(via The Most Powerful #OccupyWallStreet Clip You Will See This Month | MoveOn.Org)
Just watch it.
police brutality is disgusting and awful and corrupt and needs to stop right now, and I am 100% behind the ideals of Occupy Wall Street (though said ideals are not always well executed; intersectionality is an issue), and I too am sick of the blatant hypocrisy in the U.S. government
can we please
not compare this to the Arab Spring? Please?
We live in a democracy. We have freedom of speech, press, congregation, all that. Yes, these protestors are being mistreated. Yes, the police are out of line. Yes, there are major underlying problems and a long history of police brutality.
But our government’s constitution is accountable for us. We can go to court on this. We can argue using countless legal precedents in our favor. We can protest with the expectation that large masses of people will not be killed or even detained for very long.
In Libya, Egypt, Tunisia, Syria, in all the Middle Eastern countries where there are protests against dictators right now? They do not have that. They aren’t facing tear gas; they’re facing guns. They’re not facing temporary detainment; they’re facing years in prison without a trial. They’re not facing an impassive but democratic government; they are protesting leaders who are either formally or functionally dictators.
I’m not trying to downplay the bravery of Occupy Wall Street protestors, or idolize protestors across the Middle East. I just think it’s extremely important to recognize the differences in privilege here, and not co-opt the struggles of other countries (especially countries that are largely Muslim, POC, and have a history of being treated horribly by the U.S.) for our own protests.
I understand wanting to place Occupy Wall Street in a larger historical context of inspiring and successful movements, but there’s a difference between respectfully learning from others, and using them not for their own meaning and worth but to make this movement appear more meaningful.
This is a meaningful movement. We don’t have to do that, and we shouldn’t do that. The Arab Spring, the Civil Rights Movement, Tiananmen Square— they didn’t happen to make us feel good. They happened because they needed to happen. Occupy Wall Street needs to happen too. Let’s focus on that and not exploit others, especially others less privileged than ourselves.
The comparison isn’t with the Arab Spring itself, but with what US politicians are willing to say… when it doesn’t actually involve them.
This is different, but we just don’t have the freedoms in the US that we seem to think we have, and putting what US politicians say (and they gave very broad ideas about things, which is why it cross-applies so well) in context with how they act when their asses are on the line is completely different from actually saying Occupy Wallstreet is equivalent to anything that’s happened in the Middle East and Africa lately.