RNC Protestors: Behind the Media Spin

Last February, when the City of Tampa finally mustered the backbone to evict Occupiers from the public parks where they were illegally squatting, Tampa “porn king” Joe Redner stepped up to play in loco parentis to the protesters.  Redner is Tampa’s low-rent version of Larry Flynt: when he isn’t busy peddling young female flesh for cash, he seeks elected offices and collects awards from civil libertarian-types.

Playing sugar daddy to the Occupy movement was therefore a perfect fit.  Despite the media’s best efforts to portray it otherwise, the movement was small and dysfunctional.  Local columnists might have praised Occupiers for “braving police, hard sidewalks, and cold rain to say things aren’t right,” but television footage of patient-looking police standing by as whiny twenty-somethings shoved their detritus into cardboard boxes told the real story.  The police looked no older than the protesters they were evicting, but they had careers and were supporting families.  In contrast, the activists came across as too confused or immature to mount any type of “protest” — that is, without a great deal of help from the media.  Luckily, the media was more than willing to make up stories about them, in order to re-live their own glory days as protesters.

Relocation to free digs at Joe Redner’s private “Voice of Freedom Park” gave the rag-tag Occupiers a little breathing room.  They immediately reciprocated by filling their new urban playground with more junk, to the consternation of their new “neighbors.”  Community residents petitioned to have the camp disbanded, complaining of piles of debris, bad smells, and an increase in police calls and homeless activity.  “Slack-you-py Tampa” observed one local.  Even Joe Redner finally realized he’d have to kick the kid off the couch and make him look for a real job.  Redner announced that the residents of Voice of Freedom park would be evicted on September 15, after the convention.

Meanwhile, no matter how hard local newspapers worked to invent an heroic and articulate Occupy Movement, they came up empty-handed.  In July, columnist Sue Carlton abandoned both common sense and decency in a column that exploited an unstable-seeming protester.  For unexplained reasons, the middle-aged woman painted a plastic gun with a black magic marker  and tried to bring it into a courtroom.  She might have precipitated a tragedy with her bizarre stunt, but Carlton did not linger over  consequences.  Instead, she depicted the woman as a freedom fighter demanding “constitutional rights.”  What the plastic gun-toting activist probably needed was mental help, but both Carlton and an ethically challenged “homeless activist” named Bruce Wright egged the woman to “take a stand against oppression” instead.

And so it went.  As the rest of the city prepared for the upcoming Republican National Convention, Joe Redner’s Voice of Freedom Camp, and another site dubbed Romneyville, played host to a growing array of mentally-ill homeless people, young druggies, activists typing away at computers, and, as was reported to me by a camp bouncer, gang-bangers from one zip-code looking to fight gang-bangers from another zip-code.

None of this was reported in the papers, although the reporters who regularly paid visits to the camps could not have failed to observe what was happening there; the chaos and the prevalence of homeless in the throes of addiction or mental confusion.  But they continued filing stories about bearing witness to a new era of “fighting the man.”  Why they bother to show up at all to write such stories is a mystery.

Romneyville borders a freeway underpass near a Salvation Army shelter.  Voice of Freedom Park is situated in an economically depressed neighborhood and is surrounded by empty storefronts. There is a shiny-new Metro PCS mobile phone store across the street from the park, but other than that, the businesses are small groceries anchored by large EBT signs.

Everything else that is literally not falling down is owned or directly subsidized by the government: social service agencies, day-care operations, public schools, and public housing.  Police patrols protect the protesters from the high crime endemic to the area, and also protect the protesters from each other, because the movement attracts its share of dangerous characters as well.

The activists participating in Occupy the RNC say that they are choosing to live among the “dispossessed” because these are precisely the people they want to encourage to rise up against the Republican overlords “taking food out of children’s mouths.”  But like the fake stories written about the movement by local journalists, this message is also a fake one.

As soon as Food Not Bombs moved into VOF Park, they turned the site into a self-important summer camp for their own adolescent preoccupations and hobbies: beer-brewing, puppet-making, endless general assemblies, craft sessions for making furniture out of trash, clown lessons, a scavenger hunt, lectures on things like “Voudou and the Haitian Revolution,” and, most jarringly, a screening of the French art-film, The Gleaners and I, which celebrates the insights of well-off dropouts who choose to dumpster dive in order to express anarchic fellowship with actually poor people who dumpster dive in order to eat.

Not that the Occupiers are dumpster diving.  They are relentlessly demanding donations to subsidize their camps and complaining that people aren’t giving them enough money to support their cause.

It is difficult to imagine more offensively self-referential or narcissistic behavior.  Occupiers and Food Not Bombers in peasant skirts sit cross-legged decorating bits of scrap metal with poster paint, while homeless men sit on stoops outside boarded-up businesses watching them.  In the end, city sanitation workers will clean up after the aging children, and real homeless people will reclaim the park.


We need adults to solve our problems, not these people.

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  • Omar

    Why doesn't the Occupy protesters have demonstrations in front of the United Nations, where that organization has been ignoring true human rights violations, like in Sudan, China and Syria.


      That would be COUNTER REVOLUTIONARY and would offend Tzar Putin.

  • Kevin

    Saw the Original Occupiers in NYC last October. These people need a bath, an ass-whipping, and self-respect badly, not necessarily in that order.

  • Resh Yud Yud

    They wanted to make their headquarters on the front lawn of the White House

    and have the rest of the protesters camp out on the Mall

    but they had already been reserved for a National Islamic Festival.

  • tagalog

    The "Romneyville" picture displayed in this article says a couple of things, assuming of course that it's a reference to the "Hoovervilles" of the Depression Era: (1) it tells you who they expect to be President, and (2) it tells you that they see themselves as living in squalor in the land they occupy, when one would think they would have enough gumption to clean up after themselves, particularly when they're invited guests.

