According to an Associated Press article in the Chicago Tribune (November 23): “During the first two months of the nationwide Occupy protests, the movement that is demanding more out of the wealthiest Americans cost local taxpayers at least $13 million in police overtime and other municipal services. The heaviest financial burden has fallen on law enforcement agencies tasked with monitoring marches and evicting protesters from outdoor camps. And the steepest costs by far piled up in
At present, estimates from various cities across
Some may argue that the nationwide Occupy movements waste taxpayer money by tying up police resources in attempts to assemble in public spaces. The argument is flawed. City administrations make the choice to spend money on policing Occupy protests.
The mass arrests at peaceful demonstrations prove how removed the government is from the needs of its people and how determined it is to silence or ignore the very people it has been created to protect. Taxpayers are all paying money into and for a corrupt system that is persecuting its own people and denying their first amendment rights. Theoretically, the 99 percent are paying, through taxes, the police and the mayor to represent us and our interests and betterment. What we support with our beliefs, words, and dollars should not be a shoeshine for the boot-heel crushing our throat.
When police departments commit free speech violations and ignore the right to peaceably assemble sponsored by taxpayer dollars, in taxpayers’ names, with taxpayer complacency, all of the taxpaying population is victimized as well. Our collective dollars are funneled toward the abuse and the violence perpetrated against fellow, peaceful people. It’s apparent how deeply the system has cracked since resources for education, employment support, insurance support are instead earmarked and wastefully spent on silencing our voices. The political and justice system have been used brutally to repress this social movement whose goals include establishing direct dialogue, increasing political awareness, combating apathy, and reshaping the concept of community in a peaceful, supportive manner. The system that every one of us pays into is used against us to stop that communication and evolution from occurring.
Occupy activists—your sisters and brothers, daughters, fathers, mothers, and sons—are fighting for the majority of humans, would happily implement direct democracy, build a community based on respect and care for one another, and raise political consciousness through conversation and education. These actions do not cost taxpayers, members of the 99 percent, a penny.
Aaron Cynic is a zine writer and project organizer in Chicago,