Occupy Seattle Teaches Us How To Lose Friends And Annoy People
Via Rod Dreher comes this story of Occupy Seattle protesters disrupting what was supposed to be a pro-Occupy meeting:
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.”
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.
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.”
There are political tactics that works, and there are others that serve to piss people off and make them think you’re nuts. The Tea Party learned this lesson when it spent the Summer of 2009 disrupting Congressional Town Halls, thus creating a public reputation that created a negative impression in many people’s minds (mine included) that they haven’t really recovered from. If this Occupy movement is to become something, then it’s participants are going to have to start to learn how to act like adults.