Today marked a new geopolitical direction for the Occupy movement. Delegates at this years American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) meeting awoke to a dose of what they fear most: people’s democracy. As their conference unfolds from now until March 6, AIPACers will be greeted by the ongoing scores of occupiers who have descended on Capitol Hill. AIPAC is the 1% of American foreign policy; they’re the eyes, ears, nose and mouth of America’s generals, politicians and economic elite. At #OccupyAIPAC they come face to face with the 99%. Read about it here:
The American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) has contributed to a disastrous American course in the Middle East and will be back at it this week in Washington, D.C. Self-described as a “pro-Israel lobby” whose goal is to “enact public policy that enhances the U.S.-Israel relationship,” the organization has enhanced this relationship while simultaneously making the region far more dangerous. More than ever in this election year with Republicans calling for the bombing of Iran and candidate Newt Gingrich claiming Palestinians are an “invented” people, AIPAC has the US Congress and presidential candidates in its thrall. Yet this year’s AIPAC policy conference in Washington, D.C. is more controversial than ever as Occupy activists seek to highlight the role of big-money lobbyists in elections while standing in solidarity with the global 99% opposed to Israel’s violations of human rights and international law.
Each year at AIPAC’s policy conference in Washington, D.C., the president, powerful senators and members of Congress parade across the stage in order to prove their loyalty to the Israeli government. AIPAC’s outsized influence on U.S. foreign policy can be linked to the disastrous war in Iraq, as well as to the current push for an attack on Iran. AIPAC is also known for drafting extreme anti-Palestinian, anti-human rights legislation that it then funnels into Congress. AIPAC Director Howard Kohr will likely appear on stage this March at the 2012 AIPAC conference to make the annual roll call, rattling off the names of congressional representatives, diplomats and dignitaries present in the room as if he is the auctioneer at an estate sale. And in a way, he is.
Part of an ongoing debate within the Occupy community, author Chris Hedges says that our lessons should be drawn from the visionary philosophy of Czech revolutionary Vaclav Havel, not the “diversity of tactics” of the Black Bloc. “Living in Truth,” Havel’s ideal of refusal to fear, begins when we create alternative means of existence and deny the impulse to expected responses. States are well equipped to deal with the loss of order and violence but are inept at dealing with loss of faith and mass non-violence, Hedges argues. That is why government agitators and provocateurs are actively involved in the movement – to divide it and conquer its 99% appeal.
There is a recipe for breaking popular movements. I watched it play out over five years in the war in El Salvador. I now see these familiar patterns in the assault against the Occupy movement. It goes like this. Physically eradicate the insurgents’ logistical base of operations to disrupt communication and organization. Dry up financial and material support. Create rival organizations—the group Stand for Oakland seems to be one of these attempts—to discredit and purge the rebel leadership. Infiltrate the movement to foster internal divisions and rivalries, a tactic carried out consciously, or perhaps unconsciously, by an anonymous West Coast group known as OLAASM—Occupy Los Angeles Anti Social Media. Provoke the movement—or front groups acting in the name of the movement—to carry out actions such as vandalism and physical confrontations with the police that alienate the wider populace from the insurgency. Invent atrocities and repugnant acts supposedly carried out by the movement and plant these stories in the media. Finally, offer up a political alternative. In the war in El Salvador it was Jose Napoleon Duarte. For the Occupy movement it is someone like Van Jones. And use this “reformist” to co-opt the language of the movement and promise to promote the movement’s core aims through the electoral process.
Fearing the rebellious peaceful hordes of Occupy, Chicago mayor Rahm Emanuel has granted the city’s police force emergency purchasing power to suit-up for NATO and G8 meetings this May. Top of the list: 3000 new riot face shields worth $200,000. These face shields are said to be better than existing ones because they fit easier over top of gas masks and seal directly to the forehead of the helmet, preventing liquids from passing through.
“Rioters known to attend NATO and G8 meetings have been known to throw bags of urine and bags of feces at police. Chicago Police officers need a shield that can adapt to what is being thrown at them, ” Fraternal Order of Police President Mike Shields told the Chicago Sun Times.
In a city already strapped for cash for social programs, the move comes as a surprise to citizens and protestors alike.
To our knowledge, no protesters plan on bringing any kind of scatological materials to the demonstrations in May. Furthermore, while cursory searching found plenty of speculation, rumor and hyperbole about such instances, we have yet to find any actual hard evidence outside of commentary. To the contrary, a civil liberties advocate told an independent news website in December: “This is part of a spectrum of information war strategies that the state uses to repress dissent.”
Ahead of the ACTA protests this weekend, BBC News asked V for Vendetta’s writer, Alan Moore, for his thoughts on how his creation had become an inspiration and identity to Anonymous:
PREOCCUPATIONS Without wishing to overstate my case, everything in the observable universe definitely has its origins in Northamptonshire, and the adoption of the V for Vendetta mask as a multipurpose icon by the emerging global protest movements is no exception.
Back at the crack of the 17th century, Rushton Triangular Lodge was a strange architectural folly constructed to represent the Holy Trinity by an increasingly eccentric Sir Thomas Tresham while he endured decades of house-arrest for his outspoken Catholicism.
It was also one of the two locations, both owned by Tresham and both in Northamptonshire, at which the Gunpowder Plot of 1605 was formulated by a group of dissident Catholics that included Tresham’s son Francis.
It would seem likely that the treatment afforded to the elder Tresham played some part in the general mix of grievances from which the reckless scheme ignited.
Mastermind By the early sixteen-hundreds, the bonfires traditionally lit around the start of November had been co-opted as trappings for a sort of national anti-Catholic day at which effigies of the Pope would be incinerated.
As mastermind behind the terrorist outrage du jour, however, the plot’s nominal leader Guido Fawkes rapidly replaced the pontiff as hate-mascot of choice on these occasions.
Jump forward 300 years, though, to the battered post-war England of the 1950s, and the saturnine insurrectionary had taken on more ambiguous connotations…