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David Marty appearance on The Big Picture with Thom Hartmann (RT television in the US)

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Last week I was on RT tv to speak about the protests in Spain. This is a short interview -- and also my first TV -- where I am asked about the Mondragon Industries and the Northern regions.

Radio Interview:



TV Interview:

Discussion 29 Comments

  • Johannes 3rd Oct 2012

    Good interview David - very happy to see this!

  • David Marty 3rd Oct 2012

    Thank you Johannes, it is a small contribution but hopefully the first of many more to come.

  • Haroon Bajwa 3rd Oct 2012

    Loved the interview, David.

    Also, I very much appreciated the fact that you gave some exposure to IOPS during your analysis on RT TV by being acknowldedged as a member of an IOPS chapter in Spain.

    I pledge my support to my brothers and sisters in Spain.

    Long live solidarity!

    By the way, I'm looking forward to reading Occupy Strategy!


  • David Marty 3rd Oct 2012

    Thanks Haroon,

    I also gave another interview to a Washington Station but I can't seem to get the audio recording. Hopefully when I do I will post it too, it's a longer interview, which I preferred.

  • Poppy Lewis 3rd Oct 2012

    Great interview David, well said.

  • David Marty 3rd Oct 2012

    Thanks Poppy ;)

  • David Marty 3rd Oct 2012

    The name of the Washington Station was WPWC 1480 AM. If anyone familiar with it reads this I would like to get an audio or a transcript of the interview.

  • Jon Doe 3rd Oct 2012

    I think it is a great appearance. I think you generally did a good job and am happy to see it, but I strongly feel that representatives of IOPS should avoid critiquing the tactics of protestors in media interviews, or speculate that they may be police provocateurs with out concrete evidence. (even if there are small groups acting without general legitimacy to the protestors, the police are almost always the most violent party, and that is the point that should be hammered into the media.) In US movements we developed the St. Paul principals to assist in productive conversations about tactics and media:
    The St. Paul Principles:
    1. Our solidarity will be based on respect for a diversity of tactics and the plans of other groups.
    2. The actions and tactics used will be organized to maintain a separation of time or space.
    3. Any debates or criticisms will stay internal to the movement, avoiding any public or media denunciations of fellow activists and events.
    4. We oppose any state repression of dissent, including surveillance, infiltration, disruption and violence. We agree not to assist law enforcement actions against activists and others.

  • Verena Stresing 4th Oct 2012

    felicidades! Bien hecho y bien dicho!
    Y ademas han metido el nombre de IOPS tres vezes en grande debajo de tu nombre... es la primera vez que lo he visto asi de prominente en publico! Asi me gusta!!
    Pero que lastima que no te han dado la oportunidad de hablar de IOPS... la proxima vez, entonces!

  • David Marty 4th Oct 2012

    Thanks Jon,

    Unfortunately the interview was too short for me to talk about the evidence or to speak about it in more details but there are tons of evidence (video footage) and witnesses about police and protesters violence, including the police itself. The police have not only admitted their tactics publicly through their representative, but their own Union also took the streets the other day to protest (!) for being forced to repress democracy and freedom of assembly during the 25S protests.

    Also, even if I agreed with the St Paul principles, about not criticizing activists in public -- which I don't -- those that chose the violent course, a very small minority that you never see during assemblies, can not be part of a movement that is explicitely peaceful. Therefore I was criticizing people outside the movement. And quite frankly, when I see provocateurs, that throw stuff and then run to the hills, leaving others (usually the slower runners and the non-violent, ironically) to take the beatings, I hardly find much respect for them to be expressed public or privately. But then again, I don't agree with the St Paul principles. We could speak about that on some other occasion if you will ;)
    PS: may I ask why you are anonymous?

    @Verena: gracias ;) es verdad, pero la entrevista era muy corta y no venía a hablar de eso. Pero he dado otras entrevistas a radios americanas dónde hablo un poco más de todos estos temas. No estoy consiguiendo que me den una copia pero en cuanto lo haga las subo...

  • Fabio Sallustro 4th Oct 2012

    Well done.

  • Verena Stresing 4th Oct 2012

    Hi David, I agree fully with what you say about the St. Paul principles (which I had never heard of). And particularly the part about the provocateurs.

    As long as the criticism can stay internal, because it concerns internal/organisational matters, then of course it should.
    But why would I have to tolerate something that is against my own organizations principles? Or worse, my own conscience?

    Y si, si puedes subir otras entrevistas, seria genial! Necesitamos mas contenido en otras lenguas!!
    Ya he tenido bastantes conversaciones en varios blogs y forums sobre este tema, porque se nota que hay mas y mas gente que tiene miedo de que nosotros los "non-natives" vamos a quedarnos muy atras, y que esto tambien refleja al imagen de IOPS en el plan internacional!

    En cuanto tenga un poco de tiempo (IOPS me esta comiendo en vivo) voy a enviar un email en espanyol (teclado frances) a todos que pienso que pueden estar interesados.
    Pero en breve, la idea es de cambiar o mejorar la pagina web de IOPS de una forma en que se puede elegir TODO el contenido (blogs, forums, todo) en una lengua, y de creer una manera que lo hace facil para la gente de una lengua comun de entrar en contacto. Por el momento, si subes un blog en espanyol, lo puedes meter en la pagina "internacional" de IOPS. Pero dado la cantidad de blogs (99% de ellos en ingles) si el blog no esta elegido como este para "featured blog", se queda con suerte 2 dias en esta pagina. Pero como tenemos muy pocos miembros de habla espanyol (por ejempo), la probabilidad de que alguien se lo lea es muy baja. Y ademas tengo la impresion de que la gente que no habla ingles ni siquiera va a la agina internacional, sino directamente a sus paginas regionales. Y muchos blogs que no estan en ingles no se publican en la pagina internacional, al menos no los en frances.

