Tag Archives: protest

Blacked Out – Another Enthusiastic Empty Meaningless Gesture

Morning readers. Thanks for coming by for a read this morning.

There was a long email in inbox this morning wanting me to join some protest by ‘blacking out’ this blog.  The idea is for me to go to the settings and do something or other to cause the blog to look different, which will result in my having somehow sent as message to someone in the US government  that I’m opposed to them doing something or other.  In this case, passing something or other limiting ‘freedom’ on the web.

Don’t get me wrong.  I’m as much a proponent of empty meaningless gestures as the next person.  But I don’t want to go to a lot of trouble changing settings and possibly not being able to get them back the way they were before.

So, I’m going to take a more direct approach:

TO ALL YOU SENATORS, CONGRESSMEN AND PRESIDENTS OF THE US WHO READ THIS BLOG:

I’M OPPOSED TO WHATEVER THE HELL YOU’RE DOING.

There.  If that doesn’t set them straight, nothing will.

Old Jules

The Forbidden Door of the Occupy Protests

The politico dependent portion of the US population has gone to enormous effort to keep the boundaries of dialogue within a poured concrete septic tank for an awfully long time.  Those boundaries have confined what can be expressed by the totally disfranchised, the largely disfranchised, the mildly disfranchised and the slightly disfranchised safely outside platforms for discussion.

Two dominant political parties, lobbyists, government contractors, financial institutions, pharmaceutical companies and the health industry, multi-national corporations and defense industry entitlement organizations have all found comfortable niches to work within that structure and prosper.  The symbiosis benefits the yin of government officials, both elected and hired-hands, and furthers the interests of the yang of anyone with the financial backing to feed the gargantuan resulting from it all.

Technology and communications at a grassroots level have conspired to abruptly allow voices outside that structure to be heard in the context of peaceful assembly by citizens with little in common besides their frustration with being locked outside the box.  Evidently enough of that dissatisfaction exists to spread their numbers over a surprisingly wide area.

Enough to set off the burglar alarms across the spectrum of the comfort zones of those accustomed to doing precisely as they wish quietly in warm and friendly waters.  Probably their best strategy would have been to ignore it all and almost certainly it would have gone away.  It would have faded without the tsunami of indignation the bought and paid for elements of mass communication rattling denouncement through every channel, calling out the cavalry, piling insult and venom on those peacefully expressing themselves in harmless ways.

This ‘movement’ wasn’t created by the seedlings who began it.  The Occupy Wall Street movement would have died on the vine if it hadn’t been nurtured and fertilized by the shrill cries of the safe and comfortable denouncing it.  And by continuing to do so they provide the life blood for future expansion.

The protests on wall street are those coming from inside the buildings.  Someone’s opening a door they believed they had locked.

Me thinks the lady [inside the buildings] protests too much.

Old Jules

Mobs, Violent Protests, and Riots

I find my views about rioting to be possibly artificially drawn away from magnetic north by several personal experiences with them, as well as having been an adult during the giant city burning episodes around the time of the MLK killing. 

From personal observation and experience I feel a high level of certainty that every riot since the 1960s was and is heavily infiltrated by police or other government provocateurs, pushing, inflaming and instigating to direct events toward violence.  I’m not suggesting the riots wouldn’t have happened without them.  The riots would almost certainly have happened anyway.   I honestly don’t have a clue why they’re doing it.

But my first experience with it was Halloween, 1960, in Borger, Texas. During the days before Halloween the kids in high school were all gearing up for it, but I was a newbie in town, had no reason to anticipate what they saw as the normal way to celebrate Halloween. Wild and wooly oil-field worker traditions combined with a boys-will-be-boys tolerance on the part of adults left the options wide open.

The newspaper the next day described it as a quieter than usual Halloween with the main damage being someone starting a bulldozer at a construction site and driving it through a house, nobody hurt.

A few hundred teenagers drunk on main street armed with eggs, veggies, rocks, jars of gasoline, cornering police paddy wagon with barrage after barrage, following them back to the station house and setting fire to the lawn was just a beginning.  I never saw anything like it, even during the riots at the University of Texas I was a part of a decade later.

My point is, rioting is fun, it’s joyful, it’s seductive if the anonymity of a mob can be maintained and when there are no consequences. It doesn’t take much to get people rioting under those circumstances.

On the other hand, the day after Kent State and afterward throughout the remainder of the Vietnam War the temptation to riot was always there so long as it was someone else stepping off the curb into the street. The police and a lot of the rest of the country made it plain by word and attitude they felt tolerance for what happened at Kent State and wouldn’t mind seeing it again.

I recall what a letdown it was when I realized I wasn’t the gutsy hotshot I had people thinking I was, that I was just a loudmouth coward when it came to offering myself up for what I claimed I believed in by making myself a target for all those cops to practice on.

I don’t think things are much different now. My near-certainty about riots in the US is that the government response will determine whether there are riots, or won’t be.  I don’t give advice, but if I did I’d suggest anyone involved in a peaceful demonstration immediately remove himself/herself from the area as rapidly as possible at the first sign of violence.

I’d suggest carefully exploring the route and area of the demonstration on maps and on the ground beforehand.  Pre-arranged escape routes memorized to allow getting the hell out of dodge.  Cell phones set with standby text messages to friends and cohorts to get the message out immediately that things are going sour.  But I won’t suggest it.

But I don’t have a lot of reason to think having a riot going on and being in the center of it is a place I’d want to spend a lot of time.

Old Jules