Ed Driscoll

Radical Chic and Mau-Mauing the Barack Catcher

Once again, the MSM buries the lede when it comes to #Occupywallstreet, this go around in a Time magazine article titled “Occupy Oakland Embraces Nonviolence, but Debates ‘Black Bloc’ Tactics:”

A majority of longtime Occupy participants have insisted the second confrontation was provoked by an unruly 1% of the 99%, bent on hijacking a nonviolent movement. A larger question looms, though, as to how the movement’s image may suffer if such outbreaks continue, and what can be done to prevent them. Kim Voss, head of the sociology department at the University of California, Berkeley, notes that radical elements of movements sometimes have a “net positive effect” at first because they draw greater support to more moderate groups and give authorities incentives to offer concessions. The defensiveness of city officials post–Oct. 25, when they allowed protesters to retake the plaza in front of City Hall, is a case in point. “However,” she adds, “the opposite dynamics also occur, in which the radical elements erode support for movements and additionally justify repression.”

The stakes are putting solidarity to the test. Over the weekend, some complained that a meeting scheduled to discuss the meaning of the violence and a strategy to contain it had been canceled, then hastily rescheduled, causing many to miss the gathering. Debate nonetheless carries on inside tents and along sidewalks about what the next steps might be. “You have to have some sort of leadership. Don’t confuse leadership with dictatorship,” says Alonzo, 24, a Black Panther activist. “When you put that leader thing in front of [someone], he’s gonna have an ego,” counters Ali, 38, who instead argues that individuals should take more initiative on their own when trouble is on the verge. Next time a major action is held, he says, he would form an ad hoc group to protect businesses around the plaza and pull the masks down of anyone wearing a bandana to ensure accountability. Rasta, another camp resident, is less conciliatory: “These anarchists are going to f— this up; we need to stop them by any means necessary,” he says, making a slicing motion with his hand.

Wait, a self-described “Black Panther activist” has joined forces with a larger Obama-embraced movement?

Yeah, like that’s ever happened before.

Related: Meanwhile, as Stacy McCain’s sidekick Smitty points out, for these high carbon footprint San Francisco hippies, it’s time to burn your money!

I think he means even more so than the city and state’s punitive tax rates do every day.

But I thought unregulated burning was rather bad for the Bay Area’s environment? Think of Gaia, maaaan! (Since Occupy San Francisco is rather vociferously against deregulation (again, even more so than Sacramento), you’d think that this would be a concern for them.)