Occupy DC

Is Kokesh Camera Block About Free Speech or Privacy?


As the Occupy movement gains increasingly respectful media attention, the most interesting question is how the occupiers govern themselves. Unlike those lousy ingrates who don't even thank us for all the social justice and economic fairness they've been receiving  from the #OccupyIraq and #OccupyAfghanistan movements, we are lucky enough to consider this question in relative tranquility.

Last week, former Russia Today provocateur Adam Kokesh ran into some intransigent Occupy D.C. folks who objected to his filming a bunch of long speeches. The controversy grew so heated that even the Human Microphone broke down. Let's go to the tape: 

This comes on top of evidence that the Occupy movement is less than open to impromptu speaking, has an exceptionally process-oriented approach to group dynamics, and entertains at least one bullying bigot who wants to speak for the organization. 

2153-era borg are so advanced they wear circuitry that only became outdated in about 1998.

The media's open-minded curiosity toward the Occupy movement stands in sharp relief to their dismissal of the Tea Party as a mob of racist religious fanatics. As recently as this summer, a little Eastern Seaboard paper called The New York Times was providing space for the honesty-challenged political scientist Robert Putnam to declare – with shockingly little evidence – that Tea Partiers have "a low regard for immigrants and blacks" (an easy conclusion to reach given the establishment media's strenuous efforts to deny the existence of non-white Tea Partiers). 

But unlike the Tea Party, which presented a broad message against spending and overweening government, the Occupiers have by and large been calling for more regulation, jailing and/or execution of rich people, revival of Glass-Steagall, and other state shows of force. So how they govern their little patches of utopia is a pretty important issue that is not being addressed. 

In the present case, Kokesh is clearly on the right side of existing law, existing interpretations of law, and existing custom around free speech and behavior in a public space. But do his would-be censors have any case on the grounds of general civility or Canadian-style principles of expression? I would say no: If a small minority at a public gathering in a public space object to being filmed, I say those people have the right to vote with their feet and nobody else has an obligation to respect their sensitivities. 

But then I'm an extremist who thinks Film L.A. should be abolished because you shouldn't need a permit to shoot a film in America's (rapidly declining) movie capital. Maybe I'm wrong: Is there some freedom-of-assembly standard to uphold here? 

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  1. There is no “right to privacy” from other individuals.

    1. Yes, there is, but it just doesn’t apply here. Trying to hold a secret demonstration is about as oxymoronic as it gets.

      1. Yeah, isn’t the point of a demonstration to get publicity? Or do they actually believe that their little movement is actually going to accomplish something that is not purely symbolic?

  2. I really liked the “you are endangering women on the run from abusers” angle. Brilliant.

    1. Wait! I know! What if some of the protesters were kidnapped by their fathers* during a custody battle 15 years ago, and this is the only chance their mothers* will ever have of finding them!? Haven’t you thought about that?!

      *Don’t reverse these

    2. Isn’t that kind of the “Burka” arguement? Women must be covered to protect them from the male gaze? Very progressive.

  3. Assembling in a public place to “send a message” while simultaneously censoring the distribution of that message would seem contradictory.

    Unfortunately for the Occupy groups, thatconfused contradiction is ultimately the only message delivered.

    1. so 2 people objecting defines the whole movement?…despite hundreds of hours of no censorship available? much ado about nothing…

      1. about a fourth of the crowd raised their hand to the question of objecting to being filmed.

        1. and yet only 2 actively tried to interfere & most was freely recorded. generalize & project much?

          1. Those two were obviously the “enforcers”. Every union has them. Usually, however, they are a little bigger and a little more intimidating.

            1. a hipster & a small woman were “enforcers”? what union are they?

              1. It’s ironic enforcement.

              2. You’re missing the point – these two were acting with the “authority” granted upon them by the “consensus”. Whether or not they were very intimidating is beside the point – the crowd decided they didn’t want this guy filming them, and it fell to these two to carry out that (non-democratic, anti-1st amendment) wish.

