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MIC CHECK!
November 22, 2011 4:55 PM   Subscribe

Scott Walker, Michele Bachmann, Robin Vos, Karl Rove, Joe Moore, Ron Paul, Scott Serota, Newt Gingrich, Rahm Emanuel, Eric Cantor, and, today, Barack Obama
posted by finite (195 comments total) 18 users marked this as a favorite

 
Tough crowd.
posted by Trurl at 4:59 PM on November 22, 2011 [1 favorite]


My head still goes to the wrong, more dramatically tuneful Scott Walker.
posted by item at 5:00 PM on November 22, 2011 [12 favorites]


I like that is right on the heels of the Statler and Waldorf v. Berle FPP.
posted by GenjiandProust at 5:03 PM on November 22, 2011 [2 favorites]


Note to self: stop reading comments on most websites. Seriously. Why do we keep having to go over this, self?
posted by mullicious at 5:09 PM on November 22, 2011 [32 favorites]


Makana played an occupy protest song for 45 minutes at an APEC dinner (CNN) A Hawaiian guitarist (Makana) reveals an "Occupy with Aloha" shirt and song at an APEC gala dinner.

Full song and video here
posted by yertledaturtle at 5:11 PM on November 22, 2011 [1 favorite]


Note to self: stop reading comments on most websites. Seriously. Why do we keep having to go over this, self?

I had that same problem. It didn't help that I kept thinking "Well, this is probably an accurate reflection of what non-Metafilter readers think about him."
posted by anastasiav at 5:13 PM on November 22, 2011 [1 favorite]


It's fascinating that the consistent response to an interruption with well-written, cogent arguments is endless repetitive chanting, i.e., USA! USA! USA!, or SCOTT WALKER! SCOTT WALKER! or O BA MA O BA MA...

Interesting and depressing.
posted by odinsdream at 5:17 PM on November 22, 2011 [22 favorites]


This kind of makes me giddy.
posted by Theta States at 5:19 PM on November 22, 2011 [1 favorite]


Note to self: stop reading comments on most websites. Seriously. Why do we keep having to go over this, self?

Is it just me, or is it getting worse. I remember the chat board vitriol in '08, but I don't remember it seeming so professional (I don't mean good or smart, I mean industrial and mechanized): repeated language, canned comebacks for certain things, echoes from post to post. It's almost as if there are people who believe the exact opposite of everything I believe, in its most hateful form, who are being paid to comment on these things for hours at a time in order to make sure that the ostensibly public and free form reaction to EVERY SINGLE NEWS CLIP makes it seem as though everyone else in America hates me. I suspect this is the GOP's internet strategy: make it seem like the "culture war"/election is already over. And yet, I can't stop doing reading them. Worse, I occasionally engage. I am glad, based on your comments, that I am not alone.
posted by Dromio_of_Columbus at 5:20 PM on November 22, 2011 [26 favorites]


I thought Obama handled it quite well - he actually engaged with the hecklers.
posted by KokuRyu at 5:22 PM on November 22, 2011 [11 favorites]


In Seattle, protesters recently shouted down their own supporters.

I didn't like it when those Tea Party people disrupted Town Halls and I don't like it any better when Occupiers do it. Sometimes that friggin people's mic just slows shit down.
posted by twoleftfeet at 5:26 PM on November 22, 2011 [10 favorites]


Yeah, from the reactions that were visible, Obama's seemed the most gracious. Granted, the video for Paul really sucked. I was surprised how close that guy got next to Bachmann before the cop was on the ball enough to get up on the podium.
posted by Burhanistan at 5:28 PM on November 22, 2011


I thought Obama handled it quite well - he actually engaged with the hecklers.

Well no one got tazed, so he's starting with a considerable advantage by the standards of modern political discourse.
posted by zachlipton at 5:28 PM on November 22, 2011 [19 favorites]


Sometimes that friggin people's mic just slows shit down.

As does not moving to the back of the bus.
posted by Trurl at 5:28 PM on November 22, 2011 [8 favorites]


>Sometimes that friggin people's mic just slows shit down.

As does not moving to the back of the bus.


Ah, yes, college graduates with student loans are invoking the spirit of Rosa Parks. Do go on.
posted by KokuRyu at 5:33 PM on November 22, 2011 [14 favorites]


wow, mic checks are really effective at silencing the speaker.
posted by Avenger50 at 5:36 PM on November 22, 2011 [1 favorite]


Is miccheck a US expression? I get what it means, but I don't think I've ever heard it used before, or, if so, I assumed it meant 'checking the microphone' in the time-honoured "check 2" fashion. Maybe I just live under a rock.
posted by peacay at 5:40 PM on November 22, 2011 [2 favorites]


Ah, yes, college graduates with student loans are invoking the spirit of Rosa Parks. Do go on.

Well, as I recollect the story, Ms. Parks' path to becoming someone whose spirit might be invoked in a struggle for social justice began with her being just a tired working-class woman who got pissed off enough to start "slowing things down" for people.

If you find something offensive in her presence in a discussion about OWS, you're welcome to articulate why.
posted by Trurl at 5:43 PM on November 22, 2011 [11 favorites]


My little brother is a senior at Central. I gave him a call after the speech and he was pretty annoyed about the whole thing.

Incidentally, going to the biggest high school in the biggest city in a small but important state is a lot of fun during election season. While I was a student there, Howard Dean and Al Sharpton spoke at various assemblies, and Hillary Clinton spoke at graduation the year after I finished.
posted by ChuraChura at 5:45 PM on November 22, 2011 [1 favorite]


peacay, see the wikipedia article "human microphone".
posted by finite at 5:48 PM on November 22, 2011 [1 favorite]


If you find something offensive in her presence in a discussion about OWS, you're welcome to articulate why.

There's a distinction between civil disobedience and, um, uncivil disobedience.

If the cops hurl tear gas canisters at peaceful protesters, the protesters win, because they were peaceful and the cops were not. If Occupy protesters shout down somebody else's assembly, they lose, because the assembly was peaceful but the protesters were not.

It's tactically stupid for OWS to piss off its own supporters, which is most of us, by being a minority that tries to overwhelm the majority.
posted by twoleftfeet at 5:49 PM on November 22, 2011 [10 favorites]


social justice began with her being just a tired working-class woman who got pissed off enough to start "slowing things down" for people. articulating horrific sexual violence and racism using the most effective technology at the time.

It gets really tiresome the way in which Rosa Parks gets used for every other political thing while simultaneously: a) erasing the fact it wasn't just a spur of the moment, "No, I ain't going to the back of the bus" thought, b) erasing the fact that it was also an act as part of a larger organized resistance.

People's mic: a great way to work around not being able to use amplified sound. But yes, slower than just having someone with an actual microphone.

I'm not seeing how a comment on logistics is really at all equivalent to saying people shouldn't speak at all, or, you know, pulling Rosa Parks for... I'm not sure what point, really.
posted by yeloson at 5:52 PM on November 22, 2011 [7 favorites]


Also today someone handed Obama a scrap of paper with the same message they tried to deliver with the mic check. More at The Atlantic.
posted by finite at 5:58 PM on November 22, 2011 [4 favorites]


Regarding the competing chants thing: occasioanally, when it shows up on a cable sports channel, and I have time, I'll watch some WWE. I used to love it as a kid, liked it as a college student, and still have that 'let's see how things are these days' level of interest in it.

It's nigh unwatchable now, with chants, counter chants, and assorted buffoonery, all set to an announce team that couldn't be bother to comment on what's actually going on. Having watched the Obama clip, I have to ask, is this what things are like now? Has everything become so gamified that we don't support politicians, we cheer for them like faces and heels?

I think I'll go cleanse myself with a little bit of Survivor Series now.
posted by Ghidorah at 6:02 PM on November 22, 2011 [4 favorites]


The most striking thing to me about the Obama video is when the camera pulls back to reveal the faces of contempt from all of Obama's older supporters at the base of the stage. It's emblematic of the attitude I've faced from many of my parents' friends and peers when discussing relevant Occupy protest activities.

This is the hardest generation to convince to mobilize to make any changes. The sad part is they're much more informed and well-read about politics than most people around my age, yet however liberal-leaning, the Occupy Movement is always discussed in terms of THEM. They don't feel party to the movement. They know shit is hitting the fan. But it's not their problem.

But who can blame them? They fulfilled their end of the bargain. They worked hard and raised their kids, encouraged them to go to college. That nest egg is just 10 years away. There's no need to send shock waves. Or at least to struggle. They did exactly what was asked of them, and now KIDS today want to blow it up. They have their jobs (still), and they're just waiting it out until they, too, can reach the promise land.

They completely sympathize with us, though. "It's a tough road ahead," said behind a cool sip of wine.

The lack of any radical changes in the way anything has gone in this country is what frightens me the most. All vectors are heading toward SHIT yet everyone is too complacent and comfortable to do anything behind the charade of "business as usual". They hold all the cards, too. Everyone's trying to grab all the chips they can before it all comes crumbling down. But by then, they've (hopefully) gotten their piece. But why bother to fight? They worked their asses off, and be damned if they can't capitalize on the Ponzi scheme they happen to be a couple notches higher than us meddling kids.
posted by Christ, what an asshole at 6:06 PM on November 22, 2011 [44 favorites]


You know who never cheered for anyone? Rosa Parks.

This Rosa Parks thing is gold, she is like the anti-Hitler!
posted by Ad hominem at 6:07 PM on November 22, 2011 [9 favorites]


I find these very amusing but I can't decide if they're counterproductive or not.
posted by Defenestrator at 6:07 PM on November 22, 2011


“You are the reason I ran for office.”

Well, ok, then. I just puked.
posted by mediareport at 6:08 PM on November 22, 2011 [4 favorites]


It's almost as if there are people who believe the exact opposite of everything I believe, in its most hateful form, who are being paid to comment on these things for hours at a time...

Yeah these people are everywhere, and many have specialized tools to make the job easier.

They may not actually believe what they post. There are plenty of unemployed people who have little to do other than answer ads like these.
posted by clarknova at 6:12 PM on November 22, 2011 [9 favorites]


And...using my words a bit more: Watching Obama and his strategists try to co-opt the legitimate anger in the streets aimed at his administration, which has done nothing to punish, let alone reign in, the people who spun the mortgage mess out of control, while seeing him simultaneously staying quiet about police attacking protesters in those same streets, should be enough to make anyone puke.

It reminds me of last January when he told 60 Minutes "I didn't become President to bail out rich fatcats." And yet here we are, waiting and waiting for him to do something.
posted by mediareport at 6:13 PM on November 22, 2011 [16 favorites]


If Occupy protesters shout down somebody else's assembly, they lose, because the assembly was peaceful but the protesters were not.

Peaceful my ass. These fucking dick politicians get plenty of goddamn time to peddle their shit book deals and blather endlessly on their corporate-sponsored TV networks broadcasting on the public airwaves.

It's long past time that we stop idolizing politicians in this country as celebrities with carte blanche to say whatever they want, whenever they want, without any meaningful debate or challenge. It's essentially a one-party system at this point. There is no responsible party engaging them at any level. Hopefully this is a start.
posted by odinsdream at 6:19 PM on November 22, 2011 [39 favorites]


two Januaries ago, I mean
posted by mediareport at 6:20 PM on November 22, 2011


“You are the reason I ran for office.”

Well, ok, then. I just puked.


Bush pulled the same rhetorical move if I remember correctly.
posted by clarknova at 6:21 PM on November 22, 2011


The most striking thing to me about the Obama video is when the camera pulls back to reveal the faces of contempt from all of Obama's older supporters at the base of the stage. It's emblematic of the attitude I've faced from many of my parents' friends and peers when discussing relevant Occupy protest activities.

That's odd because I've been down to Occupy Wall Street and one of the more striking aspects was the large number of older people there. And this week, some true elder spiritual leaders were at Zuccotti Park.

I admit, as someone who grew up in the late 1960s and early 1970s, the mic check general assembly thing seems a little weird, especially when people chant back every word of whatever the speaker says--if I chant something, it would have to be something I agree with--but aside from that small issue, I find mic check to be pretty effective, if a little long. Among other things, it seems to confuse security with the voices are coming from all around them. And the Chicago one was incredibly powerful.
posted by etaoin at 6:36 PM on November 22, 2011 [3 favorites]


I brought up OWS anger at Obama in the previous OWS thread.

I was (and still am) concerned that by not supporting Obama we are increasing the changes of electing a presidential candidate who is much less likely to support the OWS cause and ideals.

jeffburdges brought up a great point in his response, especially in saying, "there is a very simple reason why working for candidates gets you nothing but working for your own ideals achieves lots : You force the candidates into falling in line behind you rather than simply falling in line behind them."

But I'm still concerned that all of the Obama hate (warranted or not, it doesn't matter) will translate into people not showing up to vote for him.
posted by Defenestrator at 6:39 PM on November 22, 2011 [3 favorites]


But why bother to fight? They worked their asses off, and be damned if they can't capitalize on the Ponzi scheme they happen to be a couple notches higher than us meddling kids.

