by Richard – Jan. 13th, 2016
The historical record is perfectly clear on how the State responds to insurrections – by violent response whenever any group threatens the apparatus of the State. Martin L. King Jr. was equally clear this was why Civil Rights protests must remain non-violent. As did Mahatma Gandhi, and the Occupy groups.
In the recent past we have the mega-examples of the firing on Fort Sumter, the Sinking of the Maine, and the Tonkin Gulf incident, all of which were efforts by armed opposition to Federal and State powers, and all of which brought the United States directly into a War.
We have the examples of MORE, Waco, Ruby Ridge, and Jonestown which precipitated violent State response based on protestors firing on State or Federal personnel. The “March on Washington” on August 28, 1963 did not result in violent State response; but the “Bonus Army” incident in the Summer of 1932 did, as did the “The Ludlow Massacre“ on April 20, 1914.
Recently we saw armed protest against State power at the ” Suction Gold Dredge” incident in California in 2014, and the “Bundy Ranch” episode the same year. While protesters at both sites were armed, no State personnel were killed in these incidents by protesters. An exception to this general rule is noted for the Monday, May 4, 1970 “Kent State” massacre where no State or Federal personnel were fired on by unarmed students, but four students were killed by Ohio National Guard personnel.
Fifty years ago a group of armed “Black Panther Party” members occupied the grounds of the California State Capital. While there were numerous arrests, and legislative actions which resulted, there were no deaths recorded. American Indian tribes had numerous occasions to challenge the authority of the State, and again, in almost every episode where shots were fired, massive force was used to suppress the insurrection. Perhaps the most famous were the two episodes which occurred near Wounded Knee on the Pine Ridge Reservation in South Dakota. The first in 1890 which was clearly a massacre of over two hundred unarmed Indians, their wives, and children by members of the 7th Calvary; and the second episode which occurred in 1973. Also in the early 20th Century there were several strikes by miners, railroad workers, and the aforementioned WWI veterans which was brutally suppressed by the State and Corporate armed forces, generally with the deaths occurring in the protester ranks.
During the siege at the “Bundy Ranch” the Federal and State authorities amassed a huge strike force to confront the protesters; but the siege was finally ended due primarily to the work of Sheriff Doug Gillespie. One perceived outcome from the episode was stated by Rob Mrowka who said: “The sovereign militias are ruling the day”. “Now that this precedent has been set and they’re emboldened by the government’s capitulation, what’s to stop them from applying the same tactics and threats elsewhere?” Which has come to pass less than a year later when principal members of that insurrection occupied the wildlife preserve office in Oregon. One of them is Ammon Bundy, the 40-year-old son of Nevada rancher Cliven Bundy, who is well-known as the main protagonist of the “Bundy Ranch” episode.
As reported in the MSM, the Bundys have benefitted from BLM programs, and only took exception to BLM rules when they were held to be responsible for paying grazing fees to the State which they had agreed to earlier. In the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge occupation the Hammonds had been tried, and convicted by a local jury of committing arson on Federal lands adjacent to their property, had served jail time for the offense, were temporarily released, and then were recommitted by a local judge for the full term of the original sentence.