I’m a regular reader of Outside the Beltway and today I’d like to serve up a heaping helping of Doug Mataconis and James Joyner claim chowder. The general point these two are always making is that the Occupy movement is dirty and attracting violent elements, every setback means the protesters will give up, and the protesters are on the verge of doing crazy shit.
In the dirty and violent department, we have Tuberculosis at Occupy Atlanta, Health Threats at Occupy Wall Street and Shooting Deaths at Occupy Oakland and Occupy Burlington. The Occupy Atlanta “outbreak” was a Fox News meme that has been completely debunked. The vague “threats to health” at Zucotti park didn’t materialize. The story about the Oakland shooting makes it pretty clear that it was nearby, not in the encampment, and the shooting in Burlington was a tragic suicide by a military veteran.
In the “it’s over” department, here’s a prescient October 27 piece by Mataconis titled Occupy Wall Street on the Verge of Fizzling Out?, and last Sunday’s Occupy Portland Appears to be Over. Yesterday in Portland:
Finally, the crazy protesters meme is well represented by this post cherry picking crazy OWS participants who ended up doing nothing, and yesterday’s note by Joyner, in an otherwise quite good post about police action at UC Davis:
I truly hope Occupy doesn’t devolve into rioting. We’ve got real problems in this country with the scope of government power but this isn’t Mubarak’s Egypt. Here “authoritarian” is a tendency that we need to combat and that people like Greenwald and I can openly and forthrightly discuss without fear of reprisal and stronger than stupid comments from Internet trolls. Organized interests, particularly monied ones, have outsized influence in our system precisely because they care whereas most of us are apathetic most of the time. But there are still nonviolent political tools at our disposal and protests must be peaceful and, for the most part, law abiding.
After two months of almost completely non-violent protests, and marches where violence has mostly been initiated by cops, Joyner just can’t help his concern trolling. If UC Davis showed anything, it showed that there’s something going on in Occupy that moves the participants towards peace rather than violence. The events on the Davis quad could have devolved into a riot, but it was action by the occupiers that kept it from doing so. If you watch the entire video of Katehi’s march of shame, there was not a word spoken by any of the obviously upset yet incredibly disciplined protesters. I guess you can worry about a devolution into rioting, if you’re a worrier, but there’s no evidence that Occupy is going in that direction, just as there’s no evidence for the many other claims made at OTB by Joyner and Mataconis.
Also, too: as usual, Steven L. Taylor is turning in solid, reasonable posts.
Update: More on the run up to Friday’s Davis event, and a really compelling inside account of the events after the press conference, from the campus minister who accompanied Kathei on her walk of shame, on the ministers’ Facebook page, via RalfW in the comments. Here’s her blog with the same posts for those of you not on Facebook (via Fallows).
Shorter Matoconis and Joyner: “Stupid hippies won’t do anything to justify us hating hippies.”
Manhattan Claim or New England Claim?
@Punchy: Chesapeake Bay
@Punchy: As a Bostonian, I’d say it has to be Manhattan. We don’t put crap additives like that in our chowdah.
It’s great to see some of these folks obviously rattled and scared to such an extent that we’re now being subjected to the “take a bath and get a job” trope. That means Occupy is working and I, for one, am delighted.
And the “what do you all really want?” question is bullshit too. In order for real change to occur, the atmosphere needs to change — the air we breath needs to feel different. Occupy is doing just that — I’m not one for perfection being the enemy of the good. As the asshole said, Bring It On.
I paid for my views back in the 90s with my career coming to an abrupt end here in Washington, DC. My last day of work at an institution I loved and had given 16 years to was basically an execution. I think the outrage is healthy, long overdue, and I commend these people for their protest and the ability to control their anger in service of something more important.
I see that Occupy Tokyo is getting no press in Japan. Gee, wonder why.
This sounds very similar to one of the running rightwing stories on Memeorandum right now, the “OMG an OWS protestor was arrested with a handgun” story. Kinda rings hollow after the “who has the biggest gun” open carry policy of the Teaparty protests; especially considering the number of Tree of Liberty protest posters they had around at the time.
So once again we’re dealing with a movement that’s in its last throes? It’s just a few bitter-enders? Where have I heard this before?