Maybe they saw their generation fight the same battle longer and harder than the occupy kids yet have, and fail. And now maybe they feel like whatever security they have is delicate enough that they shouldn't risk losing it. 'Cause, you know, I kind of feel like that's what I'd be thinking under the circumstances.
posted by moss at 6:44 PM on November 22, 2011


But I'm still concerned that all of the Obama hate (warranted or not, it doesn't matter) will translate into people not showing up to vote for him.

Then perhaps the Dems might finally learn they can't take their constituents for granted. Boy would that suck.
posted by clarknova at 6:44 PM on November 22, 2011 [8 favorites]


Sadly, I think the most responsible thing an American voter can do next year is to talk loudly about the mistakes Obama is making, vote for Obama, then continue to talk loudly about the mistakes Obama is making.
posted by auto-correct at 6:44 PM on November 22, 2011 [33 favorites]


If Occupy protesters shout down somebody else's assembly, they lose, because the assembly was peaceful but the protesters were not.

What a load. They're going up against an entity that can legally spend unlimited, anonymous cash blanketing the media with their message at all hours, drowning out any opposing voice, and you have the temerity to call interrupting a politician's PR opportunity violence?
posted by indubitable at 6:45 PM on November 22, 2011 [40 favorites]


Their only problem: should've gone two waves rather than just one :/
posted by NolanRyanHatesMatches at 6:46 PM on November 22, 2011


odinsdream, that doesn't sound to me like the Seattle City Council members that were shouted down the other day. They were open and willing to discuss the OWS agenda and had set the meeting up for that purpose.
posted by Mei's lost sandal at 6:52 PM on November 22, 2011 [1 favorite]


Defenestrator - But I'm still concerned that all of the Obama hate (warranted or not, it doesn't matter) will translate into people not showing up to vote for him.

clarknova - Then perhaps the Dems might finally learn they can't take their constituents for granted. Boy would that suck.

And then we get a Republican president. Can't we agree that would probably be significantly worse for the OWS cause? That would suck.
posted by Defenestrator at 6:52 PM on November 22, 2011 [2 favorites]


If you find something offensive in her presence in a discussion about OWS, you're welcome to articulate why.

OWS is a movement by and for the entitle 25% of Americans with college educations etc., and is nothing, nothing, nothing like the Civil Rights Movement. It makes me sick that a bunch of privileged white kids (who have legitimate complaints, and who of course have a legitimate right to freedom of speech and assembly) can be compared to someone like Rosa Parks, who was a true pioneer, and was really risking serious injury or even death by "sitting at the front of the bus."
posted by KokuRyu at 6:56 PM on November 22, 2011 [1 favorite]


>and was really risking serious injury or even death by "sitting at the front of the bus."

Yes, because people in the Occupy movement haven't experienced serious injury...
posted by SollosQ at 6:59 PM on November 22, 2011 [17 favorites]


KokuRyu - OWS is a movement by and for the entitle 25% of Americans with college educations

Whaaaa? It may be a fact that a large percentage of those active are college educated, but I don't think that means this movement is for them only. 99% includes all of those who are least advantaged in this country. Fighting against corrupt banks, corporate greed, and the unrepresentative influence they have over our politics helps those in the 99% with and without college educations.
posted by Defenestrator at 7:03 PM on November 22, 2011 [7 favorites]


I never thought I would see the day Robin Vos was mentioned on Metafilter. Hopefully, this is the last time, as that man is a dirty stain on Wisconsin politics.
posted by drezdn at 7:06 PM on November 22, 2011 [2 favorites]


Yeah, that's true. I suppose the idiotic Rosa Parks comparison triggered a momentary lapse of reason (if I ever had any in the first place!)
posted by KokuRyu at 7:07 PM on November 22, 2011


"...a bunch of privileged white kids..." KokuRyu the OWS, at least in NYC, is extremely diverse. Don't just take my word for it, that's been remarked upon by people here on metafilter who've watched the livestreams. The median age is 33. Also, you're late to the party. According to the media it's primarily made up of rapists, drug addicts, and the chronically homeless, not privileged white kids.
posted by stagewhisper at 7:12 PM on November 22, 2011 [12 favorites]


I'm more disillusioned by OWS than Obama. Obama got healthcare, green energy subsidies, high speed rail and mass transit subsidies, financial reform and two liberal female justices on the Supreme Court.
posted by humanfont at 7:12 PM on November 22, 2011 [17 favorites]


It's long past time that we stop idolizing politicians in this country as celebrities with carte blanche to say whatever they want, whenever they want, without any meaningful debate or challenge. It's essentially a one-party system at this point. There is no responsible party engaging them at any level. Hopefully this is a start.

Making oneself an annoyance isn't always a responsible start. Sympathetic folks are merely annoyed. Unsympathetic folks are getting their beliefs reinforced and feel justified in ignoring them. I agree we're short on responsible parties. Mic checking hasn't seemed to change that.

But it does feel good to get attention. So there's that.
posted by 2N2222 at 7:14 PM on November 22, 2011 [1 favorite]


Making oneself an annoyance isn't always a responsible start. Sympathetic folks are merely annoyed. Unsympathetic folks are getting their beliefs reinforced and feel justified in ignoring them. I agree we're short on responsible parties. Mic checking hasn't seemed to change that.

But it does feel good to get attention. So there's that.


Who cares about annoyances? I'm sure people were annoyed by Rosa Park who didn't know her proper place in society. I'm sure a lot of Southerners were further antagonized by the conflict generated by the Civil Rights movement. Before all these people came by calling for "equal rights", everything was peaceful. No one had complaints.
posted by SollosQ at 7:20 PM on November 22, 2011 [1 favorite]


Who cares about annoyances?

Actually, a lot of people do. Most people have to feel a certain sense of like when it comes to a lot of public discourse. Bad experiences hamper this. Can you make everyone agree with the movement in the social scene? No. But you should make yourself as approachable to the people you're supposedly helping and that are supporting you. Annoyance alienates allies, and as I told Hotspur so ever long ago, you really can't afford to lose these allies.
posted by Lord Chancellor at 7:35 PM on November 22, 2011 [1 favorite]


Seems rude and counterproductive to me.

(awaiting someone to tell me that Rosa Parks seemed rude and counterproductive to some people too, and therefore this must surely be a great thing to do)
posted by Flunkie at 7:37 PM on November 22, 2011


What Exactly Is It that Occupy Critics Don't Get About Civil Disobedience?
posted by finite at 7:44 PM on November 22, 2011 [14 favorites]


Do tell then, what you propose Occupy should do instead. Try to engage into dialogue with politicians, or you do you really think inter-civilian dialogue is actually going to make a difference?
posted by SollosQ at 7:45 PM on November 22, 2011


Shouting specifically to interrupt someone who is speaking, and whom a whole bunch of people are trying to listen to, frankly does not seem "civil" to me. It seems pretty much the opposite of "civil", actually.

As for what I propose they should do instead, uh, how about what they have been doing? Except this? Not shouting people down? I propose that.
posted by Flunkie at 7:47 PM on November 22, 2011 [5 favorites]


Do tell then, what you propose Occupy should do instead. Try to engage into dialogue with politicians, or you do you really think inter-civilian dialogue is actually going to make a difference?

They should stick to what they were doing already. They were getting tons of press, often sympathetic press, and the message was getting heard. Switching to aggressive tactics at this point won't do anything to further that message, and will do a lot to weaken it.

The disapproving article I linked to above describing how Occupy Seattle shouted down their own supporters, was published in the Stranger, whose editor-in-chief is Dan Savage, best known for his sex column (and getting Santorum redefined as ass juice). It is not by any means a conservative newspaper. When the Stranger starts publishing disapproving articles about Occupy tactics, you might wonder whether those tactics are going to piss off a broader audience.
posted by twoleftfeet at 7:49 PM on November 22, 2011 [2 favorites]


And then we get a Republican president. Can't we agree that would probably be significantly worse for the OWS cause? That would suck.

"the worse the better"
posted by clarknova at 7:52 PM on November 22, 2011 [1 favorite]


Well, at least they didn't call him a "socialist whore."
posted by homunculus at 7:55 PM on November 22, 2011


Yes, because people in the Occupy movement haven't experienced serious injury...

well, I think it's kind of a silly argument, because everything doesn't have to be compared to what came before it. The civil Rights movement was an entirely different thing in an entirely different time. But i think it is important to point out that things have gotten better in this country in regards to the brutal tactics used to squash dissent in this country. Things are still bad, but they used to be horrific.

Rosa parks was very literally risking death. When the Freedom riders acted to end segregation of interstate bus lines, they were trapped in a bus, and the bus was set on fire. It was common for local law enforcement agencies to "deputize" local citizens, and turn them loose on protesters. You know those images of the fire hoses and dogs you often see? It's rarely mentioned that was the 1963 Birmingham children's march.

To me the one thing that i feel was a serios OWS misstep was the Atlanta Occupiers not allowing Rep. John Lewis to speak at one of their rallies. There are very few living Americans who have more authority than John Lewis on what it means to put your physical self and safety on the line nonviolently in the name of social justice. Plus he's a sitting member of congress showing some solidarity with the movement when so many other people in power have been doing their best to ignore it.

So yeah the OWS movement has a ways to go before facing anything like the civil rights movement was up against. This however in no way diminishes their cause or the opposition against them.
posted by billyfleetwood at 8:03 PM on November 22, 2011


Obama is a failure and voting for him is an cowardly act done more out of fear than anything else - tell me, why else besides the fear of a worse person becoming president would anyone vote for this withdrawn, cynical, immoral man?

I am glad he got MIC-CHECKED, might remind him he is a serving a Democracy and not just implementing the policy of a few wealthy white men.
posted by Shit Parade at 8:06 PM on November 22, 2011 [4 favorites]


Well, as I recollect the story, Ms. Parks' path to becoming someone whose spirit might be invoked in a struggle for social justice began with her being just a tired working-class woman who got pissed off enough to start "slowing things down" for people.
Rosa Parks was a trained activist engaged in planned civil disobedience. Anyway, Occupy wallstreet is clearly in continuity with the stuff Martin Luther King Jr was talking about when he was assassinated.
Is miccheck a US expression? I get what it means, but I don't think I've ever heard it used before, or, if so, I assumed it meant 'checking the microphone' in the time-honoured "check 2" fashion. Maybe I just live under a rock.
It's something people say into microphones so that sound guys can adjust the levels and so on. But with the 'human microphone' thing people say it to get people synched up.
If the cops hurl tear gas canisters at peaceful protesters, the protesters win, because they were peaceful and the cops were not. If Occupy protesters shout down somebody else's assembly, they lose, because the assembly was peaceful but the protesters were not.

It's tactically stupid for OWS to piss off its own supporters, which is most of us, by being a minority that tries to overwhelm the majority.
In what sense is Obama an "Occupy Supporter"? He's raised more from Wallstreet banks so far then all the republican candidates combined so far this cycle.
Sadly, I think the most responsible thing an American voter can do next year is to talk loudly about the mistakes Obama is making, vote for Obama, then continue to talk loudly about the mistakes Obama is making.
Which is exactly what OWS is about. People are sick of the idea of voting for democrats, then watching them sell out to Wallstreet and the hyper-wealthy in order to fund their campaigns. It doesn't matter who you vote for, you get the same shit when it comes to economic policy.

Certainly social and military policy is better with the democrats, but the underlying corruption that makes results in massive military spending is still there. If we spend trillions on military equipment, then republicans are going to want to use it when they get into power.
And then we get a Republican president. Can't we agree that would probably be significantly worse for the OWS cause? That would suck.
I've always found the "We have to support Obama because the republicans are completely evil" meme to be somewhat nonsensical. Obama always claims that he's reaching out and trying to compromise with the republicans, which in practice means giving them almost everything they want. He seems to think that's a good way to govern the country.

But, if the republicans were totally evil, then wouldn't compromising with them still be evil?

On the other hand, if the republicans are actually reasonable people who just have a different but reasonable idea about how to run the country why is it so bad if they win elections?

The argument is logically inconsistent. Either republicans are totally evil and need to be fought at every turn even if it means getting almost nothing, like holding back a flood. Or republicans aren't that bad and it's not that bad if they win elections if we can get more policy pushed through when we have the chance.

But it can't be both

Anyway, OWS is non-partisan and isn't concerned about getting Obama re-elected, thank god. Because I am sick of his apologists constantly claiming that this moderated deterioration is the best our nation and the world can hope for. I want to see our problems solved and I think we have the right to demand leaders who will at least try to solve them instead of acting like they are heroes for managing decline and compromising off maniacs who want to pull everything down around them.
Obama got healthcare, green energy subsidies, high speed rail and mass transit subsidies, financial reform and two liberal female justices on the Supreme Court.
A highly watered down healthcare reform, Green energy subsidies that are way to small to matter, a small amount of high-speed rail lines, financial reform that barely did much in the form it was passed in, followed by massive watering down in it's implementation and destroyed by republicans who refused to confirm anyone to run the consumer protection beuro.

