In the last week or two we have seen some loosely coordinated attacks on the Occupy movement across the country.
On October 14, the Occupy Wall Street movement with strong union support successfully defended New York City's attempt to drive demonstrators out of New York's financial district.
Meanwhile, under the direction of Chicago Mayor, Rahm Emmanuel, hundreds of Occupy demonstrators have been arrested and jailed as the Chicago police continue with their almost daily assaults on demonstrators.
Likewise, On Tuesday October 25, the Oakland, California police staged an early morning assault on the Occupy Oakland sites. When demonstrators attempted to re-occupy their site later that day, they were again attacked by the police with tear gas, bean-bag shots and concussion grenades.
Meanwhile again, in Albany, New York Governor, Andrew Cuomo and Albany Mayor, Gerald Jennings ordered the Albany Police Department and the New York State Police to open an assault and clear out Occupy Albany demonstrators. Fortunately, police authorities refused to carry out this order on the grounds that the Occupy Albany demonstrations are not a threat.
Finally, here in Salem, the Occupy Salem site was the subject of a bomb scare when an unidentified person exploded a bomb across the street from the Occupy Salem site.
Many of the Occupy Salem protesters were alarmed following yesterday's explosion and I suspect many relatively new protesters who have joined the Occupy movement across the country are dismayed and frightened with the escalating level of police attacks.
However, those of us with the long memories are not surprised. We remember the vicious attacks launched against civil rights activists and anti-war protesters during the 1960s. Birmingham, Alabama, Chicago 1968 and Kent State are events many of us old-timers remember all too well.
Of course, we have to accept the fact that the authorities will try to repress the kind of dissent that the Occupy movement represents. It is an unfortunate fact, but those who engage in dissent and work for a just society will inevitably face opposition from those who are more than willing to use repression and violence to silence the dissent and put a lid on the movement for change. Here, 1st Amendment rights should not be taken for granted; we must accept that we must re-affirm these rights through our actions time and time again.
I think in the end we will prevail however. I think we will prevail as long as we:
1. Maintain our courage, principles and passion for equality and justice.
2. Agree to stay the course and not give in to the threats, attacks and fear.