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Occupy Cal time-travels back to the ’60s

November 16th, 2011 - 10:05 am

The privileged Occupy kiddies of U.C. Berkeley were back in action again yesterday, play-acting at revolution to entertain their professors.


The purported thesis of this particular Occupation is “more money for secondary education,” but that’s just a veneer (a very very thin veneer, as the above photo shows) for a more radical agenda.


The Occupiers very self-consciously posed under various campus landmarks to echo the protests of their 1960s predecessors.


They took a supervised field trip off-campus and marched around town under a Che banner. Just like Grandma and Grandpa did! So cute.


In case there was any doubt that the Berkeley version of this whole “Occupation” thing is just an opportunity for this generation of kids to re-enact Berkeley’s 1960s “Free Speech Movement” halcyon days, some of the march leaders carried a sign reading “FREE SPEECH – Then and Now.” The other sign in the photo, with the mystifying message “Oops didn’t see the broken ribs – I was in Tokyo,” is more typical of contemporary thought disorders, whereby kids are taught that repeating some anecdote about themselves earns them respect and lends gravitas to their opinions. This being Berkeley, of course, she also blends it with subtle bragging about her exotic travels.


Only in Berkeley is Angela Davis is still considered a cutting-edge philosopher worth quoting.


One of the marchers was even carrying — no, could it be…?


Yes, as I feared: Looking at the sign right-side up, I see that it is a 1968 Eldridge Cleaver for President poster.

It is 2011, people. What relevance could a 43-year-old Black Panther Party campaign poster possibly have?


(In case you’re curious: The poster design really is from 1968. Here’s a clear picture of what the original looked like.)


Speaking of 1960s presidential campaigns…Back then, the students were protesting against President Johnson (for sending troops to Vietnam); but these days, the protesters emulate Johnson’s infamous “this little girl will get killed by an atomic bomb if you don’t vote for me” ad, now updated to “this little girl will get decapitated by a guillotine unless you give us more money.”


And yes, even some of those crusty old original 1960s protesters themselves were on hand. Why re-live your youth vicariously when you can do it for real yourself?


Some of those 1960s kids have now become professors (see lower left of the photo), and they joined in the march too. I can only laugh about the calls to get rid of Proposition 13 (California’s landmark voter rebellion scaling back astronomical property tax rates).


One of the original sparks that ignited Berkeley’s radical transformation in the 1960s was an (ultimately successful) drive to get rid of the University’s “loyalty oath,” in which professors had to declare loyalty to the United States and non-membership in any communist group. Now that the oath is gone, this is the result: U.C. Berkeley now has its own on-campus Communist Party (named in Spanish here, for extra PC points).


Anyway, back to the present. We marched through the streets of town, reveling in the piquant joy of blocking traffic. (BTW, I agree with the sign “Police brutality, pathetic fallacy,” though perhaps not in the way its owner intended.)


As we passed City Hall, workers came outside and gave black power salutes, and leaned out windows giving the “thumbs up” sign. It kind of makes it hard to feel revolutionary when the establishment is on your side. Sigh.


More fists in the air as we passed the small and rather uneventful municipal Occupy camp of the city of Berkeley (as opposed to the much larger U.C. Berkeley campus Occupation).

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A clique of privileged U.C. Berkeley students, upset that they’re the top 1% of elite students in the state and thus disqualified from participating in the Occupy movement, could no longer contain their frustration on Wednesday and threw an Occutantrum, attempting to “occupy” a few square yards of the 1,200-acre campus. The police dutifully played their roles in the street theater performance, showing up in riot gear and looking scary so the privileged students could shout at them and feel properly revolutionary, as instructed by their professors. Following the script, the police repeatedly removed the handful of occupation tents so that the students could feel sufficiently wronged by authority figures and thereby earn their “Berkeley protest stripes,” which have been a requirement for graduation since 1964.

The group tantrum also gave the students a chance to test their fluency in Occupese, a new language which they have all been studying since the semester began on September 17.

The students, comprising the top 1% of high school graduates in the state (the top 12.5% are guaranteed admittance to the University of California’s 11 campuses statewide; of those, U.C. Berkeley is the most sought-after and thus the most selective) twice tried to set up tents in front of Sproul Hall on Wednesday, and twice the U.C. police moved in to dismantle them, as they had announced they would do:

Dozens of police in riot gear descended on UC Berkeley’s Sproul Plaza on Wednesday in two violent confrontations with student protesters that prevented them from building an Occupy encampment on the campus.

Campus police arrested seven protesters during an afternoon altercation at the plaza after protesters set up three tents, which police promptly tore down.

By evening, protesters had once again erected tents – this time there were seven. Students joined arms and chanted “hold the line” and “the whole world is watching” while police approached with batons and bean-bag guns. After a brief scuffle, police broke through their line and pulled down the tents. Then officers formed a perimeter on the steps of Sproul Hall.

Our first video shows the U.C. cops dismantling the tents as the students jeer in feigned outrage:

Our second video shows the climactic highlight of the “violence” as cops jab their nightsticks into the encroaching “human chain” of protesters trying to stop the dismantlement of the tents, in direct violation of the cops’ commands to keep back and not interfere:

Since the whole purpose of a protest is to elicit a vigorous response from the police, so the agitators can then scream “Police brutality!”, the whole affair worked out splendidly for both sides; the cops got the tents removed, and the privileged students got some bruises they can show off as proof of their radical bona fides.


