Saturday, November 19, 2011

Here we go again.

Back in 1974 or so, I took a class on the politics of protest.

The following isn't meant to be an argument for or against the Occupy Wall Street movement. (I happen to think it's important) but about the way the protest is developing and how the establishment is responding to it.

The establishment had come out of the '60's having learned to respond to mass movements very effectively. I think, in fact, that's one of the reasons there haven't been many since then. They knew better how to respond, and even more importantly, how NOT to respond.

(Well, that and the backlash by middle America against the protests. The protest movements learned from the backlash, as well. (Gay rights and feminism). But mostly, I think the establishment learned how to deal with opposition very effectively.)

One thing that was an absolute no-no in the face of non-violent protest was a forceful response.

Pouring syrup on young people sitting at a lunch counter and punching them. Letting loose dogs on them. Power blasting them with fire hoses. Pulling them off buses and beating them. Meeting them at a bridge and charging them with batons. Throwing them in jail.

Not a good idea unless you want to give the protest movement legitimacy.

Strangely enough, the second best strategy by the establishment is -- to do nothing.

You wait them out. You cooperate. You give in a little.

Even better, you "co-opt" them. That's the best strategy of all.

You say to the protest encampment, "Please pick a person who can speak for you and who we can liaison with."

Then you take that person into your sphere of influence, and you say, "Wow. I'm really impressed by your commitment to free speech. How about if we appoint you to our blue ribbon committee. Or, you know, we could pay you a small stipend to help us understand your movement."

And you keep doing that. Taking them in, watering it down, being as soft as a marshmallow. Until you own them or you've dissipated the energy. I think, really, that happened rather quickly to the Tea Party movement.

But what you don't do is dress up in black uniforms and helmets and guns bristling and pepper spray or punch them in the stomachs. This isn't a slam against the police, but against the 'look' of the authorities right now. Not a real good image. Especially if you use force.

Bad idea.

I guess the Occupy Wall Street movement is fortunate that the current mayors and university presidents don't have anyone on staff that remembers the process of co-opting. They are helping grow the movement through their ignorance. Doing all the wrongs things all over again.

Now, if the protest movement won't also repeat past mistakes, for instance, by being foul-mouthed and violent -- maybe history won't repeat itself.

But more likely:

Here we go again.

POSTSCRIPT: I keep hearing the talking heads talking about the "winter" being enough to stop the movement. That's idiotic. Maybe the numbers will fall for a few months, but as long as they can keep it going until spring, it will come back stronger than ever.

Winter? Hey, let's say I want to get to that other field, and there is a five foot fence. Big deal, man. I'll climb the fence.

How weak do they think this protest is? (You know, unless they're right. But like I said, if they keep being filmed beating and pepper spraying protesters, I think the movements got some legs.)

I mean, the 1% problem isn't going to go away over the winter.


Anonymous said...

reports of a smear campaign by a PR firm with ties to the financial industry indicate that the Occupy Wall Street movement is meeting an increasingly tough response from opponents and from police


I thought this was classic, that the banks were investing their hard earned money in PR, its SO BEND-FUCKED(tm).

Anonymous said...

Well Dunc, I have a different opinion, I hold to the Malcolm X school of thought.

When JFK was shot in the head by the CIA 'X' said "IT was all a case of chickens coming home to roost", That of course got 'X' killed by the muslim leadership, ... but he was right on.

The trouble dunc and I think you don't understand is that these cops today are largely from the IRAQ/AFGHAN projects and they have blood thirst, these are NOT andy&mayberry cops of yesteryore.

Something has happened in the last 20 years, called 'nationalized standardized policing', in PDX most of the cops are from LA, and there most of them cop from the MILITARY aka camp-pendelton, their MARINES and they have a mission, they're battle hardened for URBAN COMBAT.

Now you take this NEW LAW ENFORCMENT and these killers are BORED out of their minds, .. you get what you will, these new-praetorians have been killing abroad for years, and as 'X' alluded its all a case of chickens coming home to roost.

CO-OPTING is taking place, but the problem now is the leadership of OWS is old-farts, and they know all too well of the fucking games, especially since that just recently the tea-baggers were co-opted, OWS has already announced they will not back candidates.

So today the status-quo has a mercenary army to defend its was a life, the outcome will not be pleasant, the blood will flow and HBM will call it a fissle, but to those parents who see their children harmed scars will be left for life.