The problem is that Obama's supporters are just reading off a checklist of 'acomplishements' without checking to see whether those acomplishements actually solved any problems. The minuscule green energy subsidies are a rounding error in solving the global warming problem. We need someone who will actually get it solved instead of reducing the rate of increase of greenhouse gas emissions by 0.1%.

High speed rail lines our nice but they are the least of our problems at the moment.

As I said 'financial reform' that was passed was weak to begin with, and the only reasonably important aspect, consumer protection got the death of a thousand cuts by the government: no funding and no one confirmed to run the damn thing.
posted by delmoi at 8:06 PM on November 22, 2011 [18 favorites]


My biggest issue with this movement is that they keep getting media attention (great!) and then they don't know what to do with it. There is no clear, defined lists of demands or solutions. At least not clear to me in the various sound bites and articles I read. It seems they're wasting valuable media attention just to say "we don't like things the way they are". OK, neither do I. So what now? It would make more sense to me, and be more productive (hopefully), if they had a clear list of demands, like:
We want higher taxation for those earning over $200K (or whatever)
We want those banks and people responsible for the current economic situation to be held responsible (and be specific)
and so forth.

Because as it stands now, in my own observation of things, it doesn't really seem to be about the 99%. It seems to be more about privileged university students wanting attention and then not knowing what to do with it once they get it. I don't see a whole lot of older people or homeless or First Nations (here in Canada) being represented, just mostly middle class young white kids.
posted by 1000monkeys at 8:08 PM on November 22, 2011 [2 favorites]


And many of the people at my school involved in the movement (tangentially, anyway) can't seem to vocalize what it's all about or what they specifically want to change.
posted by 1000monkeys at 8:10 PM on November 22, 2011


Shouting specifically to interrupt someone who is speaking, and whom a whole bunch of people are trying to listen to, frankly does not seem "civil" to me.

You know what is a lot less civil? Throwing millions of people out of their homes through fraudulent means. Putting tens of millions into poverty because you refuse to pay your fair share of taxes. Refusing to give tens of millions health care and refusing to pay for proper treatment to millions more with crap policies that they are paying through the nose for. Send millions of jobs overseas so that millions of Americans no longer have a job or can find one.

Forgive me if I am not surprised that someone who was probably in one of the above groups got a little shouty.
posted by Poet_Lariat at 8:14 PM on November 22, 2011 [15 favorites]


Defenestrator: "I was (and still am) concerned that by not supporting Obama we are increasing the changes of electing a presidential candidate who is much less likely to support the OWS cause and ideals."

Such a candidate might run a chance of pissing off everyone so much, an angry mob might swoop in and throw them out a high window.
posted by dunkadunc at 8:18 PM on November 22, 2011 [2 favorites]


Also, this idea that OWS should be polite and not annoying is ridiculous. You know what's annoying? Big banks - the same ones paying for Obama's campaign -- strangling the economy in this country.

The whole point of a protest movement is to get people to take your demands seriously.
My biggest issue with this movement is that they keep getting media attention (great!) and then they don't know what to do with it. There is no clear, defined lists of demands or solutions.
Seriously? This again? People want jobs, they want a fix for income inequality. There are lots and lots of viable solutions for these things: Tax hikes for the rich, and massive stimulus. Let's not pretend the Occupyer's demands are impossible to figure out somehow.

But the thing is, you're right there is no single thing that can just be 'done' to 'turn off' the movement. But couldn't you say the same thing about the Civil Rights movement? There was no single fix to get Civil Rights to go away and no longer be relevant. Instead, over decades the problems became less and less severe and the Civil Rights movement faded from prominence.

But the basic demands of OWS are the same as the basic demands of Liberalism in general. So why should OWS go away? If they start to achieve their goals, it will become less and less relevant, or it could become more institutionalized and a part of the establishment.

But really, it's going to have to take a long time for this to go away.

The best way to make it go away is to get everyone jobs, so they don't have time to sit around and protest.
And many of the people at my school involved in the movement (tangentially, anyway) can't seem to vocalize what it's all about or what they specifically want to change.
So, people going to school are most concerned with issues relating to students? Is that really suprising?
posted by delmoi at 8:21 PM on November 22, 2011 [12 favorites]


So, people going to school are most concerned with issues relating to students? Is that really suprising?

No. I'm saying that these students, who are the majority of people participating in Toronto from what I've seen, aren't able to articulate what THEY want at all. I'm not saying they're only concerned with what is relevant to them, I'm saying they don't even know what THEY want. The ones I've spoken to don't really "get" what the movement itself is really about.
posted by 1000monkeys at 8:24 PM on November 22, 2011


You know what is a lot less civil? Throwing millions of people out of their homes through fraudulent means. Putting tens of millions into poverty because you refuse to pay your fair share of taxes.

Yeah, that's typical Obama behavior.
posted by anigbrowl at 8:26 PM on November 22, 2011 [1 favorite]


And clearly we don't have the same issues up here in Canada that our American friends are facing (such as lack of public healthcare, foreclosures on homes, economic crisis). In fact, we're still doing pretty damn good, current PM and governing party notwithstanding; our income gap is more like 70/30. So, I'd expect the movement up here to be more interested in those populations and people on the margins who REALLY do feel the gap and need the support of the greater population (such as First Nations groups who declare an emergency and can't even get any government officials to visit or return their calls).
posted by 1000monkeys at 8:26 PM on November 22, 2011 [1 favorite]


OK, I understand that OWS represents anger. But what's the message? Do ... something ... and they won't be angry any more? It's as if they think they lose negotiating points by articulating demands. Or perhaps they just can't come up with coherent demands? But that means that there's no way to satisfy them, which effectively makes them irrelevant.
posted by Joe in Australia at 8:27 PM on November 22, 2011 [2 favorites]


Yeah I'm not really sure what Occupy people in Canada are really asking for either, since you're not having the same problems.
posted by delmoi at 8:28 PM on November 22, 2011 [1 favorite]


so mic-checked just means "shouted down"? is that right?
posted by modernnomad at 8:28 PM on November 22, 2011


OK, I understand that OWS represents anger. But what's the message? Do ... something ...
Seriously? Fixing unemployment, fixing the corrupt influence of megabanks and huge corporations (actually corporate leaders) have on our political process, fixing income inequality.

How is that so difficult to understand?
posted by delmoi at 8:29 PM on November 22, 2011 [9 favorites]


this idea that OWS should be polite and not annoying is ridiculous. You know what's annoying? Big banks - the same ones paying for Obama's campaign -- strangling the economy in this country.

Two wrongs make two wrongs, not a right.
posted by twoleftfeet at 8:30 PM on November 22, 2011 [2 favorites]


1000monkeys: "No. I'm saying that these students, who are the majority of people participating in Toronto from what I've seen, aren't able to articulate what THEY want at all. I'm not saying they're only concerned with what is relevant to them, I'm saying they don't even know what THEY want. The ones I've spoken to don't really "get" what the movement itself is really about."

It's about the ECONOMIC INEQUALITY, ffs.

delmoi: " Fixing unemployment, fixing the corrupt influence of megabanks and huge corporations (actually corporate leaders) have on our political process, fixing income inequality.
"

On preview, this.
posted by dunkadunc at 8:30 PM on November 22, 2011 [1 favorite]


also, re: occupy canada.. yes, that's an interesting question. since the OWS crowd are basically asking for close to everything that Canada already has, one of the problems occupy toronto is having is convincing a majority of canadians that they are protesting for something meaningful.. there are even signs here saying "no bank bailouts!", despite no cdn banks being bailed out. there's not the same traction here as in OWS precisely because occupy toronto has failed to tailor its message to anything resembling local issues.
posted by modernnomad at 8:31 PM on November 22, 2011 [2 favorites]


You know what is a lot less civil? Throwing millions of people out of their homes through fraudulent means. Putting tens of millions into poverty because you refuse to pay your fair share of taxes.
Yeah, that's typical Obama behavior.
He's A) Not doing much to stop it (Check out HAMP which Tim Geithner said, rather then actually trying to modify loans was really only about stringing people along in order to 'space out' the mortgages) and B) he's taking millions in campaign contributions from the banks that are doing this. Raking in More Wallstreet cash then all GOP candidates combined combined.

How can someone claim to be better on wallstreet then the republicans when you're taking more in campaign funds then all of them combined?
posted by delmoi at 8:32 PM on November 22, 2011 [4 favorites]


dunkadunc:
It's about the ECONOMIC INEQUALITY, ffs.


Please see my post re: Occupy Toronto.
posted by 1000monkeys at 8:33 PM on November 22, 2011


My biggest issue with this movement is that they keep getting media attention (great!) and then they don't know what to do with it. There is no clear, defined lists of demands or solutions.

I think another thing to think of, since we're comparing to the Civil Rights movement, is the intangible gains from that era that weren't directly tied to the specific legal demands of that movement, but were made possible because of it. Things like "Black Pride" and people wearing afros, and Sidney Poitier movies and Parliament/Funkadelic. If you ask me the most lasting gain from that Era is that Black Americans no longer had to be silent.

It's why I think that these Mic checks, no matter how rude or "ineffective" are a powerful symbol of giving voice to those who can't buy lobbyists, ads or airtime.
posted by billyfleetwood at 8:33 PM on November 22, 2011 [3 favorites]


Fix it with what? Anyone can express discontent with the status quo, the basic idea of participatory democracy is that you promote an alternative. Otherwise you're just an angry mob and angry mobs don't achieve shit.
posted by anigbrowl at 8:34 PM on November 22, 2011 [3 favorites]


"They don't even know why they're protesting!"
posted by harriet vane at 8:36 PM on November 22, 2011 [10 favorites]


Do tell then, what you propose Occupy should do instead.

Deciding on an actual agenda would be a start.

I know lots of people involved or at least sympathetic to OWS. And just as many opinions as to what OWS is really about. There are some pretty broadly held ideas about what OWS is against, that just about anyone can agree with (fixing unemployment, fixing the corrupt influence of megabanks and huge corporations (actually corporate leaders) have on our political process, fixing income inequality). May as well come out against rape and murder, too. But it's as if the movement is afraid of being boxed into a corner. There was a certain strength to being unable to nail down the movement so firmly. However, that strength depended on novelty. And the novelty is wearing thin.

The few folks I know who are apathetic about OWS still have no idea what they're about.

You know what is a lot less civil?...

This kind of response doesn't actually address the issue at hand. Being uncivil is, at best, an annoyance to the very people OWS wants firmly on their side. More likely, it justifies being written off by the people who most definitely need to be convinced.
posted by 2N2222 at 8:36 PM on November 22, 2011 [2 favorites]


Please see my post re: Occupy Toronto.
Who cares about Occupy Toronto? This post is about US Candidates getting mic-checked. Whatever is going on in Canada is kind of beside the point here.
posted by delmoi at 8:36 PM on November 22, 2011


angry mobs don't achieve shit.

I heartily disagree, for you see, the longer an angry mob remains angry, and a mob, the likelier something happens to ensure the mob is no longer a mob, or no longer angry.

This happens in a variety of ways, and generally is a function of time.
posted by Shit Parade at 8:37 PM on November 22, 2011 [4 favorites]


How can someone claim to be better on wallstreet then the republicans when you're taking more in campaign funds then all of them combined?

Yeah. The current crop of GOP crazies are just stalking horses for an Obama re-election. The Bachmen and Perrys of the party don't know what they hell they're doing, but the pricks who paid for them sure do.
posted by clarknova at 8:37 PM on November 22, 2011


Otherwise you're just an angry mob and angry mobs don't achieve shit

I imagine that Marie Antoinette must have said something very similar.

also Hosni Mubarek and Muammar Ghadaffi
posted by Poet_Lariat at 8:39 PM on November 22, 2011 [5 favorites]


This kind of response doesn't actually address the issue at hand. Being uncivil is, at best, an annoyance to the very people OWS wants firmly on their side.
Yeah well, maybe the time to worry about possibly annoying people is kind of over? You don't need everyone on your side, just enough.
angry mobs don't achieve shit.
Tell that to the Egyptian protesters who started out holding "Days of Rage"
posted by delmoi at 8:40 PM on November 22, 2011 [8 favorites]


"They don't even know why they're protesting!"

This isn't true, of course. The problem is that nobody else knows what they are protesting. And when Occupy folks are being uncivil, they are not particularly keen to find out.
posted by 2N2222 at 8:40 PM on November 22, 2011 [1 favorite]


Who cares about Occupy Toronto? This post is about US Candidates getting mic-checked. Whatever is going on in Canada is kind of beside the point here.
posted by delmoi


Calm down. I'm just stating things from my perspective, as an outsider and as a Canadian. I didn't realize that MetaFilter is strictly for Americans and that the rest of the world should shut up and let you whine because you have it so much worse than most of the globe. Yeesh.
posted by 1000monkeys at 8:43 PM on November 22, 2011 [3 favorites]


1000monkeys: thanks for your concern.
posted by Poet_Lariat at 8:44 PM on November 22, 2011 [1 favorite]


Unboxing Occupy Wall St: We still don't know what it is, and that's a good thing

"It has none of the hooks or handles that late capitalism typically snags on to in order to commodify discontent and render it toothless... First, there are no leaders to co-opt.... Second, despite the incessant calls from pundits, it has no list of demands that can be negotiated down to a nub in the money-soaked world of transactional politics."

