The Assault on Occupy Wall Street

New York City police mounted a surprise nighttime raid on Occupy Wall Street at Zuccotti Park, forcing out protesters, removing tents and arresting about 150. The assault was the latest move by forces of a corrupt status quo against Americans opposing a dehumanized economic system, Phil Rockstroh writes.

By Phil Rockstroh

For days now surrounding Veterans Day, we have endured demonstrably false propaganda that the fallen soldiers of U.S. wars sacrificed their lives for “our freedoms.”

Yet, as that noxious nonsense still lingers in the air, militarized police have invaded OWS sites in numerous cities, including Zuccotti Park in Lower Manhattan, and, in the boilerplate description of the witless courtesans of the corporate media, with the mission to “evict the occupiers.”

U.S soldiers died protecting what and who again? These actions should make this much clear: The U.S. military and the police exist to protect the 1 percent. At this point, the ideal of freedom will be carried by those willing to resist cops and soldiers.

There have been many who have struggled and often died for freedom but scant few were clad in uniforms issued by governments.

Freedom rises despite cops and soldiers not because of them. And that is exactly why those who despise freedom propagate military hagiography and fetishize those wearing uniforms so they can give the idea of liberty lip service as all the while they order it crushed.

When anyone tells you that dead soldiers died for your freedom, it is your duty to occupy reality and inform them of just how mistaken they are. And if you truly cherish the concepts of freedom and liberty, you just might be called on to face mindless arrays of fascist cops and lose your freedom, for a time, going to jail, so others might, at some point, gain their freedom.

I was born in Birmingham Alabama, at slightly past the mid-point of the decade of the 1950s. Many of my earliest memories involve the struggle for civil rights that was transpiring on the streets of my hometown.

My father was employed at a scrap metal yard but also worked as a freelance photojournalist who hawked his work to media photo syndicates such as Black Star which then sold his wares to the major newsmagazines of the day.

Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. in poster by Robbie Conal (

A number of the iconic photographs of the era were captured by his Nikon camera e.g., of vicious police dogs unleashed on peaceful demonstrators; of demonstrators cart-wheeled down city streets by the force of fire hoses; of Dr. King and other civil rights marchers kneeled in prayer before arrays of Police Chief Bull Connor’s thuggish ranks of racist cops.

In Birmingham, racist laws and racial and economic inequality were the progenitors of acts of official viciousness. The social structure in place was indefensible. Reason and common decency held no dominion in the justifications for the established order that was posited by the system’s apologists and enforcers; therefore, brutality filled the void created by the absence of their humanity.

And the same situation is extant in the growing suppression of the OWS movement in various cities, nationwide, including Liberty Park in Lower Manhattan. The 1 percent and their paid operatives local city officials are striving to protect an unjust, inherently dishonest status quo. Lacking a moral mandate, they are prone to the use of police state forms of repression.

Dr. King et al faced their oppressors on the streets of my hometown. Civil Rights activists knew that they had to hold their ground to retain their dignity that it was imperative to sit down in those Jim Crow-tyrannized streets when necessary in order to stand up against the forces of oppression.

At present, we have arrived at a similar moment. If justice is to prevail, it seems, the air of U.S. cities will hold the acrid sting of tear gas, the jails will again be filled, the brave will endure brutality yet the corrupt system will crumble. Because the system’s protectors themselves will bring it down by revealing its empty nature, and the corrupt structure will collapse from within.

Yet, when riot police attack unarmed, peacefully resisting protesters, the mainstream media often describes the events with standard boilerplate such as “police clash with demonstrators.”

This is inaccurate (at best) reportage. It suggests that both parties are equal aggressors in the situation, and the motive of the police is to restore order and maintain the peace, as opposed to, inflicting pain and creating an aura of intimidation. This is analogous to describing a mugging as simply: two parties engaging in a financial transaction.

Although mainstream media demurred from limning the upwelling of mob violence at Penn. State as involving any criteria deeper than the mindless rage of a few football-besotted students unloosed by the dismissal of a beloved sport figure. Yet there exists an element that the Penn. State belligerents and OWS activists have in common: a sense of alienation.

Penn. State students rioted because life in the corporate state is so devoid of meaning … that identification with a sports team gives an empty existence said meaning. These are young people, coming of age in a time of debt-slavery and diminished job prospects, who were born and raised in, and know of no existence other than, life as lived in U.S. nothing-villes i.e., a public realm devoid of just that a public realm an atomizing center-bereft culture of strip malls, office parks, fast food eateries and the electronic ghosts wafting the air of social media.

Contrived sport spectacles provisionally give an empty life meaning. Take that away, and a mindless rampage might ensue. Anything but face the emptiness and acknowledge one’s complicity therein, and then direct one’s fury at the creators of the stultified conditions of this culture.


It is a given, the cameras of corporate media swivel towards reckless actions not mindful commitment are attuned to verbal contretemps not thoughtful conviction and then move on. And we will click our TV remotes and scan the Internet restless, hollowed out eating empty memes skimming the surface of the electronic sheen.

These are the areas we are induced to direct our attention as the oceans of the earth are dying these massive life-sustaining bodies of water have less than 50 years before they will be dead. This fact alone should knock us to our knees in lamentation should sent us reeling into the streets in displays of public grief.

Accordingly, we should not only occupy but inhabit our rage. No more tittering at celebrity/political class contretemps it is time for focused fury. The machinery of the corporate/police state must be dismantled.

