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An Unfortunate Potential Situation for the Occupy Wall Street Movement

The Occupy Wall Street Movement, which started in September in New York’s financial district and has since spread to other cities in the United States and around the world, is strikingly familiar to anyone who lived through the years of protests against the war in Vietnam. I witnessed those anti-war protests up close and personally, which explains why the Occupy movement gives me a sense of deja vu.

This experience also gives me some foreboding.  But first, I should note that I applaud and support the Occupy movement. I write this column only to alert demonstrators of a real danger the movement faces.  Before explaining that danger, let me share the credentials that I think give me some knowledge of the ways of mass public protests.

My Experiences as a Protest Mediator

During the early years of the anti-Vietnam War demonstrations, when they were still relatively small and sporadic, I was in law school.  But I attended several such demonstrations in Washington, DC, out of curiosity and empathy.  Later, when I was working on Capitol Hill, the demonstrations I attended were still fairly small.  And then, when Richard Nixon became president, and I was appointed to be an associate deputy attorney general (1969-1970) at the Department of Justice, I found myself in a unique role regarding the anti-war protests, which had grown in size and importance.

Because of my young age, plus my familiarity with past demonstrations in Washington, DC, I was given the assignment of representing the Justice Department in dealing with the leaders of the anti-war demonstrations for the government.  (Attorney General John Mitchell was from New York City, and Deputy Attorney General Richard Kleindienst was from Phoenix, and neither had ever been involved with, or even witnessed, an anti-war demonstration.)

I would meet with the heads of various anti-war organizations—with their lawyers, if they had representation—to learn where and when they wanted to demonstrate, how many people they anticipated, how they planned for safety of those participating, and to address other, similar  logistical matters. Typically, our discussions focused on where they wanted to march or assemble, and figuring out what permits would be needed in a city that had multiple law enforcement jurisdictions (including those of the Secret Service, Park Police, Capitol Police, and DC Metropolitan Police), and often conflicting regulations.

With this information in hand, I would present the protesters’ plans and requests to the decision-makers, typically led by Deputy Attorney General Dick Kleindienst—who, in turn, had assembled the heads of all the relevant law enforcement entities.  For some of the massive demonstrations, the Departments of State, Treasury and Defense were involved.

It would fall to me to negotiate, on behalf of the demonstrators, the best deal that I could get them. It was an odd position, but I came to know many of the anti-war leaders, and their lawyers, and respected them and their efforts.  They seemed to appreciate my work on their behalf.  While I never got them everything they wanted, I typically got them most of it.  During the demonstrations, it would frequently fall to me to stay in contact with the leaders if and when problems arose, which most always was the case.  In short, I became a something of mediator between the government and the anti-war protesters.

This is about as close to the situation as one can get, for I could see both what was occurring on the streets, and what was occurring behind closed doors in the government, and I understood the problems on all sides.

My Experience as the Top Anti-War Protest Intelligence Analyst

When I moved to the White House to become Counsel to the President (1970-1973), I remained involved with demonstrations, but from a very different perspective.

President Nixon believed (correctly) that the anti-war protest movement was influencing the way he could handle the war, so he wanted to know the status of anti-war demonstrations throughout the country at all times. In addition, based on information that had been given to him by President Lyndon Johnson, Nixon believed (incorrectly) that the American anti-war movement was being underwritten, if not directed, by international communists, who were then considered America’s greatest enemy.

All the federal intelligence agencies collected information about the anti-war movement.  The FBI collected it from state and local law enforcement agencies throughout the country, as well as from their own sources.  The CIA collected it from foreign sources, including military sources like the Defense Intelligence Agency. The NSA collected it from foreign electronic sources.  (While it was later clear that abuses occurred in the collection process, that was not clear at the time, based on the information reported to the White House, and that is a whole other story.)

