Occupy Phoenix: Bonus Army, Redux

Part one of Gilman's report from the front lines of Occupy Phoenix

My focus is, and must remain, through November 8, the recall of state Senate President Russell Pearce in Legislative District 18. That means there's a lot going on that I won't be able to cover till after the recall election, including the Occupy Phoenix protests that happened over the weekend.

Fortunately, my fellow newshound Dennis Gilman has been enthusiastically following the protests from the beginning, and has been keeping me up to date on everything going on. I was worried Saturday night that peaceful protesters would be hurt for simply wanting to stay in a public park overnight in Phoenix.

Thankfully, it does not appear that anyone was seriously injured, though there is a young woman being dragged away by the neck in Gilman's video and that was unnecessary. According to the Phoenix Police Department, 46 were arrested Saturday night and charged with criminal trespass, a class three misdemeanor.

There were some reports online of pepper spray being deployed, but Gilman says he did not smell or see any, and I have yet to see any of that in either his footage or any other footage from other outlets. Phoenix Police Department spokesman Sergeant Trent Crump says pepper spray was not used. 

In this respect, it seems, the Phoenix PD did not employ excessive force.

Why didn't the city manager and the cops just allow the protesters to stay? Yes, there's a curfew in the park, and there are people living nearby. But I suspect the helicopter and the overwhelming police presence did as much to disturb folks as the protesters. Left to their own devices, I tend to think they would have bedded down quietly for the night. Heck, they were even seen cleaning up the parks they were in.

As we all know, not all ordinances or laws are enforced 100 percent of the time. Keep that in mind the next time you see a politician jaywalking downtown. Both the cops and city officials have discretion in such matters.

Also, the cops should remind themselves that they are simply workers employed by the state. The Arizona Legislature has been hacking away at their benefits. Idiots like City Councilman Sal DiCiccio would privatize their function in a heartbeat if he could get away with it. Governor Jan Brewer is eyeing cop and fireman pensions with visions of knives and hatchets filling her tiny brain. So, remember who really represents your interests and respects the role you play.

There is a faint echo in what happened over the weekend in Phoenix to actions taken against the Bonus Army of 1932 by then President Herbert Hoover and General Douglas MacArthur. There have been some vets in the Occupy crowds, you see. According to Channel 5, one of them was arrested on Sunday.

Hoover ordered the military to run WW I veterans out of D.C., when they camped out in the capital. This, in the midst of the Great Depression. One wonders what will happen when all of our soldiers return from Iraq and Afghanistan to find a country impoverished by corporate greed, with few jobs to offer the newly unemployed.

I for one am not knocking capitalism. Nor are many of the protesters. This isn't the French Revolution. Nor is it the Winter Palace circa 1917. 

Yet, for capitalism to work as it should, there has to be a vibrant middle-class. Ordinary people have to have a stake in our society. Otherwise, we're not talking about capitalism, we're talking about plutocracy.

I like what economist Paul Krugman had to say in the New York Times recently about Occupy Wall Street:

"What's going on here? The answer, surely, is that Wall Street's Masters of the Universe realize, deep down, how morally indefensible their position is. They're not John Galt; they're not even Steve Jobs. They're people who got rich by peddling complex financial schemes that, far from delivering clear benefits to the American people, helped push us into a crisis whose aftereffects continue to blight the lives of tens of millions of their fellow citizens."

I'm lucky. I have a job, one that provides me with medical benefits. There are millions in this country, however, who are not as lucky. It should be the essence of patriotism to want to see your fellow countrymen be able to feed themselves and their children and have access to the same medical care our politicians enjoy.  

But that sort of patriotism is obviously not the province of the one-percenters.

For an alternative viewpoint sure to tick off lefties, check out my colleague James King's take on the protests. Some of the responses to his sarcasm show that such sarcasm has had its intended effect. Note to the King-haters: When a blog garners a gazillion comments, that blog is by definition a roaring success.


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23 comments
Orwell's Ghost
Orwell's Ghost

Note to Stephen Lemons: When your readers misunderstand your reporting, it's because they believe it's what a bunch of smartass hacks at New Times would actually believe and you've lost all credibility.

Dennis Gilman
Dennis Gilman

At the very least-the officer that grabbed and dragged that peaceful young lady by her throat should be investigated. I'd like to find his badge number and name.  He should be charged or sued. 

He also should've already been disaplined for this violent behavior. If the police and city ignore this-he'll be free to do it again. It will make it acceptable in their eyes.  I've also spoken to a few of the 46 that were occupying 4th Ave Jail. Although the guards were as abusive as possable-they still found time to hold meetings and chat with other prisioners. 46 is a pretty good occupation and a 46 person 4th Ave Jail occupation only made this movement stronger.  

Robert Hernandez McDonald Jr.
Robert Hernandez McDonald Jr.

I was there that night and I was to the west of the protesters getting arrested and one of the officers did deploy OC spray at someone because I could smell it in the air.

Adrian Cruz
Adrian Cruz

What exactly are they protesting for?  I saw one dude holding up a sign saying "Where are the jobs?"  Well they definitely aren't at Cesar Chavez Park at 10:30 p.m... 

