Saturday, July 14, 2012

Chalk up a Pyrrhic victory for the 1%

Woo-hoo! I got a citation today for participating in Occupy Cincinnati!

For the past couple days, we in the Occupy coalition have been conducting an event called Chalk the Walk - where we put our art skills to work by writing our messages on the sidewalks using sidewalk chalk. We were repeatedly informed by Cincinnati police beforehand that this was perfectly legal, as chalk is wa soluble.

But since we started last evening, we've learned the hard way that it must not be legal, considering authorities' reaction once we started. I guess they must have changed the law just within the past 2 days.

I got to Piatt Park today as police were hassling Food Not Bombs. This has been the favorite pastime of Cincinnati police lately, for I'm told that Food Not Bombs was kicked out of Washington Park last week. Later, a group of us Occupy peeps broke out the chalk and started chalkin' away.

We were walking away from Piatt and made it to 7th Street when a cop on a bike zipped up behind us. He launched a lengthy lecture, and he called in 6 other cops just for us. While the police were lecturing us, a young woman approached them and asked to speak to them because somebody had just stolen her cell phone. But the police ignored her so they could continue haranguing us.

Three Occupiers - including me - received a citation because of our chalk art. One of us was arrested, which appeared to be because he didn't have an ID. That's in addition to one other Occupier who was arrested over Chalk the Walk last night. The fuzz also threatened to throw a 9-year-old girl in juvenile detention for using sidewalk chalk.

It's bad enough that the laws on chalk are being selectively enforced - as the Tea Party used sidewalk chalk by the barrelful and the cops never batted an eye at them. What's thoroughly fascist is the idea of requiring folks to have an ID just to be anywhere. That's fascism of the "papers please" sort, and it runs roughshod over our constitutional freedoms.

And isn't sidewalk chalk called sidewalk chalk for a reason? Why is it called sidewalk chalk if we can't use it on sidewalks?

Police also said somebody had chalked the James Garfield statue at Piatt Park. Either the person who reported this was lying, or somebody chalked the statue to frame us. We never chalked the statue.

That the police had told us earlier that sidewalk chalk is legal was of course a trap. But it will backfire once the public learns of today's events. Just think how bad this makes the police look. And I don't mean "bad" in a good way like how everybody in my day used the term. Today's events helped our cause a great deal, so it's a Pyrrhic victory for the Wall Street 1%.

Let's look at the big picture: The Occupy revolution fights Wall Street's criminal behavior. Yet while the authorities ticket and arrest Occupy, Wall Street walks free. Whose cause does this help?

One more observation: The cop who caught us today said that if we want to get our message out, we should buy a billboard. While a dominionist church made up of 12 millionaires might be able to afford billboards, we can't. Occupy is made up of working people who don't have that type of money.

We need to have constitutional government.

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