          2. and yet only 2 actively tried to interfere

            Does that matter? What would your reaction have been if a couple of Tea Party protestors in a group of 500 or so tried to do the same thing?

            1. some did & my reaction was the same to wit; 2 guys…

  4. Old news. Better late than never I spose.

    You also missed this:

    A ridiculous report from the Occupy Wall Street movement!

    1. -10000

      1. How would you like my foot to OCCUPY your ass?

        1. PenisNeverPerforms is just being bitchy, as usual.

    2. terrible.

      1. Ok, it actually got better in the last minute.

        1. I enjoyed, “you can’t just walk around with a camera without an official press pass.” Because yes, if that were allowed then what next? Dogs marrrying cats?

          1. I don’t know about you, but I have to show my press credentials to even be permitted to purchase a camera.

          2. Bear in mind, this is what they want for the country too. Government control of the press.

    3. So who is going to identify the “Government Worker” who took the interveiwer’s ID? Could it be that this whole thing is a Govt agitated event to gin up a perceived need for more “change”… Hmmmm

    4. The government suit guy seems offended at the idea he’s an uptight conservative finance guy. So he shows how cool and bohemian he is by stealing the ID and waiting to tattle to a lawyer he knows.

  5. Hilarious! They’re protesting because they want to be heard, but they demand not to be seen!

    Wait, what?

    They’re embarrassed about what they stand for?

    Also, what’s with the creepy rote memorization going on?

    1. relax with the objections about the chanting thing. If the gov’t prohibited you from using a megaphone, what would you do?

      1. Titantron.

      2. They could SPEAK LOUDER. It would be a hell of a lot more effective and intelligible (not to mention far less creepy) than their “human mic” routine.

        1. Also, what the hell is up with the “jazz hands” thing that they do every once in a while? I can’t determine it’s purpose other than looking fucking silly.

          1. Jazz Hands!

            Warning – very disturbing and potentially NSFW.

            1. Damn you. That will be stuck in my head for a while.

              1. I’m going to have to bleach my brain out after seeing that, BP.

            2. Where the fuck do you find this stuff, Penguin?

          2. what the hell is up with the “jazz hands” thing

            They came to a consensus that finger snapping would look ridiculous.

      3. Break up into smaller groups? That way more people get to speak. If there’s a speaker many groups want to hear, he can just make the rounds.

  6. Aggro roofie-bro with an “Ask me about the JOOS” scarf is symbolically rich.

  7. One of my lefty friends reported that, back in the 90’s, she was approached during a demonstration by someone who announced her (correct) name, the name of her child, and their address. Scary.

    That said, no, they have no such rights and need to be reinformed of this at every opportunity.

  8. What a bunch of douchebags.

  9. Every Leftist is a Stalinist authoritarian at heart.

    These protests are selling tons of guns and ammo.

    Is anyone compiling lists of names, photos, and videos? Those could be useful after Obama finishes destroying this country.

    1. ur writing occupies the toilet

      1. my head occupies my ass

        1. polly is a cracker?

          1. my brain is a cracker

  10. As an old anti-war protester, I say this Occupy Someplace movement is lame and addled … and the “human microphone” and hand waving are pretty creepy, too.

    1. This whole thing is the biggest circle jerk I have ever seen. And yes, it proves once again that Stalinism is the default position of leftist political behavior.

      1. so a “circle jerk” proves stalinism?

        1. holy fuck im so stupid i miss every point or maybe im dishonest as well as retarded

          1. i agree what margaret wrote makes no sense.

  11. Fuck the 99

  12. The bizarre thing about this is that Kokesh registers about a 9.9/10 on the an-cap scale (including the haircut) so he’s actually fairly sympathetic when it comes to overthrowing “The Man”. Maybe all leftists really are Stalinists…

    1. You didn’t know until now that leftists think an-cap is evil and pro-corporate?

      It’s obvious from *everything* about progressives that “progression” never stops until Stalinism is reached. You can count the number of moderates on the fingers of one hand.

