Tuesday, September 02, 2008

Gustaf slowed down the convention but not the repression

Fritz von Papen, last Chancellor of the German Weimar Republic (shown here at the Nuremberg War Crimes Trials)

The United States would not come close to qualifying for the terms required of countries for admission to the European Union. We have way too many democratic deficits. This is just terrible, from Glenn Greenwald (Scenes from St. Paul -- Democracy Now's Amy Goodman arrested Salon 09/01/08) reporting on the blatant, Palmer-raid type repression going on in St. Paul around the convention of the authoritarian Republican Party. This goes way beyond the obnoxious practice of the Orwellian "free speech zones":

Following up on this weekend's extreme raids on various homes, at least 50 people were arrested here today in St. Paul, Minnesota. Beginning last night, St. Paul was the most militarized I have ever seen an American city be, even more so than Manhattan in the week of 9/11 -- with troops of federal, state and local law enforcement agents marching around with riot gear, machine guns, and tear gas cannisters, shouting military chants and marching in military formations. Humvees and law enforcement officers with rifles were posted on various buildings and balconies. Numerous protesters and observers were tear gassed and injured. I'll have video of the day's events posted shortly.

Perhaps most extraordinarily, Amy Goodman of Democracy Now -- the radio and TV broadcaster who has been a working journalist for close to 20 years -- was arrested on the street and charged with "conspiracy to riot." Audio of her arrest, which truly shocked and angered the crowd of observers, is here. I just attended a Press Conference with St. Paul Mayor Chris Coleman and Police Chief John M. Harrington and -- after they boasted of how "restrained" their police actions were -- asked about the journalists and lawyers who had been detained and/or arrested both today and over the weekend. They said they wouldn't give any information about journalists who had been arrested today, though they said they believed that "one journalist" had been, and that she "was sima participant in the riots, not simply a non-participant."
The life of a democracy isn't a straight-line thing. Democracy can be thriving in movements like the Obama and Clinton campaigns. And be dying in other places at the same time. What's happening in St. Paul is an example of that latter.


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"It is the logic of our times
No subject for immortal verse
That we who lived by honest dreams
Defend the bad against the worse."

-- Cecil Day-Lewis from Where Are The War Poets?


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