Letter to the editor: Which side are you on, DI?

Your editorial, “Note to Occupy Participants: “Peace is Stronger,”:https://www.dailyillini.com/index.php/article/2012/01/note_to_occupy_participants_peace_is_stronger” selectively interprets “violence” in order to trash the whole Occupy Wall Street movement. First, you point out that Occupy is “formless” while you make the whole movement responsible for the property damage by some frustrated participants in Oakland. This movement is unlike a military with a clear chain of command and discipline structure. Instead, they are diversity of people and against such top-down, undemocratic structure.

Second, you characterize the recent protest in Oakland as a “riot” because they exhibited not just violence, but “(v)iolence without aim.” Well, I cannot speak for those who engaged in the property damage, and I would not personally do it. But the context and where the property damage happened (especially the City Hall) are telling. There has been a history of violent police misconducts against innocent Oakland residents, including repeated excessive force used against peaceful Occupy protesters, some journalists and curious bystanders. Yet, they often resulted in mild or no punishment. Where is justice? Where is your criticism of the police violence and political leadership? Should the Boston Tea Party be also admonished for their “violence”?

Third, you like to use Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. as the epitome of nonviolence. OK. Then, you should also refer to the fact that Dr. King faced excessive police/political interventions justified as necessary measures, took many years to accomplish as a movement, criticized deep poverty in the wealthiest country on earth and denounced his own government out of love as “the greatest purveyor of violence in the world” and the Vietnam War as a huge resource drainer. Dr. King has a lot in common with Occupy.

_Taka Ono, graduate student_