Silencing John Lewis Is What Democracy Looks Like


Not clear if John Lewis' thumb-up gesture was legal under Occupy Atlanta procedural rules.

Video of an Occupy Atlanta "general assembly" not allowing Rep. John Lewis (D-Georgia) to speak has been going virological on the interwebs. 

But Occupy Atlanta's "consensus" against giving speaking time to the 13-term member of Congress and one-time chairman of the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee isn't as striking as the self-parodic and smilingly Maoist process by which consensus was reached (or not). 

When Lewis showed up last week to address Occupy Atlanta, he was initially greeted with applause (disallowed, as it turns out, by event organizers who prefer that the collective show its approval through less disruptive finger-wiggling gestures). But Fox News, which is one of many conservative outlets picking up on the Lewis event, describes the epic fail that followed: 

Instead of giving the floor to a man who is not just a longtime U.S. representative but a revered civil rights icon, the protesters employed a tangle of parliamentary procedures to ultimately prevent him from speaking.

A stunned Lewis could be seen watching the whole thing unfold before ambling away.

The procedures they used—rather, invented—would make the Senate blush. Imagine some combination of Model U.N., Lord of the Flies and a Phish concert.

Here's Lewis doing the slow burn as a mob of apparatchiks without portfolio debate whether to risk their "agenda" in order to let him speak. If you want evidence for the case against pure democracy, this is it: 

Lewis is downplaying the incident, and Occupy Atlanta has issued a statement

Occupy groups are governed by procedural rules that allow them to function in chaotic circumstances and to exercise participatory democracy in a large group. These rules are based on the principle of absolute equality and each voice being heard.

Anyone may come and speak to or participate in a General Assembly. There is a set order which includes a point where the floor is opened for comments. Anyone present may put their name on the "stack" as it is called and speak. It might seem a simple thing to break the order, but in a large crowd where everyone is supposed to get a chance to be heard, deviating from it quickly causes chaos. Each deviation encourages the next until no conversation can be maintained.

All of the speakers who have attended a General Assembly in New York have followed this process. Occupy Atlanta is unaware of any exceptions. Congressman Lewis, who attended Occupy Atlanta's 5th General Assembly on October 7, is familiar with consensus from his days as a civil rights leader but was unable to stay long enough to allow the process to unfold due to prior commitments.

One important characteristic of mob rule is that it tends to get the outcomes the ruler wants, not the outcomes the mob wants. In this case, the group clearly voted to let Lewis talk, even if that meant risking a slight breach of the day's agenda. But the point here was not to get a voting result but hive-mind unanimity. Of course unanimity can't exist among human beings, so the real purpose of the exercise is to keep checking the crowd's "temperature" until you get the result you want. And what apparatchiks want, always and everywhere, is to put process above product. You can hear that in the iron-in-velvet tones of the Occupiers' touchy-feely vocabulary: 

Peng Dehuai, another politician who couldn't achieve consensus in his favor.

"How do we feel about Congressman John Lewis addressing the assembly at this time?" 

"The purpose is to kick-start a democratic process in which no human being is more valuable than any other human being.

"This is not a vote, this is just how you feel."

"Allowing Senator [sic] Lewis to speak does not make him a better human being. It's just that we respect the work that John Lewis has done and that we respect the position he holds in the government we want to change."

"This is a democratic process. There is a time on the agenda for other business. I propose we let John Lewis speak after we've gotten through the rest of the agenda."

"Mic check! Mic Check! Mic check! This assembly just voted by consensus to follow the process that we're using. Therefore we will continue with the agenda. Mic check! Mic check! This group makes its decision by consensus!" 

Most dismaying of all, nobody in the crowd seems aware that they're enacting a joke from Life of Brian – and if you can't trust a bunch of miseducated white people to know Monty Python bits, the movement is in serious trouble: 

The Occupiers have every right to run their own program of events, and not giving another platform to a politician is, in and of itself, laudable. But to pretend that the program of events is the work of a leaderless consensus rather than of interested parties is wimpy and disingenuous. 

NEXT: A History Lesson from Clarence Thomas

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  1. OH MY FUCKING GOD!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    I’m gonna need a chisel to get the smile off of my face.

    1. I know what you mean. The collective chanting makes Occupy Wall Street look like The Borg.

      1. wow….it was like watching an old video from a Jim Jones-type group.

  2. Why are you guys bashing the Occupy movement? I’m a regular at OccupySF. There are plenty of End the Fed and Ron Paul 2012 signs among the leftist rhetoric. The movement is leftist, libertarian, and populist. They do not want to be co-opted by politicians.

    Yeah the rhetoric’s incoherent and yes they are seriously disorganized at times. But the group process is fascinating to watch as they reach consensus. Hey, four hours of meetings a day is not my cup of tea, but it’s working for them.