My office became the top central clearinghouse for all anti-war movement intelligence, which we reviewed, analyzed and reported on a regular basis to the president, in written reports digesting large amounts of information. Indeed, during mass demonstrations in Washington, I would be called for written reports as frequently as hourly.  While my Justice Department and White House superiors seemed somewhat frightened by the demonstrations, viewing them from top floor windows or roof-tops of buildings with binoculars, I typically went into the streets during the demonstrations to get a street-level feel for them, even when I worked at the White House.

Because of a scholarly research request a few years ago, I had occasion to look at many of the reports we had provided the president at the height of the anti-war movement, circa late 1970 to early ’71.  With the benefit of hindsight, I now believe that the appraisals we provided were far less provocative than the contemporary press coverage, not to mention more accurate.  We did a good job of keeping the protests in prospective, when they could easily have been inflamed.  We made sure that the government did not overreact when efforts were being made by provocateurs (both by partisan print and television commentators, and by some of the anti-war activists) to force such a reaction.

While all social and political protest movements have their distinct and defining characteristics, they also have much in common.  There were short-lived protests against the Bush II Administration’s invasion of Iraq, but until the Occupy Wall Street movement, there had been no protests of the scope of those that accompanied the war in Vietnam.

Based on my experience with the anti-war protests during Vietnam, it is clear to me that the Occupy Wall Street movement will grow in its magnitude and duration. (Unlike the top-down Tea Party movement, with its loyal authoritarian followers, which I addressed earlier, the Occupy movement is distinctly non-authoritarian and is totally bottom- up.)  While I make no claims as a prognosticator, experience and history leave little doubt in my mind as to how this will unfold, and what I anticipate is not all pretty.

The Occupy Movement Will Be Protracted, and Will Grow Substantially in Size

There are strong signs that the Occupy movement not only will be as protracted as the Anti-Vietnam War protests, but may actually go on far longer than those protests did. The Occupy movement is still very young:  As I write, we are only a few months into its development, yet it has already become a force unto itself. The protests against the Vietnam War ran (roughly) from the Gulf of Tonkin resolution in 1965 to the signing of the Paris Peace Accords in 1973. The Occupy movement does not have a single focus, like ending a war.  Rather, it presents even more difficult problems to solve, which involve far more people than did the war in Vietnam.

Nixon wanted to end the Vietnam War—as did the war protesters.  The Occupy movement, on the other hand, is far less defined in its objective. It has developed because of the striking income and wealth inequality in America, all of which has been exacerbated by a miserable economy. These circumstances have been years in the making.  While the economy may improve with time, and may improve in the short term with government help, the underlying inequality that exists will require decades, and some brutal political fights, to correct. There are no quick fixes.

During the anti-Vietnam War demonstrations, most people were protesting because a member of their family, a close friend, or a loved one, had been, or could be, drafted to fight in Vietnam, which had become a senseless killing field in a war we were unwilling to try to win.  While Nixon had campaigned in 1968 to end the draft, he could not actually accomplish that until 1973.  Yet when the draft did end, and the Peace Accords were signed, the anti-war movement lost all of its steam. The Occupy movement’s issues affect so many more people than the Vietnam-era draft did—worldwide as well as in America.  And many of those affected are rightly worried about not merely succeeding, but surviving.  This fact will fuel the Occupy movement for a long time, and will potentially expand its ranks beyond those of any previous protest movement.

In short, we have on our hands a mass protest movement that is only at its very inception.  Most troubling, that movement is, I believe, going to be accompanied by increasing violence.

An Unfortunate Reality:  Protracted Mass Demonstrations Provoke Violence  

Needless to say, the prospect of increased violence relating to the Occupy movement, or the policing of it, is one of the movement’s most troubling problems.  But I believe it is inevitable.

Overwhelming numbers of those who are engaged in the Occupy movement want the actions to be without violence, and peaceful. They do not wish to start a fight; they want to make a statement.  The same was true of the anti-Vietnam War protests, but mass demonstrations of all kinds seem to attract violent people who are only too willing to exploit the situation.  Let me explain.

