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Forum Post: Why does OWS focus on confrontation with the police?

Posted 9 years ago on Nov. 6, 2011, 12:16 p.m. EST by thomasmiller (163)
This content is user submitted and not an official statement

I thought OWS was a peaceful group. Why do they do things in which they know the police are going to get involved? For example, its pretty obvious the police would get involved when they blocked the entrance to Goldman Sachs. What were they trying to do? Get a youtube moment of the police taking them away and then claim police brutality?

Is the point of this movement confrontation with the police or is it truly agaisnt corporate greed? I dont get it. Someone please explain...

19 Comments

19 Comments


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[-] 2 points by Teacher (469) 9 years ago

Its called direct action. What some people never realize is that just standing around and holding up a sign is not going to accomplish anything. During the Civil Rights Era, people went into segregated lunch counters and refused to move, even when attacked.

[-] 1 points by TechJunkie (3029) from Miami Beach, FL 9 years ago

They did that because they were demonstrating against a specific unjust law by violating that law, which is called "civil disobedience". It's very revealing that you confuse civil disobedience with getting arrested for blocking a bridge. What unjust law were people disobeying when they blocked traffic on the Brooklyn Bridge?

[-] 1 points by Teacher (469) 9 years ago

You don't understand because you don't want to. If the corporations and the political parties control the electoral process then our only option is direct action (which is not the same as civil disobedience). That is the entire point of Occupy, to peacefully disrupt the everyday functioning of the system.

[-] 1 points by TechJunkie (3029) from Miami Beach, FL 9 years ago

If "peacefully" disrupting the system is the goal of Occupy then Occupy is failing. Partly because there are people associated with Occupy who don't believe in the "peaceful" part. And partly because the system hasn't been affected in any way. The shutdown of the Port of Oakland hurt 11,000 workers at the port who can barely afford to be forced to miss a work shift, but the company that runs the port and the airport won't feel a thing. So if by "the system" you mean "the 99%" then maybe that was a win. But Wall Street? Banks? Lobbyists? Occupy isn't disrupting them in any way, and in fact Bank Transfer Day probably increased profit margins at big banks.

[-] 1 points by Teacher (469) 9 years ago

Then we need to do more, not less

[-] 1 points by TechJunkie (3029) from Miami Beach, FL 9 years ago

If your actions so far have been counter-productive, and harmful to the 99% while having no effect on the 1%, then why would it make sense to do more of the same thing? You think that somehow it would help to get more people laid off? To get even more of the least-profitable bank customers to shut down their accounts so that the banks can make even more money?

The first step toward accomplishing something is to focus on an objective. This movement picked a tactic, Tahrir Square, before they picked a strategy. They only have one goal: to avoid selecting a goal. Their only organizational principle is to avoid organizing. They're taking bold actions that turn out to be counter-productive because there is no coherent leadership or strategic thinking happening. The only thing that they're accomplishing is that they're demonstrating a very useful counter-example for how to fail at something. First step: avoid even figuring out exactly what it is that you're trying to accomplish. Just go out and start clashing with cops first, without thinking about objectives or strategy.

[-] 1 points by MattLHolck (16833) from San Diego, CA 9 years ago

ChristopherABrownART5 (Santa Barbara, CA) 1 points 1 minute ago

Exactly. Where is the functional strategy IF there is an intent to see demands met. Considering the outcomes, it could be said the intent was to diminish the public perceptions of American citizens right to assemble and seek redress.-----

Intelligent redress points out a problem and a law that can provide relief, then an official with a duty to uphold the law, or a body of officials. Written petition is delivered with adequate signatures to show the fact of the problem and the law. After 45 days protest demanding conformance to the law is begun.-----

All assembly is then done under the "law of the land". As long as assmbly is peaceful, there can be no interference. Or, any interference by law enforcement is unconstitutional at that point. OWS has done nothing like this.

[-] 1 points by VERITAS (3) 9 years ago

For some reason the "reply" function does not work, so here we are. TEACHER claims the point is to "peacefully" disrupt. Sorry, but lobbing M80s, rocks, pots and pans, and paint at cops; carrying an AK47 around a park; and relieving yourselves outdoors is not peaceful. This movement is mostly violent anarchists with warped values (65% believe the federal govt has the MORAL OBLIGATION to guarantee: college education, affordable health care, and a secure retirement. 31% believe in using VIOLENCE to achieve their aims). It is dangerous and not to be taken seriously, except as the threat to safety and to core American values of personal, economic, and religious freedom. They have no idea of the role in government in this and other crises, such as the Great Depression, nor do they see that their misplaced anger is exactly what the leftists in government want when they screw things up: get mad at the wealthy and conservatives so we can make the case for EVEN MORE GOVERNMENT.

[-] 1 points by MattLHolck (16833) from San Diego, CA 9 years ago
[-] 1 points by nomdeguerre (1775) from Brooklyn, NY 9 years ago

There is less confrontation with the NY police than you think. Go around to the blueshirts at Liberty Plaza saying "Obey to the minimum. We're fighting for your pensions and middle class status too." I've received responses like "you got that right," "you're straight on that," etc.

The problem I've seen is mostly from the whiteshirts (the lieutenants, captains, etc.) who seem to have had their loyalty crossover to their masters (like house slaves everywhere).

Oakland seems to be another story.

[-] 0 points by thomasmiller (163) 9 years ago

The NYPD loves Occupy Wall Street and why? Overtime. It will be a good Christmas for all NYPD officers because they are getting that something extra.

As for Oakland, there are violent elements within Occupy there. I mean look at the buildings which were burned and ransacked. The protesters had shields, improvised explosives and shields. Jesus Christ! Is this Afghanistan? If I were Oakland PD, you are damn right I would be on the offensive against these elements which promote terror.

[-] 0 points by TechJunkie (3029) from Miami Beach, FL 9 years ago

Yes, they appear to do that in order to create a justification for future protests. Which obviously is circular logic. To protest because of police brutality that occurred in response to your original protest.

For example, look at this exchange, where somebody tried to use the police brutality that occurred after the protest in Oakland started to justify the Oakland protesters shutting down the port.

[-] -1 points by thomasmiller (163) 9 years ago

I believe they couldnt get the police to respond through an ordinary protest so they went back and destroyed the city which forced the police to move in.

[-] 1 points by TechJunkie (3029) from Miami Beach, FL 9 years ago

I think it might be a little simpler and less nefarious than that. The simplest-possible explanation is that it's a group of people brought together by a common anti-establishment theme, so all kinds of different anti-authoritarian activities naturally follow. Clashing with cops because they represent authority. Breaking store windows because any kind of business or employer represents the establishment (to a 20-year-old). Blocking roads, shutting down the shipping port. Aspiring to destabilize the banking industry by withdrawing money. All of these things come from the same vague anti-authoritarian, anti-establishment sentiments that this movement is all about.