Does the Right own the Occupy narrative?

posted at 10:25 am on November 15, 2011 by Ed Morrissey

How would the national news media have reacted had Rick Santelli publicly warned that the Tea Party had run off the rails so badly that it was helping the Left?  Verum Serum asks this question after the Guardian reports that the man who inspired the Occupy Wall Street movement warned that the volume of negative stories and violence coming from Occupy camps has given the Right the ascendant narrative of a political movement out of control.  You’ll have to scroll down a bit, though, because the Guardian buried this lede far into the piece:

Kalle Lasn, the editor-in-chief of Adbusters, said it was considering declaring victory in an attempt to regain the initiative after a series of negative headlines about the encampment.

“We are talking about it with all our people,” said Lasn. “The other side is owning the narrative right now. People are talking about drugs and criminals at OWS.

“Why not, as a grand gesture, declare victory? I love the idea that some diehards will dig in through the snow. This is what happens in movements and revolutions, they have this crazy wild state a the beginning where nobody knows that going on.”

Even among those sympathetic to the Occupy movement, there is some skepticism as to whether it is sustainable in its current form.

Chris Howell, a professor of politics at Oberlin College, said the movement had been successful in shifting political discourse from the budget deficit to inequality of power and wealth. But he said that to move beyond that it needed to institutionalise itself.

Yeah, it’s odd how unsustainable rape-free zones can be in the public mind, as just one example of OWS self-policing.  As my friend Steven Crowder said this weekend, most of us considered America to be a rape-free zone, and the establishment of such a perimeter very much sounds like a statement of “it’s your fault” to women who don’t huddle together in a few tents to keep themselves from being sexually assaulted.  And that’s just one demonstration of how the Occupy movement and its lawlessness has managed to insinuate itself into the public consciousness, apart from the murders and the mayhem, especially in Oakland.

The organizers didn’t think they’d last through the winter anyway, and wondered how to transition for a few months without losing momentum:

In a tacit admission that the protests will be difficult to sustain over the winter, organisers are now focusing their efforts on planning a “spring offensive” with fresh targets, they told the Guardian in a series of interviews this week.

Details of the campaign will be unveiled later this month, according to the activists who say they will spend the winter consolidating their position, broadening their support base and refining communication between Occupy grounds nationwide, using online tools being developed by their IT team.

Keeping the protests alive at all through the cold months is becoming a challenge for a movement flushed with the dramatic success of its first eight weeks.

Ezra Klein thinks that Mayor Michael Bloomberg did the Occupy movement a favor this morning:

The occupation of Zucotti Park was always going to have a tough time enduring for much longer. As the initial excitement wore off and the cold crept in, only the diehards — and those with no place else to go — were likely to remain in the park. The numbers in Zucotti Park would thin, and so too would the media coverage. And in the event someone died of hypothermia, or there was some other disaster, that coverage could turn. What once looked like a powerful protest could come to be seen as a dangerous frivolity.

Bloomberg spared them that fate. Zucotti Park wasn’t cleared by weather, or the insufficient commitment of protesters. It was cleared by pepper spray and tear gas. It was cleared by police and authority. It was cleared by a mayor who comes from Wall Street and a request made by one of America’s largest commercial real estate developers. It was cleared, in other words, in a way that will temporarily reinvigorate the protesters and give Occupy Wall Street the best possible chance to become whatever it will become next.

He may well be right.  Had the Occupiers just started petering out with the cold weather, the movement would have appeared to lose steam, and people would have otherwise returned to their lives.  With the police kicking them out, it gives the movement a whiff of mild martyrdom and a grievance that will fuel movement enthusiasm, at least for a little while.

However, waiting until spring to move into the next phase won’t keep that momentum going.  The Tea Party had no problem holding rallies in winter, mainly because the Tea Party didn’t turn into a squatter movement.  If the Occupiers have an actual and legitimate agenda, why can’t they demonstrate within the law to make their point?  Even Ezra doubts that the Occupier movement can amount to much without occupation, since they don’t have any consensus on what solutions they want pursued, or even on what problems they want addressed.

The challenge for the Occupy movement is that they need to grow up — and the movement is almost entirely comprised of cases of arrested development.  Even if Bloomberg did them a favor today, it’s not too likely to make a difference in the long run.

