Category Archives: Explaining Academia

Community Organizing in Columbia, MO

Back in 1985 or 86, I – a white, straight male – (unless someone wants to categorize me as a WOP, a Kraut, or a Mackerel Snapper) was walking alone on campus on a Friday or Saturday evening.  Carload of girls cruised by.  A few of them leaned out the window as they all yelled “LOSER!!!!” at me for reasons that aren’t clear to me.

I wasn’t exactly the most self-assured young man.  I’m not gonna lie.  It didn’t feel good.  Hurt, really.  But in the end, it was just a bunch of asshollettes in a car who didn’t know a thing about me but what I looked like, or perhaps that I was walking alone on a Saturday night … or both.

Point being, the world has an abundant supply of assholes and asshollettes.

Always has.

Always will.

I was talking to some people about what just happened on the University of Missouri campus.  And more than one of them seemed to be of the opinion that as long as there’s racism, that means we tolerate it.  I remember a similar discussion on the web about rape recently … when it was pointed out that it was acceptable in some cultures, even sanctioned … to rape women of other religions or cultures especially if they are not living up to those men’s cultural standards for women.  It was pointed out that rape happens here (implying we’re just as bad), — the attitude again was that if it happens here, we must be tolerating it.

Which, of course, is absolutely ridiculous.

One wouldn’t say we tolerate murder.  And yet murder still happens here.

The existence of sociopaths in a society doesn’t mean the society is ill.  The fact that we can identify sociopathic behavior in and of itself means that it is not normal and discouraged.

Now it is alleged that Mizzou’s MSA president … who happens to be black… let’s just stop right there for a minute and let it sink in.  This University … where racism is allegedly pervasive … the Student Association President is black.  Oh.  And gay as well.

But back on topic here.  He alleges that a truck full of white students drove by and shouted racial slurs at him.  I’m not saying it didn’t happen.  See the above personal experience I had.  There are assholes in this world.  But when you get down to the facts here, we don’t know who they were.  We don’t know if they were students.  We don’t even know it really happened, either — again, not saying it didn’t — but that possibility cannot be ignored in any complete assessment of the situation especially considering the numerous fake hate crimes we’ve seen over the years.  Many times perpetrated by activists who don’t feel they’re getting enough attention.

I’ve mentioned before that I read Saul Alinsky’s Rules for Radicals to get an insight into how leftist activism works.  And I got it in spades.

What we just saw here was textbook Alinsky.  Which means this was most likely not a spontaneous reaction by students to a facebook post about a racial slur.

The timeline of events shows there was allegedly a swastika drawn with poo in a dorm bathroom which kicked it off around Sep 14. (Earlier in the year a swastika was actually found scrawled on the wall of another dorm in charcoal.  That kid was expelled and arrested for vandalism). Then there was the truckload of racial slurs.  Followed by another allegation that a drunk student yelled a racial slur as he was passing by a Legion of Black Collegians preparing for a homecoming play.  Then during the homecoming parade, a group calling themselves Concerned Students 1950 blocked the President of the University’s car, claiming that Mr. Wolfe “allowed” his driver to “hit” one of the protesters.  Then a student, affiliated with BlackLivesMatter, decided that he’d go on a hunger strike until Wolfe resigned. Then the big coup for the activists was getting a good chunk of the football team to boycott practices and their games in support of the hunger striker.  Which made it national news.  Which was the goal all along.  And that precipitated Wolfe’s resignation … a big scalp which amplified the story.

Poo swastika.  Very Alinsky.  The inventor of the Fart-In.  Not saying this is what the poopstika was, but personally, I think it’s a better explanation than a person using his own poo (or anyone else’s for that matter) to threaten Jews rather than using a sharpie or spray paint.

From an Alinsky interview in Playboy:

“Another idea I had that almost came to fruition was directed at the Rochester Philharmonic, which was the establishment’s — and Kodak’s — cultural jewel. I suggested we pick a night when the music would be relatively quiet and buy 100 seats. The 100 blacks scheduled to attend the concert would then be treated to a preshow banquet in the community consisting of nothing but huge portions of baked beans. Can you imagine the inevitable consequences within the symphony hall? The concert would be over before the first movement — another Freudian slip — and Rochester would be immortalized as the site of the world’s first fart-in.

PLAYBOY: Aren’t such tactics a bit juvenile and frivolous?

ALINSKY: I’d call them absurd rather than juvenile. But isn’t much of life kind of a theater of the absurd? As far as being frivolous is concerned, I say if a tactic works, it’s not frivolous. Let’s take a closer look at this particular tactic and see what purposes it serves — apart from being fun.