    Politicians of the left think they own this movement. They don’t. Pundits of the right think they should oppose this movement. They shouldn’t.

    Feel free to have your editors contact me for photos. I have thousands. I have a guy in one of those crazy Guy Fawkes masks … holding up a huge Ron Paul 2012 sign.

    Mainstream pols can’t get a grip on this thing … and apparently neither can you. Open your minds! You can tell from my letter history that I’m a regular reader generally in complete agreement with your point of view. And when it comes to the Occupy movement, I say: The kids are alright!

    1. “Occupy Wall St” was a brainchild of Adbusters.

    2. Why are you guys bashing the Occupy movement? […] The movement is leftist, libertarian, and populist.

      I’m bashing it because leftist populism scares the living fuck outta me.

      1. And a movement made up of leftist populists willing to sit through 4-hour meetings on a regular basis terrifies me.

        1. I thought that was any federal job description.

          1. Hence, the terror.

    3. “Why are you guys bashing the Occupy movement?”

      The creepy cult mentality and collectivist mindset apparent in this video, for one thing.

      1. Ditto.

        Plus the hostility exhibited by many of the OWS (and the spin-off protests) participants is telling.

        I find it funny that by and large the Tea Party types were fairly friendly and open, yet many of the OWS types seem hostile and prone to violence.

    4. 1) Thanks for telling me what I should think!

      2) I have less patience than Dr. Mengele (what I did there, did you see it?! Didja?!). Four fucking hours to make a stupid decision?

      Consensus never works in the long run, and teambuilding is for suckers.

      Thanks for your thoughts anyway, fishfry. You have fun with the children Kids. I mean that.

    5. Sorry, fishfry, but crowds + collectivism + bureaucracy = no thanks for me.

    6. Have you read Animal Farm, if not I suggest you do, it best describes exactly what will happen should these people have their way.

      Any person who calls themselves a libertarian while at the same time endorsing these people is an idiot. Wearing a Guy Fawkes mask is infantile, all it means is that you are willing to be a useful idiot to the people that really will gain power should this go anywhere, and those people are 100% not libertarians.

      1. Any person who calls themselves a libertarian while at the same time endorsing these people disagrees with us is an idiot.

      2. Real libertarians wear monocles, not Guy Fawkes masks.

        1. double plus one

        2. I beg your pardon!

      3. 2 legs baaaaad!!

    7. He’s not even bashing the movement itself, he’s bashing the screwed up manner in which they conduct their affairs. The libertarians here mostly bash the LP convention process too, that doesn’t mean they’re bashing libertarianism.

    8. Hey, fishfry… they refused to listen to a black liberal Democrat.

      Chew on that for a while.

      1. mmm … MMM!

        Tastes just like libtard hypocrisy on a spit!

        Muy delicioso!!!

        1. You did mean “liberaltard”, right?

          1. Libtard.
            I saw what I mean and I mean what I say, no matter how “mean” it is percieved.

            Sheeesh, you sound like my exwife.

            1. I SAY what I mean, et al.

              Damn, what a time for a typo …

    9. “Hey, four hours of meetings a day is
      not my cup of tea, but it’s working for them.”

      You’re fucking kidding me. That’s enough face time to make even the most ineffectual corporate middle manager blush. Now I know why I hate corporate america: it’s these people in suits.

    10. “Hey, four hours of meetings a day is not my cup of tea, but it’s working for them.”

      I bet Congressman Lewis would have taken less time to talk than it took them to devolve into mob rule. I bet the congressman would have had encouraging words for them. Instead, they remind us why direct democracy is inefficient.

      Plus, the chanting was creepy. They all have iPhones, do an online meeting.

    11. ‘Consensus’. Hah.

      These people are being led. The ‘process’ is designed to appear as if it gives everyone a voice while making any opposition feel hideously outnumbered–thereby quashing dissent from the Party line. And make no mistake, it is the Party line they will follow.

      Consensus is a process used by those with power to make executive decisions look democratic. Having used this method to my advantage, it is easy to see how it’s being done here.

      One day the word ‘sheeple’ will be accompanied by a picture from the Occupy– protests. These are a classic manifestation of such.

    12. “The movement is leftist, libertarian, and populist.”

      Libertarian, really? So all the calls for more power, more control, and more taxing from the Federal government… that’s Libertarian now?

      I must have missed when the Libertarian party decided we needed a larger, more powerful, more controlling, and more intrusive government…

      Was there a meeting on that? Or did you just decide that this process by which we need a lot more government intrusion into many things = libertarianism yourself?

      1. I would say the movement is MAINLY leftist/progressive. They are anti-corporate, but pro-big government (and all that entails).

        Yes, there is a smattering of “End the Fed” and libertarians there, but they seem to be vastly outnumbered by the libtards. And Tea Party types seem to be unwelcome.

