades and then pepper-spraying them in the face for displaying insufficient cringe?

          “This doesn’t excuse any police brutality, but it seems relevant to point
          out that it’s a bit of a stretch to describe what many of the
          demonstrators are doing as “non-violent.””

          It would be an even bigger stretch to define what those women were doing as violent and deserving of an immediate dose of pain compliance.

          • PapayaSF says:

            No, demonstrators barricading public places is not equivalent to police barricading demonstrators who are trying to barricade public places. I explicitly said it doesn’t excuse any brutality, and I’m not saying those particular women deserved it, but don’t act like you’re being Rosa Parks when you’re trying to shut down part of a city.

          • MertvayaRuka says:

            Right, I keep forgetting that the right to an unimpeded workday commute trumps the right to freedom of assembly and the right to petition for redress of grievances.

            Always nice to hear from the “I’m not saying they had it coming, but they had it coming” crowd and their insistence that any protest be orderly, well-behaved, polite and preferably non-existent.

          • PapayaSF says:

            Let’s put it this way: your right to freedom of assembly and the right to petition for redress of grievances doesn’t automatically trump someone else’s right to use the public streets.

          • Cowicide says:

            Let’s put it this way: your right to freedom of assembly and the right to petition for redress of grievances doesn’t automatically trump someone else’s right to use the public streets.

            Welp, let’s cancel all the parades.  Let’s start with the Thanksgiving parade.    We certainly wouldn’t want to upset PapayaSF’s right to use the public streets during that time.

            Give me convenience OR give me death!

            http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/61qQIM858bL._SL500_AA300_.jpg

          • PapayaSF says:

            Parades get permits. I’ll bet this group did not.

          • Jose Ricaurte says:

            I bet everyone who camps outside an Apple store waiting for the new iPhone has a permit.

          • PapayaSF says:

            An Apple store line isn’t intended to disrupt or shut down anything.

          • Jose Ricaurte says:

            Of course it isn’t. Its intent is for you to buy something. Why would they want to stop that? 

            But you still have people camping out on a public street and that’s what the police has been using as a reason to arrest people.

          • PapayaSF says:

            Yeah, it’s totally unfair and inexplicable that people whose stated goal is to “Occupy Wall Street” get treated differently from early-bird shoppers. *Rolls eyes*

          • Jose Ricaurte says:

            What’s totally unfair and inexplicable is that the law is being applied selectively because it’s inconvenient for Wall Street to allow people to rise up.

            Their stated goal is to express the economic injustices that have occurred on and by Wall Street and the top 1%. It’s not a storming of the Bastille. For if it were, trust me, no amount of pepper spray would be able to stop that.

            What led the crash of 2008 was not capitalism. Capitalism involves taking capital, investing it — with risk — in order to make a profit. These bankers sold packages with absolutely no backing, made a ton of money, and then crashed the economy because time eventually caught up. Then, when they were on the brink of collapse (which is what capitalism dictates comes as a consequence), they were bailed out. By you and me. Our taxes paid for their greed and, in effect, vaporized all the risk involved. They privatized profits and socialized losses.

            Now tell me, is that a cause that’s worth any less than some person wanting the latest toy?

  58. mistwolf says:

    There’s a lot I could say, but I think I will bow out for those tackling it much better than me. But the excuse ‘the majority voted for them’ is a silencing tactic. For one thing, the ‘majority’ is pretty slim, and probably doesn’t include many of the people in this protest. For another, ‘we’ in the plurality sense only get to select from the barest of menu choices. Mostly, this amounts to ‘evil’ and ‘less evil’. There is no viable way, at this point in time, to break the duality of the Republican and Democrat duality. Public protest is a start, however ineffectual you find it. When we only have two choices, one radically insane, and one only centrally insane, the people on the far left are left pretty screwed. :P

  59. Off White says:

    Looks to me like the seasons are changing as the Arab Spring turns to the American Fall…

    • Mister44 says:

      LOL – you greatly underestimate how complacent the average American is. Let me put this in perspective and why making parallels to the Arab Spring is absurd (other than we already have the freedoms they were fighting for and a gov. not killing its own citizens):

      I haven’t found firm numbers for the Occupy Wallstreet protest, but the articles mention “hundreds” of protestors.  The original call for the protests hoped for 20,000 people. The highest number I have seen – one that most have said was exaggerated – was 50,000.

