‘What We Are Doing Is Building That New World Now’: Left-Wing Radical Lisa Fithian Gives ‘How-To’ Course on Disruptive Activism
Did you ever wonder just how Occupy Wall Street and its various satellites learned to be such a teeth-grinding pain in the side of civilized people? After all, reading Che Guevara, Mikhail Bakunin, Karl Marx, Cloward and Piven and Frantz Fanon in college is one thing, but someone had to teach these kids how to commit vandalism, obstruct the police and evade arrest with the almost gang-like level of expertise that so many of them employ.
Well, thanks to a set of little-watched Youtube videos, now we know at least one of the people who teaches this stuff. In fact, thanks to those same videos, you too can be privy to eight minutes of the “training” that Occupiers and their ilk enjoy, and learn it at the knee of one of the most experienced agitators out there.
First, let’s meet the teacher who’ll be guiding us through these training exercises. Class, this is Lisa Fithian:
Now, some of you might be thinking – Lisa Who? Don’t worry, you’re not the only one. You see, like a lot of Leftist agitators, Fithian is successful precisely because she doesn’t put herself out in front of the camera, but rather trains stool pigeons to do it for her. Some of those stool pigeons might be familiar to you, however. Witness this 2005 National Review article devoted to Fithian’s influence on a very famous protege – Cindy Sheehan:
Although she has received virtually no attention from reporters covering Sheehan, Fithian has been part of the Crawford protest from the very beginning. In a telephone interview with National Review Online on Sunday, she explained that she was with Sheehan in Dallas at a meeting of the antiwar group Veterans for Peace during the first days of August when the decision was made for Sheehan to go to the president’s ranch. On August 6, when Sheehan went to Crawford — in a bus with the words “Impeachment Tour” emblazoned on the side — Fithian went along. “I came the first day and helped her [Sheehan] set up the initial encampment,” Fithian said. With the exception of one brief absence, she has been there ever since.[...]
In November 2003, Fithian was profiled by The New York Times Magazine as she prepared to take part in protests at the Free Trade Area of the Americas meeting in Miami. As she did with NRO, Fithian demurred when asked if she was a leader of the demonstrations — she claimed that the movement was “nonauthoritarian” and “nonhierarchical” and had no leaders at all — but the Times was not convinced. “To say that Fithian is not a leader is an admirable political idea, but it’s not entirely honest,” the paper reported.
And she was a tough-minded leader, not at all a peace-and-love type. Her specialty was action; she wanted to break in, cut through fences, and shut things down. “You don’t go to Fithian when you want to carry a placard,” the Times profile said. “You go to her when you want to make sure there are enough bolt cutters to go around.” Asked for a fuller explanation of her role in the protests, Fithian said, “When people ask me, ‘What do you do?’ I say I create crisis, because crisis is that edge where change is possible.”[...]
“I guess my biggest thing is that as people who are trying to create a new world, I do believe we have to dismantle or transform the old order to do that,” Fithian continued. “I just fundamentally don’t believe it will ever serve our interests as it’s currently constructed.”
Fithian even has made a previous appearance here on the Blaze, in an article discussing the infamous black bloc tactics employed by some occupiers. From that article:
In a video posted Sunday, veteran activist organizer Lisa Fithian — who has provided training for Occupy Wall Street-affiliated groups — discussed the black bloc tactic and its origins in Germany in the 1970s. Fithian said she doesn‘t personally like black blocs because they’re vulnerable to infiltration — undercover police officers can easily slip in — and prefers to “work strategically, but know that we have different ways that we need to work.”
Here’s the video in question:
So now that we’ve discussed who the teacher for these sessions is, let’s dive right into what Fithian actually teaches the would-be destroyers of capitalism who are her students. The two videos of her training that have been located by the Blaze are – presumably – meant to be watched consecutively, and so we will be tackling them one at a time, starting with the two minute introductory video where Fithian puts her students through a set of bizarre warm-up exercises:
Fithian begins by telling the participants to run around in place while visualizing a shape around them. Why?
“We all have a certain amount of energy around our bodies,” Fithian says. “We can use that energy to disappear, we can use that energy for figuring out what’s near you or where to move away.”
However, being a socialist, Fithian can’t restrain herself from taking away her students’ freedom to imagine whatever shape they choose around themselves. Instead, she tells them to imagine either a square, a circle or a wedge around themselves. What follows is a minute or so of sheer pointlessness, as the various protesters run back and forth across the green, trying to avoid each other with varying degrees of success.
The second video, however, is where things turn from comedic to troubling, as it includes far more practical advice about actual protest tactics from Fithian:
Some highlights of Fithian’s lecture:
“So we walk in the foot steps of those that came before us, and everything we do right now is laying the grounds for your children. Right? We may not see the revolution in this moment, but our children are coming ahead and our work is for them. We’re laying the groundwork for them. What we are doing is building that new world now. So it’s really f–king important what we’re doing, everybody.”
“We’re programmed not to do this stuff.”
Over the course of the rest of the video, Fithian runs through demonstration exercises to show the participants how to run away from the police, as well as how to mob and physically intimidate cops in order to prevent arrests. She even tells them which finger to apply pressure on in order to escape from a police officer’s grip (it’s the thumb).
She then concludes with this:
“So let me say this one thing. You know, de-arresting might work, might get more people past, you never know. Sometimes, like if they were coming to (unintelligible) me, it doesn’t f–king matter if I get arrested. If I was an undocumented immigrant, I would much more want you to intervene on my behalf. So there’s a lot of times when we mean well and we want to help, but we sometimes put ourselves in places where we may not be wanted or needed.”
Truer words have never been spoken, Ms. Fithian. And one makes bold to say that your trainees are not wanting or needed almost anywhere in America right at this point.
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