        1. after going to and spending the day at our occupy tucson i have to agree with MB 100%

          from a
          a ron paul libertarain

  3. God damn it, I can’t figure out which I hate more, dumbass hippies or politicains.

    1. Dumbass hippies only suck because they tend to enable nanny statist bleeding heart redistributionist politicians. But not in this case. Easy call. Dirty hippies win.

    2. I don’t hate dumbass hippies, but I do hate collectivism, especially bullshit Animal Farm collectivism where some animals are more equal than others. And I hate politicians.

      Still, it’s fun seeing collectivists who are supposedly egalitarian start going into, as Tim put it, “iron-in-velvet tones”.

      As in any group of humans, one person or a group of people are going to come out as de facto leader. But like anything else, they’ll make up excuses, by-laws, and rules explaining how everyone is in fact still exactly equal.

      1. Yep, true dat. Show me any group of people in, oh, the history of mankind where one or more people didn’t emerge as “leaders”. It doesn’t exist. It’s the way people are.

        Well, that and the whole hunting and gathering band thing that Puta Blanca was on about, of course. Naturally.

        1. And, as I said in my comment and NotSure also mentioned, this just fucking screams Animal Farm.

          Do. Not. Want.

      2. I read, some time back, this book by David Graeber, Fragments of an Anarchist Anthropology, that was sort of interesting (see my blog for my review, which he commented on actually) but when it got down to the issue of “consensus” and how basically anything can be decided via “consensus” and it is STILL COOL because you’re anarchists and “consensus” is chill with that…I kinda started flipping out.

        In this case, the group clearly voted to let Lewis talk, even if that meant risking a slight breach of the day’s agenda. But the point here was not to get a voting result but hive-mind unanimity.

        That’s consensus, I guess. We all know the idea of everyone actually agreeing is all but impossible, psychological pressures aside. Smash the consensus, people.

        1. What I’m wondering is why one of the speakers who had a slot didn’t give it up so that Lewis could speak.

          I think I know the answer, but it involves selfishness, which I’ve been told does not exist among the occupiers.

        2. Nice review Nicole. I’ve been going through Graeber’s Debt: The First 5,000 Years and once you sort through the endless (and somewhat primitive-worshipping) discussion of economic arrangements among various tribes, he has a lot of interesting things to say about debt and how it has been elevated in modern times to a kind of inviolable status.

          1. Thanks Graphite. I have a review copy of that as well, it’s on a very large pile of stuff to get to. My mixed feelings on his other book have not exactly pushed it to the top of that pile, but I would definitely like to read it. Glad you say it’s interesting!

        3. Consensus is not, cannot, nor should it ever be about a particular issue, consensus in anarchism should IMO be about how the group (of voluntarily associated people)agree to decide issues. If the group sincerely required a unanimous vote for a suspension of the rules or something similar, then that’s the groups own fault. If they agreed to a simple majority to suspend the rules, the asshole with the bull horn is a bastard. If they have no rule, the first issue should have been to find a “consensus” on what would be the amount of votes necessary to suspend the agenda.

          1. Exactly–a manipulable, complicated process that allows the leader to appear to not be the leader and decisionmaking to appear democratic.

            And power stays in the hands of the strong.

    3. Who says you have to choose?

  4. That repeat-after-me nonsense is something that could only have been thought up by someone who was very, very high.

    1. Hey, you wanna get high?

      1. You’re a towel!

        1. No, you’re a towel!

    2. Its unbelievable to me that everybody went along with such a fucktarded and obnoxious idea. zomg. How???

      1. why are you surprised? The participants spent their childhood years in an environment where everyone got a trophy, their self-esteem took precedence over any actual achievement, and they grew up in a bubble where no one was better than anyone else, despite overwhelmingly obvious to the contrary. They carried that mindset into college where it was further incubated and this is the product of your public education system.

        1. Lotta truth in this.

        2. Wareagle (Auburn fan?),

          I was thinking the same thing myself. While my kids were growing up, I coached them and they only received a trophy if they won the championship. They have jobs now – not occupying Wall Street.

    3. I know. I’d get so pissed I’d go get my own bullhorn. However, I usually don’t need one when I raise my voice.

  5. They do not want to be co-opted by politicians.

    That’s not up to you to decide. The Democrats have already grabbed it. At this point you’re just their naive pawns.

    Welcome to the reality of politics, hippy.

  6. I guess they didn’t want a black Locutus.

    1. Kirk would have stayed with the Borg and made himself king.

      1. Oh, please. Since Seven of Nine was still a hundred years off, he would have just talked the Borg implants into self-destructing and then flown off while the newly freed humans figured out on their own how to recover.

        1. Uh, the flaw in your theory is that Alice Krige as the Borg Queen would probably have temped him enough, and then he would have traveled back in time and told himself to become King so that he would get Jeri Ryan too.