      Over 74,000 people saw Miley Cyrus at the Houston Rodeo in March. Viva la pop idol!

      • Cowicide says:

        (other than we already have the freedoms they were fighting for and a gov. not killing its own citizens)

        Um, that’s rather debatable on both fronts, but I won’t bother because I’m sure you’ll say it’s worse somewhere else on the planet so it doesn’t matter.

        LOL – you greatly underestimate how complacent the average American is. Let me put this in perspective and why making parallels to the Arab Spring is absurd (other than we already have the freedoms they were fighting for and a gov. not killing its own citizens):

        I haven’t found firm numbers for the Occupy Wallstreet protest, but the articles mention “hundreds” of protestors.  The original call for the protests hoped for 20,000 people. The highest number I have seen – one that most have said was exaggerated – was 50,000.

        Over 74,000 people saw Miley Cyrus at the Houston Rodeo in March. Viva la pop idol!

        The Arab Spring started very modestly.  It didn’t “pop up” out of nowhere.

        First they ignore you, then they laugh at you, then they fight you, then you win.
        -Mahatma Gandhi

        • Mister44 says:

          re: “Um, that’s rather debatable on both fronts, but I won’t bother because
          I’m sure you’ll say it’s worse somewhere else on the planet so it
          doesn’t matter.”

          RE: Freedoms
          Debatable? In what way? Please let me know which freedoms Tunisia, Egypt, Libya,  Syria, or Yemen enjoyed before the Arab Spring that we currently do not.   Unless I completely misunderstood your response, I can’t see how one could say that statement with any amount of sincerity.

          RE: Gov not killing citizens
          I am sure one could find examples of police abuse, torture, and out right murder – even on  the federal level. But you can’t begin to compare this to the secret police, rape squads, etal  who operated in the dictatorships of the countries involved in the Arab Spring. You also can’t compare macing, ketteling, and physical abuse to having the military fire LIVE AMMO at you.

          This isn’t about “…it’s worse somewhere else on the planet so it
          doesn’t matter.” This is about honest comparison and contrast. You can’t pull out an exception like the Kent State Shooting and then say, “The American Gov. is killing it’s citizens.”  And you certainly can’t say that within the context of comparing protest response in America and in the countries of the Arab Spring.

          re: “The Arab Spring started very modestly.  It didn’t “pop up” out of nowhere.”

          As much as I’d like to see a shakeout of the gov. – we aren’t anywhere near the point where there would be enough people involved to cause an Arab Spring like action.

          • Cowicide says:

            Debatable? In what way? Please let me know which freedoms Tunisia, Egypt, Libya,  Syria, or Yemen enjoyed before the Arab Spring that we currently do not.   Unless I completely misunderstood your response, I can’t see how one could say that statement with any amount of sincerity.

            You didn’t word it that way before and now you’ve attempted to reframe it which is quite a bore.  You made a different statement.  Please don’t be obtuse with me.

            Here’s what you actually said that I responded to
            (I’m quoting YOU AGAIN here, ok?):

            other than we already have the freedoms they were fighting for and a gov. not killing its own citizens

            Our government does, indeed, kill its own citizens.  It’s called capital punishment and innocent people have died because of this draconian practice that puts us behind more civilized nations.

            As far as saying we already have all the freedoms they were fighting for…  I say that’s also arguable because we still have a long way to go ourselves and continue to go backwards and many different people within the Arab Spring are still pursuing different levels of “freedoms”.

            So, anyway…United States citizens are currently illegally spied upon without warrants.  Illegal search and seizure has become the norm.  People are arrested and harassed for merely becoming peace activists with homes ransacked and lives disrupted through intimidation.  We are now guilty until proven innocent whenever we go to an airport and get either strip searched by a machine or molested by a TSA agent…  and these are just off the top of my head.

            But, once again.. I know I’m just humoring you because you’ll, of course, disagree with all this and/or reframe your argument again or, once again, tell me how much worse it is in other countries ad nauseum.

            As much as I’d like to see a shakeout of the gov. – we aren’t anywhere near the point where there would be enough people involved to cause an Arab Spring like action.