Below are news reports from just three (of many) anti-Vietnam War demonstrations that I personally attended, and at which I watched the violence escalate. The April 1970 event at the Washington Monument could not have been more peaceful, yet it made a powerful statement.  By November 1970, I was dealing directly with the leaders of the movement, as a Justice Department representative, and I agreed with the lawyers who were understandably critical of the D.C. Police—the violence had been provoked by splinter groups seeking to bait the government to overreact, and they succeeded.  Finally, by May Day 1971, large numbers of demonstrators had concluded that confrontational tactics were needed, so they arrived in Washington determined to shut down the government, and sympathetic to the perpetration of some violence.  So when almost 100,000 angry demonstrators wanted to close down Washington, violence was inevitable. Here are a few snapshot news reports, showing this escalation:

April 5, 1970, The Washington Post: “The crowd, consisting of young, old and middle aged persons, many of whom carried American and Confederate flags, Bibles and placards, marched in subdued earnestness to the Washington Monument grounds . . . .  The crowd on Pennsylvania Avenue was estimated at 10,000 to 15,000 . . . .” (Emphasis added.)

November 14, 1970, The Washington Post: “A committee of Washington lawyers strongly criticized the D. C. Police department yesterday for what it called police mishandling of mass demonstrations, including excessive use of force, illegal mass arrests and prolonged detention of prisoners.” (Emphasis added.)

May 11, 1971, The Washington Post: “Atty. Gen. John Mitchell, drawing a parallel between the antiwar demonstrators here last week and Hitler’s brownshirts of the 1920s, said yesterday he hoped other cities would follow Washington’s example of ‘decisive opposition to mob force.’ . . . Referring to the four day arrest total of more than 12,000 demonstrators, 7000 of whom were arrested in one day, Mitchell said, ‘nothing else could have been done unless the police were to let the mob rule the city.’” (Emphasis added.)

Today, events move faster, given our much more sophisticated communications technology, so I fully expect that the escalation toward violence will happen faster as well.  Indeed, it is already happening.  The national news media (whose ranks have been thinned by the bad economy) are only reporting the most visible violence at Occupy events, although local news organizations in cities and towns throughout the country (and around the world) are also reporting violent Occupy events that the mainstream media does not cover, as revealed by the Internet.

It is going to get worse, notwithstanding the fact that neither the protesters nor the government officials involved want that to happen.  (It is easy for demonstrators to assume that the police want to provoke violence, and blame them for the ensuing melee.  It is also easy for the police to assume that demonstrators are looking for a fight, and to blame them when fighting breaks out.  Both are wrong, for close examination shows that this is virtually never the case.)

Unfortunately, mass protests provide large platforms for the small numbers who do want violence.  There are bad cops, just as there are hell-bent anarchists, who want violence. Similarly, as the violence increases, both sides will have their sympathizers and empathizers: there will be some citizens who want protesters to use more violence, and others who want police to be more forceful in cracking down.

The problem will confront Presidents, Governors, Mayors, Police Chiefs, and city counsels.  All those charged with the responsibility to maintain order in our country’s various venues will become increasingly exhausted and exasperated with the disruption that will be caused by protracted protests, and that is already happening with the Occupy movement.  Troublemakers, the devoted anarchists who want nothing short of a bloody revolution, are already exploiting peaceful crowds. No one is happy with this reality.

I have talked with police officers during past demonstrations, and understandably some of them are frightened during these encounters, so it should be no surprise when they occasionally do stupid things. Also, they acknowledge that some of their law enforcement colleagues are not always people with the sweetest temperaments, and among them are some who actually enjoy a brawl.  Ultimately, and even when substantial majorities of citizens support the protest’s cause, they will with time grow weary of the protests when it disrupts their lives, and they will demand a return to order and peace. Thus, law enforcement will prevail, but a lot of people can get hurt, and even killed before that happens.