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The Tea Party had no problem holding rallies in winter, mainly because the Tea Party didn’t turn into a squatter movement.

Organize, make ye point, go home to ye families. Work, reorganize, make ye point, go home to ye families.

Repeat at will. That’s how you do it.

blatantblue on November 15, 2011 at 10:27 AM

Hang in there, OWS.

Give us your best CRAZY for 11 more months.

artist on November 15, 2011 at 10:29 AM

The challenge for the Occupy movement is that they need to grow up

Which, for this crowd, would mean the end of their “movement.”

Akzed on November 15, 2011 at 10:29 AM

Thank you bloomie
-dear leader

cmsinaz on November 15, 2011 at 10:30 AM

Why doesn’t Obama’s Wild Socialists go set up shop in one of Soros’s or Michael Moore mansions and leave the rest of us alone?

Chip on November 15, 2011 at 10:31 AM

Who gets all the money they raised?

faraway on November 15, 2011 at 10:32 AM

Dear OWS “organizers”,

Grassroot movements such as the Tea Party are only sustainable when they’re based in truth. Since your “movement” is based on lies, propaganda and distortions … it has failed.

The only way you’ll ever reach your goal is through force. Good luck with that.

Signed

The Real 99%

darwin on November 15, 2011 at 10:33 AM

Ezra Klein: Rape Apologist.

Jim Treacher on November 15, 2011 at 10:34 AM

I don’t wanna grow up , I’m an ows kid……

cmsinaz on November 15, 2011 at 10:34 AM

Had the Occupiers just started petering out with the cold weather, the movement would have appeared to lose steam, and people would have otherwise returned to their lives. With the police kicking them out, it gives the movement a whiff of mild martyrdom and a grievance that will fuel movement enthusiasm, at least for a little while.

It was a growing embarrassment for those on the Left who advocated Socialism in a national government.

Now they can pretend to be martyrs.

Chip on November 15, 2011 at 10:35 AM

Who gets all the money they raised?

faraway on November 15, 2011 at 10:32 AM

1% of the OWS folks. Which has prompted the “We’re the 99% of the 99%” movement.

beatcanvas on November 15, 2011 at 10:37 AM

Why not, as a grand gesture, declare victory?

Just like the Germans did at the Battle of the Bulge.

Your total numbers are pathetic, you’re morally bankrupt, so declare victory.

rbj on November 15, 2011 at 10:37 AM

Bloomberg took too long to protect the sanity of residents of Manhattan. I think that is incompetent. On the other hand I think libs deserved this BS.

antisocial on November 15, 2011 at 10:37 AM

Ezra Klein thinks that Mayor Michael Bloomberg did the Occupy movement a favor this morning:

First Ezra Klein? Really? I care what that snot nose has to say?

Secondly,it’s just giving the vanquished cover, and a way to save face. Because MSNBC was down with the rabble, and riff raff. This is wound licking time. Back to Mom basement, if that park is any example of how they leave debris in their wake, I would change the locks on the doors.

Dr Evil on November 15, 2011 at 10:38 AM

Rape Free Zones???

By implication rape is perfectly acceptable everywhere else?

This is anarchy in its worse form…vile, stinking, disease infested vermin costing those who actually work for a living and pay taxes a ton of cash so they can indulge in their infantile antics.

And city mayors and administrators and a President who have “stood with” the OWS crowd are somehow “heroes?”

Freeze all bank accounts through the Lien process, and have OWS pay for all the damage and all the clean-up, and the wages paid to municipal employees as a result of their anarchy. Repeat in every city or town where OWS has been permitted to run wild.

Hit them in the wallet, and hard.

End of movement as soon as their cash train runs out.

Then go after their contributors…deep pockets…and tort them all to hell.

coldwarrior on November 15, 2011 at 10:39 AM

The occupation of Zucotti Park was always going to have a tough time enduring for much longer.

Especially when the original organizers disappear.

The mayors of Oakland, Portland, and Philadelphia all claim that the original protesters lost control of, or abandoned the protest movement to ‘others’. Did the same thing happen in NYC?

Skandia Recluse on November 15, 2011 at 10:39 AM

I love how much deference Mistah Mayuh is giving OWS.

