Thursday, November 17, 2011

An Open letter to Anonymous and others who organize the Occupy Movement

Dear Occupy organizers and Anonymous,

I wholeheartedly support your movement, but there are serious mistakes being made, and I wish to address them here. There is a big difference between successful non-violent protesting, and what is going on around America. Successful non-violent protesting has traditionally been when a bunch of people simply show up and (mostly) silently, POLITELY, and passively make their presence and minds known. Classic non-violent protests, such as those done by Martin Luther King and Ghandi, did not involve drumming, partying, yelling, smoking pot, and behaving like... a bunch of teenagers on a wild rampage.

What I see the Occupy movements in Boston, New York, Oakland, and elsewhere, is that there are plenty of people in the group who clearly have a different idea of what non-violent peaceful protest is about. Some young kids think it's party-time. They play loud music, and frolic like drunken ninnies. Many people take the opportunity to protest as though it's some big celebration of themselves. They lack the discepline, knowledge, and character to conduct themselves in an appropriate and proper way. They are loud, boisterous, and sometimes appear dirty and angry.

Of course, it doesn't help that too many of the other people are so passive and so laid back, that they just let unrully individuals get away with rude, noisy behavior and drug use. This is the biggest problem -- those who want to be involved with the group and it's goals, but who don't want to get involved with keeping up appearances and ousting people who don't play well with others. This is what delegitimized the Tea party movement -- there were only small amounts of openly racist, crazy people at the rallies, and the majority of Tea Partiers POLITELY IGNORED THEM. They should have ousted them, and told them they were not welcome. If they did, they would not have appeared to be harboring racism.

In Martin Luther King's era, Civil Rights marchers dressed in their interview suits and Sunday best clothing, and marched with dignity. They were well-dressed, well-behaved, and well-spoken. This meant that when police took nefarious action against them, it would appear, and rightly so, that well-mannered ladies and gentlemen were attacked and bloodied by thugs.

By contrast, the less-organized rabble that seems to make up the occupy movement is made up of dirty hippies, hippie-wannabes, grungers, and stoners. Even some of the organizers of the Occupy movement admit that these people are not wanted, or at least, less appreciated.

Please organize yourselves better. Have a code of conduct that all participants must follow, OR ELSE. The "Or Else" should be understood as "Or Else we will kick you out and/or report you to the police if you don't behave."

I have read that the Occupy Wall Street organizers have raised millions of dollars. What is this money being used for? Why not use the money to rent or purchase a building near the event, which can be used as a base-camp to feed, shelter, and provide sanitary facilities to the participants, hence no need for an unsightly shanty-town? This would be a great way of avoiding the use of partially private, partially public land, as well as allegations of unhealthy, unsanitary conditions.

Perhaps the money can be used to hire some internal security personnel, who will police the group from within, and ensure that undesireable people or badly-behaved people are dealt with, and that people follow the rules laid down by the organizers. The most important thing for a non-violent peaceful protest to succeed is for the entire group to be unified in their conduct and appearance. If you look like a bunch of hippies and scalliwags, you will not have the impact or the sympathy when the cops get ugly.

Which leads me to my final point -- when the cops get ugly. If you can be made to run away when the cops intimidate you, and it's easy to arrest you and throw you into the police van, you will not succeed. In foreign countries, the protestors actively fight back against the police, use improvised armor and weapons, and many times indimidate the police to the point that the police run away.

Why not invest some of the money made in a basic riot survival kit for participants? Give out gas masks, protective sports padding (Football helmets, shoulder pads, shin pads), and non-lethal weapons (a boxing-glove on the end of a pole is humorous and effective) to the people who face the cops on the front lines. Have them make and use full-body shields. Teach them basic Phalanx, wedge, and flanking tactics to make it difficult for the cops to single out and hurt individuals. The idea is defense. If the cops think it will be easy to rush the crowd and beat people up, they will. If they try, and are effectively held back, they will think twice about it. The key here is to make it hard for cops to bust up the group, while giving those protestors who are not in for a fight, the chance to escape and avoid being victims. A wall of well-padded, well-trained individuals, committed to holding back violence until it is no longer possible, will make a bolder statement than any cops with tear gas can.