      1. oh yea that’s all real “obvious”. jeesch…

        1. yea like my redartation is “obvious”… jeesch!

          1. ree-tard spelt retard wrong lol.

      2. I think “stalinism” is a bit hyperbolic if you are talking about progressives in general (though I am sure it is quite accurate for many of the OWS people). “European style socialism-lite” is probably more like it.

  13. This whole thing is the biggest circle jerk I have ever seen. And yes, it proves once again that Stalinism is the default position of leftist political behavior.

  14. I’ve been photographing OccupySF since they started. I’ve had no problem and neither has anyone else.

    Here, does this look like some left wing protest? This is the corner of Market and Main streets in San Francisco … in front of the San Francisco Federal Reserve building, where the protesters have been camped out night and day for three days.

    End the Fed! Yeah, bunch of raving left-wingers.


    1. No edit function … that’s 3 WEEKS they’ve been there … in front of the Fed.

      1. C’mon, you have to know that SF (in particular) and the West Coast (in general) is going to be a lot different than the vast majority of the East Coast protests, particularly DC.

        1. I live in the ‘burbs of SF. I can’t show up to photograph OccupyDC. I’m just reporting what I see.

          1. Well, cheers to that! I really hope that Occupy SF isn’t like the absolutely ridiculous occupy DC videos we’ve seen, where groupthink rules. If your photos are representative of things, their motives are more precisely targeted than the DC protesters. I enjoy the Bay Area every time I visit it, there are a lot of naturally free-thinking people that live there. Hopefully, it rubs off on this left-wing “angry at the status quo” movement.

            1. Looks like the opposite of groupthink, actually. A bunch of people with pet peeves protesting against – well, I’m not sure they know exactly what they’re protesting against themselves. It’s mostly very vague anti-corporation, anti-bank, anti-capitalism stuff. Here’s a bunch of signs from one very representative picture, to give you an idea:

              Cops Shut Down OccupySF Camp on Market Street


              End corporate personhood

              Our job is to help you keep yours

              1 in 6 Americans in poverty

              Banks got bailed out, we got nothing. Make banks pay.

              Pay a lot & you get an expensive life. SHARE what’s FREE and get FREEDOM

              Submission to tyranny is a crime

              Capitalism is the crisis

              Make the banksters pay!

              I am a person not a corporation

              If capitalism loves control, then control capitalism to love us all! (I think it says “control,” hard to see on this one)


              Also some anti-war protesters here & there in other pictures. So rare to see that endangered species in the wild these days.

              Like fishfry said, they don’t seem to have the nasty element that’s been seen in some of the other protests.

              1. Banks got bailed out, we got nothing. Make banks pay.

                This is honestly one of the most ridiculous memes that’s been established ever since TARP passed. As odious as the bank bailout was, and as much as the executives who committed fraud and perjured themselves need to go to jail, the money these institutions got was a drop in the bucket compared to what’s been spent on social welfare programs the last 70 years, especially since the Great Society was implemented.

                No bailout? We’ve had people on unemployment for 99 weeks–nearly two years. We’ve had 60 years of pensions for the elderly and forty years of subsidized healthcare for the poor. We had people taking advantage of savings and loan bubbles, stock market bubbles, housing bubbles, and low-interest student loans to live beyond their normal means–and most of that funny money came from the very banks they’re protesting.

                The very idea that the “99 percent” haven’t been bailed out doesn’t even pass basic mathematical inquiry.

                1. Really?? You are going to compare the cost of social programs over the course of several decades (and multiple generations) to the bank bailouts? The Obama and Bush administrations only needed a few years to work on catching up, but they’ve done a good job at that, haven’t they?

                  And as Ron Paul says, you can do things like end the unemployment benefits, but it’s not a drop in the bucket compared to the money spent on our war machine.

  15. http://www.nytimes.com/2011/10…..d=fb-share

    Hooray Krugnuts! What a pompous asshole. Any good rebuttals?

    1. Does he even need one anymore? I thought the default position was that any Pauly Krugnuts column was bullshit until verified true.

    2. “By PAUL KRUGMAN”

      I think that suffices.

        1. Krugman deserves a hearty round of Rochambeau, only he doesn’t get a turn.

    3. My rebuttal:

      Dear DB. Krugman,

      Perhaps if you had recommended letting the market fulfill it’s natural functions by letting interest rates fluctuate normally and the elimination of moral hazard by getting government guarantees out of the banking and real estate systems, I would give you some credence. But since you consistently argue for more government intrusion in the market as a solution for all ills, you can go fuck yourself now.

      Scruffy Nerfherder

      1. Concur.

  16. I haven’t done the formal Google search survey yet, but I would not be surprised if the local fishwrap has done more stories on the Occupiers already than it did on the Tea Party this entire year.

  17. On the subject of the “human mic”,

    Okay, I think these Occupiers are complete idiots and the fact that they seem to be getting better coverage than the Tea Party did back in 2009 is absolutely shameful.

    That being said, I’d like to think that I’m open-minded enough that if I ever got in a conversation with one of them and he or she presented enough evidence, I’d be converted to their point of view.

    But, with the Stalinist procedurism, the lack of self-awareness expressed by the “human mic”, and the retarded, contradicting values and policies these assholes are advocating, I’m sure that, even if I did support their views, I’d quickly grow tired of the protests. Just the sheer exhaustion would be enough to convince me that the exercise was not worth it.

    Meanwhile, the Tea Party, an much more organic, focused, and successful expression of the people’s dissatisfaction with government tyranny (deficit spending, bailouts, cronyism, and the nanny state) is continually characterized as racist and ignorant.

    Fuck the world.

    1. Media hypocrisy is not the world.

      1. The world is hypocritical.

        1. Touche.

  18. That they expected a right to privacy in a public location, at a public event, is quite baffling. I was surprised at how quickly the group adopted a tactic used by those they are protesting: conducting a meeting behind closed doors. I had the distinct impression it was PURELY a power play, nothing more.

  19. If their parents found out that they were there, they might get grounded, or they might put a stop on the credit card.

    1. Threadwinner!

    2. Grounded?! Oh, hamburgers!

  20. Linked in the youtube explanation.


    Jeebus that is some class A stupid.

    1. “…property is a construct, property requires the use of military force to keep the property in the hands of the property owners…” This is him objecting to property rights.

      In a nutshell, this moron has defined himself right there. Zero respect for property rights. We’re right back to Marxist principles.

  21. “No man, you can’t film here because this park is copyrighted by some big name city architect, against whom we are protesting here.”

  22. Wow, I just googled Adam. Do these chanting hipsters even know who he is? Maybe that’s the problem; he’s the real deal (Iraq veteran who was arrested protesting the war) and they’re whiny pomo bitches.

    1. Do these chanting hipsters even know who he is?

      The one guy said, “I know you are new at this…”

      WTF? Adam, new to protesting? That’s almost as laughable as these people thinking that they have an expectation of privacy in the middle of New York fucking City, where there is a camera on every street corner.

      If these people really wanted to have a private meeting, I’m sure there is some union hall in the area that would be more than happy to let them use their facility.

      This is just more of the “entitlement mentality”.

      1. To be fair, I think the guy meant “I know you’re new at indie-videography.” I don’t know if that’s true or not — and it was a prick-ish thing to say regardless — but he wasn’t talking about Adam’s protesting resume, I don’t think.

