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October 30, 2011

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Sam

this exchange between the Independent’s Joan Smith and pocket radical Laurie Penny

The high point was when they started arguing about how cold it was in London.

/sarcasm.

David

“The high point was when they started arguing about how cold it was in London.”

Yes, Laurie gets a tad indignant when she’s accused of exaggerating or just making stuff up. Which, given how often and readily she makes stuff up, takes a certain nerve.

sackcloth and ashes

'attacks from a hostile press while surviving sub-zero temperatures in central London'

According to a quick search I've done, the coldest it got in London last week was 9 degrees Celcius.

Either Penny is still using Farenheit, or yet again she's demonstrated that she doesn't give a fuck whether she gets her facts straight.

Jason Bontrager

Fahrenheit wouldn't help her. Freezing is 32 degrees Fahrenheit, and 0 degrees Celsius. If it's no less than 9 degrees C in London, then it's 48.2 degrees F. Nippy, but hardly life-threatening.

Darleen

Penny says "The Occupy movement has drawn in supporters from across the socio-political spectrum, especially in America," then later "in America, protests have been bolstered by support from labour unions, public figures, local politicians and NGOs who understand that the Occupy movement represents the beginning of a new direction for social politics"

Her "spectrum" runs the gamut from limousine-Leftist to street-Leftist. It's astro-turfed political theater in America (where the unions are giving daily wages to the "protesters"), where two years ago, a real grassroots, American movement, which had no arrests, no violence, and actually left the spaces where they demonstrated in the tens and hundreds of thousands cleaner than when they arrived, has been demonized, slandered and libeled.

But that movement, the TEA Party, is dedicated to US Constitutional Principles, and for the Left, those are anathema. "New direction for social politics" all has to move in unquestioning lockstep to the Left or it's not "authentic."

David

I’ve just heard a radio interview with one of the protestors currently obstructing St Paul’s Cathedral. He said the following (I quote from memory):

“It’s a peaceful protest. I’m a pacifist. We’re all opposed to violence. The only violence has been when protestors have been evicted.”

Either he’s claiming that no protestors anywhere have initiated violence or resisted the police violently – which would be an outright lie – or, perhaps more likely, he’s being stunningly disingenuous. In other words, “We will not hurt you unless you try to reclaim your property from us in order to go about your lawful business.” Or, “Do as we say and no-one gets hurt.”

R. Sherman

“Coming up with an action plan for a new world order takes time,” says Laurie.

Ms. Laurie must be extraordinarily dense, inasmuch as Marx and Friedrich Engles wrote their manifesto over a century and a half ago.

Regards.

BackwardsBoy

"Teething problems" indeed.

Given as how these protesters sound much like spoiled children, and that they are demanding what could be described as a nanny state (to an even greater extent than we have now), that description is quite apt.

The irony, it burns.

mojo

Knowing the target beforehand provides a nice opportunity to track "anonymous" members down. Have at it, ta mooks...

Rafi

“See the world how we see it or we will hurt you.”

The promise of 'radical' leftists through the ages.

Henry

The promise of 'radical' leftists through the ages

Yes and every generation brings with it a tiresome new crop of ardent young things who think the revolution will go differently for them, that they will succeed where other revolutions have gone horribly wrong. Or perhaps that Communism/Maoism etc weren't true Marxism (that's another common one) and this generation will be the ones to make it work!

Why will it be different for them? Presumably because .. hehe .. Penny and co-revolutionaries have thought out the whole of politics more thoroughly than anyone ever has before, and won't make the same mistakes.

The flaws of this rite-of-passage really should be taught to all young people interested in politics. Whereas in fact we seem to be encouraging the young in this madness. Meanwhile everyone over the age of 25 who has known a student activist, watches or reads Penny and nods with recognition. They wonder why she is being given all this attention.

Trimegistus

The eternal promise of socialism . . .

"This time we promise it won't end in mass murder!"

Bob-B

Predictably Madeleine Bunting is thrilled by the Occupy London business:

http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2011/oct/30/occupy-london-nursery-mind

I fear she will be seriously disppointed sooner or later.

