Monday, October 31, 2011

Don't Circle the Wagons Now, Jimmy... Redux

The longer the Occupy movement -- spawned by Occupy Wall Street, and imitated and co-opted by now-countless others -- goes on, the more necessary the comparisons between it and the Tea Party become.

It's on this note that the Occupy movement has now reached two key milestones that were used by far-left antagonists to condemn the Tea Party.

The first is the participation in an Arizona Occupation rally of JT Ready, an infamous Arizona neo-Nazi. He brought his militia, the Arizona Border Guard, to Occupy Phoenix rally. More frighteningly, they came armed with AR-15 assault rifles.

Desperate to mitigate the damage, some contemporaries of the Occupy movement attempted to describe Ready's participation as a "counter-protest". Ready himself, as well as the Arizona Border Guard made themselves clear: they were there to -- in their words -- "use their second-amendment rights to protect the first-amendment rights of Occupy Phoenix".

Once one has it directly from the horse's mouth, one quickly becomes relieved that most of the participants at the Occupy Phoenix rally asked Ready and his militia to leave. Some, however, attempted to "reach out" to Ready, feeling a sense of socialist-to-socialist solidarity with Ready.

One elderly woman present was reported to have remarked "I kind of like socialism."

Okay then.

The other incident also involves an armed individual, but fortunately does not involve Nazis. A man was spotted at Occupy Atlanta with an AK-47 assault rifle, which prompted the city to order to crowd to disperse.

Some may remember the infamy of racebaitgate, in which MSNBC selectively edited footage from a Phoenix Tea Party event in order to portray a black man with an AR-15 assault rifle as a white man bent on assassinating the President for racial reasons.

(Contessa Brewer has since been dismissed from MSNBC. Dylan Ratigan, sadly, remains.)

Some may also remember a ThinkProgress video which fabricated evidence of Tea Party racism. Among them was a man proudly extolling his devotion to Nazism.

When the source video was identified, it was revealed that the video was actually of this man being chased out of a Tea Party rally. Think Progress shamelessly stood by the video despite the extent to which it was discredited.

Now, no one should expect Occupy Phoenix to physically chase armed militiamen away from their rally. The reasons are obvious.

But the mixture of armed individuals and a movement that promises to occupy public space over the long-term -- permanently, if need be -- is an alarming development, and should be alarming even to the most devoted Occupation enthusiasts.

Simply put, what started out as a laudably-peaceful protest is now taking on the vestiges of an actual armed occupation.

This is where the input of the aforementioned Occupation enthusiasts becomes so necessary.

Jim Parrot -- who by now needs no further introduction around these parts -- is as dedicated an Occupation enthusiast as they come. He even renamed his blog "Occupy Let Freedom Rain" at one point, likely until he finally realized he had always occupied that space.

He also previously promised that he won't circle the wagons to protect his own when they are wrong.

Having so deeply embraced the Occupation movement, he has made it his own. Perhaps he'll have something to say about this.

His previous forays into not circling the wagons were less than successful. But perhaps he'll do better this time.

Maybe. Just maybe.

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