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Emma Kaplan

Emma Kaplan is the National Youth and Student Coordinator of World Can't Wait

December 11th, 2011 6:40 PM

Disrupting The Democrats and the National Defense Authorization Act

What a night! I went down to Occupy Seattle up at SCCC. Met some folks who were going to protest Maria Cantwell at the Paramount Theater.  They told me about how Maria Cantwell voted for the National Defense Authorization Act.  And yes, she is a democrat. The National Defense Authorization Act basically enables the military to round people up (including American citizens) and hold them indefinitely. 

Read more about NDAA here.

Some of the organizers were speaking to how they felt this act is  a major attack on civil liberties and further shredding up the Constitution.  We decided it was important that we wake people to the truth.  We had made signs on the spot that read Shame on Maria Cantwell and Stop Indefinite Detention Here and All Over the World. Hundreds of people were waiting in line to get in and we had very controversial discussions Many people were shocked that Maria Cantwell voted for this, while others had no idea what the NDAA actually was.  People were saying yes, they agreed with us  but things would be worse if a republican was in office. I told people that  it doesn't matter who is in office, it matters what is happening in the streets. We don't control the elections anyway, the elections control us!

There were some people who were incredibly hostile because they could not stand the idea of people criticizing the Democrats. One persontold a black man who was with us to "go back to Africa." If we were criticizing these policies under Bush to this crowd, it wouldn’t have been controversial at all but somehow if it is a Democrat that is doing that is carrying it out, people learn to accept it.  It reminds me of a quote by Bob Avakian in the book BAsics: “If you try to make the Democrats be what they are not, and never will be, you will end up being more like what the Democrats actually are.” 

A college student who majored in history and joined us on the spot, was challenging people to think critically about the democrats and  to "wake up!" Two people came up to us out of the line off of our signs and soapboxing and gave us 2 tickets to go inside. There were more than a couple people waiting in line who had 99% stickers on.  While me and an occupier named Salvador were waiting to go in, he started talking to me about the war on terror.  The military had attempted to recruit him when he was in high school and he was seriously considering joining  but a military veteran told him not to do it.  He now has another friend who toured Iraq who is "just not the same" after coming back. He talked about how the whole war on terror is just bullshit, that the powers that be want to instill fear in people and how they are after the resources of people in that region of the world. 

When Maria Cantwell starting speaking, I yelled Mic Check and starting agitating about the National Defense Authorization Act and why it was wrong and the need for people to oppose it. Some people starting chanting "6 more years", meaning 6 more years of Democrats  (and essentially 6 more years of war, torture indefinte detention etc) One guy tried to choke me while another person attempted to cover my mouth with his hand.  At the same time, there were other people who pointed at me and stood up and said yes I agree with you. And others who were clapping and giving the thumbs up. We got dragged out pretty quickly but we shouted about the NDAA the whole way. We left to go up to the college to upload our video.  One of the other protesters told us that one guy came out and asked if they were with that girl who disrupted Maria Cantwell because of the NDAA. He said, "Yes I was really offended about that." The protester asked what he meant and he said, " I was really offended that Maria Cantwell voted for that."   

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