If you're waiting for the government to provide you a job, maybe you should move to Cuba. 

maxparraz
maxparraz

flopped like a fish on dry land. Oh well, at least the Nazi Party of America has got their backs!

Leonardclark
Leonardclark

Brothers and sisters, we're hearing that the Mayor and City Manager turned off Cell Phone and Internet connections (cell phone towers) to the park before our arrests ! If this is true at a minimum City Manager Cavazos and Phoenix mayor Phil Gordon "killed" the First Amendment and should lose their jobs !

Leonardclark
Leonardclark

I was one of those arrested Mr. Lemons and I would like to thank you and especially Dennis Gilman for his filming up close of what happened, the city manager and the mayor both cut off cell phone tower usage to cell phones and to the internet shortly before arresting people so as to try and stop the world from seeing what they were doing and that was: "spitting on the First Amendment ! There are many other things that were done that night and the and the next day to us as we were in jail and I will further detail those things.  Oh...and one other thing...there was only one politician and political figure willing to submit himself to the rough treatment of arrest and jail in the political gulag of Joe Arpaio:  Alfredo Guitterez ! Here is a man that marched with Caesar Chavez over 30 years ago and even now...he submits himself to the harsh treatment of the notorious fascist Joe Arpaio ! SALUTE to Alfredo ! And another thing: Not one other politician or well known public person was willing to stand up for principle of saving our dying country that night in Phoenix ! So...for all you democrats and republicans now wanting to jump on the bandwagon after the fact : Actions speak louder than words ! These words are especially meant for president Obama who now has stated through democratic channels that he and his elite democrats want to use this Occupation movement to help the democrats (his re-election) !So please democrats and republicans until your willing to at a minimum come at and call the for the re-negotiation of all these trade treaties (Nafta, Gatt, Columbia, South Korea, etc.) that have taken our jobs offshore and when you are willing to openly call for a constitutional convention and amendment to destroy the filthy and traitorous U.S. Supreme Court decision called: Citizen United, take a flying leap !Salute to all our brothers and sisters and citizens in the Occupation movement  and especially to my brothers and sisters who got arrested with me that night by the tyrants Phil Gordon and city manager Cavazos !Leonard ClarkArizona NativePersian Gulf/ Iraq Veteran10-17-11

bobg
bobg

Lemons,You know Mr. King personally (I'm assuming), I don't. My reading of his treatment of the Occupy Phoenix demonstrations and previous writings, gives me the impression that he is yet another journalism school asshat looking to make his way into the MSM, not using sarcasm to move the left. In Arizona I am WAY left of center and maybe I'm just too old, so the sarcasm is lost on me but, as a rule I don't read ANYTHING written by Mr. King unless, like this weekend he is the only one reporting on something I'm keen to learn. Mr. King reinforces all the the stereotypes of the weekly newspaper and sullies the fantastic reporting done by you, Mr. Stern and others at the NewTimes. I'm sure the NewTimes has metrics to measure the effectiveness (popularity) of Mr. King and I know I'm a very small market. Mr. Kings asshattery isn't going to make me stop reading the NewTimes but, I do want you and the rest of the staff at the NewTimes to know that there is at least one member of your readership that detests Mr. Kings style. He's not an asset to your organization.

Lela
Lela

It's a shame there are so many cameras, because I think she could have used a smack upside the head.  Show some dignity and try to behave like adults - not the animals you all look like camping out downtown.  Movement is a joke to the rest of us who are WORKING all day, while you sit around, drink, smoke, listen to music - nice!

PS: get spellcheck or a dictionary and learn to spell :)

advocate4peace
advocate4peace

Yes, one individual has been confirmed by an official with the Phoenix Police Dept. last night ( I spoke with him directly) as being pepper sprayed.  The individual was not in the organized circle of those willing and waiting to be arrested however.

advocate4peace
advocate4peace

Hi Adrian.

Perhaps it would serve you to google the Occupy Wall Street movement first before making sarcastic remarks?  This way, you can then make an informed, educated and intelligent sarcastic response, which is your right.  

advocate4peace
advocate4peace

Hey Leonard!  I am part of the OccupyPhoenix group.  I filmed (poor quality once the lights were turned off) the arrests and I had my cell phone with me all weekend.  It appeared to be working okay during the arrests at Margaret T Hance Park.  I'm wondering if there is a way to confirm the fact that  the cell phone tower was tampered with?  

ps: I salute you. I didn't have the courage to get arrested (yet:)

ExpertShot
ExpertShot

It's funny, Steve, you mention that the number of comments on a blog defines its success.  Well, you should look at the over 500 responses to Ray Sterns' blog on Occupy Phoenix from a while back where he stated:

"But these people are digging in and it seems likely their efforts will have an effect on the overall political conversation in America"

Then compare it with the 50 or so comments James King garnered from his blog entry on Valley Fever.  I would say that King was the FAIL, not Occupy Phoenix. 

Why you only got 12 or so comments on your blog entry here mystifies me.  Why do you think you got so little response to your blog entry?  Oh yeah: "Note to the King-haters: When a blog garners a gazillion comments, that blog is by definition a roaring success."   I'm guessing you also mean that when a blog garners 15 responses it's a "roaring" failure, Huh.

bobg
bobg

what's the matter jimmy? did I hit a nerve?

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