Welcome to Chicago, yet another American city where the police are allowed to beat people with batons at random if a single water bottle is thrown at them. You used to have the right to remain silent. You do not anymore.
If you use social media, you are now a whistle blower.
Pic via @PaShutz on Twitter
If you protest, if you march, if you are an activist, if you blog, if you livestream video, if you tweet or take photos, if you just share the stuff, you are a whistle blower now.
Chicago this weekend was the scene of another, now formulaic clash between unarmed citizens and a militarized police force. Let me repeat, between unarmed citizens and a militarized police force. Did the corporate media cover it? Meh. Kinda. Sort of. Propaganda you say? Yes, and even then, Congress wants the Military to engage in direct propaganda on American citizens now too, as if the current barrage of mind numbing entertainment, commercials and fail and balanced corporate news wasn't keeping us complacent enough.
And why are we protesting? Because we are NOT content to be complacent. Where is the tea party now, who marched for more war and lower taxes and regulation for the rich and higher taxes and less services for themselves, those useful idiots had the streets paved for them with narry an utterance from local mayors or local police departments because the very people who have happily fleeced America over the last decade stood to benefit from the Foxaganda driven Hoover-Reaganism of the far right of the Republican party. The tea party was a protest on behalf of complacency, don't reform things, just keep doing what Bush did, and the media fawned and promoted it. But when the people protest the wars or the banksters plutonomy or anything at all that the banksters like, then the local police scrutinize that assembly and the media turns a blind eye except for the worst of the worst while America gets fed a weekend about Mark Zuckerberg's wedding, and some other light news while the Militarized police march through the streets.
You know this. Most of America, sadly, does not. You know these wars are bullshit, a profit source and a part of the yearly increasing military/industrial complex. You see our education systems and teachers under attack against profiteering privatization. Meanwhile the laws grow harsher and the prison/industrial complex continues to grow. You see our failed wars on drugs. You see our failed health care system when profit is placed over people. You see our corrupt politicians and our endemic poverty. You know the banks are bullshit and this economy is a broken farce propped up by a self-contained plutonomy for the rich which straddles an increasingly impoverished and disenfranchised working class, you know this and you see it. You no longer have the right to remain silent. Not against these injustices.
We criminalize whistle-blowing in America. "If you see something, say something" makes you a hero on the subway, but if you see something the military industrial complex or some other industry doesn't want everyone to see you end up in prison forever like Bradley Manning, or you end up on trial like Thomas Drake. If you see something and say something about corruption in the financial industry like Greg Smith of Goldman Sachs you will be ignored and your career is over. America is a country that no longer follows even her own laws, you see it when multinational corporations get simple fines for criminality that would send an individual to jail for 150 years, you see it when our neanderthal legislatures spent the last 2 years trying to strip away labor rights and women's rights won years ago, we have two systems now, one for the rich and powerful and another for everyone else, and every political attack ad and commercial you see on television is a reminder of that.
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The people have been disenfranchised. These never ending wars and the financial institutions that benefit from unending war are slowly breaking the working class in a war of attrition, one simple right at a time, one increased cost of living at a time, one more year of stagnant wages at a time, one fraudulent foreclosure at a time, one big trip to the hospital at a time, one student loan at a time, one lobbyist after another, but war is another racket all together. The American Tax Payer is supporting a 51 st state overseas it can no longer afford and our troops, overwhelmed and over-deployed, are committing suicide in record numbers. This is a great travesty. The fact that we protest to end these wars which aim to bring freedom overseas while the police crack our skulls with batons in our own streets should say it all.
If you see something, say something. I see the wholesale destruction and impoverishment of the working class all around me, where the only things growing are the prison populations, the war budgets and the stock market, but though the stock market may rise or crash the lot of the working class stays stagnant or diminishing while the prisons and wars get larger and larger.
Ignoring inequality and injustice will not make it go away. Attacking the whistle-blowers and the citizen journalists will not make the issues that forced people into the streets go away.
I didn't go to Chicago this weekend, though I wanted to. I decided against it at the last minute, since the travel plans were very short notice and I hadn't been upstate to see my family in months. I regret doing so because I worry about my friends who did go, I worry about their safety and well-being. I have seen this too many times since the beginning of the Occupy protests, and before when the G8 met in Pittsburgh the year before, and in Minneapolis and NYC at the GOP conventions. Free speech zones and police brutality, and all to protect freedom. My, what big Economic freedom you have, Bank of Grandma!
You think you have freedom? Try protesting war profiteering and bankster friendly Shock Doctrine economics, and I will show you what your freedom is worth.
We can spread freedom to Afghanistan, but not to the streets of Chicago.
We can rebuild Afghanistan for a decade but not crumbling bridges in Minnesota.
We can fight for freedom in Iraq as long as by freedom you mean no-bid military contracts.
Freedom - the freedom to assemble, a very basic freedom, but someone broke a window so sorry, you don't have that freedom anymore, here is a militarized police force to help you with any questions you might have, like how many lumps do you want, three or four?
This is what a militarized police state looks like. Do you object? If you do, welcome to the club, because we are all whistle blowers now and we no longer have the right to remain silent. Silence is complicity.
Against this backdrop, of police brutalizing citizens in the streets as they protest never-ending wars and austerity at home, with Congress saying that the problem is we don't have enough pro-status quo propaganda, against this backdrop of growing inequality, banksters run amok and a disappearing chance at the American Dream, we should all be whistleblowers.
Peace and love to all, and my hopes for the safety of everyone in Chicago and elsewhere today.
You can follow me on Twitter @JesseLaGreca