Occupy Wall Street and the 'Crime' of Non-violent Dissent -- OpEd News

Anonyme, Sábado, Octubre 15, 2011 - 12:58

Ritt Goldstein

As those with courage and vision struggle to reclaim what 'We, the People' are increasingly realizing has been cruelly stolen from us, one must recall that too often history has shown popular progress measured in the agony which those peacefully pursuing change must endure. Sharing the reality of ongoing events, this article even provides video 'windows' upon the gallant efforts before us.

Occupy Wall Street and the 'Crime' of Non-violent Dissent
By Ritt Goldstein
Copyright October 2011

I just watched video of an alleged observer with the National Lawyer's Guild being struck by a New York City police scooter, screaming in agony as his foot was pinned under it, then arrested for kicking the scooter in freeing his trapped foot. I watched videos earlier in the protests of Occupy Wall Street's non-violent freedom fighters being pepper sprayed, one video, of four women simultaneously subjected to this torturous punishment, thankfully went global. But history shows the price of popular change is too often measured in the agony of those pursuing it, and today's efforts, the struggle towards a genuine 'liberty and justice for all', are not proving an exception.

Every day I continue to read of a number of further instances of Occupy's heroes being pepper sprayed and abused, and every day their courage makes it difficult to recall a time that I've been prouder to be an American. On many occasions, some years ago, I too was pepper sprayed, and I too was perceived by some as having committed 'a crime', the 'crime' of Non-violent Dissent.

In 2005, a German film emerged that garnered critical acclaim for its examination of such 'criminality', the setting being 1940s Nazi Germany, the name of the film is 'Sophie Scholl - The Final Days'. It examines how non-violent dissent has indeed sometimes been quite criminalized, sometimes even demanding the ultimate sacrifice. Sophie, her brother, and a friend were tortured, then tried and executed by guillotine on February 22, 1943.

It might be well for those attacking Occupy particpants to see this film, to be reminded of what kind of State uses brutal force against those brave souls with the vision and courage to attempt the righting of grievous wrongs.

In 2006, New York Times film critic Stephen Holden wrote of the film: In a climate of national debate in the United States about the overriding of certain civil liberties to fight terrorism, the movie looks back on a worst possible scenario in which such liberties were taken away. It raises an unspoken question: could it happen here? And given the beatings, the abuses, and the pepper sprayings that have occurred, the question of how far from what's left of the Constitution our government might go is a good one, particularly if the Occupy movement continues to succeed and expand as it is.


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