Digby's Hullabaloo
2801 Ocean Park Blvd.
Box 157
Santa Monica, Ca 90405

Facebook: Digby Parton

@BloggersRUs (Tom Sullivan)

thedigbyblog at gmail
satniteflix at gmail
publius.gaius at gmail
tpostsully at gmail
Spockosbrain at gmail
Richardein at me.com


Mother Jones
Raw Story
Huffington Post
Crooks and Liars
American Prospect
New Republic

Denofcinema.com: Saturday Night at the Movies by Dennis Hartley review archive

January 2003 February 2003 March 2003 April 2003 May 2003 June 2003 July 2003 August 2003 September 2003 October 2003 November 2003 December 2003 January 2004 February 2004 March 2004 April 2004 May 2004 June 2004 July 2004 August 2004 September 2004 October 2004 November 2004 December 2004 January 2005 February 2005 March 2005 April 2005 May 2005 June 2005 July 2005 August 2005 September 2005 October 2005 November 2005 December 2005 January 2006 February 2006 March 2006 April 2006 May 2006 June 2006 July 2006 August 2006 September 2006 October 2006 November 2006 December 2006 January 2007 February 2007 March 2007 April 2007 May 2007 June 2007 July 2007 August 2007 September 2007 October 2007 November 2007 December 2007 January 2008 February 2008 March 2008 April 2008 May 2008 June 2008 July 2008 August 2008 September 2008 October 2008 November 2008 December 2008 January 2009 February 2009 March 2009 April 2009 May 2009 June 2009 July 2009 August 2009 September 2009 October 2009 November 2009 December 2009 January 2010 February 2010 March 2010 April 2010 May 2010 June 2010 July 2010 August 2010 September 2010 October 2010 November 2010 December 2010 January 2011 February 2011 March 2011 April 2011 May 2011 June 2011 July 2011 August 2011 September 2011 October 2011 November 2011 December 2011 January 2012 February 2012 March 2012 April 2012 May 2012 June 2012 July 2012 August 2012 September 2012 October 2012 November 2012 December 2012 January 2013 February 2013 March 2013 April 2013 May 2013 June 2013 July 2013 August 2013 September 2013 October 2013 November 2013 December 2013 January 2014 February 2014 March 2014 April 2014 May 2014 June 2014 July 2014 August 2014 September 2014 October 2014 November 2014 December 2014 January 2015 February 2015 March 2015 April 2015 May 2015 June 2015 July 2015 August 2015 September 2015 October 2015 November 2015 December 2015 January 2016 February 2016 March 2016 April 2016 May 2016 June 2016 July 2016 August 2016 September 2016 October 2016 November 2016 December 2016 January 2017 February 2017 March 2017 April 2017 May 2017 June 2017 July 2017 August 2017 September 2017 October 2017 November 2017 December 2017 January 2018 February 2018 March 2018


This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?


Sunday, September 25, 2011

Protesting in Real America

by digby

So the New York Times published a predictably snide, critical view of the Occupy Wall Street protests, taking particular exception to their garb and attitude:

“I’ve been waiting for this my whole life,” Ms. Tikka, 37, told me.

“This,” presumably was the opportunity to air societal grievances as carnival. Occupy Wall Street, a diffuse and leaderless convocation of activists against greed, corporate influence, gross social inequality and other nasty byproducts of wayward capitalism not easily extinguishable by street theater, had hoped to see many thousands join its protest and encampment, which began Sept. 17. According to the group, 2,000 marched on the first day; news outlets estimated that the number was closer to several hundred.

By Wednesday morning, 100 or so stalwarts were making the daily, peaceful trek through the financial district, where their movements were circumscribed by barricades and a heavy police presence. (By Saturday, scores of arrests were made.)

I can't help but recollect the slightly different coverage of our most recent protest movement when it first burst forth on "tax day" in 2009. Of course, it was corporate sponsored, so I guess that makes it much more serious:
The Web site TaxDayTeaParty.com listed its sponsors, including FreedomWorks, a group founded by Dick Armey, the former House majority leader; Top Conservatives on Twitter; and RFCRadio.com.

