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December 1, 2011

You Can’t Arrest An Idea

As one of the key images emerging from “Eviction Tuesday,” it’s a larger commentary on the affair:

You can’t arrest an idea, but you can try.

(photo: Lucy Nicholson/Reuters. caption: A police officer pointed a weapon at demonstrators in a tree as officers dismantled an Occupy Los Angeles encampment outside City Hall Wednesday. Police arrested about 200 people)

  • bks

    Lucy Nicholson takes a great picture.  It’s hard to imagine that being real and not a still from _Escape From L.A._(1996).


  • Gassho

    I see where you’re going with this, BUT it sheds some light on another side of the story, too.The cop looks dangerous and threatening, yes, but also very clean and disciplined and sharp — especially in contrast to the sloppy, chaotic messy representation of the 99%.So what does it say?  What if the 99% prevail in this grand struggle? Are we looking at an era of ugliness?I feel the same way about the camping theme at the Occupy sites. I love Occupy online – the ideas are great and I love seeing the people finding their voice, but the urban camping thing is just messy and wet and disheveled. If that is the seed of a better world, people better start cleaning it up – it has to look desirable, or at least preferable to the status quo.  People have put up with the extrajudicial wars, environmental pollution, financial scams, etc. because their individual lives were fairly comfortable.  Enough people lost their homes, went into debt, were effected by the wars that eventually, they started rising up.. but if we’re going to win over those that are still employed, still have homes, are still comfortable – then the revolution and the call for justice needs to not only “be right” it needs to “look good”.Occupy involves ‘direct action’: the homeless being fed, drug addicts being encouraged to go to rehab, clothing donations are common, marches against injustice are daily occurrences. I have high hopes that Occupy will prevail and that we’ll bring a better, more just world into being.  I only wish that the movement understood that the graffiti, the abandoned bits of dirty clothing, the trash, and all the other ugliness undermines their mission.  I guess that comes along with the very idea of inclusiveness (we are the 99%!), but it really drags the whole thing down, too.

  • Anonymous

    Pointing a weapon at people in a tree, eh?  That can’t possibly go wrong, can it?  

  • Kirk Downey

    Gassho, I understand your concern for the expansion of the message, however searching for new ideas is always messy.  OWS does not have a message – yet.  There are a family of ideas that have grown from the collection of people and the discussions they have elicited.  We all need to keep talking.  Each City needs a place to elicit those discussions. 

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