I swung by campus a short time afterward, missing the big confrontation, but just in time to witness their very first “General Assembly,” where the fledgling Occupiers could test out their fluency in “Occupese,” the newly emerged language of the Occupy movement that is part vocalization, part sign language, and part bodily gestures and other idioms. It was a satisfying moment for many of them, as until today they had only studied the language online and never had an opportunity to use it in a real-life setting.


Fresh tents had already been re-erected a third time, just one hour after the cops had torn down and removed two previous generations of tents.


Among the tents, two students majoring in Gender Ambivalence demonstrated the prototypical Berkeley experience: publicly combining love and politics, in this case hugging while simultaneously reading revolutionary political tracts.


Another student leader, majoring in “How to Try Dressing Up Like Lenin But Only Succeed in Looking Like an Asshole,” gave an interview to a local radical radio station.


Fashion alert! A new trend was spotted at Occupy UC: Combining the “Black Bloc” anarchist look with the “V for Vendetta” Anonymous look. It’s simple: Just spray-paint your Guy Fawkes mask black, to go with your all-black clothing and ski mask, and unused gas mask. If “Wannanymous” (wannabe Anonymous) is a poser in a Guy Fawkes mask, then let’s dub this new fashion statement “Wannanarchist.”


HA ha! Some loser was still using an original un-spray-painted Guy Fawkes mask, oblivious to the fact that he was now tragically unhip. In the foreground, some suburbanite girls had gone shopping at Safeway with Daddy’s debit card, buying supplies for the brave Occupiers planning to spend the night in the tents, away from the comforts of the futon in their nearby apartments.


Up-twinkles, down-twinkles, clarification, block! You know the drill.

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Urban Infidel, the independent New York blogger who made a splash with her earlier Occupy Wall Street coverage, re-visited Zuccotti Park yesterday and with practically no effort captured on video the kind of conversations going on down there that the mainstream media just won’t show you.

The topic? As usual, Jews and Israel. And it wasn’t pretty:

Partial transcription (starting at 0:48):

Jewish man wearing a yarmulke: I work 65 hours a week.
Protester: You probably live in the Hamptons ‘n’ some shit.
Jewish man: I live in the Hamptons? I live in Brooklyn…I work 62 hours a week. Do you work 62 hours?
Protester: You know what’s funny? Your people own schools and fuckin’ government buildings, but your wives are on welfare. I don’t understand that. I don’t understand that. I met a public assistance officer. And they were Jewish, but their husbands own fuckin’ everything.
Jewish man: I work 62 hours a week. How many hours a week do you work?
Protester: I don’t work. How about them apples?
Jewish man: So why don’t you get a job?
Protester: I don’t need a fuckin’ job.
Jewish man: Why not?
Protester: You don’t need paper! We can grow our own fuckin’ food. We can shoot our own fuckin’ animals. We can do all that shit. We can build our own fuckin’ houses.
Jewish man: How do you get the materials?
Protester: We can just take it from the Earth! You come from the Earth. This comes from the Earth. Everything comes from the Earth, you dumb motherfucker! Like seriously. Technology comes from the Earth, protons, neutrons, electrons.
Jewish man: Is this a real conversation? Is this a real conversation?
Other OWS protester: He’s making points. But he’s making points.
Jewish man: What are the points?
Protester: I don’t need a point. It comes from here (indicating the ground). It came from here for free! Why we gotta pay for it? It’s here for free! Why we gotta pay for it? It’s bullshit. This is bullshit.

More disturbing to me than the anti-Semitic conspiracy theories is the complete ignorance of how economics works.

In addition to the “Jews own everything” meme, Urban Infidel also uncovered the “Israel is evil” meme, with one protester praising Palestinian suicide bombers as having the kind of dedication and “righteousness” that the Israelis lack:

Partial transcription (starting at 0:27):

Anti-Israel protester: War — that’s the only thing you understand. Them people in Palestine, you killing ‘em so bad that they gotta strap themselves up with bombs, and go take buses into Israel and blow themselves up and die. Ain’t a Israeli person going into Palestine, strapping themselves up with a bomb, and killed one Palestinian person. They gonna shoot them with guns, they gonna shoot them with [fire]. They ain’t got no heart, because they don’t have no righteousness. There’s no love for that. You got to really be about what you’re saying to sacrifice your life. C’mon, don’t tell me that they’re about that. C’mon, man, don’t talk to me about that, Israel. When you said that, I got to stop you, because what you’re saying is the lies. Actual lie. They’re not about peace. Israel is doing the same thing to the Palestinians that the Germans did to the Jews. Bottom line. They’re doing the same thing to the Palestinians that the Germans did to them.
Anti-Israel protester #2 (pointing to pro-Israel protester): You don’t want to hear the truth. You don’t like the truth! Ha ha!
Anti-Israel protester: You think we about lies? You think I came out here on my day off to just hear some lies? I came out here to bear witness to the truth. You can’t be talking lies in front of the people. C’mon, man. Talking about ‘Israel is about peace.’ It ain’t about peace. They’re about destroying people. If they had ovens, they’d put the Palestinians in ovens. And you know it.
Anti-Israel protester #2: That’s why the Jews come into existence.
Pro-Israel protester: Ain’t nothing about peace when you come to Israel. Israel is totally about war and destruction. And you know it. …
Arabic-speaking man: Can she ask you a question? She’s a journalist from the Middle East, and we cover these stories here.
Middle-Eastern journalist woman: [Asks question in Arabic.]
Arabic-speaking man: [Translating her question] Has there [been] anyone that has responded to what you’re calling for?
Anti-Israel protester: Everybody agrees with what I said. Every word I said, everybody agrees with it.