BestBuy tried to start an Occupy Best Buy hashtag for the Black Friday sales. It failed miserably - you can't appropriate or parody something if you can't pin it down.

If you don't understand what the OWS protestors want, stop clogging up this thread and go read this article, or the Matt Taibbi one in the Rolling Stone.
posted by harriet vane at 8:44 PM on November 22, 2011 [9 favorites]


I imagine that Marie Antoinette must have said something very similar.

And less than a decade later, France was ruled by Napoleon. This pattern shows up a lot in history.
posted by anigbrowl at 8:45 PM on November 22, 2011


Sibilance...sibilance.
posted by ShutterBun at 8:47 PM on November 22, 2011 [2 favorites]


You don't need everyone on your side, just enough.

Incivility is surely the way to get just enough on your side? Call me skeptical. Unless your position is that Americans appreciate and respect a good old fashioned ass kicking, from liberals no less.

If you don't understand what the OWS protestors want, stop clogging up this thread and go read this article, or the Matt Taibbi one in the Rolling Stone.

I'm sure undecided/apathetic moderates and conservatives will be swayed by being told to read Rolling Stone.
posted by 2N2222 at 8:49 PM on November 22, 2011 [2 favorites]


anigbrowl: And less than a decade later, France was ruled by Napoleon. This pattern shows up a lot in history.

Less than 10 minutes ago you said that angry mobs don't accomplish anything and now you claim knowledge that the angry mob pattern and what follows shows up a lot in history. Which leads me to believe that wither you are just vomiting words or that you are not sincere in any of your assertions.
posted by Poet_Lariat at 8:51 PM on November 22, 2011 [7 favorites]


Replacing an aristocracy with an imperium isn't my idea of progress.
posted by anigbrowl at 8:55 PM on November 22, 2011 [2 favorites]


Less than 10 minutes ago you said that angry mobs don't accomplish anything and now you claim knowledge that the angry mob pattern and what follows shows up a lot in history. Which leads me to believe that wither you are just vomiting words or that you are not sincere in any of your assertions.
posted by Poet_Lariat

Uh, I think anigbrowl is saying that a lack of specific demands/solutions from an angry mob does not solve things, it just brings about more of the same (or perhaps even worse).
posted by 1000monkeys at 8:56 PM on November 22, 2011


I'd generally agree that angry mobs don't usually accomplish anything. Or anything productive, if you must have such clarification. Which is what I think most folks in the West likely agree with in their saner moments. But does that really need to be clarified? Or is the possibility of a FUBAR situation an acceptable accomplishment?
posted by 2N2222 at 8:58 PM on November 22, 2011


Incivility is surely the way to get just enough on your side?

I would be curious to see an example of serious, long-term social change that wasn't met by accusations of incivility. Jeez, people were claiming that ACT-UP were just a bunch of hooligans, but they did about as much to put AIDS in the national spotlight as anybody.

And often you don't need to articulate a solution, just your dissatisfaction. We supposedly vote for politicians to represent our interests, not our specific plans.
posted by Bunny Ultramod at 8:58 PM on November 22, 2011 [11 favorites]


I would have thought that MeFi readers weren't so unintelligent as to refuse to read a good writer, no matter what magazine publishes his articles. But if you're determined to rule out good sources of information because they don't suit your style, that's fine. Just don't expect us to believe you're sincere when you say you want to understand something.
posted by harriet vane at 8:59 PM on November 22, 2011 [2 favorites]


I would be curious to see an example of serious, long-term social change that wasn't met by accusations of incivility.

Accusations of incivility, and actual incivility are two different things. Most folks will figure out right away when an accusation is bullshit. Which also discredits the bullshitter. However, when the accusation isn't bullshit, the fallout is in the other direction.
posted by 2N2222 at 9:02 PM on November 22, 2011


Replacing an aristocracy with an imperium isn't my idea of progress.

Replacing a republic with a corporate oligarchy isn't my idea of progress either, but it could be a step towards a true democracy. Just like the Imperium was a step towards a Republic.
posted by psycho-alchemy at 9:05 PM on November 22, 2011 [2 favorites]


Most folks will figure out right away when an accusation is bullshit.

Fair enough. I have figured out that these accusations are bullshit.
posted by Bunny Ultramod at 9:06 PM on November 22, 2011 [5 favorites]


I would have thought that MeFi readers weren't so unintelligent as to refuse to read a good writer, no matter what magazine publishes his articles.

I would have thought you'd have better sense than to attack a straw man. I'm plenty well associated with Taibbi. I'm largely sympathetic to OWS. But I'm not the one who needs convincing. You'll never convince a neutral (or worse) party by directing them to a writer to make a point that the movement itself has trouble articulating with authority.

Replacing a republic with a corporate oligarchy isn't my idea of progress either

Replacing? Oligarchy has been the default mode for, well, since the beginning.
posted by 2N2222 at 9:09 PM on November 22, 2011


Incivility is surely the way to get just enough on your side? Call me skeptical. Unless your position is that Americans appreciate and respect a good old fashioned ass kicking, from liberals no less.
Was the Montgomery bus boycott civil? It shut down the bus system for months. I guarantee you it annoyed people.

This whole idea that somehow 'incivility' is an anathema to the vast majority of people out there seems kind of hollow. It honestly seems more about shielding the people screwing everything up from the harsh criticism they deserve.

Anyway, look I totally concede that Occupy Wallstreet isn't civil. The difference is I think that's a good thing, rather then a bad thing. I would say that the civil rights protests were totally uncivil. And that you don't actually defeat someone who's dead set against you with civility

No amount of civil discourse can convice someone to take an action that's not in their best interest if they don't want to do it. And the reality is the structural reforms needed are going to disempower people who have a lot of it at the moment. They aren't going to just roll over if you're nice to them.

Also the idea that OWS is going to result in a Napoleon style dictator are really premature.
posted by delmoi at 9:11 PM on November 22, 2011 [12 favorites]


2N2222: Do you think the Tea Party was civil? Did they fail to win enough support to take over congress in 2010? If they weren't civil, doesn't that prove that civility isn't necessarily for electoral victory?
posted by delmoi at 9:12 PM on November 22, 2011


OWS is a movement by and for the entitle 25% of Americans with college educations etc., and is nothing, nothing, nothing like the Civil Rights Movement. It makes me sick that a bunch of privileged white kids (who have legitimate complaints, and who of course have a legitimate right to freedom of speech and assembly) can be compared to someone like Rosa Parks, who was a true pioneer, and was really risking serious injury or even death by "sitting at the front of the bus."

Good grief, what OWS crowds are you watching?? This couldn't be more inaccurate if you tried. I saw Vietnam and Iraq/Afghanistan vets, doctors and nurses, old ladies, church groups, vets of the Civil Rights movement, union UNION union workers, teachers, black ministers, Muslims, firefighters. You don't think these kids are risking serious injury? Possibly death? I wouldn't reach for the Rosa Parks comparison automatically for every cause for there were so many Civil Rights heroes who have gone unacknowledged but do not disparage this movement as one of privilege.
posted by etaoin at 9:13 PM on November 22, 2011 [7 favorites]


Why is it "bullshit" to think that shouting specifically to interrupt someone who is speaking is not civil?

I can see thinking, as delmoi seems to, that it's bullshit to think they should be civil, but really, it's bullshit to think that shouting people down is not civil?
posted by Flunkie at 9:16 PM on November 22, 2011


It's time for Occupy Lite. There are tons of people who think that income inequality is too great, that corporations have too much influence in politics, that the middle class is being eroded, that the rules of fair play aren't being followed by many who are benefiting the most. Tons of us.

And we can't all take the time to pitch a tent and hang out all day. Some of us who want something better for ourselves, or for our children, want to see positive effects coming out of OWS but don't want to see our country destroyed. We see the need for protest, but we also see the need for viable solutions to come out of the protest, and sometimes traditional processes for change can become allies in reaching for these solutions.

It pisses me off when some small group decides that they have an exclusive right to speak for what is essentially a widely held collection of beliefs. I don't like it when they deny me ways to speak about my beliefs, especially when our ultimate goals are not dissimilar.

Occupy Lite. People who share the goals of Occupy Wall Street, but can only show up for the protest if we can find a babysitter this weekend. Occupy Lite. We are the 99%.
posted by twoleftfeet at 9:21 PM on November 22, 2011 [8 favorites]


I would say that the civil rights protests were totally uncivil.

Except when they were. Taking the high ground is what made the civil rights movement into something other than an annoyance. It became a noble cause.

Also the idea that OWS is going to result in a Napoleon style dictator are really premature.

Yes. OWS supporters need to stop making silly Marie Antoinette comparisons, lest the comparison be carried out to its historical conclusion.

Do you think the Tea Party was civil

ISTR they were not sometimes. Were you convinced with their message? No? Would you have been convinced had they been less civil?
posted by 2N2222 at 9:21 PM on November 22, 2011


Here's an interesting post on reddit about someone's conservative mom liking OWS:

Here's the thing: The reality is a lot of people in this country really don't like Obama at all, and aren't going to be upset by being incivil to him. So pulling this kind of stunt is actually going to bridge gaps with people who don't like either party.

Right now, Obama's approval raiting is 43%. It was down to around 38% in October.

So I don't really think the majority of Americans are going to be too upset by seeing him Mic Checked.

People in this country are really fed up with both parties and the system as a whole. That's why OWS is
ISTR they were not sometimes. Were you convinced with their message? No? Would you have been convinced had they been less civil?
What does it matter if they convinced me? They convinced enough people to take congress.

Furthermore if you view their main policy objective as wanting to damage Obama politically, they've succeed. They've gotten enormous cuts in federal spending, hundreds of billions of dollars. They've cut medicare, they stand a good chance of cutting social security.

So again, if you look at their policy goals as slashing medicare and government spending overall, again they've succeed.


That's the point, politics isn't about being polite and civil, it's about getting things done. My dislike for the Tea Party didn't stop them actually accomplishing anything, because they were able to get enough support.

Ultimately, that's all that matters as for OWS. Whether they get policy changes they want, not whether or not you, personally, like them.
Except when they were. Taking the high ground is what made the civil rights movement into something other than an annoyance. It became a noble cause.
The Civil Rights movement looks heroic in retrospect because they won, and winners write the history books. If OWS succeeds then history will look back on them as being noble. If they fail not much will be written about them. There were certainly people back then who were deathly opposed to it and there were probably tons of 'concern trolls' wringing their hands about how dreadfully disruptive the whole thing was.
posted by delmoi at 9:33 PM on November 22, 2011 [6 favorites]


2N2222: I'm not trying to convince anyone who is neutral or conservative who doesn't read MeFi, so your point is irrelevant. I was talking to people in this thread, like yourself, who come into every OWS thread and complain about the lack of demands even though we've rebutted that point several times already. MeFites in general have established that Matt Taibbi is good at covering complex issues, so I pointed them to an article he wrote that's relevant to our current conversation. No strawman required.

Additionally, the movement isn't having trouble articulating their points. The media is having trouble reporting them accurately, which isn't the same thing at all.

You say now that you don't need convincing, but you do nothing except complain about how the protesters are Doing It Wrong, so I assumed you (and others who do the same) didn't support them. It wasn't obvious from what you wrote at all.

OWS has been quite successful at getting income inequality talked about in venues that were previously silent about it. It's gathering steam after two months, rather than petering out. I don't think there's anything wrong with their tactics so far.
posted by harriet vane at 9:35 PM on November 22, 2011 [8 favorites]


I've felt so ambivalent about these mic checks. Good because fucking FINALLY somebody gets Scott Walker to stop peddling his bullshit or gets Michelle Bachmann to stop lying. Weird because I just didn't know if "shouting" is ever a valid tactic.

I asked a brilliant friend what she thought. She said:
i see it as a kind of progressive stack. the people who constantly get to speak, based on various levels of class,race,gender,etc privilege, should step back. if they don't, and especially if they are being accusatory, violent, or dismissive, they need to be silenced in some way. a group chant is a non-violent way of calling someone out.
I no longer feel ambivalent. Go get 'em.
posted by davidjmcgee at 9:36 PM on November 22, 2011 [12 favorites]


(the last two sentences were me, not her, sigh)
posted by davidjmcgee at 9:37 PM on November 22, 2011


What does it matter if they convinced me? They convinced enough people to take congress.

I'd attribute that to having a dark skinned fellow in the White House.

But if you insist that incivility is the key to being taken seriously, behold the gravitas Fred Phelps exhibits whenever he totes a sign in public.

So again, if you look at their policy goals as slashing medicare and government spending overall, again they've succeed.

I think you give the Tea Party an awful lot of credit. I look at their record, and I see a whole lot of failure. And they may be the key to Obama's prospects of getting reelected.