Given that something’s entirely over and a nothingchowder, maybe all ten UC chancellors just want to get together for a chat over oyster crackers.
Wouldn’t she have to by pepper sprayed in the face to really feel it?
It doesn’t occur to these fools that the reason they can write their tripe without fear of reprisals is that their stuff accomplishes absolutely nothing. The Occupy people are suffering reprisals because they are actually affecting the political dialogue and scaring the powers that be.
I guess you didn’t hear the guy leading the troops in NYC last week, threatening to burn the f’in city down, throw molotov cocktails, etc.
Hundreds upon hundreds of people have been arrested. People have been assaulted, women raped, drugs bought, sold, and used, and even needles found on the ground.
Nope, nothing violent or criminal going on with OWS. Just a bunch of peaceful Woodstock hippies who want stock brokers to stop ruining the world.
Get a grip, idiot.
The actions by the UC Davis PTB were obviously designed to precipitate a riot.
The students handed them their asses by responding to an outrageous provocation with dignity, grace, courage and intelligence.
Here’s two very sane pieces, from a minister very close to the situation. And amazingly morally clear in her thoughts and writing.
They are Rev. Stoneking’s only two public FB wall posts. Both deserve a full reading, but I excerpt each briefly below. The upper post is going viral, to some extent. It’s been shared over 1,250 times on FB so far.
Why I walked Chancellor Katehi out of Surge II tonight
by Kristin Stoneking on Sunday, November 20, 2011 at 3:46am
Occupy UC Davis
by Kristin Stoneking on Saturday, November 19, 2011 at 5:36pm
What those kids at UCDavis did was the very epitome of non-violent civil disobedience. Both Gandhi and MLK would be proud and gratified to see them reacting so beautifully in the face of official oppression. Anyone who can’t see that is willfully not seeing. Anyone not pointing out that this is the same sort of non-violent resistance that King and Gandhi advocated is a fucking liar.
Those of us not-real Americans were aware that downtown areas had problems with drugs and violence long before OWS came along. But why listen to fake Americans when you can spend all your time worrying about what some parochial suburbanites think?
Huh. I kinda missed Doug’s promotion to national league clown status. He’s been Virginia’s clown for years. I occasionally feel bad for him, and he sometimes has these flashes of decency that he then feels obligated to cover up with heaping helpings of idiocy (which, lucky for him, are always close at hand).
I don’t think it’s such a crazy sentiment, but the way he expressed is like a parody of concern-trolling.
So NYC is in flames, huh? From all those molotov cocktails the protesters were throwing?
Boy, you’d think that would make the news. I guess that there LAMEstream media is just covering up the destruction of a major American city.
OT, but NYTimes heavily into “both sides do it” re supercommittee failure: blurb under headline on their website:
Article is seeded with reporting like this:
The GOP appoints members who’ve taken a pledge to Grover Norquist, and Schumer’s to blame for not thinking an agreement would result?
Incidentally, don’t look for “Grover Norquist” in the article. Not a word.
They lead with the horse race — a deal was almost there! people got up from their dinner tables! — it APPEARED at least ONE Republican might go for a deal that included a tax increase — and then he said, she said on the results.
Although it’s pretty damning to the GOP. IF you read the article.
Which low information voters and TV anchors rarely do, apparently.
Article does mention that Kyl was a chiller on the talks. That he was involved at all speaks volumes.
@MB: You really have to read his twitter feed to truly appreciate the level of nonsense he spews.
@DougJ: Yeah, the rest of the post makes sense, but there seems to be a general need on his part (and more so on Mataconis’) to show cred by pissing on the Occupy movement in some fashion or other.
@RalfW: Thanks, those are both excellent.
Why anybody treats what Mataconis and Joyner have to say as any more relevant or significant than what you’d hear from your average crazy guy on your average city street corner is beyond me.
What? No phony “spitting on the troops” stories yet? They’re way behind on thier “Welcome to the 1960’s” cliches.
