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The Occupy movement is being confronted with tactics that, whatever their intent, will have the effect of harming the movement they are supposed to help.  Previous have failed over as much, and there is no reason for history to repeat itself now.

Cross posted from Pruning Shears.

This was published with considerable feedback from affinis and lambert.  My sincere thanks to both of them for their help.

The Occupy movement has already had a positive impact in many areas, but potentially the biggest one is rescuing concepts of public rights and the understanding of what is public. The very idea that there could be a common good, that there are things that belong to all of us and that in fundamental ways we are all in this together seems to have been under attack for a long time now.  

For example, part of the right wing assault on the right to vote has included the talking point that since you need a license to drive why wouldn't you need a photo ID for something as important as voting?  Which actually gets the logic backwards.  Driving is a privilege, so setting a more stringent standard for it makes sense.  When it comes to the right to vote there ought to be a presumption that the individual requesting a ballot is eligible.  The law should bend over backwards to accommodate voters, not erect barriers.  Of course, on the rare occasions when fraud does happen it needs to be prosecuted vigorously.

Similarly, the idea of the public has been under assault.  The fight for a public option in the health care debate a few years back is one prominent example.  The idea of the government offering a basic menu of elementary health services to everyone seemed terribly provocative.  It ended up being left out of the final bill despite the fact that it was a very modest (compared to, say, single payer) reform.  This despite the fact that a similar model for banking has been a demonstrable and phenomenal success for nearly a century.

Meanwhile, things that currently are public are being spun off like crazy to the private sector.  Here in Ohio I've watched John Kasich push to privatize prisons, the turnpike, the lottery, and more - while turning down federal funds for public transportation.  Residents of other states have seen their own versions of this process.

Occupy has pushed back on those dynamics.  In the environment sketched out above, a group of citizens simply becoming physically present in a public space over an extended period is provocative - and has the potential to produce change.  Anything that would work against Occupiers' ability to continue to hold public space ought to be considered antithetical to the spirit of the movement.  Nothing would degrade that ability faster than violence, and having already posted extended thoughts on that subject I'll just link to both and leave it there for now.

Occupation sites that have successfully endured without too much interruption have eventually had to answer the question, now what?  Seizing and holding public space is significant, but how is it then put to use?  Here is where the struggle over what Occupy means becomes most pressing.  There seems to be a general agreement in using it to fight against systemic problems, but there seems to be a split as to how to express it.  Some favor a nonviolent mass movement, others a smaller and violent insurgency.  Which has more to recommend it?

One way to answer that is to ask: Which approach does the status quo favor?  Because the answer favored by the establishment might not be the one for activists to embrace.  A systemic critique by definition is at odds with established power.  What might authorities favor?

A movement that puts an emphasis on social justice is at least antagonistic towards those in power, and potentially is outright hostile to them.  Staging a protest against, say, stop and frisk policies is necessarily a critique of the system.  This is really just a nice way of saying to those in charge "you are not doing your job well enough."  That is not a welcome message.  Similarly, keeping people from being thrown out of their homes or pressuring banks to make real efforts to modify loans are implicit criticisms of those who are running things.  (Note also that social justice is concerned with preserving or building up, not tearing down.)

If Occupy takes the approach above it will be hard to discredit and destroy.  Nonviolent social justice is open to all and transparent, and it has an immediate, direct, and meaningful impact in the lives of those it helps.  Those who want to see that approach fail cannot go the direct route.  Instead of trying to persuade everyone that such activity is bad, it's much easier to either bog the group down in other matters or redirect the group's energy into activities that will discredit it.

Looking at how governments have subverted political movements in the past, discriminatory behavior and advocating violence feature prominently.  Presumably that is because it tends to discourage and splinter members of the movement, but in a way that leaves no obvious footprints.  Those engaging in either of those are doing the work of those who want Occupy to go away.  They may express deep antipathy towards it and may in fact feel that to the very depth of their souls, but as a practical matter they are assisting authorities.  As Charles put it in relation to violence, "if the police are paying people to smash windows, why are you doing it for free?"1  The same is true of those in Occupy who engage in harassment, racism, misogyny, homophobia or other kinds of bullying.

Similarly, look at the effects of the direct political action linked above: Nonviolent challenging of police procedures that infringe on civil liberties is far more provocative to the system than throwing a bottle at a cop.  Violence causes public support to drop and also excludes those who are not in a position to engage in a "might makes right" gesture of spectacular futility towards officers.  This too supports the state in its effort to discredit the movement in the public eye.

