Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Fact-Check: There Is Not "Civil War" In OccupySTL

Tea Partiers on Twitter have been pushing a bogus line claiming that there is a "civil war" among OccupySTL participants. Sadly, as is all too often the case, people not affiliated with the far right are willing to unquestioningly pick up a right wing smear and use it to criticize people who are putting a lot of effort into making the world better. There is not a "civil war" or "infighting;" there just happened to be one person, out of an amazingly diverse group of participants, who briefly took over the social media accounts, cut others out, and refused to communicate. These kinds of things will happen in a group that makes every effort to be accommodating to everyone who wants to participate.

So what exactly happened? As I already reported, at least five days ago, one person who had access to the original facebook and Twitter accounts changed the password to lock out the other participants. For all we know, this person could have been a tea partier (note: I don't think it was), since the group was operating under a system of openness and trust and allowing anyone who wanted to to be involved. That person then claimed to have gotten death threats and subsequently closed the facebook account. No one else associated with the group received death threats, and the person refused to share or talk about the alleged threats despite being asked repeatedly about them.

There's a record of the conversation (I'm not linking to it here because, even though it's public, I'm not sure if people want their comments shared, but I'm happy to email it to friends who ask). In the conversation, you can see the person "Whisper Dharma" saying that she was deleting "admins:"
The list of admins on the fb page has grown out of control. There are new people there that don't even have anything to even do with the organization thus far and haven't been out there with us much, if at all. Since Sara handed the controls over to me when she bailed, this page is mine and as such, everytime you post as "OccupySTL" it can be traced back to me. I have made changes to who I feel comfortable with posting as "OccupySTL" as an admin. If someone needs to post here on this page, under the "name" OccupySTL, it is you 6. Others may have more information, but they can either 1. post on the page as themselves or 2. tell one of you. There have been some problems with people adding and deleting people at whim. I got a call this morning that woke me up saying she had been deleted by someone on here. If this continues after the changes that I have made I will have to narrow THIS list down even further. I do NOT want to do that. Please respect my wishes and do NOT add any further people. Thank you
.Other people in the group questioned the decision:
wait, i havent deleted anyone, and this should be a group discussion
soooo, no discussion?
You are making a dangerous precedent here with your unilateral decision to start cutting admins and moderators that we need to make sure this is watched 24/7. Just FYI
So you delete a bunch of people, without discussing anything with us, then turn off your phone and log out? and we're just supposed to groove on it? It is not YOUR page, it is OUR page as it represents the collective posts of everybody working hard to make sure our media outlets are up to date. If you have a problem with your name being attached to the valid posts we are making, kindly remove yourself from the list, as I have yet to see an admin post off-message since these people were added. If you have a problem, please bring it up in discussion. If you cannot make it to a general assembly, then please check in with us and communicate instead of making unilateral decisions. We as a group have decided to make decisions based on consensus, and when you defy that process you defy the entire group.
"Whisper Dharma," despite not answering anyone's questions, then deleted the facebook page and told the other people that she had been advised to do so by "her lawyer." As far as I know, there's no record of her reporting this to the police either. She also took control of the @occupystl Twitter page, and used it to tell other people to "go to hell." Dana Loesch is of course claiming that there are "rumors" that "liberals" sent the death threats, but there's no evidence of that either and, in fact, it seems pretty implausible.

Since the group places a lot of value on consensus decision-making and not having "leaders," they very rationally and responsible created new Twitter and Facebook accounts that have steadily grown. And, considering that all of that drama took place five days ago, it's pretty obvious at this point that it has done absolutely nothing to actually effect the movement. Nothing, that is, except for creating an easy "infighting" drama for people who are looking for excuses to criticize.

1 comment:

  1. Pretty tame in comparison to a recent comment on Adam Sharp's website on a story about Occupy St. Louis protesters supposedly not liking the Cardinals:

    "Anonymous said...

    Can't the celebrating Cardinal fans get a bunch of those miniature souvenir bats they sell at the stadium and do a little, shall we say, "batting practice"? Just sayin'..."

    Is Sharp trying to provoke violence? He certainly makes no effort to disapprove of such statements.

    By the way, Occupy St. Louis has a great banner hanging at Kiener Plaza: "Go Cardinals from the 99%"