Duncan McGeary said...

I don't see it that way.

I think the cops are predisposed to want a clean and orderly surrounding. But like any group of people some are more forceful than others. I think, however, they don't want to be the bad guys.

I bet half the mayors and university presidents are politically close to what the protesters believe, but they somehow feel like they have to keep order, as well.

So both groups feel pressure to "do something."

Like I said, they'd be better off doing nothing.

Anonymous said...

On another note let's talk about this 1%, long ago on BB2 I used to write extensively, long before HBM or Bewert appeared, I wrote about the 3%.
It's all the same for rat's, monkeys, et-al
You take men, and in time 3% will get the best women, booze, food, gold, cuz 'might makes right', ...
The problem I have with this 1% is that it might as well be HITLER talking about JEWS(bankers), this 1% is not defined very well.
But this 3% will never change, 95% will never save, and 2% will never work, but 3% of all society's rise to power ( read 'richest man in babylon' from the 1960's ).

So like all good things in the USA we rise to exceptionalism, now billionaires are common, and a few men own wash-dc, ... so the laws are written for the rich, of course this has been forever, before it was the rail-roads or steel, the difference today is the TV/INTERNET 24/7 tells the POOR that the RICH are different, and of course the POOR want what the rich have.

In most of my TALKS with the kids in OWS what I hear them saying is re-distribution of wealth, now me, you, and HBM, know this is NOT going to happen, the courts can re-distribute wealth, and they do. But wholesale re-distribution requires that cops kick down doors and take everyone's property and then re-distribute, there will be civil-war long before this happens.

Today the OWS is largely a game of jealousy, and there is something terribly wrong in the USA and the kids have little or no future.

In my mind the real problem is the USA itself its a nation of liars and thieves, and NOTHING can fix this nation, which is why I think the 'smart' already left the Titanic years ago. Those that stay and try to repair the Titanic or move the deck-chairs in the name of HOPE&CHANGE are insane.

The chickens have come home to roost, a nation that has murdered 10's of millions of souls for OIL for 50+ years deserves karmic-justice in its lifetime.

Anonymous said...

You don't understand the paradigm shift of policing dunc,

I'll try to explain,

Historically COPS came from your neighborhood, and the cop thought twice about busting a childs brain, cuz he knew the parents, and they all went to the same church.

In PDX the town was co-opted by the FBI some 20+ years ago by MOU's. 99% of the cop's are recruited out of state, with PRIOR training, almost ALL have a military background. The cops of today are a MILITARY force, its been long said that today's police department is para-military,

Even little Bend the cops are ass-holes from CALI, sure the sheriff are nice guys they tend to be locals, but city-cops tend to be hired gun's from far away, so they can be controlled, and un-leashed and turn on their own tax-payers.

Duncan McGeary said...

Nonsense, cops are still your neighbors. We don't fly them in from Bosnia.

Duncan McGeary said...

It's not hopeless. yet.

Anonymous said...

I'll say something else about the kid's and maybe you need to be talking to them or reading their 'twitters' ( #occupyport ).

They relish the exposure and fame there's is an honor now of getting your 15 minutes of pepper-spray on facebook .... There is a different mentality.

For the cop's its always the same, their bored, and they have all the power, so when some little twit call's them a bad name, they use what they have at their disposal, today cops carry dozens of non-lethal tools and they use them all with no discretion, because the MEDIA ( hbm ) has convinced us all the protesters are VERMIN.

Duncan McGeary said...

I agree they relish the limelight.

They're all jealous of us old hippies....

(even as they say they hate us...)

Duncan McGeary said...

Yeah, I think the 'leaders' of OWS are conscious of the danger of co-opting. But are the immune?

Especially if they listen to old liberals like H.Bruce, who seems to think they need to come up with 'effective' leadership and proposals.


Just keep sitting on Wall Streets doorstep.

Jack Goodman said...

And let us not forget that in Oakland they seriously injured a retired Marine angering and bringing out the ire of thousands of his fellow soldiers. I've known my fair share of Marines and will say this: if it comes down to a battle between cops and Marines, the cops lose. Oakland I think is where we really need to be watching and I'm sure that is where a lot of the footage you are speaking of comes from. That place has been a powder keg since Oscar Grant.