Slander is defined by the New Oxford American Dictionary as “the action or crime of making a false spoken statement damaging to a person’s reputation.” Libel is the published equivalent of slander. It’s easy to imagine, of course, that for every libel, slander must come first; thus I refer to every instance of false allegations against the Occupy movement (published or not) as slanders. It will come as no surprise to the well-informed reader that such slanders are being produced by America’s conspicuous right-wing cabal, passed on via shady internet websites and faux journalist organizations the likes of Fox News. The Occupy movement is being defamed, and what’s being said of the movement is largely untrue.
The accusations made against the Occupy movement have included the usual calumnies of wild-eyed right-wing paranoiacs. The whispers can be seen on Facebook and Twitter and Fox News: they’re Communists; they’re socialists; they’re hippies; they’re working for Obama. Rah, rah! The bogeyman is under your bed. America’s right-wing can be shameless from time to time. They don’t seem to mind a good Red Scare here and there. It’s fear-mongering, of course, a tactic the right-wing uses to avoid real discussion of real issues – you know, like unemployment, corporate abuse of power, corporate personhood, and the demise of American democracy. Occupy protesters run the gamut from far-leftists, to centrists, and even to libertarian types that vote for such Republicans as Ron Paul. Just a bunch of commies and socialists? I think not. The group Occupy Marines is leading the charge in organizing the many military members and veterans who form part of the Occupy movement. Hippies? No, not just a bunch of hippies. Occupy members have, in general assemblies (the movement’s public meetings), assemblies in which I’ve participated, as well as in general assemblies throughout the country, expressed varying degrees of fury and resentment towards the Obama administration for its complacency and appeasement with regards to Wall Street and corporate megalomania.
Well, what’s wrong with a little calumny and slander, right? The whole thing stinks because it gives people the impression that when police officers beat half the life out of an Occupy protester engaged in exercising their First Amendment rights, it’s okay. Because, you know, that’s what you get for being a commie. Except that the guy who the police officers beat half to death was a veteran, who defended this country with his life once before and is defending it again by speaking out where politicians and news pundits have been eerily silent. It’s happened more than once (Oakland, the world is watching). The right-wing slander might almost make you believe rubber bullets are safe ways to disperse crowds whose message you don’t like, or that police intimidation is compatible with such liberal concepts as democracy and human rights. It just might. Unless you’re an honest, thinking person who knows who the real problem is.
Occasionally, we have debates in this country about whether or not America is a Christian nation. Who would Jesus chase, mace, and beat half to death, I wonder? America’s right-wing is notorious for its religious supremacists, with their claims that Christianity is the only way to God and that God told them he wants them to run for President, so I believe it’s fair to ask how piety could be compatible with malicious calumny. That Occupy protesters are merely a collection of Communists, socialists, hippies or Obaminions is patently false. To repeat a lie, over and over again, even when one knows it to be false, is to be a liar. Lying is a sin. See the problem here? The hypocrisy of America’s religious right continues to reach new heights. It seems fear motivates the lower and middle class people of the American right, its self-deprecating 99-percenters (see the depressing “I am the 53%” meme); callous greed motivates the upper crust, its one-percenters, the guys who run and fund everything from the “grassroots” Tea Party to Faux News. The lies and instigation waged against those working for social justice don’t just appear out of thin air: someone is coming up with them, someone is promoting them. I can tell you, whoever it is, their motivation isn’t love of God or love of neighbor.
The goals of the Occupy movement don’t seem clear to some people. In a few words: give us back our country. It doesn’t belong in the hands of over-sized banks and corporations. That’s not so far from the mainstream, now is it? The sentiments of the Occupy movement may be shared by the vast majority of Americans, but Occupiers are actually demonstrating and disobeying and doing something about it. At the very least, Americans should be defending Occupiers and their Constitutional rights. Americans should respond with fierce rejection and rebuttal of the slanders raised against Occupiers. We’ve had enough fear-mongering in this country. The 99 percent are tired of being afraid, to speak up, for their country, and for their future.