…and then his interview with the Middle Eastern journalists continues. As Urban Infidel recounts,

All the spewing about Israel caught the attention of an Arab media camera crew, don’t know which one. They, along with their translator took great interest in interviewing this angry man. So one could reasonably assume that this will be broadcast all over the Islamic world.

Don’t miss the full report at Urban Infidel’s blog:

Occupy Wall Street: Zucotti Square Day 41 & Counting – The Crazy Has Set In

This is the side of Occupy Wall Street that they don’t want you to see.

UPDATE:

And thanks to Israellycool for drawing our attention to this jaw-dropping bonus video from OccupyDC with an unapologetically anti-Semitic DC Occupier:

UPDATE II:

And Ringo down in Los Angeles snapped photos of some disturbing signs at a recent Occupy LA march:


This picture looks innocent enough — until you zoom in on the ties of Lieberman and Obama:


Star of David.


Star of David.

Oh, those sneaky Jews!


And a little girl was holding up a classic “American flag with Stars of David” sign, a design I’ve seen several times at earlier anti-Israel rallies. The not-so-subtle message is “The Jews control America.”

See these photos (and so much more) in context in Ringo’s truly eye-popping report:

The Occupation of Los Angeles – Part 6

The Occupy Wall Street movement has received so much media coverage in recent weeks that it’s nearly impossible to keep abreast of all the developments. So many endorsements and criticisms coming from all directions enter the news cycle in such rapid succession that even the most dedicated news junkies may have missed out on many of the pronouncements. Supporters and detractors of OWS both might find it useful to have a handy all-inclusive list of who has endorsed or embraced the protest.

To satisfy that demand, we hereby present a list of groups, organizations, individuals and entities that have expressed their support for, sponsorship of, or sympathy for the Occupy Wall Street movement.

Note: All entries on this list are real and verified. Below each entry you will find a series of source links documenting the support for OWS. We have striven in almost all cases to reference either first-hand statements by the groups or individuals themselves, hosted on their own Web sites; or videos of the people in question voicing their support for OWS at various Occupations; or news reports from reliable mainstream networks; or articles by publications or organizations sympathetic to the Occupy movement; or indisputable evidence, whatever the source. As a result, it cannot be claimed that these statements of support were made up or distorted by detractors of the Occupy movement.

As each new controversial endorsement has appeared over the last month, OWS supporters have dismissed them one by one as “isolated examples” that don’t reflect any overall trend toward extremism. But when viewed in aggregate like this, it becomes much more difficult to dismiss any individual endorsement as an aberration; instead, an undeniable pattern emerges.

This list is obviously incomplete; we hope to update it over the upcoming days and weeks.

If you think we’ve left out any well-known endorsers for which there is solid evidence, then please post suggestions and evidentiary links in the comments section; but please try to supply links that will stand up to any potential claims of misrepresentation.

If you disagree with the inclusion of any of the entries on this list, please post your reasoning and any contravening source links in the comments section, and we will take the evidence into account when updating the list.

Members of the media, bloggers, activists, OWS supporters and detractors as well are all free to repost this list, in whole or in part, without any restrictions. Do note, however, that it may be updated over time, so make sure to get the latest version.

And without further ado, here is…


 

The 99%: Official list of Occupy Wall Street’s supporters, sponsors and sympathizers


Communist Party USA


American Nazi Party


Ayatollah Khamenei, Supreme Leader of Iran


Barack Obama


The government of North Korea


Louis Farrakhan, Nation of Islam


Revolutionary Communist Party


David Duke


Joe Biden


Hugo Chavez


Revolutionary Guards of Iran


Black Panthers (original)


Socialist Party USA


US Border Guard


Industrial Workers of the World


CAIR


Nancy Pelosi


Communist Party of China


Hezbollah


9/11Truth.org


International Bolshevik Tendency


Anonymous


White Revolution


International Socialist Organization


PressTV (Iranian government outlet)


Marxist Student Union


Freedom Road Socialist Organization


ANSWER


Party for Socialism and Liberation

UPDATE: Thanks to the hundreds of readers who have made suggestions for additional entries on this list. I now have a large pile of potential new OWS supporters to investigate, and will work on updating this list over the upcoming weeks. When I’ve made it more thorough, I will re-launch an updated list that will be much more “official” in its comprehensiveness, sometime later this month. Keep an eye out for it!

Is Occupy Oakland as Bad as They Say?

October 24th, 2011 - 2:58 am

Much ado has been made about recent media reports describing Occupy Oakland as a cross between Lord of the Flies and Animal House. The leftist magazine Mother Jones was furious about the negative coverage, deeming it “The Right-Wing Media Assault on Occupy Oakland,” and attempting to debunk the bad press. But Big Journalism lashed back with an article entitled MotherJones: Truth To Unflattering Reports On OWS.

Out of curiosity, I decided to check out the scene for myself to settle the matter.


Occupy Oakland is a tent encampment in the park facing Oakland’s City Hall. Wooden pathways wend between dozens of tents inhabited by over a hundred activists.