Finally, anything that tends to take discussions into long-winded esoteric territory (like arguments over semantics) should be viewed with extreme skepticism.  This is obviously a much more subjective measure; My brevity might be your long-windedness, and your esoteric might be my essential.  Looking at the effect of the discussion might be a good rule of thumb, though.  As Kevin Zeese and Margaret Flowers recently wrote about an extended discussion of finances at Occupy: "Whether paid or not, the impact is the same — it takes the Occupy off its political agenda and turns people off to participating in the movement."  Those things that tend to take Occupy away from the activities considered most threatening by the state will eventually subvert the movement.

I have tried to be careful not to assume motive in anyone in the above.  I take those who claim to be passionate supporters of Occupy to be just that.  But political movements are often targets of government subversion and provocateurs.  We know enough about how these agents work to identify their most common tactics.  To the extent that true believers engage in the same tactics, they act as the state's volunteer auxiliary unit.

Whether intentionally or by accident, from the outside or within, they have the potential to do great damage to Occupy.  For that to happen to a movement that is reclaiming public space, challenging injustice and dedicating itself to the common good would be a tragedy.  We have enough testimony from those who once advocated pro-government subversive tactics and have since had the opportunity to watch the reverberations echo over several decades; we do not need to repeat the mistakes that they themselves now see as catastrophic with Occupy.


NOTES

1.  Affinis recommends the documentary If a Tree Falls for a good example of activists who grew frustrated and felt powerless, then turned to violence.  The common refrain from activists on the long term impact of those decisions (Paul Soglin: "When school reopened a couple of weeks later, it was as though the life had been sucked out of the anti-war movement."  Mark Rudd: "Assuming we weren't in the pay of the FBI, we should have been.") is that they damaged the movement they were claiming to help, and helped those they claimed to oppose.
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Comment Preferences

  •  I'm not sure why people feel the need to focus on (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    MsTribble, KenBee

    a few people in one city and act like they are somehow going to discredit an entire movement.  If that's all it takes to discredit the aims of the occupy movement then it was bound for failure since the beginning.  We might as well give up now if some broken windows will ruin an entire movement.

    There revolution will not be televised. But it will be blogged, a lot. Probably more so than is necessary.

    by AoT on Mon Mar 12, 2012 at 06:00:55 PM PDT

    •  Actually the links in the diary make a good (4+ / 0-)

      case for that. So no matter how you feel about the issue it seems it is best addressed directly instead of dismissively.

      Will you march on Mothers Day to let everyone know that we will not let other people dictate what we can and cannot do with our own bodies?

      by stellaluna on Mon Mar 12, 2012 at 06:15:27 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  one bad act can distroy a lot (5+ / 0-)

        Occupy appeals to the public as a way to address and publicize their troubles. Occupy's goals depend on public support in the main. At the same time the public doesn't want either violence or distruction of property. Thus an outbreak of violence can and will diminish needed public support, perhaps not fatally at first or with one instance, but over time, with repetition public support will wane.

        Best to discuss it and air it out before it happens.

        America could have chosen to be the worlds doctor, or grocer. We choose instead to be her policeman. pity

        by cacamp on Mon Mar 12, 2012 at 06:55:32 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  Well then, it looks like it going to fail (0+ / 0-)

        Just like how the labor movement failed because there were violent factions.

        There revolution will not be televised. But it will be blogged, a lot. Probably more so than is necessary.

        by AoT on Tue Mar 13, 2012 at 05:39:14 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  It's elementary (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      joe wobblie, AoT

      violence = black bloc = anarchists,
      therefore anarchists have to be purged from Occupy.
      That seems to be the real goal here.

      •  My preferred outcome is for violence advocates (5+ / 0-)

        to be persuaded to nonviolence.  Those who are committed to violence advocacy ultimately have no place in a nonviolent mass movement, though.  If VAs cannot be persuaded to embrace nonviolence - which again, just to be extra clear, is my preferred outcome and the reason I am writing what I hope are persuasive essays - then my second choice is for VAs to feel isolated and unwelcome to the point that they take their violence advocacy elsewhere.

        I realize that may be a purge to you.  Violence and nonviolence are mutually exclusive though.  Call it what you will.

        •  If The Occupy Movement Embraces Violence... (3+ / 0-)

          they will lose the suport of most Americans.

          It is an easy choice to make.  Do you want broad support from most Americans?  Choose non-violence.  

        •  Who are the "violence advocates" you keep going on (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          AoT, joe wobblie

          about?  Who exactly is advocating violence?  The fringe crazies who talk about stringing up bankers have systemically been rejected by Occupy like a bad organ transplant.  No group is advocating violence.  So who the fuck are you talking about?