“Ohhh a small minority has ruined it for everyoneeee”

blatantblue on November 15, 2011 at 10:41 AM

With the police kicking them out, it gives the movement a whiff of mild martyrdom and a grievance that will fuel movement enthusiasm, at least for a little while.

Um, no.

The police kicking them out are doing the general public a favor, and are looking out for public safety, public sanitation and public health. That’s what our taxes paid for.

These miscreants and squatters are being seen for what they’ve always been – anarchist bums and criminals masquerading as helpless victims of a society gone wrong.

Good Lt on November 15, 2011 at 10:42 AM

organisers are now focusing their efforts on planning a “spring offensive” with fresh targets

Fresh targets:

1) Republican political candidates

2) Any gathering of conservatives

Realist on November 15, 2011 at 10:42 AM

Too late to fix the image…

added bonus will be the events Occupy has planned for this week…

Oh, and American’s will love it when they try to disrupt Macy’s Thanxgiving Day parade…

& to any Liberal that claims it is only the fringe elements that are hurting the Occupy message — You mean to say that the actual occupiers are the fringe of the Occupy?!

Good luck to all the Dems supporting Occupy, you’ll need it next November.

mjbrooks3 on November 15, 2011 at 10:43 AM

mainly because the Tea Party didn’t turn into a squatter movement.

Everybody knows that if you want a really good movement, you have to really bend your knees. There just simply is no way to have a truly successful movement without squatting. That guy on the cop car really didn’t commit himself fully.

hit and run on November 15, 2011 at 10:44 AM

Hit them in the wallet, and hard.

End of movement as soon as their cash train runs out.

Then go after their contributors…deep pockets…and tort them all to hell.

coldwarrior on November 15, 2011 at 10:39 AM

START HERE:

Kalle Lasn, the editor-in-chief of Adbusters, said it was considering declaring victory in an attempt to regain the initiative after a series of negative headlines about the encampment.

Hey Canada you have treaties with the U.S. if you don’t put your Anti Semitic dog on a leash. I guess we rethink our trade agreements with Canada. Trade agreements the Canadians make 50 billion dollars off of the U.S. annually.

Dr Evil on November 15, 2011 at 10:45 AM

Looks like I’ll lose a wager that the OWS would only be shut down after typhus had set in… although TB in OWS:Atlanta does give a good idea of where the ‘movement’ was headed. I’m sure Billy Ayers will have an extra-special May movement all ready by next year! Perhaps my typhus bet can be won if he does something so asinine to try and relive his blowy-up days.

ajacksonian on November 15, 2011 at 10:47 AM

The challenge for the Occupy movement is that they need to grow up — and the movement is almost entirely comprised of cases of arrested development.

Seems so. But if Occupy Seattle is any indication, then this movement is going to end with a small group of people screaming “mic check” at each other seemingly ad infinitum. OWSers are managing to antagonize and alienate even folks who agree with them in principle. (And that is even without the drugs and violence.) See the surreal scene as reported in The Stranger, a Seattle weekly: http://slog.thestranger.com/slog/archives/2011/11/13/occupy-seattle-interrupts-pro-occupy-wall-street-forum-drives-away-supporters

No sooner had the panel finished opening remarks last night than a woman scampered up onto stage and yelled, “Mic check!” It was an orchestrated effort by several dozen activists to use the People’s Mic to interrupt a forum at Town Hall—a forum in favor of Occupy Wall Street, featuring three wonks and three activists from Occupy Seattle. Their stunt replaced what was supposed to be an informed discussion of the movement with an uninformative, shout-a-thon about process that consumed most of the evening. They booed opinions they disagreed with and drove supporters out of the building.

Threshing Flora on November 15, 2011 at 10:51 AM

Actually the stories of the decadence and lawlessness at the various Occupy sites became known in spite of the mass market media’s willfully ignoring the stories. It was through incessant repetition on the web that the stories got out. It is something the right doesn’t do very well. The left will take a NYT headline and within 15 minutes it is on every left leaning web site on the internet, whereas the attitude on the right seems to be if somebody else has already wrote about it well the story might be linked but it won’t be deserving of another post.

In other words that human microphone torture that we were exposed to at the rallies is the same method they use on the web. And just as annoying.

Just A Grunt on November 15, 2011 at 10:53 AM

Adbusters best known for a 2004 Anti Semitic essay.