            How do you know?  What are your sources for information on this.  Reliable, good sources needed or just sound like you’re full of it.

            The truth?  No one knows right now and to say you know is contrarian folly.  You seem to be ignoring the fact that DESPITE the mainstream media near blackout leading up to the Wall St. protest there was still a response and it IS beginning to have a spreading impact throughout the nation and people are watching us all over the world.  (You can deny this or actually utilize Google yourself and save me the trouble)

            And it ain’t over yet, son.

          • Mister44 says:

            re: “You didn’t word it that way before and now you’ve attempted to reframe it which is quite a bore.”

            I believe I just explained it more clearly. Perhaps not. To break it down further:

            I said, “…other than we already have the freedoms they were fighting for…”
            Then I said, “Please let me know which freedoms Tunisia… [etc] enjoyed before the Arab Spring that we currently do not.”

            I said we already have the set of freedoms the Arabs wanted for their gov. You said this was “debatable”, which means to me you don’t find my statement true. If you feel my statement was incorrect, it would lead one to logically conclude you believe the converse is true – that the Arabs enjoyed the freedoms that we don’t have already.

            Rereading everything, you clarified what you said with, “As far as saying we already have all the freedoms they were fighting
            for…  I say that’s also arguable because we still have a long way to
            go ourselves and continue to go backwards and many different people
            within the Arab Spring are still pursuing different levels of
            ‘freedoms’.” This would lead me to ask how one could say that given the most basic of freedoms the Arabs wanted – the ability to elect their own leaders, ousting those who appointed themselves in power – we have as a cornerstone of our political system.

            You want to show examples of the US behaving badly in regards to our freedoms. That is all well and good (er, bad), but I still can’t see how one can make an honest comparison. You can call both Bernie Madoff and a kid who takes $20 from his mom’s purse “thieves”. But to put then in the same league with one another is preposterous.

            Using your verbage of going “backwards”, in the race of freedoms we are ahead by miles compared to any of the Arab states with unrest. Even with us slipping backwards and committing more trespasses on our freedoms and rights, we are still in a different league and I can’t see how one can sincerely compare the two.

            re: “…tell me how much worse it is in other countries ad nauseum.”

            I’m looking for an honest comparison of the two. It doesn’t excuse anything done in the US.

            re:  I said that the Us is “… not killing its own citizens”

            Your reply: “Our government
            does, indeed, kill its own citizens.  It’s called capital punishment
            and innocent people have died because of this draconian practice that
            puts us behind more civilized nations.”

            Give me a break. How can you sincerely compare miscarriages of justice to willful, wanton violence upon the people, ordered by the top leaders?  I mean I thought I covered this with the Kent State example, but I guess not. Show me a dozen people wounded from military or police bullets from a protest and then I will say you have a legit comparison of the two.

            re: “How do you know? ”

            I don’t. I am considering history for an idea of how this will shake out.  This isn’t the first time we have had civil unrest. The average person is placated. People with nothing to loose are the ones who lead revolutions. Perhaps that number will increase to a tipping point, but I highly doubt it. I would bet $100 in 5 years time we will not have seen anything resembling the Arab Spring with a change of gov. or leader because of public demand.

          • Cowicide says:

            Give me a break. How can you sincerely compare miscarriages of justice to willful, wanton violence upon the people

            (I know this will drive you crazy, but I saw this and didn’t bother reading the rest of your inane drivel)

            Moving the goalposts yet again and trite semantic bullshit arguments?  Is that ALL you got?

            Apparently.

            Agree to disagree or continue to be boorish and pointless, it’s up to you. Go ahead, keep going, you apparently love to hear yourself talk about basically nothing… go for it drivel-master.

      • teapot says:

        To be fair, most of those ‘people’ were kids – and they only count as half. The guardians don’t count as people. They’re ‘things’.

        PS: This made primetime TV news here in Australia. Half the point of a protest is to spread your message. So far so good – keep it up guys!

        • Mister44 says:

          That is a fair statement. While Miley did set a record with that number, she is hardly the only one to have brought in the numbers at this event (see below). Nor is the event unique, especially when one considers stadium shows, such as U2 who brought in over 90,000 paying people to shows.

