Thomas Paine:

“Reason obeys itself; and ignorance submits to whatever is dictated to it.”

Sunday, September 7, 2008

St.Paul, The Little City that Could ....Be Fascist

If your police look and act like
militarized, American-style jackboots,
you just might be a police state

      Given the assaults the City of St. Paul perpetrated against the Bill of Rights and the Constitution during this week's Republican National Convention, I could complain at length, reminding city officials of their sworn duty to protect and defend the Constitution of the United States, that is, America. However, they know these things, and, they don’t care. Clearly, they planned from the start to engage in political repression; they had every intention of violating the Constitution and continuing to do so, regardless of the consequences, which they knew would be minimal—the city had made a deal with the Republican Party prior to the convention, one that rendered the city immune from lawsuits, to the tune of $10,000,000, the amount the Republicans were willing to cover for whatever lawsuits were incurred over Republican-approved, civil-liberties violations by the police.
      Thus we saw the city attorneys, the mayor and the police chief employing a twisted logic in arresting, charging and detaining journalists, photographers, protesters and those who were on the streets of St. Paul to bear witness and hold the city to its responsibility to protect civil liberty in a free society; that is why we saw the law in St. Paul represented by American-style jackboots, bearing nunchucks, clubs, assault rifles, tasers; dropping concussion grenades(!), smoke bombs, and all manner and means of repressing speech and dissent; that is why we heard first-hand testimony by victims of police who engaged in torture behind closed prison doors and in public, where the police apparently thought they had permission to bully political activists. Clearly, the city was guilty, and they planned on denying their guilt and pretending to be concerned about "terrorism," when it is America's movement toward a Pinochet-style dictatorship they defended.

      I would be happy if anyone can prove me wrong. If the charges are dropped against Amy Goodman and any and all journalists or peaceful protesters, who did nothing but exercise their Constitutional rights, and we never again see such a brutal demonstration of militarized police in an American city, I will say, “Sorry, I was wrong.” I will be happy to say it. However, I see dark clouds forming— incrementally, the American people have been programmed to accept the militarization of our police and the normalization of attacks against and violations of our civil liberties, and so the authoritarians are secure in the assumption that the American people won’t make a stink. Just take a look at the program “Cops,” if you doubt it. House raids by SWAT teams, SWAT, which was originally intended for “high-risk operations that fall outside of the abilities of regular patrol officers,” have become the norm, as is seen regularly on TruTv, MSNBC and elsewhere. This should be stopped. The use of SWAT teams against civilian demonstrators should be stopped too, now that we see just how creepy and terrorizing it is; but it won’t be. I think the signs are clear: we are here, now—the fascist state has arrived, and there’s no turning back.
      Some say the behavior of the police in St. Paul and Denver seemed like practice for something worse to come—soon. I would not be at all surprised. The Bush administration and the Republicans, with Democratic help, have pulled off every criminal thing they could think of, without consequence. What’s to stop them now from postponing the election and installing their version of the Third Reich, that is, a third term for the Bush dictatorship?
      It doesn’t hurt to repeat myself, and these days it is even more important to remind people that the other side of the coin of paranoia is naiveté. Let’s not be naive—government of, by, and for corporations —fascism— is our reality, and that oppressive reality will stop at nothing to have its way.
      Bless their souls, the ACLU is busy with lawsuits over these things. That wonderful organization needs our help now, more than ever.


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