26 comments for “PATRICK LAWRENCE: In Praise of Protest

  1. Gustave
    January 13, 2022 at 15:46

    I’ve long been a fan of Lawrence, and so I say this with respect- I find this piece an error in judgement.

    I have very little sympathy for grandstanding Democrats who have made careers of ignoring or exacerbating preventable suffering, but PL’s contrarianism is misplaced here. I happily accede his point regarding the often forgotten or whitewashed need for raucous- even scary protests that will put the fear of the polity into otherwise complacent politicians.

    But WHO and WHY aren’t minor points in discussing tactics. When allies fought nazis, both sides used bullets- but one side’s munitions deserved to find their targets. I have some epistemological sympathy for blue collar folks taken in by the highly effective right wing propaganda machine, but that sympathy comes with an understanding that these people have been weaponized for a cause as bad as the neoliberal consensus. One has to separate the legitimate grievances of those in afailing system from the chauvinism that often takes the place of sane critique and Lawrence missed the opportunity to do so here.

    Adding to this error is the fact that there WERE wide scale protest not long ago against our racial hierarchy that were met with sadistic repression, indifference, and glib opportunism. Why not pick up the mantel of these just fighters rather than the tools of reaction who showed up for J6?

    Thoughtful people can ask questions about the rioters’ legitimate concerns rooted in material reality, or the lack of response be law enforcement, or the potential of fbi stoking (as has so often proven true), or the Dems’ policy failures and histrionics in meeting these realities- but Lawrence took an uncharacteristically glib and IMO thoughtless approach to the subject here. I respect your work, PL- I hope you’ll consider these good faith critiques.

  2. Jeff Harrison
    January 12, 2022 at 12:23

    I happen to agree with you, Patrick. That said, I have a couple of observations. One, watching the likes of Nancy Pelosi (far from the only guilty party) gushing over the violence we incited in Ukraine, Hong Kong and elsewhere but when it comes here, OMG!!!! it’s an attack on the very foundations of democracy!!! When, in fact, there was no real difference other than in DC it was homegrown and not fomented by the likes of the CIA, NED, USAID, or one of the other “N”GOs that we use to foment unrest in countries we have targeted for regime change. That’s probably why the level of violence was so much lower than it was in Ukraine, HK, and, most recently, Kazakhstan. And two, the US obviously has not cottoned on to the reality that the rest of the world is wise to our chicanery. I sat LMAO when Blinken was asking “Why did they call Russia and not the US?” Please, they wanted it taken care of, not made worse.

    It has been my opinion for a long time that the US needed a major shake up of its political order. I would only wish that it was being done for the right reasons instead of the wrong ones.

    • robert e williamson jr
      January 12, 2022 at 23:14

      Well done. You managed to get “all liars in one room” in one paragraph. Great, great stuff Jeff.

      I know I harp on this point but I feel the adverse affects of this event have played havoc with the U.S. consciousness , to say nothing of the systemic deleterious affects on the entire U.S. Government ever since the event.

      Most assuredly it has adversely affected American politics. The price of the feeding the existence of a festering lie. It allowed the start of a nasty trend in D.C. that developed into the status quo. CIA got DOJ and CONGRESS over a barrel and there they hang to this day.

      DOJ has been compromised ever since being used by unaccountable officials as a tool to protect crimes of a secret arm of our government at any cost and it affects everyone one of us everyday.

      The cause and the problem are not so difficult to see , the quest for solution verboten by the responsible authorities. This is how our government is failing us. The crooked mind cannot think straight.

      The hording and concealment of information needed to oversee government in the pursuit of gaining undue influence in the decision making process , which has become endemic in D.C. must be outlawed and thoroughly policed with abuses prosecuted.

      Violators lose their position and serve time, for real time. Do this and the lies will stop

      The CIA got off to very bad start in my humble opinion designed by Dulles & Co to be a rouge agency from the onset. When Kennedy died a large part of government as we had known it died with him. Lies and secrecy became the norm. Our government has been on a downhill slide ever since around the year of my birth. That major shake up you mentioned has been needed ever since congress failed to do right then.

      I believe many of those “wrong reasons” you mentioned can be traced straight back to this event.

      The two parties do essentially nothing but get rich and taunt the public with their laughable theater. This must changed or our nation is done for.

      Nancy Pelosi, Dick Cheney, songs and music. I have absolutely no idea of what the hell they think other than about themselves but I don’t think it’s much. In fact I don’t think they know what to do.

      Nuff said.

  3. January 11, 2022 at 21:07

    Patrick Lawrence is a wiseass, showing how uber-smart he is in getting everything into one package of the nightmare that is America. Right. Lump it all in this diatribe as if you’re the smartie who sees deeper where no one else looks at motivation and then we can think radically differently about what occurred and give a pass to all deprived folks whatever they do. Huh?