Dump this back in the laps of the Canadians where it belongs. The Canadians are meddling in our domestic politics. The Canadians make a lot of $$$$ off of Americans every year through consumerism. We buy Canadian’s sh1t to the tune of 50 billion dollars- American not Canadian dollars/ Would they like us to stop so they can live their Anti Semitic (Kalle Lasn) poster child’s dream of the end to Capitalism?

The media doesn’t get it, this isn’t about astro turf squatting on public and private property. This is about a foreign country meddling in our domestic politics. If Canada doesn’t do anything about Lasn than they are condoning his activity, which includes his Anti Semitic message.

Dr Evil on November 15, 2011 at 10:56 AM

Even Ezra doubts that the Occupier movement can amount to much without occupation</em

I've been saying this all along. They are protesting about greed and unfairness, and the act of camping out sends the message of "we're here because we have nowhere else to go because we've been screwed by the system so badly". It doesn't matter how hypocritical and false their claims are. It doesn't matter how naive and unworkable their solutions are. It doesn't matter how much mischief they cause. As long as they're out there claiming economic victimhood, the Democrats have the luxury of criticizing their tactics, questioning their solutions, while still being able to say "I feel for these people and I understand their anger" (translation: "I stand with them". If they're no longer camping out, then they disappear off the radar.

ardenenoch on November 15, 2011 at 10:59 AM

This OWS stupidity plans to permanently embed. Just what we need–a permanent ‘protest’ class. Don’t we have enough free loaders and social burdens already. Why would someone gleefully celebrate it for any purpose let alone political.

jeanie on November 15, 2011 at 11:04 AM

In other words that human microphone torture that we were exposed to at the rallies is the same method they use on the web. And just as annoying.

Just A Grunt on November 15, 2011 at 10:53 AM

Yep it’s effective marketing “Saturation” the Right doesn’t get that you can’t say it just once expect everyone to have heard it and digested the issue.

Mitt Romney has a 59 point plan, but Herman Cain has 9-9-9 which one get’s more attention?

Marketers get, you don’t make the message complex, you keep it simple, and you repeat it ad nauseum till the public is repeating the same thing back to you. Wendy’s “Where’s the Beef”

I stated in another thread on the last debate when Herman Cain mentioned 9-9-9 please Herman give us a break already we get it :)

That’s how it works, sloganeering, and sound bites, short, sweet, and repeated till it becomes iconic. You know like Teabaggers.

I liked Ed’s attempt at branding the opposition firebaggers, that’s how it’s done, turn about is fair play. Fleebaggers – Wisconsin legislators. OWS- Fleabaggers same species different genus ;)

Dr Evil on November 15, 2011 at 11:07 AM

“Targets” for the “Spring offensive”? Gotta love that new tone.

flipflop on November 15, 2011 at 11:12 AM

planning a “spring offensive” with fresh targets, they told the Guardian in a series of interviews this week.

Oh my goodness gracious! Spring offensive? Targets?!?! That’s so militaristic! Next they’ll be using the dreaded r word, Reload!

Dash on November 15, 2011 at 11:13 AM

This OWS stupidity plans to permanently embed. Just what we need–a permanent ‘protest’ class. Don’t we have enough free loaders and social burdens already. Why would someone gleefully celebrate it for any purpose let alone political.

jeanie on November 15, 2011 at 11:04 AM

MONEY, they are being paid to squat. 70 protestors got arrested last night – they look like they are bigger movement, because they attract gawkers, street people, criminals, homeless etc….the actual size of the actual protesters are much smaller. They are being paid, that’s called astro turf not grassroots. So is it Adbusters funding them the Unions, ACORN, George Soros? All of the above? Can it be traced back to David Plouffe and Organizing for America?

When the money dries up so do they. The best advice in this whole thread was to start suing these poseurs for property damage etc…. The discovery alone in a court of law would be eye opening.

Dr Evil on November 15, 2011 at 11:13 AM

lanning a “spring offensive” with fresh targets, they told the Guardian in a series of interviews this week.

Oh my goodness gracious! Spring offensive? Targets?!?! That’s so militaristic! Next they’ll be using the dreaded r word, Reload!

Dash on November 15, 2011 at 11:13 AM

They are planning on moving on to lefty campus’ and squatting, like Bezerkly. If a tree falls in the forest, and no one hears it, does it make a sound?

