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Comment Archives: stories: News & Opinion: Raising the Bar: Last 30 Days

Re: “Why You Should Support the Protests

Thanks for the overview and political insight. I thought I’d just add this update about Cleveland:

Last month, twelve year old Tamir Rice, a Black child with a toy gun in an inner city park, was shot down by police within seconds of their arrival on the scene. The cops, having failed to follow even their own police protocols for defusing any potentially harmful situations, then left him to die as they delayed calling the paramedics, instead busying themselves with handcuffing and throwing into a police cruiser Tamir’s 14 year old sister who tried to come to his aid. The city is in mourning and protest, this coming hot on the heels of the Ferguson and NY murders by police.

Here in Cleveland demonstrators shut down traffic on the shoreway two weeks ago in protest of police brutality. Organized groups of students participated from Cleveland State University, Case Western Reserve University, the University of Akron, Kent State University, John Carroll University, Baldwin Wallace University, and other schools, and groups of youth that were hanging around downtown at the start of the demonstration spontaneously joined the protest; a proud moment for Cleveland.

I'm a pediatrician. I practiced in the inner city of Cleveland for 25 years. Tamir wasn’t my patient, but I believe that many children in his extended family were. Though I recently retired, I still read the Cleveland Plain Dealer every day, as I have done for years, partly to see which one of my previous patients or their parents have been murdered or abused. The count is growing. It brutally reflects the hardships and injustice of life in Cleveland, and other cities, for poor people of color.

So I still have one foot in the ghetto (and very well might return to work in an inner city clinic part time after the new year), and one foot… in my privileged life, relaxing and enjoying the fruits of my labor after all these years. It’s a rather schizophrenic sensation at times. But as I recover from years of burn out, having set myself free from the county hospital system that can easily eat up even the most balanced person’s sanity, I’m looking to perhaps raise my voice and become a community activist again, having been well-trained in the antiwar movement of the sixties; years of advocating for my patients notwithstanding. Ah – life full circle. My blood is boiling and the streets are calling.

Besides, I can’t let all the family glory go to my younger brother who was arrested at the recent Cleveland demonstrations. He was held overnight, never charged, and released over 24 hours later. Interestingly, the Cleveland police, deciding to take an unusual conciliatory stance, and therefore claiming that they were respectful of community sentiment and the demonstrators right to protest, repeatedly denied that there had been any arrests; an outright lie.

On that note, I’m hoping for a safer saner new year, but I don’t think that will ever come without some significant struggle. As Jay Youngdahl so succinctly put it: “without street action, change will not come.”

Lisa R. Brand, M.D.

Posted by Lisa R. Brand on 12/17/2014 at 1:24 PM

Re: “Why You Should Support the Protests

Thanks for this thoughtful and well written piece, Jay.

I'm not far from regarding the heavily militarized and increasingly well integrated "police" as being an occupying army these days, asking as many have "who is it they are so well postured to go to war against?" Indeed, who do they serve and protect?

With about half the population being thrown mostly out into the economic cold, the answer to this question might seem obvious. Which I will state: Not Us, Usually. (If you haven't read it, you might take a look at this piece from SALON: ONE NATION UNDER SWAT: HOW AMERICA'S POLICE BECAME AN OCCUPYING FORCE)

Largely standing by while this process of "changing everything" moved quickly into our society, we now confront a monster that isn't much interested in what we think about it. They might at this stage not even be much interested in what we do about it.

It is possible to confront their authority and the authority of those directing them in the streets, but that is a conflict they are well enough going to win usually, especially in terms of violent confrontation. No news with that. Of course, they can escalate the street violence at will, as you observe. There's no such thing as playing fair in this.

This aspect of the larger class war is, in the corporate media, mostly colorized as being mostly disruptive, though they do genuflect now and again towards noticing the United States remains a very racist society. No mention of Class War At All. That's as forbidden as using the word "fascist." As forbidden as saying Working Class instead of Middle Class usually is. Changing the way people talk about such things is one thing the internet IS good for...

No mention of people generally being driven to extremes by The New Economy, the one that treats a too sizeable proportion of them as being disposable. Not just ghetto disposable. "Third World" disposable.

How many new prisons will be built to contain all of those millions of people newly criminalized or simply intolerably marginalized once they really step on the gas of the machine they've constructed? Alex Jones sounding stuff I suppose, this kind of thing. Conspiranoid nonsense, we're always being told. Or something like that. And in some constructions, that's mostly just what it is.

However,take a looke at all those fascist cops!


Posted by terrybake on 12/17/2014 at 10:43 AM

Re: “Why You Should Support the Protests

This comment was removed because it violates our policy against anonymous comments. It will be reposted if the commenter chooses to use his or her real name.

1 like, 1 dislike
Posted by Editor on 12/17/2014 at 2:47 AM

Re: “The Age of Fear and Disillusionment

Awesome article! However, in addition to the marijuana and gay marriage conversation in America. The progressives, need to be more mindful to end our own stigmatization of those who are addicted to pain-killers/heroin, those who sell it for economic survival and those who are in/released (from) prisons and jails who are struggling to shake off their past. It's about moving forward together with the spirit of redemption and change. But again, we still hold those people who really want to be forgiven as deviants. For this reasons, these folks didn't see a compelling reason to get out and vote either!

1 like, 0 dislikes
Posted by Michael Alan Bailey on 11/17/2014 at 11:30 AM

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