Will Bull Connor please pick up the white courtesy phone?

December 11th, 2011
in Announcements, Op Ed

by Guest Author Lambert Strether, an old school blogger at Corrente who occasionally guest posts at Naked Capitalism

The Boston Phoenix cuts to the fascist heart of Judge McIntyre's anti-Occupy Boston decision. It's one sentence:

pepper-spray-girlsLittle in the way of expression is outlawed under the United States Constitution, but an act which incites a lawful forceful response is unlikely to pass as expressive speech.”

So, that which the police suppress violently is unlikely to be protected by the First Amendment?

Then click through for the pictures of "not free speech" in Birmingham; there's a lot of linky goodness, there, too. (As usual, the scrappy weeklies are doing the work of journalists.)

Follow up:

Of course, that Citizens United says that corporations can express free speech with money, and McIntyre says that actual humans can't express free speech by Occupations, is exactly why Occupy, as a movement, isn't going away any time soon, no matter how the thuggish-by-proxy 1%ers on the Nature Conservancy board might clutch their pearls, pepper spray, batons, guns, and drone remotes.

However, the worst aspect -- the most inhumane, immoral, and inflammatory aspect -- of McIntyre's decision is that it's an enabling act for police violence.

Think about it. If a "lawful"* and "forceful" response means that whatever is forcefully responded to is "unlikely" to be free speech, then aren't departments that don't want to get sued** most likely to arm themselves with boilerplate from legal, and then break as many skulls as they can, as forcefully as they can?

NOTE * I.e., colorable by the city's attorney, using whatever language DHS suggests in one of its conference calls. Language which will no doubt gleefully cite McIntyre's decision (insofar as grey-colored Stasi apparatchiks can be gleeful about anything).

NOTE ** I.e., all of them.

Added Editor's notes:

1.  Bull_Connor was the Commissioner of Public Safety for the city of Birmingham, Alabama, during the American Civil Rights Movement.  Connor infamously directed the use of fire hoses, and police attack dogs against peaceful demonstrators, including children.

2.  Caption photo is of two young women shown after being subjected to pepper spray by NYPD officers for carrying threatening weapons (pamphlets they were trying to distribute to passers-by at an OWS gathering).  Click on photo for larger image.

3.  Photo below shows Marine Corps veteran Scott Olsen (right) threatening police seconds before he was felled by a projectile launched by Oakland police on October 26 which struck him in the head, inflicting serious injury.  The weapon held by the sailor, who was not injured, is the flagstaff for the flag visible behind his head.


Click on photo for larger image.

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