Richard Powell

“Coming up with an action plan for a new world order takes time,” says Laurie.

Indeed.

But not, it would seem, as long as it takes to come up with a plan to fix the old order. Perhaps Laurie is absurd. I have often found her so. Silly and naïve, too. Perhaps she is potentially menacing. Perhaps she could pave the way for a bout of Polpottery. Perhaps she is a child that the Revolution will devour. And perhaps it has been quite balmy for late October.

But, as things stand, and as power is currently distributed, she is nowhere near as absurd, silly, naïve &c, let alone as menacing as Messrs Berlusconi, Sarkozy et al.

Dave Kendall

"Or perhaps that Communism/Maoism etc weren't true Marxism (that's another common one) and this generation will be the ones to make it work!"

Recently I've been hearing loonier leftists outright deny that there was ever anything wrong with 20th century Communism. They'll dismiss facts about those regimes as Capitalist lies, and cite 1970s Soviet propaganda as proof of that. Past failures can be put down to Capitalist anti-revolutionary sabotage, rather than anything the Communist state itself did wrong.

You get wannabe revolutionaries claiming that American universities lie about Communist history to smear freedom loving socialist heroes like Mao and Stalin:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Czz9gI_NiWQ

Or people praising North Korea as a democratic socialist success story:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9rgyh8wu1nI
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7WY9wI8DKAo

They may be particularly nutty characters, but I've heard people who should know better come out with a rose-tinted revisionist version of past Communist revolutions. Not just arguing that the brutality in those Communist regimes has been massively exaggerated, but also that Western democracies are actually more repressive and murderous than the Soviet Union ever was.

David

Henry,

“Penny and co-revolutionaries have thought out the whole of politics more thoroughly than anyone ever has before, and won’t make the same mistakes.”

You’ve captured a key presumption there, one that’s rarely stated openly but often implied. As when we’re told we aren’t listening by people whose received ideas are very old news, and who themselves make a point of not listening to anyone who dares to disagree. (A point illustrated by the comical Five Live debate in which Laurie interrupted other panellists continually and dogmatically, then howled with indignation when her microphone was finally cut off by an exasperated host. For a less amusing example, see this.)

As Lexington Green noted during a visit to Occupy Chicago:

“I was struck by how this movement is replicating note for note the Left movements of the 1960s, but recreating it all over again from scratch. Rambling, poorly organised meetings, a requirement of unanimity to do anything, a repudiation of politics as usual, a vague call for some kind of deep social transformation, a desire for immersion in mass activity, a call for communal living. It is as if the last 50 years never happened and the past has no lessons at all.”

“The flaws of this rite-of-passage really should be taught to all young people interested in politics.”

Given the number of heavily politicised subjects, you’d think students might occasionally encounter some realistic critique of leftist ideologies and related psychology. Except of course, those doing the teaching very often share the juvenile pretensions of the people they’re educating. (See, for instance, David Graeber, Nina Power and Priyamvada Gopal, none of whom is likely to impart the kind of insights that might save students a lot of time and faffing about.)

Bob-B

"Recently I've been hearing loonier leftists outright deny that there was ever anything wrong with 20th century Communism."

People who deny the horrors of Stalin and Mao are as bad as those who deny the holocaust.

Stuck-Record

Penny actually used the phrase, "New World Order".


Stuck-Record

The 'no violence' meme these half-wits keep proclaiming is a nonsense.

Putting to one side the fact that they actually do threaten and support violence against those who don't agree with them, the act of 'passive resistance' itself can be violent in and of itself.

For example, if I 'OCCUPYYOURHOUSE' and stand in front of the only exit, refusing to move, what are your options? To leave, you or someone on your behalf, must physically move me using force. Thereby 'oppressing' me. Success! Twitter lights up. The Guardian presses roll. Footage on BBC 10 o'clock news.

