Monday, September 01, 2008

Lies, big lies (and radicalizing moments)

There's a GREAT picture of some kid dressed in black throwing something into a store window. Clearly the violent protesters are violent and doing violence.

And three broken Macy's windows, two broken police car windows, and two popped tires are plenty of reason to deploy batons, pepperspray, pepper balls (like paintballs but with pepperspray), tear gas, flash-grenades, and at least 200 arrests, including Democracy Now host Amy Goodman. At least they didn't use the tasers. But they did pepperspray a girl trying to hand a cop a daisy.

Sigh... it's been a long day in Saint Paul. I got my press pass and didn't make in into the convention center, but that's OK because there really wasn't much going on inside.

My sweetie works at a church where they gave out water all day. There was a guy with a red-white-and blue doggie. He was fabulous. So was the dog. The permit march brought at least ten thousand out. After the permit march, the direct action crew tried to blockade delegates, even though the convention was a party for a no-show, to nominate the also-ran.

Of note are the attempts (largely successful) to blame police violence on the protesters, the attempt (somewhat successful) to create 'good' and 'bad' protesters*, the arrest of Goodman, and the wonderful day where lots of people gave time and bodies to try to make this world a little better place.

I love these protest kids. I get their politics (agree with some of them), and love their energy and courage. Check this amazing Minnesota Independent story about being 'embedded with the anarchists' and don't believe anything CNN tells you.

Here's a quote from the Minneapolis Star Tribune, which used to have a liberal editorial board but news reporting has been conservative for some time... check this out...

The peaceful mood really started to change after 1:30 p.m., when several groups broke off and began resisting police.

What this means is these groups broke off and tried to walk down other streets. The police then pushed these groups around. The agency of 'began resisting police' clearly is with the protesters, while the actual use of force was by the police. The suspect resisted my baton with his head, your honor.

A lot of progressives in this city are being radicalized right now. Actually seeing the hordes of jackbooted, armored, visored police in their spiffy new matching riot gear in their hometown does that to a person.

*This from Stauber and Rampton's book, Toxic Sludge is Good For You...
The public relations industry . . . carefully cultivates activists who can be coopted into working against the goals of their movement. This strategy has been outlined in detail by Ronald Duchin, senior vice-president of PR spy firm Mongoven, Biscoe and Duchin [MBD]. . . In a 1991 speech to the National Cattlemen's Association, he described how MBD works to divide and conquer activist movements. Activists, he explained, fall into four distinct categories: 'radicals,' 'opportunists,' 'idealists,' and 'realists,.' He outlined a three-step strategy: (1) isolate the radicals; (2) 'cultivate' the idealists and 'educate' them into becoming realists; then (3) coopt the realists into agreeing with industry.

According to Duchin, radical activists 'want to change the system; have underlying socio/political motives' and see multinational corporations as 'inherently evil. . . These organizations do not trust the . . . federal state and local governments to protect them and to safeguard the environment. They believe, rather, that individuals and local groups should have direct power over industry. . .

Duchin defines opportunists as people who engage in activism seeking 'visibility, power, followers and, perhaps, even employment. . .The key to dealing with opportunists is to provide them with at least the perception of partial victory. . . If your industry can successfully bring about these relationships, the credibility of the radicals will be lost and opportunists can be counted on to share in the final policy solution.' (pp. 66-67)

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