Editor’s note: This is the eleventh in a series of excerpts from Jim Gober’s book titled “Deep in the Heart of Occupy Austin.” A new excerpt will be published at OccupiedStories.com every Wednesday, so come back next week to follow Jim though the evolution of Occupy Austin.
The sun came up on another October day in 2011, and the fascists in Oakland are blaming each other for what is unfolding into a public relations disaster, after an attack on the Oakland camp seriously injured an Iraq war vet. We know the fascists started it, and then over-reacted, of course, because the Oakland’s Democratic Mayor, Jean Quan, who rode into office on money from the white fascist elite, ordered the police to bust the occupiers’ heads in absolute total violation of their civil rights. Now she is finding herself in a mess because the occupation is pushing back and we still have a shred of public sympathy. Mayor Quan is backsliding so fast, she basically made a public apology today while the Oakland camp is quickly being reassembled, which shows the philosophy of this movement, whose tenacity in Oakland has not ceased to amaze me.
This display of arrogance and total disregard for our civil rights is proof the fascist criminal element has rotted the entire power structure of the US-and the world-from the bottom up. It starts with your friends, family members or neighbors who are so brain-washed by the unrelenting corporate media-fueled propaganda machine; they go to the polls and elect the fascists. And the fascists have one thing in mind-to get their palms greased and rub elbows with the thieves that are destroying the world’s economy, environment and financial system. Even people like Mayor Quan, who are empowered because they are backed by fascist filth from both sides of the political aisle, happily give orders to local constables and police to treat unarmed American citizens as if they were a threat to the entire world. Well, we are a threat to the fascists’ world, but the real world, where most people reside, is hopefully saying, “What the hell took everybody so long to stand up against these crooks and do something?”
But the worry about how to control us is not just on a local level. You can bet while President Obama is giving us lip service, he has his guys working on a way to kill the occupy movement before it gets any bigger, especially before we occupy the upcoming party conventions. We will not be defeated if we show up in the numbers expected and shut the conventions down until our demands are addressed. By the fall of 2012, our movement will be very strong, but we must stick to our principles of
non-violence and continue our intellectual debate. And we must not allow internal differences to split us apart, such as who is gay or straight, black or white, feminist or businessman, old or young, etc. And we must not allow egos to explode and blind the movement from its objectives. The world is watching, albeit with a jaundiced eye. In the previous two days, Obama threw out two milquetoast ideas that will go nowhere in his attempt to appease us. One was about helping homeowners underwater on their mortgages, if they have perfect credit, and another program to help those with student loans that is so stupid and obfuscated it doesn’t even require a comment or review. Both programs were designed specifically to appease the big banks and prevent a downtick in their murderous profit line.
Every Occupy camp in the country is now very agitated with developments over the last few days, which not only include the attack on the Oakland camp, but cities across the US. The timing and orchestration of the raids is suspect, and it would take an idiot to believe Homeland Security isn’t hot on our trail. In fact, DHS vehicles and personnel were spotted doing surveillance at several camps, including Los Angeles, and of course New York, according to a recent article by The Guardian’s Naomi Wolf, and DHS was on a conference call with mayors from 18 different cities before the Oakland raid. It is obvious no one is standing up for us, and why should they? We have become the enemy of the power elite. Our occupation is throwing a wrench in the gears of the fascists’ finely tuned machine of death and destruction, and they have the power to crush us at every turn. In fact, the police take classes to learn the latest method to destroy a “peaceful protest,” while many of the occupiers, at the Austin plaza anyway, have not seen a classroom since 9th grade. We are a total mismatch for their chicanery and under-handed tactics. Unfortunately, I am learning that in Austin, nearly all the remaining occupiers, for some reason or another, are simply outcasts from society upset because somewhere along the way, they didn’t get theirs, and they want it now. But what it was they wanted was becoming more and more difficult to define. The whole idea about fighting the influence of money in politics is degenerating into just fighting. It was like being on a desert island and watching a group of people without the mental capacity to function in any society, attempt to build a new one, while surrounded at all sides by a well-armed and sophisticated enemy. It was becoming a tragicomedy remake of ”Lord of the Flies.” By now, some of the occupiers had stopped organizing and were now on an active hunt for a scapegoat to alleviate their own sense of powerlessness. You could hear it in their murmured voices and see it in their accusatory stares.