Saturday, October 22 was a special day for the Occupiers: A rally and march were planned at noon. A talented local artist recorded the scene as hundreds of day-protesters arrived to hear the speakers in the amphitheater adjacent to the camp.


Adding to the excitement: Today was “Bring Down Capatalism Day,” so we were all eagerly anticipating the destruction of “capatalism” by nightfall. The only remaining question was: How would we bring it down? With “Group Cacases”?


This protester had the answer: Behead all the evil capitalists.


Many in the crowd, such as QPOC (Queer People of Color, for all you ignorant facsists) called for the death of capitalism in a more generic sense.


Some of the speakers addressing the rally wanted to go “the full Lenin.”


But some of the protesters reminded us: If we aren’t all in tune with Allah, nothing will change. As the uprisings in North Africa have reminded us: the only path to true revolution is through Islam. Maybe this will be the American “Arab Spring” in more ways than one!

One thing quickly became apparent to me: Occupy Oakland at first tried to create a completely anarchistic rule-free social utopia — but as the days and weeks pass, the Occupiers are inescapably re-creating society from scratch, and before long will have all the same rules and customs and problems that they tried to abandon. (All of this is entirely predictable, I might add.)

During the boring speeches, I strolled around the encampment and discovered that many of the reports about Occupy Oakland are, unfortunately, true. Let’s look at them one by one:

DRUG USE and COMMERCE


Everywhere I went, I encountered people taking drugs — mostly marijuana. Many of them were understandably camera-shy. But this guy stood right on the main walkway and puffed away on a drug pipe.


The ground around and inside the camp was also littered with other evidence of drug use, such as this crack cocaine baggie that had been dropped or discarded.


This guy was sitting outside his tent, riffling through and counting huge wads of greenbacks. I can’t say for sure that he was a drug dealer, but I found it mighty suspicious that he would have such a massive amount of cash amidst such squalor.

DISGUSTINGNESS


The City of Oakland issued an eviction notice the day before the rally, citing sanitation issues, garbage, rats and other hygiene problems at the encampment. The protesters announced that they simply wouldn’t budge, and the city temporarily caved in, so for now the standoff continues, though the eviction notices are still taped up around the plaza. But as far as I could tell — yes, the city has a very good point. The place was pretty disgusting.


Paradise for rats.


Even more disturbingly, all over the camp were signs that said “Not a toilet,” because some occupiers basically relieve themselves wherever and whenever they feel the urge. Disgusted campers started putting up signs so that their particular tents wouldn’t be on the receiving end of any effluvia.


One tree had basically become an outside communal toilet, so the more environmental-minded Occupiers put up signs trying to discourage doing one’s business au naturel.

INTIMIDATING “INTERNAL SECURITY” TEAMS


Occupy Oakland has agreed by consensus to not cooperate with the Oakland Police Department under any circumstances. But as the law-breaking and nuisance behavior within the encampment started to grow, the evolving mini-society found it necessary to appoint its own ersatz police force. Basically, the scariest looking guys, and/or those guys with with strongest authoritarian urge, have assumed the role of internal policemen. As many reporters have discovered, these guys really really do not appreciate having their picture taken, so I could only get a few surreptitious shots. In this scene, someone had found a large Bowie knife in the camp and turned it into these two Occupolice, who set about scanning the crowd for the potential owner, ready to wreak justice on anyone who broke the “no weapons” law consensus agreement. They communicate with walkie-talkies.


There also seemed to be a possibly separate “rally security force” consisting of guys wearing Black Panther buttons on their berets.

People have often cited Lord of the Flies in reference to Occupy Oakland, and I tend to agree — but in a good way. In the original novel about boys stranded on a desert island, it’s not just that they descend into barbarism, but more interestingly they start to re-create society from first principles, instituting hierarchies and rules and customs where none had existed before. And it’s quite obvious that, left on their own for a sufficient amount of time, the book’s characters would naturally have developed a new society not much different from the one they left behind.


I see the same thing happening at Occupy Oakland: They reject the existence of the current police force, only to find it necessary to found a new substitute police force of their own, which were it to mature would eventually become an institution probably not much different from the original Oakland Police Force they so reviled. Here, for example, is the first incarnation of a “police station” in the emerging Occupy culture.

Around and around the cycle goes.


Remember Lovelle Mixon, the serial rapist, child molester and murderer who single-handedly committed one of the worst mass killings of police officers in American history? Yeah, that guy. Well, the anti-police sentiment at Occupy Oakland is so intense that they regard Lovelle Mixon as a hero!! Whatever other crimes he may have committed, if he offed some pigs, then all is forgiven. Fuck the Po-lice! Power to the people!


I guess there are so many crime victims at the camp that the Occupiers have found it necessary to establish a donation fund to help them — presumably to replace stolen items. Come back in ten years’ time, and this will be called “the insurance industry.”

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US Military 1 — Occupy Movement 0

October 9th, 2011 - 3:14 pm

The “Occupy” movement claims to represent 99% of the people (hence their motto, “We Are the 99%”).

The US military stands for everything the Occupiers oppose; it is after all the force which imposes the evils of capitalism on the nation and the world.

Wouldn’t it be interesting if, as an experiment, we arranged to have the Occupy movement and the US military each hold events in the same city on the same day — and then see which one drew more visitors? If the Occupiers truly represented the 99%, and if the military really were the musclemen for the corporations, then it’d be no contest — right? And what if we even held the competition in the nation’s most left-leaning city, just to give the Occupiers home field advantage?

