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Tuesday, May 1, 2012

A Few Notes on What I Saw at the General Strike

Posted by on Tue, May 1, 2012 at 5:41 PM

IMAG1884.jpeg

Based on what I've seen of the coverage, this General Strike is being blown out of proportion by almost every media outlet in town (and a few around the country, too.) Right this moment, we have a few broken windows along one block downtown. There was an incident involving pepper spray, but the spray reportedly came from a man with a history of arming himself with pepper spray and throwing himself in the middle of confrontations. (He denies being the one who sprayed the crowd. Several people who were there say they saw him spraying the crowd. Presumably, someone has video that will clear this issue up.) The vandalism of those windows was a shame, and photos indicate that they were broken by a few kids. (Someone wearing Nikes was involved with smashing the NikeTown windows, which to me indicates a protest tourist from a privileged background who just wanted to stir shit up and succeeded.)

Here's the thing: There are hundreds of people all around town right now protesting income inequality, identifying a desperate need for immigration reform, and celebrating our shared American history of organized labor. Those are issues that need our discussion, and our consideration, and our attention. And all the coverage is centering around the acts of a few know-nothing nobodies who wandered in from nowhere to cause small-scale trouble. Sure, people said stupid things, and did stupid things, but this was almost entirely a peaceful assembly.

It drives me crazy that when all the idiot airhead newscasters around town open their broadcasts tonight, they're going to mention the broken windows, and the stupid things people are saying, and they're not going to mention the causes that inspired hundreds upon hundreds of Seattleites to peacefully take to the streets, to make their voices heard. The media is complicit in allowing a few petty criminals to steal the voice of average, everyday Seattleites. Tell me that's not a goddamned shame.

 

Comments (35) RSS

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1
It's kind of a minor mind fuck to read this post, positioned as it is above a slog post titled "Violence Erupts at May Day Protests...."
Posted by Kumquat on May 1, 2012 at 5:46 PM · Report this
2
Tea Party people could say the same thing about racists/racist signs at their rallies. "A few rubes came out of the woodwork and that's all people are going to talk, but generally it was a peaceful protest for a return to the constitution." Sorry. The protest is only as good as its worst members. MLK knew this.
Posted by Hosono on May 1, 2012 at 5:47 PM · Report this
Bub 3
Do you see the Slog post directly below yours, Paul? The Stranger is complicit, too.
Posted by Bub on May 1, 2012 at 5:50 PM · Report this
Erin Resso 4
It is a goddamned shame. It's a never ending cycle - people feel the need to get attention via violence, they then get media attention for the violence, causing more people to feel like they need to be violent to get attention... and so on. Here's the shitter - the only thing that gets talked about is the violence. What good is that?
Posted by Erin Resso http://deejayres.tumblr.com on May 1, 2012 at 5:50 PM · Report this
hannabrooks 5
@1, I thought the same thing. Also, I think a lot of the news orgs around town were concerned because, during the heat of Occupy in the fall, they caught a ton of flak for not covering ENOUGH of what was going on. Additionally, downtown today, the most visible, newsworthy, and vocal groups where the ones who were marching up and down the streets breaking things and paint-bombing. The peaceful protest and much of the messaging was hijacked, to be sure...but that's sort of become standard operating procedure.
Posted by hannabrooks http://seattlish.com on May 1, 2012 at 5:52 PM · Report this
Some Old Nobodaddy Logged In 6
The media is complicit in allowing a few petty criminals to steal the voice of average, everyday Seattleites.


Conveniently posted right above Mr. Frizzelle's post, "Violence erupts at May Day Protest..."
Posted by Some Old Nobodaddy Logged In on May 1, 2012 at 5:52 PM · Report this
7
@1, thought the exact same thing. @2, exactly. If it is indeed only a "few" acting up, then surely the crowd of hundreds could control them and could have prevented all the negative media coverage. I don't disagree that it is the work of outsiders who just wish to cause trouble, but the organizers are complacent in allowing it to happen.
Posted by nador on May 1, 2012 at 5:52 PM · Report this
Baconcat 8
Let it all out, Seattle. This is therapeutic!
Posted by Baconcat on May 1, 2012 at 5:52 PM · Report this
Erin Resso 9
Also, it looks like that guy was getting a little too 'peaceful' with that tree.
Posted by Erin Resso http://deejayres.tumblr.com on May 1, 2012 at 5:55 PM · Report this
10
Thankfully, everyone is focused on the vandalism rather than on the economic conditions in the U.S. and the responsibility for them. We know who the real criminals are--HIPPIES.
Posted by maddogm13 on May 1, 2012 at 5:57 PM · Report this
11
It is a shame, but it's also entirely predictable. And it makes mainstream leftists sit this stuff out. Why risk a PR nightmare for your group or getting peppersprayed if (when) the usual fringe takes over every damn demonstration?
Posted by Subdued Excitement on May 1, 2012 at 6:01 PM · Report this
12
i think it is belated Canucks Lose sentiment exploding south of the border...No NHL, No Peace!
Posted by Cassette tape fan on May 1, 2012 at 6:03 PM · Report this
13
Exactly right, Paul! The May Day march for immigrant rights is a beautiful sight - with an amazing Bread and Roses float and hundreds of peaceful marchers and a critical message -- I wish the Slog was there to write about that too,
Posted by UnionmaidKnits on May 1, 2012 at 6:07 PM · Report this
14
@8 Hey Baconcat, is it true about you being a Super-Villain?
Posted by Ken Mehlman on May 1, 2012 at 6:08 PM · Report this
15
"The media is complicit in allowing a few petty criminals to steal the voice of average, everyday Seattleites. Tell me that's not a goddamned shame."

