In our last post, we described efforts protest organizers have to go through to get people to show up at an Action “spontaneously.” Action is a leftist term for an organized, mass protest, which has one or more political goals.
Here’s an example of a reverse Action. That happens when the Left knows there will be a big crowd assembled for a Rightist get-together. We were at one of those in downtown Portland when the Bush-Gore election vote battle was going on. In Oregon, the Right is every bit as organized as the Left – that is to say, not at all. They try – Lord how they try! – but Oregonians are just too laid-back, as Portlandia, the TV show, brilliantly portrays.
Anyway, at our first demonstration we were in late middle-age, as were most of the Republican demonstrators. A few brave Libertarians went amongst the crowd looking, vainly, for converts. But more ominously, a few silent, eerily still, observers hovered around the edges of the circling crowd of geezers.
The observers appeared to be giving directions to colleagues who were moving in closer and closer to the demonstrators, causing some to bump into others. Since some of the demonstrators were already excited and angry, they were ripe for a … riot! IFO put her arm around ond of the more upset demonstrators and said quietly to him, “Don’t get mad. That’s what they want you to do.” This calmed him right away.
IFO noticed her DDH beckoning for her to come out of the circling crowd. She went over to him. Pointing, he said, “There’s the guy who is running them.” We’ll call him the Boss. IFO looked directly at the man DDH was indicating, then started over to the Police Presence up on the steps above the milling crowd.
As soon as she got near the cops, she turned back and noticed the Boss had disappeared, as had the people he was running. Crisis averted, thanks to the quick wit of her DDH, who had a real nose for troublemakers.
Anecdotally, a friend told us about his experience at UCBerkeley, during the height of the anti-VietNam war protests in the early 1970s. These protests, which one philosophy grad student (her doctoral thesis was on L. Wittengenstein, but she couldn’t tell us what LW’s ideas were) told us were completely spontaneous, in spite of her admission that there were signs and announcements all over the campus.
He said he was in one of the demonstrations where the leaders of the crowd shouted, “Let’s attack the ROTC building!” There was a roar of approval from the crazed Cal students. But our friend noticed that the people calling for a run on the ROTC building were fading backward through the surging crowd and were nowhere to be seen when the cops and students clashed.
This claim of spontaneity is another hallmark of a Leftist action. To return to the Occupy movement, we have no doubt that 90%, or it even could have been 99%, of the occupiers showed up spontaneously. But given how coordinated the Actions and primary messages were in cities across the U.S., we think those Actions were carefully planned by a few trained agitators.
Were the Tea Party appearances comparable? No. Not al all. All they ever did, and we went to some Tea Party meetings and protests in person, was shout. Most of the shouters were grown men, who, frankly, sound pretty scary when they shout in their deep Daddy voices. There was no pushing or shoving, lots of laughing, hand-shaking and back-slapping, no trash left behind, no lawns or parks destroyed. The average age of the TP crowd runs around 55 to 65. As we said, No.