#OWS Joins With Muslim Groups and Stop Stop And Frisk To Protest NYPD in NYC
"Let Freedom Spring!" is the name of the OWS action happening today, as occupiers hold a rally in conjunction with victims of Stop and Frisk and NYPD spying against Muslim groups.
They are gathering together at Liberty Plaza to call for police commissioner Ray Kelly's resignation. As their call to action states:
Last Saturday, the police department broke up a peaceful Spring celebration in Liberty Square by kicking, punching and beating Occupy Wall Street activists. Since then, NYPD has conducted nightly raids on Occupiers in Union Square to enforce arbitrary rules as an excuse to harass, intimidate, brutalize, and arrest those gathered peacefully there to build community and challenge the financial elite. The NYPD enacts this brutality against communities of color, Muslim Americans, women, the LGBTQI community and other activists across this city on a daily basis to uphold a system of such vast economic inequality. Violence is required to maintain order for the 1%.
Tweets from the scene demonstrate an effort on the part of organizers--some but not all of whom have tasted police brutality for the first time in the past months--to show solidarity with those who experience it all the time as part of a deep structural oppression:
[The American Muslim Civil Liberty Coalition's Debbie] Al Montaser urges demonstrators to "educate yourself by reading the Associated Press" series detailing NYPd surveillance of Muslims.
— Ryan Devereaux (@RDevro) March 24, 2012
The issue of solidarity has been dogging OWS in the past few days, since as AlterNet's Kristen Gywnne reported, many observers, most prominently Elon James White and those he spoke to, strongly felt that some Occupiers tried to "co-opt" Thursday's Million Hoodies March by chanting their own slogans and in some cases, potentially dangerous aggressive provocation of the cops.
In the next few weeks and months, for an American Spring to really gain support, many in the New York Occupy movement feel they will truly have to redouble efforts to demonstrate the principles of solidarity with the most disadvantaged members of the 99%, the kind of solidarity that the speakers at today's march are showing. They will have to connect police violence to the larger issues of structural and social and economic inequality and show empathy and understanding instead of co-optation.
Here's a discussion of the issue on Chris Hayes' show this morning which hits many of the key issues--is there a contrast between Occupy's anti-"State" message and the Trayvon Martin protest's very different call for the rule of law to be extended to protecting everyone?
There's also an extensive discussion of police infiltration, spying and expansion of powers: