After the violence we saw break out late night at the Occupy Oakland protests and the likelihood that those disturbances were either caused by anarchists, or someone from within the establishment that wanted to make the peaceful protesters who came out in mass earlier in the day look bad and cause disruptions, Michael Moore had a suggestion for any of those protesters out there who don't want those violent acts pinned on them from this week.
Sadly Moore is exactly right when it comes to everything from those protesting the World Trade Organization to the Civil Rights movement and the fact that those who want to peacefully assemble have always had to put up with those who don't want to see their movements move forward, whether they be fringe groups, the police and what's considered the establishment themselves or just rabble rousers who want to take advantage of a situation to stir up trouble.
As he noted, those promoting the Occupy movement don't need violence for it to succeed. Those who want to make sure it fails do. I would hope that's something the general assembly and any of those who put themselves out there as potential spokespersons for the protests in Oakland keep in mind if they don't want to be marginalized after what we saw happen there with the violence this week.
MADDOW: Aside from the common issues, the common complaints that you are describing, that our systems ought to work for somebody other than just the richest Americans; both our political system and our economic system. Aside from that issue, it seems like there are some tactical things that are in common here, even if there isn't a big top down organizing movement. There's people using, the people's microphone when they have a large crowd.
There's people doing... making decisions and meeting by general assembly, which is a basically consensus based discussion where everybody gets together and comes to a decision that everybody can live with. I wonder if you're seeing that, a) if you're seeing those tactics everywhere and b) if there are splits emerging?
I mean as you know in Oakland yesterday there was a very successful general strike, a very successful all day long basically peaceful until after midnight when there was basically rioting and the Occupy Oakland people essentially disavowing the people who were rioting. Are you seeing difficult discussions about non-violence and about potential splits and differences and tactics?
MOORE: Well, yes and no. Everyone I've spoken to is committed 100 percent to non-violence, that this is the only way that this is going to work. In fact we don't need violence because we're not in the minority here. This is the majority. This is a majority movement. If this country is of, by and for the people if it's to run by the will of the majority, there's no need for violence, because the majority have already said, “We're sick and tired of this and we expect some changes.”
I think in Oakland there's a very specific, in terms of the violence there, Oakland has a long history of police abuse, of how the black community has been treated... they just have one of the worst... I mean, literally, it's almost in the DNA of how Oakland is structured in their City Hall and their police and it doesn't seem to matter who the mayor is, they just can't deal with its basic problems. I think that has a lot to do with it.
But you're also going to have groups who come in wanting to co-opt this movement, whether it's slick politicians that want the endorsement of what they think is a liberal “tea party”, or anarchists or others who don't like the non-violence approach and want some form or violence. But my experience, and I've been around since the anti-Vietnam War days, is that generally... and I told the crowd this over at Denver here just an hour ago... if you see someone trying to incite violence, start with the assumption that that person is an undercover Homeland Security or cop or whatever, because this is the history of America where those in charge have tried to ignite people, incite them to commit acts of violence; and I tell them, don't be incited. Just assume right away that person is not part of the Occupied movement if that's what they're calling on people to do.