Wednesday, May 23, 2012

My issues! Read all about 'em!

Activists have now devolved to the point in the US where they claim to be in the streets about an issue but instead of knowing about, discussing, or focusing on the issue, they immediately claim victim status and only focus on how the police are treating poor poor them. This is clear in Chicago right now, where NATO is meeting, where protesters and cops are filling the streets, and where the protesters can only talk about the cops, not NATO.
Oh, the police are so rough on me! All I did was call them pigs, give them the finger, scream at them from behind my mask and chant! I am the issue! My issues! Read all about 'em! I am utterly innocent, I play no productive role in society, I contribute nothing to democracy, but everyone should only worry about ME ME ME!

The babies who were killed by NATO bombs in Afghanistan? How boring. The NATO failures in the Balkans, from bombing civilians to ignoring genocide? That's old news. NATO is sucking up all the political air in the geopolitical room and all the militaries of NATO military alliance countries are driving a global recession? How can that possibly be nearly as interesting as the bruise on my arm from the cops!?

Over the years I've been given more than 30 stitches in the face from cops, a broken nose from deputies, and in my feckless youth I was charged twice with assaulting officers. Like any immature activist, it took me a while to develop a life philosophy that went beyond the narcissism of the Bill Ayres/Bernadine Dohrn sort. My time in numerous jails and three prisons isn't something I'm whining about however. That time was used to offer resistance to a war system, not to engage in running fake battles with irate cops who were all too happy to teach me who was rougher. I took the field, made some mistakes, took some lumps, and may take more in the future. But to the extent we as activists get all caught up in promoting the story of our own suffering at the hands of law enforcement, we drop the ball for the vulnerable ones we are supposed to be defending when we fill the streets.

OK, I'll stop here. My point, I hope, is made. I learned years ago that I'd rather work with the cops to allow them to help me exercise my First Amendment rights. Most of them actually want to when they are approached like actual human beings. What a concept. If we want to transform the war system, let's do it rather than taunting the cops and then acting outraged when they lose their humanity and pound the snot out of us.

No comments: