New Occupy plot: Flash mobs. 'Alternative forms of protest' put cities, cops at disadvantage


By Aaron Klein

The Occupy movement is stepping up its confrontational tactics, plotting “alternative forms of protest,” including flash mobs that can be deployed nationwide.

Citing the success of last week’s so-called Day of Action protests, Take to the Square, one of Occupy’s main online planning forums, has devised an “Alternative Day of Action” to coincide with international Human Rights Day on Dec. 10.

“Our freedom and dignity are under attack as a result of market dynamics and corrupt government institutions that are turning our local and global societies into increasingly unjust places,” the site complains.

The Occupy forum calls for “alternative forms of protest” and “new forms of action with a creative spirit.”

Among the proposed actions: “We can organize public forums, workshops and flash-mobs; we can promote the movement at local schools and neighborhoods or get in contact with humanitarian organizations working with the same goals.”

A flash mob refers to a group of people who assemble suddenly in a public place to  perform a collective act and then disperse.

While flash mobs have been organized in the past for entertainment purposes, such as for satire or live television shows, recently the concept has also been used for criminal intent.

Flash mobs of mostly teenagers have reportedly attacked random targets in Philadelphia, Maryland, Cleveland, Chicago, and Washington, D.C.  Philadelphia’s recently reelected mayor, Michael Nutter, imposed strict curfews in response to the incidents.

While the exact nature of any future Occupy flash mob was not immediately clear, already one Occupy site – Occupy Oakland – did host a dancing flash mob yesterday.

Dancing Without Borders, an Oakland nonprofit, teamed up with the radical antiwar outfit, Code Pink, and the National Organization for Women, to attempt a “dance flash.”

The dancing group’s Facebook advertised: “What better way to breathe new life into the Occupy demonstrations and perhaps show the 1 percent that the 99 percent can do more than just occupy — they can dance, too.”

“This unique flash mob will include choreography that evokes the dying system, the awakening of a new society, and the necessary reconciliation between the 99 percent and the 1 percent,” the group said in a statement.

The deployment of Occupy flash mobs could provide the anti-Wall Street with a tactical advantage. Occupy mobs appearing at sites without warning could damper the planning of counter measures by cities, citizens and law enforcement.

The Dec. 10 scheduled Action day follows last Thursday’s Day of Action mayhem nationwide, a three-course meal of in-your-face tactics that aimed to block subways and bridges as well as shut down the stock market.

That day, too was preplanned.  Last week, Occupy Wall Street held a three-day “Direct Action Preparation and Training” course in downtown Manhattan to gear up for the latest round of riots.

A look at the official resources provided on the Occupy site as part of the planning for the most recent chaos shows several manuals from the Ruckus Society, whose mission is to provide “environmental, human rights, and social justice organizers with the tools, training, and support needed to achieve their goals”; including training radical activists in direct action techniques.

The same Ruckus Society that helped to spark the 1999 World Trade Organization protests in Seattle, which devolved into violent unrest, was listed as a “friend and partner” for last week’s Day of Action.

The Ruckus training manuals provided at the Occupy site leave little to the imagination.

Titles include: “Blockading for Beginners,” “Anonymous Riot Guide,” “Define White Supremacy,” “Uncle Sam the Pusher Man” and, of course, the (still!) Communist Party-connected National Lawyers Guild’s “Legal Observer Manual.”

Occupy, meanwhile, shows no signs of relenting any time soon.

Besides the Dec. 10 protests, a forum on the Occupy Wall Street website is calling for protesters to “occupy” the malls on Black Friday.

The Occupy the Jobs subgroup of the anti-Wall Street movement has called for “actions” on the Martin Luther King holiday weekend of Jan. 14-16.

If Occupy can simmer along for a few months, the most ambitious escalation seems set to coincide with major NATO and G-8 summits in Chicago next May, when world leaders convene to focus on global economic issues.

KleinOnline has learned that a list of radical groups, including those behind the 1999 WTO riots, have already petitioned Chicago for permits to demonstrate.

With research by Brenda J. Elliott

  • Dawes

    Disrupting a polling site is a major violation. Expect the the police and the voters to come at you as the rioters. I would think twice about flash mobbing private businesses because they have a right to use deadly force, not pepper spray, to protect themselves/property.

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  • joebenham

    a friend of mine who served in vietnam and later joined the protests against that war told me that he came to find he could divide people from any side into one of two groups: those who threw rocks and those who didn’t.

    violence is terrible when it occurs in any movement, and i’m certain that more than 99% of the 99% think so. but the right of the people to demonstrate under any peaceful tactic is foundational to democracy. when the political channels, which are set in place to facilitate democracies, fail to work, it’s the right and duty of the people to assemble in mass and voice their discontent and — yes — to even disrupt those corrupt systems at times.

    but violence is another tactic, which the right and the ruling class are also and especially much too familiar with. so let’s be fair and try not to paint anyone into a stereotype.

    im an entrepreneur too and i agree with the 99%’s complaint against our banking system. how do private individuals get to print money and then loan it to us at interest? and what about corporations’ special ability to buy discounted bonds before the get sold on the market? that isn’t free capitalism. that’s PRIVILEGE.

    i respect all of your assistant’s research that went into writing this article, but when you try to make blanket judgements about broad political beliefs, like communism (which i am not, btw), i see YOU as reactionary.

  • Heather

    The Occupy Movement can shove it. My family has been entrepreneurs their whole lives, running businesses from motels & laundry mats to an icecream store and a granite countertop business. I’ve seen them bust their tails for everything they have, and in hard times, preferring to pay their employees over paying themselves. They are the 1%. They are hard-working, all-american, no-vacation, kind of people. Let me tell you… OWS pisses them off.

    If only the protesters aspired to create wealth rather than suck all the life out of hard-working Americans, we’d have a completely different kind of country.

    • Beverly

      Heather no one is attacking your family or hard working business owners. I hope you don’t hear voices at anytime!
      These people are protesting the corrupt banking practices.

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  • Maria

    Thank you for being a faithful watchman. You are much needed in these troublesome times.

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  • maxwall

    I can se the possibility that flash mobs can disrupt voting sites next November. Any district in a close contest can be affected by arranging the bulk of dems to vote early in the day to get their numbers up early, then in the later day flash mob the polling places to keep republicans out. They can do this enought to scare people to stay home in non-mobbed sites. Worth considering a defense against this.