Saturday, 6 September 2008

So what does it Take for the People to Rise Up?

Following the terrorising of protestors by the Twin Cities pigs at the US National Republican Convention, Ron Jacobs writes a good piece in The Dissident Voice saying:

I don’t give a rat’s ass about the Jerry Springer-like drama playing out around the GOP vice presidential pick Sarah Palin. Let me also state that I seriously wonder how long it will be before the folks that vote for the Republicans year in and year out realize that the men and women they are voting to rule them are part of the Washington elite just as much as the Democrats they despise.

He goes on:

What I do care about in terms of this week in Minnesota is what is going on outside the convention. From all reports in the media outlets that cover that which is not scripted by the GOP, the streets of the Twin Cities have been turned into a zone where police terror is permitted and even encouraged ... In addition, police have attacked protesters, journalists and bystanders with clubs, pepper spray, and tear gas. So far, close to five hundred people have been arrested. Most of them are being held in open air detention centers.

But this state terrorism wasn't carried out merely as a local operation. Clearly it had been carefully planned a long way ahead of events, not just by city authorities but by the Federal Bureau of Investigation. No doubt all the way back to the thugs in the White House.

These arrests, while certainly of questionable legality, are but the tip of the iceberg. On September 3, 2008, eight members of the RNC Welcoming Committee– some of the primary organizers of the protests–were formally charged with Conspiracy to Riot in Furtherance of Terrorism. These eight were among those arrested in the pre-convention raids and, according to the National Lawyers Guild (NLG), face up to 7 1/2 years imprisonment each.

The evidence collected by the pigs to substantiate these charges is in itself laughable, were the charges not so serious:

None of the defendants have any prior criminal history involving acts of violence. Searches conducted in connection with the raids failed to turn up any physical evidence to support the allegations of organized attacks on law enforcement. ” Because no physical evidence of this nature was found, police seized common household items like lighters, cleaning fluid, some nails and a couple hatchets and claimed that these items were to be used to incite insurrection. In addition, police claimed they confiscated two buckets of what they called (I’m serious here) “weaponized urine.” What these buckets actually contained was gray water used to flush toilets at the house where they were found. According to police, other seized materials included other types of household tools, padding (probably to protect people from police truncheons), some pvc pipe and an army helmet.

Jacobs sums up:

At this writing, the charges brought against the eight are state charges. It is unknown whether or not federal authorities have any plans to charge these eight or any of the others arrested. What is known is that, much like Chicago forty years ago, the primary cause of any riots that might occur in the Twin Cities are the result of unconstitutional police actions supported by local officials, the national party nominating its warmongering candidate, and the federal police state apparatus. Indeed, the events of forty years ago were termed a police riot by a federal commission formed to investigate the disturbances.

Police terrorism of this kind is not only restricted to the US. Here in the UK it has got much worse in the last decade or so since Tony Blair, who no doubt on Bush's orders imported the 'War on Terror' and chickenhawk fascism to Britain. As the US Constitution has been demolished by these Bringers of Chaos so our eight-centuries'-old Magna Carta and Habeas Corpus have been effectively done in and done away with. The pattern is predictable: if it happens in the US today, we'll have it here by tomorrow.

The Rule of Law has been given the death sentence.

You think I jest? Well here's an example of how the Rule of Law is turned upside-down by the very people responsible for its legislation: For over a year now some of us have been trying to get the UK police constabulary to bring charges of war crimes against Tony Blair and Co. Now there is no question that these are common war criminals we're dealing with. The International Criminal Court Act of 2001 goes to great lengths to describe their crimes.

But it appears that war crimes are, after all, a political matter and nothing to do with the process of justice. War crimes are something we hang around the necks of our enemies once we have fought and won a war against them in which we ourselves commit countless war crimes against the innocent victims who got in our way: 'collateral damage' it's called. Very sad. Too bad. But that's war you know and once we've won we can attach all the blame for all the killing on those horrid people we had to go to war against in the first place. We did it to the Germans and we're doing it to the Serbs right now (and that'll learn 'em to mess about with us!)

