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Comments

Sloan

I don't know which video some of y'all were watching. I went through it several times, and I didn't see any Protest Warriors attacking ANYBODY. But, what with all the sign-breaking going on by the "anarchists," who were using EVERY VERBAL AND BODY-LANGUAGE TRICK IN THE BOOK to try to provoke a response, I wouldn't be surprised if one of the signs accidentally toppled over and hit a leftie.

In the event that started all the commotion, at about 18 seconds into the film, I clearly saw the bearded guy in the dark green shirt reach up and pull down the red-shirted guy's PW sign. Look at the video again, click and pause, and you'll see what I mean.

At least the lefties make it easy to distinguish themselves from the PW group: they're the ones using all the bad language.

Blind Pig

Actus: I thought anarchists were supposed to be against any kind of order or standards. That is the irony.

Aapje: So freedom of speech can only be expressed under the conditions you lay out? It does not work that way. You remind me of the Daphne Zuniga character from the movie the sure thing: "Spontaneity has it's time and it's place."

Let me tell you something: The time and place for free speech, especially dissenting free speech, was that place and that time.

Koolaid drinker: You can't handle the fact that we were determined to be peaceful. Interesting. The simple truth is that we could have fought and would have fought if that was our purpose. But it was not. As a matter of fact we were having reasonable conversations with many in crowd, hearing the point of view many of the protestors while giving our own in exchange. The conversations were passionate, sure, but still reasonable.

Then, this group came us from behind us, started yelling for us to "get out of the f**ing march", tried to take away our signs, and then assaulted us.

I called for the police. Not because I am a "pussy", but because I did not want to see the situation get out of hand. I did not want violence. And you will notice from the video that after I did this, the attackers backed off. It was only when the police did not come that they renewed their attack.

I'll tell you something else - when you are in a situation like that, the easy thing to do is to fight back or to run away. It is the reflex that is built into all of us. But we choose the more difficult path - to stand our ground and to not fight back. We deliberately pulled back those of our group who lost their tempers when provoked.

However, if you want to second guess away, then go ahead. It's your right to do that. I would only say that you were not there, in the moment, and I was. We were trying to do our best not to escalate violence while preserving our right to speak out.

Here is the kicker: I would do the same thing for you. Not that I would likely agree with your point of view. But I would defend your right to have one. Let me also say that, as some in the crowd, true liberals, would defend my right to have mine.

Aapje

Come on, Sloan. How is shoving your hand almost in the face of a protester not a provocation? Sure the other guy was putting his face very close to the face of the PW, but the PW was not acting smart either by engaging in this immature shouting match. So how can you put all the blame on the 'leftie'? A little later the little bearded guy, who seemed to be pissed about being ignored took a swing at the sign of the PW, and the PW pushed him to the ground. So the bearded guy 'only' engaged in vandalism and the PW used some personal violence against that guy. Then the PW starts to to whine about brutality, while I don't think he was attacked at all (only his sign), which was indeed rather pathetic, like the other protesters said. It was actually the PW who used personal violence.

Later on, one of the PW's dove head first in the belly of the big guy with the black shirt, who responded to this violence by hitting the guy a few times. So what terrible violence do you end up with? A guy who hit a cardboard sign. A guy who got angry after he was smacked with a sign and then got even more angry when he was attacked by a Protest Warrior. Whoop die doo.

Face it, this was a mostly peaceful demonstration, where very little violence was used. Pretending that one not so impressive incident means that half a million protesters were violent animals is just pathetic. The 200 arrests that were made is quite small for such a large demonstration, especially if you consider that these kind of demonstrations always attract a small minority of obnoxious, militant idiots. If the Protest Warriors want to record some footage of real fights, perhaps they should invite those militants to hold a group fight somewhere far away from the demonstration. I'm sure that the other demonstrators would be glad to have those idiots gone from their demonstration and the PW's could film some really nasty footage to use as propaganda.

PS. As for the nonsense about anarchists, this demonstration was not pro anarchy, but anti-Bush. Claiming that all these people are anarchists is like claiming that everyone who takes part in a pro-life demonstration supports the killing of abortionists or that every pro-gun demonstrator is a white seperatist. The demonstration was also not pro-democrat and there were protesters who said that they would not vote for Kerry.

