Oregon protest was cartoonish, inept, not professional

amateur hour

I was once a member of a group in Los Angeles that organized dozens of protests on multiple issues, most notably on the Iraq War. Some of our antiwar protests drew hundreds of thousands. Our enemies said we were professional agitators. We took that as a compliment. Even LAPD had a grudging respect for us because, for example, if we said the stage would be torn down 60 minutes after the speeches were over, it was.

So, as a professional protester and agitator, it is my considered opinion that the Bundy clown show in Oregon was the most inept, counter-productive protest in recent memory. If you occupy property, it should be symbolic to your cause. Your demands should be able to be clearly expressed in a sentence or two. Making buffoons of yourself by telling people you need snacks will make you objects of ridicule. One person should be the media spokesperson. This avoids contradictory and mixed messages.

Building a protest or occupation takes months. You want as many groups and coalitions on your side as possible. You want the media at least neutral towards you. We started organize for big antiwar protests at least two months before the event. Doing this right takes dozens of volunteers and thousands of hours of work.

By contrast, the Bundy Oregon debacle chose an occupation site that had nothing to do with their cause, never explained exactly what their cause was, had little local support, no clear plan, and then seemed gobsmacked when it predictably blew up in their faces.

Like I said, they were amateurs.

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