no third solution

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Occupy Protests: Responding to Tea Party Smear Campaign

November 20th, 2011

Responding to some of the attempts to smear the Occupy movement by making ridiculous comparisons to the Tea Party…

It is unfair and intellectually lazy post hoc ergo propter hoc to conclude that all crimes occurring in the vicinity of a protest are inextricably linked to the protest, or ideologically the protesters do not oppose these crimes, or all protesters are criminals like this, etc. Some are crimes of opportunity. I’m not trying to suggest they are excusable, but whenever you have large numbers of people congregating, it presents an opportunity that miscreants may take advantage of (e.g., indecent exposure, theft, etc.).

As for the more serious claims like the 4,000 arrests, the “white house shooter”, $10M worth of damage, and murder, need a little more information. You will have to go through the trouble of manually typing the URLs because the source does not embed them.

  1. Reports on the shooting death of Berkely student say “University police said there is no indication that the incident was related to a day of rallies at Berkeley linked to anti-Wall Street protests.”
  2. The white house shooting article cited in this source indicates that “Police believe Ortega-Hernandez is mentally ill. ” and only that he “may have spent time with” the protesters.
  3. The cited story for the claimed “10 million dollars” damage due to arson says this: Arrest papers available to the public do not connect Occupy Fort Collins to the arson fires, and police made no connection between the group’s protest and Gilmore’s arrest. Organizers could not immediately be reached for comment on Gilmore.
  4. And as for the 4,000 arrests… as I’ve noted before it is not uncommon where large groups congregate in protest for people to be arrested en masse. I theorized why the Tea Party has not been subject to the same sort of scrutiny, but in any event it should be noted that “arrests” are a fake statistic. Pay attention over the weeks and months to come, how many of these 4,000 are actually going to be prosecuted? How many of them will actually be found guilty? The number will be considerably smaller than 4,000.

Further, even if some of these incidents can be pinned on an individual who is supportive of OWS, it is neither fair or accurate to suggest or imply that these outliers are representative of the total OWS population.

The link also suggests that exactly zero tea partiers have committed such crimes. Although it may be verifiable that no protesters (in the act of protest) have committed any such crimes, it is statistically improbably to suggest that no tea partiers, anywhere, ever, have been involved in any criminal act up to and including murder, rape, arson, theft, etc.

And for some additional context, the Tea Party is essentially for preserving existing property relations up to and including gross inequality under (what I believe to be ) a mistaken or incomplete understanding of free market fundamentals. The Tea Party idea that “We just want to keep what we have earned whereas the Occupy protesters want government handouts” is a made-for-TV-pundits talking point, in other words, it is a false dichotomy and demonstrably untrue for many of the people involved in the OWS protests.

And their form of political protest is different – if you can even call it protest. They are not a threat, so the media and the establishment has no need to vilify them by propaganda or provoke them in to making tactical mistakes.


no third solution

Blogging about liberty, anarchy, economics and politics