Well, we don’t have to imagine any of this, because it happened yesterday, in San Francisco. The “Occupy SF” protest group held yet another shindig in front of the Federal Reserve Bank on Market Street. And as luck would have it, San Francisco was at the same time hosting “Fleet Week,” an annual celebration of all things military and patriotic, including performances by the Blue Angels, the US Navy’s aerobatic team. Since the “Occupy SF” group was having a protest at the exact same moment as the Blue Angels show, this would be a perfect test case: Which is more popular?

It’s 2pm on Saturday, October 8, 2011: Let the showdown begin!


We start our duel at the Occupy SF encampment on Market Street, where the “greeter” stood stark naked with a sign welcoming visitors to the occupation.


Lest we ever forget how significant and popular they are, a row of Occupiers held up signs reminding everybody that they represent the views of 99% of Americans.


Important questions were asked — such as “My Mom has lupus…Why can’t she have an American dream?” Indeed. Powerful stuff.


Love and bloodshed,
Love and bloodshed,
Go together
until corporate greed’s dead.
This I tell you brother,
You can’t have one without the other.


Moms of America: If your daughter got sick, would you prefer that she visit a licensed physician, or instead curl up in agony with a shaved head and a sleeping kitten on a urine-soaked sidewalk in the “Occupy SF Infirmary”?


Wait — there’s a good way to be smelly? I’m so behind the times.


Only at a San Francisco protest could there be a freak so freaky that even the naked guy would look at him aghast.


As usual, the deep-seated fundamental schizophrenia of the “Occupy” movement was on full display: Half the protesters were of an anarchist bent who wanted to “decentralize everything”…


…while the other half had a communist bent, declaring “Marx was right” that we should have a state-controlled economy — in other words, the belief that we should “centralize everything.”

Centralize, decentralize — it’s all good!


The usual political remoras came along for the ride: Anonymous wannabes, whom I like to call “Wannanymous”…


…the so-far-right-that-they’re-far-left anti-Fed conspiracy theorists of Alex Jones’ Infowars…


…and, no, it simply couldn’t be — the last Coffee Party member in the country! I thought they went extinct!


Weirder still, standing right behind her was Barack Obama, half-heartedly disguised in an SF Giants cap, trying to see for himself what these Occupiers are all about.

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The Ongoing Occupation of America

September 29th, 2011 - 11:25 am

Remember the whole “Day of Rage” thing a couple weeks ago, in which the American populace would rise up and “occupy” Wall Street and various other financial centers around the country until the people’s revolution triumphed?

Well, we made fun of it back then as “Day of FAIL” when the whole thing seemed to fizzle — but now the joke’s on us! Because it turns out the revolution is still in the process of happening, and when the first “occupations” didn’t work out so well, the protesters reserved the right to try and try again until America is properly occupied.

Not only did the revolutionaries not skulk away in humiliation after the first flop, they’ve doubled, tripled and quadrupled down with an ongoing series of new occupations from coast to coast. The new motto of the movement is: “No, we mean it — this time it’s for real!

Occupations have been taking place every day since the original “Day of Rage” on September 17, and more occupations are scheduled practically every day for the foreseeable future. There’s a new one happening in San Francisco later this afternoon; and there’s another one in L.A. planned for two days from now; and probably one in your neighborhood too, whether you realize it or not.


Of the 37 world-changing revolutions that have happened in San Francisco over the last two weeks, I visited only one, last Saturday in Union Square, just to keep tabs on how the future government is shaping up. The first order of business was to display a big map showing some of the “Major City Occupation Movements Across the United States.” In case you haven’t noticed, the following cities have been occupied by the revolutionaries: San Francisco, Los Angeles, Portland, Chicago, Phoenix, Cleveland, Atlanta, Kansas City, Dallas, Orlando and Miami.


The revolutionaries seized the symbolic heart of the city, Union Square. Witness history! That’s them in the distance, somewhere. San Francisco: Consider yourself occupied!


Once the territory was successfully seized, everyone gathered in an egalitarian circle and the reluctant not-really-a-leader leader-type guy said we all needed to break up into “committees” to address the many tasks of revolution.


I considered joining this committee, but a different guy was acting all patriarchal and taking charge and stuff, and that pissed me off, so I went in search of something more appropriately leaderless.


I considered joining the more free-form “Supply Division and Personell” committee, but I suddenly started itching all over and thought better of it.


This committee was too intellectual, with people making all sorts of important points and engaging in healthy self-criticism. I get enough criticism from the real world already!


“As you can see by this balloon thing I’m wearing on my head, I’m making a serious point here!”

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The U.C. Berkeley College Republicans struck a national nerve today by holding a bake sale with racially discriminatory pricing: Higher prices for white and Asian students, lower prices for black, Hispanic and female students. Why the intentional discrimination? To protest a pending new statewide law, SB 185, which attempts to re-introduce Affirmative Action into university admission standards, something that was banned years ago with California’s Proposition 209, a popular constitutional amendment requiring race-neutral admissions.

The purposely inflammatory gag was very clever: the goal was to make everyone point out how racist the cupcake prices were, at which point the young Republicans reply, “Exactly! Racial discrimination is unfair. Thanks for making our point for us!”

But the leftists on campus and around the state instead flew into a blind rage: The joke was too effective, so Affirmative Action proponents simply pretended to “not get it.” Accusations of racism flew back and forth and before anyone knew it we had a major FUBAR situation on our hands.


