Thursday, May 5, 2011

Quick Rebuttal of "Insurgent Visuals"

Insurgent Visuals has another lazy, ridiculous post up at Big Journalism that tries to pretend that when they claimed that Ancel said that "violence is a tactic. It's to be used when it's the appropriate tactic," while deliberately editing out the fact that she was quoting a character in the movie At the River I Stand, they somehow were not being dishonest. Their latest claims are desperate and absent of substance, but here are a few quick points.

First, they said that the video was in relation to the idea that no tactics should be off the table:
It lacks the notice that but a few minutes before, it was made clear that the discussion was about tactics. It lacks the context to know that the statement was made “nothing is off the table
But that was a quote from students. There certainly were students in the class who advocated for "leaving violence on the table" as a tactic, but Insurgent Videos falsely claimed that the professors were advocating for that claim, which they weren't. In fact, the professors repeatedly emphasized that such tactics were counterproductive.

Second, they claim that Ancel is endorsing "militancy:"
These inflammatory and incendiary statements were made to set a certain tone: militancy in achieving union objectives.
This makes it sound like she endorses violence, and indeed use this as evidence that she supports violence. However, the class discussion actually clearly distinguished between "militancy" and "violence," as was clear in a quote they previously used from Ancel:
true militancy means high levels of participation and willingness to undertake creative and in-your-face tactics, I think. And the American labor movement never would have had the successes it had without that kind of militancy. There isn’t any major labor battle in this country, clearly, before the era of the 1950s that did not, in fact, break the law. And–but they didn’t do it by destroying property and smashing windows. They did it tactically, by violating the laws they had to violate if they were going to be able to continue their movement
What Ancel was talking about, as was made clear in the class discussion, was civil disobedience.

They also claim that Ancel was saying her quote in response to a student advocating for non-violence. Actually, even according to their own quote, the previous comment was a student discussing violence:
STUDENT 4: When they’re willing to give up violence, then I will too.
Ancel was jumping off that idea to get more discussion from the class. She was not "endorsing the idea." In fact, the movie she showed to the class, At the River I Stand, was extremely critical of people who used violence and clearly advocated for nonviolence as a strategy.

If Insurgent Visuals actually believed their claims that Ancel's quotes called for violence, they would have included the full quotes. However, they deliberately edited her quotes and, in fact, chopped Don Gilgim's quotes off at the word "and.." and then added a different quote to completely change the sentence. They have no defense for their smear, which is why they're already changing their story.

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