Journal of 911 Studies, Volume 36
March 2013
By Matthew Witt, Ph.D.

Adopting the concept of “legitimation crisis” as formulated by Jürgen Habermas (1975),this paper examines how the Occupy Wall Street movement of 2011-2012 — short lived in popular media, but still alive — has challenged the core logic of the American administrative state and, by extension, signals increasingly prevalent and tectonic challenges to the organization and management of late capitalism in a post – 9/11 world. This paper will examine, in particular, the extensive coordination of police reaction to key Occupy protest events, and how this reaction — militarized police response tactics —was in place as early as 1999 to quash any popular resistance keyed to the Iraq War or world trade policies favored by U.S. trade officials. The militarization of police is now indicative of an emerging ethos of systemic disturbances (analogous to the Solidarity Movement in Poland and similar resistances elsewhere among Soviet satellite states) with the potential to cascade rapidly into escalating and reciprocal state legitimation crises. This paper finds that the first wave of the Occupy movement of 2011 – 2012 and the stat’s (media, police, political) reaction is a harbinger of increasing symbiosis between police militarization and state terrorism surveillance directed domestically.

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