Note to Occupy: when committed leftist activists say you’ve gone too far in attacking police, perhaps your strategy of ginning up conflict against law enforcement has jumped the shark. That’s exactly what is happening at DailyGazzette.com, where Veterans for Peace activist Linda LeTendre criticized participants in a recent Occupy march that she took part in. She says:
As part of the VFP Peace Team, we were there to be a buffer between the demonstrators and the police and to work with the police to use nonviolent responses to protesters, cutting down on the violence and injuries. We had literally pledged to put our bodies between the police and the OWS people and negotiate from there.
As it turns out, the police weren’t the people who bothered her. Her article admits there were no mass arrests and no beatings. What was there? A marked animosity towards the police.
What did really bother me was the verbal violence (also a misuse of force) of some of the marchers I was trying to protect. To the mounted police they were yelling, “Got those animals off those horses!” and there were other anti-police chants that I found truly offensive. This is no way win them over.
Had LeTendre been paying any attention to the Occupy movement for the last six months or so, none of this should have been a surprise to her. It seems to have been quite a shock, though.
I didn't know quite how to handle the situation. And I am still wrestling with it. One of my fellow VFP Peace Team members would speak to the officers saying, “Peace be with you.” I am going to do that next time as well as let the officers know I am appalled by that kind of behavior, but I also think we need to do a better job of bringing up this new generation of activists.
The problem with that suggestion is that animosity towards the police is practically the only thing left in the Occupy playbook. Their camps are being razed almost as soon as they are raised. They are out of money after burning through over $500,000 due to their own financial stupidity. Their winter plan of house squatting turned into a series of public relations and real estate disasters. The media has largely moved on to other stories like the Trayvon Martin shooting, and when Occupy has tried to co-opt those stories, they have been rebuffed.
So what’s left? Marching in the streets and antagonizing the police. That’s why the Occupy movement is so excited when they get pepper sprayed; it may sting, but at least someone is noticing them.