Since today is supposed to be a “day of action” — and certainly hasn’t failed to deliver in this respect — I think it’s important to talk about just what kind of action is desperately needed from OWS. This is where Fanon’s discussion of decolonization becomes relevant. Make no mistake: The wholesale restructuring of the dominant ideologies and institutions of a society is always and necessarily a radically violent act. It was in this sense of the word that Slovenian philosopher and critical theorist Slavoj Žižek could say that “Gandhi was more violent than Hitler: Gandhi’s movement effectively endeavored to interrupt the basic functioning of the British colonial state” whereas Hitler merely “stages a big spectacle of Revolution so that the capitalist order could survive.”
This is the fundamental failing of those who resign themselves to passivity and surrender from the outset according to a ridiculous and inaptly named principle of “nonviolence”: what they create is mere spectacle, devoid of substance — an occupation without seizure of power. Such movements can never formulate, let alone defend what Fanon calls “the minimum demands of the colonized.” Just as Orwell claimed during the Second World War that “the pacifist is objectively pro-Nazi,” so too with OWS. The pacifist now is objectively pro-Wall Street and, regardless of intention, stands should-to-shoulder with members of the financier and rentier classes.
Read the whole thing, it’s really a fantastic analysis.
Remember that rubber rounds can kill when they are aimed directly at the face. We have at least two well-documented accounts of protesters being hit in the face by rubber bullets. Were the police aiming for the head? Or just terrible shots?
(Hint: ‘violent thugs’ and ‘all of the above’ are also acceptable answers.)
Oakland Police’s press release: would be right at home in the Syrian Information Ministry
From last night’s press release from the Oakland Police Department:
Q. Did the Police deploy rubber bullets, flash-bag grenades?
A. No, the loud noises that were heard originated from M-80 explosives thrown at Police by protesters.
The San Francisco Chronicle begs to differ:
Protesters scattered in both directions on Broadway as the tear gas canisters and several flash-bang grenades went off. Regrouping, protesters tried to help one another and offered each other eye drops.
Q. Did the Police use tear gas?
A. Yes, the Police used a limited amount of tear gas for a small areas as a defense against protesters who were throwing various objects at Police Officers as they approached the area.
Or at protesters who were helping injured people. Or, for just hanging out in the streets, really. Take it away, IBT:
California police resorted to tear gas as many as five times Tuesday, attempting to force hundreds of Occupy Oakland protesters to disperse.
So was it used to make them disperse, or was it used in self-defense? Were flash-bangs used, or were they not used? The videos certainly seem to show that they were used in copious amounts.
This is nonsense. Interim Police Chief Howard Jordan must resign.