A prominent political analyst says that despite the US government’s brutality suppression of the Occupy movements on American streets, protests will continue to grow in strength.
Press TV has conducted an interview with Tighe Barry, Codepink, to further discuss the issue.
The following is a transcript of the interview.
Press TV: The arrests and clampdowns are escalating, specifically during this weekend. Will this make the protesters go away?
Barry: Absolutely not! The resolve in Occupy DC, Freedom Plaza, and Occupy DC, McPherson Square, is 100 percent behind the occupation. The police strong-arm tactics around the country will not stop us one bit.
Today, we had an occupation of the US Chamber of Commerce that went off like clockwork. We dismantled and disrupted their organization to stop their healthcare plans in the United States.
The people are strong behind it. We want healthcare, we want jobs, we want education, and we will not stop. One of my “sheros” in New York, Debra Sweet, was perfect in how she described our resolve.
Press TV: It’s intriguing because the general public looks up to the police force as a force to protect them. But this is not the case we’re seeing as far as the protest movement we’re seeing on the streets all over America.
Barry: No. What we’re seeing now is we’re seeing the police force being used as the police force for the one percent. They don’t follow their own rules. They don’t follow even the guidelines that are set by city councils, mayors around the country. The police are acting indiscriminately even on their own accord. Sometimes, as in Oakland, the mayor comes out and says that the police weren’t acting correctly, and then the people come back in.
I think our government right now is afraid. They don’t know which way to go. They know that people want change, and they are averse to changing.
Press TV: It’s being said that the police force is only a pay cut away from joining these protest movements. Is that a fair assessment?
Barry: Yes. I’ve talked to many police officers on the beat here in Washington DC, some that are coming through Freedom Plaza. And they all have the same message. They are with us. They only are there to follow orders. They’re there to protect property, not people. They use pretense and pretext to evict and to force people out of their occupations.
In Washington DC, we’re at the seat of the American government where our representatives do not listen to us. You can’t go into our representatives’ offices and be heard unless you’re carrying millions of dollars in bags.
It’s time for them to sit up and listen to the American people, not John Boehner’s American people, not Harry Reid’s American people, but the real American people that are speaking loudly from the occupations.
These people are brave people, they’re taking the streets. They’ve got the police force, the fire force, the nurses, all the unions behind them, all the working peoples of the United States are backing the occupation. And the people in these high seats of government need to start listening to the needs of the people.
Press TV: Let me quote what police chief Chris Burbank of Salt Lake City has said to the protesters, he said, “I commit to work with you (as in the protesters) to find avenues that you can express your free speech. It just cannot be done through camping on our streets and in our parks.” What do you say to that?
Barry: I’ll tell you what. We in the American public are told we have a right to speak our mind, we have a right for our representatives to listen to us, and they’re there to vote for the people to speak.
I come from Los Angeles, California, and I’ll tell you, I live in a very liberal part of the country, and my representatives do not want to listen to us, the people. The only way we are going to get their attention is to do things like occupying, protesting, going into their offices and taking over.
We need arrests. It’s unfortunate that we need arrests. We don’t want to be arrested. We want to be able to protest peacefully. Everyone one of these protests in the United States is peaceful protests. People here are highly trained in doing what they’re doing for a peaceful protest.
It’s the police that take it to the outside. They want to use force, they want to use chemical warfare against us, they want to use batons, they want to use lines of police power to disrupt and dismantle our occupation, but it won’t happen.
We are the people and we see that we have this one chance left to stop this out-of-control government, and we’re going to take this advantage right now.
Press TV: How imperative is the occupation for achieving the goals of this movement?
Barry: Well, I think that the occupations are just a part of it. There are still people living in their homes here in DC, in Los Angeles, or there in New York who are backing the Occupy movement, who are getting back into the roots of the causes of the problems in our country.
They’re getting in touch with their representatives. They’re coming out and joining us in the protests. It’s not just the occupiers that are taking part in these Occupy movements. There are people coming from the community.
We’re going into the communities and we’re gathering support from the communities by people who are most hurt by our government, the way our government is being run right now. I see that this will continue.
If they shut one area down, we’ll just grow in another area because we’re not going to stop. The inequality is the problem here. The 1 percent versus the 99 percent, and we are more.
The money in government must end, and that’s what the people are saying. We must end the money in government and start focusing on the basic needs of the people.
I think this is not going to end anytime soon.
Press TV: What do you say to those critics that say this movement is indeed growing, it’s gaining the supporters it needs, but it’s not evolving?
Barry: I don’t know where they’re at. We evolve every single day where I’m at in Occupy DC. Every day we come up with new ideas, people talk about new and exciting thoughts about how we can help our government get back to the basics of the people’s needs.
I see that there are more and more occupations growing around the country and around the world. I disagree, there is always going to be critics. But I see that they’re becoming less relevant, and we’re becoming the more relevant voice in the world today, the occupations.