    • robert e williamson jr
      January 11, 2022 at 23:29

      Suzanne why be so angry at the reveal of the truth.

      In my humble opinion I feel the wiseass blessed with intelligence is so much better off than the dumbass blessed with being severely over educated . Which I assume by your tact here is your preference.

      Even you recognize the legitimacy of the “nightmare that is America today.” You do, don’t you?

      Getting everything into one package is just what is needed to facilitate comparing facts.

      The motivation of protestors is clear for all to see. The idea that we can think radically differently about what happened seems unfounded, the motivation for the crowd was clear to see for all who care to ask that question. Ever hear of a guy named Trump.

      Every person alive today needs quick decisive action to address the worlds burgeoning problems and here you are kicking down at the have – nots. For someone who professes to be a visionary this not a good look.

      Ever hear of Beau of the Fifth Column on the YouTube? You might look him up he could give you some pointers on what is realistic and what isn’t..

      The longer the ruling class Dopes screw around playing dirty lying politics in D.C. to closer we all come to that Fight or Fight moment.

      I have a vision and that vision tells me that if those addicted to the “that’s the way things go in D.C. mentality” sit on their asses and count their money much longer we soon get to the point of open anti-government violence in our streets. Hell even some of those in D.C. are starting to believe it is possible.

      My dog talking about someone full of their self! Patrick what have you done to this women?

      So my message to everyone is, things are bad, with no significant changes bad things are coming quickly and ignoring underlying facts is fast becoming a deadly business. You will not have to go to the Ukraine to “enjoy” the benefits just keep hanging around.

      No matter , at least I feel better, time for a nap!

      Thanks to all and to all a good night.

  4. Rik
    January 11, 2022 at 16:56

    Thank you for this.
    Have long been troubled by the media and so-called progressive types lambasting them what protested.
    Am not good at expressing thoughts but felt that if the protesters had been politically the polar opposite, many of us would have cheered them along if not actually joined. The right to protest to address grievances applies to all, does it not? Does that right come with rules regarding where and how one may protest.
    As for disputing election results, liberals seem to have a very short and selective memory regarding that. Could never understand them that cheered when the cops killed that woman, murderous cops are murderous cops, and they should never be allowed to get away with killing unarmed humans.
    If the Democrats are telling us something is bad and should be spurned, then we should look at that really really close to see what they’re trying to distract us from.

  5. robert e williamson jr
    January 11, 2022 at 15:36

    Dick Chaney, back? Not surprising given the Profits and Ratings mentality of MSM you get what they wish not the news or the truth. Nothing at all new.

    More “high theater” provided by congress and the MSM in a very underwhelming display intended to communicate to the masses the someone is in firm control of the undulating mass that currently is the U.S. Congress! Absolutely pathetic!

    Best remember that the only thing that speaks sufficiently to this total embarrassment of the U.S. government on the world stage is one question. Who was in charge?

    Was it the same man who hand fed the Village Idiot from Crawford Texas, advise on the War on Terror, the Tin Man (D Chaney). No. VP M Pence,? No. Mitch McConnell, hell no, who knows what Mitch was doing. Could it have been Karl Rove, who conspicuously is missing in action. No! So who was it?

    Apparently, Trump was. “Unaware Man”, they guy whose mind is never present turned his back on his supporters which deflated their so called “patriotic love “( give me liberty or give me death) for the country to the extent they took their toys and went home.

    While I’m at it how about this from Mr. Lawrence,

    “The neoliberal order in the U.S. is enforced by physical force – by violence or the treat of of it. . . . The foreign policy of this country begins and ends with the same. ”

    So true!

    FYI as long as the fanatical religious kooks and the Neocons, Neoliberal, Zionist consortium exists in both parties , supporting the Deep State agenda go unchallenged by the voting public for their ruinous beliefs , nothing will change. The past 70 years of U.S. foreign policy of war for oil and profit are the proof.

    Seriously, “Dead Eye Dick” Chaney.

  6. Oregoncharles
    January 11, 2022 at 14:55

    Yeah, sure – as a Green, I have no sympathy with Democratic Party propaganda. However, I’m inclined to be complacent – or maybe that’s cynical – about it.

    ” Is turning the Capitol into a set on which to stage a propaganda farce a responsible use of the “sacred” building wherein our laws are supposed to be made?”

    I think that’s what Congress, and the Capitol, usually are: a set and a performance. Bringing in Lin-Manuel Miranda makes that more than ordinarily obvious, and bringing in Darth Vader, excuse me, Cheney, makes some other realities more than usually obvious, too. But I thought that all along. You didn’t?

