Occupy Raleigh: Follow Up


I just finished a post I started this afternoon.  I had to wait until I got the family fed, the lawn watered, the driveway power washed, the grass sprinkled and the kids to bed.  Finally, I had to watch the NASCAR race.

NOW I can read some.

And I found this:

RALEIGH — Early on, Occupy Raleigh had the look and feel of a 1960s peace rally, with songs by Pete Seeger, Gil Scot Heron and John Lennon blaring from loudspeakers. A crowd that resembled a family gathering streamed from the old State Capitol grounds and onto Fayetteville Street….

That is exactly as I said it was:  A festival.  But then….

But by late afternoon Saturday, after most of the crowd had dispersed, about 200 protestors debated whether to stay overnight in the park, like their counterparts in New York and other cities, and risk arrest. After nightfall, police arrested 19 people and charged them with second-degree trespassing.

What the hell is the point of THAT!?!?

They got attention.  They got respect.  They got press.  What in the world is the point in getting arrested?

None.

They are adolescent children.

And the response from the official crowd:

Lynn DuPree commented 3 hours ago · Flag

It was a great protest and I want to be the first to say THANK YOU to the 20 brave people who stayed at the Occupy site and gave us the additional media attention we need by getting ARRESTED tonight. As Dr. King taught us, civil disobedience will often involve being willing to offer up our wrists to the police. Gandhi also said non-violent civil disobedience is the backbone of any serious movement intent upon real change; and if I were younger and healthier I would have been happy to stand beside these heroic young citizens and go peacefully to jail. To the RALEIGH 20: I will be honored to march along side you at our next rally!

Nice.  They praise it.

And as long as they do that for people doing that; they’ll never be taken serious again.

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3 comments
  1. I think you’re mistaken — I think they will be taken seriously and that this is the start of a serious movement. Getting arrested makes a point: they are willing to risk arrest to show its more than a festival, but a cause they believe in. Don’t get me wrong — I am not a protesting type, so I’m not one to get myself arrested or even get involved in the protests. A colleague of mine is a former Vietnam Vet and member of Veterans for Peace and he’s proud of the times he’s been arrested protesting war. People like that make a difference in our political discourse.

    So distance yourself from your disagreement with their politics and try to look at it objectively — this is a big deal. The tea party was a big deal. This could have a real impact on politics and American culture. Occupy Raleigh may be only a tiny part of it, but this is I’d say an expected reaction to the growing inequality of wealth distribution in the US. As a political scientist I’ve thought its only a matter of time until something like this explodes — regardless of the “ought” question, when wealth inequality grows (a relative, rather than an absolute measure) there is a political backlash.

    • pino said:

      Getting arrested makes a point: they are willing to risk arrest to show its more than a festival, but a cause they believe in.

      I think that’s an important tool to use if your cause isn’t getting noticed; or being taken serious. I don’t see that here. OWS is getting a lot of attention and is being taken very serious all the way to Obama.

      I would posit that one reason the rich are rich and these folks are not is that when the people who later go on to be rich want something, they go make it happen. They don’t chain themselves to other poor people and get arrested.

      There is a fundamental difference in the makeup of those two kinds of people.

      • There isn’t much class mobility in the US, so the reason some people are rich and others are poor are often related to things outside their control. However, look at the success this movement has had. They’ve exceeded expectations, and the OWS group in New York is very well organized, and bringing in loads of money through donations. They’ve set up a kind of mini-city, and show sustainability. I bet that when this is all over and the protest organizers move on to something else they’ll get wealthy. I also suspect the protesters themselves are disproportionately well off – I don’t think this is a protest of the poor.

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