Obotic cultists, Stockholm Syndrome Undermine Occupy New Hampshire’s BO Mic Check

I’m sure I was not alone in my concern that the YouTube mic check vids were skewing very heavily toward evil nasty Republicans (Karl Rove, Eric Cantor, Scott Walker, Michelle Bachman, Donald Rumsfeld) which was not helping me with the ‘OMG, there are so many fucking liberals in this movement’ problem. So I have to give Occupy New Hampshire proper respect for mic checking the president himself today.

Also, congrats to them  for keeping their concise, if only intended, message very timely and very much in the original spirit of the movement.  They did not trot out liberal talking points, a tendency at OWS protests which has also aggravated my hopelessness and changelessness problem. The text of their mic check as quoted on the Time.com Swampland blog is below:

Over 4000 peaceful protesters have been arrested. While bankers continue to destroy the American economy. You must stop the assault on our 1st amendment rights.  Your silence sends a message that police brutality is acceptable. Banks got bailed out. We got sold out.

Readers of my last post will understand why I particularly like the bit where they call out Obama for his silent complicity in police brutality.

Unfortunately, however, Obama deftly handled his first mic check very much the way he has handled OWS so far, which is to do nothing while would-be brownshirts shut people up on his behalf. In this case, the audience shut the Occupiers down by chanting “Let’s get fired up” and then chanting his name like a particularly dimwitted group of authoritarian cultists. Obama seized the opportunity to preeningly feign openness to the protesters, even though very little of their intended message had been heard. From the New York Daily News account:

“I appreciate you guys making your point. Let me go ahead and make mine, all right?”

Obama continued the speech uninterupted, even referencing the frustration of protesters at one point as an example of a profound disatisfaction that the American Dream “feels like that’s slipping away, and it’s not the way things are supposed to be.”

Regrettably, Obama completely won the round, right down to co-opting the protesters’ message to segue into his usual military-mongering. Things became so calm that you might think police had removed the protesters. No, as it happens, seems at least one of them was dually-afflicted with both Stockholm Syndrome and social networking disease.  Tom LaValley, in an interview with The Washington Post (which has subsequently removed LaValley from the story), said

“He looked us in the eye, let us speak,” LaValley, 23, said. “He didn’t drag us out, didn’t have security come get us.”

How low can expectations go? Very low apparently.  Complicity in police brutality is apparently not a dealbreaker for LaValley, who told The Post “he was still undecided but likely to vote for Obama in 2012.”

LaValley also said that, following their silencing by the crowed, he and his colleagues became preoccupied with getting the mic check on Twitter and Youtube.

Some lessons here: Keep the message short. Persist until the police escort you out. Have a backup mic check group in place, if possible. Leave the uploads until after you’re busted.

Most importantly, get over your fucking Stockholm Syndrome. Everybody.

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24 Responses to Obotic cultists, Stockholm Syndrome Undermine Occupy New Hampshire’s BO Mic Check

  1. Daniel says:

    If you’re only going to see things through the lens of whether people are demonstrating sufficient enough disdain for the Democratic Party, then you really aren’t getting out of the empty partisan mentality any better than they are. Embrace absolute indifference about politics, including indifference toward others political attitudes.

    I say this as a former rabid Naderite: I really don’t give a shit what people do in voting booths anymore. Fuck it, vote for Obama and rationalize away every horrendous war crime and assault on the poor; shuffle around the D’s and R’s and occasional I’s for shits and giggles. There’s no more liberal/conservative, left/right, or even statist/anti-statist to me anymore. There’s only people who are in the streets doing something (march, meet, teach in, drum circle, volunteer, whatever it is you think you have to offer) and those who don’t do shit.

    Because honestly, and I’m sure you’ll disagree with me here, Obama Stockholm Syndrome doesn’t stop people from taking part in protests and movements against the very neoliberal policies he represents (at least not in all cases). Sometimes this is because they’re just ignorant of his actual policy beliefs other times because they’ve self-rationalized that “he has to play the game” and they have to “make him do it.” (I know, I hate that old line as much as you do.) Bottom line is that it doesn’t really matter if the person I’m marching next to voted for Obama, their participation counts just the same.

  2. ohtarzie says:

    “If you’re only going to see things through the lens of whether people are demonstrating sufficient enough disdain for the Democratic Party, then you really aren’t getting out of the empty partisan mentality any better than they are. Embrace absolute indifference about politics, including indifference toward others political attitudes.”