I’m guessing that we’re in projection-land here. So, let’s suppose that Joyner and Mataconis were protesting something-or-other (alternate-universe hypothesis, I know, but bear me out here), and some idiot jumped up and suggested they all go out and break some windows. What would Joyner and Mataconis do? If one assumes that their concerns are sincere and arise from introspection (i.e., since they clearly don’t arise from facts), then the answer has to be that they’d go out and break some windows. They’d be DFHs, after all, and that’s what DFHs do.
The Republic of Stupidity
Well… it has been covered in the press pretty heavily…
Not to mention the problems in other cities…
@Caz: I will note that there is not one cite or link in your Hannity/Limbaugh sourced rant. Not one.
Gin & Tonic
This morning’s reports are that the UC Davis police chief has been placed on leave as well. The shit continues to hit the fan.
I got a heapin’ helpin’ of Mataconis arrogance a few weeks ago on one of his OWS threads. He used the white, latte-sipping students of privilege meme to try and dismiss the notion that college students are graduating in deep debt with no job prospects.
When I pointed out that first-in-their-family-to-attend students of color were getting a really raw deal after risking ruinous debt, Mataconis’ response was “people make bad choices.” What a prick.
It amazes me that liberals are often called condescending. I guess when you talk down to people but you do it aggressively, all the wingnutters just hear the aggression and miss the contempt for the middle and working classes that is embedded.
Thanks for the excerpts. The links aren’t really public since they require a FaceBook login, so that helps.
@Chyron HR: Mistermix is also complicit in this coverup. He’s so sneaky that he links to the story about the molotov cocktail guy in this very post.
@Nutella: I put in a link to her blog in the main post – it has the same content.
Oh you silly liberal! Cokie Roberts explained it this morning on NPR! They had played a soundbite of Patty Murray saying the Republicans on the committee were more committed to their pledge to a millionaire lobbyist than to the American people and the anchor asked Cokie if that didn’t sound like Democratic talking points. Oh yes, Cokie laughed. And Grover Norquist doesn’t bother to correct them, she says, because he loves how they attribute so much power to him. Ha ha ha! What a hilarious idea!
They also earlier had some “expert on bipartisan” something or other explain that both sides on the Super Committee failed to trust each other enough. Why, if only the Democrats had trusted that if they really made tough cuts the Republicans WOULD come through with revenue increase! Really, they would! Foolish, untrusting Democrats!
Seriously, compared to this the guy on Marketplace Morning who talked about the committee sounded like a wild-eyed lefty.
The emperor Bloomberg trots out yet another shameless gambit of his increasingly despotic reign: BREAKING NEWS AT 8:00PM! Mayoral press conference on Sunday night!
Terrorist Bomb Plot Foiled!! Lone-wolf Al-Qaeda sympathizer arrested for targeting NYPD cops and “returning US troops”!
Note the time of the announcement: ample opportunity for the newspaper’s morning editions and television’s morning broadcasts (unlike say the 1:00am police raid on Zuccotti Park; and of course the media was invited, not blockaded.) Note too the bathetic language employed: “returning US troops.”
A terrorist plot so brazen, so insidious that the FBI declined to participate during the two years of the NYPD investigation.
A terrorist so evil, so determined that the uncle with whom he shared an apartment in upper Manhattan had no idea of his nephew’s ideological affinities or bomb-making hobby.
But the emperor knows his courtiers. It’s all just another shiny new object for a New York City media competitive only in its efforts to fellate the billionaire.
I know I feel safer this morning now that another OWS DFH, I mean Mooslim terrahist (probably the same thing) is off the streets. Kinda makes me all wistful for those heroic days of the Terrorist Warning Color Chart.
@Gin & Tonic:
Re: the police chief, I thought this was particularly damning in Rev. Stoneking’s comments (sorry about the @FB sign-in requirement)
I realize this needs more context, esp for ppl not on Facebook. Here is a larger excerpt from Rev. Stoneking. I won’t blockquote as it’s hard to format parag breaks (FYWP):
Occupy UC Davis, by Kristin Stoneking, extended excerpt
The responses I received from Assistant Vice Chancelor [Griselda] Castro were:
*a volunteer committee is communicating with the students for the administration
*The police were not supposed to be in riot gear and the administration was also not happy about their response
*The administration is overworked and doing the best they can
*The Chancellor is unavailable due to her triple booked schedule to move forward her agenda of globalization and internationalization of the university
*The university’s highest goal is safety
While each of these responses is deeply problematic, perhaps the most concerning is that “the administration’s highest goal is safety.” This rhetoric is echoed in the Chancellor’s letter to the campus community after the pepper spraying, abuse and arresting of students peacefully protesting on the quad on Friday afternoon. I thought the university’s highest goals were the education of its students, advocacy of open dialogue, training in critical reflection, character and leadership development and the quest for knowledge, beauty and truth.
