Zombies On Parade

I won’t comment on the content of Angela Davis’ speech at “Occupy Philadelphia”: I just want to note the bizarre practice at these gatherings of repeating back the words of the speakers. The echo chamber effect is like something out of a horror movie, perhaps a remake of “Children of the Living Dead.” If this is “the 99 percent,” then it looks — and sounds — like they’ve been lobotomized.

Update: Oh, those Occupiers are really hitting at the core of the Ruling Class: here they are trying to “shut down Burger King!” What a joke. I especially like the guy waving around the big stick all the while shouting “Nonviolence!” And the weird lady with the megaphone and the helmet is apparently making a real fashion statement.

27 thoughts on “Zombies On Parade”

  1. No, it's a tactic known as the "People's Mic." It goes back a long time (you can see people doing it during the jail-solidarity sequence in the excellent documentary about the 1999 Battle In Seattle, "This is What Democracy Looks Like") and is used for any instance when amplification is not available. That's the situation in Zucotti, and it has spread elsewhere. It's also useful in creating solidarity and a feeling of togetherness, preventing rambling, et cetera. I just spent several hours at Occupy DC, and we use it as necessary.
    It's not "bizarre," nor is it like something out of a horror movie; it's sensible and useful.

    1. Angela had a mic of her own, so there was no need for the "Peoples Mic." And with half a million bucks raised in "Zucotti," I think they can afford a mic, don't you? The echo chamber effect is simply an affectation of people so full of themselves — and somehting else, as well — that they don't realize how ridiculous they are.

        1. And watching the Davis thing, it sounded like people couldn't hear the shitty pa system in the back, so they used the human mic so everybody could hear what she had to say. What would be more brain dead than the human mic would be to imagine that you can build any sort of informed agreement by leaving everybody out of earshot in the dark.

      1. I'm sorry that you misunderstand the Occupy movement entirely and apparently don't have a desire to read even a minute of widely available explanation for each of the issues you have mentioned. Better to just wrinkle your reactionary nose at dirty heepees, da Ayn? Da.

  2. " It's also useful in creating solidarity and a feeling of togetherness, preventing rambling, "

    In other words… creating serious limitations on discussion, and instilling a de facto requirement for group-think.

    Personally, I'm not very comfortable with institutions that create a feeling of "togetherness" when good ideas seldom emerge from everyone saying and doing the same thing.

    1. Actually, the consensus process avoids groupthink. There's no leader everyone is trying to please. That's what happens in more authoritarian settings. Groupthink (a la the Bay of Pigs decision) is a serious problem.

      Not everyone knows this: Groupthink does not mean "thinking as a group." It's a pathology that groups fall into, as opposed to teamwork.

      Now that I think of it, the "People's Mic" does not necessarily have to overlap with consensus.

      1. I feel like you're engaging in cognitive dissonance here. The process is authoritarian… just because you don't name a president, there is still a leader and followers – by definition, you have a leader speaking and the followers repeating what that person says. And simply calling something a "consensus" process – again, kind of by definition – implies that you're getting people to be unified in thought process and ideas, or at least they have to go along with the collective at the end of the day.

        From what I've seen as a reporter & observer of Occupy DC, I'll be honest… I've seen enough group think to last me a while. Frankly, even the hubristic idea of the "99%" being regurgitated over and over, without even the slightest shred of evidence that you are in fact representing 99% of the public in any way, is an example of this. It's a great catchphrase, but it's intellectual content is very low.

        Yet people restate it again and again as if it is some statement of truth… It isn't. That said, I need to sleep… so cheers.

  3. It seems that none of the great orators of the past, even before the days of amplified PA equipment, needed a "people's mic". They gave eloquent and/or fiery speeches to thousands just by their voice alone. Though I agree with the ideas of the movement, if there's one thing that keeps me away is the idea of becoming the Borg being surrounded by zombies repeating 4 or 5 word sentences in the "People's Mic".

  4. What are the results of these techniques? What do the protestors think about it? Aren´t all protests about repeating messages over and over? It sounds interesting to me and might take listening to a new dimension. It certainly helps people to focus on what is being said and it should help in remembering what was said. Maybe we should wait for reports on the results of using this new technique before using terms like zombies, no? Since when did experimentation of new ideas become something less than good?

  5. OOOOO PLEASE, !!!!! Angela's technique turns the crowd into ZOMBIES…??? How about consideration it deprograms the zombie effect of everyday American life… Of American media… of the big lie…..of American exceptionalism…. TORTURE, RAPE… MURDER…!!! When THEY do it it's Fascism…..When WE do it it's the intelligent way to proceed…!!! Reistag Fire….(911) Enabling act…(Patriot Act) Afghanistan/Iraq attack…. (Poland/Czechoslovakia)

    What happened to the constitution…??? Bill of Rights…??? The right of trial by a jury of your peers…??? GONE..!! all GONE… Whose idea to groop CHILDREN by TSA… OOOOO, IT'S for our safety..!! but IS IT..?? $$$2.4OO,OOO,OOO,OOO.OO missing at Pentagon…. YAWN…!!! ZZZzzz….

    Maybe Angela is hypnotizing the crowd..?? The Crowd IS hypnotized… was..and has been….