The Berkeley College Republicans set up their table on U.C. Berkeley’s legendary Sproul Plaza, birthplace of the Free Speech Movement and the place where all campus clubs host recruitment tables. By the time I showed up at 10am, there were already hundreds of protesters swarming around the table.


The cupcakes were very “diverse” in their coloration. Will the mockery never cease?

This 7-minute video montage contains several short interviews with various people at the protest, and really contains almost everything you need to know about the event. I alternate back and forth between College Republicans explaining their point, and counter-protesters trying to explain, uh, well, something or other. Almost all of these clips are “piggybacking” on interviews that other reporters did of the various people shown; whenever one camera would come out to record an interview, several additional cameras would usually appear out of nowhere to get a free ride. Some of the clips were taken by me, and some by others who sent their videos to me.

However you slice it — it’s video gold not to be missed!:


The Berkeley College Republicans were not all “white” as most people assumed; they included members of all races.


One of the young Republicans carried a sign with the discriminatory menu. Shocking!


Ward Connerly, the godfather of the anti-Affirmative Action movement, showed up took a seat at the bake sale table, where he was interviewed by various media outlets.

He calmly pointed out to all comers that the pending bill, SB 185, waiting to be signed or vetoed by Gov. Jerry Brown, was patently unconstitutional, since California voters had already amended the state constitution with Proposition 209, which plainly says “The state shall not discriminate against, or grant preferential treatment to, any individual or group on the basis of race, sex, color, ethnicity, or national origin in the operation of public employment, public education, or public contracting.” He predicted that SB 185, even if signed, would be thrown out by the courts. The only way to undo Prop. 209 would be to re-amend the state constitution to allow discrimination (highly unlikely), or to have the United States Supreme Court declare the whole thing federally unconstitutional, something which they’ve never done, despite having several opportunities to. So it looks like non-discrimination is here to stay, to the great dismay of the Affirmative Action advocates.


Several different counter-protest groups showed up. By Any Means Necessary, the leading radical Affirmative Action advocacy group, had a major presence. “BAMN,” as they are commonly known, take their name from a famous Malcolm X speech.


Someone brought some “Get the fuck/GOP out!” shirts and invited people to personalize them with their own messages; someone upgraded one of the shirts with “Fuck White Supremacy,” and laid it on the ground in front of the bake sale.

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In recent months it has become increasingly common to see men walking around San Francisco’s Castro District completely naked. You might assume this is illegal, but no — there is no law against public nudity in San Francisco, unless that nudity also involves “lewd thoughts or acts.” (In practice, what that means is that unless you have an erection or are masturbating, it is OK to expose yourself in San Francisco.)

But the ever-escalating recent increase in public nudists spurred S.F. supervisor Scott Wiener to propose new legislation requiring naked people to sit on towels when using public facilities, and also to cover their nether regions while eating in restaurants — so that other residents won’t have to come into contact with whatever bodily excretions that might result from sitting down pants-free.

Well, as luck would have it, the more politically-minded of the public nudists had already scheduled a pro-nudity protest just on general principles, but the timing was perfect to make it into a photo op for the newly proposed towel law.

Needless to say, I was at Saturday’s protest, camera in hand.

I had originally intended to make this a lighthearted post, but the more I thought about it, the more I felt the protest merited serious analyis.

So, below, you will find discussions about the purpose of clothing, public hygiene, exhibitionism, community standards and morality — and lots of pictures of naked men. If you don’t want to see the pictures, stop reading now.

(Note: This is the G-rated version of this report, with all photos blurred out where appropriate; if you want to see the X-rated version, in which all the pictures are uncensored, click here.)


The protest was held in a small plaza at the intersection of Castro, 17th, and Market streets in San Francisco. While the Castro District is well-known as a sort of outdoor gay-themed tourist attraction, it is still a “real” part of the urban landscape, just like any other part of the city, with street lights and gas stations and trolley tracks and laws. Traffic streamed by as the nudists (all men) began to assemble, several of whom were carrying protest signs saying things like “Nude is not lewd” and “Get your hate off my body.”


It was cloudy and a bit chilly, but that didn’t stop about 40 or 50 men from standing around naked, and posing for the phalanx of photographers who had assembled across the tracks.


Local alternative newspaper The Bay Guardian saw a chance for a publicity stunt and produced “Butt Guardian” towels so that everyone could be in compliance with the new anti-excretion ordinance.


Bay Guardian employees handed them out to all takers; if you want one of your own they even have an online version you can print out “to soothe the heebie jeebies induced in some shrinking violets about stray hairs and other hysterical anal imaginings covering the seats of our fair city.”


The quote above got me thinking about the very purpose of clothing, something I had never really pondered until now. Humans wear clothing, obviously, to keep us warm in cold climates. But clothing has several other functions as well:

1. To protect the wearer from the elements — cold temperatures, blazing sun, wind, etc.;
2. To cover up various body parts which cultural norms have deemed taboo;
3. To advertise one’s status, role, class or position in society;
4. To prevent the transmission of potentially unsanitary excretions and fluids by enclosing the anal and genital regions.

And this is the source of the conflict: Wiener’s law merely addresses the issue of public hygiene in point 4 above — but the nudists are protesting the cultural norms in point 2. Yet no matter how successful they are in smashing cultural norms, they still can’t escape the general consensus that day-to-day urban nudity has pubic health consequences.

