Saturday, November 19, 2011


Okay, so contra this, Hogeland (actually, Martin Luther King, channelled through Hogeland, and furthered by some logorrhea I read regularly) has convinced me that my thinking was pretty lazy when I wrote that, if assaulted by police for even minor violations of bullshit laws:

your two reasonable and lawful options are to run the fuck away, or put your hands on your head and wait to be arrested. I'm not surprised that some people choose, under that particular stress, to throw shit at the cops, or otherwise resist violently. That they do does not obviate that they were, themselves, assaulted by the state on specious grounds, and it doesn't invalidate the movement.
It's not the first part that's lazy. The lazy and problematic bit is that resisting police instruction, legal or illegal, does constructively invalidate the movement. My problem, in addition to some inherent intellectual laziness, was that I was being far too nice. Hogeland quotes King:
In no sense do I advocate evading or defying the law, as would the rabid segregationist. That would lead to anarchy. One who breaks an unjust law must do so openly, lovingly, and with a willingness to accept the penalty. I submit that an individual who breaks a law that conscience tells him is unjust, and who willingly accepts the penalty of imprisonment in order to arouse the conscience of the community over its injustice, is in reality expressing the highest respect for law.
Anarchists (I include faux anarchists, pseudo-anarchists, partial anarchists, and mere sophists, without classifying named individuals) will quibble, but King disposes of that pretty neatly; of course they'll quibble. They're against law. I'm so dramatically unconvinced that the answer to lawlessness by power is anarchy that I've just flatly abandoned most of my reading in that realm. I recognize that this puts me squarely in the camp of faith in due process. Is that a religion as dumb as any other? Might it be my downfall, our downfall? Sure. History and math say it's more likely #Occupy's downfall, unless so-called civilization is doomed to fail anyway, and if that's the dilly I'll go apologize to all the faux anarchists, pseudo-anarchists, and partial anarchists if I''m not too busy or too dead. Sophists I'll still shoot, since the collapse of order will leave me free to do so without legal consequence, pretty much the only thing that restrains me now.

A beloved says that all publicity is good publicity. Decency forbids me from going too far with this, but the fatal flaw here is that this maxim goes for pigs as well as for protesters. Would pigs make shit up whether or not protesters are pure? Of course they would. But you have to give them the chance to fuck up thusly, and it's very clear that #Occupy isn't doing so.

To the extent, of course, that #Occupy can be said to be an entity capable of doing one thing or another. But that's a strategic fail that belies more than I'm willing to concede without a fight at this point--and I'm not yet intellectually equipped for that fight, which I might, after all, lose.


ifthethunderdontgetya™³²®© said...

Silly Landru.

Kicks are for kids.

Sasha said...

The Church of Due Process is the only thing the overlords understand. THAT is why one uses it.

No, all publicity is NOT good publicity. But repeatedly generating sympathy hurt the Bad Guys and reminds folks not paying attention that it could be them. Eighty-four year old leftist who grew up with the brownshirts getting pepper sprayed reminds them that it could be their grandmother. (That's because they only see her image and don't listen to her words.)

This sort of discussion always reminds me how godawful practical and tactical I am.

We're in a world where the nation is called a Homeland, where police look and are trained to be military, and where every damn person in the world has a video camera with audio. That changes things. How much I don't know yet.

But I do know that Lt. John Pike who so gleefully pepper sprayed a line of sitting students, non-violent even according to your definition, is on film forever and is getting phone calls from all over the country telling him he should be ashamed of himself.

I also know that the "establishment" (feel free to call me Rosa) is scared shitless. Chris Hayes turned up a memo from a lobbying firm offering to investigate Occupy and come up with things to discredit them for a mere $850,000. Gotta love that.

And on my way out I have to note what somebody pointed out to me. If those students were waiting for football tickets, the police would let them stand or sit there forever.

Sasha said...

I didn't realize how much of a book I could write on this topic. I'm back to share Matt Taibbi's view because it's kind of how I feel. The fact that they're out there makes me feel less grubby, more like a future is possible. For now.

People want to go someplace for at least five minutes where no one is trying to bleed you or sell you something. It may not be a real model for anything, but it's at least a place where people are free to dream of some other way for human beings to get along, beyond auctioned "democracy," tyrannical commerce and the bottom line.

Landru said...

These responses would make perfect cogent sense if I had said two things I most assuredly did not say:

"Police brutality is good."

"No one should be protesting."

Sasha said...

They still make perfect cogent if you consider them stream of consciousness triggered by your remarks. You know my next sentence so I won't burden the assembled with it.