    Oh bullshit. If they don’t have disdain for the Democrats then they haven’t come very far on the rest. Besides that, I meet actual Obamaphiles. Not people who are indifferent. This guy in my post acknowledges Obama’s complicity in the crackdowns and still wants to vote for him. If you don’t see a problem with that there is really nothing I can say.

    Quite honestly what I see coming out of #OWS disgusts me. It’s one more sinkhole for dissent except this time they’re not even holding a liberal savior out in front of you. Just a circle jerk of liberal self-love spiced up with rituals of rebellion and capitulation and fantasies of remaking the world in your wonderful image. Today’s display at Macy’s was despicable. Buy nothing? Shop local? Yeah, that’s real fucking revolutionary stuff and way to get the crowds that you need to stand down the police. Nothing builds solidarity like a mic check about consumerism from smartphone wielding middle class hipsters.

    You got evicted because no one in New York gives a shit about you guys anymore. Sooner or later the people giving you cash are going to realize that the advertised confrontation with kleptocracy isn’t happening, unless they consider a drum circle or browbeating shoppers on Black Friday really taking it to the bankers

    Really, what are you planning to achieve at this point? What are you expecting to happen? Why should anyone support or join you? What’s the end game when the cash runs out and there are no couches left to surf on?

    If I sound angry its because you guys never address criticism as if you’re supposed to accomplish anything beyond just being whatever the fuck you want to be. Leave it to the United States to have a narcissistic class war.

    • Daniel says:

      Are you ever not at a 10 in your reactionary ranting? Really, OWS “disgusts” you now? It’s hard to take you seriously when you pivot so arbitrarily and dramatically.

      The “problem” as I see it is that it factually does not matter if this guy begrudging votes for Obama or not. A corporate-bought, military-industrial-complex-defending, poor-people-hating president will be in office in 2012. The day that changes (and it will only change through outside agitation) maybe I can raise the bile that you seem to have in abundance. I’ve met actual Obamaphiles too, some volunteering with me at an LGBT homeless shelter, others engaging in direct action against stop and frisk policies. And while it’s maddening to talk to them about anything electoral, I’ll take them over a do-nothing anarchist any day (not directing this at you, don’t know what you do outside this blog, just speaking hypothetically).

      I know you’ve been down there, where are you finding this snark and condescension? I must not be looking hard enough because frankly I’ve heard nothing in all my time there approaching the snark and condescension of, “Just an endless circle jerk of self-satisfied brats.”

      And the drum circle people do draw crowds, and going down there you must acknowledge that much. It’s not meaningless to let people know we’re still around. These are also the same people leading the marches and keeping the energy up. I’m way too fucking introverted to do that, so I’m genuinely, noncondescendingly thankful for them.

      I’m just not as defeatist as you, mainly because I don’t have the luxury. I’m too young and not suicidal enough. As to your last question(s) in the first reply, I coincidentally just wrote an entry on my blog to that very question. Read if you like (you’ll find it very unsatisfying):

      http://danielmwolff.blogspot.com/2011/11/panta-rhei.html

      • ohtarzie says:

        “Are you ever not at a 10 in your reactionary ranting? Really, OWS “disgusts” you now? It’s hard to take you seriously when you pivot so arbitrarily and dramatically.”

        Please note that I attacked things I don’t like about a movement and you attacked me. This is a familiar pattern. Since there is nothing substantive here, I’ll leave it there.

        “I’ll take them over a do-nothing anarchist any day (not directing this at you, don’t know what you do outside this blog, just speaking hypothetically).”

        It’s good that you didn’t mean me because it would not be correct. Shouldn’t have to enumerate my credentials to you but suffice it to say that coming to several GAs and going down the rabbit hole, of boring, lengthy, non-productive discussions should count for something along with standing up against the cops during both evictions. This along with work I do that’s not affiliated, including a local soup kitchen. Plus, in a movement, talking and writing is doing something, though I admit, not much. But shutting people down on assumptions about what they’re doing or not is still not substance, though that doesn’t keep #OWSers to reverting to it when you fail to see the sun shining from their asses.