That last bit in brackets, of course, is hissed inaudibly by the Judge so that only the Clerk of Court can hear it. It wouldn't do for us commoners to hear just what a stitch-up the judicial process can be when it has to deal with its political enemies. Well we discovered that when we reported Blair and his fellow war criminals to the British plods. In most cases they just scratched their heads bemusedly.

"Nothing to do with us. Complain to the politicians!" they replied in dismissal. So we took it to the politicians --in my case to Scotland's First Minister, Alex Salmond, 'Our Eck'. "Nothing to do with me," he replied predictably. "Don't expect me to waste police time!"

Which only goes to show just how knowledgeable your average politician, be he never so high, is of national and international law. The ICC Act of 2001 is modelled on the Rome Statute of 1998 and was legislated into being by the MPs who were sitting at that time in Westminster's House of Commons. MPs, it should be recalled, including one Alex Salmond. But then a week in politics is a long time as the late Harold Wilson once observed and the memory of your average MP very much shorter.

Well, my own complaint was finally taken seriously by a politically savvy Chief Constable who neatly passed the buck onto the Counter Terrorism Command at Scotland Yard. Now why, you may ask, should the reporting of a crime be passed onto Counter Terrorism? Does this mean that the British police, in their wisdom, consider our politicians to be potential terrorists? Or is it really we who are being reported for daring to uphold the Rule of Law in the case of such crimes?

It seems that we stepped out of line and are now being investigated for possible terrorist offences. For having carried out Britain's first known civil obedience campaign, asking the powers that be to carry out their own laws, we have been turned into terrorist suspects! Now what does that tell you about the inverted bizarro world in which we find ourselves today?

I could go on to describe the surveillance state in which we long-suffering Brits live today, where there are more CCTV cameras spying on us than anywhere else in the world. I grew up in the Cold War of the 'sixties when we were fed scare stories about those dreadful Reds in the totalitarian Soviet Union. Ha! And look at us now! Betcha any money those Russkies don't have anywhere near the CCTV and other surveillance we have! And doesn't that prove our technological superiority!?

Just how much repression are we in the Anglo-American world prepared to take before we rise up against our tormentors? How many millions does it take to shiver and starve and die in the cold of midwinter as many of us soon surely will? If nothing else does it, empty stomachs soon leads to revolt. And this is where the manner in which our governments treats protestors returns for our consideration. For if what we are seeing in the US and in Britain, conveniently justified as a 'War against Terror', is anything to go by then we're in for a very rough time indeed. The events of 911 and 77 were only just the beginning. We ain't seen nothin' yet.

So let me finish this rant by repeating here the thoughts of a fellow Brit on the significance of events at the RNC for not just north Americans but their distant cousins on this overcrowded little island:

What this shows is the extent the authorities will still go to protect the interests they serve. [These are] unfortunately effective tactics.

Where this breaks down is if the protest movement can reach a critical mass. Squashing even a few hundred and arresting a few dozen is one thing. But if protests become the norm across the country then they can't 100s of thousands. Numbers reduce them to impotence.

Unfortunately, mass based organising whilst extensive cannot get that kind of number out consistently. You need millions of people who are prepared to risk prison and criminal records. And when you're mortgaged and you need to keep a particular kind of job to keep feeding the family then the ability to participate, and take these risks, is curtailed.

However, when ruling elites reduce enough people to a state where you don't give a damn, or the costs of confronting power directly are no longer outweighed by the gains to be achieved through conformance, then you are in a revolutionary state.

It can happen! The ruling class despise most outside of their class instinctively. And they are pulling away in wealth. I suppose as long as the populace have bread and circuses then they might be able to brazen it out for a while yet!


Indeed. But for how much longer?

Rory Winter

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