N2 was clearly a day that belonged to the students. They were the ones who organized the protest and pulled it off. The enthusiastic energy they brought to this protest was a welcome change to some of the other protests that have become tired and predictable.
Although the students had walked out of their classes, many for the first time, they learned an important lesson that could never be taught in school. They experienced firsthand the repressive role of the police to squelch dissent. They witnessed the police arresting and harassing protestors without any real provocation. bEn was a moving target as soon as we hit the streets. So were other organizers and predictably, several anarchists. The "higher ups" must have ordered the cops to intimidate and rough us up. No more "unpermitted" protests in Little Beirut! Yes, it could have been worse. At least they didn't blast us with pepper spray or smash our heads, like before.
Dissent, especially when effective, has always been criminalized and repressed by the ruling elites. The police were, and still are, their weapon for social control and repression. Police brutality is, and has always been, a coercive form of state repression. They can get away with it because we don't live in a democracy. Whenever the interests of the ruling elites are threatened, we can be sure that the "army of the rich" will be deployed to suppress us, and the hell with our constitutional rights. History is full of accounts of attacks by the police and the armed forces against workers, the poor, people of color, immigrants and protestors (read Howard Zinn's "The People's History of the US" if you haven't already). The empire relies on coercion and violence to do its evil work. Just as the army is being used to put down the insurgents in Iraq, the police are used to repress the "insurgents" at home. Look at what the police and National Guard did to the poor black folks in New Orleans. Instead of helping them, they imposed curfews, martial "law and order," shot them for "looting," and evicted them from their homes.
We've got to do more than just getting rid of hateful men like Bush, Cheney, Rumsfeld, and the rest of those thugs (let's not forget those despicable Democrats!). The Neocons are just one of the nastier products of a completely ruthless empire hellbent on global domination. How many more wars for empire will young people have to fight, kill and die for after Iraq? The Neocons are part of the corporate elites, who don't give a bleep about the lives of people here, in Iraq or anywhere else. All they care about is increasing their own wealth and power, while they plunder and destroy our country, our resources and our lives. Capitalism is their death grip on the world, a system based on lies, exploitation and oppression, propped up by the armed violence of the police at home and the military abroad. Who knows how much longer this stinking rotten system can last before it destroys everything worth living for. Fighting back is no longer an option. It's the only thing left for us to do.