Occupy Occupy

Occupy Seattle Disrupts Pro-Occupy Wall Street Forum, Drives Away Supporters

No sooner had the panel finished opening remarks last night than a woman scampered up onto stage and yelled, “Mic check!” It was an orchestrated effort by several dozen activists to use the People’s Mic to interrupt a forum at Town Hall—a forum in favor of Occupy Wall Street, featuring three wonks and three activists from Occupy Seattle. Their stunt replaced what was supposed to be an informed discussion of the movement with an uninformative, shout-a-thon about process that consumed most of the evening. They booed opinions they disagreed with and drove supporters out of the building.

“I walked in supportive and left unsupportive,” said 69-year-old Mary Ann, who declined to provide her last name. “I’m turned off by the negative shouts, repetition, and all I can think about is a cult. And I believe in every one of their damn principles.”

Paula and Brian King also headed for the door early. “It was frustrating to listen to people shouting and interrupting,” lamented Paula. Brian added, “We are leaving because they are looking inward at themselves and their eccentric process rather than reaching out to people.”

Organized by Town Hall (and co-sponsored by The Stranger), the forum was intended to discuss the Occupy Wall Street movement, featuring three activists from Occupy Seattle and luminaries from labor, economics, and politics: Washington State Labor Council secretary-treasurer Lynne Dodson; Second Avenue Partners and progressive taxation activist Nick Hanauer; and GMMB political strategist Frank Greer. During opening remarks, JM Wong from Occupy Seattle declared that she wanted “no leadership from the Democratic Party or union bureaucrats. Nonprofits are trying to co-opt us.”

Dodson, however, politely explained that labor unions are part and parcel with the Occupy movement’s push for economic reform. “I like to consider myself a union activist, not a union bureaucrat,” she said. “This is labor’s fight, this is our fight.”

Whatever further insight the speakers planned for the 90-minute event was then cut short when the woman ran on stage. Activists had planned to interrupt the panel because, some said, they opposed the power dynamic created by speakers on stage talking into microphones. Although Occupy Wall Street uses the belabored people’s mic—which involves one person speaking and the crowd repeating everything—to amplify the soft spoken and encourage free speech, last night it was used to silence the panel. The call and-response created an echoing cacophony. Despite pleas from several older audience members who couldn’t hear well to let the panelists proceed, the Occupy activists demanded a vote to overtake the forum.

But Melanie Jackson got up on stage to protest: “Some of us who are old, we don’t understand when people are screaming. This process alienates people and takes a lot of time.” By a show of hands, Nick Licata—the moderator, who some activists later claimed was a proxy for the partisan political establishment—determined the activists had been outvoted. The event would proceed as a planned, right? The activists refused to lose. They demanded another vote and even insisted that, before we could vote again, they would first explain how a General Assembly worked. So for 15 minutes, the activists read the rules and we repeated them back.

“Assembly time is precious,” the man yelled without a hint of irony. “Assembly time is precious!” we all yelled back, wasting precious time.

Then they insisted that everyone discuss the issue among their neighbors. If people opposed, they were drowned out by the people’s mic. So we talked about their proposal. One activist slept on the floor in front of the stage, spread eagle. The place reeked of BO. A man next to me worked through half a tin of chew. Eventually, we took another vote and activists demanded a count by hand.

It was 8:30 p.m. at this point, one hour after the event began, and we’d only heard opening statements. The forum was supposed to conclude by 9:00 p.m. “We have only a half hour left,” Licata announced. “This is very interesting.”

As the clock counted down, it was apparent that Occupy Seattle had repressed whatever thoughtful ideas the panelists brought to the stage and were willing to fill the time with chatter about unenlightening process. They wanted more power; they wanted to speak. They were also being rank hypocrites. Here is a group purporting to give people a voice and cut through the bureaucratic layers of government and capitalism. Instead, they silenced speech, quashed ideas, and replaced it with their own bureaucratic process reserved for a minority that wanted power. One gray-haired woman who was walking out put it like this: “It was very divisive. Now they are a little group, like the 1 Percent.”