Aapje

Blind Pig,

Freedom of speech is to make your voice heard. Interfering with someone else's expression of free speech is not a right, whether that is by writing your message in your opponent's books in a book store, standing up and shouting to the audience during in a movie theater when you don't agree with the movie or by interfering with a demonstration. And my impression from the video is that you indeed tried to mess up that demonstration by going into the group of protesters hoping to create a disturbance. Why else would you have people walking along with the demonstration with signs that seem to support the demonstration, but at closer examination, don't?

If this was really just about voicing your opinion to the protesters, you could have made your point much better by staying out of the demonstration, because more people see your signs that way than when you walk along and people can decide whether they just want to walk past or step out of the demonstration and talk. However, by doing what you did, trying to strike up discussions in the middle of the demonstration, you were blocking the demonstration and confronting people who did not want to walk with you.

Blind Pig

In other words, freedom of speech has conditions, and apparently you are the one who gets to set them. Interesting.

The Zodiac

I was about 5 feet in back of the "fight". So, close, I had to push my sister back from getting injured. The Protest Warriors were only there to cause a ruckus. In fact, I spoke with a guy whose sign was ripped down (you can see him get attacked by the big White guy in the black clothing). He said "They can't take satire". We were already confused with their signs and now it was supposed to be "satirical?"....

The Protest Warriors don't make much sense and seem to just want to disrupt things in order to have their faces printed and their names spoken. Anyone who is against them is a "communist". Hey, your opinion is your own and I don't mind them protesting protesters, and a peaceful protest is nothing to get all agitated about.

My message is: Protest Warriors should start a real cause. Get Bush out of office. If you like Bush, then join the military and get your asses shipped to Iraq. You can protest that way...but I doubt you will.

Blind Pig

You'll have to excuse us if we don't adopt your cause as our own.

Acutally, our group leader was in Iraq - as a combat medic. He did participated in the invasion and did his year. He was holding a sign with a big picture of him with some Iraqi kids he helped at a clinic. He was spit on by someone in the crowd, by the way.

The guy in the red shirt is a US Marine, so I suppose he will get his "ass shipped to Iraq" along with the rest of his vital parts someday.

But that's not the point Zodiac. You're arguement seems to boil down to "you can't support the President unless you are in the military fighting in Iraq". And that, quite frankly, is a load of crap.

See, in the United States, you can have any beliefs you want and you can represent them anyway you want. It is not up to you to place conditions on what beliefs certain people can or can't hold. For example, would you like me to tell you that you can't be a liberal if you eat meat. Because everyone knows that a good liberal is a vegan.

It was a stupid observation.

Aapje

Blind Pig,

You are irrationally dogmatic. Answer me this: is it ok if a hacker breaks into your blog and puts communist propaganda on there? If you don't think someone should be able to do that, you also want to set conditions on freedom of speech, like every sane person. Unlimited free speech means that laws become meaningless since we can claim that everything is free speech, even murder. Take the terrorists who kill foreigners in Iraq. They certainly intend to send out a message by doing that, so it is a very sick form of speech. One which I hope you don't want to allow.

Now, I hope that you do agree with me that free speech is not unlimited, because that is a very anarchist standpoint.

Blind Pig

An anarchist viewpoint? Gee, I thought freedom of speech was my Constitutional guaranteed right. If believing in the United States Constitution makes me irrationally dogmatic, then so be it.

If someone were to hack into my blog and change my words, then my freedom of speech would be abridged. Then again, no one has hack my blog to put his or her own words here. You, for example, have done that several times.

In the march, we PWers were not stopping anyone from expressing his or her point of view. We were just adding our view to the mix.

Your point about murder being equivalent to speech is a bit absurd.

Aapje

Blind Pig,

The point is that defacing your website and putting communist propaganda on it is clearly speech. You say that expressing speech like that is not allowed, because it would reduce your freedom of speech. Perfectly understandable, but it still means that you agree that there is a limit to freedom of speech (where it reduces free speech of someone else). There are plenty of other examples to come up with. What if I want to graffiti my message on your house? Then I'm just expressing my free speech, without taking yours away. What if I shout out my message with a big megaphone in the middle of the night when people are sleeping? What if I write the message on my body and walk around naked? Is it free speech when I tell lies about you? Is it free speech when I ask people to kill you? Are these things allowed because of freedom of speech or do you agree that there are limits?

