Monday, January 30, 2012

RE: [OccupyLA] OLAASM- there's no such thing as peaceful, legal protest

Well I'm not part of OLAASM but I did want to say this, Hi my name is Rocio, and I'm a radical and I'm not afraid to have it be known!
[Also please don't be afraid! I swear we don't bite.]

I do however follow them and to my surprise they Follow Friday-ed me on Twitter sometime. [For those who don't know what the hell that means, there's a convention on Twitter that on Fridays you post under the #FollowFriday hashtag and encourage your followers to follow someone you think has great things to say!]

I loved the post. As much as I never would listen to a certain lawyer who has a god complex, she amongst opponents did make me realize that *actually* *legally* technically more or less for the last few decades the legal *status quo* has been that saying that local authorities have the right to restrict the time and place of your speech. I think its COMPLETE bullshit and many lawyers agaree, and that that interpretation of the law completely invalidates the whole premise of the 1st amendment. Why do I bring this up?

Someone said "I didn't know it was illegal to protest". Well... the way the world actually works the police and the government can pretty much decide your protest is illegal and arrest you, or deny you permits, and really your only real recourse is then to fight that bullshit in the courts and perhaps maybe win or just do it anyway an keep on doing it not caring what the authorities try to do to you. If anyone *actually* thinks you have any sort of inalienable right to protest wherever whenever you want without being bothered or arrested by the authorities that has been granted to you by your government, I hate to break it to you...

Your rights are NEVER given to you, they are hard fought for, and even more importantly, once they have been earned you have to keep fighting for them or they will be taken from you. What does this have to do with anything?

Protesting on the sidewalk may get attention and add a few followers but let's not kid ourselves that it will bring about all the necessary changes we need. This system will fight us tooth and nail for its survival. And if we do magically somehow get massive numbers we need, watch how quickly the police will start coming down on us for even marching in our designated free speech zones.

In one very important example: does anyone honestly think that the current system has ANY chance of so radically altering itself so that we may actually stop climate change before it's too late? Or even just slowing it down substantially so that not as many people will die as a result as in the worst case scenario?

If someone has a hypothesis of how we will feed everyone, house everyone, educate all who want to be educated, ending Racism, Sexism, Homophobia, and halt climate change before the point of no return by protesting on the sidewalk and only on permitted marches and by voting with the numbers that we have, please let me know about your miraculous plan! 'Cause I'm very worried, time is running out, and I'd like to actually make the changes needed.

I think the point of the article was that we will not solve the massive systemic problems we face by the traditional allowed methods.

We have to stop being obsessed with legality of actions. You know protesting is against the law in dictatorships right? Would that stop you? Do you think people in those societies who tell you you're being bad by breaking the law are right? Of course you don't! You should of course be concerned with the ethics and morality of your actions but that is the not the same as 100% legal.

Glad to hear the people who were trying to talk to the police were mic-checked and stopped! I'm all for truth and nuance. I'm also a little iffy about the way MacArthur park was painted. Sure it is mostly Latino & Black but it's one of the better known more multicultural parks in LA so that critique is whatever to me.

Sorry for the long ass post but I also wanted to say that they have it ON THE NAIL when they talk about the need to resist AND build alternatives. It is not one or the other. That is something the American Left generally sucks at, many groups unfortunately tend to do one or the other. I've never had much of a desire to go live in a commune or build some isolated utopia because that won't help my friends and family for shit and it won't help all the oppressed people out there. On the other hand, even if people know our status quo sucks, if they don't feel like there are any alternatives a lot of people are not gonna bother to try to change what the perceive as unchangeable. That is why it is vital that we present some sort of alternative so that people can see that things really can be different and will feel more empowered to take action.

And holy moly I can't believe I just wrote this post with how tired I currently am.

Finally, I totally get what that one person said about working with people you aren't totally in agreement with, that has been one of the most liberating things about Occupy movement for me. I have been much more open to discussing and trying to find solutions with people who aren't on the same page as me. At the same time I have no illusion that conflict is inevitable, and when certain worldviews and strategies are fundamentally incompatible and we will not be able to be completely inclusive if we stick to our most fundamental principles. [Most simply you cannot compromise with people who are trying to impoverish, kill you, or oppress you but luckily but those cases will be rare!]

Edit: [Originally Posted to the OccupyLA Listserv where the following article was posted: OLAASM- there's no such thing as peaceful, legal protest My post was a response to the lively thread where some people didn't want to to paint such a broad brush against liberals, some discomfort over the fact the linked blog is anonymous, some gripes about the factual inaccuracies surrounding the Occupy Oakland Solidarity March that OccupyLA did, concern that "radical" may be defined too narrowly, and a few people who loved the article!]