Occupy Boston Crack Down Shows Divide Between Protesters, Officials


 

Boston Police’s disproportional attacks on Occupy Boston and Vietnam veterans at the city’s Rose Fitzgerald Kennedy Greenway, resulting in around 100 arrests, have re-commenced Occupy Wall Street’s global anti-corporatist project. 

Last night was another defining moment in OWS’s straddling of American public sympathy for the movement after U.S. Veterans for Peace campaigners were amongst those manhandled, beaten, and arrested. 

At around 1:30 a.m., riot squads from the Boston Police Department arrived on Greenway to disperse protesters who had collected there under the banner of Occupy Boston. This followed written police warnings that anyone found there would be arrested for trespassing on private property.

This claim has already been disputed after it was revealed the Greenway Conservancy — a private, non-profit organization on whose lawn the protest took place — gave their permission for the Boston protest to go ahead. 

Boston Police Department Commissioner, Ed Davis, meanwhile claimed: “The group that has run the initial protest has been very much working with us. That broke down today and when we talked to the people we’ve been dealing with, they said: ‘The anarchists have taken over.'” 

Davis’ claim shows officials are willing to use old excuses in its attempts to shirk dissent. The Vietnam veterans beaten in Boston last night were not anarchists. John Nilles, 74, served in Vietnam and is a member of Veterans for Peace. He told the Boston Globe: “I have absolutely no use for police anymore.” But vets are a difficult group for the U.S. to explain away along with the other irrational student agitators and troublemakers. The involvement of Vietnam veterans shows just how far the new OWS movement is spreading. 

A video of the moment the riot place marched in is shocking. Police tear down assembled tents and American flags, an apt image of the hypocrisy of a society that rides roughshod over its founding principles in the defence of totalitarian capitalist democracy.

Protesters shout “Shame! Shame!” and “The people united will never be defeated!” while a veteran off-camera screams repeatedly, “We are veterans of the United States of America!”

You would be forgiven for thinking this was the Pentagon, 1967 or Chicago, 1968. People are singing the same chants, and fighting a similar cause — a polyglot protest movement currently opposing the financial wing of the multi-faceted U.S. military-industrial complex.

Many commentators, some of them here on PolicyMic, have bemoaned the lack of a concerted aim of this new movement. But there does not need to be one. OWS is fighting a war on many fronts — illegal, imperialist wars abroad, a capitalist system sick at its heart, corporatism, globalization and the onset of a “double-dip” recession. This is necessary to its long-lasting success. 

This is a global demonstration against global power. What happened in Boston last night will happen again — in New York City for sure, in Greece, Chile, across the globe. And, it will happen on October 15th when protesters occupy London’s Stock Exchange

Photo Credit: neotint

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Tom Rollins

I grew up in the North of England, which has always defined my politics. I'm interested in class, free-market capitalism and Western imperialism, industrial relations and disputes, foreign affairs, international activism, and neo-conservatism. Since graduating with an English Literature degree from Cambridge last year, followed by a postgrad journalism diploma from the University of Sheffield; I now eke out a living freelancing as a political journalist in London, where I live with my girlfriend and 10 cats. I'm currently interning with PolicyMic from the UK. In the past I have written for The Guardian, ASLEF Journal, Northern Echo, Substance.tv, Trolls and Ponies magazine and Varsity, but I also regularly blog at Enlightenment Blues: http://enlightenmentblues.wordpress.com/

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