        1. Hey, Union seniority! What would we do without it?

  23. Perhaps it’s their attempt to control public perceptions of their movement. They may think that they are more likely to be presented in an overall positive light by major media organizations, any jerk with a camera and a youtube account can expose their internal sausage making processes and the generally unsavory bits. This, clearly, is a cynical, hypocritical policy for a movement that claims to be based on popular dissent and dissatisfaction with the managed status quo.

  24. Gawd Almighty! Must we have a ’60s every few decades? If these whiny douchebags somehow secure any sort of actual political power, I’m gonna send my 11 year old to live in the rain forest somewhere until utter collapse or the restoration of sanity, which-ever comes first. Ten minutes of exposure to this type of leftist crap and you can immediately and intimately understand any thought Ayn Rand ever put to paper.

    1. You are right! These folks are knee-deep in shopworn bromides and I think that’s Ivy Starnes in the background waggling her fingers. Also, I can almost smell the cabbage.

    2. I can guarantee we will have a ’60s in about 50 years.

  25. What do these guys thing of Michael Moore’s ambush interviews of corporate executives, Congressmen, etc?

    Is Moore from Texas or something? Is he a Republican? What if these Congressmen or executives had a bad experience being stalked by the media? Don’t they have a right to privacy, man?

  26. moore isnt the topic of this thread.

    1. By your hypercritical standards, the topic of the thread isn’t the topic of the thread, either.

      1. hardly considering my specific upthread comments. again moore isnt the topic & he wasnt at this DC ralley

        1. ^ old mix spofo

          1. Why are you mentioning Michael Moore? He’s not the topic of this thread, and by your own admission he wasn’t at the rally. So why mention him?

            And of course he wasn’t at the rally, because obviously the occupiers disagree with his violating the privacy of corporate executives and Congressmen.

            Don’t they?

            1. What do you know, Michael Moore praises the Occupy Wall Street demonstrators:


              He probably doesn’t know that they disagree with his violations of people’s privacy.

            2. dunno. moore isnt the topic of this thread & he wasnt at the DC rally

  27. Only liberals have the right to privacy, because only liberals support a general right to privacy.

    1. so why shouldnt guns be registered again?

      1. ^ ols mex ^spofforia ^

  28. Occupy L.A. Speaker: Violence will be Necessary to Achieve Our Goals
    …Occupy L.A. Speaker: “One of the speakers said the solution is nonviolent movement. No, my friend. I’ll give you two examples: French Revolution, and Indian so-called Revolution.

    Gandhi, Gandhi today is, with respect to all of you, Gandhi today is a tumor that the ruling class is using constantly to mislead us. French Revolution made fundamental transformation. But it was bloody.

    India, the result of Gandhi, is 600 million people living in maximum poverty.

    So, ultimately, the bourgeosie won’t go without violent means. Revolution! Yes, revolution that is led by the working class.

    Long live revolution! Long live socialism!”

    Crowd: [Cheers.]…

    1. The LA folks need to start censoring photographers, too.

    2. The French Revolution ended with an emperor taking power and starting a war across Europe that eventually brought France to its knees. Is that really the best example he could think of? Isn’t this group supposed to be full of out of work history majors?

      1. You assume he doesn’t see himself as Napoleon.

        1. Maybe he sees himself as Robespierre.

          1. Che, more likely

      2. Blood is the whole point to these morons.

        1. More specifically, blood drawn with no individual responsibility, blood drawn under the auspices of the collective and therefore not attributable to any one person.

      3. he saw les-miserables and well it seemed really cool…

    3. so 1 peeple repersents teh enntire moovemnt fome th wisntuts lol u shood stpo protecing so much lol

      1. ^spoofarrhea

        1. ^^ havein fun old mxe spoffing me ? ^

          1. I don’t know how many oo/o2/teh o2 furreals comments are actually Orrin, but I wish the mods would just ban him and be done with it. His drooling mental patient character is tiresome.

            1. What mods? They may occasionally try to block somebody spamming the site with repetitive nonsense, but they do not moderate.

