Andrew knew far more about the Occupy movement than I did, and knowledge vaccinated him against my strain of daftly misguided compassion. He had spent long months working on the chilling new film Occupy Unmasked, poring over news items, inside accounts from former members, and detailed police reports. He also had followed the networks of national far-left organizations and politicized, well-funded labor unions, and he knew that what presents itself as a kind of national flash mob—a spontaneous outburst of idealistic fervor—was in fact a carefully manufactured product, like a new brand of toothbrush.
That comparison would infuriate the rank and file who in the past year filled public places and invaded private property, because the openly stated agenda of the Occupy movement was to smash “capitalism,” radically redistribute income, and produce a “new” socialist America. How do I know this? From watching
Occupy Unmasked, where I lost count of the number of signs, t-shirts, posters, and crudely sprayed graffiti messages saying exactly that. There were pictures of Che Guevara and Hugo Chavez, flags of Cuba and of Hamas. There were Black Panther salutes, and black ski masks, and plenty of anarchist flags.
I also saw plenty of placards and t-shirts denouncing the police, most memorably the Occupy sign that read “My Heroes Have Always Killed Cops.” The film documents how Occupy demonstrators attack and provoke local police—ironically, it’s often upper-middle class white kids taunting African-American policemen, who are singled out for racist taunts of “Jim Crow” and “Uncle Tom”—and how the hacker group Anonymous coordinates its efforts with Occupy, publicizing names and addresses of street cops and dissenting journalists to expose them to intimidation and threats. The goal of provoking cops, the film reveals, is to force police to arrest protestors—whom the media uniformly present as peace-loving, idealistic protestors suppressed by brute force. We shouldn’t be too surprised by this either; as the film shows, a reporter from the New York Times who was allegedly covering the Occupy movement was actually one of its organizers.