Without a doubt, citizen journalism has helped “The cause” considerably. Without the constant presence of cameras wielded by Ordinary Joe, we wouldn’t have seen NYPD tear gassing corralled marchers, UCDavis cops baton and pepper students, Scott Olsen laying unconscious while “Tango Timmy” lobs a flash-bang right on top of him and those coming to his aid, or the Keystone Cop and mouse chase, kettles, and 400+ arrest on January 28th. Mainstream media surely isn’t covering this stuff and “this stuff” has been one of the greatest assets we have. What it IS covering are black-clad masked protestors carrying red and black flags destroying things. There’s no explanation as to WHY it’s being done. Suzy Suburb doesn’t understand it’s purpose, doesn’t bother to educate herself on it’s purpose and thanks to mainstream media, will end up being alienated from a movement she may have empathized with a month ago. All they see and understand are angry people smashing things. It not only appears to be driving more and more people away from joining the cause, it appears to be causing existing supporters to back away.
Citizen journalism is a HUGE part of the “diversity of tactics” we speak of. If one adopts a questionable and largely unpopular tactic under the flag of diversity and expects to have that tactic accepted and allowed, it just seems a bit hypocritical to say an already tried and proven tactic should be disallowed. I’m not saying either is wrong. I’m trying to say, if you don’t want to be seen smashing a window or overturning a cop car, either don’t do it, cover your face, or understand that you may, and probably will be filmed and broadcast. I hope that didn’t sound too much like my conservative brother saying: “If you’re not breaking the law, you shouldn’t mind the cops searching your house.” Besides, often times this is when mainstream media mysteriously appears and the least of your worries is a streamer. This movement would not BE near what it is, if it weren’t in a huge part, for the camera. It is our strength. It is our weapon. It is our ace in the hole against a lot of resistance from Prime Time showing the world why we’re NOT to be taken seriously. In my humble opinion, OUR streamers are our front-line heroes. Our soldiers. OakFoSho, Bellaeiko, Oaktownpirate, Punkboyinsf and the rest, I salute and support you.
This all serves another major weapon we have. Accurate information. Truth. One of the benefits of non-violent resistance is that it’s open for all to see. There is a certain pride in being arrested for civil disobedience. A badge of honor. Same with standing your ground against the tear gas clouds and flash-bangs. To hold your ground proudly and say: “This is bullshit and I’m willing to stand my ground and say so publicly.” One of the things I personally detest in our government and beyond is the degree of secrecy. Secrets kill. When tactics begin to slide underground, they take on a new tone. In my opinion, an unhealthy one. If you’re ready to pick up a brick, a bottle, or worse; you’re not only feeding into exactly what’s wanted and needed by police to justify their well-practiced tactics, (Why do you think they have provocateurs?) you’re up against an overwhelming opponent when it comes to stepping into an armed pissing contest. It’s like punching a gorilla in the nose. It may have you feeling pretty brave and accomplished for a second but the reality is, you pretty much lost when you climbed in the ring. Maybe I’m misunderstanding the whys and hows of this particular tactical diversity? As always; educate me.
I guess my point in all this is that, at this point in the game, destructive tactics appear to be harming the numbers involved directly in this movement and now appear to be attacking the most honest and proven effective tactic (cameras). It seems counterproductive. I’m pissed. REALLY pissed at “The Powers That Be”, having been gassed, intimidated and been the receiving end of a high speed bean bag toss. Not to mention watching the dismantling of OGPlaza. The pushing away of streamers is a two pronged attack on ourselves and needs to be examined aside from emotional reaction (anger). Anger clouds one’s actions and often times diverts us from the common goal. If doing the police and government’s job for them by pushing away support and cutting off our main channel to the populous outside our comfort zone is your goal; then by all means continue shunning the cameras. However, at least, examine why this is and honestly ask yourself WHY the turning away from the lens.
P.S. Personally, if “Timmy Tango” has his knee on my throat and is giving me a dental deep cleaning with a baton, I want as many streamers catching it as possible…