Billionaire Bloomberg, Militarized Police Commanders, and the Editors of the Charlottesville Daily Progress Believe . . .
… permitting any exercise of First Amendment rights is an act of generosity, and all acts of generosity must end.
According to the Daily Progress, we’re even free in Charlottesville to insult presidents, although the “insults” may consist of attempted citizens arrests for openly confessed felonies, and although the “freedom” may consist of being forcibly removed by armed police.
According to the Daily Progress, Cville Occupiers should go home and then vote for a president and Congress that will do what they want.
Oh, gee, now you tell us.
But just for the sake of argument, dear editorialists, if you wanted to vote for a presidential candidate in our current corrupt system who was not in the pocket of Wall Street, which would you pick, the current President who holds the record for Wall Street “contributions” and is preparing to shatter it, or whichever of the current crop of nightmares the Republicans settle on? Do tell.
Popular resistance to corrupt plutocratic governance that serves only a corporate elite cannot be switched off by pointing to money-saturated, media-stifled, ballot-access restricted, voter-registration impeded, hyper-gerrymandered elections on unverifable corporate-trade-secret voting machines and exclaiming, “Here, we’ll let you vote. Happy now?” If voting changed anything, they’d make it illegal, said Emma Goldman.
That’s a very different statement from the one that oh so simple-minded newspaper editorialists will leap to: “We can do without voting.” We cannot do without voting, but we can do absolutely nothing with voting alone. We can, however, do great things with the First Amendment, which provides us absolutely no right to shut up and wait for an election. There has never been any need to protect that right. It has always been forced upon us.
We are beyond the boxes of parties, candidates, lesser evil choices, and media bullshit. We are changing our culture. Big city mayors are holding conference calls to discuss their fears of their nonviolent citizens. Major lobbying firms are pitching the American Bankers Association for huge contracts to propagandize against Occupy (pitches in which, by the way, they acknowledge that both political parties move together and that we are beginning to move them). War criminals and pirates like Cheney, Rice, and Paulson are canceling their events. Referenda are being passed in favor of working people. We’ve just halted fracking in the Delaware River Basin. States are pulling out of mortgage (non)settlement deals. Obama is at least pretending to listen to the people on the tar sands pipeline. The corporate media is discussing inequality and the unfair concentration of wealth, power, and tax breaks in our corporatocracy. The Occupy camps are returning, resisting, growing, and finding ways to build a movement broader than the encampments. The Congressional Superconjob is afraid to act on its mandate to rob from the old and the sick to fund banksters and war profiteers.
When progress is beginning is the time to push harder. Fortunately there is no time restriction on the First Amendment. It does not say “Congress shall make reasonable pro-Wall Street laws abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances, when it meets with the approval of the Daily Progress, the Washington Post, robber baron mayors, and sadistic police officers.” The First Amendment says “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.” No law. The right to peacably assemble shall not be abridged.
But according to the Daily Progress, ” The time for jamboree is over. The novelty has worn off.” You see, you have a First Amendment as long as you’re entertaining to people with the attention span of a month-old puppy and the political insight of a Larry Sabato.
Enough is enough.
The time for moralizing from a sewer is over. The novelty of that died before any soul currently living was born.
If you believe people should have the right to peaceably assemble and to petition the government for a redress of grievances even after the novelty wears off, here’s what you can do, according to OccupyCville.org:
1. Issue a statement of support. This statement can be simple or extensive. You may send this statement via email to firstname.lastname@example.org for us to distribute to city council members on Monday and/or publicly publish. You may also send these statements directly before the meeting takes place at email@example.com. We also encourage you to use your own lines of communication to send this message and encourage others to do the same.
2. Attend the city council meeting on Monday, November 21, beginning at 7pm. We will also be holding a rally at 5pm in Lee Park to show support for the occupiers who will be speaking. We hope that a physical presence of broad community support will remind the council members that the drive of the occupation extends beyond the bounds of the park.
2.B. I recommend going very early and getting on the list to speak in the City Council meeting. –DS