Sunday, 20 November 2011


UC Davis, California, 2011

Birmingham, Alabama, 1963


Anonymous said...

Oh my .... it just had to be Birmingham, alabama didn't it? Viewed from over the pond this all looks like a rerun of times gone by. Has the US learned nothing in the intervening years? For a country that apparently prides itself on the embodiment of "freedom", I am forced to wonder whose freedom we are talking about? Much of what I read about the good ol' US of A gives the lie to that. Parochial, conservative (small and large C) and and largely conformist seems nearer the mark. The "Occupy" protesters are trying to frame a legitimate debate about what we want from society, how it is structured, and for whose benefit. I fear we live in troubling times..... "Noodles"

Anonymous said...

Freedom does not give you the right to take other people's freedom. Blocking the road so people can not make a living is criminal. Peper spray slows down the resistance and need for other criminal charges. The police are doing them a favor.


Anonymous said...

Aaaah ... Thank you for validating my fears of all that is wrong in the USA. Alternate voices have validity, but are frighten those who adhere to the status quo. Safety in what you know. Anything else is invalid and "criminal". There are unquestionable challenges with the current model of capitalism, that many do not believe are being acknowledged, still less addressed. Talk me thru Enron, Lehman Bros, hedge funds in all their glorious iniquity..... To raise questions, to interrogate a problem, is a valid method of seeking to find an answer. Protest articulates a feeling current amongst a number of nation state populations (USA, UK, Spain etc ) that quieter forms have been largely ignored. Criminalise that at your peril.


Anonymous said...

Liberty and freedom are a different political issues than an economic system. The world bank has forced international corporate control over economics not the American political and legal system. The federal reserve system is a private entity not part of the American Government.

What people are demonstrating against is corruption around the world not the American way of life and democratic republic in which we live. The very same corruption comes through in hooligans that take the freedom away from other citizens. At best government handouts to those hooligans is what gives them the free time to demand more. If they worked within and reported all crime not just that which is not in their favor perhaps the world would be better.


Arianwen said...

Some of the 99% are attempting to change the status quo, and since the plutocrats and oligarchs have gamed the system here in the US to keep the system in their favor, these protests are what is felt to be the last remaining avenue for having grievances addressed (since almost all of our politicians are bought and paid for by the 1%).

While I don't think that OWS protests are on an equal footing with the Civil Rights protests of the 50s and 60s, in both cases the overreaching and overreaction by the police (and the politicians who are pushing them to do so) are an abomination to civilized society.

Anonymous said...

It is not 99% most Americans are in the top 16%. If all were equal word wide, all Americans would be below the poverity level. It is the third world that would gain.

The earth simply does not have the resources to provide a middle level living for 7 billion.

What next?


Anonymous said...

We never get photos of the rabbit proof fence or other such Australian indiscretions. Never a mention. Not one. Why not? Maybe the author of this blog should concentrate a little more on the social injustices of Oz, and a little less on..."Oh, USA." America doesn't have a monopoly on being chicken shit at times.

Jaye Schmus said...

I am an American. I'm also a member of the 99%. I'm just not sure what these protests are supposed to accomplish. I suppose yelling at the architects of our financial ruin might be fun, but isn't there something more constructive to be done? Or even something destructive? The 99% wouldn't be on the bottom if it weren't for the laws and regulations that made it possible for the assorted financial institutions to wreck the system. Why aren't we yelling at Congress? I think there's potential here for a substantive movement. I just wonder why the so-called liberals in our government aren't boosting this, as a grassroots opposition to the conservative Tea Partiers...

Anonymous said...

The present capitalist paradigm has its orgin in the Bretton Woods Conference in the US in July 1944. It set the framework for the post-1945 monetary and fiscal management of the world economy, and has come to be seen by many worldwide, rightly or wrongly, as an American construct. The Occupy voices are attempting to vocalize a deep concern, not always very coherently voiced I'll grant you, that this model is broken and is becoming the root of conflict, massed economic failure worldwide and economic inequality on a vast scale. This process worked just fine as long as everyone knew their part in this mosaic. Cheap Nike trainers, pay the Vietnamese say $1 a day .... cheap accesible oil, etc. And yes, Toppsie, their is no way 7 billion can all live as the western world has done for the last 50+ years. Cheap oil, cheap labour are fading as fast as a means of maintaining this chimera. The '63 pic of civil rights protesters is iconic because in the end, the protesters achieved some of their aims - even tho' I'd say it's still an an ongoing project. Nobody comes out of this smelling of roses, but nobody should be under any illusion that this is going to go away. We all have to change.

