Stopping the Protesters at the Gates to Town

October 13, 2011
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Last weekend, the Dewey Square protesters occupying Boston’s business district packed up their possessions and moved en masse toward the entrance to the Charlestown Bridge but were stopped at the gates to Charlestown on the North End side of the bridge by Boston Police.

This time, it was a close call. But what happens when thousands of demonstrators want to cross the bridge – and what happens if they decide to occupy a space like the Bunker Hill Monument?

These are not irrational thoughts as anything can tend to happen in the world we live in today.

Police were absolutely correct to stop the protesters, who are ostensibly protesting unemployment and what they view as bank control of the nation’s interests.

The protesters have now moved to the Rose Kennedy Greenway, where police are watching them, actually surrounding them as their numbers seems to be growing.

Their numbers are growing as the protests are spreading across the nation.

If you are old enough to recall the Vietnam War era, the protests to that war began the same way with small groups across the nation protesting. Over time the protests spread, gathered strength, and then police tried to break them up only to find that for every action taken against the protesters, their numbers grew and interest in their protest expanded.

Television and the newspapers back then spread the word. In the end, the protesters and the power of the anti-war movement overwhelmed the war hawks. President Johnson chose not to run for re-election. Richard Nixon was elected, and under his administration the Vietnam War was finally brought to an end.

The social disruption caused by the war and the protest against it was enormous.

The same social disruption is being felt by so many millions of Americans who are out of a job with no hope in sight for a job and a government that is out of control.

The Dewey Square protesters who nearly made it into Charlestown are all connected by iPhones and computers, Tweets and blogs, e-mail and texts, and they are learning how to organize.

It is easy to dismiss these protesters with their expensive tents and bicycles and their electronic devices and their well-spoken phrases about unemployment, no hope and the treachery of American banks ripping all of us off.

Some of what they are protesting is all about the painful truth of there being no  new jobs created and not much economic hope for the future in a nation dominated by a government that saves powerful banks and lets the little people lose their jobs and then their homes and then go broke.

The protesters were stopped at the gates to Charlestown last weekend.

But where this goes in the weeks and months to come is anyone’s guess.