DISCLAIMER: I do not attempt to be polite or partisan in my articles, merely truthful. If you are a partisan and believe that the letter after the name of a politician is more important then their policies, I suggest that you stop reading and leave this site immediately--there is nothing here for you.

Modern American politics are corrupt, hyper-partisan, and gridlocked, yet the mainstream media has failed to cover this as anything but politics as usual. This blog allows me to post my views, analysis and criticisms which are too confrontational for posting in mainstream outlets.

I am your host, Josh Sager--a progressive activist, political writer and occupier--and I welcome you to SarcasticLiberal.blogspot.com

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Occupy Boston Conflict - 10/10/2011

Yesterday, Columbus Day, was an extremely eventful day for the Occupy Boston protest movement. Early in the day there was a massive rally composed of students attending many of the local universities and the Occupy Boston protesters. The students marched down to the Common, held a rally and then marched down to the Dewey Sq. site to meet up with the rest of the Occupy group. During this march we traveled along the perimeter of the park and briefly stopped at the statehouse for a particularly loud chanting session. Below are pictures that I took from the student march:

After marching down to the Dewey Sq. site, we met up with several labor movement groups and marched across large swathes of the city. This group was 10,000 strong and included a vast diversity of people; from students and labor to seniors and young families. Everything was peaceful and relatively (as much as ten thousand people can be) orderly and we didn't have any problems until we reached the Charlestown Bridge. At the bridge several people attempted to cross a police barricade and were stopped; when they persisted two were detained and one was arrested. With the arrests, the march stopped and demanded the release of the two people in custody on the threat of staging a sit in on the roadway.

Several minutes into the standoff at the bridge, word reached us that the Anonymous hackers had picked up a police communication that they were planning on raiding our campsite while we were away. At the news of a potential attack on our living space, we quickly disbursed and traveled back to the campsite.

I was not there for the beginning of the following events, but I have heard many accounts from those who were there. At some point, a large group of Occupy Boston protesters decided that as we needed much more space, we should also occupy the area of the Greenway adjacent to the Dewey Sq. site and thus they moved in. This was not put to a general vote, but many people followed and it became the de-facto "second site". By the time my group of people returned to the Dewey Sq. site, the second site was already established. Many people, including myself, thought that this was not only a necessary move (due to our shear numbers) but a completely reasonable one considering the peaceful history of our occupation at the Dewey Sq. site. Quickly, a second encampment was set up and people gathered as in the first camp site.

We held the general assembly at the second site and discussed two primary issues:

  1. Why the democratic process was violated by a unilateral move into the second site.
  2. What we were going to do now, facing the threat of police action
After a long discussion, we decided in full consensus that no matter the unilateral movement that brought us to the second site, we were there and we should keep the land. Even in the face of the impending police action we were determined to either wait out the situation or make a peaceful demonstration when the police entered the park. In preparation for the police, we consolidated the tents in the middle, tied them together, and many people linked arms around them. If the police were to attempt to force us out, those who were staying in the center would either be willingly arrested or not comply by going limp. There was a consensus that no matter what the police did, WE WOULD NOT ACTIVELY RESIST OR BECOME VIOLENT. The basic goals were to show a unified front and make our point that we have the right to peacefully assemble.

At this time a group of people from the organization Veterans for Peace arrived with flags and offered to support us. They took a prominent position between the column of the police and the circle of protesters so as to support our occupation.

At 1:30, the police organized in formation on the sides of the park and we were warned that unless we disbursed we would either be removed or arrested. Most of the protesters at this point were either formed into a ring around one of the campsites or videotaping the events on the outskirts. The police action was as follows:

  1. The police entered the park and began pushing everybody not in the circle of interlocked protesters towards the sides of the park. This process was on many cases violent and I personally saw several times where the officer would even push the protesters off of the wall of the park and into the pavement. Nobody was arrested during the initial push, but several people received minor injuries from the police.
  2. Once the side of the park was clear of the protesters, the police pulled apart the circle of people and began arresting them and those who attempted to reenter the park. The police didn't differentiate between the protesters, medics and media; in many cases escorting the media and medics out of the area or arresting them if they wouldn't comply. This is simply wrong in that the medics are designated as neutral and there for the safety of all and the media are necessary to record the event.
  3. Once the large circle of protesters was broken up and arrested, the police began destroying our second site. They carelessly destroyed our tents and belongings by throwing them into waiting waste disposal trucks. Nobody was given a chance to save their belongings or tents which is particularly destructive when you consider the fact that the occupiers are living on site. I cannot even begin to assess the damage that was done to the protesters who were stationed at the second site.
At the end of the police action (around 2:30) between 110 and 130 protesters were arrested and the entire second campsite was destroyed. The Dewey Square site was not touched during this action.

I will post opinions on this event later today in  second post, but let me say this now: We supposedly live in the USA, where democracy rules and everybody's rights are protected. Yesterday, a peaceful group of people protesting inequity were beaten, arrested and had their property destroyed. I for one don't remember the Tea Party protests being broken up like this (they were also covered by every new source); maybe that is because their corporate masters are also the same people who now control the police. I see this event as a dangerous sign that we have strayed from "a government of the people by the people where democracy rules", to "a government of the people, by the corporations, where corporatocracy keeps the masses under control through our own police".

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