Also, actions can be considered speech in some cases, like making the V-sign or walking in a group together. I think that everything that intentionally conveys a certain message can be considered speech. In certain cases that may even include murder, when the goal is to send out a message. It's pretty presumptious for you to say that it cannot be speech. Why would you get to decide what is speech and what isn't?

Now, your Protest Warriors did seem to try to limit the free speech of others by creating disturbances and blocking the march. I understand why, since you are only a few guys and it would be pretty pathetic if you had your own march of 100 people to counter the 500,000 people that were protesting Bush, so I can see why you would want to get attention by leeching off a march by your opponents and by employing some passive aggressive tactics: "Police, help me, they broke my sign and then I used violence. Brutality, help".

actus

"Actus: I thought anarchists were supposed to be against any kind of order or standards. That is the irony."

Its not new for a right winger to think something wrong. I understand that anarchists are against hierarchy. Some believe in creating and organizing their own order, in a variety of different formats, but I don't understand the idea of not having any 'standards'.

Obviously subjective standards are still going to exist. People will still ahve likes and dislikes. Some people will like hte color blue or black and red. These are all 'standards'. What there won't be is one person in charge with the authority to impose their standards on others.

Go read.

Finn

Aapje: Protest protesters are there for only one thing: provocation. They are not there to pursue dialogue, that is why they choose such visceral formats for their expression (check out the PW website); it's to provoke a gut reaction in you. Read: PROVOKE! The best that you can do is either a)ignore them, or b) organize anti anti protesters. The only reason that they are showing up at rally's is to find the people in the lunatic fringe and catch them on video being assholes.

Blind Pig

Actus, that's what I am talking about baby. One anarchist was trying to impose standards on another. That's just wrong, at least in their ethos.

Aapje: ah, the tyranny of the masses, eh. Actually, our Constitution exists to prevent that. Now, you can certainly argue that the PWers might have been morally wrong to do what we did. Or you can argue that it was not a particularly smart thing to do. Certainly those are debatable issues.

What you can't argue is that we did not have the Constitutionally protected right to be there.

actus

"Actus, that's what I am talking about baby. One anarchist was trying to impose standards on another. That's just wrong, at least in their ethos."

Who was trying to impose standards? All he said was these failed to live up to his. That if they're were 'real' anarchists, you would have known. Thats just writing an opinion on a weblog.

Blind Pig

Actually, Finn, the reason we tape is for self-defense. We have found that most people are unwilling to get violent if they know that they are being taped. This group of pinheads being the exception, not the rule.

ratchet

"Anarchists are the extreem expression of the anti government side of politics. Survival of the fittest would be their motto."

categorically untrue. survival of the fittest is the ideology of capitalists. it used to be called social darwinism until that was deemed too rude and to the point.

anarchy is based on co-operation and mutual aid, the idea that if the community benefits, then the individual benefits, and if the individual benefits, then the community benefits. it reflects an understanding that all people deserve an equal playing field in terms of economics, and that as long as you don't harm the community you should be free to do as you please. it is the opposite of capitalist coercion, "might is right," and "majority rules," and survivial of the richest.

and not everyone who calls themselves an anarchist is one. kind of like the bush (pro-war, anti-choice, anti-marriage rights, anti-election, anti-ecology) backers saying they "support freedom."

Blind Pig

Anarchism? That sounds more Jeffersonian or libertarian to me.

actus

"Anarchism? That sounds more Jeffersonian or libertarian to me."

Nice answer to the Straussian neo-cons thats for sure.

likwidshoe

ratchet said, "and not everyone who calls themselves an anarchist is one. kind of like the bush (pro-war, anti-choice, anti-marriage rights, anti-election, anti-ecology) backers saying they 'support freedom.'"

We are not "pro-war". We are for forcing freedom and democracy down the throats of dictators.

