The violence that erupted in the Occupy Wall Street protest in Oakland Park is unfortunate but also eerily predictable. It was only a matter of time before more “zealous” protesters joined the fray and police would be ordered to enforce the “unlawful assembly” ordinances that most municipalities have on their books. It was only a matter of time before the intellectual ideology of the protesters had to confront the cold hard metal of a police officer’s rifle, baton, tear gas or handcuff. It was only a matter of time before there was blood in the streets.
Many credit Professor Elizabeth Warren for providing the intellectual foundation for the development of the Occupy Wall Street movement. After all Professor Warren has been protesting Wall Street for a very long time. She commented recently that Occupy Wall Street is an “organic movement, it expresses enormous frustration and gives a great faith all across the country for people to talk about what’s broken.” I agree. As the middle class continues to erode during this double dip recession, millions are asking why. As people continue to suffer from the loss of their jobs, their homes, their health care, their children’s education fund, and their own retirement funds, a sense of hopelessness has morphed into anger, and anger into protest. However, protest does not necessarily equal violence. The two are mutually exclusive. There is no rational reason why the protest in Oakland Park resulted in violence by the police, other than as an intimidation tool. Physical pain has always had a very sobering, demoralizing, and dehumanizing effect.
Elizabeth Warren recently stated that “Wall Street’s tricks brought our economy to the edge of collapse and there hasn’t been any real accountability.” Professor Warren understands why people are so angry and why they are taking their fight to the street. What Wall Street needs to understand as Hugo Marie Voltaire once stated over 160 years ago “on resiste a l’invasion des armees; on ne resiste pas a l’invasion des idees.” In other words, “one can resist the invasion of armies; one cannot resist the invasion of ideas.”
Lydie Nadia Cabrera Pierre-Louis