          And what gives you the right to try to purge anarchists from a movement that anarchists helped start and promote and that is based almost entirely on anarchist ideas, you bastard?  What, exactly, is your real agenda?  

          A commenter on the Pruning Shears copy of this suggests that people need to go back to the same fucking boring and futile electoral shit work like phonebanking; the whole fucking reason why OWS was so exhilarating was that it cut all that crap!  You and your ilk are trying to gut the very essence of Occupy, trick as many people as possible into staying loyal to the inevitable corpse, and channeling them back into the private empires of politicians.  Go to hell!

  •  Consider it a compliment! (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    stellaluna, G2geek, AoT

    "Occupy" is terrifying the Right. First and foremost, just take it as a compliment.

    Second, as a group, progressives must stop arguing over "angels on the head of pins." The first time I saw the ad that listed the common core goals of the movement, I wanted to stand up and cheer. Yes, I believe in individual rights. But beyond that, we must agree that we must identify the subset of goals we all agree on and move foreward on those.

    I have a dear friend whose "partner" is a "social libertarian." He pushed Obama, and now wants to quibble that he hasn't done enough. I look him in the eye and say: "More Scalias?" He won't look back at me.

    Obama has made some uncomfortable accomodations to Wall Street. I won't defend them. But I will argue--to my death--that RMoney would have been infinitely worse.

  •  Evil stupid suckers in OH voted; we didn't (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    G2geek

    The radical Republican party is the party of oppression, fear, loathing and above all more money and power for the people who robbed us.

    by a2nite on Mon Mar 12, 2012 at 06:17:37 PM PDT

    •  Republicans voted; Democrats stayed home. (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      stellaluna, joe wobblie

      And Ohio is the foretaste of things to come on a national scale if we stay home in November.  

      GOTV as if your life depends on it.  

      "Minus two votes for the Democrat" equals "plus one vote for the Republican." Arithmetic doesn't care about your feelings.

      by G2geek on Mon Mar 12, 2012 at 07:10:52 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  hmm yes and *why* did they do that? (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        joe wobblie

        it couldn't possibly be that they had seen the previous year and a half of Democratic half-measures, retreats, and failures hastily disguised as "compromise," now could it.  Definitely not.  Surely the only logical conclusion is that the voters are lazy.  Darn voters!

        •  oh, look who's here! it's mister "vandalism isn't (3+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          erush1345, FG, a2nite

          ... violence" himself!

          OK, so stay home, don't vote, and smash stuff.

          And for those who stay home on election day, when the Republican landslide comes in as a result, they can start by smashing the windows in their own homes.  

          How's that for successful activism?

          "Minus two votes for the Democrat" equals "plus one vote for the Republican." Arithmetic doesn't care about your feelings.

          by G2geek on Mon Mar 12, 2012 at 08:37:52 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

  •  what to do about provocateurs: (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    stellaluna, FG

    The goal is to make it damn clear to vandals that they will be shunned, they will be found, and they will be caught.  If they want to have a riot all by themselves, they can do it without hijacking the spotlight from Occupy, and they can deal with the consequences without Occupiers as their human shields.  

    So:

    First of all, legitimate protesters should be first to arrive at an Occupy site, and immediately constitute themselves as a general assembly and pass a nonviolence resolution that also explicitly includes vandalism and property destruction including graffiti.  

    It might also be worthwhile to pass a resolution against masks, since people coming to start shit typically wear 'em.  

    Thus when the Black Bloc crowd show up, "too late!", they can't have fun blocking or digressing those things.

    Second, video cameras are your friend.  The more people taking video the better.  Especially take video of the peripheries of protests, places that people normally aren't paying attention to.  That's where the baddies will attempt to get into the mix and launch their nastiness from.

    If you see people starting shit, video them and follow them without being seen.  If they get into cars, video the license plates.  

    Silly String is useful for "tagging" vandals when they're in the midst of smashing & trashing stuff.  It's harmless stuff in a spray can that squirts a bright-colored stringy mess on surfaces.  It's sold as a kids' toy and has been around for about 40 years so there's no question it's safe.  The spray can has a range of about 10 feet so you have to be willing to get close to a badguy to tag him.   The thing to do is spray it on their backs because this will make them have to stop what they're doing in order to clean it off.  

    It will also make it much easier to spot them and keep video cameras pointed at them.

    What to do after that:

    So now you've got good video.  What to do?  I say make copies and turn the originals over to the police in a very public way:  "We, Occupy, don't tolerate vandalism and violence, so we are turning over evidence of the outside agitators who did these things."   At that point it's up to the local DA to bring charges.  

    Another thing you can do is bring in a large-screeen TV during evening hours and show the video: "see them and shame them."  This by way of alerting other protesters to keep their eyes open for the creeps.