        Perhaps you don’t experience snark and condescension because, one, you are a true believer and two, you are younger. You have a higher tolerance for stupid liberal tricks. I left the last eviction early because I encountered two hipsters bent on projecting a POV onto me that I did not have so they could have a little revolutionary confrontation moment. I find that any attempt at discussing concerns at all – like the 29k for the Egyptian elections – elicits either snark or just a shutting down of conversation altogether. N17 was the first time I had a decent peer-to-peer discussion with people who were actually quite nice. I have been civil and nice in all my interactions. I am at liberty to say whatever the fuck I want on my blog so comparing whatever I get at Zucotti with “Just an endless circle jerk of self-satisfied brats.” is another non-substantive non-starter, but very typical of what passes for critique in this ‘movement’.

        It’s good that you find OWS such a cornucopia of movement and charitable activity, but that is not how it is representing itself to the public that is fostering it and defending it. They think it’s a confrontation with money and government. They would be disappointed to see that one can read three days of tweets from LibertyStreetGA and not see the word ‘Bank’ even once.

        Buy Nothing Day disgusted me. The tweets high-fiving the murder of Quadaffi disgust me. The argument over supporting the flotilla disgusted me. The look-at-me level of focus on the movement itself, as opposed to the social ills it is coming to grips with disgusts me. The 29k allocation for the Egypt holiday disgust me. The orgies of victim Olympics and ID politics grandstanding disgust me.

        Sorry, do something useful and I’ll be less disgusted. I might also join you. Or you can do what your colleagues did at Malls and Wal-marts yesterday, impress me with your moral superiority. Surely I can’t but follow.

      • Karl says:

        Holy crap. “Reactionary”? Where’d you come from Danny? The Glossy Karl Worship Center? If there’s a less useful, more shapeless form of accusatory derogation than “reactionary” I’d like to hear it. Probably the closest follower is “evil Rethuglican”!

        Congratulations on turning off your brain after categorizing ohtarzie as “reactionary.” I suppose you don’t realize how ironically that lumps you into the Middle Class Consumerist Yuppie Poseur category, do you?

    • Daniel says:

      And I agree by the way, with your assessment of the #BoycottBlackFriday thing, I hate that vain Post Left shit. Know what I did? Abandon all hope and declare the entire effort a narcissistic golden shower between bourgeois pedophiles who reek of rat feces? Nah, just voiced my distaste and took part in any of the other fucking dozen or so actions that day that were more to my liking. Maybe you should try that instead of these Henny Penny histrionics.

      • ohtarzie says:

        Maybe the people running the show should place their emphasis on other actions. Yesterday on Twitter, it was all about stupid low-end consumers in between the usual ‘What will we tell our grandchildren about this movement’ self-fellating.

        You do realize you are embodying everything I’ve said about the movement culture, don’t you? Funny how that happens.

        I’ll read your blog post and hope it attempts to demonstrate something other than what a wonderful person you are, which is mostly what you have contributed here.

      • ohtarzie says:

        “Maybe you should try that instead of these Henny Penny histrionics.”

        Heh. Solidarity dude. What a movement builder you are.

        “I’m just not as defeatist as you, mainly because I don’t have the luxury. I’m too young and not suicidal enough. ”

        That’s lovable, too. How would I possibly think that snarky condescension is part of the movement culture.

      • ohtarzie says:

        Abandoning OWS is not abandoning all hope. Another argumentative non-starter. Also narcissistic. You’re not the movement, see. You guys just camped out at a moment when people were fed up.

        Things are pretty dire in the US, though. I am not that hopeful, but it has little to do with you and your comrades.

  3. ohtarzie says:

    “march, meet, teach in, drum circle, volunteer, whatever it is you think you have to offer”

    I’ve been down there. My tolerance for snark and condescension and people who talk revolutionary talk like ‘Occupy as performance’ and think drum circles bring social change is just way too fucking low.

    I just want to get out of this shithole of an asshat vs. asshat country before the shit really hits the fan.

  4. Daniel says:

    “But shutting people down on assumptions about what they’re doing or not is still not substance, though that doesn’t keep #OWSers to reverting to it when you fail to see the sun shining from their asses.”

    You missed my point, I wasn’t opening things up to a good-deeds pissing contest and I didn’t need to hear your credentials. I only mention it to draw contrast with someone who physically engages in fighting for issues I care about with a less desirable political ideology vs. someone who doesn’t engage but purports to believe everything I do. The former means more to me and I’ll take them, Democratic Party line warts and all.

    “It’s good that you find OWS such a cornucopia of movement and charitable activity, but that is not how it is representing itself to the public that is fostering it and defending it. They think it’s a confrontation with money and government.”

