Posted on 10 February 2012 by billrosethorn

Many are worried of the “radical fringe group” that threatens the “whole movement” with scaring away support and giving protesters a bad image.  With the J28 battle of Oakland fresh in people’s minds, the PR battle is in full swing.  The media loves to frame a conflict and divide people into easy to comprehend camps: hence, peaceful/violent.  

This debate will not go away despite the injustice of centering the hugely ambiguous conceptual distinction on protesters instead of the state – which is the obvious perpetrator here;  the conversation-controlling media won’t stop typecasting protesters as violent until they pose no threat to the established order.

Since a vast majority opposes this order, we need to silence the voice of the corporate reporter/anchor and cease the biased demand to be a strictly peaceful protest while riot cops control and easily disperse us.

Though an “occupy movement” is freely spoken of, it need not be a united, whole movement.  It can split and diverge without attacking each other, one can choose actions to participate in without recourse, mass strikes can occur one day with a small band of marchers chanting ”fuck the police!” another.  

There is no whole movement to be put at risk of failure; the gravest danger comes from playing into the 1%’s hand by becoming a unified, peaceful (and therefore exclusionary) movement posing no challenge to those authorities in cahoots with big corporations.

Peace is something all desire, at least amongst friends, but a forced adherence to the abstract principle of non-violence generates conformity.  Rooting out the vandals or the ones willing to resist police oppression in the name of “peace” is actually a more violent act than breaking windows.  It would be doing the polices job for them.  It would fulfill the wishes of corporate, divide-and-conquer news reporters.  It would keep police enforcement of the interests of the 1% out of the spotlight and maintain the status quo.

Occupying is a tactic.  That a movement has been built on such a brilliantly simple idea epitomizes the urgency of the multiple struggles faced across the world.  Taking back public space with physical bodies utilizing virtual technologies from elite private corporations inflicting debt-peonage: why must this be a united front with a guiding principle of non-violence?  This is a divided revolution (as I argued here) that will only be conquered or rendered impotent if one faction tries to become the whole.  We have the momentum and the resilience to survive; conversation, angry dialogue, impassioned debate can continue without silencing the other.

We should all be open to critique and convince each other about tactical effectiveness.  But this is all to often done in the name of saving the movement as a whole from bad PR.  This terrible journalism constantly attacking occupiers and siding with authorities must be countered and anticipated; but picking sides in their terms and standing against or in conflict with others due to tactical differences will take pressure off the real enemy.  

They want us to defeat each other; we must see this as an coordinated attack by dominant oppressive leaders.  In short, respect diversity of tactics.