          Don’t you think about these things before you post?

          1. Sisko and Janeway would have acted neglected in the corner. Pike would have done anything to get out of his damned chair.

            1. Sisko was no Janeway. After season one he became Hawk from Spencer for Hire. Sisko would pile into the Defiant with Worf, O’Brien, Dax, Kira, and Garek and fuck all their borg shit up.

              1. Hell, the first half of Sisko’s character is based on beating up the Borg for revenge. Then the later half it’s beating up on the Dominion for freedom.

                1. Sisko kicked ass as a human, and now we come to find out he’s half god. Fine, fine, half-ridiculously powerful nonlinear wormhole alien. The Borg? Almost beneath him now really -just like Picard and Kirk. /flameon

              2. Fucking Borg shit up is canonically what Sisko built the Defiant for.

              3. I can’t stop laughing.

          2. Ha, you’re such a moron. You have it reversed. Kirk would have banged the queen into forgetting all about this collective conscience nonsense.

            1. This is what passes for logic in your reptilian brain?

              Kirk would have banged her into wanting to please him with power and therefore the Borg empire, making him King immediately. Kirk would have realized that only he is superhuman enough to resist the temptations of such power (with Spock’s assistance, of course) and then would have promptly used the Borg to wipe out the Klingons.

              Come on, dude, don’t embarrass yourself further. You and I are of a kind, FoE. In a different thread, I could have called you friend.

              1. Please, you’re black on the right side, all of your people are black on the right side.

                1. You monotone humans are all alike. First you condemn, and then attack my Kirk theories!

                  1. Maybe it’s the unitard. Not enough left to the imagination. Anyway, you’re theories actually aren’t that bad… IN THE EVIL SPOCK UNIVERSE.

                    1. Bele: “I once heard that on some of your planets, people believe they are descended from … apes.”

                      Spock: “The actual theory is that all lifeforms evolved from the lower levels to the more advanced stages.”

              2. This video reminded me of the nightmare I would have after watching Logan’s Run for the 43rd time in a row.

                1. Isn’t that the one with Justin Timberlake? *ducks*

                  1. Hey!
                    I like Justin Timberlake.
                    Anyone who can sing that well about his “Dick In A Box” deserves high praise.

          3. Kirk is into slimy, bald pseudo-human creatures without legs? I can see why Data might be tempted but Kirk has definitely gotten better in the past (the Captain’s Woman from the Mirror epsiode comes to mind as does that Asian girl from the Troy episode).

        2. Seven of Nine should have been named Six of Nine, if ya know what I mean…

      2. Kirk would have introduced the borg to tribbles. THE END.

        1. you’re not allowed to speak about the Shat

        2. THE END…of the galaxy! With the Borg assimilating the super-fast-reproducing tribbles into their collective, the Borg numbers would increase exponentially.

          It would be like unleashing Jain technology (if you have read any Neal Asher).

        3. Please, people, leave such speculations to professionals: Kirk, after he was killed by Alex DeLarge, was resurrected by the Borg. Kirk’s sheer will, which overcame mind-control efforts on an almost weekly basis, reversed the Borg’s attempt to assimilate him, leaving them to be assimilated by him.

          Prior to them becoming the Kirk, the Borg were strictly a male organization. Women weren’t assimilated at all. After they became the Kirk, women like Alice Kreig and Jeri Ryan became the assimilation standard.

          By the way, if anyone ever wants to unkill Kirk, the best way is to have his not-actually-dead-now-adjusted-to-godlike-powers friend Gary Mitchell come by, dig him up, and resurrect him.

          1. Further proof of the soundness of ProL’s theory is that (young) Sally Kellerman is now linked via the Gary Mitchell theory subsection, adding more hot chicks to The Kirk.

            Well done, ProL. Sometimes you don’t disappoint me. I treasure those moments, though they are few and far between.

            1. Wait a minute, didn’t the Shat write a book about Kirk v. the Borg? Is that where P. Libby is getting his shit? I smell a space rat.

                1. Jeez. It reads like Usenet Trek porn.

              1. You err, like Nomad. I’ve never read any Shatnerian prose.

                Anyway, the point is that Kirk could out willpower the Borg and assimilate it. Given his track record with spores, androids, love potion tears–really, when doesn’t Kirk win by sheer force of will? I’m surprised he even bothered with phasers.

                A Gary Mitchell return would’ve so ruled.

                1. I think you have to give credit to the fact too that at any given moment? Kirk might punch you in the face.

                  You just didn’t get that vibe with Jean Luc. But with Kirk…

                  Kirk would try to talk some sense into you. But if that didn’t work? He might just punch you in the face.

