exciting, informative, snarky, and very likely fabricated tales of life as an american expat in london

same as it ever was

by Jen at 11:07 am on 19.11.2011Comments Off
filed under: rant and rage

i’ve been watching the protests spread like a fire across my home country from afar – with cynicism-tinged pride. hoping fervently that the wild optimism of youth stoked by righteous anger is enough to effect real change. knowing in a stone-hardened part of my heart, that it is not.

the diversity of support for the protest by the masses of middle-class disenfranchised is astonishing – that so many who are, by all measures, still doing okay, yet feel the message of the #occupy movement resonates deeply with their growing disenchantment and fears for our future is astonishing. even more astonishing is the intense vitriol for the unemployed/unfortunate by those who want to defensively cling to the last shred of a tattered american dream – who have too much emotional investment in the idea that if you work hard enough in the u.s., you can succeed, to acknowledge the reality of what’s happening in front of their eyes.

but perhaps even more shocking, and more telling, than the attacks by the public, have been the attacks by police. over and over again, we’ve watched peaceful protesters be kettled, hit, pepper-sprayed, arrested. the police, who are meant to protect the public and prevent the breakdown of public order, are instead violently transgressing people’s constitutional right to peaceful assembly at the behest of those in power.

it would be even more shocking if only it wasn’t so painfully predictable. because this, after all, is what the plutarchy does. those in power attack those who attack the systems which keep them in power. it’s a pattern as old as the existence of society itself. yet for someone of my generation, who was a decade too late to witness the civil rights struggle, it is amazing to see it acted out in practice in my own country.

amazing and infuriating. because even as my own social justice passions are inflamed by the swelling crowds of the #occupy movement, the cynic in me knows that throughout history, the batons and gas and guns and shields have been all too successful in protecting the oligarchs who command them – whether democratically elected or not. what they cannot put down in spirit, they can easily crush in body.

i was also a generation too late for the vietnam protests – born 18 months after the horrifying, galvanising climax of the kent state massacre, where student protesters were gunned down in cold blood by the official forces in power. and as i watch video after video after video of brutality against the #occupy crowds exacted by armed people in uniform, forcibly trying to uproot a powerful idea that threatens to unseat those at the top, only one thought repeats: i hope to god i never witness anything like that in my lifetime.

but the cynic in me knows that the pattern that’s playing out before us is all too likely to end in bloodshed.

4 people like this post.
Comments Off

Comments are closed.