We are not "anti-choice". We are for school vouchers. We are for keeping taxes low so that you can choose what you want to do with your own money. We are for keeping control of your own health care so that you, and you alone, can choose what to do. We are against the tyrant filled UN, so that America can choose what's best. YOU, sir, are the anti-choice person.

We are not "anti-election". That's your delusion.

We are not "anti-ecology". Again, that's your delusion.


As for some of you trying to compare hacking a webpage, (someone else's personal property) or spraypainting on a home (again, someone else's personal property) with marching in the public owned streets; I have to ask you: where is your logic? You may have a permit, but you don't own the right to pick the message on a public street. You call the Protest Warriors "fascist"? Hmmm...the word "irony" comes to mind.

actus

"You may have a permit, but you don't own the right to pick the message on a public street."

I thikn in some cases permits give a right to exclude. Would make sense.

Aapje

"Anarchism? That sounds more Jeffersonian or libertarian to me."

There are many different forms of anarchism. The basic component is a dislike of imposed order/hierarchy, such as the government, corporations, capitalism or civilization.

One variant, anarcho-communism, is the removal of capitalism, changing the economy to a gift system. The incentive is that you don't receive gifts from others if you don't give gifts yourself, so in theory, everyone gets their share. It is basically a form of 'real communism' (not 'temporary' big government communism that Stalin & Mao imposed). It is sometimes also called libertarian socialism, since you are completely free to do what you want with the goods that you create.

You are probably referring to libertarian anarchists aka anarcho-capitalists. The people who believe in it want to minimize or abolish the state (and not like Bush: 'we say we make it smaller, but we make it bigger'). In the most extreme case, you pay Police Corp for your policing, War Corp for your fighting, etc. Everything is provided through the capitalist system and you pay no taxes (and nothing is paid for by the state). To a libertarian anarchist, the republican party is a bunch of socialist liberals ;)

If you can find the time to harass protesters, you might want to read up what you are actually against, because I found quite a few anarchist elements in what you wrote ("tyranny of the masses" is one of their favorites, since anarchists usually dislike democracy, as they don't want to be told by others what to do). Are you going to videotape harassing yourself if it turns out that you are a anarcho-capitalist at heart?

Blind Pig

I don't think you can call having a sign without a preapproved message "harassing". It was not having the preapproved message that lead to us being harassed.

I guess they the harassers could not stand the competition in the marketplace of ideas. That capitalist enough for you?

Aapje

"I guess they the harassers could not stand the competition in the marketplace of ideas. That capitalist enough for you?"

A demonstration is a massive show of support for a certain standpoint. The more people you get together, the stronger your message. You and the other ProtestWarriors have shown your lack of ability to compete with this, by not having your own counter-demonstration. Instead you try to create a disturbance and try to use mass media to amplify your message. If this was not your intention, then explain to me why you were giving interviews within minutes after this incident ended. Explain to me why you went into the crowd of protesters, blocking the procession. Explain to me why you didn't put the camera where we could actually see what was happening. Explain to me why you put this video on the web-site under the heading 'When Anarchists Attack!', even though this was not a pro-anarchist demonstration and there is no real attack to speak of.

Here is my new title for your little project: 'When idiots scuffle with idiots!'

Blind Pig

We did not block the march, we joined it. It was actually very crowded, and their were stops and starts all along the route.

The camera view was from my perspective. You want to know some of what I went through, watch the video.

You can flail away all you want, but the fundamental issue remains unchanged: Did we have a right to be in a public protest with whatever message we wanted?

The follow up question is: If not, then who should be in charge of censoring our speech? If it is the protest's organizers, then who is supposed to enforce it? Some aspect of the government?

Do you really want the government in charge of enforcing acceptable speech in a public protest? Or is that OK as long as it is speech that you personally don't agree with?

That possibility, by the way, should scare the crap out of you. If you can't stand up for my freedom of speech, then who do you expect to stand up for yours?

BlackHand

"Did we have a right to be in a public protest with whatever message we wanted?"

Yes, you do have the right to. But you should also have the common sense NOT to mingle with rightfully angry people. You have the right to protest outside of a mosque, but don't be suprised if a few angry Muslims begin to "harrass" you.

You have your right to free speech, sadly, free speach doesn't make people smart, as can be seen by your childish reasoning.

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