Final words and pictures from protest at RNC
Citizen Journalist has already noted the Occupy’s disappointment with their time at the RNC.
But we had a few more words and photos for you.
1. Small number of protesters at RNC
There were under 200 protesters there from multiple groups, only about 60 from Occupy. This was not just a function of the hurricane. This is a function and evidence of the dwindling onto death of any real numbers on the street for Occupy events. 60-after busing people in and advertising for months. Most of the rest of the 200 or so folks were the “professional activists” that attend all such events-Veterans for Peace, Code Pink, and various other anarchist, leftist and union groups.
Of the 200, there was also the unusual appearance of Scientologists, pushing Way to Happiness brochures and trying to evangelize to the protesters. I’m willing to guess that they were not received particularly well. Scientology has a big base nearby in Clearwater, and apparently couldn’t resist the temptation of groups of people anticipated.
2. Nature of protests
In Tampa as in many of the Occupy groups, the remaining people in the groups tend to be the “professional activist”, the white upper/middle class student playing at living in the park, and the mentally ill/homeless/drug addict contingent. The media tends to ignore these aspects of Occupy, particularly the latter contingent. Yet it is this makeup that is one of the reasons for constant friction and failure to get anything done.
Media tends to push the impression of the high minded protester focused on bailouts and money in politics. But that is not a clear picture of Occupy now, if it ever was.
As Tina Trent noted in Front Page, what did they do at their camp at Voice of Freedom Park?
they turned the site into a self-important summer camp for their own adolescent preoccupations and hobbies: beer-brewing, puppet-making, endless general assemblies, craft sessions for making furniture out of trash, clown lessons, a scavenger hunt, lectures on things like “Voudou and the Haitian Revolution,” and, most jarringly, a screening of the French art-film, The Gleaners and I, which celebrates the insights of well-off dropouts who choose to dumpster dive in order to express anarchic fellowship with actually poor people who dumpster dive in order to eat.
Not that the Occupiers are dumpster diving. They are relentlessly demanding donations to subsidize their camps and complaining that people aren’t giving them enough money to support their cause.
It is difficult to imagine more offensively self-referential or narcissistic behavior. Occupiers and Food Not Bombers in peasant skirts sit cross-legged decorating bits of scrap metal with poster paint, while homeless men sit on stoops outside boarded-up businesses watching them. In the end, city sanitation workers will clean up after the aging children, and real homeless people will reclaim the park.
3. Occupy Tampa -days are numbered
Now that the convention is over, Occupy Tampa will be booted out of Voice of Freedom Park. They had been allowed to stay by the park’s owner Joe Rednor, but had caused such consternation and trouble to the neighborhood, that Rednor, a strip club owner, finally agreed to kick them out after the convention.
4. Use of children
There is a policy of putting children or other attention getting people up front of a march or on the lines in a potential conflict situation with these groups. Veterans, old people, pregnant women, disabled people, kids. This is done deliberately for PR effect. If something happens, it is not the fault of the protesters, it is the fault of the evil police that would attack a veteran or elderly woman. This policy was repeated in Tampa, with kids that were clearly being used.
As we start the DNC, we can see this being repeated there as well.
When there have been so many confrontations at such events, it beggars the imagination that parents would go along with this. But time and again, we have seen they do.
The Daily Caller has some good, but disturbing coverage of children participating:
In full swing, chants were rattled off and gentle faces mutated into anger. Jostled and shoved as tension grew thicker, the marchers slowed to a crawl.
People shouted. And the children began to take on a starring role in the protest. Ahead of the crowd, as the leaders droned on about lineage and generational awareness,
the two children we had met were being led to the front of the march, walking through a rainstorm and the threat of police violence.
There were other kids too: We spotted another little boy holding a miniature bullhorn and shouting along with the crowd, stopping every so often to adjust his glasses:
Kids were pushed, boxed in by their group. One of their mothers flew off the handle.
Some occupiers harassed the police, but the uniformed cohort held their position. Chants of “we are the proletariat” and “a… anti… anti-capitalista” rang out and fueled the mob.
We lost sight of the children. We didn’t see them again.
Daily Caller video editor Grae Stafford managed to grab a shot of the children being led away. One of them was sobbing as an organizer snatched him up from the fray.
As the rain picked up, a lone child — seemingly without parents nearby — biked by us and shouted, “Fuck this shit — I’m not homeless.”
We saw so much yesterday. We spoke to Occupiers, we spoke to security forces, we understood the tension. But seeing children placed in front of conflict-seeking adults as they marched toward possible armed conflict rattled us to the core.
Photos by Zach Gorelick of the Daily Caller, except for last photo by Grae Stafford.