    If you tag vandals with Silly String, you can turn them over to the cops right on the spot, "Hey officer, that guy with the red stringy stuff on his back smashed those windows!" or you can video them and follow them as far as possible to try to get pictures of their faces.  

    There's nothing wrong with turning vandals over to the police.  If someone wants to do the crime, they damn well ought to be prepared to do the time.  In the end this will help with community relations, inform the public about what's really going on, and deter further instances of vandalism.  

    "Minus two votes for the Democrat" equals "plus one vote for the Republican." Arithmetic doesn't care about your feelings.

    by G2geek on Mon Mar 12, 2012 at 07:33:28 PM PDT

    •  So you advocate for violence (0+ / 0-)

      against people who damage property?

      Because our criminal justice system is violent.  And in case you haven't notices so are the police.  And so is physically restraining people.

      There revolution will not be televised. But it will be blogged, a lot. Probably more so than is necessary.

      by AoT on Tue Mar 13, 2012 at 05:46:23 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  You call it "violence"... (0+ / 0-)

        ...but others may call it "diversity of tactics".

        •  The problem being that he is explicitly arguing (0+ / 0-)

          against violence, specifically property destruction, and then following that up with a threat of violence.  That's called gross hypocrisy.

          "If you're not peaceful I'll beat you all up!!!!"

          There revolution will not be televised. But it will be blogged, a lot. Probably more so than is necessary.

          by AoT on Tue Mar 13, 2012 at 08:41:56 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  Well, maybe... (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            AoT

            ...it would be rationalized as members of the movement engaging in self-defense against agents that are actively harming the movement.  

            You see, if you're allowed to define the terms of the debate, you win every damned time.

            Like defining "violence" specifically to cover stuff that you're not into doing while excluding stuff that you are into doing.  

            That's why these discussions here never accomplish anything.  You've got two sides that aren't even speaking the same language.  They just argue past each other.

            •  In another diary somewhere (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              Bill W

              a while back someone made the point that using the language around violence wasn't particularly helpful and that it would be better to look at it as a continuum of force.  In some ways I definitely agree with that, although I find the idea that the conversation is going to happen that way unlikely.  

              Part of the problem is that there are people here saying explicitly that we shouldn't use force in self defense against the police.  I find it uncomfortable when those same people say we or our proxies should use force against people who damage property.  The point of it is to make sure that "our" movement remains "pure."  That's a whole other can of worms right there.

              There revolution will not be televised. But it will be blogged, a lot. Probably more so than is necessary.

              by AoT on Tue Mar 13, 2012 at 07:54:08 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

  •  See the provocateurs! (0+ / 0-)

    See the Evil of the Black Bloc!

    Portland anti-ALEC demonstration F29

    The Horror!

    Blogging as Ché Pasa since 2007.

    by felix19 on Mon Mar 12, 2012 at 07:42:35 PM PDT

    •  I don't think this diary is personalized against (3+ / 0-)

      any particular group. You and others seem to think it is directed toward black bloc or anarchists. I don't see that at all but rather a realistic discussion of the downside to violence or the contemplation of violent tactics within the Occupy movement. It is an important topic to address no matter which sub-group you are a part of. If you disagree with the premise of the diary it would be interesting to know why you think violence would be helpful to the Occupy movement.  

      Will you march on Mothers Day to let everyone know that we will not let other people dictate what we can and cannot do with our own bodies?

      by stellaluna on Mon Mar 12, 2012 at 08:06:34 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  The discussion regarding appropriate tactics (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        AoT

        to accomplish change has been going on since before there was an Occupy, and I'm sure it will continue long after Occupy is successful (however you want to measure that) or becomes a footnote in history. The tension between the various points of view about tactics is potentially beneficial to movements.

        The Occupy movement is by nature an organic, evolutionary, international nonviolent resistance campaign; that does not change nor is the movement destroyed because someone throws something or wears black or because a window is broken.

        Your premise is false. Disagreement with the diarist and/or his premise does not equal belief in or advocacy of "violence."

        The diarist has been engaging in smears against what he calls "violence advocates" -- which appears to be anybody who doesn't agree with or adhere to his definition of "nonviolence," including individuals who have been part of a black bloc and/or those who do not denounce diversity of tactics strenuously enough and often enough.

        I posted the video because there is a small black bloc at the front of the Portland anti-ALEC march. They are not engaging in violent acts.

