Sunday, October 30, 2011

Occupy Orange County: 'Get Money Out of Politics'

My initial reaction to Occupy Orange County was that it was almost like a tea party. But after turning out for the protest march at the Irvine Civic Center yesterday, I'm going walk back that analogy just a bit. The Orange County protests definitely have a suburban feel to them, but activists have established an encampment similar to New York and other major occupations. (See: "Irvine council lets Occupy group stay overnight.") And along with the tents comes a wider diversity of kooks and hippies, bolstered by a lot of Democrat-Socialist and communist-conspiracy-mongers. These are hardly limited government types.

I arrived around 11:45am, just in time for the group of over 100 protesters to begin their march at Harvard Avenue and Alton Parkway. Irvine City Councilman and former Democrat presidential candidate Larry Agran gave the movement his blessings. (See: "Occupy Orange County Morale Still High and Gaining Supporters.") And if there was one theme I noticed, it was the overall sense of conspiratorial one-world government and "End the Fed" ideology. Some folks are warning about "ideotic conspiracies." Perhaps ASFL progressives will take after their own "morans."

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Here's the scene at parking lot at the Irvine Civic Center. I'm reminded of William Jacobson's bumper sticker coverage. This guy's car is classic. Notice the "Obama 2012" sticker in the window, right next to "UNIONS = JOBS." And not to mention the obligatory "Bush Lied People Died." And a couple of recent ones as well, like "America's 99% Solution":

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If you're sporting "Millions of Dead Cops" bumpers stickers, I'm not sure if pulling up in front of the Irvine Police Station (at the Civic Center) is a good idea. It's a free country, I guess:

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The procession gets under way at the corner of Alton and Harvard:

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There were more "End the Fed" types than "End Israeli Apartheid" activists, but this guy was clearly of the latter variety:

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At the information tents:

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Now walking West on Alton toward Jamboree:

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The Democrat-Socialists:

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Lots of anti-Federal Reserve protesters:

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Protesters were chanting: "You. Are. The 99 Percent! You. Are. The 99 Percent!"

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I'm seeing more of this, anti-work ideologies: "Jobs Are Not the Answer." Seriously?

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People before profits, ad nauseum:

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Heading back over to Harvard, there's the encampment on the corner. You've got the suburban vibe:

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Sitting on the corner is this old-timer with the "Remember Wisconsin" sign. He's holding forth on how Occupy Wall Street is the country's last chance to save democracy:

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He's a dreamer:

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Is this idealism, or fearmongering? I guess if Martin Luther King, Jr., said it, that's cool:

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Now moving over by the information table:

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That's Kyle on the right, the spokesman in charge yesterday morning. Interesting guy. He said two weeks ago, he'd never been involved in politics. He's talking to the woman who had a lot of questions. She was sympathetic to Occupy Wall Street but had seen the less savory coverage. She still had some reservations. Kyle responds with, "Well, there's a lot of different opinions out there." As I listened it didn't seem like he was articulating any real coherent agenda. So I asked him, "Can you summarize the movement down to one or two specific demands?" And he responded with, "Get money out of politics." And I said: "What would that do?" He says, "We'd have government by the people." It wasn't particularly edifying.

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There wasn't a whole lot of literature set out at the table.

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Maybe the dude should spend some time looking at the Occupy Orange County website. I asked Kyle if he supported revolutionary change, overthrowing capitalism in the United States. He said no. And with the exception of the anarchists with the "Millions of Dead Cops" bumper sticker, and the group hanging out with that pro-jihad dude, the Orange County protesters evinced more of a reformist agenda than some of the more radical occupy protests that have been in the news. That said, the information table had laid out a copy of the Declaration of the Occupation of New York City. And it's available at the Occupy Orange County website. And it's a fairly revolutionary manifesto. So I'm taking this as more the official position, which is Marxist and internationalist:
As we gather together in solidarity to express a feeling of mass injustice, we must not lose sight of what brought us together. We write so that all people who feel wronged by the corporate forces of the world can know that we are your allies.

As one people, united, we acknowledge the reality: that the future of the human race requires the cooperation of its members; that our system must protect our rights, and upon corruption of that system, it is up to the individuals to protect their own rights, and those of their neighbors; that a democratic government derives its just power from the people, but corporations do not seek consent to extract wealth from the people and the Earth; and that no true democracy is attainable when the process is determined by economic power. We come to you at a time when corporations, which place profit over people, self-interest over justice, and oppression over equality, run our governments. We have peaceably assembled here, as is our right, to let these facts be known...

3 comments:

Jason Pappas said...

Yes, there are some people with whom one can sympathize. After all, crony capitalism, or corporatism, is corrupt. Sadly those who realize the distinction between corporatism and free markets are few and far between. And they are either being duped or foolishly aiding those who would destroy the last vestiges of the free market.

During the Vietnam War, the socialists gained control even though the rank and file were mixed. The socialists wanted to support North Vietnam and communism in general, while the rank-and-file generally wanted a more isolationist policy. The socialists could never leverage the movement for long-term socialist goals. They did run McGovern but they were in for a big surprise.

... as well see again in 2012.

Donald Douglas said...

The anti-corruption theme is good, Jason. And as you can see, the Irvine crowd isn't as radical as elsewhere. But these folks need better messaging, big time.

Thanks for commenting.

Dana said...

Our esteemed host wrote:

There were more "End the Fed" types than "End Israeli Apartheid" activists, but this guy was clearly of the latter variety.

Well, maybe, but it looks more to me like he's a guy still looking for a job, and doesn't want any prospective employers to recognize him. :)

There is one very important statistic that's kind of telling to the blonde woman holding the sign -- in the same picture -- which says, "We don't need CEOs, they need us!" Four out of every five Americans who do have jobs work for the private sector; if you don't like private enterprise, then you don't like the people who provide jobs for the vast majority of Americans.