Why We Protest

Homan Square Protesters, Alex Freeman (TFC)

Homan Square Protesters, Alex Freeman (TFC)

With the whistle having been blown on the Chicago Police Department for their activities in Homan Square, you can expect nationwide protests in the coming weeks and months. Yes, I can already hear many of you groaning and muttering, “You asshole protesters need to stay out of the streets and stop bothering the police!” and “They have an important job to do.” I know that a number of you will be arguing that “If those people had simply obeyed the laws then they wouldn’t have found themselves in custody to begin with.” This is generally followed up with, “only criminals care about stuff like this!” There are so many things wrong with these naive statements. The Chicago Police Department is responsible for the illegal detainment, torture and abuse of countless American citizens. More are coming forward every day to tell their stories. The officers involved must be not only stripped of their badges, but imprisoned as well. That facility has to be shut down. This is non-negotiable. In a supposedly free nation, local police departments have no justification for illegally detaining their fellow citizens, abusing and torturing them.

You may think that this will never affect you, personally, in any way, shape, or form if you obey the law, if you follow orders, if you respect the police and support our government. Well, this “asshole protester” has some news for you; it doesn’t matter if you obey the government’s overreaching laws, support Obama and respect the Thin Blue Line. Police corruption and brutality knows no bounds. It is a growing problem in this country and no one, no, not even you, are immune to it.

As is the case with most instances of police brutality, abuse, and corruption, what happened in Homan Square was not merely an isolated incident. This was not one bad cop who grossly abused his position. No, there are dozens of victims that we know of, so far, and it is doubtful that one cop is responsible for every one of these cases. The CPD’s Homan Square warehouse is home to their Black Site in addition to their Evidence and Recovered Property section. Which means that this is a frequently accessed facility. So frequently used that one could safely surmise that many other officers were aware of what was going on. Given the fact that heroin from the evidence locker is being utilized as a means of interrogation I’m going to assume that someone in that unit was also aware of the ongoing detainments and abuse. If numerous Chicago lawyers were aware of it, as The Guardian has claimed, you know that the activities in Homan Square were no secret among those in the PD.

Now, having said that, can you in good conscience say that you believe that the officers of Chicago Police Department have acted constitutionally, morally and in the best interests of the citizens of Chicago? Or, would you agree that they have behaved abhorrently, with complete and utter disregard for the law, the very same constitutionally bound laws of which they have sworn an oath to uphold? If you agree that they must be reprimanded and the Homan Square facility must be shut down then I urge you to take part in your local protests, or go to Chicago and do so. The next time that you feel yourself on the verge of shouting at, or insulting activists who are out protesting, I hope that you remember this. Know that we are not out there, freezing our butts off, to piss you off and cause trouble. Just the opposite, we want you to be aware of what’s going on and we want you to help us change the system! This system affects all of us and yet so many of you are choosing to sit idly by, allowing the government and its crooked politicians to make all of the decisions for you. It’s your world too, please, start acting like it! You have a voice and you need to make it heard.

Should you do so, and I really hope that you do, be prepared to be on the receiving end of the scornful remarks that you yourself might’ve previously been uttering. You see, those of us who ask too many questions are deemed unpatriotic, anti-American. They’ll even go so far as to call us domestic terrorists. There are several problems that I have with those terms and I’ll tell you why. Let’s start with the word ‘unpatriotic’ which means not patriotic. So you’re not a patriot? Well, there are two definitions of patriot. The first being, “a person who loves, supports, and defends his or her country and its interests with devotion.” That is the type of patriotism that the government strongly encourages. Blind, unfailing trust in the system. When activists and protesters are scornfully called unpatriotic it’s due to our lack of blind support for Big Brother, for Uncle Sam, for whichever tool is currently occupying the White House. However, there is another definition of patriot and that is “a person who regards himself or herself as a defender, especially of individual rights, against presumed interference by the federal government.” Now, according to that definition I’d say that yes, we activists are very patriotic. If history has shown us anything, it is that there is nothing more dangerous than blind faith in any one leader; be they religious leader or politician.

We support individual rights and freedoms and that is what we want you to understand. Individual rights and freedoms. Sounds simple enough right? Well, you would think so. Unfortunately, maintaining them in America is apparently problematic for the government. Yes, you heard me correctly. In America, the very notion of individual rights and freedoms is problematic for the government. In the “Land of the Free,” freedom is merely an illusion. At every turn there are politicians eroding our Constitution and all of the Rights contained within it. Why are we allowing them to do so? These people were supposedly elected by ‘We the People,’ to represent us, to make decisions with our best interests in mind. Call me crazy, but I don’t find the Patriot Act or the NDAA to be in any American’s best interest, nor are they constitutional. What does this have to do with the Chicago Police Department you may be asking? Plenty. In the NDAA it grants the United States government the power and ability to indefinitely detain American citizens, without probable cause, without notifying anyone, without due process. In addition, you can be executed without ever having been committed of a crime. The CPD may not be holding people indefinitely, but they have definitely taken a page right out of the NDAA and placed it into their own playbook.

It’s all connected, it’s all part of the same corrupted, perfidious system. I will not refer to it as a broken system because to do so would be to imply that it may somehow be repairable. If the pipe under your bathroom freezes up and major cracks form in it, sure you could wrap it in duct tape, cross your fingers, and hope for the best, but realistically there’s still going to be an abundance of shit that will need to be dealt with at some point. To simply leave it there would be intolerable for all concerned. Well folks, the United States government is just like that bathroom pipe; it’s full of shit and needs to be replaced. The police departments need to have their war toys revoked and the vast majority of their forces, at least in the big cities, will need to be let go of. I’m sure that many others can be retrained, re-tested, and if properly reformed, will do what they were originally intended for; serving and protecting their fellow citizens.

As it stands right now, we have a government that, for the most part, is not only supporting a militarized police state, but is filling mainstream media with propaganda in favor of it. Look at any of these databases of police misconduct and you will find out just how out of control the police truly are. Look at the countless cases of police using brutal, unnecessary, force against protesters. There are enough videos and pictures in every corner of the internet to show examples of this. Yet, how often do you see it on TV? Rarely, right? Maybe it’s got something to do with our hypocritical leaders not wanting to be exposed for failing to practice what they preach. It’s time that we stop feeding into the propaganda. If those in office are not acting in the best interests of the people and of the nation then we must stand together and demand that they do so, or they too will be replaced.