Dr Evil on November 15, 2011 at 11:16 AM

coldwarrior on November 15, 2011 at 10:39 AM

Exactly! You offer even more ways to hit these anarchists in the pocket than I was suggesting the other day.

The squatters thumbed their noses at civil society and respect for the rights of others. They disdained the rule of law and the concept of private property.

The civic leaders (and now the NYC judge) who allowed this civic disruption to occur, much less flourish, failed in their responsibilities to tax payers and law abiders.

Make the participants and their enablers pay the price.

onlineanalyst on November 15, 2011 at 11:17 AM

I was in NYC last week and had to see it for myself. Me and a friend walked by Zuccotti park and were shocked at what we saw. You could clearly smell pot in the air, the drums echoed off the buildings and could be heard several blocks away, signs advancing the most radical agendas, it was general craziness.

The worst part was when we walked by some guy who looked like Charles Manson screaming profanity. There was a family walking in front of us trying to make their way to the 9/11 Memorial. It was a woman, a man, and their small son, probably 10 years old. As we walked down the sidewalk the crazy man yelling profanity started to follow up. The kid became NOTICEABLY frightened; he clinged to his mom. My friend and I tried ran interference between the kid and the crazy man.

What sane group would allow this to happen? Clear ‘em out Bloomberg, hit them with the fire hoses; and as for that Judge that issued the TRO, let her walk through there and see the kind of insane mob she’s “protecting.”

Meric1837 on November 15, 2011 at 11:18 AM

Eh, they were going to lay claim to martyrdom regardless of how it ended, they’re nothing without their victimhood.

clearbluesky on November 15, 2011 at 11:24 AM

What once looked like a powerful protest could come to be seen as a dangerous frivolity.

You mean people don’t see it that way already?

taznar on November 15, 2011 at 11:26 AM

Ramirez Editorial Cartoons
http://news.investors.com/EditorialCartoons/Cartoon.aspx?id=591663

Which one is closer to 99% of America?

Chip on November 15, 2011 at 11:27 AM

Make the participants and their enablers pay the price.

onlineanalyst on November 15, 2011 at 11:17 AM

And hope they fight it in court so we can see all the players involved in their depositions. Adbusters was coordinating with the National Lawyers Guild and a hacktivist Judge. Let’s depose them let’s get some “Discovery” out in the sunlight so everyone get’s to see the inside of this so called movement, and who was colluding against American’s people civil rights.

Emails, phone calls, eye witness testimony etc…even a mediocre Lawyer could make a pay day out of OWS movement, and it’s players, and raise their profile in the national public’s square to boot.

Dr Evil on November 15, 2011 at 11:29 AM

as for that Judge that issued the TRO, let her walk through there and see the kind of insane mob she’s “protecting.”

You are missing the point, Meric1837.
“I am Justice Lucy Billings, and I approve the OWS message.”

Under the guise of protecting free speech, Bloomberg and Billings are not promoting the rule of law but the (relativistic) rule of men.

onlineanalyst on November 15, 2011 at 11:29 AM

There must be some Jewish Lawyers down in Lower Manhattan, that would like to make some lemming-aide out of Anti Semitic Adbuster’s lemmings?

Dr Evil on November 15, 2011 at 11:31 AM

Sad to see the OWS crowd go… How will Jay-Z make any money now?

Khun Joe on November 15, 2011 at 11:31 AM

It’s over for these guys. When they come back in the spring the general public will be far less supportive, not that they’re terribly supportive now. They need to quit while there’s still some element of good will left.

eyedoc on November 15, 2011 at 11:32 AM

I guess this answers my question in another thread as to “Why are all of the sites being shut down at the same time now?”

Because public perceptions have turned negative. Conservatives have exposed #OWS for what it really is and what the lamestream media tries to hide.

It would be better for our side to let it continue therefor it is time for the authorities to finally shut it down.

I agree that #OWS should now have to pay for all the damage they have done, to the parks and to the private businesses that have suffered losses. Drain OWS bank accounts and go after everyone who shoed them support.