  7. January 11, 2022 at 14:21

    What do the people of the United States know about democracy when they have been living under corporate feudalism for nearly 250 years??

  8. January 11, 2022 at 14:19

    What tells you everything you need to know about the charades we perpetuate to sustain our megalomania is the fact that we call ourselves “Americans” when in fact the US is but one nation in that vast hemisphere.

  9. January 11, 2022 at 14:11

    Strategy of Tension

    How to create a totalitarian state:
    Step 1: Wait for a target organization to make a peaceful demonstration
    Step 2. Infiltrate the target organization and redirect its demonstration towards violence
    Step 3 Perpetuate violence or instigate it.
    Step 4. Get video or create it and use it to point blame on the target organization
    Step 5 Get mainstream media to build up the narrative blaming the target organization for the violence
    Step 6. Pass laws against sedition, limit free speech, and create new police powers.
    Step 7. Repeat.
    To see how this works in practice, watch video “strategy of tension,” by metanoia films, hXXps://vimeo.com/66019647

  10. Geoff Burns
    January 11, 2022 at 13:52

    I always enjoy Patrick Lawrence’s commentary. While today’s column was generally insightful, I would call attention to his insinuation that the motivations of the demonstrators has not been examined and that the demonstrators were generally drawn from the dispossessed. (“The press has been similarly silent about the identity of these people. Nobody this past year has been invited to think very much about inequality, deprivation, or dispossession altogether.”) Robert Pape of the University of Chicago has led a group that has conducted an in depth study of nearly 700 arrestees. They have found that, unlike most right wing demonstrations, the January 6th demonstrators were generally mainstream. More than half were business owners or professionals. Only 7% were unemployed. In almost every aspect the January 6th participants look more like ordinary Americans than typical right wing extremists. While Pape’s study has not been widely covered by the MSM, The Atlantic and Slate Magazine have written about it.

  11. Hans Suter
    January 11, 2022 at 11:57

    I applaud your courage.

  12. Peter Loeb
    January 11, 2022 at 11:39

    I agree with those commenters who questioned the nature of “DEMOCRACY”. It is great rhetoric but lousy history and we all
    hear it over and over. The best analysis of the lack of “democracy” is in my view in Francis Jennings book “The Creation of
    America”. Shouting “democracy” is mere propaganda as Jenning points out so eloquently. To cite an example, were upper
    class South Carolinian for “democracy”? Of course not. They were against it. After all, the vast majority of humans in their
    colony were Black or Native American.In other colonies there was discrimination and violence against those with
    different beliefs (Quakers, for example in New England), of different religions, of different ancestries.

    There are many other analyses (Gabriel Kolko anyone).

    There will be elections as there always will be and being for “democracy: from Joe Manchin to AOC has a great sound.

  13. mgr
    January 11, 2022 at 11:15

    Thank you Patrick, you look through the haze of words and drama and grasp the thread at the heart of the issue. I will only note here that with all the theater over Ukraine abroad and 6-Jan at home, the Biden admin has managed a huge deflection to avoid doing anything meaningful about the existential crisis of climate catastrophic that is now barreling down the mountain straight for us; 8-10 years to reach tipping points that are forever, like melting permafrost releasing three times the current amount of greenhouse gases already in the atmosphere, and then all the “fusion reactors” and other assorted tech fantasies in the world, EVEN IF TRUE, are useless. Too late, just too late to make any difference. The Biden admin and the Democratic Party in power have dropped the the biggest ball in the history of civilization for the entire world and are now just running out the clock. That is just who they are.

    And of course, after Biden declared the pandemic over in summer as omicron was just getting started, he has consistently, and true to his nature, protected the financial profit of the pharm industry at the expense of the public both home and abroad. Again, that is just who he is. What a terrible fate that at the very last juncture for a chance for peace and cooperation in order to deal with global extinction-level (for our species) issues, (note that the covid pandemic is, like burning forests, also a part of climate change with even worse to come), the only thing the Biden admin can think of to do is to make any such essential cooperation impossible thus dooming the world to the absolute worst outcome possible. Now that is “American leadership” on display. On the other hand, the fossil fuel industries will be able to continue to extract and sell oil right until the bitter end, so I guess they are pleased… It is almost as if they had purchased Joe Biden for that express purpose.

