Thursday, February 16, 2012

Occupy and Tea Party Join Forces to Defeat Unconstitutional NDAA

Brandon Turbeville
Activist Post
February 14, 2012

In what many activists have been hoping to see for quite a while, it appears that some in the Occupy movement and the Tea Party have finally found a bit of common ground.

Although, over the past year we have seen increasing hostility between the two organizations, loose as they may be, the action in Medford Oregon between Occupy Medford and WakeUp America Southern Oregon, (a group of Conservatives, Libertarians, and Tea Party members) just might the start of a building of bridges over the fault lines between the two movements created by the establishment political system and the mainstream media.

Although the Occupy and Tea Party movements will obviously continue to disagree with one another over issues such as the economy, the fact is that a large portion of both movements can agree that our civil liberties are under threat. After close to a year of bickering and attacking each other, however, it appears that at least some members of both sides are ready to work together on the issues where they both agree. In this instance, it is the passage of the National Defense Authorization Act of 2012 (NDAA) – the bill that gives the President the authority to detain American citizens indefinitely without trial by way of the U.S. military.

As Occupy Medford accurately summed up in their press release, published by OpEdNews, on February 12, 2012,
The indefinite detention clauses (sections 1021 and 1022) within this year's National Defense Authorization Act (signed into law 31 December 2011) are a direct attack upon the civil rights of all Americans, and represent another step taken toward eroding the freedoms which lay at the foundation of our society.

The detention sections of the NDAA begin by "affirm[ing]" that the authority of the President under the Authorization for Use of Military Force (AUMF), a joint resolution passed in the immediate aftermath of the September 11th 2001 attacks, includes the power to detain, via the Armed Forces, any person "who was part of or substantially supported al-Qaeda, the Taliban, or associated forces that are engaged in hostilities against the United States or its coalition partners," and anyone who commits a "belligerent act" against the U.S. or its coalition allies in aid of such enemy forces, under the law of war, "without trial, until the end of the hostilities...".  The text also authorizes trial by military tribunal, or "transfer to the custody or control of the person's country of origin," or transfer to "any other foreign country, or any other foreign entity."[1]

After signing the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2012 into law, President Obama issued a statement on it that addressed "certain provisions that regulate the detention, interrogation, and prosecution of terrorism suspects." In the statement Obama maintained that "the legislation does nothing more than confirm authorities that the Federal courts have recognized as lawful under the 2001 AUMF.  I want to clarify that my Administration will not authorize the indefinite military detention without trial of American citizens."[1]  The only provision from which U.S. citizens are exempted here is the "requirement" of military detention.  For foreign nationals accused of being members of Al Qaeda, military detention is mandatory; for U.S. citizens, it is optional.  This section does not exempt U.S citizens from the presidential power of detention [by the military OR civilian agencies such as the CIA/DHS/FBI etc.]: only from the requirement of military detention.[2]
Due to its blatantly fascist and unconstitutional makeup, the NDAA has faced opposition from both the left and the right; Tea Partiers and Occupiers.

As a result, organizations in Southern Oregon –
Occupy Medford, Occupy Southern Oregon, and WakeUp America Southern Oregon – put their differences aside, banded together, and held a joint demonstration on February 14, at Vogel Plaza in Medford, Oregon in order protest the NDAA and its destruction of the Constitution and basic human rights.

In regards to the joint protest, Joseph Snook of WakeUp America Southern Oregon stated,

A group full of conservatives, Libertarians, and Tea-party members by the name of Wake Up America Southern Oregon is proud to unite with the Southern Oregon Occupy Movement to take a Bold Stand against the National Defense Authorization Act known as the NDAA.  Further, it is time that 'We the People', all of us unite!
Likewise, a statement from the Emery Way Occupy read,
Occupy Ashland is standing with libertarians, progressives, conservatives and the Tea-Party alike to speak out against the attack against our civil rights which is the National Defense Authorization Act. In times such as these, when the injustices of a system and a government become too large to ignore, it is vital that we stand together not as members of a political party but as fellow citizens and human beings to defend our precious freedoms.
Reports have suggested that the protest rally was a successful one, bringing together Occupiers, Tea Partiers, Republicans, Democrats, Liberals, Conservatives, and Libertarians all under one banner to express their opposition to the NDAA and the ongoing destruction of civil liberties taking place in the United States.
Obviously, the oligarchical establishment has always used the divide-and-conquer strategy to weaken any resistance formed against it. Regardless of those who challenge the system, the same response is always deployed. Unfortunately, whether it is separating blacks and whites, men and women, or liberals and conservatives, this strategy has been highly successful, particularly in recent years. Both the Tea Party and the Occupy Movement has fallen prey to this method as well.

But while it is a fact that the majority of the Tea Party and the Occupy Movement have been co-opted by the agents of the oligarchy, it is also a fact that these movements still contain genuine activists and individuals who want nothing more than to see a better world for themselves and their children. Indeed, the protest rally that is the subject of this article is case in point.

At this point, regardless of whether you agree or disagree with the platforms of either of these movements, it is important to note that the actions taken by the Southern Oregon activist community represent a fundamental danger to the oligarchs that currently control our society. This is because they are not allowing the age-old “divide-and-conquer” strategy to divide them. Thus, they cannot be conquered by it. These organizations have realized that there will be time enough to squabble over their disagreements later and that, for now, it is imperative that they work together on issues upon which they can agree.

Fractured, aimless, co-opted, and disjointed activists accomplish nothing. However, individuals who have come together for a common purpose and who have stated demands, accomplish revolution. In 2012, opinions are worthless. So are top-down political organizations. It is coordinated political action -- with a clear plan of solutions and demands, made up of individuals who adhere to their own principles and not those dictated to them by self-appointed leaders -- that bring change and victory.

The Southern Oregon activist community is now beginning to show signs of this coordinated action. Indeed, these individuals are now exhibiting two of the most dangerous methods of resistance as seen from the point of view of an oligarchy. First, they are truly adhering to the principles they espouse. Second, they are setting aside their differences with one another, while maintaining their own philosophies, in order to come together for the common goal of deposing the oligarchs.

History shows us that a fractured resistance cannot defeat a united enemy. Let’s hope that the cooperation shown by the activists in Southern Oregon is a sign of things to come. Let’s hope this a trend that will soon catch on nationwide.

If it does, then Southern Oregon will have taken the first steps toward building a new movement that this country has never seen the likes of in its entire history -- a movement where the 99% do not merely sympathize with protesters, but become them.

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Read other articles by Brandon Turbeville here.

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