Cracks were forming in my blinders of optimism, and the truth was blinding me. The winds of defeat and poverty were blowing through the Austin Occupy camp and many who stood with us at the beginning went back to their comfortable couches to watch us fall apart on TV. An unforeseen development in some of the camps, including Austin’s, is we are also being overrun with not just the homeless, but complete idiots in the filthiest of clothes, shouting out the goofiest things and acting weird, disruptive and dangerous. Where did these people come from and why are the police just standing around while these people are threatening us? It was like the Circus of the Macabre had come to town and somebody was paying them to perform. Somehow, we were trapped in a downward spiral of our own making yet orchestrated by powers beyond our control. It was enough to drive anyone mad, and if you were already there, well; the plaza is not the place for you. But like filthy lice-ridden survivors from a confederate battlefield, they continued to straggle into the camp. Of course, we are welcoming them with open arms while they eat the free food, flop and fight, totally unaware of our agenda, while slowly outnumbering us.
Apparently, watching us rot from the inside is an accepted form of crowd control and it is a valid way of letting us destroy ourselves, but to see the police step back and deny the protesters’ protection means they do not consider us American citizens, but something to be trampled on by not only the establishment, but the worst elements in our society. Somehow, we, not the fascist rats overrunning the ship, have become the enemy, and we are powerless to do anything about it. Dirty police
tricks are showing up to play on our weaknesses, poor organization and fear. For example, yesterday they told us to clear off the lawn so they could turn on the lawn sprinklers, which is in line with the Stage 2 watering schedule. But then, they didn’t turn it on. Then at dusk, we were told to clear off the lawn because they were going to turn on the lawn sprinklers. This time most people just stayed there and waited to see what would happen. They didn’t turn them on.
Then out of the blue, the police moved in and decided to arrest 3 or 4 people for what the police considered unruly behavior. But the arrest tactics were over the top and meant to show us what will happen if we insist on hanging around the plaza much
longer. In one of the arrests I witnessed, an unarmed African-American woman was being held down by a policeman who had his knee on the back of her neck, while her face was smashed into the hot cement. Another cop stood nearby, taser at hand. The other arrests were for one silly reason or another, and plenty of people were suddenly getting searched and hassled. One guy was targeted because a woman working in the City Hall claimed he tried to sell her drugs. He was clean, but I’m sure she
smugly watched the entire illegal search from the tinted windows of her office while sipping a $5.00 latte. Interestingly, not one of the members of the Circus of the Macabre was hassled. Not one. It was only the people who were veterans of the
occupation being harassed.
In the evening, the occupiers wanted to march down dirty 6th street to support the Oakland occupiers. My feeling was too many provocateurs were in the camp. It seemed the more the police harassed us, the more the provocateurs materialized. Strangely, the weirdoes weren’t there to protect us from the police, but were agitating and attacking us-not the enemy. The occupation was becoming occupied. We didn’t see that one coming either. I thought going on a night march was a bad idea because the fascists and trouble-makers surely weren’t marching and they can work under the cover of darkness. Plus, marching will leave our camp unprotected from the kooks. My thinking was once trouble starts, the fascists will isolate us on 6th Street; prevent us from returning, then clean out the camp. And why anyone would want to march down dirty 6th when it is full of drunks and assholes is beyond me. You have to hand it to the people who have organized the last few marches down there though, those folks are super-dedicated and I admire their moxie, for sure. But even though I was fearful, the march was held anyway and everyone returned safely to the disorganized camp. I decided to stay the night since we didn’t get back from the march until after 11 pm. But the camp was even rowdier than usual, with people partying, arguing, fighting and creating real havoc. By 4 am I couldn’t take it anymore and walked home. I could hear the same woman, who had run around the plaza screaming for her lost mind for the last two hours, still going at it as I crossed the Ann Richards Bridge over the inky Colorado River. A dove, roused from its sleep, fluttered in a tree as I walked through the park. I turned the key to my front door just as dawn was breaking. I shed my clothes as I walked toward the bedroom, fell into bed and slept until noon.