The activists lost the second vote, too. So the forum sort of proceeded, but now with occupiers booing speakers on stage when they disagreed and giving them the wrap-it-up hand gesture. For instance, Greer noted, “We learned in the civil rights movement and the anti-war movement, you can attract support or turn of support, and basically fail, and I don’t want you to fail.” Despite his support, many activists booed and gestured that he stop talking.

Lots of people were leaving, angry—it was a stark contrast with stellar activism the week before.

Wong justified the interruption, saying, “We need to respect the movement that uses this process. I stick to it because it is a democratic process.” Some shouted, “This is what Democracy looks like.”

But the Occupy activists came off as disrespectful, hostile, and woefully misguided about what democracy looked like. The activists added zero new content, but in the process, prevented the speakers from sharing their knowledge (that’s some democracy). Let’s think if the tables were turned: These activists would be outraged if Town Hall set up a stack of speakers at the General Assembly and blasted them with an amplified panel discussion. It was equally selfish to destroy the panel with their People’s Mic.

I realize I’m not supposed to say anything negative about the Occupados because I’ve never been to an Occupy rally, but then again I’ve never been to Jonestown either.

The fact is I don’t have to say anything negative about the Occupiers. They don’t need my help to trash their own movement.

Money quote:

On his way out the door, Brian King added, “They think it is more important to purify themselves rather than connect with people who are not like themselves. They probably can’t get much further than they are right now.”

Does that sound like anyone we know?

There once were two cats of Kilkenny
Each thought there was one cat too many
So they fought and they fit
And they scratched and they bit
‘Til (excepting their nails
And the tips of their tails)
Instead of two cats there weren’t any!

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36 Responses to Occupy Occupy

  1. HELENK says:

    those damn Fox news plants did it again

  2. HELENK says:

    funny thing if you do not listen, you do not learn. What I am seeing is a bunch of people who are in love with their own voice, not any input to help solve any problems they proclaim to be upset about

    • DeniseVB says:

      I’ve been to many rallys for a variety of causes, political conventions, townhalls and forums, for both parties……since high school….in the 60’s.

      I have never seen anything as stupid as the behavior I’ve seen at these Occupy experiments. At least in the Third World we have a clue what they’re protesting……for their lives !

  3. crawdad says:


    If you do go to an OWS rally be sure to get pictures to prove it. Otherwise they won’t believe you were really there.

    • myiq2xu says:

      If you see pictures of me at an OWS rally either they’ve been photoshopped or I’ve been kidnapped.

    • DeniseVB says:

      I’m leaving for NYC tomorrow and as luck will have it, I’ll be in town for their BIG Nov 17 thing. I’ll have my camera.

      I really want to meet the people my age (boomers) and ask them WTF they’re doing there. Nah, I’m not that ballsy 😉 I’m curious how many of them are professional protesters/agitators, union members and angry/depressed/mental people.

      Then again, I may just spend the day at the Natural History Museum uptown, far away from the madness…..:D

    • Jeffhas says:

      I have reserved my judgement to some degree because I have not been – so this is really my first comment on an OWS thread…

      … but I am going to stop by Occupy L.A. – which I have been told by even my liberal friends is wayyyy lame (L.A. vernacular) for a movement (unless we’re including bowel movements)

      … so… I will take pics, and I will be wearing my anti-assimilation field (in the form of deodorant)…. but I am curious, I want to see before I damn it.

      This will be after Thanksgiving, because I have work for chrissake’s and 35+ people coming over for Turkey, and my house is a disaster.

  4. HELENK says:

    Obama says he plans to vacation in Hawaii again this Christmas at fundraiser.

    just remember it is the “lazy” and “soft” American taxpayer who foots the bill for this

  5. Lulu says:

    They are now farce. They alienated me from the get-go with their ego centric selfishness. This is exactly what the Obama bots did when they swarmed caucuses, local Democratic meetings and fundraisers and ran people off. This how they seized control of the Democratic party. This shit was taught in Obama organization camps to student age and susceptible people in 2007 and 2008. Now they are out of school and there are no jobs they deem good enough for them and they are doing it again. They do not want supporters. They want subservient subjects.

