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Defense Mechanism
Dana Williams
Most complex biological organisms have built-in defenses that react on an instinctual level. Humans also have this on a biological and psychological level-- such as white blood cells and the fabled “fight or flight” instinct.

Human societies are also complex organisms, which have similar defense mechanisms that react to threats. In repressive societies (in the present-era, this is the majority), the response to such threats (i.e. liberation) is more repression. Thus, in American society, the Capitalist-Military-Police-State responds to movements and actions designed to disrupt it, such as anti-war activism.

A good case example would be Northeast Ohio. On March 15th, there was a St. Patrick's Day Parade in Akron. A local peace organization, Summit Citizens for Peace, had made plans to participate in the parade. It had received verbal confirmation of its entry from three parade organizers. It worked with a student organization to reserve a nearby university building for a rally. Yet, as the parade day approached, the powers-that-be clenched the access for Summit Citizens. First, after a newspaper article mentioned their scheduled presence in the parade, the parade organizers yanked their registration, saying they could not participate (even though Summit Citizens had gone to great lengths to ensure they would follow all rules during the parade). The next day, in response to another article about the revoked parade registration, the University of Akron yanked the room reservation from the student organization. Summit Citizens decided to go ahead anyways, and held their rally outside of the building the day of the parade. Then, as they began marching on the sidewalk, a small number of activists who had a large puppet that couldn't fit on the sidewalk began to walk it down the closed off road. One puppeteer was arrested by the police, and others were threatened with arrest.

Were the parade organizers (the Hiburniums), the university, the newspaper, and the police acting in concert to shutdown Summit Citizens and their right to be publicly visible? Perhaps. Most likely, however, is the various powerful insititutions of Akron saw an opportunity to restrict access to the group through their own independent means, and did so.

A large donor for the University of Akron's Conflict Management Program threatened to pull his funding if the director of the program continued to be a visible proponent of a peaceful solution to the Iraq situation. Later, a professor at UA was also charged with refusing to aid a campus police officer in an investigation (although when she was charged, the case was already closed), by refusing to snitch on students.

Then, in Cleveland, five protesters were arrested, some even charged with felonies (including assaulting an officer, which never happened). Students and professors at Kent State University were later charged for a march the day after the War on Iraq started for marching in the streets. Some of the key organizers were targeted although the decision to march unpermitted in the street was not initiated by them or the student organization who sponsored a legal rally on campus.

The propaganda system has been in full lurch, too. Whether through the more typical “mass media” avenues, or through the more blatant propaganda ones, there has been a steady stream of pro-Bush, pro-war, pro-US-foreign-policy perspectives, attitudes, and coverage. Most of this is likely completely unprovoked; no right-wing organizations likely had to picket CNN of Faux News to make them tell the news more “accurately”.

Finally, on May 4th in Kent, Ohio-- 33 years after a massacre of students by the National Guard-- police once again flipped out, arresting 17 people here and there, chasing students and demonstrators all over campus (seemingly at random), all with the approval of the Kent State administration which canceled an anti-war organization's rally permit and a reservation for an anti-war conference.

Whatever the guise it's done under, suppression is suppression. Elites are undoubtedly petrified that half the American population was not supportive of the war before it began. They are just as scared at the prospects internationally, where the whole world is united against them, including the governments of many ally states. Since no other country is capable of overthrowing or attacking the US, elites mostly fear the overthrow from within. Thus, the careful guard against any change or shifts in power. The more active citizens become, the more powerful institutions try to restrict the freedoms of those citizens in order to retain their control.

In many respects a clear conspiracy would be easier to understand and explain, although less likely for others to believe, due to the cynical way in which people view “conspiracy theories”. For many, it might be easier to believe that George Bush merely calls up the FBI on the phone and tells them to repress the peace movement, after which he conference calls with Lockheed Martin and a few generals to discuss the best way to milk the public coffers for more funding and oil fields for big business. But, I think that this isn't even necessary. It is merely logical that elites have a pre-existing understanding of how the American system works, and they discipline themselves within its bounds of possibilities, just as the media polices its own output.

The heart appreciates the work done by red blood cells and the brain is thankful for the oxygen taken in by the lungs. Likewise, the American power structure collaborates in an instinctual fashion to retain its power. It is biological and thus completely logical. Organisms will do whatever they need to in order to survive, and America elite interests are no different. It is up to those who have the voice to resist to do so.

05/02/03