10.25.11

Quashing protest with anti-mess ordnances

Posted in Culture of Lickspittle, Decline and Fall at 1:52 pm by George Smith

One challenge facing OWS is the anti-democratic use of cleanliness ordnances to break up groups and encampments.

This AP story delivers the basics: employing a handful of stories about the smell of urine, common in cities, and other petty things involving alleged attraction of rats and being unable to guarantee safety, to destroy a democracy movement spanning the country.

The first graph:

Fed up with petty crime, the all-night racket of beating drums, the smell of human waste and the sight of trampled flowers and grass, police and neighbors are losing patience with some of the anti-Wall Street protests around the U.S.

In Oakland, Calif., police in riot gear fired tear gas and bean bags before daybreak Tuesday to disperse about 170 protesters who had been camping in front of City Hall for the past two weeks, and 75 people were arrested.

The mayor of Providence, R.I., is threatening to go to court within days to evict demonstrators from a park.

And businesses and residents near New York’s Zuccotti Park, the unofficial headquarters of the movement that began in mid-September, are demanding something be done to discourage the hundreds of protesters from urinating in the street and making noise at all hours.

Noise.

‘[The grass is getting damaged, and they want to close the restrooms and begin preparing the park for winter,” reads one concern in Providence.

If damaged grass and wanting to “close restrooms” are the best one can come up with, then there’s essentially no significant complaint other than the powers at be are now angry the protests have gone on too long.

In college towns across the USA during football season, every weekend is a potpourri of waste, damaged grass, regurgitated booze, noise and the smell of urine far beyond the scale of OWS protests.

The complaints voiced in the AP story are penny ante considering what the movement stands for. However, dissent has long been conditioned out of many in the US culture of lickspittle. Business that pollutes on a grand scale, however, is OK.

When no one is breaking the law one of the first things authority tries to do is redefine breaking the law downward.

This almost always means getting at people for making a mess, loitering, urinating (wooahh, now that’s something that never happens in cleanly American gathering places) too much eating in public, being noisy (which would seem required for democracy) or attracting vermin (and getting stupid people to believe that a plague might break out if something isn’t done).

There are the kinds of laws which are traditionally enforced all the time around the country, rather selectively, when those in control wish to harass unpopular property owners or chase the homeless from place to place.

In the past few decades such things have been used to criminalize just being poor in the US. OWS protests, paradoxically, are inspired by inequality, unfairness and poverty.

These kinds of practices and the people who call for them also justify a rebellion.

2 Comments

  1. Chuck said,

    October 26, 2011 at 9:04 am

    It should be noted that the OWS protesters in some areas are being handled well. In my own town, when the OWS tent city threatened to shut down the Saturday farmer’s market (which usually occupies the same space), the city passed an emergency measure allowing camping in a nearby park.

    The only really serious complaints is that some of the shadier parts of society have been invading the OWS site, stealing possessions and peddling drugs. The OWS community is trying to handle that situation with the cooperation of the police.

    The actions of the Oakland police will only serve to pour gasoline on the fires of protest, I fear.

  2. George Smith said,

    October 26, 2011 at 3:35 pm

    One of the topics I haven’t seen brought up is the potential that the homeland security apparatus, at a local level, being aimed at the OWS protesters.

    Since so many fly-by-night small security companies set themselves up as counter-terror intel gathering “fusion centers” in the last decade, and now have a history of doing work against peaceful protests, I would find it remarkable if they weren’t already working behind the scenes against OWS protests in any number of ways from infiltration to privacy invasion for the sake of “research” and “threat assessment.” This was only hinted at in the NY Times piece I commented upon yesterday.

    I wrote a bit about it here
    last year.