Modern technology does provide a tool to help deal with this situation. Because the violence come from anarchists or bad cops, if you attend a protest, have your smart phone camera ready, and record the events.  This has already proven to be an effective tool to find and deal with the troublemakers.  But if you do so, be sure to be careful. And I hope that my prognosis of violence proves very wrong.

The Good News From the Occupy Movement

Repeatedly, over the years since the war in Vietnam ended, I have been asked if the anti-war protest demonstrations made any difference: Were they worth the effort?  My answer has always been they made a great difference. Public protests in the streets are public opinion polls on steroids and on stilts. Such demonstrations are, by their very nature, disruptive and disquieting.  They are designed and intended to be so, so that they attract added attention to issues. They send a message to political leaders that is loud and clear, and political leaders hear and understand that message.

For example, President Nixon once had his press secretary announce that he was watching a football game when 15,000 people were marching in Washington, outside the White House—although, in fact, I was sending the president the hourly reports he had requested during that time.  It is my experience that those who are the subject of the protest are acutely aware of the message that is being sent, and that, while it is unlikely that those in power will ever admit it, such protests do influence, sometimes dramatically, their behavior.

But violence does not work.  It stiffens resistance.  The Occupy Movement will succeed if it can keep the violent elements isolated and identified.  And for the nation’s sake, we should all hope that this movement prevails, sooner or later.

John DeanJohn W. Dean, a Justia columnist, is a former counsel to the president.
Posted In Politics
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  • Crustyoldwalrus

    A loser when he was in office…a triple loser now…why do you ruin your good brand name with this stuff…

  • Crustyoldwalrus

    A loser when he was in office…a triple loser now…why do you ruin your good brand name with this stuff…

  • Crustyoldwalrus

    A loser when he was in office…a triple loser now…why do you ruin your good brand name with this stuff…

  • Lady Sybilla

    Definitely agree with you that protesters should stand their ground while at the same time remaining peaceful.  Peaceful protests are the key to the success of this movement. 

  • Lady Sybilla

    Definitely agree with you that protesters should stand their ground while at the same time remaining peaceful.  Peaceful protests are the key to the success of this movement. 

  • Lady Sybilla

    Definitely agree with you that protesters should stand their ground while at the same time remaining peaceful.  Peaceful protests are the key to the success of this movement. 

  • Julian Tepper

    In an article such as his, how could Mr. Dean not mention the people who are financing and managing some of the conduct of the OWS movement, which will have great effect on the force and the duration of the demonstrations?

    While a Department of Justice attorney, Civil Rights Division, I joined and spent (unofficially) a great deal of time with other demonstrators. Their nature and tone could not have been more different from those of many of the OWS participants.  And, like the Tea Party, their goal was unified and could be articulated by each one of them.

    What a large faction of the OWSers want is an end to capitalism. As they will admit, they are socialists or communists; at least they think they are. Many of the others are just demoralized by what they see as their lot in life, trapped in a room with no exit. And not a few of even others see the demonstrations as a chance to enjoy the gifts of free food, but also as a place to get laid and drugs, or even to commit larcenies and robberies.

    I think the best way to deal with the OWS movement is to permit an area to them in which to  assemble, and a path for them to march, and to protect them from everyone else by restricting access to them beyond a certain point, a point within televising, viewing and hearing distance, a point that can be approached, a point that is, perhaps, ten yards from the point that marks the end of the demonstration-permitted area, but a point which cannot be crossed. And to ensure public safety, the police can patrol the area between the two points of demarcation which, of course, will be breached, often.

    Two of the permit areas, I strongly suggest, should be in front of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac.

    Julian Tepper
    Placitas, NM/Bethesda, MD

    • Rbroska

      Your faliceous statement: “What a large faction of the OWSers want is an end to capitalism”, is based on your own superficially polarized  projection, and may only become awakened by your personally visiting an occupy event and participating in a genuine dialogue. You are welcome to visit  anytime. Warning though, Pollyanna mind sets will be given  astute and careful analysis of the saddened socioeconomic predicaments that most Americans and their children face. The possible solutions may well be beyond your readiness to imbibe.