        They are wearing black and bandanas over their faces -- which some nonviolence advocates declare is "violence;" they are carrying shields -- which some nonviolence advocates declare is "violence;" they are moving together in a bloc, which some nonviolence advocates declare is "violence;" and during the march they are among those who engage in a confrontation with police officers -- one in a car and two on horseback -- who try to disrupt the progress of the march. There were other confrontations with police in which the black bloc participated. To some nonviolence advocates, the very act of confrontation with the police or any authority is "violence."

        I don't happen to agree that they are engaged in "violence."

        That makes me, according to some so called nonviolence advocates a "violence advocate."

        And I call that bullshit.

        Blogging as Ché Pasa since 2007.

        by felix19 on Mon Mar 12, 2012 at 08:51:28 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Well I certainly think its fine to argue about (4+ / 0-)

          what you consider to be violence or not here and on other sites.  But as a movement I think there needs to be a definition that can be understood and identified with by the people we hope to include. If our definition or actions cause the support for occupy to diminish then that is a problem for me. I don't really care so much about the history here at dkos as I do the history the diarist has referenced in the diary. Clearly past events show us that violence (as it is defined by the people whose support we seek) is harmful to movements. Wouldn't it be more helpful to respond to this diary with facts and examples of your own about how that is not the case. But for sure, getting bogged down in semantics over what is violence and what isn't can be nothing but harmful to Occupy. Again, the definition is the one accepted and embraced by the people we need to effectuate the change Occupy seeks.  Arguments over what individuals consider to be violence may be fun for all included but they completely distract from the real issue.

          Will you march on Mothers Day to let everyone know that we will not let other people dictate what we can and cannot do with our own bodies?

          by stellaluna on Mon Mar 12, 2012 at 09:03:33 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  Please describe who are the (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            AoT

            "people we hope to include" and what they believe. Who should be disincluded and why? And what is the real issue in your estimation?

            As I have said -- and repeat -- Occupy is by nature an organic, evolutionary, international nonviolent resistance campaign. Rare acts of vandalism or throwing things do not change that.

            When people narrow the definition of nonviolence to the point that even disagreement on what constitutes violence is classified as "violence advocacy" -- as this diarist does -- it's not fun. It's bullshit.

            So. Who should we disinclude from the Occupy movement and why?

            Blogging as Ché Pasa since 2007.

            by felix19 on Mon Mar 12, 2012 at 09:24:26 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  If you don't know the answer to that then there (3+ / 0-)

              is no reason to discuss this.  But I can tell by your arguments that you are one of the people who has an agenda which doesn't exclude what the majority of people would consider violence. But instead of telling me what you think and why you think it you choose to play disingenuous verbal games.  The threat of being "disinclusive" doesn't bother me at all given the failure of the people who defend "rare acts of vandalism or throwing things" to actually defend that as something good for Occupy. Weasly excuses and arguments over "definitions" don't hide an intellectual failure to justify a position. And they are transparent. The diarist has made a very well reasoned argument supported by quite a bit of research. I haven't seen any response that comes close to an intellectual counter-argument. The failure of the people who disagree with the diarist to make a reasoned argument even further supports the notion that violence has no rational part in Occupy. The fact that a policy against violence would exclude people who can't even articulate a need for it doesn't bother me at all. Occupy doesn't have to include them.

              Will you march on Mothers Day to let everyone know that we will not let other people dictate what we can and cannot do with our own bodies?

              by stellaluna on Mon Mar 12, 2012 at 11:41:14 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  It is NOT appropriate for Occupy, but how that's (2+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                AoT, joe wobblie

                argued is what this is about.  When you say "property damage is violence" you are saying "a window is the same as a human life".  Do you expect us to accept that?  If this was really JUST about strategy, why is it SO FUCKING IMPOSSIBLE for liberals to talk about this in a way that doesn't insult anarchists?

                The only answer that seems to make sense is that this whole row isn't about black bloc or even property damage (Hedges in particular has been playing this weaselly game where he says "I'm only talking specifically about Black Bloc" and then he goes on to talk about non-Black Bloc property damage!)- it's about purging anarchists from Occupy... and destroying it if that can't be done.

              •  Thanks for so ably responding (2+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                ehrenfeucht games, stellaluna

                to this and other comments. I've enjoyed reading it.

              •  It sounds like you are worried about including (0+ / 0-)

                only the right people.  Who exactly are those people?

                There revolution will not be televised. But it will be blogged, a lot. Probably more so than is necessary.

                by AoT on Tue Mar 13, 2012 at 05:57:35 AM PDT

                [ Parent ]

                •  It sounds like you missed the point. No one should (2+ / 0-)

                  be excluded unless they damage the movement. So instead of getting up in arms about not being inclusive why don't we have a real conversation about whether or not violence hurts movements? This diarist has done that without making it personal. He has given some pretty good examples of how violence falls right into the hands of the 1%. Is it your position that it is more important not to hurt the feelings of people who would be excluded for harmful violent acts than it is to have a successful and sustainable movement?  Anyone who wants to be included just has to agree not to do things harmful to the movement. That doesn't limit it by race, politics, sex or any other catagory.

