Here is the end of the movement. Everything wrong about it in one bold snitch.
THE OCCUPY MOVEMENT HAS A PROBLEM AND IT IS FLYING A BLACK FLAG
Even at the first rumblings of the September 17th actions in New York, I was absorbed by and enamored of the Occupy Movement. From the outset, it seemed as if it bore on its shoulders all of the promise of a new rebellious politic that, unlike the anti-war protests of the past decade, carried with it none of the baggage of my parent’s generation. It is the first truly significant American social movement of the social networking age. It is also the first American social movement driven largely by my generation, a fact that gives me no small measure of pride. It has the potential to enact sweeping change, not on the back of some messianic political miracle worker but, in the truest American tradition, at the hands of the people, through their hard work and perseverance.
Yawn. Some Artiste claims that Occupy is first authentic movement of some age that doesn’t exist. We must be getting a long whining argument about how The Artiste wasn’t treated fairly by all involved.
Go figure. Proceed.
So, my partner and I decided to start OccupyTV, a YouTube channel that aggregates Occupy related videos. We saw an opportunity to create a mass index, not unlike OccupyTogether, but of video content from around the world. The beauty of an online video is that it allows the viewer, no matter where they are, to take part in a protest from 50, or 500, or 5000 miles away. You don’t have to be in Oakland to be in Oakland, a fact illustrated by the incredible show of support that videos of last week’s clashes between the OPD and protestors elicited from the worldwide Occupy community.
WE started it! Something for everyone. WE did it. Did you see what WE did. For everyone! That thing WE did! My partner and I!
We saw the channel as a platform that we could use to produce our own video content from different Occupy locations. We’re artists, and we saw the potential to use art to help further the movement. In the interest of that end, we have been visiting Occupy encampments for about a month now, and we’ve started to notice something troubling. There exists within Occupy a dark and unsettling presence, a rabid dog unchained from its post. Call them Anarchists, call them Black Bloc, call them whatever you want. Any way you cut it, they are parasites, and they are going to eat this movement alive from the inside out.
Here comes the rhetoric! Kill the parasites! They’re going to eat the movement alive!
Well, at least they’ll destroying our art project.
We arrived late to the November 2nd Oakland General Strike, just in time for the one o’clock March Against Capitalism. Maybe that moniker should have served as a warning as to what would ensue, but for two doe-eyed, idealistic kids with a jonesin’ for some social justice, it seemed like the ticket to a winning start to the day.
WTF?! Free advice: don’t write like that. It makes you sound like an arrogant and ignorant, self-satisfied douche bag.
As OccupyTV, our sole interest is in capturing the events transpiring around us and creating media for and about the movement. We won’t stop you. Don’t stop us.
The language of free market capitalism. The fucking anarchists aren’t going to kill the movement, it’s the entrepreneurs and opportunists like you that the movement has to worry about.
thing is, when you start tampering with our equipment, when you start dismantling our rights in favor of your own, when you talk about horizontal power structures but place your interests above those of your fellow protestors, when you embody the very hypocrisy that you seek to unveil, it kind of pisses the rest of us off.
The idea that Black Block idiots would vandalize your equipment is really something that you must prove and your story isn’t really helping your case. What you could have written in two sentences, you’ve developed into a boring, over-wraught story, which is the sign of A Liar. You are getting ready to literally compare yourself to Dr King and the civil rights movement and offer Malcolm X as a foil in your story who deserved to die. That bullshit is yet to come in your shitty story. So, you really need to prove it because when we get to that shitty end of your screed, we’re all going to hate you anyway.
You could have written, “The anarchists we met did X, Y, Z to our equipment and we’re really pissed off.” And shown some illustration of the vandalism. Simple and honest.
We know what happened. You were have a pissing match with a few fashion anarchists and all of you acted like assholes, except the anarchists had the courage of their convictions and went as far as they claimed they would go, which you would never do because your primary motivation is a stupid media project for you and your partner.
That you have a problem with a small minority of anarchists who see their streetwork as an important part of the disobedience in the Occupy movement, well that’s the first thing you’ve said that might have any critical worth in this post. Unfortunately, you contrast what you don’t like about the anarchists with some weird argument about your right to conduct business. So, your argument is bunk. You have no warrant that anyone with a brain will care about. The movement is not an opportunity for your Artistry (which is suspect) to be cultivated.
In addition, you are a truly horrible writer. You knew it was coming, folks. Here is the moment the guy pulls off another guy’s mask. Are you ten years old? I’m supposed to take you seriously, and you’re trying to make fun of the anarchists you’re snitching on within your post. You’re still arguing with them. It’s petty. This is all show, isn’t it? A stupid, petty spectacle.
