Actually I didn’t vote for him. But that is beside the point. The point I HOPE to make here is that not much has CHANGED when it comes to the repression of dissent in this country since Obama came into office.
Sitting here on the hill in Schenley Park I watch no less than 4 military helicopters constantly buzz the Pittsburgh Skyline. Police vans from Philadelphia and beyond patrol the streets of downtown creating a state of fear, a state of occupation. Over 4000 police, including 2000 national guard troops, some fresh from Iraq, are on call to ensure that Obama’s G20 party goes without a hitch.
Already the police have been going out of there way to create a state of fear before the summit starts. Seeds of Peace, a group that provides free food for activists, has been repeatedly harassed, their bus impounded, and a member arrested without reason. The Landslide Community Farm has also been raided and illegally searched by over 20 cops. No warrant was provided, the only reason given is that it was a matter of “national security.” Meanwhile the police raided several activist homes overnight, drawing guns on people, and towing cars. And after being told that the 3 Rivers Climate Convergence could leave tents setup overnight, low and behold, they have all disappeared by morning.
What is important to recognize is that this is not just a rogue Pittsburgh police force. Because the G20 has been declared a “National Security Event” the Secret Service is in charge of all police operations in relation to the G20. The Secret Service are Obama’s people. They answer to him. The preemptive repression on the streets of Pittsburgh is being done on Obama’s watch. Don’t forget that.
In an interview with the Pittsburgh Post, Obama said that protests are ineffective and that globalization is inevitable. So much for all his fiery campaign rhetoric about renegotiating NAFTA and other trade deals that have screwed workers and destroyed the environment.
Try as he may to stop the thousands who will take the streets in the coming days, he’ll have a hard time. Folks in Pittsburgh and from around the country are pissed. They are pissed about Obama’s two wars, they are pissed about impending climate chaos, they are pissed at not being able to put food on the table, and they are pissed about being unable to afford a visit to the doctor. We won’t be stopped by Obama’s attempts at squashing dissent in this country.