                  Sooner or later, Kirk’s gonna punch everybody on the Enterprise in the face. That’s the secret of Kirk’s willpower. It’s the unspoken threat that at any moment, Kirk just might punch you in the face.

                  He must have punched out 50 people a year or so.

                  1. This is true.

      3. Kirk would have taught the Borg how to play Fizzbin, after which they would have given up trying to conquer the galaxy and instead spent eternity trying to figure out the logic behind the rules.

        1. Is there any way to introduce Zaphod Beeblebrox into this?

          1. Is there any way to keep him out of it?

            1. Imagine a James Fucking Tiberius Kirk and Zaphod tag-team. Universe would be THEIRS, bitches.

      4. Kirk would’ve dramatized them – at which point they would be about as threatening as Glee.

      5. OK, now look what you have done … The Shat just released a tribute albun to Bowie.


        Fornicating Major Tom.

        1. I’m saddened that Bowie was never on Star Trek, but the show would have had to have lasted three more seasons, I suppose.

          1. If they had to have Q, it should have be Bowie. And he just quotes his own lyrics to be cryptic. Imagine what Picard would do if faced with an omnipotent omnisexual god chanting “I am a D.J., I am what I play! I am a D.J., I am what I play!”

            1. Damn. What could have been.

            2. This was indirectly realized when Mrs. Bowie had a supporting role in a Star Trek film.

    2. Awesome subthread. Just. Awesome.

    3. Jesus fucking christ.

      A bunch of anti-social trekkie losers circle jerking over William fucking Shatner.

      Libturdism’s attraction to you jerkoffs makes sense now.

  7. Wait, when I saw this linked from Drudge, I thought that was Mike Tyson waiting to speak to the crowd. John Lewis you say? Hmmmm.

    1. I don’t know whether I should feel ecstatic or ludicrous…

      1. Say What?

        1. Lend me your ears!

          1. I LOLed.

  8. Thanks for the Python clip. It was the first thing I thought of, too, after reading the description of the circus. Like minds mock alike, I guess.

  9. Jehovah, Jehovah, Jehovah!!!

    1. Don’t make it worse for you!

  10. Really, we have to repeat everything the underfed douchebag with the microphone says?

    Jesus H. Motherfucking Christ in Hell. There’s a reason I call people like this sheep. BAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAH! Fuck…

    1. I believe it is because speaker systems have been forbidden at these events. So for everyone to hear what is being said they do this “people’s microphone” thing.

      1. except the dude was saying everything with a megaphone and they were repeating him anyway.

        i’ll give them the benefit of the doubt: maybe they did it in solidarity with NYC.

      2. toaster oven|10.10.11 @ 8:22PM|#
        “I believe it is because speaker systems have been forbidden at these events. So for everyone to hear what is being said they do this “people’s microphone” thing.”

        I believe that’s the silliest justification I ever read.

        1. Why? Have you never been at a large impromptu gathering and relied on other people closer to the front to tell you what the person in front is saying?

          1. Take a bath, hippie!

          2. Have you never been at a large impromptu gathering and relied on other people closer to the front to tell you what the person in front is saying?

            I’ve tried, but every time I asked someone, I ended up finding out that the people responding affirmatively to the message couldn’t hear it either, and were just afraid they’d be seen as uncool if they didn’t agree with the speaker. Gotta love all those free thinkers in college.

            (in sevo’s defense, I think he means it’s silly since the guy had a megaphone, but I could be wrong)

            1. “(in sevo’s defense, I think he means it’s silly since the guy had a megaphone, but I could be wrong)”

              Thank you, and you (and me) might be wrong, but no one seemed to miss the cues.

          3. Life of Brian again, the sermon on the mount scene.

            1. OH the meek will inherit the earth…well good for them, ’cause they have a hell of a time.

              1. What…the bloody Greeks will inherit the earth??

            2. Oh, yeah. I forgot about that. Damn, that movie had it all. “Blessed are the cheesemakers”

          4. I think he said, “Blessed are the cheesemakers.

            1. And once again, I forgot to refresh.

          5. Tulpa|10.10.11 @ 9:45PM|#
            “Why? Have you never been at a large impromptu gathering and relied on other people closer to the front to tell you what the person in front is saying?”

            Well, I was wrong. NOW we have the silliest excuse. See that electronic megaphone, Tulpa? See how no one had a problem hearing as they all parroted the comments? Did you see that?

          6. Holy shit, Tulpa, is there any idiocy you won’t attempt to rationalize?

    2. What this underfed douchebag doesn;t realize is that HE is a politician. Unavoidable.

      1. proof that there is ALWAYS a hierarchy; in this case, as evidenced by the guy with the megaphone. These folks do not realize that there is no form of govt in which everyone shares power equally.

  11. I really wanted a frustrated John Lewis grab the mic and say “Fuck this, I’m outta here!” just to hear it reverberate through the crowd with each subsequent echo realizing what they were saying a few words earlier than the previous rung and mumbling the rest.