      • Julian Tepper

        As I often ask, why does one choose to use assumptions, name calling and nastiness to reply in opposition to another person’s ideas, thus denigrating and demeaning their own efforts.

        I have visited occupy events. My thoughts are to a great extent dependent on my dialogue with OWS participants and with watching what they say when shown on TV.

        I am not among those persons who imbibe solutions in preference to trying to formulate them.

        No one who knows me well will characterize any mind set that I may have as being illogically optimistic. I am no Pollyanna.

        If you will, and to support one of your primary assumptions, please itemize, with group-amount specificity, the assets and annual income of what you describe as most Americans who face saddened socioeconomic predicaments.

        While current  economic conditions are significantly less favorable than they were previously (including less favorable than they were in January 2009 and in 1997, to mention just a couple of cut-off points), the facts are that most Americans have sufficient food and  adequate housing and clothing, useful methods of transportation, employment, automobiles, TVs, cell phones and much, much more, and most Americans are far better off than most of the other people of this world.

        Please take note of the fact that one may reply in opposition to another’s assertions without name-calling, nastiness, a smarmy attitude, an air of superiority or arrogance.

        Julian Tepper
        Placitas, NM/Bethesda, MD

    • Shannon Jacobs

      Do you have any evidence for any of your accusations. Anything outside of the WSJ editorials and FAUX News.

      I’ve concluded the main thing that is destroying America is that supporters of cancerous growth have bribed the professional politicians (CHEAP) to write the rules of the game to favor corporate persons over actual human beings. The vast majority of businessmen are like the 99%, they just want to play fairly. It’s a tiny fraction of the worst businessmen who are driving the nation into the ground.

      Corporations are people in just the same sense that a cancer is a person–and they have exactly the same degree of concern for their hosts and for the rest of the metaphoric cells. Too bad for the human beings, eh?

      • Julian Tepper

        I re-read my comment, and can find no accusation.

        The WSJ and Fox News are among the other sources that I check with daily for news, which include CNN, the Washington Post, the NY Times, NBC, ABC and CBS, all of which have reported facts that are in my comment.

        I would appreciate it if you could specify anything that I wrote, explain why you think it is factually incorrect and then supply the facts that you deem necessary to correct it. Thank you.

        I would also appreciate it if you will name the five or ten manufactured products that you enjoy, such as the computer on which you wrote your reply, and tell us which of them was not the product of a corporation.

        You might also benefit from using your computer to check into the reasons that, and the extent to which the law treats a corporation like a person when it comes to other laws.

        Julian Tepper
        Placitas, NM/Bethesda, MD

    • jabrib

      what planet and/or time do you live on/in? Is the only brain cell you can muster about the current situation the one which generates  the “they must be socialists/communists”. 

      • Julian Tepper

        The planet: Earth.

        The time that I live in: The ever-changing Present.

        “[T]hey must be socialists/communists:” That phrase is your invention, and is not what I wrote. What I wrote was that a large faction of the OWSers want is an end to capitalism and admit, as they have to me and on TV, that they are socialists or communists. The “at least they think they
        are” phrase was my own suggested possibility.

        Replies are so much more effective when they are based on intellectually honest and factual bases, don’t you think?

        Julian Tepper
        Placitas, NM/Bethesda, MD

    • David Fox

      Bull*hit!  I’m a “communist”? **ck you!! I’m a 53 yr old registered nurse. I work in a small town. Myself and many of my colleagues are inspired by and allied with the OWS movement and have attended various rallies and events and volunteered as medical personel at some of the encampments. I am not “financed” by or “managed” by anyone! No one recruited or contacted me. I’ve been watching these mounting problems of gross inequities and abuses of power growing in our nation and around the world for years, and when I saw people taking to the streets, I was quick and eager to be a part of it. I meet people who are involved from all walks of life and varied backgrounds. Its called diversity and its called grassroots. Groups like Moveon, the Democratic party, Socialist, Libertarians are there and some would like to coopt OWS and claim it as their own, but it is not! They are welcome, ALL are welcome! YOU ARE WELCOME! Thats what this is about! But cut the crap! Apparently some folks have a hard time understanding a populist movement. Are you incapable of acting unless someone leads you?? Wake up! 