First of all, the fart-in would be completely outside the city fathers’ experience. Demonstrations, confrontations and picketings they’d learned to cope with, but never in their wildest dreams could they envision a flatulent blitzkrieg on their sacred symphony orchestra. It would throw them into complete disarray. Second, the action would make a mockery of the law, because although you could be arrested for throwing a stink bomb, there’s no law on the books against natural bodily functions. Can you imagine a guy being tried in court on charges of first-degree farting? The cops would be paralyzed. Third, when the news got around, everybody who heard it would break out laughing, and the Rochester Philharmonic and the establishment it represents would be rendered totally ridiculous. A fourth benefit of the tactic is that it’s psychically as well as physically satisfying to the participants. What oppressed person doesn’t want, literally or figuratively, to shit on his oppressors? Here was the closest chance they’d have. Such tactics aren’t just cute; they can be useful in driving your opponent up the wall. Very often the most ridiculous tactic can prove the most effective.

As for the Wolfe car “hitting” a protester, watch this video from Monday of CS1950 by Mark Schierbecker and imagine how that probably went down.

UPDATE: You don’t have to imagine it, here’s THAT video:

Alinsky #4 – the Decent Human Being Trip-Up Rule

 “Make the enemy live up to its own book of rules.” If the rule is that every letter gets a reply, send 30,000 letters. You can kill them with this because no one can possibly obey all of their own rules. (This is a serious rule. The besieged entity’s very credibility and reputation is at stake, because if activists catch it lying or not living up to its commitments, they can continue to chip away at the damage.)

Arguably, this is what tripped Wolfe up the most.  This combined with not understanding that he was the symbolic target of a coordinated attack.  I seriously doubt he saw this coming until it was too late.

But the timing of all of this seems a little bit like a full-court-press that started in mid September.  The racial slurs.  I do not doubt they happen.  Assholes, remember?  Did they actually happen, conveniently during this short timeframe?  Maybe.  There’s no way it can be proven, though.  And during all of this (Aug 7), the same group protested the Thomas Jefferson statue on campus (Jefferson’s first tombstone is also on campus), calling for its removal.  And after watching the video it is very clear the people were well coordinated and well-trained and/or coached.  With at least two professors (Richard Callahan & Melissa Click — both white) clearly in the organizational forefront.

Alinsky #8

“Keep the pressure on. Never let up.” Keep trying new things to keep the opposition off balance. As the opposition masters one approach, hit them from the flank with something new. (Attack, attack, attack from all sides, never giving the reeling organization a chance to rest, regroup, recover and re-strategize.)

And the timeline was pretty condensed … a couple of months.

Alinsky #7

“A tactic that drags on too long becomes a drag.” Don’t become old news. (Even radical activists get bored. So to keep them excited and involved, organizers are constantly coming up with new tactics.)

Community organizing was behind this.  This is an extension of BlackLivesMatter, which was very organized by the Community Organizing Community.  This was a manufactured crisis.

Wolfe was just a scalp. He was the chosen target.

Alinsky #12

Pick the target, freeze it, personalize it, and polarize it.” Cut off the support network and isolate the target from sympathy. Go after people and not institutions; people hurt faster than institutions. (This is cruel, but very effective. Direct, personalized criticism and ridicule works.)

Of course, the coup de gras was the football players strike, which was likely precipitated by the hunger strike.

Alinsky #1

“Power is not only what you have, but what the enemy thinks you have.” Power is derived from 2 main sources – money and people. “Have-Nots” must build power from flesh and blood. (These are two things of which there is a plentiful supply. Government and corporations always have a difficult time appealing to people, and usually do so almost exclusively with economic arguments.)

The campus chancellor is also stepping down. He was not well-liked by the faculty, especially the more radical ones. And radical ones were involved in this whole operation, there is no doubt — watch that video again … there are two faculty members, one of which was calling for “muscle” in the end to remove the student photojournalism photographer from the venue.  Yeah, Melissa Click’s PhD dissertation from the University of Massachusetts Amherst was about the “commodification of femininity, affluence and whiteness in the Martha Stewart phenomenon.”

If I were looking for an ACORN-ish connection, I think I’d start with Melissa Click.  You know, if I were some sort of investigative journalist interested in the larger story.  Like maybe Sharyl Atkisson?

I know from experience that pressure is high to recruit and retain minority students and faculty — and that this is difficult for various social and economic reasons.  Demand is high.  Response is frustratingly low.  If anything, University campuses, including the University of Missouri, bend over backward to recruit and retain.  American College campuses are the absolute safest places on the planet for minorities, and the University of Missouri is certainly no exception.

But the University’s president, nor its chancellor, can eliminate every anonymous asshole, and — if they happen to be phantom assholes made up by zealous activists, they have zero chance of catching them.

And the only thing we can do about the inevitable assholes, just like the inevitable murderers — is to catch them and punish them as fits the crime.

In the case of the hurler of racial insults, a mere loss of anonymity would probably suffice.  Inappropriate use of free speech may not get you shunned if you hurl insults at a white boy from the country.  But especially on a college campus, the social cost of being a known racial slur-er would be very high.

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