                  Will you march on Mothers Day to let everyone know that we will not let other people dictate what we can and cannot do with our own bodies?

                  by stellaluna on Tue Mar 13, 2012 at 06:38:46 AM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

                  •  I've noted on several occations (0+ / 0-)

                    that there is definitive proof that violence does not in and of itself destroy movements.  Every single major social movement in American history has been accompanied by violence with the possible exception of the womens suffrage movement.  Not to mention the fact that the anti-abortion movement has been incredibly violent and also successful.

                    My point is that we are arguing about some mythical creature.  The super violent occupier.  There have been three, maybe four cases where there has been property destruction at an occupy event.  All but one of these took place in Oakland.  If a little property destruction in one city dooms a movement then no movement would ever get anywhere.

                    Add to that the fact that there are people on this site who have started claiming that simply using phrases like "Fuck the police" is violent and maybe you can understand why some of us have a problem with all of this harping on "violence" and occupy.

                    Is it your position that it is more important not to hurt the feelings of people who would be excluded for harmful violent acts than it is to have a successful and sustainable movement?
                    No, but it is an assumption on your part, and a self fulfilling one in many ways, that property damage is going to turn off huge swathes of people and destroy the movement.  And why are the feelings of those who oppose any sort of confrontation more important?  Because that's where this is headed.  I mean, the move-in day action in Oakland was non-violent and the people involved were still demonized.  

                    There revolution will not be televised. But it will be blogged, a lot. Probably more so than is necessary.

                    by AoT on Tue Mar 13, 2012 at 06:54:48 AM PDT

                    [ Parent ]

                    •  I'm not saying there is such an animal as the (3+ / 0-)
                      Recommended by:
                      danps, Alice Marshall, AoT

                      "super violent protestor". In fact you could very well be right in that there has been relatively little violence. So what is wrong with Occupy simply stating that violence and property destruction won't be tolerated?  Its the pushback against people who worry about violence that cause the most worry as far as I am concerned. Why do some people feel they can't fully participate in Occupy unless they are given permission to be violent. And yes I include property damage in the definition of violence as do most people. If it isn't your property you have no right to destroy it without permission. To say otherwise excuses the behavior of Wall Street in destroying other people's economic worth because they want to. If Occupy accepts the premise that it's OK to harm someone else's property because you feel the need to then there is no moral argument against what the 1% does. We are just mad because they are better at it.  

                      Will you march on Mothers Day to let everyone know that we will not let other people dictate what we can and cannot do with our own bodies?

                      by stellaluna on Tue Mar 13, 2012 at 07:15:14 AM PDT

                      [ Parent ]

                      •  The big problem is that people advocating for a (1+ / 0-)
                        Recommended by:
                        stellaluna

                        diversity of tactics have been tarred as advocating for violence, even when they have not done so.  Why is it that people who are afraid of property damage necessarily should have precedent in the movement?  Clearly a lot of people are willing to participate despite some broken windows.

                        More than that the idea that smashing a window or two is somehow giving permission for the banks to fuck over millions of people is totally absurd.  I don't think breaking windows helps anything, but it is in no way equivalent to the massive fraud and dispossession of millions of people of their money and homes.

                        We are just mad because they are better at it.
                        No, I'm mad because they've built a system that systematically and ruthlessly deprives people of necessities of life, not a window here and there.  There is a very fundamental moral difference between acts of property damage as resistance, however futile, and the systemic oppression of masses of people.

                        There revolution will not be televised. But it will be blogged, a lot. Probably more so than is necessary.

                        by AoT on Tue Mar 13, 2012 at 08:50:27 AM PDT

                        [ Parent ]

                        •  People who advocate for diversity of tactics are (1+ / 0-)
                          Recommended by:
                          danps

                          not tarred with anything unless part of that diversity is violence.  And if that's how they feel then let them own it instead of hiding behind arguments such as "diversity of tactics" and "inclusiveness".  It isn't that people who are afraid of property damage necessarily have precedence, it's how some people describe Occupy.  In this very thread that description is thus:

                          As I have said -- and repeat -- Occupy is by nature an organic, evolutionary, international nonviolent resistance campaign.
                          emphasis added.

                          You don't get to have it both ways.  You can't recruit support and help claiming to be "nonviolent" and then expect it not to matter when people are violent.

