What we have been experiencing since the beginning of the repression of Occupy in November is a calculated, coordinated campaign against the very principles of freedom of speech and freedom of assembly — principles that, it should always be remembered, were themselves only established by mass popular mobilization of exactly the sort which our increasingly militarized US police and criminal justice system are now trying to suppress.
At a time when America’s liberal class seems to have decided that civil liberties are no longer worth defending (at least, when a Democrat is in office), it is left to anarchists to actually do something to fight for the principles that everyone claims to believe in.
Nothing could be more important than halting the effort to turn the United States into just another police state — if only because oppressive regimes around the world look to the US as a model for what they can get away with at home. “If they can arrest 700 non-violent protestors for marching on a bridge in America, how can you possibly object to our doing it here?” “If they can round up radicals and put them on trial just for their ideas in America, why not here?”
This is an attack on the very idea of human freedom and to resist it is an act of principle that benefits everyone.
David Graeber is a Reader of Social Anthropology at Goldsmiths, University of
London, and the author of books on value, debt, and civil disobedience.