If the corporate boardrooms have to be emptied for the oceans to be replenished with abundant life then so be it. If one must go to jail for committing acts of civil disobedience to free one’s heart then it must be done.

Yet why does the act of challenging the degraded status quo provoke such a high degree of misapprehension, anxiety and outright hostility from many, both in positions of authority and among so many of the exploited and dispossessed of the corporate/consumer state.

For example, why did the fatal shooting incident in Oakland, California, on Nov. 1, that occurred near the Occupy Oakland Encampment but, apparently, was wholly unrelated to OWS activity cause a firestorm of reckless speculation and false associations.

Because any exercise in freedom makes people in our habitually authoritarian nation damn uneasy a sense of uncertainty brings on dread the feeling that something terrible is to come from challenging a prevailing order, even as degraded as it is.

Tyrants always promise safety; their apologists warn of chaos if and when the soul-numbing order is challenged.

Granted, it is a given that there exists a sense of certainty in a prison routine: high walls and guards and gun mounts ensure continuity; an uncertainty-banishing schedule is enforced. Moreover, solitary confinement offers an even more orderly situation uncertainty is circumscribed as freedom is banished.

The corporate/national security state, by its very nature is anti-liberty and anti-freedom. Of course, its defenders give lip service to the concept of freedom … much in the manner a pick-pocket working a subway train is very much in favor of the virtues of public transportation.

A heavy police presence has ringed Zuccotti Park from the get-go, and whose ranks have now staged a military style raid upon it, a de facto search and destroy mission because the ruling elite wants to suppress the very impulse of freedom.

These authoritarian bullies don’t want the concept to escape the collective prison of the mind erected and maintained by the corrupt jailers comprising the 1 percent who claim they offer us protection as, all the while, they hold our chains all for our own good, they insist for our safety and the safety of others.

Although, from studying on these prison walls, the thought occurs to me that what we might need is protection from all this safety.

Phil Rockstroh is a poet, lyricist and philosopher bard living in New York City. He may be contacted at: [email protected]. Visit Phil’s website: or at FaceBook:

4 comments for “The Assault on Occupy Wall Street

  1. Rory
    November 18, 2011 at 23:21

    Unless each police officer in N.Y.C. and Oakland is getting paid a million or more per year by the 1% they need to remember who really pays their salaries via taxes. That’s right the 99% they like to pepper spray and beat on. Maybe the next step of the Occupy movement is to demand funding be cut to the police forces of any city that promotes this behavior and replace them with a volunteer force that will actually protect the many and not the few.

  2. sander
    November 17, 2011 at 13:37

    This is fascism at its best (or worst). Jack booted thugs doing whatever they want because no one in Government has the spine to put a stop to it. Oh wait, a judge ruled in favor of the protesters. Guess the “law” means nothing to the new SS. Bloomberg should be hanging his head in shame over his organized crime lords doing whatever they want to do.
    It appears that the “police officers” LOL!! don’t really care about the people or the law, just what the syndicate leaders tell them to do. This is a very sad moment in our history when the rich are allowed to use force to push down the less fortunate. What’s next? Public whipping?
    And our leader are trying to push the “American” way into other countries? No wonder they fight us.

  3. Joseph n. Caucci
    November 17, 2011 at 05:59

    Do you notice how the the repubiclans are kind of quiet with all these protests going on? Their not quite sure how to handle this. They tried their phoney tea bagger scam. It got some crazies elected. But they went too far. The 99% are starting to rise up. I hope someone is keeping a list of the worst predators. And the ones who have never been punished. Their is a supreme court justice, initials-ct-who should not be on this court. But because he is a right winger, he will be on it, and decide what is best for the 99%. Either the powers that be do their jobs, or they are terrorists. I would consider people losing their homes, jobs, money to send their children to college, no health care, terror. And these politians and banksters caused it.

  4. stan chaz
    November 15, 2011 at 13:23

    They came like thieves in the night…Bloomberg’s Blue Shirts. They robbed us of our rights, and our possessions… all the while preventing reporters from reporting on the scene. Bloomberg, the self-proclaimed number one defender of free speech (pause for gagging), said in no uncertain terms: “yes, you have the right…the right to remain silent. So just shut up and obey”. This is only the beginning dear Mayor .0001%. This WILL be your legacy- of repression. But you will NOT succeed. These mayors, governors, city councils, police chiefs, and street cops of America need to realize that it is NOT UP TO THEM whether or not Americans peaceably gather, protest, discuss, or demonstrate. It’s up to a document called the US CONSTITUTION. You can beat us and arrest us and tear-gas us, you can try to “permit” us to death….but you can’t kill an idea. You can’t keep down a people’s hopes and dreams for a better life….for us, and for our kids. America USED to work. The people had work. The system worke (sort of). Hey, EVEN the Congress used to work (sometimes). God knows, it was far, far, far from perfect -but at least we all had some share in the struggles AND the rewards. But somewhere along the way, we lost our way. Because now we have an economy and a political system that seems to work only for the rich. With OWS America has found it’s voice, and that voice demands fairness and justice – for ALL. This land IS our land! AND WE WANT IT BACK! We want our LIVES back! We want our FUTURE back! But it’s much more than just words…. it’s much more than politics….. it’s your freakin’ LIFE, and how you want to live it, and how you WILL live it. Find a quiet place somewhere, and consider this: Each of us has only one brief life….one chance….one roll of the dice….and many choices. The time has come to choose….to risk…and to act. If not now…then when? If not you, then….who? You DO have the power my friend….and the choice IS yours. Don’t let your dreams die….

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