(Thill 2012) Five months and twenty-eight days


Thill, Brian. Five months and twenty-eight days. 2012 Mar 25. Available from: http://brianthill.com/2012/03/25/post-18-five-months-and-twenty-eight-days/. Accessed 2012 Apr 22. Archived by WebCite at http://www.webcitation.org/676vHxpTW.

Writing shortly before the six-month anniversary of the start of Occupy Wall Street, Thill reflects on the social pathology of a police state as manifested at times when overt confrontation between demonstrators and police is not occurring. He draws attention to the pervasive assumption that at all times the police, and only the police, have an absolute and unchallengeable right to occupy public space and to decide whose presence is legitimate and which actions are permissible:

The point is that, in such a space, the decision as to what constitutes a breach of this freedom is never yours to make. It’s the policeman who decides when your sitting becomes loitering, when your free speech becomes inflammatory, or when your right of assembly has transformed, through some bizarre alchemical process, into disorderly conduct. The definition of a police state is not restricted to acts of violence and terror. It must also be understood as that condition in which the police, the authorities who direct them, and the special interests they protect all work in tandem to invest the police with sufficient authority to make those decisions for every civilian in their purview.

Thill concludes that:

it isn’t just police brutality that must be protested, but police impunity: their belief that they are more empowered to make determinations about the nature of social relations or the uses of space than you are.

 

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