      • Julian Tepper

        Not having ever said that you were a communist, David, I’m glad to read that you are not. I hope you tried to dissuade others of OWS from adopting or keeping communism as their preferred socioeconomic/political construct. So far as I know, it has never succeeded anywhere.

        I think it is wonderful that you live in a country where you and many of your colleagues, inspired by and allied with the OWS
        movement, were able to attend various rallies and events and to volunteer
        as medical personel at some of the encampments, and to do so without the fears that persons elsewhere (China, Iran and Syria come to mind) face when they try to do the same thing. And that you were not financed or managed by anyone, and not recruited or contacted, is not only an admirable testament to your personal freedom and regard for the well-being of others, but separates you from many others (certain union members come to mind) who were.

        I am pleased to inform you that I know I am welcome at OWS events, which I found out from personal experience.

        I admit that I am not aware of the crap to which you refer.

        I am sure you are right that there are some folks who have a hard time
        understanding a populist movement. In my experience, there are always some folks who have a hard time understanding any given concept, rationale or ideology. In fact, during my visits I learned that many of the OWS participants had no real understanding of capitalism or corporations.

        I am also pleased to let you know that not only am I capable of acting without being led, I have actually done that for most of my cognitive life. Anyone who knows me will confirm the truth of that.

        Finally, David, I am wide awake, however much I am gratified by your imperative in that regard.

        Julian Tepper
        Placitas, NM/Bethesda, MD

  • Julian Tepper

    In an article such as his, how could Mr. Dean not mention the people who are financing and managing some of the conduct of the OWS movement, which will have great effect on the force and the duration of the demonstrations?

    While a Department of Justice attorney, Civil Rights Division, I joined and spent (unofficially) a great deal of time with other demonstrators. Their nature and tone could not have been more different from those of many of the OWS participants.  And, like the Tea Party, their goal was unified and could be articulated by each one of them.

    What a large faction of the OWSers want is an end to capitalism. As they will admit, they are socialists or communists; at least they think they are. Many of the others are just demoralized by what they see as their lot in life, trapped in a room with no exit. And not a few of even others see the demonstrations as a chance to enjoy the gifts of free food, but also as a place to get laid and drugs, or even to commit larcenies and robberies.

    I think the best way to deal with the OWS movement is to permit an area to them in which to  assemble, and a path for them to march, and to protect them from everyone else by restricting access to them beyond a certain point, a point within televising, viewing and hearing distance, a point that can be approached, a point that is, perhaps, ten yards from the point that marks the end of the demonstration-permitted area, but a point which cannot be crossed. And to ensure public safety, the police can patrol the area between the two points of demarcation which, of course, will be breached, often.

    Two of the permit areas, I strongly suggest, should be in front of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac.

    Julian Tepper
    Placitas, NM/Bethesda, MD

  • Julian Tepper

    In an article such as his, how could Mr. Dean not mention the people who are financing and managing some of the conduct of the OWS movement, which will have great effect on the force and the duration of the demonstrations?

    While a Department of Justice attorney, Civil Rights Division, I joined and spent (unofficially) a great deal of time with other demonstrators. Their nature and tone could not have been more different from those of many of the OWS participants.  And, like the Tea Party, their goal was unified and could be articulated by each one of them.

    What a large faction of the OWSers want is an end to capitalism. As they will admit, they are socialists or communists; at least they think they are. Many of the others are just demoralized by what they see as their lot in life, trapped in a room with no exit. And not a few of even others see the demonstrations as a chance to enjoy the gifts of free food, but also as a place to get laid and drugs, or even to commit larcenies and robberies.

