Wednesday, October 05, 2011

Occupy Wall Street and Willingness to Violence

Do you remember, in the early days of the Tea Party movement, members showed up with guns declaring their right as an expression of their anger towards the government?

Their implicit threats of violence were met with strong condemnation. Many people I read offered this as strong evidence that the Tea Party itself was morally bankrupt - or at least morally deficient.

Now, it appears that the political left's answer to the Tea Party, with its movement to Occupy Wall Street, now has an opportunity to address the issue of violence on its own side of the political spectrum.

Oct. 5 (Bloomberg) -- Anonymous, a group of self-styled hacker-activists behind attacks on corporate and government websites, vowed to support the Occupy Wall Street protests by erasing the New York Stock Exchange “from the Internet” on Oct. 10.

(See: Businessweek Anonymous Vows NYSE Attack to Support Wall Street Protests)

This is violence - plain and simple. Instead of using guns and bombs, these people are threatening to use keyboards, but the effect of damaging or destroying the property of another person is the same. And, of course, the offenders on both sides will declare, "We are in the right. They deserve what we do to them."

We can expect to hear all of the same rationalizations and excuses that those on the right who threatened or implied violence would have used - about how their personal genious and infallible sense of right and wrong gives them unquestioned liberty to threaten or use violence to back up their righteous indignation.

As far as I can tell, the Tea Party and the political right talked mean and made their implicit threats, but I did not catch much news of actual violence. Yet, the mere expression of a willingness to consider violence was enough to earn them the condemnation of the left. Regardless of the nature of their grievances, they were not to think that resorting to violence was a legitimate response.

Apparently, some people on the left think that they are not bound by the same standards. They are not only permitted to express a willingness to consider violence, they can go so far as to plan and execute acts of violence against those they disapprove of.

This is a good opportunity to discover if the political left actually have some sense of right and wrong, or if they are instead a bunch of opportunistic hypocrites who think that they stand above and beyond the moral principles they assert should apply to others.

These proposed attacks against should not take place, and where they are being offered in support of Occupy Wall Street it is up to the participants on that occupation to condemn them and to express clearly that they object to that type of behavior.

Update 5:00 pm

It seems that some members if Anonymous are questioning whether this is a legitimate threat - suggesting that it may have been a move to discredit Occupy Wall Street by linking it to behavior that would be subject to criticisms like mine. I would hope that this is the case. Occupy Wall Street does need to show that it's movement has a morally more responsible attitude towards violence and implicit or explicit threats of violence than we have seen elsewhere.


Ross Wolfe said...


Reflections on the Occupy Wall Street Phenomenon: What it Represents, Its Prospects, Its Deficiencies

mojo.rhythm said...

The jury is out on Anonymous.

But I fully support the Occupy Wall St movement. It's about bloody time American citizens got off their collective backside and did some good old fashioned peaceful protesting and civil disobedience if you ask me.

TheDisloyalOpposer said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
mojo.rhythm said...

I just want to add: I have been dirty on Anyonymous ever since the BART incident when they released all the personal details of the citizens registered on the BART database.

If it's supposed to be a paradigmatic example of cyber civil disobedience, then count me out. I'm not interested.

However, it's very hard to encapsulate them. Anonymous is a leaderless, splintered, diverging collection of computer nerds and hackers, with varying opinions and beliefs about politics, society etc.

I get annoyed like heck over it, because I don't know who to point the finger at for the BART incident.

TheDisloyalOpposer said...

To equate property violence to physical violence is laughable, Alonso. The implicit threats of the tea party were against persons, not property. The actions are not the same. Well, it may be morally questionable to commit acts of property violence--although this is debatable even under desirism in political debates. Framing the question in terms of equivocalness is misleading.

Brian Macker said...

"Do you remember, in the early days of the Tea Party movement, members showed up with guns declaring their right as an expression of their anger towards the government?"

No actually I don't. I was at such protests. I do remember that the media running some pictures of a guy with an gun with his head cropped who was supposedly a racist at a T-Party protest. It turned out he was black. No one declared it as a right to express anger that I am aware of. It's simply a right.

The Occupy X movement was violent from it's inception since the entire premise is to trespass.

Brian Macker said...


"The implicit threats of the tea party were against persons, not property."

What a bunch of BS. The T-Party protesters got permits for their demostrations and even paid for police protection. There were no guns at most of the protests and the ones where there were guns were in areas where carrying guns is no big deal. Carrying is gun is NOT an implicit threat.

Trespassing is in fact violence. It is an act of force that applies a state to others against their wishes. It can and does lead to bodily harm when the owner attempts to enforce his rights.

Besides all the actual violence at the T-Party was committed by union thugs and even against cripples. Meanwhile the occupy protesters are now pushing little old ladies down cement stairs.

The T-Party protestors picked up their own garbage and even paid to have portable toilets available.

The occupy movement is violently destroying other peoples stuff. Either by excreting on it, or smashing it with rocks.