Historic Hobby Protests (Part III Of My OWS Analysis)

I coined the term “hobby protest” to describe the type of protests where people take to the streets for seemingly minor issues and with seemingly ill defined goals. Occupy Wall Street (OWS) isn’t the first of them and it won’t be the last. What are some other examples?

One thing I wanted to avoid was the medias myopic view that the 1960’s protests were the watershed moment of the entire history of Western Civilization. (The media has never seen a protest that didn’t make them want to listen to Bob Dylan and talk about Woodstock.) I tried to think of centuries old (universal) examples of hobby protests. Possibly ones in different cultures and various locations. I couldn’t think of any. (Perhaps the Temperance movement? Luddites?)

The best I could do were all recent. Here are a few recent examples of hobby protests:

  1. Occupy Wall Street (2011): “We want uh…stuff. And rich people suck. So they should give us their money. The government sucks too…so it should give us more stuff. And the student loans we voluntarily took to study unmarketable subjects are huge so we shouldn’t have to pay them back.” (Aftermath: Nothing yet.)
  2. Greece (2011): “The government is out of money. We want to keep getting the stuff it’s been giving us. We’re going to break windows and burn cars until the government has more money and gives it to us.” (Aftermath: Burning cars has yet to generate more money for anyone.)
  3. Los Angeles Riots (1992): “Cops who beat up Rodney King were acquitted and that pisses off. We’re going to spend a week burning buildings and cars. We’ll also beat the shit out of an innocent trucker. Why? Because he’s white and somehow bludgeoning a man for his race makes up for racism.” (Aftermath: Several destroyed neighborhoods from fire, looting, and arson. Regionald Denny, who I think was the epitome of an innocent bystander was severely injured (as well as many others). Rodney King, regardless of the LAPD’s stupidity isn’t exactly a saint; since his 10 minutes of fame in ’92 he has been arrested in 1995 (90 day sentence), in 2003 he wrecked his car fleeing the police while drunk (broken pelvis), in 2007 he “innocently” received a shotgun wound, in 2011 he had two events (driving erratically without a license and later arrested for driving under the influence). Either Rodney King has the kind of luck that redefines mathematics or he’s a thug. If you’re going to riot to protect an innocent man this isn’t the Rosa Parks you’d hope for. Meanwhile the LA Police department started with a bad reputation at the time and now, big riot and decades later, still has a bad reputation.)

In my next post I’ll contrast with historic “serious protests”. These are a lot more powerful, and dangerous, than hobby protests.

About Adaptive Curmudgeon

I will neither confirm nor deny that I actually exist.
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6 Responses to Historic Hobby Protests (Part III Of My OWS Analysis)

  1. C. S. P. Schofield says:

    Again, while I like the general thrust of your reasoning, I must disagree with a detail;

    The Rodney King ‘protest’/riot was a goal protest that largely succeeded; The protesters were angry that a Black man – member of a ‘disadvantaged’ (read privileged) class – was not treated as a special case. They rioted, demonstrating the the various levels of government could not or would not do what was necessary to shut such a riot down in a timely manner. Under the implied threat of more of the same, the Federal government pissed on the common-law concept of “no double jeopardy” from a great hight, and sacrificed two LEOs whose guilt or innocence of the charges trumped up against them was beside the point.

    • One one hand they did accomplish the goal of punishing two LEOs but on the other they accomplished nothing but mindless violence. Places that were shitty crime ridden neighborhoods before the riots were shitty crime ridden neighborhoods after the riots…with a few more burned out buildings. Even Rodney King carried on. He was a belligerent drunk driver during the event that incited it and he was a belligerent drunk driver for much of the rest of his life. To me it was all a waste. But you’re right, I suppose that wasn’t the best example…they did get a figleaf of success.

      • C. S. P. Schofield says:

        Perhaps more importantly; the riots cemented the political importance of Race Pimps like Al Sharpton. Now I don’t KNOW that there were any Black Political Activists involved in planning/inciting those riots. But believing that there weren’t stretches credulity way past the Easter Bunny point.

        So the Riots may not have achieved anything useful for the majority of participants, but I think they were well calculated on the part of those that fomented them.

  2. C. S. P. Schofield says:

    Dear Sir,

    I’m having fun with batting these ideas around. I hope you are too. If you aren’t, let me know and I’ll stop and let you get on with your own points.

    That said, I just had a thought about what I believe you would call Hobby Protests and I call Moral Superiority Protests; They tend to include actions meant to be purely symbolic that, taken in the real world, have unpleasant consequences. For example;

    At Kent State the protesters set fire to the ROTC building, and interfered with firefighters on the scene. I suppose it’s marginally possibly that some psycho who intended to risk seeing a fire engulf the town was behind that, but I find it unlikely. It seems far more likely that it was purely a symbolic gesture made by a bunch of twits who had’t considered that a fire that size isn’t under ANYBODY’S control. So, with the idea of symbolically destroying ROTC, the idiots committed an act that endangered large numbers of innocents, and made it an absolute moral and ethical necessity for the Powers That Be to shut that ‘protest’ down ASAP. Later, some protesters threw rocks at armed and frightened National Guardsmen. Doubtless the rock throwers were thinking in symbolic term, too. Pity the bullets that came back weren’t symbolic. Result; four dead, because the Moral Superiority Protesters in this country have an unfortunate fascination with fire, and very little appreciation for how dangerous it really is.

  3. JC says:

    How about the Dreyfuss affair? It was the first use of the word “intellectuals”.

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