    The ZOMBIES are those who wake every day, watch the tube….. go to work…. and think NOTHING is WRONG…!!!

  6. Rigid ideology prevents one from removing the ordure from the brain.Different solutions for different problems is enlightened thinking.

  7. In Justin Raimondo's column today, he mentions "socialism for the rich and capitalism for the poor." That sort of thing (neoliberalism) is finally under attack worldwide, by many forces including the Occupy Movements: http://www.truth-out.org/world-finally-fighting-i
    I don't think it's helpful to complain about some idiosyncrasies.

    1. I wasn't complaining — I was making fun of them. That may not be "helpful," but then again my goal is to call things as I see them. If I wind up being "unhelpful," then so be it. I'm a writer, not a spokesman for any political movement, including the libertarian movement, which I have criticized roundly. My mockery is nonpartisan, and nobody is safe, either on the left or the right.

      1. Rather than zombies the practice makes clear that the 'Greatest Generation' (as inaccurate as that description may be) has been replaced by the 'Sesame Street' generation. Follow the leader!

  8. When I was in grade school during the liberal 60's I recall several of by teachers teaching Civil Disobedience was a way to protest a repressive law–usually this ended up getting arrested.

    The 99% is not going to go anywhere–at least until they're are prepared to risk their lives. This People's MIc is just playing into the status-quo hands.

    I recall a old movie from the 70's called Animal House. Didn't they face repressive student body; so what did they do?

  9. Sean Malone is right that Occupy doesn't represent the 99% and shouldn't claim to. But framing the battle as between the 1% and the rest of us is brilliant. Did you notice that, if you're for the 99%, you can't be anti-capitalist (whatever your signs say)? Because the 99% includes a lot of small business people.
    This is not the working class vs. the bourgeoise, or the poor vs. the wealthy. This is nearly everyone against a small group of greed monsters who have totally lost contact with the human race. It's just the top finance capitalists and military corporatists against the rest of us. Perhaps we can win if it's framed this way. This is the alignment Scott Horton has been pleading for all these years.
    Of course, 99% is a big united front, and to work out what the goals are and include everyone's input won't be easy at all. But isn't it worth a try? We should stop putting each other down and listen to each other more.

  10. Justin I have been reading your column for years – you need a long break. Your pathetic smear attempts of the left and now the occupy movement is very telling of where you are mentally.

    I say that as someone who usually finds your columns very well researched and argued but as of late you seem to be more like a Glenn Beck than an educated and thoughtful libertarian.

    Keep up the nonsense and I will not be donating to the next antiwar.com pledge drive…

    1. It's funny how the Occupiers claim to be all about "discussion" and "democracy," but I mock a single one of their idiosyncrasies, and you go off on me. You'll note that my critique wasn't at all ideological, but stylistic. Your touchiness on this relatively small matter indicates, to me at least, a dogmatic red/blue reductionism. I have written favorably of the Occupiers in my column: indeed, I've been predicting a social upheaval like this for quite some time, if you review past columns. I mean "favorably" in the sense that I understand their anger, even if I sometimes — or, rather, mostly — don't agree with their solutions.

      My views on this matter are not any kind of "official" position, and I wouild say that most of the antiwar.com disagree with me. (See Jeremy Sapienza's puerile comment, above: Jeremy is one of our staff members). I have to say, though, that it saddens me to see that my attempt at humor is being met with such dogmatic dourness. It would be awfully hard for me, in particular, to live in a world where mockery is forbidden.

      1. Sorry to say that's now how it comes off to your readers.

        Please stick to what you do best – keeping the US government's feet to the fire.

  11. This all probably means something different to all of the individuals chanting in unison. It could be nothing more than the "Seminole War Chant" and "Tomahawk Chop" done in unison by the Florida State fans at a football game: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Dvz-l9SGoW8&fe

    Do these people actually think they are affecting the outcome of the game by doing this? Maybe some… Are some just coming out to the game to eat some hotdogs and have fun? Most likely.

  12. There’s a video of Occupy Atlanta (in which they turn away the congressman), where the speaker has amplification, and they use the cult-speak, err “people’s mic.”

    I’m sorry, but when a group of people mindlessly, systematically repeat what The Speaker says it’s creepy. It doesn’t give the listeners time to process what’s being said, that’s why cults and other brainwash-based outfits have their members do lots of repetitive speaking

  13. Justin, keep callin' 'em as you see 'em. Same to all the folks at Antiwar.com. Only by getting out the facts and analyzing them can we hope to understand what's going on.

    The "People's Mic" reminds me Whitaker Chambers' meetings at CPUSA during the 1930s. After the local CPUSA leader read the newest party line, each member would regurgitate the party line in his own words.

    I wonder if the "People's Mic" is an attempt to create a unified statement since that has been a criticism leveled at the OWS. That criticism, "lack of unified message" and the solution, "People's Mic", may have been a tool to let certain groups hijack an otherwise diverse OWS. Perhaps?

  14. Have you ever considered placing more videos to your site posts to keep the followers more entertained? I mean I just read through the entire blog post of yours and it was quite fantastic but since I’m more of a visual learner,I found that to be more useful well let me know how it turns out!

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