The nudists’ reply is that the “pubic health” argument is merely a smokescreen to justify puritanical repression. The anti-nudity advocates are being dishonest, the protesters argue; opposition to public nakedness is not based on concern about transmissible diseases, but rather on old-fashioned prudery.

While that may be true, I counter with this: The San Francisco public nudists are also being dishonest; there is indeed a sexual component to their behavior, and they are exhibitionists using politics to justify their thrill-seeking.

Want proof? Keep reading.


The naked protest originally had nothing to do with the hubbub over the new towel legislation; it was in fact basically just a launch party for the Folsom Street Fair (advertisements for which were visible all around the intersection, as seen in the photo above):

The event, which had been scheduled before Wiener’s proposal was announced, was part of the unofficial celebrations leading up to the annual Folsom Street Fair, billed as the world’s largest leather and fetish event.


Now, I didn’t cover this year’s Folsom Street Fair (held yesterday — too cold!), but I have covered it in the past, and — trust me on this — it is a free event held on city streets at which people unabashedly have sex in public. (Actually, you don’t have to trust me — you can simply click on my EXTREMELY NSFW report about the 2007 Folsom Street Fair and see the proof for yourself.)

In that report, as part of a caption for a series of photos showing a man masturbating in public, I made the following observation:

The Folsom Street Fair is primarily a festival of sexual fetishes — bondage, sado-machochism, animal fantasies, and so on — yet the pre-eminent sexual fetish at the Folsom event is the one least discussed: exhibitionism. This man, for example, is an exhibitionist, as were a great many others at the fair. Exhibitionists derive sexual pleasure from having people watch them engage in sex. You, the observer, are a participant in their sex act, whether you want to be or not. That’s the point, the source of the “thrill.” If you attend the Folsom Street Fair, to a certain extent you are knowingly agreeing to be “visually raped” and to participate in the exhibitionist sex of others, just by being there to view it. Almost always, when someone at the fair began to masturbate, a crowd would form to watch: and by so doing would voluntarily become second-hand participants in the solo sex act — just as you the viewer are doing right now.

But does the same argument apply when the exhibitionist is not actively masturbating and doesn’t even have an erection? Could he be secretly getting a thrill and involving passersby in his sexual fantasies anyway?

No, according to The Bay Guardian, which has leapt to the defense of the public nudists.

In response to a San Francisco Chronicle columnist who wrote,

If these guys were opening a trench coat and exposing themselves to bystanders in a supermarket parking lot we’d call them creeps. But if they sit on public chairs and expose themselves to bystanders, they’re defenders of free speech. Here’s some free speech – when moms and dads walk their kids to school, they don’t want to see you naked.

The Bay Guardian had this to say in reply:

Actually, I’ve often walked my daughter to school along Castro Street, and I don’t care whether people are naked or not. Neither does she. My kids are San Francisco city kids; it’s all a big Whatever. And the naked guys in the Castro, mostly middle-aged men, aren’t “exposing themselves” in the way of a sex offender who gets off on it; they don’t confront anyone, or jump in front of anyone, or try to force anyone to look at them. They aren’t fucking in the streets. They’re just walking around (and sitting down) without clothes on.

Whatever.


The Bay Guardian‘s argument basically comes down to this: If these guys aren’t parading around naked for the thrills, then they aren’t deriving any sexual pleasure from it, and thus there’s nothing wrong with what they’re doing. And that is also exactly what San Francisco’s extremely lax laws about pubic nudity say: unless you are engaging in “lewd thoughts or acts” then you can be naked in public.

But hang one one minute. It’s pretty easy to identify a “lewd act,” but how can we judge whether someone has a “lewd thought” while showing his naked body to you? Presumably, this is a legal euphemism for “getting a hard-on”: If a guy has an erection, the law presumes he is engaging in “lewd thoughts”; and (here’s the key) if he doesn’t have an erection, that’s proof that his thoughts are pure.

But there’s another way we can assess their motivations aside from measuring the engorgement levels of their penises. Look at the sign above and the sign in the first photo; both reveal that the protest was organized on a Web site called nude-in.blogspot.com. If you visit the site (mild NSFW warning), you’ll see that the protest’s Web page — and hence the protest itself — was actually masterminded by Bare Naked in Public, which according to the protest page’s own sidebar “is the most all inclusive male exhibitionist destination on the Internet.”

And if you dare to click on the VERY NSFW Bare Naked in Public home page, you will finally see the truth (and a whole lot more) revealed: San Francisco’s urban nudists are exhibitionists who derive sexual thrills from exposing themselves in public.

There. Someone had to say it.

And if that’s true, then they are indeed breaking the city’s anti-nudity ordinance because they do think “lewd thoughts” while parading around naked.


Common sense tells us the same thing. As this picture shows, the spot chosen for the nude protest is basically on a traffic island in the middle of an extremely busy intersection; trolley cars filled with commuters and tourists run immediately adjacent to the “park,” while a six-lane major traffic artery runs along the other side; and one of the city’s most crowded pedestrian streets leads right to the same intersection. Why choose that particular spot, not just for Saturday’s protest but for daily nudity year-round? The goal quite obviously is to be seen by as many people as possible. The nudists claim they just want to be left alone and be free to go about their daily lives with no clothes on. But if that were the case, they wouldn’t purposely congregate in crowded places.


La de da. Don’t pay any attention to me. I’m just standing here!