The Civil Rights movement looks heroic in retrospect because they won, and winners write the history books.

It's not only that they won. It's how they won that gets extra mention in the history books.
posted by 2N2222 at 9:49 PM on November 22, 2011


Christ, what an ungovernable country. You know things are bad when Stephen Harper and a Conservative majority government look good in comparison.
posted by KokuRyu at 10:01 PM on November 22, 2011 [1 favorite]


It's how they won that gets extra mention in the history books.

what are history books kindergarten where we hand out gold stars? You know who else get extra mention in history books? Caesar.

And as a side note, Cato the Younger, hardly a word.
posted by Shit Parade at 10:02 PM on November 22, 2011


It pisses me off when some small group decides that they have an exclusive right to speak for what is essentially a widely held collection of beliefs. I don't like it when they deny me ways to speak about my beliefs, especially when our ultimate goals are not dissimilar.

Huh? How is the occupy movement denying you ways to speak about your beliefs?!
posted by finite at 10:12 PM on November 22, 2011 [2 favorites]


Delmoi wrote: Fixing unemployment, fixing the corrupt influence of megabanks and huge corporations (actually corporate leaders) have on our political process, fixing income inequality.
How is that so difficult to understand?


Well, I don't know what "fixing" means here. If there were universal conscription, would that "fix" unemployment? How about a compulsory 3-day work week? Or a few more years of mandatory schooling? Forced retirement at 55? There are lots of potential solutions. Which ones are OWS in favor of?

Fixing the corrupt influence of corporate leaders - can you be specific? Do you mean banning political donations? Or restricting political advertising? There are arguments both in favor and against each of those, but somebody has to make those arguments.

How do you "fix" income inequality when some people have a high income from their assets, some have a high income because they won a lottery, some have a high income because they invented things, and some have a high income because they get paid a huge salary? I suppose you could just have massively higher taxes, but there are reasons why current tax law treats each of these people differently. And higher taxes don't really reduce inequality unless you redirect government spending - but directing it where, exactly? And at what point will incomes be sufficiently equal? Does OWS have a position on this? I'm not asking for your opinion: I want to know what the opinion of OWS is; when will their demands be met?
posted by Joe in Australia at 10:18 PM on November 22, 2011 [3 favorites]


Sadly, I think the most responsible thing an American voter can do next year is to talk loudly about the mistakes Obama is making, vote for Obama, then continue to talk loudly about the mistakes Obama is making.
Could some time be spared to talk loudly about Duverger's law? It's tempting to imagine that "listen to us or we'll vote for you more ruefully" is going to work this time, but I suspect that "listen to us or we'll vote for someone better who will" would be more effective.
posted by roystgnr at 10:18 PM on November 22, 2011


The 'civil' in 'civil disobedience' refers to the fact that it is the citizenry undertaking acts counter to regulations as laid out by government authorities. As far as individual's behaviour while undertaking acts of civil disobedience is concerned, that becomes a question of whether it's non-violent or violent civil disobedience. The fact remains that these actions are taken by civilians, and not the military or a branch of government or other institutions. It's about the laity acting in defiance of authority. It's not about 'civility'. Strange how this term seems to get misconstrued. It's like the idea of Marie-Antoinette, upon hearing that the peasants were revolting, saying "Yes. I know. Dreadful, really." Or something like. "Look at all that unrest." "Ah, but thank goodness it is civil." May seem didactic, but I think it warrants saying.
posted by Bartonius at 10:29 PM on November 22, 2011 [14 favorites]


I don't have a problem with them interrupting politicians, but the speaking in unison thing is creepy and cult-like behavior.
posted by empath at 10:34 PM on November 22, 2011 [2 favorites]


I think you give the Tea Party an awful lot of credit. I look at their record, and I see a whole lot of failure. And they may be the key to Obama's prospects of getting reelected.

Depends on what you think their goal was. If it was to politically damage Obama, it worked pretty well. If it was massive cuts to government spending ... also worked. So what's left? What were their failures? They're not politically popular? You realize that's not the point right?

They got progress on their agenda. They lost a lot of political capital in acting so crazy
It's not only that they won. It's how they won that gets extra mention in the history books.
Last I checked, Ghengis Khan and Napoleon get a lot of copy as well. So did King Henry the Henry VIII.
Well, I don't know what "fixing" means here.
Huh? Are you unfamiliar with the concept of an unemployment rate? Higher numbers are worse, lower numbers are better.
f there were universal conscription, would that "fix" unemployment? How about a compulsory 3-day work week? Or a few more years of mandatory schooling? Forced retirement at 55? There are lots of potential solutions. Which ones are OWS in favor of?
This may be a surprise, but the government can actually hire people. One of the biggest drops in employment has actually been from state and local government that had to cut back due to people losing their jobs and therefore no longer paying local taxes. Unlike the federal government their borrowing costs are pretty high.

One of the tactics of the stimulus was to give money to state and local governments so they could afford not to lay people off, but it wasn't close to enough to cover the gaps, and lots of state and local employees got laid off.

Beyond helping state and local governments maintain or even increase payroll, the government can start infrastructure projects, build hospitals, hire nurses, train doctors and so on to help create more employment.

There are million things the government can do to boost employment.

Another key lever is monetary policy. The fed can alter monetary policy to boost inflation to keep in line with where it would be had the depression not hit. That would force companies to invest money rather then hoarding cash like they're doing now (something like 2 trillion in dollars is being held by corporations right now in the U.S)

Do you seriously not realize there are policies that the government can implement that affect the unemployment rate?
Fixing the corrupt influence of corporate leaders - can you be specific? Do you mean banning political donations? Or restricting political advertising? There are arguments both in favor and against each of those, but somebody has to make those arguments.
This is more complex due to the first amendment. But a constitutional amendment overturning Citizens United would be a good start. Another option would be public financing of campaigns. The federal government would pay for campaigns. They would have to make a system that kept the system open: candidates could get funding if they get enough signatures, or people could each get $X each year to allocate themselves or transfer to some group to allocate.
posted by delmoi at 10:39 PM on November 22, 2011 [3 favorites]


Personally, I just can't get enough of people telling us what we should be doing as a movement to win over their support. So many discussions about OWS have started with "Well, what they need to do is..."

It is being done. If you disagree on the tactics, go and convince your local GA. The most enduring and graceful things about the occupation are the nonhierarchical structure and the open door. Use them.
posted by broadway bill at 10:46 PM on November 22, 2011 [7 favorites]


the speaking in unison thing is creepy and cult-like behavior

Huh. It strikes me as being not creepy, but intensely theatrical. Having multiple voices say the same thing has been for thousands of years a way to overcome a lack of amplification.

When I hear large groups speaking as one to harshly address political leaders, I think of Sophocles, not Koresh.
posted by davidjmcgee at 10:47 PM on November 22, 2011 [8 favorites]


Huh? How is the occupy movement denying you ways to speak about your beliefs?!

I was referring to my earlier reference (now so far above that I'll repeat the link.) In that reference, it is explained that Occupy Seattle protesters arrived at a panel discussion in support of OWS, and demanded that the process conform to the normal form of dialogue used by Occupy Seattle, which involves using the People's Mic instead of the usual panel discussion with questions.

They shouted down their own supporters, at an assembly organized by their supporters, because they wanted the assembly to be conducted by their own rules of assembly.

This is NOT what democracy looks like! Democracy needs free and open discussion, which means that we allow people to discuss things, however they want to discuss things, without shouting them down.
posted by twoleftfeet at 10:49 PM on November 22, 2011 [1 favorite]


twoleftfeet, have you attended a local General Assembly yet? If not, I recommend that you check it out. You might be surprised.

Occupy might actually be the "Occupy Lite" you're looking for.

At the OccupySF GA, at least, the 24/7 campers are not the majority of the participants... lots of people with day jobs are there in the evenings, discussing economics and politics and humanity's future and other trivialities.

[on preview, seeing your last post]
That sucks about Seattle. But I doubt they're claiming a monopoly on freedom of assembly.

posted by finite at 10:53 PM on November 22, 2011 [1 favorite]


Personally, I just can't get enough of people telling us what we should be doing as a movement to win over their support. So many discussions about OWS have started with "Well, what they need to do is..."
Yeah it's not like you guys haven't had an opportunity to start your own mass political movements. So did I. I didn't do shit and neither did you. So I don't think it's very fair for me to nit-pick the people who are actually doing something even if sometimes they seem ridiculous (which they totally do).
I was referring to my earlier reference (now so far above that I'll repeat the link.) In that reference, it is explained that Occupy Seattle protesters arrived at a panel discussion in support of OWS, and demanded that the process conform to the normal form of dialogue used by Occupy Seattle, which involves using the People's Mic instead of the usual panel discussion with questions.
Well, there is a lot of concern about co-option, as there should be. Look what happened to the Tea-party. You could argue that it was started by AstroTurfers, but a lot of people actually thought they were in a grass roots movement, when really they were being lead, to a large extent, by fox news.

I think that fear of co-option may actually cripple OWS if they take it to the extreme you see here.

It's a difficult balance, and they probably went too far to the other side in that example.
posted by delmoi at 11:00 PM on November 22, 2011 [3 favorites]


Look, folks, 2n222 doesn't support OWS or the goals of OWS, so arguing with him about the tactics of OWS is futile — he's a concern troll.
posted by klangklangston at 11:04 PM on November 22, 2011 [2 favorites]


Obama: "I got this bitches. Be cool, be cool."

Business as usual.
posted by KevinSkomsvold at 11:09 PM on November 22, 2011 [1 favorite]


twoleftfeet, have you attended a local General Assembly yet?

I have. Frequently. I have used the People's Mic and I can tell you that it is not a good way to communicate to crowds, unless you have been denied amplification permits (as was the case at Zuccotti park). It's stupidly slow and was never supposed to be a cult-like chanting mechanism. And shouting down somebody else's assembly is a bad idea.

I'm nervous that people who care about something I care about will fuck it up because they're not careful. Revolutions have gone on throughout history and they don't always work. I don't want tactical stupidity to lose a Good Thing.

Fight the Good Fight. Do What is Right. Make the World a Better Place. Just Do It.

These are all wonderful slogans, but because revolutions have gone on throughout history there is some benefit in carefully studying how they were successful in the past. Learn your Rules for Radicals, especially #4 (Make the enemy live up to its own book of rules) and #6 (A good tactic is one your people enjoy) and #7 (A tactic that drags on too long becomes a drag).

Don't become, or seem to become, an aggressive minority. It's not about pissing people off, it's about getting them to love a better future.
posted by twoleftfeet at 11:14 PM on November 22, 2011 [2 favorites]


Anarchy's coming. You all knew it would happen.
posted by Seekerofsplendor at 11:16 PM on November 22, 2011


Learn your Rules for Radicals, especially #4 (Make the enemy live up to its own book of rules)
Huh? Looking at your link 4 is something about "The education of the organizer" it says "The organizer knows that the real action is in the reaction of the opposition. To realistically appraise and anticipate the probable reactions of the enemy, he must be able to identify with them, too, in his imagination, and foresee their reactions to his actions...." and then a bunch of stuff about conflict. And honestly this page is kind of incoherent.

But honestly. This nonsense about civility. Who cares. A lot of people in America are sick and tired of "politicians", including Obama as a general class and will enjoy seeing them heckled. I think you guys are way off in thinking this will turn any but the diehard fans of these politicians.
posted by delmoi at 11:25 PM on November 22, 2011 [2 favorites]


Occupy Toronto's supposed to get raided tonight. Our house cooked up twenty pounds of baked potatoes and a couple gallons of hot chocolate, delivered by cargo bike. It's a cold, wet night in St James Park, but the 80-ish protesters are waiting with resolve for the hammer to drop. Met a first nations woman, a guy who said he'd been occupying the park for thirty years now, a young friend from a local bike collective, and more. Skewed young tonight, just because young people are generally a little more flexible in picking up an arrest record. But it's still diverse, have no doubt.
posted by kaibutsu at 12:40 AM on November 23, 2011


Delmoi wrote: Do you seriously not realize there are policies that the government can implement that affect the unemployment rate?

... I listed some of them. You listed some more. Now, what position does OWS take on them? Does it want massive government work schemes? Does it want high inflation? I hear that this is what you want. Is it what OWS wants?
posted by Joe in Australia at 1:10 AM on November 23, 2011


Learn your Rules for Radicals, especially #4 (Make the enemy live up to its own book of rules)

Huh? Looking at your link 4 is something about "The education of the organizer"



Alinsky's Rule #4 is probably the most relevant one here. (Make the enemy live up to its own book of rules).

A protest that takes on the characteristics of the thing that is being protested loses its reality as an opposite focus. It's an extremely bad idea to deal with assholes by becoming an asshole. If you do that, you only increase overall assholeness.
posted by twoleftfeet at 1:14 AM on November 23, 2011


delmoi wrote: Anyway, OWS is non-partisan and isn't concerned about getting Obama re-elected, thank god. Because I am sick of his apologists constantly claiming that this moderated deterioration is the best our nation and the world can hope for. I want to see our problems solved and I think we have the right to demand leaders who will at least try to solve them instead of acting like they are heroes for managing decline and compromising off maniacs who want to pull everything down around them.