                          And I disagree with you on the principle that there is a fundamental difference between feeling entitled to destroy someones' storefront window and feeling entitled to destroy their bank account.  The fundamental value is the same---that one person had the right to determine whether to deprive another person of the use and enjoyment of things of value that they are entitled to.  The self-centered entitlement is the same.  I'm sure (in fact I know) that hedge funders can come up with reasons why their decisions to take action to destroy other people's retirement accounts were the right ones under the circumstances and that they were decisions that would help people in general as well.  After all, they truly believe that a free market with complete speculative ability is good.  So the difference can't be found in the motivations.  The act is still the same.  The difference between the banks and the protester throwing rocks through a window is just one of quantity.  Banks can do it on a bigger scale because they have greater acccess.  But there is nothing to believe about the entitlement argument for destruction of property that argues for a limitation other than one of access and escape.  I could see your argument as having more weight if you were simply trashing a bank with direct ties to harmful behavior.  But vandalism and property damage don't say anything except "I think I'm entitled to judge which people are entitled to own property and under what conditions".

                          But again, this argument about whether the use of violence is legitimate or not is a strawman.  You know that the concern is the image of Occupy and the ability to keep that image untarnished by violence.  The concern of this diary and the research that supports it is that the movement will be tarnished if not severely damaged by acts of violence.  You are right that there are instances of movements succeeding even though violence was used.  And this is a much more helpful argument to you than discussions of whether there is a moral imperitive for violence.  Whether you like or not violence is not viewed favorably by the general popualtion.  If that view becomes unfavorable enough then the movement will die.  Why risk that?  Is it necessary?  Why should the movement be put at risk by a few people who simply won't commit to non-violence?  The hard working people in the Occupy group and the people who support them deserve better than that.  It is disrespectful to them and to the people Occupy is supposed to help to let a small fraction risk something so good.  This is especially so since there is no coherent reason I have heard yet that supports the need for violence from Occupy.

                          Will you march on Mothers Day to let everyone know that we will not let other people dictate what we can and cannot do with our own bodies?

                          by stellaluna on Tue Mar 13, 2012 at 12:36:50 PM PDT

                          [ Parent ]

                          •  asdf (2+ / 0-)
                            Recommended by:
                            joe wobblie, AoT
                            vandalism and property damage don't say anything except "I think I'm entitled to judge which people are entitled to own property and under what conditions".
                            Hello? You're talking about anarchists.  Whose opinion on property rights to you expect them to follow- the State?  laaaawl
                          •  I'd add to that the fact that everyone has an (0+ / 0-)

                            opinion on who can own property under what conditions and that this is a large part of what the protests are about.  Even if you aren't an anarchist you have opinions on this.  I wonder if stellaluna supports the house occupations, because those have the same problem.

                            There revolution will not be televised. But it will be blogged, a lot. Probably more so than is necessary.

                            by AoT on Tue Mar 13, 2012 at 08:15:17 PM PDT

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  Thanks again (0+ / 0-)

                            Do you blog anywhere or what? Don't keep your light under a bushel!

                  •  That conversation is impossible so long as (1+ / 0-)
                    Recommended by:
                    joe wobblie

                    liberals continue to talk with wagging fingers and closed ears.

              •  Right, stella (0+ / 0-)

                You're no more capable of telling us who in the Occupy Movement you're talking about than is the diarist or his colleagues.

                Who should we disinclude? It's a simple question, and I have no idea who fits your criteria for expulsion -- because you refuse to say.

                Word games and weaseling are all on you, the diarist and his colleagues. Whipping up fear of the nameless faceless Other, all in the name of the Movement or the Race or the Dear Children has been going on since God was a boy.

                It's a classic propaganda tactic that Chris Hedges is much better at than you are.

                So who are you talking about? Maybe it's me, huh? I've been involved with Occupy from day one. I'm not afraid of any violence initiated by people involved with the Movement. One strike against me, right? Nobody is discussing or advocating a violent resistance campaign or engaging in what are considered violent actions within the Occupy context. Those who might act out violently tend to have mental health or substance abuse issues...and I'm not in favor of excluding them simply because they might act out. Strike two, right? I don't agree that sassing police or wearing black or covering your face with a mask or bandana is violence. I don't agree that confrontation with authority is violence. I don't agree that a thrown bottle or broken window can destroy the movement. I don't agree that a "declaration of  nonviolence" is necessary. The movement IS by nature a nonviolent resistance campaign. Strike three through seven, right?

                I don't agree that anarchists or the black blocs are infiltrators or subversive of the movement. Strike eight, right? I don't agree that their presence and activism drives others away; in fact it can bring others in. Strike nine.

