Atlanta, Georgia – Occupy Atlanta, the Capital of The South’s version of the Occupy Wall Street Movement, got two more weeks of Woodruff Park assembly rights life, as Atlanta Mayor Kaseem Reed extended his already lengthened deadline by another two weeks, and to a November 7th Atlanta City Council meeting.
That Mayor Reed took such an action was met with cautious surprise by more than one of the protestors who had been there, sleeping in tents, and for over the entire week in some cases.
But once the word effectively spread, the Occupy Atlanta participants went back to holding meetings. One general assembly meeting started out smoothly, with a group leader using the “human mic” (best described as a system of a chain of people yelling to repeat what one person says) to advance the Occupy Atlanta message of racial and sexual preference tolerance.
Except another would-be protestor suddenly walked over to interrupt the leader’s presentation.
As the video shows, this man I’ve chosen to call the ‘Epic Wild Dude‘ started off with what seemed to be a harmless desire to make what is called a “point of personal privilege” in Robert’s Rules Of Order.
Under a strict interpretation of the rule, the person making the “point of personal privilege” (PPP) is allowed to make his or her case, in effect interrupting the leader to state the question the person has. The leader – who is the chair – has the right to either accept or reject the PPP, but after that point, the meeting is to proceed.
Well, ‘Epic Wild Dude’ didn’t get that memo. After being allowed to state his PPP, it was obvious the man had nothing to say but for the need to keep asking for the crowd to listen to him. Frankly, he seemed jazzed to learn he had everyone’s attention. ‘Epic Wild Dude’ pointed at the leader and said “Don’t listen to what he’s saying.” but then failed to explain why, just saying “Listen to me” over and over again, even as people were asking “What? What’s the point.”
I thought the guy was some kind of paid anti-protestor, because he seemed bent on making a disruptive fool of himself.
Rather than pipe down, ‘Epic Wild Dude’ went on a raging yelling session. But rather than ignore him and continue on, many of the protestors took to try and “circle” him, and then carry him away.
Eventually, the whole affair degenerated into a sorry scene of them holding ‘Epic Wild Dude’ to the ground as he yelled “Mic check! Mic Check!” over and over again – hoping the crowd would repeat his call, and let him say nothing again.
Someone said he needed his medication.
What Can Be Made Of This?
What can be made of the incident is not clear – perhaps nothing more than the rantings of a nut. Or maybe the guy was paid to do that, and the Occupy Atlanta organizers didn’t know it. But I hold that if Occupy Atlanta, and the Occupy America movement, had a coherent plan, it would be less open to such mindless interruptions.
It’s clear something is very wrong, but where the Occupy Wall Street effort is failing is in allowing people to enter its organizing and planning functions and install their own objectives. This has the Occupy Wall Street leaders feuding with MoveOn.org leaders, who see themselves as trying to help their “brothers” along by giving a more deliberately political face to the effort.
That’s leading many in the Occupy Wall Street movement to declare that it’s not aligned with MoveOn.org, take this statement at the Occupy Atlanta website:
We are not MoveOn.org, the All Mighty Movement of God nor any of the other organizations which have graciously offered us their support, and they are not Occupy Atlanta. MoveOn.org is a political organization, we are not. The Almighty Movement of God is a local community church organization. We greatly admire and appreciate their stand with us, but they are not us. Our clarification of this matter should not be taken to indicate any kind of disapproval of what they are doing; rather it acknowledges the breadth and diversity of our support, for which we are grateful. We don’t align with other organizations, they align with us.
But the “they” are using their media reach, and the Occupy Wall St movement, to try and amplify their own goals and objectives. That’s fine in concept, but without a plan for turning assembly to action by the overall collective, nothing may happen.
Now having said that, let’s take a big step back and look at what’s evolved.
In the space of JUST ONE MONTH, the Occupy Wall St Movement (we can add the capital M, now) has spread to a reported 1,500 cities around the World. By anyone’s measure, that’s incredible. And the overall message is a political one: it says no reduction in government spending for the poor, and it asks large corporations to stop acting in ways that harm those who don’t have anything.
So, what can a company do?
You know, I’ve not seen a company sign on to the Occupy Wall St Movement yet. But ideally a multinational back could elect to freeze all planned home foreclosures and ask the government for some kind of help in achieving that policy. In turn, the project would cause the government to approve emergency spending to reach that policy objective, and work on ways to increase home ownership in an age of austerity.
Hey, don’t laugh. It’s a doable dream. One that even the Epic Wild Dude would support.