The ironies are overwhelming. Instead of insuring the stated “highest goal,” the police are violating the safety of the campus community. If the administration is dismayed about the response of the police, who is in charge? If certain members of the administration and staff are too overwhelmed due to budget cuts to respond appropriately, are they not also part of the 99%? I suggested this to AVC Castro and wondered out loud why she didn’t join the Occupiers. In the nine years I have known AVC Castro I have watched her health deteriorate and her control over her own life wane, all in faithful service to the university. This is not a rant against any one person, rather a depiction of a disturbingly dysfunctional system, a call for open and democratic dialogue, and a plea for leadership.
Hey-What’d Statler and Waldorf ever do to you? I object to this comparison on their behalf.
Gin & Tonic
@RalfW: As a non-Facebookist, thanks for providing that.
Oh, good, her writing is really public. (And, its a bit un-Minnesotan of me to claim it, but I tipped Fallows on the Stoneking item last night).
And the cannibalism! You forgot the cannibalism!
Oh, wait, that was at the Superdome in New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina. You know, where the hysteria turned out to be equally overblown but the mythology will live forever in the lizard brains of conservatives.
What’s great about Occupy is that it subverts on a couple of different levels and all of those levels work. On the rational, one can make the argument — vague is okay for the moment. On the unconscious level, it works in some devastating ways that manage to circumvent the media machine. These guys are ad guys, Canadian ad guys, who figured this stuff out.
They have taken the right wing spin machine–its subliminal messaging–and fucked it up its ass in a way they really really don’t like.
They’ve taken the corporate, commercial devices and opted to use them in a new way. It’s pretty brilliant and super exciting.
And whatever the arguments are now, they will continue to evolve because it’s like a superhero formula.
Linda Katehi says that she won’t resign as chancellor at UC Davis, because “I really feel confident at this point the university needs me.”
@TooManyJens: Linda Katehi says that she won’t resign as chancellor at UC Davis, because “I really feel confident at this point the university needs me TO BE FIRED PUBLICLY.” Fixed it for her.
@Litlebritdifrnt: That’s because it’s pure industrial-grade bullshit.
Folks get publically fired all the time. Usually after they’ve being privately fired. Getting fired sucks either way and either way she’s already fired. Getting fired sucks therefore we are all fired.
So glad I missed that on NPR. Jeebus.
Note that the “rioting” business here was in response to Glenn Greenwald’s hope that Occupy remains outside the political process and instead turns to “defiance of unjust authority.” My contention is that this means mob rules and rioting and that “garden variety electioneering” is precisely what is needed.
My postings on Occupy have tried to separate the protests from the movement. Protests generally and those who rely on sustained activity such as overnight campouts in particular, are bound to attract a disproportionate share of nuts, weirdos, and others one doesn’t want as the face of the movement. Because of our media environment, though, they’ll get disproportionate attention. And, as it gets colder and otherwise less hospitable to camp out, the ratio will only get worse.
@Elliecat: most Monday mornings I want to dive into my dashboard and throttle Cokie Roberts. She is worse than Peggy Noonan.
@James Joyner: Thanks for responding, but don’t you think the UC Davis Students have moved the politics forward with nonviolent tactics rather than rioting?
You are projecting your own dire fantasies about what might happen; I am pointing to what actually is happening. Eventually, you might perhaps be correct, but right now you seriously risk creating what you decry. Which is the very definition of a concern troll.
@James Joyner: I understand that it is certainly possible that OWS could at some future time turn into riots. But the history of the movement to date has been the absolute opposite – it has been characterized by almost extreme non-violence. So “defiance of unjust authority” for OWS means “nonviolent defiance of unjust authority” not “rioting”. To pretend that GG meant otherwise is to engage in some pretty obvious concern trolling.
