Thursday, October 24, 2013

The more you tighten your grip, Tarkin, the more star systems will slip through your fingers

     When democracy stands in the way of business, the adopted practice seems to be to suspend or undermine democracy. The silent majority is too involved in living hand to mouth while seeking any kind of reprieve from their everyday stresses to care about what doesn't immediately affect them. When faced with the train of oppression through, economics or downright force the silent majority just hopes they aren't tied to the tracks when it roars by. Simply stepping aside is enough for most people.

     Beginning today an Urban Shield conference (vendors convention) takes place in Oakland California. The Urban Shield event is another example of defense vendors finding ways to siphon funds from state, local and federal coffers. "the federal government is paying about $1.5 million to cover most of the event's costs, while money to fight poverty has dried up."* Notable vendors who will be in attendance include 3M, Cisco systems, Colt defense (the company that manufactures the AR15), Lock Heed Martin ADP (a subsidiary of the largest defense contractor in the U.S), RAP 4, The SafariLand Group (a manufacturer of tear gas canisters that are used both domestically and abroad), and Verizon who has made long strides to make a buck by selling surveillance products and information to the NSA.

     "Urban Shield is just one part of a burgeoning homeland security industry estimated to be worth
 over $190 billion. Sales of “less lethal” policing technologies have been on the rise globally since the uprisings of 2011."** What is happening here is these companies are looking to expand market share, by selling technologies used abroad here at home. It should come as no surprise that our Police officers and our communities as a whole are becoming militarized and the Urban Shield conference is one way this is being done.

     We return to the reality that the powers that be find much more profit in arming security agents to the teeth with every imaginable, gun, gadget and surveillance tool instead of striving to eliminate the conditions that create the atmosphere for usage of lethal or less than lethal devices. How can we expect the common criminal to strive for what is just when from the top to the bottom everyone is looking to get over through what is ultimately wrong and harmful? While new toys are being bought for police departments, officers on the streets are laid off or having their hours cut in most places. 

     No matter your feelings on the way cities and towns are policed I don't see how we can't agree that somewhere along the line priorities are out of whack. Is this another example of money flooding the pockets of our elected officials? I don't see how this thought can be avoided, when tactics are being designed by law enforcement to specifically clamp down on protesters. 

     I can already hear the chants that will echo out from Frank H. Ogawa Plaza "No justice No peace". It's not in our personality as a nation to let something this egregious just slide. It's not in our character to let the outright theft of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness to occur. The folks at the top of the hill cannot avoid looking into their mirrors if they are continually laughing to the bank. 

     My usual answers and solutions do not apply to the folks above. Their avarice and subterfuge goes against the will of the body politic not only in market practices but also at the polls. "Those who make peaceful revolution impossible will make violent revolution inevitable." (JFK) This is exactly what is happening in L.A, New York, and Oakland. What do these cities have in common? A lot. What do these cities have in common that piques my gaze? Heads sleeping on sidewalks with the greatest disgraces of opulence within a couple miles of each other. Turn off, tune in and organize sisters and brothers.



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