    I think it’s a confrontation with money and government through a cornucopia of movement and charitable activity. Don’t presume to speak for the public, your disdain isn’t shared by a population still largely supportive and it’s not because they’re too ignorant of what’s really going on within the movement.

    Anyway, you’re right. You lashed out at me (or the “movement”), so I lashed out at you. It’s all very unsubstantial and contrary to movement-building so I’ll quit while we’re both behind. If I sounded angry it’s because I’m fed up with people taking fleeting experiences/examples and painting broad stroke criticisms of everything we’re trying to do. I can’t make the Occupy movement into something that suits your needs, even if I knew what that was. It meets my desires and maybe one of these days we’ll do something that impresses you. Really, I hope we do.

    In Solidarity,
    Daniel Wolff

  5. Daniel says:

    I’ll just throw this out there as an alternative to a lot of these “disgusting” things coming out of OWS: You seem to want meaningful challenges to the two-party hegemony. I’ve done a lot of work with the Political and Electoral Reform Working Group and I’d imagine you’d find a lot of people who are simpatico to that line of attack. I’d be happy to plug you in with them if that’s something that interests you.

  6. ohtarzie says:

    I have left two replies on your blog post, both completely civil.

    For the record, support for OWS is in decline, though it’s not at the critical stage.

    I don’t agree that people know what they’re getting from Zucotti. I have been following it closely, and I don’t really know what I am getting. i know that I don’t like what I see.

    As an FYI, yesterday I unfollowed everything related to it, since I don’t want anything more to do with it and I don’t want to be tempted to criticize it anymore. You came along and commented on this post, so I commented back.

    • ohtarzie says:

      Oops, I lied. Something really unutterably stupid by JA Myerson, who speaks for you folks a lot got into my feed, and I said it was stupid.

      I’ll try to only credit OWS with the smart people and smart stuff and leave off the rest in future.

  7. ohtarzie says:

    “I’m fed up with people taking fleeting experiences/examples and painting broad stroke criticisms of everything we’re trying to do.”

    I don’t consider my examples fleeting. Maybe a better tactic is to provide counterexamples. You have not done that in this entire conversation. All I know is that you find the movement personally very satisfying, an emphasis that i find among many of the involved parties, which, sorry, I also find disquieting.

  8. Daniel says:

    Counterexamples are difficult considering I still don’t know what it is you’d want us to do. Do you want it to be more confrontational with the financial powers? Counterexamples would be occupy foreclosed homes, move your money day, pledging refusal of student debt repayment, physically shutting down traffic flow through the financial district on Nov. 17 with our bodies. Do you want us to engage against the two-party system more? Counterexamples would be people pushing for a constitutional amendment saying corporations aren’t people, get money out of politics campaigns, 99% candidates (not approved through GA but an autonomous subgroup) who pledge to reject corporate money and use horizontal direct democracy decision making process.

    Examples like two guys talked to me and they were dickish or this guy in an interview doesn’t sufficiently hate Obama is fleeting to me and not something I can really offer a counterexample to. That’s what I was referring to. Something like criticizing Buy Nothing Day is more substantial, and point well taken.

  9. ohtarzie says:

    “Counterexamples would be occupy foreclosed homes, move your money day, pledging refusal of student debt repayment, physically shutting down traffic flow through the financial district on Nov. 17 with our bodies.”

    Those are all good examples.I guess I should make clear that my concerns are directed at the Zucotti Park contingent, not at the movement itself. It’s very hard to know what things are coming from there and what is coming from elsewhere that OWS is signing onto. I was not aware of any local action on foreclosed homes that was coming out of OWS, though I am aware of local group that seems to be operating separate and am considering joining it. It is my understanding the Move Your Money day was undertaken by the Move Your Money project. I am not going to credit OWS with things they simply endorse. ‘Pledges’ of any kind also don’t mean much.

    It seems to me that the largest protest actions have been successful in part due to OWS’s willingness to work along with MoveOn and the unions. I don’t necessarily have a problem with that, but I don’t think it’s you folks that are getting the people out and you certainly let the unions get control of the messaging. I know you don’t care about that and perhaps I shouldn’t either.

    As for the two dickish guys, it was actually a man and woman and it was the worst of three exchanges that evening that seemed oblivious to the idea of solidarity. I don’t expect to have my ass kissed but I do expect people to be cordial. It’s nothing new for Manhattan by any means, but I expect a little more general solidarity than what I would find at an East Village bar. I don’t find it. If I thought it was just a one-off, I wouldn’t have mentioned it.