It is a god damned shame, and it drives me crazy. But if the honest marchers, the average Seattleites, the average Occupy protester, doesn't want to be stained by those shitheads, it is time to drive them out. It is time to not allow them to melt into the crowd. It is time for the crowd to seize them and deliver them to the police when they start vandalizing and throwing bottles. We need to separate ourselves from those little shits.
Posted by ohthetrees on May 1, 2012 at 6:20 PM · Report this
Michael of the Green 16
Wow, Paul. As this is the internet, one might be given to scrolling down. I really expected that Slog would cover this differently than the rest of the local media. Really a lost opportunity for you guys to set yourselves apart.
Posted by Michael of the Green on May 1, 2012 at 6:53 PM · Report this
Michael of the Green 17
So, which is it, Stranger? "Violence Erupts!" or "we have a few broken windows along one block downtown..."? You guys should get your story straight.
Posted by Michael of the Green on May 1, 2012 at 6:59 PM · Report this
dontrelle 18
And of course, the folks with the legitimate rally for immigrants and workers rights spend the evening in a rainstorm, and since they didn't dress like vegan Juggalos, or smash anything, the media immediately stops paying attention.
Posted by dontrelle on May 1, 2012 at 7:00 PM · Report this
19
I turned on KING5 for a few minutes just to see how bad the coverage might be, and I gotta say they're surprisingly even. Lots of emphasis on the fact that the vandalism was a very minor part of the day. Not the most intelligent commentary, but not as condescending and alarmist as I expected.
Posted by Thel on May 1, 2012 at 7:01 PM · Report this
meanie 20
@15 nailed it, these things only happen because the crowd allows it. Which is also a great metaphor for our goverment as a whole, also a point lost on the OP and the protesters.
Posted by meanie http://www.spicealley.net on May 1, 2012 at 7:04 PM · Report this
Fnarf 21
In other surprising news, ice cream is reportedly cold, and Jersey Shore is dumb.

Protests like this being coopted by violent yahoos is part of the program. It's right there on page three. But the violent yahoos aren't ruining anything; the "average, everyday Seattleites" are just as pointless as they are.
Posted by Fnarf http://www.facebook.com/fnarf on May 1, 2012 at 7:53 PM · Report this
22
No, fuck you...YOU arecomplicit in allowing a few petty criminals to steal the voice of average, everyday Seattleites by allowing these dickheads to join your cause. It automatically makes anything you have to 'say' with your protest invalid. When people turn violent, whoever they are it is the moral responsibility of others around them to curb their behavior, or you get what we have now. Utter alienation from the very people you are trying to reach. It started in the fall with the same idiots hijacking the 'occupy' movement, and it's continuing now. These are the wages of your complacence. Police yourselves, or OUR police will do it FOR YOU.
Posted by sonder on May 1, 2012 at 8:07 PM · Report this
sprflycat 23
Has it occurred to anyone that not every staff member at The Stranger has the same opinion?
Posted by sprflycat http://hustleandfaith.tumblr.com/ on May 1, 2012 at 8:08 PM · Report this
24
"The media is complicit in allowing a few petty criminals to steal the voice of average, everyday Seattleites."

You know who else is complicit? Every non-violent protester who fails to help police arrest the petty criminals, but instead lets the petty criminals get away with it out of some misplaced sense of solidarity. And I say that as a supporter of the Occupy movement. The non-violent protesters need to police their fellow "activists" or else those "activisits"/criminals will understandably get all the attention.
Posted by Moag on May 1, 2012 at 8:17 PM · Report this
Rotten666 25
You know what's a goddamn shame Paul Constant? That I have to buy a season subscription to the Moore if I want to get tickets for Book of Mormon. I would rather put a bullet in my head than sit through Sister Act.

The anarchists have truly won this day.

