Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Oakland, Zucotti, Adivasi, Same Story

I was just formulating a comment to the raid on the Oakland protesters, helicopters and all, when a raid on Zucotti park in New York was reported.

Few readers may remember that in 2002, President Bush quashed a proposal by Vice President Cheney to use U.S. troops to arrest the Lackawanna Six, accused of being terrorists.

Now, the Fourth Amendment bans “unreasonable” searches and seizures without probable cause. And the Posse Comitatus Act of 1878 generally prohibits the military from acting in a law enforcement capacity.

In the Lackawanna discussions, the Cheney camp cited an Oct. 23, 2001 memorandum from the Justice Department affirming that domestic use of the military against Al Qaeda would be legal because it served a national security rather than a law enforcement purpose.

The memorandum, declassified in March, was written by John Yoo and Robert Delahunty in response to a question by then White House counsel Alberto Gonzales about the president’s authority to use the military to combat terrorist activities in the United States, was.  It affirmed that:  “The president has ample constitutional and statutory authority to deploy the military against international or foreign terrorists operating within the United States.”.

News reports of the Oakland evacuation signal police helicopters flying overhead as police moved in to evacuate the protest site.

You don’t have to be paranoid to imagine the day when U.S. army helicopters will be called in to quell riots set off by bank closings, layoffs or unmanageable weather events.  It’s already happening in what is called ‘the biggest democracy in the world’.

The Indian writer Arundati Roy, appeared yesterday on Democracy Now. According to Wikipedia, India is characterized as a ‘sovereign socialist secular democratic republic”, and its ruling party, the INC, is described as ‘center left’.  But those labels have not protected it from the ravages of the world financial system.

Roy’s soft voice is the first one I hear lamenting that other countries aspire to the American model. (It didn’t just happen to India, but to Iceland and most of Europe, and their peoples know the Euro crisis stems from that fatal attraction.)

In 2005 the Indian government signed Memorandums of Understanding to allow international mining companies to harvest the minerals from the country’s Central Forest. Then it set up Operation Green Hunt, in which two hundred thousand heavily armed troops pushed 350 thousand Adivasi (traditional forest dwellers) out of 600 villages, forcing them into camps.

In her new book, "Walking with the Comrades," Arundati Roy describes her time among the Adivasi, who are supported by Maoist guerillas, each group borrowing from the other. For Roy, the forest in Central India and New York’s Zucotti Park “in the heart of Empire”, are connected, and OW needs to formulate “some kind of vision to replace this particular model in which a small group of people have unlimited power and wealth.”

In order for social democratic governments around the world to be spared the siren calls of Wall Street, America must work its way to a social democratic system, the only one that can meet the just demands of the 99%. Failing that, there will eventually be Maoists in the Central Plains, and army helicopters over our cities, to rein in domestic 'terrorists'.


  1. I really liked tdhe article on Iceland. and the idea of Cuba at least being lucky it didn't follow the way of Haiti and share its fortune. I like the way Deena thinks, probably because it fits my thinking!) And I often try to bridge some of the gaps between religion, social action and politics.

  2. Hi Larry,
    Happy to find someone who thinks like me. It's so rare. The comments I get on DKos almost never get the point I'm trying
    to make. What do you do?


  3. Not as uncommon as you might think, Deena! Methinks its more a case of few feeling the same way knowing where to find you...

  4. Yes, knowing where to find people on the world wide internet is still a mystery to me. I'm afraid I don't do a very
    good job of making myself known.