Unless we get the money out of politics, we're doomed. If OWS can catalyze support for such an endeavor, they will have enabled our eventual return to sanity. If OWS convinces people to give up on the Democrats in disgust without an alternative, you'll get a government that will under no circumstances allow the spigot to be shut off.

Maybe I'm just not jaded enough, but I think that with enough popular support, Democrats could push an amendment through Congress. Getting it past the cadre of hyper-Republican state legislatures might post more difficulty, but again, with enough popular support and enough protesting, it could get done. If the focus is on that one particular issue (for now, anyway), supporters can be found all the way out to the radical fringes of the Tea Party. Tea Party support is strong enough in many states to get a campaign finance reform amendment ratified, but that requires the temporary sacrifice of some ideological purity, and wouldn't work at the federal level, where the graft is even more entrenched.

This one issue is the thing that could enable our political machinery to finally begin functioning again, but people are instead arguing that we should sacrifice it because we can't stand to work with someone who doesn't completely agree with us.

The numbers are there, but the people have to speak with one voice or it won't happen. Sometimes, change requires working with people you don't like very much, but who happen to agree with you.
posted by wierdo at 1:54 AM on November 23, 2011 [3 favorites]


Thanks finite! 99
posted by peacay at 2:43 AM on November 23, 2011


My biggest issue with this movement is that they keep getting media attention (great!) and then they don't know what to do with it
The revolution no longer needs to be televised.
posted by fullerine at 3:23 AM on November 23, 2011


I can't believe it took until Bartonius' comment to educate mefites on what the word 'civil' in the phrase 'civil disobedience' means. Civil disobedience is not by its nature polite and obsequious any more than civil engineers have impeccable table manners or a civil war is noted for its politesse.
posted by ricochet biscuit at 4:04 AM on November 23, 2011 [10 favorites]


It's like the sixties, except without a booming economy
posted by KokuRyu at 4:07 AM on November 23, 2011


It's like the sixties, except without a booming economy

It's like the thirties, except for nothing, really.
posted by syzygy at 4:17 AM on November 23, 2011 [2 favorites]


So I was down at St Paul's Cathedral here at Occupy London (or as "The Former Soviet Republic of Tentistan" as a protester so engagingly called it) over the weekend. Now, I've been in protest marches (hey, I'm from India) before, holding signs and sloganeering back in the day, and indeed, have lived in a commune-style ashram run by a recently deceased swami.

Let me tell you the single most impressive thing I found about Occupy London: it's the respect they gave to St Paul Cathedral's operation. Given the circles I operate in (Metafilter including), the ideas don't impress me that much; I take the notion of improving tax regimes or tackling income disparities as a given. The real discussion, to me, is how you'd achieve these.

The thing that disappointed me the most: not the bongos (I love bongos, and actually wanted to jam with the folks ther), but the absolute lack of discussion that some protesters there display. A left-leaning acquaintance who's worked in NGO's and is as anti-neoliberal as it gets, was shouted down by a protester there because she had the temerity to ask him what kind of socialism he wanted; "told yer I'm fightin' for socialism", he apparently bellowed, thus alienating a potential ally in the movement. Shit like that makes you unpopular rather quickly.

Basic point: civil disobedience or not, civility and respect does help to bring people to your side.

Also, extremely disappointing that the video only showed Obama being interrupted and not him addressing the protestors' points as he promised to do, or indeed, whether he answered them or not. Heckling is okay when it is politicians - and I really think Obama needs to be made to take a stand on this; hell, we all know he is capable of surprising nuance - but I'm thinking the video showed only one part of the engagement. Essentially, that Obama was heckled is not as important as seeing how he has responded to their points, or indeed, if he has.
posted by the cydonian at 4:22 AM on November 23, 2011 [3 favorites]


If y'all hate Obama so much, feel free to send him on up to Canada. Once you actually have a conservative leader in place let me assure you that Obama looks exceedingly attractive.
posted by Go Banana at 4:33 AM on November 23, 2011 [1 favorite]


To those supporters who advocate not voting for democrats in the upcoming elections, how do you imagine this playing out? I understand your frustration with Obama and the democratic party, and I agree with you that the democrats have been complicit in selling us out, and that many of them are just as corrupted by moneyed interests as the republicans are.

But how is this supposed to work out? There's an election coming up next year. Democrats are at least marginally more progressive than republicans. No, let's be honest, republicans are off the freaking charts loony, and democrats tend to be at least sane, if nowhere near perfect.

I don't understand the path of progression you're imagining for a strategy that doesn't include voting for the least worst / most progressive of the two parties we currently have to choose from. Excuse the meme, but it looks to me something like:

1. Protest!
2. Don't vote!
3. ???
4. Social Change! (Profit)

This just doesn't make any sense to me, whatsoever.

For those of you who expect some kind of immediate change, in the short term, where's it going to come from? Revolution, overthrowing current political institutions? Lay it out for me.

For those of you who expect change to take years, how is this supposed to work without voting? If we want a constitutional amendment that repeals Citizens United, it will require a vote in congress and ratification by the states. If we're not voting to put people in charge who nominally support those goals, how will our amendment every be introduced, passed or ratified by the states?

To me, the idea of not voting in order to punish the democrats seems short-sighted and seems to belie a lack of strategic thinking. Unless you expect the 99% movement to overthrow the government in short order (which I think is highly unlikely), I really don't understand the mechanism for change that doesn't include voting for the party that is closest to the movement's principles.

---

Now, I've spent a good deal of time educating myself at Who Rules America - I STRONGLY suggest that you spend some time going through the excellent resources at that site, run by Professor G. William Domhoff of UC Santa Cruz. This is the site where many of the graphs in the now-famous Business Insider article on What Wall Street Protesters are so Angry About came from. I've also traded a few emails with Professor Domhoff - he's been very kind and accessible.

If you don't read any other article on his site, I suggest that you at least read this one: Third Parties Don't Work: Why and How Egalitarians Should Transform the Democratic Party.

The gist - progressives often to shoot themselves in the foot. The liberal mind tends to demand a level of purity in its representatives that is simply not realistic in a political world where compromises MUST be made. Multiple times in our history, progressives have worked against their own interests by either boycotting elections to 'punish' 'impure' democrats, or by throwing protest votes to candidates who have ZERO chance of winning in our current election system. Domhoff also talks about the perverse and oft-repeated progressive notion that goes something like, "if we let the republicans win, they'll hasten their own destruction and help bring a revolution of 'pure' and 'true' progressives about - which notion Domhoff handily dispels. In addition, popular progressive movements often tend to focus on some kind of immediate change via some nebulous strategy - they burn bright and quick, petering out long before they've done the hard work of laying the political foundations that will lead to lasting change.

I fear this may be where the 99% movement is headed, especially with so many calls by supporters to boycott elections.

Professor Domhoff lays out a plan for realizing lasting, progressive change. It is a plan that will take some years to implement, but I think it's more realistic than the plan (if there is one) that seems to be coming from the 99% movement. The plan entails working with the democratic party, and trying to transform it from within. It entails setting up Egalitarian Democrat clubs and running candidates in primaries across the country. It's a pretty detailed plan with what I think are some excellent ideas that are much more likely to lead to change than protesting and 'mic checking' speakers at political events, alone.

Comrades - we need to use every tool in our toolbox here. Protesting, mic-checking, educating the uninitiated and, in addition to all of these extra-political activities, we need to vote for the party that's closest to our ideals, and we need to do the hard work of organizing ourselves and helping to transform that party into one that more closely mirrors the principles we hold dear.

I entreat you to vote for the sanest of the two parties in the upcoming election, as you continue to protest. I entreat us all to organize and help transform this party.

Why is it that conservatives are so much better at organizing for the long-run than progressives? We have to change that - they are beating us at the game.
posted by syzygy at 4:42 AM on November 23, 2011 [10 favorites]


KokuRyu: college graduates with student loans are invoking the spirit of Rosa Parks.

OWS is a movement by and for the entitle 25% of Americans with college educations etc.

...a bunch of privileged white kids...


I get that the Rosa Parks thing annoyed the shit out of you KokuRyu, but your ranting about the "entitled" OWS protesters is so fundamentally out of step with the reality of what's been happening I'm speechless. For what it's worth, I've been really surprised at your stance here, and I'd encourage you to think about the reaction you had in this thread and maybe reconsider the rush to judgment. The "but they're so privileged!" garbage is classic conservative misdirection. When you find yourself doing it, it might be time to rethink your strategy.
posted by mediareport at 4:47 AM on November 23, 2011 [1 favorite]


It's time for Occupy Lite. There are tons of people who think that income inequality is too great...And we can't all take the time to pitch a tent and hang out all day.

Occupy Lite already exists, twoleftfeet. There are "tons of people" who show up at GAs once or twice a week, myself included. All you have to do to be part of Occupy Lite is, you know, be part of Occupy Lite. You get to decide what that means.

We see the need for protest, but we also see the need for viable solutions to come out of the protest, and sometimes traditional processes for change can become allies in reaching for these solutions.

Again, the "traditional processes" you're talking about are there, right now, for you to use. Want to use your nearby Occupy energy to get folks to write the local congresscritters to pressure them for specific legislative remedies? Ok, great. Get started. Print up a sample letter about, oh, say, reinstating the parts of the Glass-Steagall Act that prevented commercial banks from acting as investment banks, get some stamps, talk your friends and co-workers into printing them up and signing them, and get the letters sent to all your representatives.

Ta da!

Occupy Lite in your own life, right now.

It pisses me off when some small group decides that they have an exclusive right to speak for what is essentially a widely held collection of beliefs. I don't like it when they deny me ways to speak about my beliefs, especially when our ultimate goals are not dissimilar.

I really don't understand this....well, *fury* from sympathetic people about the inherently messy and open-ended Occupy movement. The reported behavior by the few dozen Seattle asses who shut down a forum is despicable, but there is nothing inherent in the movement that announces an "exclusive right to speak." Its openness to all who want to participate is in fact its most singular characteristic (and probably its biggest logistical headache, too). Every GA I know also has a heavy online presence, which can easily be accessed and participated in without paying a babysitter.

Occupy Lite. People who share the goals of Occupy Wall Street, but can only show up for the protest if we can find a babysitter this weekend. Occupy Lite. We are the 99%.

Who perhaps need just a tiny bit more imagination to realize numerous ways they can take the Occupy Heavy movement and run with it in their own, useful, Lite way. The possibilities for Occupy Lite are enormous, and require only one thing:

You to start creating them.
posted by mediareport at 5:13 AM on November 23, 2011 [5 favorites]


By the way, I've been in the bowels of evil (well, it was actually Tom DeLay's living room in Sugarland, Tx - his wife served me and other campaign volunteers Kool Aid and cookies before we canvassed the neighborhood on his behalf).

My father was a republican precinct chairman who was very politically active. I've attended national republican conventions and served as a page at a Texas republican convention. I even spoke in front of several thousand republicans at another Texas republican convention, to considerable applause (shortly after buying a t-shirt with a donkey lazing in a hammock and the words "vote democrat, it's easier than getting a job").

This was a long time ago, before Mefi, George W. Bush and living in socialist Europe for a decade brought about a radical change in my political views.

But let me tell you the impression of the republican party that remains for me - they are very organized. There are a myriad of subgroups in the party who are also very organized, and who work for YEARS to build power within the party structure. The religious right? That's where my family was involved - I watched from the inside as they coalesced into a single power block and forced the old guard fiscal conservatives to take them seriously - at least as an organized voting block. This was more than 20 years ago, folks. We are seeing today the lasting effects of hard organizing work on the part of this subgroup of republicans.

We, as progressives, need to realize that this is how things are done - how lasting change is brought about. We need to put in the same effort to organize a subgroup around the principles of egalitarianism inside the democratic party (while continuing to protest). It's not as sexy as occupying and mic-checking, but it is the best way to bring about lasting change, in my opinion.
posted by syzygy at 5:13 AM on November 23, 2011 [6 favorites]


I can't believe it took until Bartonius' comment to educate mefites on what the word 'civil' in the phrase 'civil disobedience' means. Civil disobedience is not by its nature polite and obsequious any more than civil engineers have impeccable table manners or a civil war is noted for its politesse.
Well, it's interesting and so noted, but it's kind of missing the point.

Did MLK ever show up at someone else's speech, wait until they got a while into it, and then at some random point halfway through a sentence suddenly start shouting over the speaker? Did Gandhi? Did they advocate that the people they were leading do it? Or did they let people who were speaking speak? I don't know, they might have shouted people down; do you know? I do know that I have a hard time imagining them having done so.

And I think that, at least in the American Civil Rights Movement, a big deal was made of adhering to basic civility, regardless of whether or not the two uses of the word were related or not. People were, I believe, told to show up in their Sunday best and to act in a manner that makes it as clear as possible that they're reasonable people with reasonable demands. Weren't they?