                I am certain, however, that the increasing brutality and violence by authority against the Occupy movement negatively affects public perceptions and support. It scares the holy shit out of ordinary people, exactly what it is meant to do. Strike ten. I guess I'll have to leave the movement now! Otherwise the Peace Police will come after me!

                I am also certain that futile arguments like this one about people you can't identify, who aren't doing things you're so afraid might be violent one day, are divisive, destructive and drive people away.

                Congratulations.

                Blogging as Ché Pasa since 2007.

                by felix19 on Tue Mar 13, 2012 at 11:18:07 AM PDT

                [ Parent ]

                •  Well it's good that you are honest about it. And (0+ / 0-)

                  it will be good for you to make sure that everyone knows these are the positions of people in Occupy.  I also have been involved with Occupy since the last week of September.  Nowhere near Oakland though.  I know that the people I work with don't want violence and have no problem saying so. I don't think you should be excluded unless you intend to use violence and property destruction to make a point.  If you do, then yes, I think you should go for the good of the rest of us.

                  The only thing I have seen that is divisive are the very few people who refuse to disavow violence.  Even though the majority of people involved don't want violence, the people who need it to feel "included" bully and create divide where there isn't any otherwise.  Who knows why you feel so strongly about the ability to hurt other people by violence and destruction of their property.  I think those emotional issues have no place in Occupy.

                  Will you march on Mothers Day to let everyone know that we will not let other people dictate what we can and cannot do with our own bodies?

                  by stellaluna on Tue Mar 13, 2012 at 12:44:53 PM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

                  •  I disavow violence; how do we get the police to (1+ / 0-)
                    Recommended by:
                    joe wobblie

                    stop engaging in it?

                    Or did you mean protestor violence?  If you find any, let me know, as that would be bad.

                  •  You're welcome to your opinion (0+ / 0-)

                    But your opinion has nothing to do with my position.

                    Who are these people who "need [violence] to feel 'included'"? Where are they? Just because some people don't agree with your opinion or your position about tactics does not mean they advocate, need or wish to impose violence on you or anyone else for that matter.

                    No one is advocating for violent resistance from within Occupy. There are plenty of people who don't agree with your opinion who are engaged in nonviolent resistance from within Occupy.

                    One last time before I abandon this thread as a lost cause:

                    The Occupy Movement is by nature an organic, evolutionary, international nonviolent resistance campaign. Rare acts of vandalism or throwing things do not change that.

                    Blogging as Ché Pasa since 2007.

                    by felix19 on Tue Mar 13, 2012 at 02:39:35 PM PDT

                    [ Parent ]

                    •  Destruction of property is violent (1+ / 0-)
                      Recommended by:
                      stellaluna

                      And small acts of violence taint the entire movement as violent. It can't be quarantined; that's a VA fantasy.

                      •  Rare acts of violence may not change your intent (0+ / 0-)

                        But they can certainly change your outcome. I guess it depends on whether you define the movement by what it says it is or by what it does.  

                        I agree we should abandon the thread because we've reached the point where we believe the other is not listening. But I appreciate the discourse and very much appreciate the diary.  It's very clear a lot of work and thought went into it

                        Will you march on Mothers Day to let everyone know that we will not let other people dictate what we can and cannot do with our own bodies?

                        by stellaluna on Tue Mar 13, 2012 at 06:16:40 PM PDT

                        [ Parent ]

                      •  Property damage is not violence nt (1+ / 0-)
                        Recommended by:
                        joe wobblie
            •  the only people whose opinions matter, apparently: (2+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              AoT, joe wobblie

              middle-class white liberals.

              What do you think Hedges meant by "mothers and fathers with strollers" (later appended with "... from New Jersey")?

              Is it a coincidence that 100% of the people who keep going on about this, as if anyone gives a fuck, are middle-class white liberals?  These fuckers don't have any idea what a bunch of whiny shits they sound like.  OMG YOUR RUINING THE MOOOOOVEEEEMMMEEEENNNNTTTTT (MLK GHANDI)

              You want to talk about violence?  20,000 slaughtered after the Paris Commune.  The five day sack of Barcelona in 1939.  Tens of millions dead in World War II.

              In Egypt last year, a thousand fucking people were killed by thugs and police, and people fought back in days of street fighting- but everyone stood right by them!  I guess it's OK if you're not white, because as we all know those people are basically animals anyway AM I RIGHT??

              Fuck.

  •  interesting discussion (0+ / 0-)

    Please sign angelajean's petition to FLUSH RUSH from AFN (Armed Forces Network).

    by 2thanks on Tue Mar 13, 2012 at 07:12:01 AM PDT

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