Zombie ventures into the moral wilderness of Occupy’s latest project:
The farm they seized was not a working farm per se, but rather a “research farm” for the University of California, near its Berkeley campus. The only difference between the way the farm used to be (prior to a week ago) and the way it is now is that the Occupiers have transformed what was essentially a well-maintained and important open-air laboratory into a dishevelled and ultimately purposeless pretend-farm for trustafarian dropouts… The scientists themselves are for the most part royally pissed off at the Occupiers and some may have years of work ruined by the Occupiers’ juvenile prank.
This being Berkeley, several faculty members felt a need to display their own mighty radicalism:
Some leftist U.C. professors are lecturing today at the farm to show their solidarity with the Occupiers, including Laura Nader (famous for helping to lead the field of anthropology toward self-critical Political Correctness); Gill Hart, a Gramscian anti-capitalist; and Paul Rabinow, a deconstructionist anthropologist. What do any of these professors know about farming, or plant biology? Nothing. But hey, they know about the significance of what it means to spout off a bunch of revolutionary socialist verbiage while absconding with stuff that isn’t yours.
As these are ersatz radicals with ersatz principles, the “farming” they do is also of the pretend variety.
Breaking into gated property and “liberating” land is exciting; the tedium of then spending endless hours over the next year in the blistering heat, in order to legitimise your actions and prove you’re not just jacking everyone around — not so fun. […] Only a handful of rows, right near the entrance, were planted all along their length, from end to end. Soon enough, those rows gave way to other rows with just a few plants near the walkway, seemingly just for show. Many rows’ plantings were pretty pitiful, or perhaps just symbolic; in this case, for instance, a single full-grown leek was stuck in the ground at the start of one row, to simulate the concept of “farming leeks.” […] Prediction: Very few, if any, of these “crops” will ever be harvested, or even grow to maturity.
Why, it’s almost as if the Occupiers’ “farming” were just a pretext for fatuous grandstanding and self-admiration. Say it isn’t so.
As the camp’s official volunteer sign-up sheet reveals, nearly 80% of the activities at the “farm” have nothing whatsoever to do with farming.
Meanwhile, in entirely unrelated news…
The FBI arrested five men Monday evening, saying they had planted what were believed to be explosive devices under the Ohio 82 bridge over Cuyahoga Valley National Park as part of a May Day protest… One of the leaders of the Occupy Cleveland movement, Brandon Baxter, is one of those arrested.
Via Daniel in the comments, Jim Treacher has more background here, along with the obligatory disclaimer: “Remember, everybody: Whenever an Occupier commits a crime, he’s not really an Occupier. All Occupier crimes are completely unrelated incidents, because shut up.” Sharp-eyed readers will notice that Mr Baxter – aka Skabby, the would-be ninja of social justice - is seen tapping bongos in front of a banner that reads “greed kills.” Unlike exploding highway bridges, of course, which have no physical consequences whatsoever.
Occupy Cleveland claim to be “shocked” by the attempted bombing and are now trying to distance themselves from their own associates. But in terms of worldview and self-indulgence, I don’t think there’s quite as much distance as they’d like us to believe.
Here we have a movement that claims to be “non-hierarchical” and to have no leaders - thereby giving license to all manner of exciting unofficial behaviour - but which has a remarkable number of “organisers” gorged on the same self-flattering, self-justifying worldview. A movement whose “non-hierarchical” founder says Occupy is “about antagonising people and slapping them around a little bit.” A movement whose favoured “non-violent” tactics rely on mobs and coercion - and the moral anonymity that mobs make possible. A movement that’s explicitly premised on the seizure and violation of other people’s property, and which measures its impact by the disruption and distress it inflicts on others. And oh yes. A movement whose cheerleaders tell us that mobbing random retailers and intimidating their customers is “a perfectly justifiable form of protest.” And whose apologists and hagiographers have told us, repeatedly, that they “have no problem with principled, thought-through political violence,” that property damage is “not the same thing as violence,” and that setting fire to occupied buildings isn’t “real” violence.
For members of this movement to then affect “shock” when that same thinking is taken one notch further requires colossal dishonesty. But hey, that’s who these people are.