But my 'passive' occupation is no such thing. It uses implied force. I am restraining you from your lawful movement in the same way a prison wall or locked door is. Using violence to free yourself from that situation is no more morally wrong than gnawing through the rope someone has bound you with.

David

Stuck-Record,

As we’ve seen several times, the basic dynamic is passive-aggressive and the ostentatious concern for “consensus” applies only to The Tribe. And The Tribe’s notion of “social justice,” so loudly declared, leaves much to be desired. Disagree with the collective or call their motives into question and that professed compassion and sensitivity will most likely evaporate very quickly. And so, for instance, we find “occupiers” fretting at length about whether they consent to being filmed – lawfully, discreetly and in a public place – while they themselves announce their intention to break the law and disrupt other people’s business. They find being filmed injurious and oppressive, precious flowers that they are. But the inconvenience and intimidation they plan to inflict on others simply doesn’t count.

Likewise, Laurie Penny tells us that she has “no problem with principled, thought-through political ‘violence’” and that smashing windows – other people’s windows – “isn’t violence” anyway. Perhaps we should assume that Laurie has no objection to her own property being “occupied” and her own belongings being destroyed by people who feel sufficiently righteous and entitled. And these non-reciprocal sentiments are hardly uncommon in the pages of the Guardian.

Brian H

claiming that no protestors anywhere have initiated violence or resisted the police violently – which would be an outright lie

That clip of the protestor sums it up really. When they start a riot by throwing rocks and bottles at people it's just 'social justice' – but when the police fight back it's 'brutality'.

These so-called radicals have the morals of spoiled children.

David

Brian,

“When they start a riot by throwing rocks and bottles at people it’s just ‘social justice’ – but when the police fight back it’s ‘brutality’.”

And it’s a pattern we’ve seen again and again and again. It’s practically the default setting: “Whatever we do, we are righteous. Whatever we do, we are the victims.” Hence the common pretence of never being “the powerful,” even when grouped in large numbers and intimidating others, or, as in the video linked above, smashing their belongings and making them bleed. Like you say, it suggests the psychology of an overindulged child. But then, leftist thinking often encourages neoteny. For some, that’s the appeal.

[ Added: ]

See also this farcical episode. “Militant action” and property damage are cool, see, and radical, and very, very exciting. Until the favour is repaid, at which point it’s “sadism” and “domination.”

One rule for thee

Rafi

Yet despite the utopian bluster and mutterings of revolution, the protests seem headed for one of two conclusions.

Don't forget the in-fighting...

http://proteinwisdom.com/?p=31715

ed

If the protestors have come up with an action plan for a new world order in time for the next election then they can stand for parliament using it as a manifesto.

That's if a grateful, impatient and adoring citizenry doesn't carry them shoulder high into the Houses of Parliament before that time, ejecting all the sitting MPs form the old world order.

David

Here’s a cop’s-eye-view of the sweet-natured pacifists in action.

dr cromarty

The whole world is watching! The whole world is watching!

..and we're laughing our heads off at you assclowns.

Mr Eugenides

Personally, I'm most struck by the contrasts between Guardian commentary on this vs the Tea Party protests of last year. (And, to be fair, the contrasting tone of right-of-centre commentators, too).

Last year they were depicting the Tea Parties as rag-tag, eccentric protests. Their demands were derided as inchoate and ill-thought-through, their influence malevolent, the loons on the fringes written up as representative of the overall tenor of the proceedings, with lashings of let's-all-laugh-at-Americans on the side. The Tea Party movement was dismissed as a joke.

Fast-forward to St Paul's, and Grauniad hacks are camping out with the "protesters", earnestly debating their "demands", defending them against accusations of immaturity and wringing their hands at the predicament of the CofE (the most delicious aspect of all this, for me). It's almost as if they have no self-awareness at all.

Despite broadly sharing their analysis of the problems with big government, I thought the Tea Party was a bit of a joke. The Occupy movement certainly is. Long may it keep churning out punchlines.

David

Mr E.,

“It’s almost as if they have no self-awareness at all.”

