[Author’s note: Having just had the opportunity to spend some time this evening with my good friend, Michael Lyons, and in his honor, I am taking the opportunity to reprint this piece I wrote a month after Spokane Police and the multi-agency Joint Terrorism Task Force (JTTF) attacked a group of young people on July 4, 2007 in Spokane’s Riverfront Park. I encourage people to study this case and consider its implications for protest, freedom of speech, freedom of assembly, and public ownership of public space. I also encourage people to understand the abuses of power by the Spokane Police in hiding evidence in the case as well as the roles of the city prosecutor’s office and Spokane Police administrators in the cover-up and spinning of the facts. Finally, I encourage people to watch the entire still relevant short video on the Kent State shooting. As the expression goes in Spanish, “Prohibido olvidar” — “Forgetting is forbidden.”]
KNOW YOUR RIGHTS — TIN SOLDIERS AND NIXON’S COMING
What is the theme unifying abuses by increasingly militarized police departments, pervasive media lies and ruling class complicity, military brutality abroad, corporate war profiteering, stunning cowardice by the U.S. Congress, and near total passivity by the overall U.S. population? It is our dishonesty and complicity in the face of U.S. imperialism, manifested by illegal invasions, brutal military occupations, and gross human rights abuses, as well as saber-rattling in many parts of the world.
Over the years I have been very clear about one thing with anyone who has asked me about my activism. What drives my beliefs and actions is anti-imperialism.
What is imperialism?
Imperialism is best known by its fruits.
Imperialism is a Vietnamese girl running down a highway in 1972, her naked body burning with napalm.
Imperialism is the naked bodies of Iraqi boys and girls and men and women at Abu Ghraib sodomized by U.S. troops and intelligence personnel in 2004.
Imperialism is the naked bodies of young children all over the world year after year being washed before they are buried after starving in a world of plenty, a world where the U.S. dominates all major international institutions and routinely blocks actions desired by the rest of the planet.
Imperialism is a disgraced United States of America, unable to justify its actions to its own citizens or to the peoples and nations of the world, a U.S. resorting to spying on its own citizens and torturing the citizens of the rest of the world.
When Alberto Gonzales comes to Spokane to share “sensitive, top secret” information with the Spokane Police and other law enforcement agencies, it is Nixon and John Mitchell all over again.
When it is revealed that Spokane is a key link in human rights abuses and torture being committed by the U.S. around the world, it is My Lai all over again.
When young people march to Riverfront Park and in the midst of peaceful protest are attacked by Spokane Police , it is Kent State all over again.
In my opinion, when people begin to defy authority on the streets all over the U.S., it signals a coming confrontation. As Oliver Tambo said, “The people’s patience is not eternal”.
Hear it coming?
1970 is in the air again.
Tin Soldiers and Nixon Coming. Remembering Ohio.
[To the individual who wrote stating that it is hyperbole on my part to suggest that 4th of July in Riverfront Park is comparable to Kent State, I have the following comments…
1) I stand by that.
2) The global capitalist/imperialist system run from Langley, Wall Street, the Pentagon, and the White House reaches periodic moments of minor and of severe crisis. We are currently at a moment of such severe crisis.
3) What happened on the 4th of July 2007 in Riverfront Park was just one of many police state actions around the country against free speech, protest, and activism.
Here is the equation for the mathematically challenged:
Combine 4th of July 2007 Spokane with FBI spying on Spokane activists, torture masters operating out of the American Legion Building on Washington Street in downtown Spokane, Alberto Gonzales meeting secretly with Spokane law enforcement, the arming of the Spokane Police with 100 AR-15s and other military weaponry, and the majority Democrats caving in to a Republican president on pro-war and civil-liberties-curtailing legislation. Now multiply that by a hundred U.S. cities the size of Spokane or larger and…voila!
Tin Soldiers and Nixon’s Coming.
So the writer does not buy my analysis? No problem.
It’s not for sale anyways.
Hasta la victoria siempre! ]