Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Freedom of Assembly in Action and Contested

The Occupy Wall Street movement -- or civil uprising -- has been unfolding for a couple of months now, spreading around from NYC. It's mostly peaceful. Responses have been mixed. Legal skirmishes have been ongoing -- city ordinances, permits, tents, parades, signs, police raids, social media, celebrities, writers, bread and circuses. It's gone global.  

So far, compared to simultaneous protests in Syria, Yemen or Somalia, there has not with the OWS movement been much violence from either direction. Compare, so far, to the 1960s -- when there were countless bombings, assassinations, and numerous instances of police and vigilante brutality.  Around the OWS happenings, constitutional rights are more or less intact and well-defended. But it's a big game of hit or miss so far. Some of the protesters are goofy, and some of the "official" response is heavy-handed at the local level. I dread the possibility of vigilante violence.

My impressions are not strictly from the perspective of a distant observer. I have participated directly if moderately, carrying signs, talking with OWS people, giving encouragement, that kind of thing.

It's clear what the movement is saying: social priorities are important and they are presently askew.  Improvements can and should be made. It's really that basic. The message is more important than the messengers, or even the tactics.  

Today's Rune: Breakthrough.    


the walking man said...

The question is what is this a precursor of? The answer won't be known for a time but most of these kids out ther don't know how to fight or what weapons they have to fight with. Set them in frnt of an X box and they'll get through a game but this is no game and sooner or later if they do not lose their will, they will return blow for blow. Not because it is the right weapon (not spending money is) but because the flight instinct eventually gets conquered just as Cranes Red badge of Courage describes Henry's gripping his fear and becoming a mad man warrior.

Charles Gramlich said...

It hasn't touched us much down here but I've been following the events in the bigger cities. Some good and some bad, as you might expect from such a movement.