The idea for the demonstrations grew in part out of a blast from Rick Santelli, a CNBC commentator who on Feb. 19 at the Chicago Mercantile Exchange said that the Obama administration was promoting “bad behavior” in helping people who were at risk of losing their homes and that Americans should protest with a tea party in Chicago.

The main goal as a national organization, said Eric Odom, the administrator of the Tax Day Tea Party Web site, “is just to facilitate an environment where a new movement would be born.”

It was hard to determine from the moderate turnout just how effective the parties would be. In Philadelphia, a rally in Center City drew about 200 rain-soaked participants.

Several hundred people showed up in Lafayette Park opposite the White House, until the park and parts of Pennsylvania Avenue were cleared while a robot retrieved what the Secret Service confirmed was a box of tea bags.
In Austin, Tex., Gov. Rick Perry energized a crowd of about 1,000 by accusing the Obama administration of restricting states’ rights and vaguely suggesting that Texas might want to secede from the union.

In downtown Houston, there were some in the crowd of 2,000 that poured into the Jesse H. Jones Plaza who also wanted Texas to secede. They were joined by other conservative groups like anti-abortion activists, Libertarians and fiscally conservative Republicans. American flags abounded, along with hand-painted placards that bore messages like “Abolish the I.R.S.,” “Less Government More Free Enterprise,” “We Miss Reagan” and “Honk if You Are Upset About Your Tax Dollars Being Spent on Illegal Aliens.” [oh my goodness. You mean conservative protests mix up their causes too??? Somebody should organize them properly.]

In Boston, the birthplace of the original tea party, the protest was on Boston Common, near the State House. The crowd, initially about 500, grew throughout the day.

“I’m not happy with the way our government is managing our taxes,” said Jo Ouimete, 54, of Northampton, Mass., who was holding an umbrella with an American flag pattern, even though the sun was shining. The umbrella had a tea pot on top and Red Rose tea bags hanging from it.

“The American taxpayers are really getting pressed too hard,” Ms. Ouimete said. “We can’t live like this, and our kids can’t live like this.”

Some participants were dressed in colonial garb, including Paul Jehle, of the Plymouth Rock Foundation, who is also a professional Boston tour guide. Mr. Jehle offered his enthusiastic audience a history lesson about the 1773 Boston Tea Party.

I suppose the mainstream press could have colorfully described them as a bunch of cranks making fools of themselves. But they didn't. Apparently, it all about what costume you decide to wear. This is apparently evidence of seriousness:

They seem to have done pretty well for themselves.

The sentence I highlighted in the piece about the Tea Party is important: "facilitating and environment so a new movement can be born." Movements don't come nicely prepackaged, even when they're corporate sponsored. They need someone to create the political space for a spark to happen. That's what the Occupy Wall Street people are doing.

The truth is that protests always have an element of street theater to them and on the left, this happens to be the theater we produce. (There was plenty of drumming up in Wisconsin ...) The point is to raise consciousness, create reaction and see if something catches. It's not easy to get attention for this sort of thing, so early protesters tend to be people who are willing to take risks and make fools of themselves in ways that the rest of us aren't. It takes a village full of weirdos to start a protest movement.

So, the fact that these people don't have full power point presentation of their goals and are asking for all kinds of disparate things is not cause to shun them. It's an opportunity to use the moment to draw attention to the problem (even if there's no fully laid out solution) and bring more people to the cause.

If anyone else has a better idea, I'm all ears. But these are the only people doing it.

Meanwhile, the New York Times should be ashamed of themselves for that trashy piece of journalism. To say that smug reporter missed the story is an understatement:

In slow motion, and with annotation explaining what is happening, the video seems to show a high-ranking member of the New York Police Department spraying a substance — the video says it is Mace or pepper spray — toward several women who were standing behind a wall of orange netting. After the spraying, one woman can be seen dropping to the ground, screaming in apparent pain.

Those women, who were already corralled behind police netting and unable to leave, were sprayed right in the face with mace.

Weirdos maybe. But brave weirdos, indeed.