Wednesday, October 12, 2011

And Another One Bites the Dust

I've seen this before.

Last year I attended a local Tea Party rally, and reported on it here. At that time I noted that the original Tea Party (now called the Tea Party Patriots, or TP Network) was founded by Libertarians, but had caught the interest of Conservatives who were trying to move in on it.

Well, today the move-in is complete; there are no less than three groups calling themselves the Tea Party, all of them distinctly different. The original Libertarian TP Patriots/Network are still primarily concerned with oversized and bloated govt., and are coalescing around the idea of a Ron Paul/Herman Cain GOP ticket for the 2012 elections. Then there's the purely Conservative group, the TP Nation; they're more concerned with "moral" issues, like Gay marriage, abortion, drugs, and so on. Finally there's the TP Express, which is a wholly-owned subsidiary of the Republican party -- particularly the old troglodyte NeoCon wing -- who provide a cheering-section for GOP candidates like Bachmann and Perry. The last one, of course, is what most of the media think of as THE Tea Party -- and despise, loudly.

It would be hard to find a more effective way to discredit and derail a grassroots political movement.

Right now there's another grassroots movement -- Occupy Wall Street -- which is getting the same treatment. The media are currently censoring footage so as to depict the OWS as all-White, brainless, totally unfocussed and probably being steered by "big labor". The OWS members, of course, have no clue how to deal with this.

The problem with grassroots movements is that they tend to be politically naive, and therefore are easily infiltrated, sidetracked and slandered into oblivion.

I wish that every Political Science course in every college (and, hopefully, high school), Masters degree program, and wherever else kids go for political eduation in the country would teach prospective reformers the basics of how to handle infiltrators, provocateurs, takeovers, media slandering, and other tactics of govt., media, and other defenders of the status quo. For one thing, before ever you go out and organize your first public demonstration, write up a clear charter of what your group is about, what it believes and doesn't believe, what its goals are, and just who you'll accept as members -- and who you won't. Then print up some difficult-to-counterfeit membership cards, and keep careful records of whom you give them to. This may slow recruiting, but it does draw a clear division between wannabees and "card-carrying members". It also allows you to sue for slander anybody who calls himself a "movement leader" but whose positions are 'way different from what the charter says.

The way to deal with deliberate provocateurs and discrediters who show up at your public demonstrations is to point at them and yell, loudly, "Imposter! Imposter!" This will draw the attention of the media, who would otherwise gleefully concentrate on the provos.

I learned of an actual case of planned public discrediting from a friend (who shall remain anonymous for obvious reasons) who's a professional actor. I'll tell his whole tale in my next blog entry, since it's a little too long to fit in here.

Anyone with additional ideas, please feel free to volunteer them.

--Leslie <;)))>< Fish


Anonymous said...

All excellent ideas. I've told my libertarian friends, in and out of the Party, that we could do far, far worse than study Alinsky's Rules for Radicals; the man may have been for a lot of things we're against, but his tools work in all hands, just like Machiavelli's do.

Leslie Fish said...

Hi, Raven. The irony is that Machiavelli's "The Prince" was, in fact, a very dry satire on the life and career of Cesare Borgia. Borgia got the joke, and hired Niki-Mac at an exorbitant salary for the rest of his life.

Yes, Aulinsky's tactics could work quite well for Libertarians too. The New Left of the '60s adopted a lot of them too late, and I suspect it's almost too late for the Tea Party too, but there's always hope.

--Leslie <;)))><

Aya Katz said...

Part of the problem seems to be that some people are born followers, and they will continue to follow a leader-type, even when he's not saying the things that made them join in the first place.

A really good grass roots movement would be one where individual members make their feelings known all the time, booing off the stage anyone who dares to speak for them when what is being said is against their beliefs.

BTW, sometimes fighting infiltration with infiltration might work. How can we get Ron Paul elected? Shouldn't we ask card carrying Democrats to infiltrate the Republican caucuses and vote only for Paul? Isn't he the best aligned with them on everything but the economy? Wouldn't they rather have him running against Obama than a Moral Majority candidate?