In any case, this "we can shout louder than you" stuff gives me a very visceral "assholes" reaction, in a way that shutting down a bridge or whatever absolutely does not. Maybe I'm atypical with respect to that, but if not, I think this isn't a particularly good strategy.
posted by Flunkie at 6:31 AM on November 23, 2011 [1 favorite]


In any case, this "we can shout louder than you" stuff gives me a very visceral "assholes" reaction, in a way that shutting down a bridge or whatever absolutely does not.

Flunkie, are you actually saying that the interruption of a speech disturbs you more than the closure of public infrastructure? Really? Even if it was you who couldn't get to work that morning?
posted by weinbot at 6:44 AM on November 23, 2011 [1 favorite]


Flunkie, are you actually saying that the interruption of a speech disturbs you more than the closure of public infrastructure? Really? Even if it was you who couldn't get to work that morning?
As far as I know I've never been prevented from getting somewhere by protesters of any sort, so I don't know how I'd react if it happened to me, but yes, seeing a video of this use of mic checking gives me an immediate and strongly negative reaction, whereas seeing a video of people shutting down infrastructure does not (and in fact in many cases gives me the opposite reaction).
posted by Flunkie at 6:50 AM on November 23, 2011 [2 favorites]


Then I think, as you mentioned earlier, that you are atypical.
posted by weinbot at 6:55 AM on November 23, 2011 [1 favorite]


"the worse the better"

I share the sentiment, but in actual practice, perhaps this line of thinking is to be avoided.
posted by AugieAugustus at 7:09 AM on November 23, 2011 [3 favorites]


Bunny Ultramod: Jeez, people were claiming that ACT-UP were just a bunch of hooligans, but they did about as much to put AIDS in the national spotlight as anybody.

This is an important point. I was a member of ACT UP (no hyphen, thanks) during its heyday, and we were very uncivil. We shouted at politicians and CEOs of drug companies. We had die-ins that blocked traffic. We chained ourselves to fences. We handed out condoms to minors. We whistled and yelled and held edgy, sex-positive signs. We had lots and lots of concern trolls within the gay community who claimed we were too radical and that our tactics were hurting the image of gays.

BUT - discussion about AIDS was mainstreamed. Over time it stopped being perceived as a disease solely for faggots and drug addicts. Ryan White definitely had a lot to do with that, but ACT UP is part of what kept the media focus on bigoted policies.

OWS is bringing economic inequality issues to people who hadn't given much thought to them. Even people who disagree with them are at least thinking about it. If they were civil and polite and just held boring meetings in church basements, no one would give a fuck. (Funnily enough, most of our ACT UP meetings to discuss radical tactics were held in an Episcopal church.) ACT UP was formed out of anger and frustration that our friends were being persecuted and dying at ridiculously young ages (RIP Chris and Jay). We couldn't articulate precise goals at first because we were JUST SO FUCKING ANGRY AND DESPONDENT. OWS contains a lot of people who, while not literally dying, have also been robbed of a future. It took years to achieve most of the goals of ACT UP, and of course there still isn't a cure or vaccine. OWS will take time, and I wish people would be patient.
posted by desjardins at 7:30 AM on November 23, 2011 [22 favorites]


Did MLK ever show up at someone else's speech, wait until they got a while into it, and then at some random point halfway through a sentence suddenly start shouting over the speaker? Did Gandhi?

Neither would have opposed it. Here's a nice summery of their approach to nonviolent direct action:

On April 16, 1963, King was imprisoned in Birmingham, Alabama, after a nonviolent protest. Eight other clergymen published a statement in which they criticized King's tactics, calling them "unwise and untimely". While he was in jail, King came across the statement in a newspaper and decided to answer their charges in writing. He composed an essay, "Letter from a Birmingham Jail", in which he argued that human rights must take precedence over unjust laws. He defended the impatience of civil rights protestors, as well as their use of nonviolent civil disobedience in order to force an intransigent community to acknowledge and to respond to serious problems. "Nonviolent direct action seeks to create such a crisis and foster such a tension, that a community which has constantly refused to negotiate is forced to confront the issue."
posted by Bunny Ultramod at 7:36 AM on November 23, 2011 [6 favorites]


BestBuy tried to start an Occupy Best Buy hashtag for the Black Friday sales. It failed miserably - you can't appropriate or parody something if you can't pin it down.

Well that was my WHAT THE FUCK moment of the day. And so early, too!
posted by Think_Long at 8:00 AM on November 23, 2011


The_Long: Well that was my WHAT THE FUCK moment of the day. And so early, too!

My WTF moment of today was seeing that my mom (60-something lifelong republican and owner of a ladies' boutique) post an image of a poster reading "Occupy Black Friday" to her shop's Facebook stream, along with a message that shopping in local stores aids local economies.

Talk about WTF :D
posted by syzygy at 8:07 AM on November 23, 2011


Well that was my WHAT THE FUCK moment of the day. And so early, too!

Yeah, they're not gonna waste any time. Occupy Best Buy? More like FUCK Best Buy.

Also: Occupy Occupy-Abuse

Occupy Octopi
posted by AugieAugustus at 8:07 AM on November 23, 2011


Neither would have opposed it. Here's a nice summery of their approach to nonviolent direct action:
Where does that page say anything about shouting people down, Bunny Ultramod? Or, for that matter, anything at all about Gandhi?
posted by Flunkie at 8:07 AM on November 23, 2011


Where does that page say anything about shouting people down, Bunny Ultramod?

I didn't realize you were being exceptionally literal, and that you were so unfamiliar with Ghandi and Martin Luther King Junior to need a remedial class in direct action, and how King was influenced by Ghandi. I am not here to offer, that, sorry.

I will say that if you want to take some time to educate yourself, you will save yourself a lot of embarrassment by using both men as stand-ins for stuff you personally do not like, saying they NEVER DID THAT, when the stuff they actually did, by your standards, were directly, and intentionally, in violation of what many people considered civil at the time, and you are not echoing their positions, but accidentally parroting those who opposed them.
posted by Bunny Ultramod at 8:12 AM on November 23, 2011 [5 favorites]


post an image of a poster reading "Occupy Black Friday" to her shop's Facebook stream, along with a message that shopping in local stores aids local economies.

That's actaully pretty great. Just when the co-optation comes from Best fucking Buy, the disconnect is almost hilarious.
posted by Think_Long at 8:14 AM on November 23, 2011


The myth of the "entitled OWS protester" is a meme. A meme that is readily accepted and propagated among the kind of people who get their infotainment from FOX News - in other words, stupid people. The reality of who the OWS protesters are is evident to anyone who gets their information from far less biased sources. The "entitled" meme is just another variation of divide and conquer like the "liberal media" meme or the meme that says that if you have a college education then you are somehow less capable. Divide the stupid from the rest of the world and get them on your side.

Much the same thing can be said about the "they're uncivil meme". Well imagine that - people engaging in civil disobedience are not following all the rules. Oh someone hold me , I think I'm coming down with the vapors! They tried to get their governments attention by voting. They tried to get their government's attention by petitions. They tried and were drowned out by billions of dollars of graft. So now they are getting a bit shouty and taking to the streets. Perhaps the government will start listening now.
posted by Poet_Lariat at 8:16 AM on November 23, 2011 [3 favorites]


A few months ago, just before the occupations started I was reading some Mefi threads while the TV was on and a documentary about comedy featuring political comedy grabbed my attention.

I was introduced to the Smothers Brothers, Mort Sahl, Dick Gregory, Lenny Bruce and George Carlin. Of these guys I'd only ever heard of Carlin.

For the next few hours I watched a heap of clips on youtube and read some bios. This led me to exploring the history of the various political movements and when I added it altogether I felt like it was telling a sad story of these years.

In their comedy acts you could see each comedian trying to be free and to exorcise some truth so obvious but also the cause of such trouble. There was a very real cost to speaking these things aloud in public and being a part of anti-establishment movement during a time of radical conservatism.

Each of them paid a price for their voice and shared some tragedy during the McCarthy, Civil Rights and Social Justice eras for free speech, association and anti-war views and if it didn't kill them like Lenny Bruce it left them more bitter and angry than before. Mort Sahl and Dick Gregory were most definitely changed and affected by the killing of JFK, MLK and RFK and they were also marginalised by association with movements and then actively harrassed and gaslighted by the FBI and secret service.

And that's the thing that struck me. Once 1980 rolled around it seemed like comedians were finally allowed to be political because Conservatives had well and truly won. However political comedy was still constrained by one limitation; bitter and angry truths are still 100% not welcome.

I added Bill Hicks and Pryor to my youtube watchlist and gee were those guys angry. Not an angry act but real deep anger.

Maybe we do have free speech but try and change something and you'll see how free you really are.
posted by vicx at 8:17 AM on November 23, 2011 [4 favorites]


I don't have a problem with them interrupting politicians, but the speaking in unison thing is creepy and cult-like behavior.

I don't agree at all that it's cult-like. I find the responses in some of these videos (i.e., O BA MA, O BA MA, or USA USA USA) to be much more cult-like.

The mic check routine is an excellent tactic for a few really good reasons. First, it assumes that the crowd will be hostile. It assumes that some of the mic checkers will be escorted out. It takes all of these problems in stride because:

1. You get a group together ahead of time and agree on a text to speak. This is not cult-like. This is agreeing on a message and being determined to deliver it successfully.

2. Multiple people are available to take up the role of lead speaker in case that person is escorted out.

The only things that could really improve these is to get all of the participants to really memorize the text, rather than rely on printed material, and to increase the number of members and their physical dispersion in the crowd.

This is what I find so amazing about this technique. With about 40 people, you can successfully deliver a very coherent message to a giant crowd. This isn't heckling. It's not a single nut yelling a screed. In most cases I've seen it's a full-blown essay style argument with a goddamn point, and that actually gets delivered. This is amazing.
posted by odinsdream at 8:23 AM on November 23, 2011 [11 favorites]


Rachel Maddow last night on mic-checking. You may have to watch a Goldman Sachs advertisement before watching the clip. Huh. It's like rain on your wedding day.
posted by davidjmcgee at 8:29 AM on November 23, 2011 [3 favorites]


I didn't realize you were being exceptionally literal, and that you were so unfamiliar with Ghandi and Martin Luther King Junior to need a remedial class in direct action, and how King was influenced by Ghandi. I am not here to offer, that, sorry.

I will say that if you want to take some time to educate yourself, you will save yourself a lot of embarrassment by using both men as stand-ins for stuff you personally do not like, saying they NEVER DID THAT, when the stuff they actually did, by your standards, were directly, and intentionally, in violation of what many people considered civil at the time, and you are not echoing their positions, but accidentally parroting those who opposed them.
Um, wow?

At what point did I complain about anything that they did besides this particular use of mic checking? I even explicitly said, multiple times, that I'm not opposed to the other things, and I directly asked about that and only that.

And I never said "THEY NEVER DID THAT". I said pretty much the opposite (well, not "THEY DID THAT", but I said that I didn't know if they did that or not, and directly asked if anyone else knew if they did).

I'm not really sure how you jumped from that sort of thing to thinking that I don't know who Gandhi is, or whatever it is that you're claiming to think.

If you can show me where these people did things similar to the particular thing that I have clearly stated I have a visceral negative reaction to, I would, as I have already said, be interested in seeing it. If you're just going to hurl invective, pretend I don't know even extremely basic things about Gandhi and King, and pretend that I yelled "THEY NEVER DID THAT" rather than saying "I don't know if they did that, does anyone know", then, uh, OK, I guess, whatever floats your boat.
posted by Flunkie at 8:48 AM on November 23, 2011


Any particular action like this during the civil rights movement would count as extreme minutiae, and I don't feel like spending three hours doing your research. I WILL say that disrupting dominant political discourse was a key strategy. The SNCC Freedom Summer registered droves of black voters in Mississippi, and had a delegation sent to the Democratic national convention, which the Democrats refused to seat. This delegation was formed through the electoral process; refusing to seat the delegation was an outright admission that the system wasn't playing by its own rules, and would not engage meaningfully with the movement through mainstream political channels. There's a strong argument to be made that this led directly to the violent protests and riots that came not long afterwards.

So a bunch of people interrupting an Obama speech to force him to say something - anything - about a movement that he's refused to acknowledge isn't that far off the playbooks, if it is at all. The dominant political establishment has refused to take any side but that of Wall Street; interrupting that discourse with doses of reality is entirely called for, imho. And the mic check, as noted above, delivers a brief, cogent message, to which the politician can respond. Or not.

Think about the asymmetry here. Obama wasn't the one being shouted down here.
posted by kaibutsu at 9:08 AM on November 23, 2011


I don't feel like spending three hours doing your research
I didn't ask you to.
posted by Flunkie at 9:10 AM on November 23, 2011


Well, then, hop to it and tell us what you find out.
posted by kaibutsu at 9:12 AM on November 23, 2011 [1 favorite]


Well, then, hop to it and tell us what you find out.
Yeah, OK, I'm done with this thread; this is getting too bizarrely confrontational. I did not make an assertion; I asked if anyone knew the answer to a question. And I did not ask anyone to figure it out if they didn't already know. I fail to see what's so horrible about that. Goodbye.
posted by Flunkie at 9:18 AM on November 23, 2011 [2 favorites]


I'm puzzled about why you are so focused on whether King or Ghandi ever did anything similar to the Mic checks. They are a new tactic, devised in response to a new development -- a sort of live mass communication event that didn't exist in Ghandi's time and was just forming in King's.