  14. torture this
    January 11, 2022 at 08:53

    This commentary clearly shows that Greenwald doesn’t support violent protests because they rarely if ever advance the cause of protesting but I think, “There was nothing virtuous about the 1/6 riot…. ” is his opinion about the violence used, not an objection to the ideas behind the protest. Conflating his opinion against rioting with an objection to protesting sounds a lot like the drivel that we criticize main stream theater for. And, how can anyone not mention the deep state’s involvement in ginning up the violence that took place? They know perfectly well that protests can be made to seem terrible and wrong-headed if they insert a couple of goons to lead the way and they’re my first suspect whenever protests get nasty. The little bit of violence perpetrated by the rioters on 1/6 is exactly what made them public enemies number 1-999 and gave the producers, directors and actors of the performance last week a script that could be used against the right wing just as it has been used against every left wing protest they’ve covered for the last 50 years, at least. When you have control of all the media and “Homeland” security, then and only then will violence work for you, as it does for every branch of government. I can’t remember a time when Greenwald was criticized fairly and I’ve read a lot of it. His critics usually aren’t a group any respectable journalist or commentator should aspire to join. But it’s no doubt a great thing to have on your resume when you want to get paid. He’s rubber, you’re glue. Whatever you criticize him for will probably make you look stupid.

  15. TP Graf
    January 11, 2022 at 07:54

    On 1/6, I couldn’t stomach the ubiquitous chant of how the protesters invaded the “sacred” halls of congress. At such times I quickly think of the wise words of Wendell Berry. “There are no sacred and un-sacred places. There are only sacred and desecrated places.” Of this it must be said, the so called sacred halls of congress were desecrated by the people elected to serve and was done so long ago, we, with openness to see, can’t recall it being any other way. Thank you, Mr. Lawrence, for another wise and soul searching dig into our blindness and complicity.

  16. Stephen Morrell
    January 11, 2022 at 04:34

    Hopefully sooner rather than later, a huge contingent of angry workers will descend on the Capitol and unleash such a righteous fury as to make 1/6 look like a garden picnic.

    • Don'tCallMeShirley
      January 11, 2022 at 06:02

      If I were an American, you’d find me among them.

    • Tristan Patterson
      January 11, 2022 at 12:22

      That’s when you’ll see the true might of the militaristic police come to bear.

  17. Don'tCallMeShirley
    January 11, 2022 at 03:12

    Most of the commentary from the Left about the Jan 6 riot, and I specifically include the Trotskyist site WSWS which I generally support, has emphasised the supposed threats to American democracy and that the rioters were fascists whose intentions or motivations are not to be interrogated. That has been a great disappointment to me; I expected better. So far as I can see from here in Britain, the USA has never been anything close to a democracy, so what was being threatened apart from the power of the elite ruling class? In particular, AOC’s bleatings about how unsafe she felt came over as pathetic, given the ultra-violent military and police forces she usually supports in her votes.

    • Stephen Morrell
      January 11, 2022 at 13:23

      WSWS also have rotten positions on trade unions, on the black question, and have no understanding of COVID. I think they still classify Cuba as ‘capitalist’. So they might like to call themselves ‘Trotskyist’, but they ain’t by a long shot.

  18. Afdal
    January 11, 2022 at 02:32

    Like nearly all the other founding fathers, Hamilton was an anti-democrat. He wasn’t for an “elite democracy” juxtaposed against a “popular democracy”, he was opposed to the concept of democracy in its entirely. Whereas other anti-democrats like Jefferson wanted a Roman style republican oligarchy (not democracy), Hamilton simply went a step further and advocated for new American state having its own monarch.

  19. Jimm
    January 10, 2022 at 21:35

    Excellent article. Articulates yet more examples of our thoroughly corrupted nation regardless of ones views on Trump. Cheyney is adulated for his participation in this spectacle while Assange (with no thanks to Trump) and those like him remain in shackles. God Bless America? I think not.

  20. Lois Gagnon
    January 10, 2022 at 19:53

    The elites have learned over the decades that it’s the optics that matter. Context is a waste of time. Very few consumers of “news” spend much time actually reading print. Everything is theater. The theater of the absurd to be exact.

    I’m frequently reminded of the portrayal of the capital in the movie version of “The Hunger Games.” Freakish ghouls cheering a lethal game between the youth of the peasantry to survive. It’s turned into great spectacle. Pretty accurate portrayal of where we’re headed if we’re not already there.

  21. Anonymotron
    January 10, 2022 at 19:43

    Tnx CN, Patrick.

    Stunned @ Cheney invite (W/ or W/O shotgun)?

    Then point out use of imagery (Mad Ave 4 SELL! SELL !SELL!)

    Might add… Legislatese… deciferable only 2 those W/ advanced English language skills, a 2ND technique 2 obfuscate the Public, IMO.

    &… Uhhh… Dem specific: 4 yrs. Russia, Russia,Russia… So…4 more yrs.: DC,DC,DC?

    BIG FINISH (no pub): Sethgate 3 x?
    (& PROPS 4 WW1 VETS Smedley mention)

Comments are closed.