Paradoctor said...

Aw heck, the Dems should quietly megafund the Libertarians, and the R's should do the same for the Greens, just to annoy each other, and accidentally provide the voters with an actual choice.

Prof. Godel Fishbreath, Otter said...

One problem for that proposed course is the lack of a textbook.
Maybe you should write one such, providing illostrations of fails and successes, and tactics. Feel free to quote from the other side's public manuals for how to infiltrate and discredit, or just take over.
The world needs such a manual.

Prof. Godel Fishbreath, Otter said...

Ron Paul is not almost aligned with the DEMs. As a DEM I find some of his libertarian ideas, logical extensions of his core philosophy as they be, to be sometimes a bit extreme. Frex. states rights no matter what evil the state is doing, as in Selma, AL a few decades ago. I do believe there should be a minimum safety net for the poor, and respect for the middle class, which is economic, as you would say.

Aya Katz said...

Fishbreath-Otter, I didn't say Ron Paul was _almost_ aligned with the Dems -- I said best aligned. Is there someone among the Republicans who is closer to the Dems on non-economic issues than Paul?

Paradoctor said...

Alinsky would be a good enough textbook for a radicalism class; but what college nowadays would offer that course?

I am guardedly optimistic about OWS. I figure that it and the Tea Party are just harbingers; but as harbingers both have their virtues; namely the lack of the other one's vices.

Put them together right, and you might have something worth while. Put them together wrong, and you might not.

Anonymous said...

"Is there someone among the Republicans who is closer to the Dems on non-economic issues than Paul?"


Anonymous said...

The Prince may have been a satire on Cesare Borgia (personally, I'd rather French-kiss a black mamba than satirize a live Cesare Borgia---that family would give me the heebie-jeebies) but that doesn't make its advice less valid. And many medieval and Renaissance writings can be read on several levels. One whole level of meaning in Commedia is Dante's commentary on contemporary Italian politics.

Leslie Fish said...

Hi, Raven. For that matter, a lot of Nostradamus' prophecies are seen from his own local-political viewpoint.

Hi, Prof. I'm the wrong person to write such a manual, having been no better than peripheral to the steering committees of all those grassroots groups. Don Meinshausen would be a better choice. Can anybody get hold of him?

Hi, Nat. Heheheheheh. No, no college would teach such a course; it would have to be offered over the Internet.

--Leslie <;)))><

Anonymous said...

The problem with Nostradamus is that not many people can read the French originals, which are very opaque at best...and many translations are, shall we say, slanted to reflect the translators' prejudices.

Anonymous said...

Not to promote commercial enterprise or anything, but a print shop in Albuquerque is selling T-shirts saying "We are the 99%". The label assures us they are made by union labor in the USA, though why the Teamsters should be making T-shirts is beyond me. And the slogan is painted on by painter's union members. Or A member. Only $15 per shirt and that includes the tax.

The shop is called Focus, Ink, and the shirts feel like good quality and comfortable. I'm going to wear mine to school tomorrow.

Bear Helms said...

Thank you for acknowledging what I've been telling people locally (and at least the local news has interviewed a relative of the OWS movement to shine light on their legitimacy and at least poke a tiny hole in the media blackout).

On a larger scale, I can only tell card-carrying members of OWS, other grass-roots organizations that are getting raw deals by the press, to use their strength of numbers over social media. Facebook, Youtube, Google+, Twitter, email representatives, try to get their cause taken up by Downsize DC even…

But especially use the mail, letters on paper, to choke the in-boxes of editors and publishers, the networks which are giving you unfair and imbalanced views, and ask them why they're not living up to journalistic standards. Why they are taking the high office of the public's trust to such a low, degraded level… and how is it they can live with themselves doing such a thing!

Email and electronic media can be deleted, blocked, technologically circumvented. Sacks of mail, not so easily. Sometimes it just takes an office choked with mail you can't navigate to make someone realize "Huh, well maybe there are a few more people who care about this than we thought…"

Remember to use post-consumer paper recycled (or compostable) postcards! Less waste, less postage, and what you say should be succinct anyway...