It was at that point that I did something rash. I waited for my chance, watching as the punk in question smeared every camera lens within reach, adding a cheerful “Thank you!” after each hit. A chorus of expletives erupted from the camera line, and he came toward me, reaching forward. I snapped my camera back, and then quickly followed behind him as he turned away, reaching around and pulling down his mask while shoving my camera in his face. Now, for the protestors who wear the all-black uniform with the ever-present facemask, this must have been akin to getting pantsed on the playground in front of all of your friends. I didn’t hit him or push him, but I did, in some small way, violate his person. This was foolish, and fundamentally wrong, and I should not have done it. I am big enough to admit that. But neither did it warrant the hours of verbal and physical harassment I would go on to endure over the course of the rest of the day.
Now here comes the tattle tale portion of the story where the artiste calls out the poseurs. My shit don’t stink either Mr We Film You Don’t Mess With Our Art Project That’s For Everyone After All I Mean We’re Like A Free Documentary Service Afterall You Can Have Your Movement And We Can Have The Product Right?!
What happened next happened too quickly for me to either see or process coherently, but I later gathered that two other men with black face masks tackled and pulled me off of the man whose identity I had sought to reveal. I don’t even particularly think they were in the wrong in doing so. We traded words, which included a threat on their part that I should put my camera away, but soon we went our separate ways, and I thought that to be the end of the whole affair.
I admit, it sounds paranoiac.
Side note: A few days prior to the Strike, I was talking to my mother about my plans to attend. My mother is no stranger to protest. Her first year at Berkley came to a grinding halt with Cambodia Spring. She knows how to deal with tear gas, and she made a point of explaining it to me. I did already know all of this, but it was endearing to have it explained by none other than my mother, and more to the point, it had set the thought firmly at the forefront of my mind. So, while I had not been wearing a bandana earlier in the day, it was simply because I had little reason to believe that tear gas would be used prior to the march on the port, if at all. But, once we got underway, I tied a bandana around my neck in anticipation of a potential showdown not with the OPD, but with the CHP, the Border Patrol, and the Coast Guard.
I’m so authentic, my mother is authentic. MORE BULLSHIT.
[A HORRIBLE SUMMARY OF BICKERING BETWEEN CHILDREN HAS BEEN EXICSED] …Malcolm X was assassinated by his own—by members of the Nation of Islam because he had broken with the fundamentalists. Dr. King was a martyr, Malcolm X was a hit; there is a difference.
Wow. How is it that Americans consistently use black people to make their stupid points about violence in political rhetoric. There are other examples. And your oversimplification of both Malcom X and MLK is insulting and infuriating. You are an idiot.
Live by the sword, die by the sword, it’s a story as old as the hills, or at least as old as the Torah. An eye for an eye, the Good Book says. Is that really how we want to conduct ourselves? Getting lost in petty revenge acts against people who have been just as screwed by the system as we have?
Petty? Like this entire, stupid screed?
The tit for tat protest politics of a bygone era hold no promise for a generation that remains as yet un-jaded by the idea not of civil, but of political disobedience. The narrative of the pig and the righteous protestor has got to stop. Don’t focus on the cop, look to the top. And don’t taint something so nascent, so embryonic, with the cynicism of your failed revolution. We’re trying to do something here. Destruction and violence will only get in our way.
Yes. You are trying to do your art. You’ve made that clear. You began your post snitching on anonymous anarchists for fucking with your gift to the movement and now you’re ending with a call to organize behind your unified principles of civil disobedience (which are, by the way, grotesque and misinformed.) You are a hypocrite. A self-righteous ass. A self-serving Artiste.
I do not want “By Any Means Necessary” to become the epitaph of the Occupy movement.
The movement is dead. Like I wrote yesterday. We have opportunists here, using the movement to participate in the expression of energy in a safe manner over the course of a small period of time that they’ll document in a manner that will permit some profit when it’s all over.
These people are dangerous. The unruly and rude anarchists are not the problem.
I do not want to live in a country that restricts the rights of journalists and artists, or worse, actively encourages their harassment and abuse. I do not want to live in a country in which it is permissible to commit random acts of assault, vandalism, and violence against those with whom you disagree. I do not want to live in a country in which I fear my fellow citizens, and I do not want to protest with a movement in which I fear my fellow protesters. If this is the future that Occupy holds, you can count me out. And I am not alone.
Now the Artiste will make his Artiste Statement! I do want this~~ I don’t want this~~ See me this way~~ I am the 99%. Self-branded, self-fulfilling bullshit. THEATER! SPECTACLE! ACTING! FREE~DOM!
Here comes the promise to snitch.
In summary, our equipment was tampered with, we witnessed multiple instances in which our fellow photographers’ and videographers’ equipment was tampered with, we were singled out and harassed both physically and verbally by the Black Bloc contingent, and we witnessed numerous acts of physical violence against persons and property alike. When you no longer feel safe with either the police, or with the protest, it’s time to go home. The Occupy movement has a problem, and it is flying a black flag.