Occupy Wall Street alone has no fewer than 79 “working groups,” at times amounting to half the people present, all furiously blueprinting our socialist utopia. (I use the word our loosely.) Bearing in mind this is a small-scale model of Laurie’s Brave New World – sorry, “new world order” – it seems that what the world needs more than anything is more bureaucracy. Still, it makes the protestors swell with feelings of geo-political importance and that’s what matters. I’m sure the “occupiers” will soon have lifted civilisation to loftier moral heights, where people continually hug and crime never happens.

Jeremy Poynton

There's a reason books are printed in black and white. It is so that people can read them. How the fuck is an old bugger like me with poor eyes supposed to read pale gray on white for fucks sake? Why write a blog and THEN MAKE IT HARD TO READ FOR A VAST SWATHE OF PEOPLE?

David

Jeremy,

The “pale gray” is actually a very dark gray - almost black, in fact. Ironically, it was chosen because, to the people I asked, it seemed easier on the eye. If you’re having trouble reading the (almost black) text, you do realise you can enlarge your browser’s display quite dramatically?

Bandit 1

I knew there was something about this site that wasn't right. Latent racism, that's what! Stop marginalising #000000 text, oppressor! 'Almost black', indeed.

I like "A VAST SWATHE OF PEOPLE," though, and will use it in everyday conversation from now on. With a deadly earnest expression.

Penny Plain

The next socialist revolution is going to be the best ever because no-one knows the world as we do today. No one feels the way we feel, no one has ever yearned for it as much as we do. No one can see the future more clearly than us.

You should feel privileged to have us among you, and because of our selfless dedication to the cause of social justice our names and deeds will resound down the ages. Sometimes I sit and weep quietly for all that me and my fellow heroes are about to achieve. But above all I love me and mine, and that makes me weep that little more.

Andrea Harris

"Pale" gray? *scratches head* I actually thought the text here was black.

mlrosty

I’m sure the “occupiers” will soon have lifted civilisation to loftier moral heights, where people continually hug and crime never happens

"The group has formed its own security detail to enforce a code of ethics mapped out during their general assembly meeting Monday. "If you want to be part of our group, you have to be civilized," said Paul Isaac, 45, who is part of Occupy Wall Street's security team. "Unfortunately, some people come to disrupt the peace." The list includes rules against stealing, sexual harassment and hurting others - including their feelings."

http://www.nydailynews.com/new-york/occupy-wall-street-protesters-security-detail-sets-standards-conduct-zuccotti-park-article-1.970254

I don't remember the Countryside Alliance having to remind people not to sexually harass women or take a dump on police cars.

Stuck-Record

OCCUPY MANIFESTO JUST RELEASED:

Listen guys, we know that the last time we encouraged everyone to jump off that cliff they all died. But it will be different this time. We've worked out what we did wrong. There weren't enough people taking part and they didn't jump HARD enough.

Everyone just needs to hold hands and step off the cliff. No exemptions and it will work this time.

Anyone who says it won't is a big fat dirty liar.

dr cromarty

This is no longer funny. I have laughed at the juvenile antics of these idiots but now they are putting themselves at serious risk.

Occupy Glasgow protesters ordered to leave George Square after woman raped in tent

A 28-year-old was attacked in a tent in George Square in the early hours of Wednesday morning as she took part in the anti-capitalist Occupy Glasgow campaign.
Police said they are looking for two men they believe are known to the victim.

This is one they can't pin on the banks or the bankers. I'm sure every reader here is appalled by this but hardly surprised. It's taken several thousand years of painstaking, gradual work to build Western society. They want to tear it down in an instant and are then surprised when a Lord of the Flies or A Clockwork Orange scenario emerges.

My sympathies to the poor woman and my hopes that the evil capitalist pig lackies Strathclyde's Finest nail the (alleged) rapists.

Min

A handy Tea Party versus #Occupy checklist.

http://mypetjawa.mu.nu/archives/209965.php

svh

That, or they culminate in violence and riots.

In Oakland the scumbags are just smashing stuff at random.

"They can afford new windows."

