October 14, 2011

"a completely non-violent movement"

Patrick Laverty

Hopefully I'm not inciting violence by only quoting in part from the Occupy Providence mission statement, but I'm just hoping that the recent actions by the Occupy movement in other cities isn't a sign of things to come here in Providence.

The Providence folks, in their mission statement, wrote

Occupy Providence is a completely non-violent movement
Well, that's great and hopefully it stays that way. However, looking around at New York City, Seattle and Los Angeles, we're not really seeing that so much.

In Seattle, there were fights over tents in the park:

In New York today, after the Mayor agreed to let the protesters clean up after themselves and to not relocate the protesters, things got violent during a march

Police say the protesters were throwing bottles and bags of garbage at officers
And then in Los Angeles, there is the video of one protester on a microphone calling for violence and was cheered by the crowd

(Jump to 32 seconds for violence talk)

So here we go tomorrow with Occupy Providence, with what seem like the best of intentions and hopefully the organizers will stick to their claims.

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How many incidents of members / leaders of the "Tea Party" inciting or committing acts of violence should I post? I've got quite a few saved up, many from state and national politicians.

Here's hoping for Occupy Providence to live up to its non-violent ideal -- but I don't think that citing what happened in NY or LA has much bearing on what will go on in RI. They are very different: people, density, culture, and perhaps even goals.

By the same token, just because Sarah Palin likes to use the phrase "lock and load" when talking politics, and has famously posted pictures of Democratic Congressmen on her website with crosshairs over their districts (one of whom WAS shot, you'll remember), doesn't mean I think every Tea Partier is a gun-waving maniac.

Tone down the preemptive rhetoric, eh?

Posted by: jparis at October 15, 2011 1:30 AM

So...Occupy Providence has special dispensation to camp out for a few days at least in a city park.

I want to know if I decide that I have some message that I want to bring to the public,and I think it will be best served to camp out in a Providence park to spread that message,if I will get the same respect and priviledges as the Occupy Providence crowd?

I believe we should support and uphold our state and federal Constitutions.

If I want to spread that message by camping out in downtown Providence,will I be allowed to do that?

Maybe that should be tested,to see if there is a double standard about who can and who cannot camp out in the parks of Providence?

Posted by: helen at October 15, 2011 3:11 AM

jparis-I've heard some really vilent rhetoric from left wing "personalities"
like Bill Maher,Roseanne Barr,etc.
I think it's been established that the Congresswoman who was shot was the victim of a dernaged man with no political affiliation.
Don't keep trying to hang an accusatory hat on that one.
Haven't you noticed that once the"anarchists"and similar people get involved in demonstrations the violence level rises?
Remember the WTO demonstrations in Seattle some years ago.
The "anarchists"went crazy downtown,leading to a police reaction that was also extremely violent.
Meanwhile about 18,000 trade unionists peacefully demonstrated in another location.
I don't foresee an issue in Providence.

Posted by: joe bernstein at October 15, 2011 4:00 AM


A few might be helpful, for the purposes of comparison. Surely you can see the difference between using military and hunting metaphors while describing non-violent action and actually saying, "violence will be necessary."

Posted by: Justin Katz at October 15, 2011 7:50 AM

At this point, I don't believe the police when they say that protesters were throwing bottles. If it's not on tape, it didn't happen. Police exaggerate in their reports and the only people in the video I saw throwing punches and shoving were the police themselves. I disagree with police that resisting arrest is necessarily violent, since by their definition sitting on the ground is resisting arrest. I've seen them describe people as "combative" in reports and then, when confronted with video, change their story to mean that they were "verbally combative."

I have nothing but contempt for the spoiled college Marxist Occupiers, but I know how the police distort things or at least "recall differently" in these us-versus-them situations, and I wouldn't want to see that happen to the Tea Party or other conservative-libertarian protests. The Occupiers embarrass themselves enough by having no coherent message, chanting, forming sanitation and food committees, and sleeping in dirty tent cities without labeling them as violent.

Posted by: Dan at October 15, 2011 8:26 AM

Unfortunately Dan, in every protest their are antagonists. These things tend to spiral out of control unless there is a strong core of organizers. Even then some who show up thinking they're at a block party, pre-gaming included, and not a protest. You should work a picket line or a college protest before you venture your opinion on this particular area of law enforcement expertise. I'm not saying this will get out of control but usually someone steps outside the law enough that they need arresting. Hopefully it will be a minimum.

Posted by: Max Diesel at October 15, 2011 9:05 AM

I've got a few responses here, so please bear with me.

@Helen: As far as I know, anyone who would like to may apply for a multi-day protest permit from the City of Providence, and thus "camp" in the park. So go for it!

@joe: Rosanne Barr I've heard some pretty vitriolic stuff from myself, so yeah. Bill Maher though? He's never struck me as anything other than an irreverent and sometimes funny pot-smoking free-sex hippie who grew up and cut his hair.

The Gabrielle Giffords situation was NOT direct causation, no. I never wanted to insinuate that, and sorry if I did. However, you don't think it's just a little um... "in poor taste"... to put a crosshairs over her district, telling people to "Reload"? Maybe that's a judgment call we all have to make personally, but I found it inflammatory and potentially dangerous.

The whacko that shot Giffords was apparently just a whacko with nothing to do with the Tea Party that we know of -- I'll make that clear again. I was talking about Palin's tactics, rather than trying to indicate direct causation.