    I think the best way to deal with the OWS movement is to permit an area to them in which to  assemble, and a path for them to march, and to protect them from everyone else by restricting access to them beyond a certain point, a point within televising, viewing and hearing distance, a point that can be approached, a point that is, perhaps, ten yards from the point that marks the end of the demonstration-permitted area, but a point which cannot be crossed. And to ensure public safety, the police can patrol the area between the two points of demarcation which, of course, will be breached, often.

    Two of the permit areas, I strongly suggest, should be in front of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac.

    Julian Tepper
    Placitas, NM/Bethesda, MD

  • Anonymous

    On Wikipedia, the author of this article is described as “master manipulator of the (Watergate) cover up”

    He refers to “Bush II Administration’s invasion of Iraq…” following the popular media’s selective forgetfulness that the Bush administration did not attack Iraq by itself, but rather, was able to demonstrate to leaders of many other countries to join us in a coalition against terrorists.

  • Anonymous

    On Wikipedia, the author of this article is described as “master manipulator of the (Watergate) cover up”

    He refers to “Bush II Administration’s invasion of Iraq…” following the popular media’s selective forgetfulness that the Bush administration did not attack Iraq by itself, but rather, was able to demonstrate to leaders of many other countries to join us in a coalition against terrorists.

  • Anonymous

    On Wikipedia, the author of this article is described as “master manipulator of the (Watergate) cover up”

    He refers to “Bush II Administration’s invasion of Iraq…” following the popular media’s selective forgetfulness that the Bush administration did not attack Iraq by itself, but rather, was able to demonstrate to leaders of many other countries to join us in a coalition against terrorists.

  • Steve

    Massive protests are warranted and have served a truly great purpose, but they are vulnerable. There is another way to advance the stunning change of consciousness they have achieved. For more – nhgazette.com/?p=4705

  • Steve

    Massive protests are warranted and have served a truly great purpose, but they are vulnerable. There is another way to advance the stunning change of consciousness they have achieved. For more – nhgazette.com/?p=4705

  • Steve

    Massive protests are warranted and have served a truly great purpose, but they are vulnerable. There is another way to advance the stunning change of consciousness they have achieved. For more – nhgazette.com/?p=4705

  • Joseph Miller

    Great post, John, but the Tonkin Gulf Resolution was passed in 1964, not 1965.

  • Shannon Jacobs

    My current feeling as viewed from afar is that the protests are doomed. You might argue that the First Amendment protects the right of the people to peaceably assemble, but that is for the purpose of presenting their grievances to the government. That has essentially nothing to do with the current situation, since the government has been captured by and become a facade for corporations. Corporations are people? No, the corporations are now running the show far above and beyond the pitiful people.

    As a metaphor, it has now become like individual cells complaining about what the corporate bodies are doing. Do you worry about doing something that might kill off a few of your cells? Well, that’s just how the corporations feel about the people within them–or rather less so, since corporations don’t even have the pretense of emotions to worry about anything. In the mindless corporations that conform to America’s current legal system, it’s more like asking a mindless cancer to worry about the death of the host.

    Perhaps a Constitutional Amendment against corporate personhood would help. However, the bottom line is that there are things the government needs to do that are NOT business functions. For example, someone needs to be the referee and focus on keeping the game fair. If government doesn’t do it, who will? The biggest cancer?

  • Wallstreetgardener

    Excellent point. Beautifully made. Bravo.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Dany-Clementson/1506992322 Dany Clementson

    While the Vietnam war served some of the same objectives as those being protested against by OWS today it was on a much smaller scale than the atrocities that have been inflicted upon Americans since the mid 1990’s by Wall Street and their Banking Community partners.