              1. Right. And repetitive nonsense is how I would describe OO’s “contributions.”

    4. This is all fine and well, they can pretend they are going to revolt, but Americans aren’t the fucking French. There are millions of folks who, if see a mob comeing for them or their family, will defend themselves. Violently, if necessary. Bang bang, the crowd disperses.

    5. India, the result of Gandhi, is 600 million people living in maximum poverty.

      India has been in poverty since the dawn of civilization.

      It is only now, 60 some odd years, after the end of British rule that India is coming out of it.

      1000 years ago = 99.9% in starvation level poverty

      60 years ago = 99.9% in starvation level poverty

      Today = 60% in livable poverty 40% out of poverty.

      Looks like an improving trend to me.

  29. [Insert Star Trek reference here]

  30. Cavanaugh, you must never have lived anywhere where there is a lot of filming. Film LA is a bs organization that I hate but the idea of letting production companies film (which entails locking up public parking for days at a time, closing streets, blowing up cars at 2 in the morning, hours of gunfire, helicopters, squealing tires) without permits is ludicrous. It is one of the few ways the public can avoid the harms imposed upon them, albeit to the limited extent that because of notice one can leave town or bitch to the production manager for compensation.

    1. ^This. Also, since the filming involves a business taking up public space for the purposes of manufacturing a product, a system by which the neighbors have redress against abuse is something that protects their property rights – the film company is effectively opening a business in a public place, however temporary.

      Shooting entirely on private property, however, should require no permit fee – and that’s where there’s an overreach. Although that doesn’t absolve film companies from observing noise ordinances.

      There’s a rumor that the entire permit process is a result of a filmmaker in the teens or twenties releasing exotics onto public streets and filming the resulting mayhem, but I can’t find a link for it’s support.

      What becomes problematic is that the permit system has grown to include all types of filming, whether it’s a motion picture with 5 ten tons and a mass of support vehicles or some guy using a DSLR to snap pictures of a model standing on the sidewalk. The requirement of insurance for the city, as well as a process of surveys and associated police and fire requirements make sense for studio pictures, but none at all for small operations that usually just ignore the process anyway, because the fees for a single fire officer would double the budget.

      As usual, it makes sense partially, but also works very well to suppress competition from small filmmakers, who are in the end the necessary ‘new blood’ to keep the business relevant.

  31. As to whether there is a freedom of assembly angle to their demand not to be recorded.

    If they want their assembly not to be recorded, they can do that. By holding it in a private location where they control entry and set the rules.

    In public? Of course not.

  32. “What do we want?”
    What do we want?

    “No, really. What do we want?”
    No, really. What do we want?

    “Stop it!”
    Stop it!

  33. These people are children.

    “No, I don’t want to be filmed!”

    “I don’t wanna take a bath!”

    “I don’t wanna take a nap!”

    They’re learning how to set boundaries, see, and it’s up to everyone around them to support them in this critical stage in their developmental processes. Remember that it takes a village to raise a child!

  34. Come oon, the guy is completely un-self aware. Favorite quote

    “Are you guys from Texas? You sound like your from Texas. But this isn’t Texas, this isn’t the south. This isn’t just where you get to do shit because you feel like it.”

  35. I think you just have two idiots here who are there for the hierarchical “scene” aspects of the event. Notice how one made the point that the camera man had not covered every day of the occupation…ie he is lower on the totem pole then they were and therefor he must agree to their demands.

    The movement as a whole cannot be so stupid as to intentionally block media exposure…can they?

    If the movement is this stupid then i expect the whole thing to be forgotten in a months time.

  36. I totally got a Fight Club vibe from that chanting thing.

    I wonder if they stole the idea from the movie?

    1. Reminds me more of that ancient Dirty Dozen movie.

  37. Odd… I’d bet none of these fuckers would be against recording cops, yet here they are against being recorded themselves.

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