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Supercitizens

Michael Brown was a thug who was caught on video doing some thuggish things in a deli.  He was also shot 6 times by a cop.

I don’t like the way the internet is taking over from the justice system.  Regardless of what Michael Brown may have done or what the police officer might have done, this story is starting to resemble a mediathon event a la Nancy Grace.  And I really don’t like Nancy Grace.

You know what would be great?  It would be great if we let the justice system do the work here.  And yet, after I read Matt Taibbi’s recent book, The Divide, before it devolved into yet another obligatory polemic against Bill Clinton who seems to have been the only politician in the last twenty years with any agency, I realized that there really isn’t justice in this country anymore.  Once you have committed a crime, even a small one or one you didn’t know existed, you’re pretty much screwed.  The system is set up to find you guilty if you don’t have a small fortune to prove your innocence.  It’s prepared to throw you in jail and deprive you of all you own at the slightest provocation.

On the other hand, if you’re wealthy and well connected, you can ruin people’s lives with impunity, risk other people’s retirement funds without consequence, and practice the equivalent of global and domestic economic terrorism and get away with it.  No one shows up at your door to arrest you for loitering where you shouldn’t or threatens your livelihood or keeps putting you back on the Start square in a real life game of Sorry!  Once you reach a certain level of wealth, you are untouchable.  (Well, at least until some clever vigilante individuals figure out how to circumvent the neo-feudal curtain walls.  It’ll happen eventually.)

But if you are a person of color or a woman or just poor, your life and belongings are inconsequential.  You’re not entitled to anything.  You’re lucky if you escape with your life.  And if you complain, the system will bring out a militarized police force and technology that will make you sick, to put you back in your place.  I saw it in Denver in 2008 (where was Claire McCaskill during the convention?) and at Zucotti Park in 2011.  And now we are watching it happen in Ferguson.

That’s because Americans have been allowed to indulge themselves in thinking that some people “deserve” better treatment than others.  But to the Supercitizen, no one below them is deserving of anything.  The dehumanization of the average American starts with race and women and poor people but sooner or later if things keep devolving at this pace, everyone but the supercitizen will be affected.

Internet coverage is not the same as due process, evidence, trials and justice.  And a justice department that has settled for weregild when it comes to global economic catastrophes and corruption, while bringing down the hammer on ordinary people has lost all credibility. It’s part of the problem.

When you’re deep in a hole, stop digging.

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By the time we got to Wall Street, we were half a million strong…

More like 1500 as of today but OccupyWallStreet has the potential to be a juggernaut.  Let’s put it this way, there are 8,175,133 people in New York City and not all of them work in the finance industry.  In fact, the vast majority of them don’t.  Most New Yorkers are cab drivers and food service workers and administrative assistants and teachers and transit workers and cops.  The whole country may not be watching yet, much less the whole world, but you can be sure that the citizens of New York City are starting to pay attention.

Today, there was a march across the Brooklyn Bridge that resulted in the corraling and arrest of about 500 700 people, including Natalie Lennard, a free lance stringer for the New York Times.  See the front page of the NYTimes for details or better yet, head on over to Correntewire and read MsExPat’s post on the march, since she was there.  She also has some amazing photos of the events on the bridge, including this one of marchers either trying to escape the nets or get a better view of what was going on (I hope she and Lambert don’t mind if I crosspost this pic.  It’s one of those photos you never forget)

Avoiding arrest on the Brooklyn Bridge, OccupyWallStreet, Oct 1, 2011 (MsExPat)

Kids, don’t try this at home.

MsExPat’s post is tantalizing.  She says there’s something going on at Zucotti Park that gives her concern but she hasn’t said what yet.  I wonder if it has anything to do with the Obama Fan Base MoveOn and the SEIU spoiling the party that DCBlogger was reporting at Corrente.   In the meantime, she met a cop after the march and had this exchange:

But as I was leaving the park in Brooklyn, an extraordinary thing happened. A policeman called to me. “How’s it going?” he asked. Nonplussed I said, well, okay, thanks. Then I asked him if the police were going to surround the park and arrest us all (this is what we had heard the “white shirts” saying on their radios). He said, “No Way! They won’t arrest you for sure.” [#33]

I asked him if he was Community Affairs, and he said that he was a Lieutenant (a white shirt officer), but had been pressed into service as a CA cop for the day. Then he let loose and let it all come out. He sympathised with the marchers. He had kids, he was worried about their education. About genetically modified food. About the way America was going.

I listened to him, half incredulous, half thrilled. Almost as thrilled as I was, walking across the Brooklyn Bridge, hearing the car horns and the cheers of passing motorists–all of them African American. Some hung out of the window, raised fists, cheered.

OccupyWallStreet may not know what the heck it is doing (or does it?) but I think New York City’s police force better tread very carefully here.  It wouldn’t take much provocation to get millions into the street.  After all, they didn’t have to walk anywhere.  They’re already there and they are watching.  And it’s going to be bloody hard to arrest and detain 8 million people on Riker’s Island.

Kudos to Corrente for covering OccupyWallStreet.  Outstanding job, guys.

Update: The Guardian is covering the protest on its frontpage tonight.  So is Al Jazeera.  So, that makes if official.  OccupyWallStreet is part of the Arab Spring.  😉