Tag Archives: protest movements

Mom, apple pie, the flag and OWS

I just picked this up from Bartcop, where someone else picked it up from a facebook post. There was no link.

  • In the 1930s and 40s factory workers, miners, and laborers demonstrated for better and safer working conditions.
  •  They were first ignored, then mocked, then violent conflict erupted. Even the US army was called to “maintain order”. A number were killed. The result was the union movement.
  •  In the 1950s and 60s, blacks demonstrated for equal rights. They were first ignored, then mocked, then shot, beaten, attacked with dogs and fire hoses, some were killed. But the result was civil rights/anti discrimination laws.
  • In the 1960s and 70s there were demonstrations against the Vietnam War. First ignored, then mocked, then the clubs, fire-hoses and bullets came out. But the result was the war ended!
  • Today we have financial inequality and corporate abuse. Some chose to demonstrate,. They were at first ignored, then mocked, and now the violence has begun. I believe that the result will be that the people will prevail!

I’d add that it took street marches, protests and violence for over 30 years until women got the right to vote in 1920. Later,  mountains of anti-discrimination legislation resulted from the feminist protest movement of the 70’s.

That’s the way stuff happens. That’s the way we were born as a nation.

First they ignore you, then they laugh at you, then they fight you, then you win.                                                                                  – Mohandas Ghandi

An old American tradition: Occupy Washington

In 1932,  unemployed and denied payment of the wartime bonuses they’d been promised, 43,000 WWI veterans from all over the country, calling themselves The Bonus Army, marched on Washington, DC. There, they built and occupied an encampment (from local rubbish) known as Hooverville. Many had their wives and children with them since they were otherwise homeless anyway.

While they were there, the  Senate voted down a bill to pay the bonuses, and the police were ordered in to break up Hooverville, which they did, killing two vets. But when the police raid failed to break up the camp, President Hoover ordered the army in.

At 4:45 p.m., commanded by Gen. Douglas MacArthur, two regiments, supported by six battle tanks commanded by Maj. George S. Patton, formed in Pennsylvania Avenue while thousands of civil service employees left work to line the street and watch. The Bonus Marchers, believing the troops were marching in their honor, cheered the troops until Patton ordered the cavalry to charge them—an action which prompted the spectators to yell, “Shame! Shame!”

Shacks that members of the Bonus Army erected on the Anacostia Flats were left burning after the confrontation with the military.

After the cavalry charged, the infantry, with fixed bayonets and gas . . entered the camps, evicting veterans, families, and camp followers. The veterans fled across the Anacostia River to their largest camp and President Hoover ordered the assault stopped.

However Gen. MacArthur, feeling the Bonus March was a Communist attempt to overthrow the U.S. government, ignored the President and ordered a new attack. Fifty-five veterans were injured and 135 arrested.[9] A veteran’s wife miscarried. When 12-week-old Bernard Myers died in the hospital after being caught in the tear gas attack . . .

During the military operation, Major Dwight D. Eisenhower, later President of the United States, served as one of MacArthur’s junior aides.[14] Believing it wrong for the Army’s highest-ranking officer to lead an action against fellow American war veterans, he strongly advised MacArthur against taking any public role: “I told that dumb son-of-a-bitch not to go down there,” he said later.

This was not the first time MacArthur, a figure of adulation – especially on the right, ignored his Commander in Chief. He did ther same to Truman in the Philippines after WWII. Truman, being Truman, just fired him. If America had ever fallen to a fascist military dictatorship, MacArthur would probably have been the guy at the top.

 

Something new?

Watch yer language citizen!

There were a few protest demonstrations in Tehran today – maybe the orange Green Revolution of last year 2009 has life in it yet. What I saw reported today had an aspect I don’t remember from last year. Yesterday, people in the streets were  calling  for the ouster of Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei.  I’ve no idea whether that’s because they don’t want to be an Islamic state or if they just want jobs. Either way, calling out Ayatollahs so disrespectfully in public feels new.

UPDATE: Iran is heating up. Just heard that the State Department has established Twitter feeds and Facebook pages in both Arabic and Farsi to broadcast support to the demonstrators.