As to the WTO protests? You and I are on the same page there Joe. Anarchists took over and really ruined any chance at legitimate protest. Awful.

@Justin: Here's one sourced properly from Wikipedia:

"On March 22, 2010, a Lynchburg, Virginia, Tea Party activist, attempting to post the home address of Representative Tom Perriello on his blog, incorrectly posted the address of Perriello's brother, who also lives in Virginia, and encouraged readers to "drop by" to express their anger against Representative Perriello's vote in favor of the healthcare bill. The following day, a severed gas line was discovered in Perriello's brother's yard that connected to a propane grill on the home's screened-in porch."

So I'll call that sabotage, rather than all-out violence... but it's equally, if not MORE uncool.

Then there's anti-Muslim and anti-African American rhetoric that spills from the mouths of Tea Party leaders... and I quote: "[Muslims] worship the terrorists' monkey god ...", Tea Party Express leader Mark Williams, May 2010.

Then, even though no Tea Party connection was found in this next one, I would like to use it as an example of how radically violent *some* elements of both the Right AND the Left are getting. Basically, we all need to be vigilant against this crap.


Note that the (Liberal) YouTube poster completely sensationalized the story by saying it was a "teabagger", and saying "tried to kill", neither of which has proven true in a court of law.

And yes Justin, saying "violence will be necessary" is over-the-top to me. That doesn't make me like the military and hunting metaphors in politics any more than I did before. Can't we just get rid of BOTH?

Posted by: jparis at October 15, 2011 11:59 AM

A Gwinnett judge sentenced a tea party member to serve eight years in prison for attacking and hospitalizing a President Barack Obama supporter during a 2009 altercation.
Jurors convicted Carnesville resident Larry Morgan, 39, of aggravated assault and two counts of aggravated battery for smashing several bones in the victim’s face with a pool cue on Jan. 31, 2009 — a few days after Obama’s inauguration. Deliberations took only an hour.

Posted by: Sammy in Arizona at October 15, 2011 1:27 PM

I don't see the "fights" in Seattle, reported in the video as "nearly coming to blows with police." As for violence, I didn't think there was any question that police would be willing to use violence against nonviolent tactics such as locking arms.

It's hard to judge from one video, but what I saw looked like restraint on the part of the protestors, maybe by police as well... didn't see any pepper spray or nightsticks being used.

Posted by: Russ at October 15, 2011 3:20 PM

Larry Morgan is apparently a racist so it should be no surprise that he doesn't like Obama. It is also apparent that he has serious anger management issues. Nevertheless, he committed his crime a month before Rick Santelli called for a new tea party on CNBC so I doubt very much his violence was inspired by anything he might have heard at a tea party rally.

Lest anyone suggest the tea party should be held accountable for the actions and words of people who claim to support it, I note that the American Nazi Party has come out in support Occupy Wall Street.

Posted by: David P at October 15, 2011 3:32 PM

Noticed this post on "Occupy Providence" facebook page, in response to the OP group's request for people to bring food: "Black Panther: I'll bring what I can and my ebt card for fresh water and drinks. See you by 5 :D"

Also noticed that first on their list of guest speakers: RI Jobs with Justice, the majority of whose members appear to be or be linked with state and municipal unions.

Posted by: riborn at October 15, 2011 8:01 PM

Sammy the Democratic Troll strikes again. Same MO as always.

Just to yet again point out Sammy's stupidity and trolling behavior (which would be banned if this were my blog, but Justin is more tolerant), the Tea Party did not exist on the date in question so the person could not possibly have been a "tea partier."

I wonder if Sammy is being paid for this crap or if he's just that miserable and pathetic a person.

Posted by: Dan at October 15, 2011 8:08 PM

I am amused that they chose Gen. Burnside Park. Does anyone else remember Fredericksburg?

Posted by: Warrington Faust at October 15, 2011 8:44 PM

Here is a video which explains some of the bizarre hand signals, such as "twinkling" fingers, you may have seen in other OWS videos.


Posted by: Warrington Faust at October 15, 2011 9:07 PM

Did any of the AR folks take a peek at yesterday's events to see what went on?

RIFuture is conspicuously silent on the matter.

Posted by: jparis at October 16, 2011 2:50 PM

jparis, I watched over the internet and on twitter, and it seemed pretty uneventful. It seemed like the vast majority of the people who attended saw it as a night out. Entertainment, not a real movement. They claimed about 1,000 marchers and Bob Plain claimed about 100 spent the night. So the full event wasn't really that convenient for 90% of the attendees.

Who knows, maybe they really are the 99%.

Posted by: Patrick at October 16, 2011 3:15 PM


I don't believe in bowing down,paying and begging for government permission to assemble on public property. However,that is what most of us must do to assemble,occupy,rally,whatever you want to call it.

It is blatantly favoritism on the part of the government to condescend to grant special rights to a group while witholding those rights for others or for any individual.

As an individual,I should be able to occupy any public space in Providence,camp there,cook there and construct buildings there just as Occupy Providence has the special dispensation to do.

Posted by: helen at October 19, 2011 4:34 AM

You see,rights don't come from government. They come from God. We should never have to beg and pay other people for our rights.

Posted by: helen at October 19, 2011 5:06 AM
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