Thursday, November 17, 2011

Occupy Eureka – Conflict and Contradiction

There was once a very astute and powerful Japanese Samurai warrior, Miyamoto Musashi. He became famous for his fighting prowess - he was never defeated, in part for writing The Book of Five Rings. A book I read and studied many years ago. He is reputed to say that the battle is won and lost before the first blow is struck. Herein lies the secret of a true master. “The heart of Musashi's ideas is the mind.  The Mind should be pure, uncontaminated by self-serving distortions and preconceived ideas.  The mind should be flexible, able to change shape according to the situation without resorting to rote learning.” (A guiding principle applied by the Joe Blow Report) Musashi proved that harmony within oneself and with the Universe took priority by living a long life and dying of old age.

Another older man that had much to do with the establishment of Christianity once said to a younger man: “Have nothing to do with godless myths and old wives' tales; rather, train yourself to be godly. For physical training is of some value, but godliness has value for all things, holding promise for both the present life and the life to come.” -1 Timothy 4:7, 8. This man's understanding of “godliness” is clearly defined in his, rather extensive writings and coincides nicely with what Musashi said. From my point of view, such people demonstrate the defining qualities of life's value, self-worth, dignity and honor which is demonstrated by their inner sense of power, absolute control and inner calm. Simply put, their actions are totally harmonious with their inner being – what they are is defined by what they do.

How does any of this apply to the Occupy Movement? First question that needs answered is, what does the Occupy Movement intend? Are they acting in harmony with their goals and objectives?

What makes the Occupy Movement different for most all other such social or political phenomena is that it operates completely different from what everyone knows and understands - pure Democracy working from a Horizontal Way. Here on Humboldt Bay you can occasionally see large flocks of black birds flying over the bay. What's striking is how they move and fly as one body. If you observe a flock of geese flying overhead, you'll always see a leader at the head, not so with the black birds. What distinguishes the Occupy Movement is that it is leaderless, yet somehow they have the ability to learn, adjust and move as one, but not in ways always expected. They are an alive, ever evolving and growing movement. They stand for their legitimate rights and when forcibly deprived, they move to another more defensible place. Locally, however, they are still not completely “able to change shape according to the situation without resorting to rote learning.”

By chance I found what is titled the “Occupy Eureka Edition” of what appears as an electronic newspaper dated November 9. 2011. On this page the Occupy Movement states its purpose and goals.
“Our form of protest, shared with tens of thousands across the nation and world, is rooted in the continuous, peaceful occupation of public properties, both day and night, and taking back these places for prolonged periods of me. 
It is a widely shared sentiment that ill motivated entities have acquired control of our Country’s political, economic, and social spheres by deceptive and inequitable means, and are acting to the detriment of the American people. Our intent is to make it clear to all that this is not an acceptable development, and to encourage dialogue that will lead to positive solutions. Please help the Occupy Eureka participants take back the lawn by standing in solidarity. Come give a couple of hours to the Occupation. [Emphasis added] 
Occupy Eureka and Arcata have requested that Porta Potties be established on site, at no expense to the city. This request has been rejected by our authorities. Our local governments are creating a situation that negatively affects the community. The unwillingness to work with protestors will not deter them, nor will it benefit the community at large.”
The above statement is backed up by this comment on Occupy Eureka's Facebook page this morning (11-16-2011).
“Laura Cutler:
Morning! I may not be able to attend General Assemblies for a while due to addressing Occupation related legal matters. I wanted to suggest that folks work on putting together a well attended General Assembly with an agenda item addressing how folks want to make proposals to the County, City of Eureka, etc. during this temporary "truce." One possibility is to put a proposal together that everyone buys into. That may be difficult. Folks might not agree. I suggest folks consider the option of reaching consensus simply that everyone in the occupation and the general public individually make their proposal to all of the agencies involved. With that approach, the occupation continues to support the commitment to allowing all voices to be heard, the agencies will receive many letters to read rather than one, and the agencies will have proposals before them quickly rather than after the weeks or months it might take to get a unified proposal together. Just a suggestion.”
Similar statements of intent with consistent courses of conduct are outlined in the Tuesday, November 15, 2011, edition of the Time-Standard: Occupy Eureka camp raided for a second time; 31 protesters arrested. Regarding,
“Local attorney Laura Cutler said she has been trying to set up a dialogue between city and county officials and Occupy Eureka organizers, but she has yet to hear back from the local government. Some options Occupy Eureka organizers were interested in discussing were moving the encampment to another location in the city and using the courthouse lawn as a place to hold rallies and disseminate information, she said. Cutler said she has been trying to initiate a meeting with local government for the past three weeks.”
"The agencies Cutler has contacted include the Eureka city manager, county supervisors, the sheriff's office, Eureka police, the county administrative officer and the county counsel."
"'Occupy Eureka has expressed interest in having a dialogue about camping issues, but there's been absolute silence from government agencies,” she said. “Any request has gone unheeded.'
Cutler said she wants to continue her role as mediator but has been considering taking part in Occupy Eureka's legal defense and potential civil rights lawsuits."
Ms. Cutler clearly demonstrates the weakness problem afflicting Occupy groups in America. You can talk or you can act (occupy). You cannot threaten, dictate and make accusations, i.e., that the political leaders or public representatives are bought and paid for corrupt and then expect reasonable, peaceful sit-down negotiations. (Turn a deaf ear.) We learned today that cities all across America coordinated their attacks on these camps. The reason no one talked to Ms. Cutler is because no one is the least bit interested in talking. They talk with their police billy club, don't you know?

Right now the police believe they possess their legitimate right to enforce their master's laws any way they see fit. Until these issues, legitimate existence and personal rights, are addressed they will continue to act violently and aggressively.

For some additional followup, Glenn Greenwald has some really pertinent observations.

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