Laurie Penny was unavailable for comment.

David

svh,

“They can afford new windows.”

Yes, those evil, capitalist whole foods stores must be taught a lesson. It’s social justice, people.

“Laurie Penny was unavailable for comment.”

She’s busy bigging up her “radical journalist comrades.” If the concept of “radical” journalism is unclear, it’s worth revisiting Laurie’s own contributions. The “radical” prefix seems to mean “no longer concerned with what actually happened, how it happened or who did what to whom.” And of course lying.

Which, for a journalist, must be very… liberating.

David

A new photo report from Occupy LA, which increasingly resembles Hell’s outhouse.

“Leaders of the future.”

JuliaM

Well, it's nice to know they'll be getting around to fixing the lawn after they fix the world, but I have my doubts that either is within their skills and capabilities...

David

More outhouse doings in Denver.

Again, we see the usual parade of people with issues, as it were, with banners telling us that the “business world needs to be eradicated” and “killing billionaires” is the way forward. And note Orange Neckerchief Guy, whose “injuries” are painted on and who subsequently attempts to provoke the state troopers, presumably in the hope of illustrating police “brutality.” Neckerchief Guy later attacked a police officer.

svh

And note Orange Neckerchief Guy, whose “injuries” are painted on and who subsequently attempts to provoke the state troopers, presumably in the hope of illustrating police “brutality.”

It's the Alinsky playbook in action.

David

“It’s the Alinsky playbook in action.”

Well, it sums up the general dynamic quite neatly. Orange Neckerchief Guy – named Frankie Roper – arrives at the protest wearing ready-made “injuries” then sets about harassing police officers, verbally and physically, presumably in the hope of provoking “brutality” and thus becoming a propaganda victim. When this bid fails, Mr Roper resorts to pushing one passing officer off of his motorbike, which could easily have resulted in serious injury to the officer and others nearby. Roper promptly runs away, being as he is so radical and brave, but is soon wrestled to the ground and arrested by the officer he’d assaulted a few seconds earlier. Naturally, the idiots around them start barking “No!” and whining about brutality. And, naturally, leftwing websites excitedly propagate a fantasy distortion of what had actually happened.

And this is a tactic we’ve seen before, many times. I remember seeing a protestor in London looking around sheepishly then throwing herself on the ground, screaming in agony as if she’d been assaulted by the police (none of whom had touched her). Once she realised her ruse had fallen flat, she got up and walked away. Possibly to try the same stunt somewhere else.

David

A few more items of note.

Occupy Boston “occupies” the Israeli consulate, with chants of “Intifada! Intifada!” While at Occupy DC, where violence and intimidation erupted again, masked protestors trapped a wheelchair-bound woman, blocking her exit and mindlessly chanting “this is what democracy looks like.” Others brought small children to use as shields, a move that takes radical leftwing parenting to a whole new level.

Hm. The longer this farce goes on, the more Laurie’s “new world order” is losing its lustre.

Lorna

While at Occupy DC, where violence and intimidation erupted again, masked protestors trapped a wheelchair-bound woman, blocking her exit and mindlessly chanting “This is what democracy looks like.”

WTF? They knock two elderly women down concrete stairs and just carry on chanting. These people are total scum.

David

Lorna,

“They knock two elderly women down concrete stairs and just carry on chanting.”

Well, it’s hard to make out whether the women were pushed deliberately or fell as a result of being jostled roughly by the mob. A slim distinction, I know. Either way, I struggle to understand the mindset of people who find it acceptable to jostle and intimidate elderly ladies who are just trying to get home. Just as I struggle to empathise with people who find it entertaining to trap and intimidate a woman in a wheelchair. And no, none of the protestors stop to help either of the women who fell (or were pushed). Instead, they carry on chanting and feeling righteous about themselves.

And that I think tells us quite a lot about the kind of people we’re looking at.

Ted S., Catskills, NY

WTF? They knock two elderly women down concrete stairs and just carry on chanting.

They should have giggled sinisterly like Tommy Udo.

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