They didn't do that, because they couldn't. If your point is that you find it rude, my response was that a lot of what they did was rude. If your point is that this is somehow uniquely rude, my answer is that I disagree. And if your point is that Ghandi or Martin Luther King would never have done that, I don't agree. It is absolutely consistent with their tactics, which made extensive use of the media to get their message out.
posted by Bunny Ultramod at 9:21 AM on November 23, 2011 [4 favorites]


Civility people, please. Let's at least be civil with one another - there as absolutely NO reason to be jumping down someone's throat when that someone is nominally on your side and asking questions.

I'd say it's a good idea not to jump down anyone's throat, even if they're against the movement - we need to go for hearts and minds here, and alienating allies is simply the wrong way to go about it.

Don't let your fervor run off people who are willing to stand next to you and fight.
posted by syzygy at 9:46 AM on November 23, 2011 [5 favorites]


Yeah, the issue here was that Flunkie was calling the mic check of Obama (and presumably others) was not 'civil,' and thus not civil disobedience; the wuestion about whether this was something that would have flown during the civil rights movement was pretty explicitly an appeal to authority; those guys, we all agree, knew how to do civil disobedience, so let's find out if there are any similar example there.

I was thinking a bit about this while out walking today. I think what rubs me wrong here is that, as was pointed out above, the methods of the civil rights movement really was fundamentally about breaking norms of politeness that perpetuated racial oppression. Sitting on a bus, sit-ins at lunch counters and, yes, libraries, and so on, were all interruptions to polite society which called explicit attention to the problems of the society. There were plenty of epithets for people who violated the social expectations, 'uppity' amongst them.

The corruption in corporate politics is the target of this movement. In the age of money=speech, usurping the arrangement in which sponsored entities get all the air time to tell the moneyed side of the story is a modern reflection of the lunch counter sit-in. No one wanted to keep white people from eating lunch; they just wanted to have that opportunity as well. Likewise, no one was trying to keep Obama from speaking; they just wanted it to be a conversation instead of a sermon.

If it seems like the protesters are being uppity, it's because they absolutely are. And that means they're doing things right.
posted by kaibutsu at 2:12 PM on November 23, 2011 [5 favorites]


And I apologize for being snippy earlier. Sorry, Flunkie.
posted by kaibutsu at 2:12 PM on November 23, 2011 [4 favorites]


Can I just say here that the examples of mic check at politicians' speeches I've seen do not amount to "shouting down," though obviously mic check and shouting down share some superficial characteristics (e.g., shouting).

Shouting down means you are going to continue to yell until the speaker gives up or the meeting is disbanded. It doesn't matter what you're shouting so long as the speaker can't continue. The purpose of shouting down is preventing the speaker from speaking at all.

Mic check may start out sounding like shouting down but the differences are that mic check a) is finite, i.e., there is an agreed-upon text that is to be delivered, and then the mic check is done and the speaker is free to continue. The Obama mic check linked above interrupts the President for barely a minute and then he continues his speech. All he has to do, in fact, is to indicate that he is listening to what the group is saying and that he considers it important ("I appreciate your making your point... I'll listen to you and you listen to me.") And then the "incivility" is done for the day.

See, the reason they didn't turn into hecklers is that Obama didn't treat them like hecklers: he recognized that the purpose of the interruption was not to silence him but rather for them to be heard as well. He's savvy enough, I think, to understand how media works (if they waited until the end of the speech to start the mic check, TV would just have cut away from them) and also empathetic enough to realize that the protesters were trying to accomplish something positive.

Contrast that with the Karl Rove video, where he blows his top and screams idle threats and basically behaves like a spoiled nine-year-old. The speech dissolves into chaos that lasts many minutes, with Rove shrieking "No, you're not! No, you're not!" The result? Hundreds of thousands of YouTube viewings of the would-be kingmaker thrown into a panic by a few kids yelling during a speech.

So here's another handy use for the mic check: it's an rough but reliable thermometer of the speaker's level of maturity and grace under pressure. Isn't that worth sitting through a minute or so of chanting?
posted by La Cieca at 2:24 PM on November 23, 2011 [10 favorites]


green energy subsidies

A.k.a. corporate welfare for Ford and Nissan.
posted by John Cohen at 2:27 PM on November 23, 2011 [1 favorite]


I don't get this idea some people have that civil disobedience requires being polite.
posted by dunkadunc at 2:28 PM on November 23, 2011 [3 favorites]


A baffling amount of comments in this thread amount to "Why aren't those duck hunters ducking?"
posted by defenestration at 3:46 PM on November 23, 2011 [1 favorite]


See, the reason they didn't turn into hecklers is that Obama didn't treat them like hecklers: he recognized that the purpose of the interruption was not to silence him but rather for them to be heard as well. He's savvy enough, I think, to understand how media works (if they waited until the end of the speech to start the mic check, TV would just have cut away from them) and also empathetic enough to realize that the protesters were trying to accomplish something positive.

Contrast that with the Karl Rove video, where he blows his top and screams idle threats and basically behaves like a spoiled nine-year-old. The speech dissolves into chaos that lasts many minutes, with Rove shrieking "No, you're not! No, you're not!" The result? Hundreds of thousands of YouTube viewings of the would-be kingmaker thrown into a panic by a few kids yelling during a speech.


I agree. The rightists including Rove felt threatened, but Obama just rolled with it.
posted by KokuRyu at 4:39 PM on November 23, 2011 [1 favorite]


... I listed some of them. You listed some more. Now, what position does OWS take on them? Does it want massive government work schemes? Does it want high inflation? I hear that this is what you want. Is it what OWS wants?
No, you listed a bunch of insane strawmen. I assumed they were sarcastic examples you gave because you didn't think the government can do anything about the unemployment rate. If you're saying know you were serious you're either completely ignorant about public policy, completely delusional, trolling, or all three. Either way, not really possible to have a productive discussion.
Does it want high inflation? I hear that this is what you want.
Uh, yeah? Higher then the record low inflation we've had for years, far below what the fed is supposed to be targeting.
Maybe I'm just not jaded enough, but I think that with enough popular support, Democrats could push an amendment through Congress. Getting it past the cadre of hyper-Republican state legislatures might post more difficulty, but again, with enough popular support and enough protesting, it could get done.
The problem here is that you're assuming that corruption is a republican core principle, but not a democratic one. In reality, there are probably lots of dems unhappy with deep corruption, but they don't run the party. The people who do run the party are in bed with lobbyists and the hyper-wealthy just as much as the republicans. I would imagine there might be some republican rank and file who are upset about the situation as well.
I can't believe it took until Bartonius' comment to educate mefites on what the word 'civil' in the phrase 'civil disobedience' means. Civil disobedience is not by its nature polite and obsequious any more than civil engineers have impeccable table manners or a civil war is noted for its politesse.
It didn't occur to me that people might misunderstand that.

1. Protest!
2. Don't vote!
3. ???
4. Social Change! (Profit)
Show me one person saying people shouldn't vote.
Did MLK ever show up at someone else's speech, wait until they got a while into it, and then at some random point halfway through a sentence suddenly start shouting over the speaker? Did Gandhi? Did they advocate that the people they were leading do it? Or did they let people who were speaking speak? I don't know, they might have shouted people down; do you know? I do know that I have a hard time imagining them having done so.
If you don't think the Civil Rights movement didn't do things that irritated people you're really ignorant of history. Like I said, the Montgomery bus boycott shut down the entire bus system for months, that's what Rosa Parks was involved in. The sit-ins prevented people from using facilities. Strikes prevented services from happening. Come on.

If you think the "Civil Rights" movement was all about being courteous, polite, and civil you're delusional. Politeness is not the highest virtue in the world. And by the way the rich and powerful don't give a damn about being polite or nice to the middle class.
In any case, this "we can shout louder than you" stuff gives me a very visceral "assholes" reaction, in a way that shutting down a bridge or whatever absolutely does not. Maybe I'm atypical with respect to that, but if not, I think this isn't a particularly good strategy.
Yes, I think you're atypical.
posted by delmoi at 5:26 PM on November 23, 2011 [3 favorites]


James Kwak has an article in the Atlantic about the success of the conservative movement over the past 20 years. No one can argue that they were suffering from a lack of rudeness.
posted by delmoi at 7:08 PM on November 23, 2011


I've given this a lot of thought over the last day and I'm going to change my opinion. Upthread I suggested that doing a Mic Check during somebody else's assembly is wrong, and would just piss off potential supporters. I now think we need more Mic Checks at political assemblies.

In particular, I mentioned upthread that Occupy Seattle had disrupted an assembly of their own supporters, and I didn't agree with that tactic. I still don't agree with that tactic when it comes to supporters, but I've changed my mind about its use in general because I learned that today the board of Seattle Central Community College passed a new "no camping" rule especially designed to allow eviction of Occupy Seattle. The eviction could happen as early as next week.

There does seem to be a deliberate effort to silence protesters here. My new attitude is that if there is no place to physically assemble, then protesters have the right to assemble at other assemblies, even if this creates a temporary disruption. The protest can, and should, continue through flash mobs and other communities that can't so easily be silenced.
posted by twoleftfeet at 11:18 PM on November 23, 2011 [7 favorites]


I've given this a lot of thought over the last day and I'm going to change my opinion.

Sweet mother of improbability... a human being who can change their mind, based on rational discourse...

KILL THE MUTANT!

(j/k)

We need him taken alive.
posted by IAmBroom at 9:03 AM on November 24, 2011


Yeah, I agree shouting down a panel of supporters is a dumb idea. The 'people's mic' is supposed to be used when you can't bring your own microphone, but as a superior alternative.
posted by delmoi at 11:35 AM on November 24, 2011


delmoi wrote: The problem here is that you're assuming that corruption is a republican core principle, but not a democratic one. In reality, there are probably lots of dems unhappy with deep corruption, but they don't run the party. The people who do run the party are in bed with lobbyists and the hyper-wealthy just as much as the republicans. I would imagine there might be some republican rank and file who are upset about the situation as well.

Yes, that's what the arm twisting by OWS and the Tea Party both is needed for. When both parties fear for their continued existence over the issue, they will give up the money. Until then, they'll keep on taking it. I just think that it would take somewhat less to get the Democrats over the hump than it would the Republicans, who are the ones (so far) most benefiting from Citizens United.
posted by wierdo at 6:18 PM on November 24, 2011 [1 favorite]


Here's An actual bank CEO getting Mic Checked.
posted by delmoi at 10:57 PM on November 30, 2011 [3 favorites]


Occupy Princeton students mic-check a JP Morgan-Chase Treasury Services info session on December 7, 2011
posted by finite at 3:05 PM on December 8, 2011 [1 favorite]


Occupy Princeton students mic-check a Goldman Sachs Investment Banking Division recruitment session
posted by finite at 12:53 AM on December 9, 2011


Finite, I was about to post that - I think it's a great example of productive mic checking. Full text here.
posted by en forme de poire at 7:50 PM on December 9, 2011


panel discussion with Oakland Mayor Jean Quan mic checked last night (2 minute video by @joshwolf)
Occupying The Commonwealth Club (article by @susie_c with 2 hour video by @OakFoSho)

I was there last night and was surprised by how few disruptions there were, especially given how unapologetic Jean Quan was.
posted by finite at 1:23 PM on December 16, 2011


Cheering the removal of mic checkers is one of those things that makes me so incredibly angry. That the slightest interruption from the endless corporate-sponsored drivel that passes for public discourse is apparently so unwelcome points to some extreme problems with civic responsibility and basic human decency.
posted by odinsdream at 4:13 PM on December 16, 2011 [2 favorites]


I think mic checking is obnoxious. I'd probably cheer them being removed, too.
posted by empath at 5:03 PM on December 16, 2011


Then my comment applies to you.
posted by odinsdream at 6:48 PM on December 16, 2011 [2 favorites]


odinsdream: "Cheering the removal of mic checkers is one of those things that makes me so incredibly angry. That the slightest interruption from the endless corporate-sponsored drivel that passes for public discourse is apparently so unwelcome points to some extreme problems with civic responsibility and basic human decency."

What's even worse is when I see people who I thought were the voices of reason around here cheering against the mike checkers

or saying that people deserved their trailer burning down since they didn't pay a regressive $75 fire fee

or that Bradley Manning deserves everything they can throw at him

or that people who film cops should know better than to invite trouble

or that Occupy Wall Street needs to shut up

et cetera, et cetera.


Personally, I'm not so hot on this website anymore.
posted by dunkadunc at 8:14 PM on December 16, 2011 [1 favorite]


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