    1. That crowd would have repeated it at least once… probably repeatedly, with diminishing numbers of voices, until it finally sank in what they were being told to say.

    2. … and then do the FU mic drop …

  12. So what if he wasn’t allowed to speak? It was embarrassing how the Tea Party was completed co-opted by the GOP. Michelle Bachmann is some kind of Tea Party leader? F that noise.

    1. Shut up and go watch the Rosie Show

      1. “It was embarrassing how the Tea Party was completed co-opted by the GOP.”

        Uh, what?

  13. It never occurred to the morons to separate into two groups, one that didn’t want to hear the idiot and one that did?

    1. They are one cohesive unit, duh

    2. Ze park ze belong zo ze everyone.

    3. Democracy means everyone gets what the majority wants, regardless of who is offended. Freedom means everyone gets what everyone wants, as long as it doesn’t infringe on the rights of anyone else.

    4. YOU WILL DESTROY THE PEOPLES’ MEGAPHONE. (not to be confused with their actual megaphone.)

      1. Not to be confused with The People’s Elbow

        1. Do you smell what OccupyWallStreet is cooking?

          Beans. They are cooking beans.

          1. Clearly a precursor to terrorist activity if I’ve ever seen one…

            1. …THIS is:


              Remember: When you sell lemonade on public property, you’re kicking puppies in hell with Hitler.

    5. Because they’re an anarcho-syndicalist commune. They take it in turns to act as a sort of executive officer for the General Assembly. But all the decisions of that officer have to be ratified at a special biweekly General Assembly. By a simple majority in the case of purely internal affairs,but by a two-thirds majority in the case of more important matters.

      1. That is no way to be pricing a slice of bread, son. You’d starve to death before it ever got out of committee.

        1. ARTHUR: Then who is your lord?

          WOMAN: We don’t have a lord.

          ARTHUR: What?

          DENNIS: I told you. We’re an anarcho-syndicalist commune. We take it in turns to act as a sort of executive officer for the week.

    6. Apparently they wanted him to speak but the procedures didn’t allow for it.

      In any case, anyone who wants to hear John Lewis’ opinions can get hundreds of hits on You Tube.


    Detroit cops shut down the Booty Bus before the Lions game.

    First, they wouldn’t let Rep. Whatshisname speak, cause they had rules and were douchebags, and I said nothing cause I didn’t give a fuck.

    Then they came for the Booty Bus and DAMN that’s an issue!

    Go Lions.

    1. Nice throw by Stafford; TD by Megatron

  15. If this video typifies “Occupy X” then I will certainly avoid such areas.

  16. Cheese and Rice! I thought of Life of Brian while reading this, then scrolled down and saw the clip from…Life of Brian.

    When did parody get co-opted? Oh, it never did? It’s just that parody, satire, sarcasm, and Shakespeare are lost on most of the last 2.5 generations? Gotcha.

    1. I’m thinking the next step is for a splinter group to start a group called Atlanta Occupied and while they want change in the government, their main aim will be to thwart the Occupy Atlanta group.

      1. SPLITTERS!

        1. SINKERS!

          1. SLIDERS!

            1. SUCKERS!

  17. fishfry|10.10.11 @ 7:41PM|#
    Why are you guys bashing the Occupy movement? … The movement is *leftist*, libertarian, and *populist*….”

    Well, there’s two reasons right there.
    You can’t be all three of those.

    1. *ahem*

      1. *Ahem* yourself, oxymoronic handle.

        1. I’m calling satire.

          1. Nope. It’s bone stock Chomsky.

            1. I am impressed by your education and intelligence. This is evinced by your uncanny ability to tell the difference between Chomsky and satire.

              1. Satire comes with a wink, Chomsky comes with a fatuous sneer.

      2. Is there actually such a thing as a libertarian socialist?

        1. They’re called monks.

          1. I call them Idiot Savants.

            Guess which part is the “Savant”.

        2. Yes, voluntary collectivists. Technically one could entirely agree with Ron Paul’s federal policies and still be a local socialist.

  18. What I’m wondering is why one of the speakers who had a slot didn’t give it up so that Lewis could speak.

    I think I know the answer, but it involves selfishness, which I’ve been told does not exist among the occupiers.

    1. I wonder why they didn’t just give it to him. I’ve been reading from several sources that they are using a “progressive stack”, which apparently means that if you are a white guy, anyone else gets your spot if they want it. Judging from the makeup if the crowd, you’d think there was at least one white boy they could have thrown to the curb.

      1. I fuckin’ DARE anyone throw MY white Jew-ass to the curb! I’ll give ’em my crazy-ass stare, yo! Call ’em Jews an’ shit!