Anonymous said...

"The '63 pic of civil rights protesters is iconic because in the end, the protesters achieved some of their aims "

The blacks are in worse shape today then in 1963. The real problem is the laws are not enforced. The laws are on the books to stop the madness. It is the public that brings its own greed and the problems that come with it. If everyone in society reported the crimes, the criminals would have reason to stop. Only 5% of the crime goes punished. The Government can not afford the police or jails to bring order and defend freedoms. Without each individual being responsible we have no civil society. The greedy will win not the ignorant.

Anonymous said...

the abc in oz is reporting that the cops have been put on leave for using excessive force.

personally, i have no issues with them protesting using non-violent means. Maybe they are upset over the continued bail outs, but no structural changes are going in.

there was an interesting story in one of the weekend papers outlining how the super funds are way behind inflation in terms of results. It said how people would have been better off if the law was changed to allow then to put their money it in a bank.


Zimbel said...


That wasn't a road.

According to this victim, they were blocking a sidewalk to the extent that some police would have to walk around them. Some pictures appear to show the police encircled, whereas others (from different angles) appear to show a line of students. Obviously, I don't know if there was a time difference, or if it was merely the angle of the shots.

A collective decision was made on the fly to just sit in a circle arms linked legs crossed, with police officers and "prisoners" in the middle because we didn't want them arresting only 3 of us. It wasn't fair that 50 of us were there, and only a few arrested who hadn't volunteered to be arrested. There was still one walkway open that the police were going to use to walk the arrestees out.

So according to this account, they were looking to get arrested, not assaulted with a mis-used chemical weapon.
ACLU report on this weapon

As for what they wanted, I think they were mostly protesting very large tuition hikes. An account from a somewhat less involved observer:

what is at issue is the dismantling of public education in California. Just six years ago, tuition at the University of California was $5357. Tuition is currently $12,192. According to current proposals, it will be $22,068 by 2015-2016. We have discussed this in my classes, and about one third of my students report that their families would likely have to pull them out of school at the new tuition.

Zimbel said...

The Guardian has video - at least for me, that puts things more in context. For example, the assaulting cop had no problems simply walking over the line of protesters.

Anonymous said...

They are campus security guards not police. Bullies that block the path of law abiding people do get arrested. If they refuse to cooperate force is used. The reason tuition went up is because the bankrupt state decided to give illegal aliens the same price as local citizens to attend the state university. Everyone pays more for added government services.
The real problems is the students and public are not reporting the illegal and deporting them. The U.S. can not afford to support the worlds poor. Less than 50% of Americans make enough money to pay federal income tax.

Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Paul said...

"Bullies that block the path of law abiding people do get arrested."

OK so you clearly have a love of totalitarianism, just so long as those persecuted are people you don't like. When they come for you will you be so concerned about blocking a pavement or defending the freedom you were so happy to see squashed for others.

tina zimmer said...

I am an American,and the fact is, that protesting is allowed as long as it is not impending the freedoms of others. Yes it is wrong to block the road, no it is not right to peper spray people. I don't suport either side. I say, if you want to have a voice, scream, but don't prevent the rest of us who need to make a living from being able to do that. March, or walk I do not care. But this country needs to funciton while that is done. The police were wrong to use such force, and they should have looked to the past before repeting it. But this is still a land of freedom, I am free, and if I find something unjust I am willing to stand up for my beliefs. Just like these students did. However, I know the rules and laws around protesting are put there so that it may be done peacfully and not take away the freedoms of others. I won't be pushed into a corner, but I also won't break the road laws that exist for the saftly of those in this country. When you start a protest, the first thing you must do is read the laws, know them well, for if you break them you will have to face the consiquences. If those students did that, then they sat down in the road knowing it could become less peaceful.
It is one man who is seen in this photo with peper spray, and I don't believe one man with hate and anger in his heart should speak for a nation with freedome and love at it's core.
-Tina Zimmer