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'United States tries to suppress freedom of speech'

20 Mar 2012 - 10:21

Islam Times - The Occupy Wall Street movement gains momentum as the warm season arrives, and it seems to be persistent in its aim to put an end to the widespread corporatism in the US.

An interview with Norman Stockwell, operations coordinator at Wort-FM, to further discuss the issue.

The program also provides the opinions of two other guests, Don Debar, anti-war activist and Dave Lindorff from www.ThisCantBeHappening.org from Philadelphia.

Let us talk about this, what Mr. Lindorff has said that we are looking at a looming crisis now.

How nervous do you think that the one percenters are at this point in time, seeing that throughout winter more or less they stood their ground in different ways of course, but here it is almost spring again and immediately they are back on the streets.

How nervous are they?

Stockwell: Well, I mean I think that what we have seen is that the dialogue of the occupy has really begun to occupy the conversation, both in the political sphere leading up to the presidential campaign coming up this fall, and in the general conversation around the country.

You are hearing much more discussion of this whole issue of the one percent and the 99 percent than you would have heard a year ago.

I also think Don’s point about connecting with local issues is really important. We have all these different occupy movements across the United Sates and it is not all one movement. Each one of those movements has some things in common, but they are also connecting with what is going on in their local communities.

Here in Madison, Wisconsin the occupy camp which has gone all through the winter has been working with the homeless people in Madison to provide shelter and networking that would not have been available in any other way.

When we talk about the NO TRESPASS BILL that Barack Obama has signed and of course many experts, especially on the US constitution will say that, “one hundred percent this goes against the constitution”.

My question is , how has this administration- not only this administration but as the 99 percenters are saying, in general it seems that the government has been hijacked- how have they been able to get away with it?

And do you think that the occupiers, by making noise now, will bring this to the attention of the average Americans that they can understand that what exactly is happening inside of the country?

Stockwell: Well, I think that certainly we have seen more and more restrictions on free speech in this country recently. You know the famed photo of the pepper spraying of the students at UC Davis.

Here in Wisconsin, a number of laws restricting peoples’ access to the State Capital during the protests a year ago.

And nationally as you mentioned his changes in laws, not just the one that President Obama just signed, but in Chicago in the lead up to the NATO meetings and what would have been the G8 meetings, changing the laws there about protesting.

In New York, yesterday at Zuccotti Park 73 people were arrested, including members of the press. A friend of mine, a photographer was headed, hair-pulled and was beaten with clubs by the police, even though even saying he was a member of the press.

I think we are seeing a lot of attacks now on journalists throughout the country during this occupy movement that would previously have been unheard of, and independent media is becoming more and more important in getting the word out about what is going on around the country and so you are seeing many independent journalists that are suffering from being involved in covering these movements.

So yes, there has been a great increase in restrictions on freedom and yet at the same time people are more and more feeling the need to speak out and the internet of course has made a huge difference in that.

There is a new media site for the occupy movement that is being started at the website Occupy.com, there are many independent media efforts going on around the country to get the word out.

And I think it is also important to note that this summer is going to be an important anniversary as the 50th anniversary of the Port Huron statement, the document that was the founding document of SDS -- the Students for Democratic Society-and I think looking 50 years on from that document being created, people are going to be talking about the role of protest in building a better society in this country.