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.

FILED UNDER: US Politics, , , ,
Doug Mataconis
About Doug Mataconis
Doug Mataconis held a B.A. in Political Science from Rutgers University and J.D. from George Mason University School of Law. He joined the staff of OTB in May 2010 and contributed a staggering 16,483 posts before his retirement in January 2020. He passed far too young in July 2021.


  1. michael reynolds says:

    “We are leaving because they are looking inward at themselves and their eccentric process rather than reaching out to people.”

    As I said yesterday, they’re polishing their armor not sharpening their swords. They’re falling victim to narcissism.

    It’s a pity.

  2. Brainster says:

    Check out this report of a child prostitution ring at Occupy Portland, posted by an Occupy supporter:

    A woman from Portland reported that some, very closed tents in Portland were locations where crystal meth and black tar heroin were dealt and distributed, and that a child prostitution ring had also set up shop in Occupy Portland. Having been an urban pioneer in Portland myself some years ago, living in a studio aparment near the encampment area, I certainly believe this to be true.

  3. Delmar says:

    The few real “Occupiers” left need to take a long look at themselves and disband this thing as quick as possible, if they can. What we now have are sick people, people dying, assaults,
    destruction and disrespect of property and the environment, harassment of local residents, and damage to the local businesses. Sounds worse than Wall St. and the corporate world.
    Americans now overwhelming are against this movement. This is the result of being consumed by their own greed.

  4. Franklin says:

    @Brainster: There’s also child prostitution rings set up around Super Bowls, for whatever reason. It doesn’t really mean anything good or bad about the protesters themselves.