        1. Old Danny Cline. LOL

    2. To some degree, sure, but I think has alot to do with what drives any bureaucratic organism: devotion to process, not for the sake of the process, but for the sake of being devoted to it.

      1. I’m sure the procedure allows for people to give up their time so someone else can speak. I mean, it would have to be totally batty for that not to be the case.

        1. I don’t doubt that, but in reality, they’d have to vote on whether it would be implemented, no? Otherwise, I might expect to see people starting to form groups, the purpose of which would be to ‘pool’ unilateral speech-deferral rights.

    3. What I’m wondering is why one of the speakers who had a slot didn’t give it up so that Lewis could speak.

      Because Lewis wanted it for free. Another politician asking for a goddamn handout instead of negotiating a fair price.

  19. Why didn’t Lewis just set up his own damn microphone, spread word that he was speaking, and tell the “organizers” to Fuck themselves?

    I didn’t realize a civil rights activist needed so much permission to speak his mind in a public place.

    1. Let me be clear.

      This situation should put to rest all criticism of Community Organizers.

      1. OK, let’s go to War again. Let the drones fly.

  20. I wonder if they used this procedure to decide who gets the last slice of pizza?

    1. You just don’t get it. There is no “last slice of pizza”.

      1. According to Keynesian logic, there is only a finite amount of pizzas on the entire planet, and if we don’t spend ten trillion dollars tomorrow morning on infrastructure, we’ll be eating the Domino’s boxes they came in.

  21. If you want evidence for the case against pure democracy,

    Like we needed any.

    1. Not letting a politician speak is the case against pure democracy?

  22. Shit like this goes on in slow motion on Wikipedia quite a bit.

    1. But at least the Wikipedians are much less likely to crap openly in a Burger King parking lot.

  23. Holy mother. Can we buy them a plot of land in Guyana?

    It’s so much worse than I thought. There’s no way everybody goes there knowing how Manson family it’s going to
    be, but then when they find out they just say, OK? Whatever “the consensus” is, I’ll do?

    Seriously, the way they handled the John Lewis thing was weird, but ANY tape of one of their meetings would be creepy.

  24. Get better material Mr. Walker.

    1. -1,000,000.000009


  26. If Wall Street can’t be held accountable in the courts they should be held accountable in the street.
    Eat the rich. The pendulum has stopped on its far right swing. First bankers show-trials, then the executions. Then we have tea.

    1. You’re voting for Roseanne Barr, aren’t you?

    2. You want to execute bankers, but you claim to put people over profits?

      You don’t even put people over whatever weird gratification you get out of calling for people to be executed.

      Dude, you need professional help.

    3. I get the distinct feeling most at these occupy protests support gun control. You’re not gonna be having a revolution anytime soon.

  27. This war is gonna be quicker than we thought.

    1. Like I said before: Thermobaric Briefcase.

      Now start the chant.

  28. Remember when John McCain spent days complimenting Lewis and then the guy acted like McCain was a Klansman?

    1. John Lewis thinks every Old White Guy is a Klansman waiting to throw him to the sharks still circling the 18th century slave routes.

  29. Growing up, most of us were taught that if we wanted to change things in America, we could do it at the ballot box. Well, today large numbers of Americans are realizing that both major political parties have been bought and paid for.

    1. I’d just hope they don’t forget it when they grow older.

    2. Maybe you were taught that, but I was taught that if you wanted to change America, you go fucking do something about it yourself. Not cede your rights and liberties to a bunch of politicians and bureaucrats.

      1. Those two are not mutually exclusive.

  30. It’s not often I get to correct the great tim cavanaugh on his grammar, but I couldn’t let this go. I believe the proper word is “misundereducated”.

  31. “The Misundereducation of Lauryn Hill” doesn’t work as well as a title, though.

  32. It’s funny you post this article on a site called “Reason”, when clearly you possess none.

    1. It’s obvious you don’t care about any of our kidneys or livers since you posted this here.

      1. At 4 AM, no less.

  33. How I wish there was a counter protest at one of these OWS events by a single monocle wearing lover of liberty simply pitching a tent and having a jobs fair.

    1. Ah, for such a liberteois presence!

      1. Electrical amplification is so liberteois.

      2. Add a monocle and top hat and this guy…..ks-hippie/ would be the epitome of Liberteois. Seriously, this guy should be always famous. I would pay good money to see such a prank.

  34. I’ve changed my mind.

    I now think this movement will self-destruct from it’s own stupidity.

    How many normal people are going to put up with this nonsense, really?

    My guess is that they’ve already alienated crowds of mainstream Democrats and Independents whove shown up, interested in participating, only to get creeped out by the human microphone in 15 minutes.

    1. They’ve already given the Nonjoiners (and their healthy libertarian subset) an excuse for not showing up. The Slackers seem split.