    But I suppose it's too much to expect the latter. After all, when they finally go home, "home" will be their parents' house, and we can always expect Mom to clean up after us. That's one thing gender feminism doesn't seem to have fixed.

    I get a kick out of the picture, showing them "occupying" land behind an Army-Navy Surplus store. I don't suppose the irony of that has struck anyone yet, else we'd probably be seeing graffiti on the store wall.

    They'll soon be sorry they took up space near a Salvation Army shelter.

  • BS77

    Occupy has shown itself to provide nothing in the way of solutions for our nation's great problems….the astronomical debt and deficits, our massive trade and manufacturing imbalances….most of the Occupy folks cannot even comprehend these problems and cannot speak about them.

    • tagalog

      What were those famous Bob Dylan lines: "Don't criticize what you can't understand…?"

    • wsk

      They don't give a crap. It's just gimme, gimme, gimme.

  • burt

    a few beers, a few bux – and the scum is prostituting for the left. STRAWBERRY!!!! :(

  • Joe Ordinary

    Something tells me these mOccupyers are actually a good thing for the conservative cause.

  • http://tarandfeathersusa.wordpress.com/ Iratus Vulgas

    I though it was only in the Bizarro world where protesters oppose the political party that's not in power. WTF kind of revolution is that.? They're pointed 180 degrees in the wrong direction. But typical, really.

  • Ghostwriter

    I'll say this. The OWS people are a bunch of nitwits.


      OWS – Obama Was Screwed

  • El Duchy

    I knew the 'Hippie' Movement was a fraud when, in 1967 at Toronto, a church in the then hippie-haven of Yorkville offered a free-food picnic on their grounds. The hippies left the place littered with garbage for someone else to clean up. The Occupiers must be descended from same.

  • http://www.facebook.com/marvin.fox.526 Marvin Fox

    The Occupy Movement is the best visual advertisement for the support of whoever and whatever the Occupy bunch are protesting against. The resurrection of the squalor introduced by the 1960''s Hippies is not a viable reason for anyone to do anything but get rid of the various health hazards both presented in their own times. The best way to get rid of the health hazards is to stop allowing the Occupy bunch safe haven public endangering pest holes.
    The democracy has struck again! The Democrats are showing the true path of democracy/progressivism/Marxism or whatever to the Occupy mess who are urged to join the democracy in a self inflicted fester of humanity.
    Marvin Fox

  • Amused

    Oh suck it up you anal retentive jerks , this is America , they have a right to peacefull assembly , they have a right walk with placards ,they have a right to say what they want , just like the teebagger rallys with their offensive posters and funny costumes . The media isn't making a big deal out of because IT ISN'T .
    So they disagree …suck it up and stop your handwringing and whining .
    Very intelligent words Marv , would you deny them the rights I have just mentioned ? Ya know the ones LISTED in the Bill of Rights and " YOUR CONSTITUTION " ? So you wanna "stop allowing " ? I told you on the other thread that you certainly were NOT an expert on your [OUR ] own Constitution
    Hey Marv , get your head out from up your asss , FREEDOM OF ASSEMBLY / FREEDOM TO PROTEST /FREE SPEECH ………CONSTITUTIONAL GUARANTEES …even if YOU dont like what they're saying . .Sorry Marv but I have to dub thee SCHMUCK . Is that insulting to you ? Good .

    • Maxie

      Oh suck it up you anal retentive jerk. …suck it up and stop your handwringing and whining.

      • amused

        I'm glad you got the message Maxie , you've proved your reading skills . All you need now is an original thought .

    • Unicorn Lady

      Amused: Don't break them in half. Remember the doctor said you have to take the WHOLE pill.

  • amused

    Anyone who would suggest abridging the constitutional rights of fellow Americans ,even if you disagree and dislike them , is in fact a FACIST , otherwise put " A SCHMUCK " . But the teabaggers can have their little rallies dressed in funny costumes , with placards that were racial epithets , some picturing guns and the second amendment suggesting a violent solution, as one of your idiot ideologues was dumb enough to say it on national tv just the other day , have you seen anyone at the Tampa Convention packing heat ? I am not particularly enamored by the Occupy "routine " NOR the tea party idiots NOR hypocrites like you .
    signed I. AM. AMUSED


    OWS – Obama Was Screwed

  • Joy

    Wow this article was well researched (sarcasm) and very biased
    Thought good journalism wasn't biased. Hmmmm.

  • Happy

    Oh and the name calling. Love the name calling. And the stereotypes. Can't forget that either. Made me proud to be a human being.

  • scum

    Notice how this article flies in the face of Vadum's article, which was pulled after I provided a more accurate account of the protest movement. One reply from a reader complained when I used the term 'regiment' rather than 'detail' when described the riot police. Whatever words you use, I provided an accurate estimate of the number in each 'detail' (or whatever term you want to use). The point was, police (including ATF agents with machine guns and helicopters above), probably outnumbered the unarmed protesters 2:1. Another reader complained about the machete man refusing to stop, which, as I said, was his mistake. Yet no one on FPM complained when the tea partier wore his pistol to Obama's speech. Note that when machete man was arrested, Romney wasn't yet in town, and there were no delegates present in the area.

  • amused

    Yea it's the best "opinionated journalism " around . Never let facts get in the way . And if they do , simply talk over them .

  • amused

    And now these masters of spin are using the Hurricane . Well Limbaugh a.k.. Blimpy suggested Obama called the NHC and ordered them to "make the projected track of Isaac look like it was headed straight for the Convention Center . The DUMBING DOWN OF AMERICA …in the POST INTELLIGENT ERA .