          Like I said, I’d like to see real grassroots change in gov., but we aren’t “hungry” enough yet.

          http://www.hlsr.com/about/attendance.aspx

      • Off White says:

        Thanks for the LOL Mister44, the “arab spring” thing was more of a tossed out one liner quip than any serious analysis, inspired by the fact that it suddenly turned fall here in the NW US. The only real similarities are unhappy young people who don’t see a future for themselves and under-reporting in the media. Truth be told, I shudder to think how ugly it will have to get before the average American sheds their complacency. Not that it isn’t on its way to ugly now, but in that slowly heating up the pot to cook the frogs kind of way…

        You’re spot on that the numbers are small and the issues are not the same, and I certainly don’t mean to cheapen the struggles in Syria, Egypt, Tunisia, Libya, and such with the comparison.

        • Mister44 says:

          It’s cool. Thanks for expanding your position. It’s hard to discern what is a quip and what is seriously thought. As one can read, others feel this has enough of a parallel to the Arab Spring to make a sincere statement about it.

          For sure we have had the most disenfranchised youth since I can remember.  If the economy stayed this stagnate for… what, maybe 10 years – I think we would have a better shot at seeing some significant grass roots change. How many decades did the Arabs endure?

  60. cstatman says:

    is it too much for people to ask,  “why did the bankers who built ‘economic instruments’ which lead to the mortgage crisis, meltdown, etc, get GIANT FREAKIN BONUSES???”

    when I mess up at my job?  I do not get a bonus.  I get a boot in my keester.    20 years younger, and on the east coast?  I would totally be out there.

  61. Robert Bell says:

    What do you expect from a bunch of jackboot thugs.

  62. newe1344 says:

    The only people I see out of control here are the police…

    When do we as citizens have the right to subdue our own oppressive government?

  63. exile says:

    Topic: Videos
    show police brutality at Occupy Wall Street
    protests

    PaulDavisTheFirst

    Went to great lengths to divert the conversation – more than any other contributor to this thread, and almost entirely off
    topic.

    Premise: That the protest will fail if they don’t
    have a compelling manifesto and answers to all the problems.

    Translation: Nothing to see here. Move along.

    Topic: Videos
    show police brutality at Occupy Wall Street
    protests

    Don

    Premise: That we should be OK with police brutality, and we
    must not call it that until it escalates to life-threatening. Rather than look
    at the cowardly attack on the cornered women we should play semantics games.

    Translation: Nothing to see here. Move along.

  64. doggo says:

    “Being rough around the edges is what defines us… It’s what kept us from being Southern Canada.” 

    More’s the pity.

  65. Powell says:

    When will people realize that the people drawn to a job like police are sociopaths?  The “they are not all like that” argument is so weak as to be banal.  Just because some cop let you out of a ticket one day means nothing.  These guys love to do this, it is an ‘us versus’ them mentality, they have zero interest in protecting and serving.  In fact, by law, cops have no Constitutional duty to protect anyone, http://www.nytimes.com/2005/06/28/politics/28scotus.html

    As such, why do they even exist, do we really need institutionalized bullying and abuse?    
    This will never stop, and will only get worse until there are repercussions and since the people in charge are the ones doing this, well good luck with that.    I take solace in the fact that the police’s 401 k’s etc will be just as worthless as ours thanks to the corporate overlords that they apparently serve.There is no room for dissent in Amurica!  Wise up, go shopping and shut up and dont get in the face of the fat guts in blue, less you get hurt.

  66. donovan acree says:

    As citizens they have the right to assemble. They also have the right to not have a point to the demonstration. They are further entitled to be young and misguided. They have a right to scream at the police, act the fool, and be uncivilized.
    The police do not have the right to brutalize people and that is what this is about. The police are harming citizens every day and in every state and nothing is being done to stop it. Offenders are given paid leave and desk duty while good citizens are being arrested for exercising basic human rights. This is just another example of our police state gone horribly wrong.
    While I certainly don’t condone violence, I won’t be surprised when I read about someone going on a cop killing spree.

  67. Jess Bachman says:

    Thanks Xeni, for what you do.

  68. This is disgusting.  I don’t know how to feel about anything anymore. Everything sucks when it comes to our politics laws and rules. I don’t even know what to say. This poor girl. Cops are so scary. 