  35. Ah, the repression inherent in the system.

  36. And here is my problem with the libertarian movement. Go back to the last presidential election and see how many writers and commentators here were supporting Obama.

    Completely ignoring the very core of their supposed philosophy they endorsed a guy who was the antithesis of Libertarianism. Why? Because they were pissed at Bush.

    And so as a way of throwing a fit, people were happy to elect a guy who represented practically everything they opposed.

    Jeez people, you have to have some sort of integrity in your endorsements.

    1. Go back to the last presidential election and see how many writers and commentators here were supporting Obama.

      Completely ignoring the very core of their supposed philosophy they endorsed a guy who was the antithesis of Libertarianism.

      +1 followed by an infinite progression of zeroes.

    2. If voting actually mattered, you would have a point.

  37. They’re right about one thing – I’d would rather “use hand signs” than clap. As a compromise, though, I would only use *part* of my hand.

  38. As someone who is having a very difficult time finding work despite having obtained a Masters in Post-Colonial Eco-Feminism and is now significantly in debt I find absolving the state from its duty to enhance the lives of its citizens more than a little cavalier! Not to mention the kleptocrats! Obama and his plutocrat buddies need to stop using taxpayer money to light cigars and start spending it where it’s needed: Green Jobs for Everyone!

    Now if anyone would like to reply to my comment I would prefer that we use a “progressive stack” and ask all white males to defer to the less privileged and more historically marginalized members before commenting.

    1. 2/10, obvious troll but you may get some bites.

  39. The purpose is to kick-start a democratic process in which no human being is more valuable than any other human being.

    Announced through a bullhorn.

    Irony so dense it has its own gravitational field.

  40. Irony so dense it has its own gravitational field.


  41. Everything marked, everything ‘membered. You wait, you’ll see.

    This you knows. I be First Tracker. Times past count I done the Tell.

    This ain’t one body’s story. It’s the story of us all. We got it mouth-to-mouth. You got to listen it and ‘member. ‘Cause what you hears today you got to tell the birthed tomorrow.

  42. I like the idea of not giving some politician his photo op just for showing up. NYC could have been rid of Ruth Messinger decades earlier if that had been enforced city-wide.

  43. I don’t get it. Reason is bitching that a politician wasn’t given special dispensation to speak?

    You guys must be confused since your attempt at a protest movement was almost immediately taken over by the scummiest dregs of the Republican party and talk radio.

    1. Unfortunately, that’s often what happens to disorganized protest movements. For instance, take the Occupy movement. It’s been taken over by the scummiest dregs of Maoist castaways Khmer Rouge rejects.

  44. Bewauh da wraff of da American people, Mistuh Speakuh, bewauh!

  45. These people would form a great human centipede. . .

  46. I guess following parliamentary procedure (which has been around for hundreds of years) is too much for these, especially as it was thought up by dead white guys.

    And what the f*ck is up with the repeating everything??? I saw this at another OWS gathering, and it looked like a repeat of that “Life of Brian” scene mentioned.

    1. Apparently the city doesn’t allow them to use megaphones. Or maybe they don’t. Either way, it’s because they don’t have amplification.

  47. What a bunch of LOSERS! I got so sick of the repeating chorus of every few words I had to turn it off and come back later. So annoying…

  48. I didn’t think they were saying “Mic check” at the end. Someone in the group was trying to offer an apology to John Lewis on the part of the group for turning him away. I believe the crowd was responding to his offer of an apology by saying, “I object!”, followed by an explanation of their consensus procedure. It was if to say they had done nothing offensive; they were following their processes, and they weren’t going to let anyone apologize for them.

  49. Ok, so let’s review what happened: The majority voted to let John Lewis speak, and then a few individuals objected to this and managed to overturn the original majority decision.

    How exactly can you blame this on “pure democracy”? Seems like a clear case of non-democracy to me.

  50. Since the protest is really about how Wall Street has bought our politicians and co-opted our political process, doesn’t it make perfect sense not to allow politicians to speak? They are all mouthpieces of special interest. At best, it’s a question of which special interests.

    1% control the wealth of the country, and those same 1% control the 0.001% that run it. Politicians are effectively part of the 1%. That’s basically their point, anyway.

    If I believed the same shit they did–especially enough to live in a park over it–I’d do the same thing.

  51. So they wanted Rep Lewis to wait his turn to speak.

    The very fact that he put himself deeply into the Civil Rights movement, with all the perils and dangers, tells me he has a far tougher skin than most of his defenders here, the anti-occupywhatever detractors. Tough enough to brave being told to wait his turn.

    So he didnt have time to wait. So he couldnt speak. Ooooooh! Time to call the Whaaa-ambulance!

    Ridiculous on its face! The criticisms are far sillier than any silliness the critics attempt to attach to the GA’s by the occupiers/protesters.

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