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The occupy movement in Oakland was originally warmly embraced by city authorities, including Mayor Jean Quan who spoke glowingly of the movement’s objectives and even gave city employees time off to attend protests that shut down the Port of Oakland last fall after the demonstrators threatened violence against port employees. But as the weeks dragged on and the encampment in front of City Hall turned into a haven for crime and rats, draining the city’s budget and tying up police, Quan attempted to edge away from the increasingly violent occupation by forcing the closing of the tent city. This resulted in another riot and harsh criticism from other officials and the local media.
Now, Quan has fully reaped what she sowed. Like most Democrats around the country who initially praised the OWS movement to the skies, and now find themselves backing a revolution, Quan has placed herself in a difficult political situation. She has responded by harshly criticizing the group, saying that she will seek monetary damages from the organization and that protesters who are convicted will participate in “restorative justice” by cleaning up garbage in a nearby slum. She condemned OWS tactics, saying that they were “a constant provocation of the police with a lot of violence toward them” — an ironic statement considering the fact that Oakland’s police union sent the mayor a letter criticizing her for sending “mixed messages” on dealing with the OWS demonstrators.
What has the OWS movement cost the city? In dollar terms, at least $2 million in cleanup costs since October with at least that much in police overtime and other costs. And while police were busy trying to protect property from the modern day Vandals seeking to sack City Hall, there were 5 homicides over the weekend and responses to 911 calls were delayed, according to police. Police Chief Howard Jordan told the Los Angeles Times that “personnel and resources dedicated to Occupy reduce our ability to focus on public safety priorities.”
All of this does not bode well for cities caught in the OWS crosshairs. Matthew Vadum wrote in FPM about the planned demonstration in Chicago during the G-8 summit where the organizers, including OWS founders Adbusters, have all but openly called for violent confrontations with authorities during the meeting. Their violent rhetoric barely conceals their desire to force police to respond to their provocative tactics:
And if they don’t listen … if they ignore us and put our demands on the back burner like they’ve done so many times before … then, with Gandhian ferocity, we’ll flashmob the streets, shut down stock exchanges, campuses, corporate headquarters and cities across the globe … we’ll make the price of doing business as usual too much to bear [ellipses in original].
While there are no outright calls for violence, a reasonable person cannot mistake their intent.
Democratic politicians like Quan and President Obama will seek to use the rhetoric of the OWS movement without openly embracing the protesters. If Republicans are smart, they won’t let the Left get away with this subterfuge. It should be hammered home to voters between now and Election Day that the violence being perpetrated by OWS movements across the country is the result of a calculated effort to overthrow the existing order. And those who imitate the language of revolution — couching the violent rhetoric in terms of “fairness” or “income inequality” — should be called to account for aiding and abetting those who seek to destroy the essential character of the United States and replace it with ill-conceived ideas of “justice” and revolution.
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