Posted by Rotten666 on May 1, 2012 at 8:25 PM · Report this
tunanator 26
a few petty criminals to steal the voice of average, everyday Seattleites

Some Seattleites aren't getting their cut of the pie. Some of the action may not be coming from provocateurs - it may be coming from those whose voices have been excised from the media, insulted by indiscrimate pepper spraying, and by the petty indifference and frightened jeremiads of their fellow Seattleites.
Posted by tunanator on May 1, 2012 at 9:05 PM · Report this
Ipso Facto 27
Kudos on this rare moment of clarity, Constant!

And I hereby echo the previous comments calling out Frizelle for his bullshit headline. He is guilty of exactly what Paul describes here.

To paraphrase Constant: Cristopher Frizelle, and Slag's (lack of) editorial judgement "is complicit in allowing a few petty criminals to steal the voice of average, everyday Seattleites."

Who the hell runs the show over there anyway?

But of course every local MSM outlet was perpetrating the very same injustice in their own reporting.

KIRO7 ran a banner declaring "BREAKING NEWS: Violent May Day protests in downtown Seattle" for the duration of their five o'clock coverage, even while they were showing footage of the incredibly well-organized and peaceful immigrant rights march from SoDo.

Meanwhile on the Intertubes, those of us watching the day unfold on Occupy Seattle's livestream channel predicited the inevitability of every media outlet grossly exaggerating the significance of these acts of vandalism.

But of course this chain of fuckups begins with these dipshit vandals giving the MSM exactly the sensational footage they have wet dreams about.

Whether acting under the influence of government infiltrators or just plain dumb, those vandals effectively sabotaged Seattle's May Day actions by gifting the MSM with footage of "violence" to spoon feed the slack-jawed public.

So to summarize:

Fuck you vandals;
Fuck you Christopher Frizelle;
Fuck you Slag editorial directors;
Fuck you Seattle MSM outlets;
Get a clue and demand better journalism, slack-jawed public.
Posted by Ipso Facto http://therealnews.com on May 1, 2012 at 9:26 PM · Report this
Amy Kate Horn 28
@25 Is that true? No single-show tickets for Book of Mormon? Fuuuuuuck that with a nun.
Posted by Amy Kate Horn on May 1, 2012 at 9:56 PM · Report this
29

I just finished playing a Hold 'Em tournament down at Muckleshoot Casino in Auburn.

No hint of any Occupy activities or a General Strike anywhere.

Most were hard at work, serving drinks, working the tables and the desks.

Posted by Supreme Ruler Of The Universe http://_ on May 1, 2012 at 10:07 PM · Report this
30
Shouldn't a "General Strike" be a little more general, and include people on strike?
Posted by madcap on May 1, 2012 at 10:36 PM · Report this
31
Hmmmm...so all the other destruction, like car tires slashed, car windows smashed out don't count for anything?

Nor does attacking people who were just trying to do their jobs doesn't count????

Nahhhh....it makes WAY more sense to blame the media for other peoples bad behavior.
Or even better, people sayin' it's TOTALLY justifiable to destroy property in the name of a greater good.

It's sad that a day that was meant to be all about the labor movement, was jacked by a bunch of thugs who are too cowardly to even allow their faces to be shown.

Piss off you useless POS thugs!!!!
GO BACK TO YOUR HOVELS and leave us law abiding citizens the hell alone!!!
Posted by MissBeth on May 1, 2012 at 11:18 PM · Report this
32
But if the honest marchers, the average Seattleites, the average Occupy protester, doesn't want to be stained by those shitheads, it is time to drive them out. It is time to not allow them to melt into the crowd. It is time for the crowd to seize them and deliver them to the police when they start vandalizing and throwing bottles. We need to separate ourselves from those little shits.

You laughable idiots should have thought of that six months ago, when the "Occupy" people were setting up a meth tent at Seattle Central Community College. Children, I'm afraid your 15 minutes have expired.
Posted by Mister G on May 2, 2012 at 12:03 AM · Report this
33
Paul: the Stranger's coverage was just as bad as any other media outlet. You are trying to walk it back now, but all you have to do is look at the photos and discussion that dominate your coverage on the Slog today to see that the Stranger was doing its duty as representative of the status quo holding out a small number of violent mystery people as the representatives for a large number of open citizens demanding redress.
Posted by cracked on May 2, 2012 at 12:14 AM · Report this
34
Generally speaking, it seemed a striking General Strike, except for the lack of
a) generality, and
b) striking.
Posted by RonK, Seattle on May 2, 2012 at 7:51 AM · Report this
35
Thank you for writing this piece!! I agree whole-heartedly. The windows were broken, we get it, it was done, there's no need to keep harping over it (though they see it as a ratings boost). The major worker issues that started this whole thing are what really need energy and focus, as they are still here.
Posted by Julian on May 2, 2012 at 1:18 PM · Report this

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