More on Occupy Tacoma…

Written by Scott

Topics: Archives, Politics

So since my previous posts about Occupy Tacoma (actually, more specifically about the effectiveness of it and similar “organizing” actions in our old neighborhood), there’s been some really interesting traffic to the blog. Some folks have gotten, well, almost obsessive in looking through the blog…

Let’s add to that, shall we? Here is a video the group posted on Facebook that happens to also feature one of the people who has visited and commented here.

What are your thoughts on watching this? Frankly, the repeating of every line was more than a little creepy, in my opinion…but what say you?


2 Comments For This Post I'd Love to Hear Yours!

  1. Rat_Bastard says:

    The whole "mic check" thing got really annoying when I visited their gathering on Pacific.

    Glad I discovered your blog!

  2. Hello Scott,

    Thank you for posting the video of my address to the rally in Lincoln Park on the "A Dad First" blog. I am honored. I love Lincoln Park, which is located in my present and your former neighborhood.

    Actually, the video of my speech does not contain the whole address I intended to deliver. When I composed it, I didn't consider carefully enough how the echoing back would make the speech too long. So parts of it were left out. If you're curious, you can read the complete text by pasting this into your web browser:

    If one views the whole video, it becomes immediately obvious how enthusiastically the protestors responded to my calls for nonviolence and my statements about the futility of using violence to achieve our aims.

    And if you go to the Occupy Tacoma website at, you'll find plenty of Occupy Tacoma supporters' comments about the need to be nonviolent, to not destroy property, and to act responsibly, and so on.

    You'll also find a few comments that opponents of the Occupy movement make, both in our forum and at the end of various posts. The web master leaves those critical comments up there, and some of them are pretty rough on us.


    Scott, you also said this:

    "Frankly, the repeating of every line was more than a little creepy, in my opinion"

    Fair enough, and you're certainly entitled to your opinion. However, there's a reason for echoing back a speaker's sentences and phrases that perhaps you're unaware of.

    You see, often we cannot get legal permission to use public address systems at our events for obvious reasons, especially when we might be interfering with the right of other citizens to peace and quiet in the neighborhood.

    So we have what we call "the people's microphone."

    When a speaker starts, he or she says "Mike Check." Then those near the speaker echo back "Mike Check." That lets the crowd know a speech is beginning.

    Then the those near the speaker echo back what s/he says in unison so others further toward the back can hear.

    The people's microphone has its strong and weak points.

    One strength is that speakers can make themselves be heard without breaking noise abatement laws that bar using loud public address systems in certain locations. It's certainly far better than a booming PA system, as the sound of the people's microphone tends to fade rather quickly even a short distance from the back of the crowd.

    Another strength: When we use the people's microphone in our meetings, it tends to slow us down and make us think more carefully about what others are saying. We're more likely to listen to the other person instead of tuning them out so we can plan how we're going to voice a contrary view. It makes sense to listen carefully and respectfully to someone you disagree with before countering them.

    The people's microphone can bring more civility into our meetings. In fact, our meetings are often much more functional and productive than many of the proceedings of congress, where members don't listen to each other and play gotcha.

    One downside of the people's microphone is that it can make meetings much longer and rather tedious at times. It can try one's patience.

    It also can seem like uncritical parroting to those who oppose us or don't see the utility of it. Even some active supporters of the Occupy movement don't much like it either.

    At this point, I can only suggest you go to the occupy encampment nearest you and just talk to the people there. I'm sure you'll be treated as respectfully as you treat them. That's fair play, no?

    You might also want to visit my blog at, which actually has a lot of followers.


    Alan OldStudent
    (The unexamined life is not worth living — Socrates)