SandyToes on November 15, 2011 at 11:35 AM

I wonder if Soros will give them all bus passes to the warmer Occupation Zones? Here in California the chaos and anarchy can continue year round. Lucky us. Do not forget that they want to take this into your neighborhood as well. Just how bad with this get? Just remember this: Democrats believe that the ends justify the means. Anything goes to get and keep power, and this has always been about power. Power to control every aspect of your life. How soon before a home is burned to the ground and a family is killed because they stood up to these Occupiers? Non-violence is just a tactic for these people. Lucifer would be so proud of them.

Blue Collar Todd on November 15, 2011 at 11:42 AM

The organizers didn’t think they’d last through the winter anyway, and wondered how to transition for a few months without losing momentum

Hey, I know! #OccupyVenezuela! It’ll be warm down there!!!! Plus, I’m sure Hugo will welcome you with open arms. He loooooves people who protest his policies!

nukemhill on November 15, 2011 at 11:44 AM

I have news for you Adbusters. You can’t control these degenerates.

forest on November 15, 2011 at 11:46 AM

If the squatters had threatened to put salt on their food, Bloomie would have had them all arrested 2 months ago.

Tim Zank on November 15, 2011 at 11:47 AM

It’s over for these guys. When they come back in the spring the general public will be far less supportive, not that they’re terribly supportive now. They need to quit while there’s still some element of good will left.

eyedoc on November 15, 2011 at 11:32 AM

But..But..Juan Williams said the public is overwhelmingly behind OWS!!

Tim Zank on November 15, 2011 at 11:49 AM

The interesting thing is, the 99% of us in the heartland really don’t give a rat’s a$$ about the OWS movement and what is going on in the big cities in the blue states.

The movement here petered out on its own. It got so pathetic that barely 6 people could muster up a presence during the news live broadcasts. The cameramen captured the supposedly occupied area completely empty and then showed 6 people coming over to the corner where the broadcast peeps were doing their live shots each day. Now the local news peeps don’t even bother to show up.

No one cared here, at all.

karenhasfreedom on November 15, 2011 at 12:00 PM

The mayors of Oakland, Portland, and Philadelphia all claim that the original protesters lost control of, or abandoned the protest movement to ‘others’. Did the same thing happen in NYC?

Skandia Recluse on November 15, 2011 at 10:39 AM

It’s always difficult to steer when you have no idea where you’re going.

landlines on November 15, 2011 at 12:15 PM

The Blaze and Michelle Malkin are reporting that Judge Lucy Billings has been yanked from the case.

SandyToes on November 15, 2011 at 12:23 PM

I’d like to Tea Party to start ramping back up. We’re gonna need a lot of reinforcements in 2012.

Iblis on November 15, 2011 at 12:59 PM

dramatic success of its first eight weeks.

Did I miss something?

tommer74 on November 15, 2011 at 1:04 PM

Blue Collar Todd on November 15, 2011 at 11:42 AM

I am in Texas, they will lose, it will be fun to watch them try :) We are TEA party central down here.

Dr Evil on November 15, 2011 at 1:21 PM

Average American’s own this narrative, and they great at making their point. Imagine OWS if you were serving your country…

Dr Evil on November 15, 2011 at 1:51 PM

Chris Howell, a professor of politics at Oberlin College, said the movement had been successful in shifting political discourse from the budget deficit to inequality of power and wealth.

Howell needs to get out of his bubble. What people are talking about IS NOT inequality of power and wealth.

GarandFan on November 15, 2011 at 2:03 PM

planning a “spring offensive” with fresh targets, they told the Guardian in a series of interviews this week.

-
And if they go into full camp-out mode again… the rapists and muggers will also be better prepared… Have fun kids!…
-

RalphyBoy on November 15, 2011 at 2:27 PM

The challenge for the Occupy movement is that they need to grow up

If they grew up, they’d be TEA Party folks.

csdeven on November 15, 2011 at 2:44 PM

I am in Texas, they will lose, it will be fun to watch them try :) We are TEA party central down here.

Dr Evil on November 15, 2011 at 1:21 PM

If I could only get my wife to agree to move to Texas.

Blue Collar Todd on November 15, 2011 at 3:27 PM

Best comment on OWS – bystander heckles Occupy Portland with “The Whole World’s Laughing!” Gold! Meanwhile, Obama owns OWS and the stink won’t drift away in time for Nov 2012.

Bob in VA on November 15, 2011 at 3:37 PM