    I am an American. I am undecided on all aspects of politics, laws and rules. I’m so ashamed of my country. I’m embarrassed. As a whole my country is awful. It’s a facade. It’s the set of a movie. It’s a beautiful building in the front but in the back its ugly and fake. 

    I do love science and my community. I am proud of my art and my friends. I enjoy good ideas and conversation. Small communities, good community leaders, science and positive social solutions I can really get behind. 

    I just don’t know what to do anymore. I volunteer- I’m part of collectives and I support those who are protesting. 

    I’m really bummed out today.

  69. angusm says:

    There’s a reason why settling brutality lawsuits is still one of the larger line-items in the NYPD budget.

    A friend of mine went to law school on, as she puts it, “a scholarship from the NYPD”.

  70. Thang Tran says:

    1. Comparing our current unemployment rate and economic standing to Arab countries is misleading.  Our economy certainly is bad, but it isn’t as bad as developing countries.
    2. Short youtube videos don’t prove a thing.  Furthermore, what I saw in these videos is police officers doing their job and trying to maintain order.  Certainly if the police officers had an hidden agenda against these protesters everyone would be arrested and the crowded forced to disperse which isn’t the case.  This is evident in that the police officers here are using pepper spray over tear gas.  The goal of police officers is to allow the crowd to exist at that location but to not allow disorder or interruption of traffic etc.
    3. Yes, police brutality exists, but I highly doubt in every case presented in these youtube videos.

  71. Technoangina says:

    Agree with the mission of the protesters or not, kettling and then macing people for yelling is not meeting force with force. You can plainly hear that the officer says “Now that is enough” walks over maces indiscriminately and at :38 walks towards another group of people with an aggressive posture in the background. If the police intent is to raise the violence level, they’ve succeeded. The police in multiple instances are filming, so if there is some reason for the violence they are inflicting, they should easily be able to give proper reason.  There are other videos where the police crush a protester into having an asthma attack, cutting off circulation to hands, etc. While some officers do appear to be trying as hard as possible to limit the violence against protesters and control the situation, there does not appear to be a police force left able to deal peacefully with protesters, despite massive advances in technology to do just that. The problem is that these officers are not trained to handle this in an appropriate manner. 

  72. The worst sort of excuse that you could use right now is “It may be bad, but it’s not as bad as THE WORST PLACE IN THE WORLD YOU COULD BE A POLITICAL ACTIVIST.” The point is to stop actions like this from taking place. There is *no* reason that the police should be acting this way at all. There hasn’t been looting, violence towards police, fires started, or general anarchy. It seems to be an overwhelming number of peaceful, mostly-female protesters letting their dissent be heard. Maybe you should watch the live feed some time and point out who is causing all the problems: http://www.livestream.com/globalrevolution

    The police are being physically violent, abusive, and offensive. None of these are elements of upholding the law – which is their job. American Heritage dictionary defines brutality as “The state or quality of being ruthless, cruel, harsh, or unrelenting.” Sounds about right.

    “Man, this water may be toxic but it sure isn’t straight hydrochloric acid, so stop complaining.”

  73. Jakob Drud says:

    You said: “I think I have a hard time feeling really bad for the girl because this is EXACTLY what the Occupy Wall Street people wanted.”

    So why did the demonstraters wait 8 (eight!) days to seek a confrontation with the NYPD? That seems a most inefficient way to get ‘what they want’.

  74. Mantissa128 says:

    You’re right – what were we thinking? Until innocent people over here start getting shot by police, we should shut up.

  75. travtastic says:

    You’re actually refusing to call macing nonviolent people ‘brutality’ because the police could have shot or beaten them? What’s the matter with you?

  76. travtastic says:

    Clearly, nothing is going to change your mind about macing unarmed women in the face until you actually experience it yourself.

  77. millie fink says:

    [Edit: This comment and some others of mine above are replies to deleted comments. I forgot to ignore the troll, sorry about that!]

    So what term do you suggest for describing this police officer’s act of unwarranted violence? 

    Police shoving, perhaps? Police bumping? Police nudging? 

    Although there are indeed varying degrees of brutality, brutality is nevertheless brutality.

  78. travtastic says:

    I vote for heavy policing. My daddy always told me it would lead to trouble.

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