Protests generally and those who rely on sustained activity such as overnight campouts in particular, are bound to attract a disproportionate share of nuts, weirdos, and others one doesn’t want as the face of the movement.
Well, protests AND the Republican presidential primary process. Let’s be clear about that.
@pete: @mistermix: It’s often hard to tell with Glenn, who’s both a very insightful commentator and someone who lives at the edge of absurdo ad reductio.
I agree that sitting there peacefully and getting pepper sprayed is almost ideal for Occupy, if not the protestors. They become the equivalent of the civil rights marchers in their Sunday best getting attacked by redneck cops and police dogs.
These sort of activities–whether it’s Occupy or the Tea Party–are a constant struggle to both garner public attention and yet not alienate it by going too far. There have also been incidences of unlawful, dangerous protest tactics such as blocking city streets, attacking drivers, and the like. It doesn’t take much of a spark at all for that to turn into a full-blown riot.
Protests generally and those who rely on sustained activity such as overnight campouts in particular, are bound to attract a disproportionate share of nuts, weirdos, and others one doesn’t want as the face of the movement.
You state this as fact, but it seems unsupported by evidence. Did, say, the civil rights protests of the 1950s and 1960s attract a “disproportionate share of nuts, weirdos and others” etc., or were the protestors actually the sane, sober people in the face of the nuts and weirdos of the white Southern power structure?
Were the protests in 1989 East Berlin, or the anti-Iraq War protests around the word in 2002, or the anti-Mubarak 2011 Cairo, etc. populated by a disproportionate cast of nuts and weirdos, or were the nuts and weirdos rather the venal, opportunistics thugs in power who thought they could lie to, cheat and steal from their own people?
It doesn’t take much of a spark at all for that to turn into a full-blown riot.
The “spark” is often provided by our militarized police, who attack without provocation protestors who are peacefully attempting to express their First Amendment right to peaceably assemble.
“The Chancellor is unavailable due to her triple booked schedule to move forward her agenda of
globalization and internationalizationprivatization of the university”
The Chancellor’s agenda is to get more out-of-state and international students, because they pay the full ride, unlike the California students the UC system is theoretically for. To be fair, the impetus for this isn’t just the “run UC like a business” ethos of Yudof (the $800,000 Man) but it’s the result of the priorities of California voters, which can be summed up as “Are there no prisons?”
What floors me about the Occupy movement is not only that so many continue to show up and carry the torch, but that they also do so in ways that put their personal comfort at risk. Watching the UC Davis students before they were violently accosted, they knew they were going to be subject to malicious treatment by a paramilitary force. They were willing to take those risks to protest, among other things, a catastrophic tuition increase that would force a good number of their fellow students out of school.
Personal risk is what separates Occupy from the teatards. Occupy protesters are willing to make personal sacrifices for the benefit of others, while the teabaggers were screaming to protect their own personal comforts at the expense of the greater national good. Further, the Occupy people are willing to exchange the violence they are subject to with a peaceful response, the teatards openly spoke of protecting their self-interest with violence. I’ve never seen in my lifetime such profound expression of patriotism by a virtuous side of America against the corrosive forces of selfishness and greed.
@James Joyner: Perhaps you were not watching. The important part of the UC Davis action was emphatically NOT about “sitting there peacefully and getting pepper sprayed” — the important part happened after that, when the students in the moment shamed the rest of the police to backing off, and later shamed the chancellor with their silent witness to her leaving.
I don’t know what they will do next — I am more than 100 miles away — but their reactions give me great hope. They are an example to us all.
Worth also remembering: The Watts riots of 1965 and the long hot summer of 1967. The Civil Rights movement was accompanied by actions the organizers did not intend or support. Don’t cite that movement as a paragon of nonviolence unless you are willing to accept the penumbra. Selective memory does not help.
Exemplary non-violence has characterized the Occupy movement since its inception two months ago. That strategy has compelled city officials and their security forces (and now the despicable Linda Katehi to concoct dubious pretexts of health and safety concerns to eradicate protest encampments.
