Robert Meeropol





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"Robby & Elli" 1968


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Robby speaking at the re-launch of the Mary Pitawanakwat Fund in Toronto

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STILL OUT ON A LIMB

Occupy Ukraine?

December 19, 2013

Tags: Ukraine, Occupy Wall Street

Last week NBC news reported that: “Assistant Secretary of State Victoria Nuland told Ukraine’s president early Wednesday that police action against encamped protesters calling for his resignation was ‘absolutely impermissible in a democratic society’.”

If Victoria Nuland believes this, why hasn’t she resigned from our government to protest the similar acts it took against Occupy Wall Street (OWS) protesters in late 2011 and early 2012?

As 2012 came to a close, a partially successful Freedom of Information Act legal action mounted by the Partnership for Civil Justice Fund (PCJF) forced the release of heavily redacted FBI documents that outlined our governments’ plan to violently repress a lawful protest movement. The documents revealed that the FBI, Department of Homeland Security, local polices forces, and an array of cooperating governmental and private security firms, initiated a set of actions that dwarfed those taken so far by the police in the Ukrainian capital of Kiev.

A shadowy quasi-Governmental organization entitled the Domestic Security Alliance Council coordinated a national campaign to clear all the OWS encampments and to arrest those who resisted. Although a couple of years have passed, we should not forget that this led to attacks that resulted in thousands of arrests and hundreds of beatings. In the documents the FBI justified this response because, despite the OWS commitment to non-violence, the FBI resolved to treat the movement as a “potential terrorist threat.”

It has been apparent for several years that the post 9/11 “counter-terrorism” laws are now used mostly against domestic dissenters. Preventing terrorism is the justification for everything from ubiquitous NSA spying, to the militarization of small town police forces, while the courts look the other way as civil liberties become anachronisms. The transformation is almost complete. As far as the FBI and its buddies are concerned even those protesting peacefully against the increasingly unequal distribution of wealth and power in our nation should be treated as potential terrorist threats.

Despite the obvious undemocratic nature of our domestic politics, I doubt the Assistant Secretary of State is the only member of our government willing to self-righteously proclaim the police tactics against the protesters in Kiev “totally impermissible in a democratic society.” While I do not condone the Ukrainian police conduct, unlike the OWS protesters, Ukrainian protesters have surrounded the seat of governmental power and are demanding regime change. That presents a more immediate and powerful threat to an elected government than the largely symbolic OWS occupations.

I’m unaware of any member of the Obama Administration complaining about the police in our country attacking the Occupiers for asserting their rights of free speech and assembly. It is hard to fathom how our officials can utter such hypocritical nonsense with straight faces. I’m waiting for them to come clean, and acknowledge that the harsh actions taken to destroy OWS were “totally impermissible in a democratic society.”

I fear I’ll have to wait an awfully long time.

Selected Works

Memoir
"Bravery is rare. Tyranny is commonplace. Both define the life of Robert Meeropol, son of Julius and Ethel Rosenberg. In his heart-wrenching, honest memoir, Meeropol recounts the emotional terrors of his childhood, the kindness of Abel and Anne Meeropol-who adopted him and his older brother after their parents' execution-his struggle to vindicate his parents, and his own political activism, culminating in the creation of the Rosenberg Fund for Children, which he now directs."
Publisher's Weekly
"one of those rare books everyone should read"
–Joyce Carol Oates

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