    When I ask other people who are at Zucotti more often than I am about the political temperature, they say they don’t know because they don’t talk to anyone. This goes alongside a lot of snottiness that I encounter online. For another example of the problem, see the last paragraph of your blog post.

    Like I said,I have started to steer clear of the Manhattan contingent and nothing in this exchange would induce me to do something else. I won’t say I’m disgusted out loud anymore. I feel that via this and your blog post, I can see there are two different visions of what a broad-based movement is. I see it as inherently narrow in focus. You see it as inherently broad.

    For the moment I am going to try to avoid commenting or writing about Zucotti Park though I may continue to comment and write about the movement as a whole.

  10. sagerchatter says:

    ‘…profound disatisfaction that the American Dream “feels like that’s slipping away, and it’s not the way things are supposed to be.”’

    Ugh – I hate it when the ‘American Dream’ is trotted out. Certainly my dream is not your dream, or his or hers or theirs nor do I expect it to be. The only ‘dream’ I have is to be as unencumbered as possible to live whatever the fuck I want my dream to be, subject to change whenever the hell I feel like it. I’d like to think that is accommodating to a very broad number of people but that’s not necessarily my concern.

  11. ohtarzie says:

    Ditto, sagerchatter. I can’t recall a time in my life when ‘the American Dream’ didn’t make me cringe. Even putting aside objections to a shared dream on principle, one that is predicated mostly on owning certain things (house, car) and playing along (job, spouse, family) seems very mundane.

    Such empty chatter is nothing new for Prez BO, though. Don’t know if you watched the vid, but all the sympathy talk for the protesters was quickly coupled to talk about our veterans. This ass never misses a chance to to warmonger. Grrr.

  12. jeannettee_spaghetti says:

    “He didn’t drag us out, didn’t have security come get us.”

    This is precisely the intellectual acrobatism and suspended logic I’ve come to expect from self-identified progressive liberals when it comes to this administration’s antics — the banality of lesser evil-ism. What I have found most disturbing is how what little anti-war/anti-militarism fervor that remained among the left just dissipated once The Chosen entered office. It was replaced with obsessive identity politicking and railing about those “evil Republicans,” who, as we all know, are really to blame for everything. I was both fascinated and disgusted to see liberal friends not only cheer on the murder of OBL and Gaddaffi, but play into the farce that Obama is “bringing the troops home.” I have been patronizingly chided many times for “cynicism,” simply for pointing out baseline facts about how this administration’s policy is completely in line with the neoconservatism liberals were previously against — before they were coldly rationalizing it, I suppose. It’s difficult to take anyone who is plagued with such blatant cognitive dissonance seriously.

    To be frank, the smug, narrow self-interest of the left has reached a point of saturation; I’m sick of hearing about how concerned liberals are regarding the economic hardships facing the working and middle classes in this country, when they can’t even muster much outrage over drone attacks and the murder of people abroad. Honestly, I’m beginning to think that they enjoy being held hostage to the Dems — it means they get to focus on things like funding for bike paths and public schools.

    Oh and Christ forbid you have anything decent to say about Ron Paul. Those hysterical lectures centered on “think of the poor people” and “my body my choice” arguments are just precious. Thanks for letting me rant for a moment.

    • ohtarzie says:

      Hi jeannettee.

      Feel free to rant here anytime.

      I honestly don’t know how liberals think, anymore. It’s clear as you say that they are fairly indifferent to state crimes against foreigners. Among my many misgivings about OWS is it still doesn’t really have a strong anti-war flavor. I think that may come though.

      I actually think a lot of folks are starting to get a clue. If nothing else, OWS seems to have raised the level of the national conversation.

  13. Karl says:

    Just dropped in and found myself chuckling with dark humor at Wolff’s pwog pageantry.

    His blog “friends” Jon Schwarz, another GooGoo Pwog who wastes everyone’s reading moments with further and further attacks on Evil Rethuglicans and the horrors of deregulation and the ultimate blamecasting toward “corporate.”

    Let’s be symbolic! Symbols always give indigestion to Wall Street, the MICFIC, and especially those holding decisive authority in the Fed Govt! They really respect symbolic Pwog Pageantry!

  14. Bryan McMillan says:

    I appreciate this blog / your tweets so much. Hope there’s more to come soon.

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