Furthermore: San Francisco is not a particularly warm town. To quote Mark Twain: “The coldest winter I ever spent was a summer in San Francisco.” No one in their right mind under normal circumstances would want to be naked in San Francisco. You’d have to have a reason — like being an exhibitionist.

If you truly just wanted to be naked, you can be naked at home. Or at San Francisco’s city-sanctioned nude beach (Baker Beach). If if you wanted to be naked amongst other naked people, there are several nudist colonies in the Bay Area and northern California. But no. These protesters and urban nudists don’t simply want to be naked in private or be naked around other naked people; they want to be naked around clothed people. Because that’s where the sexual thrill originates; violating a taboo. Being naked where nakedness is normal doesn’t count; eliciting shock or interest from unwitting strangers is the whole point.


To end on an upbeat note: one of the protesters set up an easel right on the corner of Castro and 17th and began painting.


His masterwork depicted UFOs landing and naked humans running out to meet their alien saviors. On the table next to his easel (directly behind him in this photo) were several books about extra-terrestrials and UFO invasions.

Now, see, this guy might legitimately claim that he is naked in public for a completely non-lewd reason — to welcome our alien brothers when they arrive. But the other protesters have revealed not just their genitals but their real motivations.

One final point: What is the feminist position on all this?


Last month I covered yet another San Francisco protest, this one called Slutwalk, where this photo was taken. And the message at that protest was “Unwanted Exposure to Scrotum Is Never OK!

Why are only feminists allowed to point this out?

September 17 was supposed to be the Day of Rage, the starting point of an anti-capitalist revolution that (in theory) was going to sweep the country coast-to-coast. As I noted yesterday, “The plan is to protest in state capitals and major cities across the nation, but the focus of the revolution will be in New York, where a hoped-for 20,000 anti-capitalists will ‘occupy’ Wall Street.”

I dutifully sent my operatives out to cover what were to be three of the largest Day of Rage protests — in New York, San Francisco, and Los Angeles — so humanity would have a full record of this pivotal moment in history.

Really, I should have learned my lesson by now: The bigger the build-up to a protest, and the more grandiose the promises, the louder the sound of the bellyflop onto the dustbin of irrelevancy.

In other words: “Day of Rage” was a massive FAIL.

This photo essay includes photos from all three protest sites (NY, SF and LA) integrated together, to give you the feel of the fizzled revolution as a whole.

The photographs in this essay are by:
Urban Infidel (New York);
Ringo (Los Angeles);
and Chicken Kiev, juklux, and zombie (San Francisco).
All credit goes to them.


In New York, a disappointing crowd of only about 1,000 people (a mere 5% of the predicted attendance) gathered around Manhattan’s Wall Street to protest against capitalism. But right off the bat, the protest’s completely mixed message was glaringly apparent. Half the protesters wanted more government (as exemplified by this satirical “capitalist pig” cutting the “social safety net”)…


…while the other half wanted less government, an attitude succinctly summarized here as “FUK DA GOV.”

So — which is it?


Over in San Francisco, where a mere 90 protesters showed up (OK, 100 to be generous), the exact same self-negating mish-mosh of a non-message prevailed; half the protesters, such as these “US Uncut” activists leading the march, wanted more taxes and more of a welfare state; while the other half…


…wanted to “Decentralize everything,” which is the polar opposite of a state-controlled economy.

Basically, the distinction is between communist theory and the anarchist approach.

In American politics there are two strong currents of anti-capitalist thought: Marxism/communism/socialism versus Anarchism/far-left-libertarianism. The problem is that these two ideologies are fundamentally at odds; one advocates hyper-centralization of political and economic power, while the other advocates hyper-decentralization.

In earlier times, the communists and the anarchists hated each other; they are natural enemies. But in recent decades they have formed an uneasy and deeply unstable alliance; since they both hate the status quo of American capitalism, they feel they ought to band together and smash the system as a unified front, and worry about how to pick up the pieces later.

But the Day of Rage revealed that this alliance can never succeed, because it can never offer a consensus philosophy; it’s impossible to draw the sympathy of the great masses when you offer two completely divergent philosophies as your “unified message.” In truth, there is no unified message, and there never can be; that’s why the “Day of Rage” organizers couldn’t even decide on what their one single demand would be at the protest.

I feel this is a turning point in the anti-capitalist movement; the failure of the much-hyped Day of Rage proved that the communists and the anarchists never will be able to smooth over their differences, and the far-left will necessarily fracture in two. The anarchists will break free of their socialist bedmates and drift more toward honest extreme libertarianism and anti-authoritarianism; while Team Marx will no longer feel the need to temper their collectivist message with a bunch of dishonest slogans about freedom and independence.


The Los Angeles Day of Rage crew made the peculiar decision to hold their event in the city’s Olvera Street, the touristy Mexican-themed pedestrian marketplace near the site of the original Spanish settlement. Despite all the promotional hoopla, a completely humiliating 20 people showed up.


But none of the organizers bothered to find out in advance that September 17 was Fiestas Patrias on Olvera Street, “the largest Mexican Independence Day celebration in the State of California at the birthplace of Los Angeles; Placita Olvera. 200,000 attendees expected.” Oooooooooops!


As a result, the tiny protest was completely overwhelmed by the non-political festival-goers. And, irony of ironies, the fiesta was packed with corporate sponsors, who set up glitzy and well-attended promotional tents all along Olvera Street. So much for the anti-corporate message!

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