By Rosalie Tirella
Last Worcester City Council meeting, “official” Worcester showed its true colors: an emotionally constipated city that cannot – and will not – tolerate the new and different. More over, it shows how autocratic we have allowed our city manager, Mike O’Brien, to become.
Maybe it’s time for a Strong Mayor for Worcester – someone who can actually lead the city in confusing times, someone who can actually lead. Period. Maybe speak to the angels within our souls.
But hey, this is Worcester. Konnie Lukes and the grinches will prevail!
By voting this past Tuesday night to back up City Manager Mike O’Brien’s decision to not deal with Occupy Worcester – shut them out – the Worcester City Council showed itself to be a few degress short of fascist and (their real goal) gave a kind of carte blanche to the Worcester Police Department when it comes to booting Occupy Worcester out of Wormtown. Violence may be used by the WPD. Who knows. The City Manager and the WPD have it all under control – we the people – through our short-sighted city council/elected officials – gave them the right.
We Worcesterites and anyone with a heart, an interest in free speech or an intertest in righting the social/economic ills in this country can just take a powder. Occupy Worcester will not be speaking for anyone here in this town. The second largest city of New England will be silent in the OW movement. So different from Boston (national heroes!), Providence and small cities in Vermont, etc.
We will, thanks to City Councilor Konnie Lukes and the other city councilors who last week signed onto her screwy order to back up CM Mike O’Brien’s decision to freeze out OW, have stifled OW. Except for Ric Rushton and Mayor Joe O’Brien – who voted to support Occupy Worcester’s very American right to protest, to speak against social ills, to gather on our city and town commons to protest injustice or just to meet. The City Council put a billy club over the questioning, unweildy and idealistic head of Occupy Worcester.
Not exaclty a very scary bunch of folks. Many of OW’s trrops are young. Many are older. There are even a few retired Worc. professors thrown into the mix. For Lukes and company to treat the OW brigade members as if they were a few steps away from being Worcester’s premier drug lords and hoodlums. People who will wreak havoc on Worceseter! People who will bring guns, drugs, etc to the fine streets of Wormtown is nutty.
For the most part this movement is beyond peaceful – it’s almost too egalitarian. So egalitarian that it has yet to come up with specific goals and issues it wants to get behind. (See below posts for some ideas from Michael Moore). But they are great polticial street theater. They are calling attention to America’s BIG ISSUES/BIG PROBLEMS. And they are inspiring other AMERICANS to say enough is enough! More and more people are catching the OW vibe -which is things don’t have to be this crumby. Big banks don’t have to have the regulatory freedom to bend all the rules, go under and then expect the American taxpayer to bail them out.
Talk about socialism!
So three cheers for Worcester Mayor Joe O’Brien and Worcester City Councilor Ric Rushton for remembering that America was founded on some of the things that OW is trying to do in 2011. Three cheers for their respect for free spech and the right to gather peacefully.
A kick in the nuts to Konnie Lukes for getting all paranoid and treating OW as if they are … Abbie Hoffman! And shame on all the city coucilors who voted to support her order to support Miker O’Brien’s lousy snubbing of OW.
They will not go away, Mike O’Brien. And if one of your cops gets too free and easy with the billy club or pepper spray, Worcester will make national headlines.
Abbie Hoffman would be proud of OW! I wish he were here to help lead the way today!