    This isn’t something that just happened and then someone took advantage of it, hell no, this was a well coordinated attack on the assets of middle-class America that spread like a virus through ever sector, totally out of control of those who created it.  Therefore, it has and is affecting a hundred times more people than did the Vietnam war and it will take a hundred times longer for the effects on this Nation to heal, if ever we do heal from this.

    People are quickly coming to the realization that the  concerted actions of our elected officials and the banking community as a whole has been nothing less than treasonous and that the violations of State and Federal law that number in the thousands have gone almost entirely without prosecution.   And, this will bring more and more people into the streets as the situation worsens, and it will worsen.

    I don’t think any amount of involvement in the protest of the 60’s and early 70’s, on either side of the fence,  will provide insight to what we are about to experience in this country.   The President can’t fix this by ending some conflict in a far-away nation, the Congress, who are as much to blame as the banks, have no say in ending the protests, nor do they have some magic Bill that they can pass.  So how do you appease these protesters, how do you meet them even halfway, how do you stop the situation and circumstances that brought all this about in the first place, you don’t, you can’t and, therefore, you can’t stop this from growing and gaining momentum.

    I was on one of those flights returning from southeast Asia through Clark Air Base and landing  back here in the States at Travis and I remember walking the streets of San Francisco with my Grandparents in my AF Blues and  the comments I endured along with the looks people gave me.   This is different, this whole situation is different and those who don’t see the difference are either arrogant or ignorant.

    Im sorry Mr. Dean, but your position and actions taken during the Nixon years do not neccesarily qualify you as an expert in what is about to take place in this country.   I also think it is both arrogance and ignorance from whence you speak.

    Just one mans opinion.

    • David Fox

      Excellent comments on this article in my opinion. This is a different time and very different situation. Much larger issues in fact. The article is rather small minded. Some of us think we are wise merely be because we are old when we might just be badly out of practice and out of the loop. Born 1958

  • Disgusted

    GET A CLUE!!!! SO WE STOP FIGHTING AND GIVE INTO THE OCCUPY MOVEMENT? THEN WHAT? THATS LIKE GIVING INTO A 3 YR OLD SO YOU DONT HAVE TO HEAR THEM SCREAM NO MORE. THATS WHATS WRONG WITH TODAYS SOCIETY TO BEGIN WITH. ALL I SEE IS A BUNCH OF YOUNG PEOPLE WHO DONT WANT TO WORK OR BE RESPONSIBLE OR FOLLOW RULES. THATS OUR FUTURE LADIES AND GENTLEMEN. ITS JUST LIKE TEACHING OUR CHILDREN THAT NOBODIES PERFECT YET WHEN WE GO TO EAT OR ANYTHING ELSE FOR ENTERTAINMENT, IF THAT ESTABLIAHMENT WE DECIDE TO VISIT MAKES ONE LITTLE MISTAKE WE ARE OUTRAGED AND WANT OUR MONEY BACK. ITS FUN WATCHING AS THE COUNTRY AROUND YOU DEVOURS ITSELF. KEEP IT UP AMERICA, 

  • Anonymous

    “Two of the permit areas, I strongly suggest, should be in front of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac.”

    Really? Do you too want to destroy capitalism or do you just not realize that both  are for profit stockholder institutions?  By the right’s standards they should both be able to do strictly as they please.   Anything else would be bad ole guvment placing unreasonable restrictions on private enterprise and impeding the invisible hand of the market. 

    Back in 1910 J. P. Morgan and a few others pulled off a terrific coup when they met at Jekyll Island and laid the groundwork for the Fed.  They created a privately owned bank that the government was responsible for financing.  Great work if you can get it. 

    Don’t worry about the OWS movement being successful.  It they are about to be successful in any of their aims then the government will send in the military just as they did against the Bonus Army during the great depression.  That taught those lazy veterans a thing or two.  BTW, do you know how the FBI knew for certain the Bonus Army was communist inspired?  It was easy since they allowed blacks to mingle and take part in the demonstrations.   In that day and time only a communist would do that.

 

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