    • DeniseVB says:

      myiq…didn’t you mention once our right to peaceful assembly, but we have no right to disrupt or disturb such an assembly ? Something like that. So if you crash any group you don’t agree with, you are infringing on their rights?

      • DandyTiger says:

        Not if you just are there to watch. But once you start interfering, you are indeed stepping on their rights. Free speech doesn’t just mean you and like minded people get to have it. Everyone does.

  6. Lola-at-Large says:

    This is happening all over the movement in recent days and was destined to be their downfall. Progressive paranoia is a sight to behold, for sure. Occupy Patriarchy’s facebook page disintegrated in the same flame-puff of paranoia yesterday because the wrong people are reporting rapes. TNA was “outed” (quite erroneously) as being funded by “Breitbart.” Whatever. I hope they enjoy those tiny closets they keep building for themselves. Way to disempower yourself!

    • DeniseVB says:

      Amy Siskind’s TNA ? Absolutely NOT funded by Breitbart ! Or anyone BIG and WINGNUT or LEFTNUT that I know of. LOL. So desperate are those rumors!

      • Lola-at-Large says:

        Yep. That’s what they said. They also said, and I am quoting verbatim here: “Because since when was feminism well-funded?” And that was their evidence. I kid you not.

        • Lola-at-Large says:

          Oh, wait, they did use the present tense of the verb to be. As in, “Since when IS feminism well-funded.” Had to correct ’cause I said it was verbatim.

        • DandyTiger says:

          I love how they can’t imagine a feminist effort could ever be well funded. Kind of says all you need to know about them.

        • Lola-at-Large says:

          It really does. It’s a total victim mentality. One of their major complaints is that women don’t have enough opportunity to make money, yet they are suspicious of women who have taken advantage of what opportunity there is to make some money. Hoooooooooooooooookay, then.

  7. gram cracker says:

    This could get real ugly, real quick.

    Obama’s Wacky Supporters propose ‘shutting down’ candidates offices during Iowa caucuses.

    Occupy Wall Street activists plan to amass in Iowa one week before the Iowa caucuses – up to the day they’re held on Jan. 3, CNN has learned.

    The plan has been dubbed the “First in the Nation Caucus Occupation” – a play on words for the first-in-the-nation presidential contest. The idea is to have activists from across the nation, and possibly beyond, descend on Iowa.

    The plan: “people coming to Iowa, occupying every presidential (candidate’s) office, shutting them down until they start talking real turkey about what’s going on in this country, where the 99% of the people who are not benefiting, at the expense of the 1% who are getting away with murder,” said Frank Cordaro, one of the organizers.


    If this is the face of the ‘new Democratic party’ of Obama, Reid and Pelosi that Donna Brazile touted, then I fear for the future of our Democratic Republic. Hopefully the independents won’t want to be part of this party of thugs.

    • Lola-at-Large says:

      Didn’t I tell ya? OWS = 2012 Voter Intimidation Brigade. I tell you what’s going to be merciless. The mockery when RD finally gets it.

    • DeniseVB says:

      Stinks of union organizing. The owies don’t have the money or the brains for such a “takeover”. 😦

    • catarina says:

      The Iowa Democratic Party issued a statement saying they “understand” the frustrations of the protesters.

      “That’s why we’re working hard to make sure President Obama is reelected,” party Chairwoman Sue Dvorsky said in a statement. “While President Obama is working to strengthen middle class, make sure millionaires and billionaires pay their fair share and reign in Wall Street, Republicans want to let Wall Street write their own rules and return to the same failed economic policies that got us into this mess.

      It would be great if all of this ass kissing blew up in the Dems’ faces .
      But we know better than to believe that.

      So, just say when on the mockery. 😀

    • Lola-at-Large says:

      I just put up a new post on this topic, with some new info I found.

  8. votermom says:

    They booed opinions they disagreed with and drove supporters out of the building.

    Reminds me of some blogs I used to hang out at.

  9. kc says:

    That’s just the way they practice ‘tolerance’–ows style. Twinkles down..

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