In the face of non-violent resistance, security forces have responded with escalating violence for which Joyner’s “media environment” has held them to little account. Thus inoculated from accountability, the relevant authorities can sanction more aggressive, even unlawful actions in an effort to provoke protesters to respond combatively.
Once that occurs, the “media environment” will know just what to do.
If they (i.e., the vast anti-hippie, leave us alooone, stifle protest wherever it occurs conspiracy) manage to radicalize UC Davis they’re really stepped in the cow merde. Davis is a sleepy ag university in a small, relatively wealthy college town, not planted in the middle of one of our largest metro areas (Berkeley).
Historically, campus “issues” are such barnburners as drunken fratboys and drunken bicyclists. Also, too, whither foam dome housing (Srsly: http://daviswiki.org/The_Domes) and radioactive beagle disposal (http://www.sacbee.com/2011/11/14/4052269/price-tag-for-uc-davis-to-clean.html)
I’ll guess the macing incident is something the chancellor will not survive–the regents will probably yank her soon. Ironically, without her as lightning rod I wonder whether inappropriate confrontations with protestors aren’t more, rather than less likely in the future?
@trollhattan: Predictions are hard, especially about the future. My main point is that those student protestors are so far doing great, and I think it’s counterproductive to focus on what might go wrong later.
As to what might go wrong, while I’m there even though I don’t want to be, let’s not just focus on the riots of 65–67, which caused great property damage that hurt people who owned property, let’s also remember that Malcolm and Martin and many others got murdered. And of course the most famous instance of mob rule was the 68 Chicago police riot. Yes, the possible downsides are terrible. But I do not see them. Joyner does not see them, he only fears them, and in his fear he may inadvertently help conjure the phantoms that haunt his nightmares.
@trollhattan: If they (i.e., the vast anti-hippie, leave us alooone, stifle protest wherever it occurs conspiracy) manage to radicalize UC Davis they’re really stepped in the cow merde. Davis is a sleepy ag university in a small, relatively wealthy college town, not planted in the middle of one of our largest metro areas (Berkeley).
I wouldn’t say that. Davis has been Hippie Central for years, and also, it’s a 20-minute drive from the state capitol. I’m not surprised that the students are radicalized. I shouldn’t be surprised that the administration so badly misread the situation, but then, Katehi’s never seemed to find the actual students all that important.
I don’t see many parallels with the ’60s and am not expecting a rerun. What I do see is are broad efforts across the country to snuff the flame of whatever OWS might become, even absent Koch-style support. I suspect the thinking goes–if we can make demonstrations large and small, urban and suburban untenable or at least very difficult to maintain, winter will do the rest.
The many administrative and law enforcement counter-actions might be completely independent of one another, but I wouldn’t be surprised to find out they’re rather more coordinated than anybody’s letting on.
A friend shared that Stoneking essay with me before I saw it mentioned here. It really gave me some insight into the collective freakout organizations and governments do over these collective actions and even unons – it’s their first time being on the other side of the monolith.
Here’s what I responded to my friend with:
I wonder if the administration will learn any perspective from this or just continue to be afraid? They were afraid of this mass of people who were acting in concert to make their voices and positions heard, but that’s the position those students are in every day – there’s a machinery that operates, often in a very opaque way, that has tremendous impact on their lives.
If students – or citizens – are fortunate, they have some perspective about the various avenues of appeal they have when the machinery is impeding them. But it’s still a huge bureaucracy that they can’t always predict the direction and motivations of. It has individuals working within it that may or may not go off the rails and make their lives way worse, and they have little faith that the rest of the machinery will act to rein them in or even recognize their misdeeds. Cf: the tepid administration response to that police officer pepper-spraying seated students.
So when faced with the people who they make decisions about coming together and exhibiting the smallest parallel to their authority, the Chancellor and others find themselves terrified. Yes, they hear the promise of peaceful respect – but can they count on the group keeping all their members in line? Do they have any hope that they’ll restrain bad actors?
The chancellor and others got a great chance to walk in the other side’s shoes for a little while. Wonder if they noticed that their stroll didn’t come with pepper spray. Wonder if they thought about the parallel there, that they feared the possibly-rogue actions of a person, enabled by the situation, who might harm them?