    Asi que me interesa mucho saber si hay mucho intercambio entre los miembros de Espanya y otros paises Latinoamericanos.
    Siento que te he metido todo esto aqui, ya se que no tiene que ver nada con tu entrevista genial, pero antes de olvidarlo...

    • David Marty 5th Oct 2012

      Tu idea me parece buena, creo que has dado en el clavo de una problema importante en IOPS. Hará falta pensarlo bien para llegar a una solución inteligente. Veo que ya estás a mitad camino, suena muy bien ;)

  • Jon Doe 4th Oct 2012

    @david, The 3rd point of the St. Paul principals is the most important one for this exchange. It is about avoiding a critique of other activists choice of tactics in public or media appearances. People who are attending demonstrations in solidarity with a cause are part of the movement, even if one disagrees with them about how to respond to a militarized and violent police. Some individuals may make cowardly, foolish or dangerous choices in their response to police, but as someone in a media interview, it is critical to keep focused on the issues the movement is raising (ie austerity or police violence) and avoiding the "police violence-vs-protestor violence" frame that sensationalized media uses to scare people away from participation. The few individuals or infiltrators who are out of line with the agreed upon tactics should not be given the space in a interview to take the spotlight from the approach that the group as a whole agreed to. For more on why this is important check out media framing from: smartmeme.org

    The larger conversation needs to be had about how to define a "participatory" peacefulness. Saying that "those that chose the violent course... can not be part of a movement that is explicitly peaceful" is very harmful to movement building. Part of the task of proponents of a peaceful movement is to show those who are on your side but feel that violence is necessary that more creative tactics can overcome the violence of the state. This is not done by telling those who come out in solidarity that their presence is never welcome, and they are not part of the movement because they have chosen a "violent course".

    Also, how does one define a protestors "violent course" in the face of police attack? In mexico, I know of many committed pacifists ( for example, the front in defense of the land, outside mexico city) who march with, and respond to police attacks, with machetes because they feel that bringing, what I would consider, a "violent" weapon to the marches is the only way to have a peaceful march in mexico and deter police violence. They a broad organization that is very disciplined and almost never uses the machetes. They define pacifism as a refusal to resort to armed struggle. I don't know if I agree with them, but I think they are a critical part of any movement for a more peaceful and just world, even if they have chosen what could be viewed as a "violent course".

  • Jon Doe 4th Oct 2012

    PS. I'm not anonymous, I'm using a pseudonym. There are many personal, professional and political reasons why a pseudonym may be helpful to someone posting on a "revolutionary" website and arguing about revolutionary strategy. Judging from my posts, I would say "Jon Doe" is a very active and committed member of IOPS. If you must know more we can message. Thanks.

  • Haroon Bajwa 4th Oct 2012

    Hello Jon,

    I do not agree that anyone is above criticism, including activists for their behaviour.

    While the "Diversity of Tactics" approach may be in vogue, it is not without criticism. In Vancouver, the protest organizers referenced this approach in their anti-Olympic activities in 2010, when they were forced to explain the mischief, vandalism and destruction that was carried out inside the City during the peaceful but passionate marches by a small minority of people, who hid their identities.

    To make a long story short, this tactic failed. The public was turned off and distracted from the more important message surrounding the upside down priorities of governments: Why was Vancouver and Canada using tax payers' dollars to throw a party for the rich, while people were suffering from poverty and homlessness right in the very heart of the city. If you want to get an idea of what I'm talking about, google "Downtown East Side, Vancouver." The City has dragged its feet on doing anything about the situation there, and elsewhere in Vancouver.

    Not only was public support lost, people inside the movement splintered over this tactic. So, not only are activists not above criitism, so are ill-chosen and thoughtless tactics that do not progress the cause. Was it wise to condone the behaviour of a handful of people at the expense of raising the public's awareness of the issues and changing peoples' views? I think not.

    When in doubt, ask yourself: "Will this promote or hinder the cause?"

    We need to live how we want to become.

  • Jon Doe 4th Oct 2012

    @haroon: The most important issue addressed in my post was: is it appropriate or wise for someone representing IOPS in an interview with the international media to publicly determine that any people showing up at a protest are not a part of the movement? And how does that promote or hinder IOPS?

  • Peter Lach-Newinsky 4th Oct 2012

    Thanks for the interview, David and the first real IOPS exposure in the media. As for Jon's critique, I think this is perhaps the violence debate we have to have, and I fully agree with David, Verena and Haroon. Violence is always divisive and counter-productive. I'd go a step further and suggest IOPS would immensely benefit in its general attractiveness by expressedly committing itself to non-violence rather than taking a basically maybe sometimes/sit-on-the-fence position in its interim core documents.

    Just some quick dot-point arguments for a principled stance of non-violence and why I would argue that violence stands in contradiction to IOPS stated values of self-management, direct democracy and radical egalitarianism. (a) Is not the historical evidence by now fairly clear: 'the more violence, the less revolution' (Bart de Ligt) and vice versa? (b) Is violence not inherently anti-egalitarian/hierarchical favouring small elites mostly of macho young men over older people, women and children? (c) Does not violence necessarily open the door to anti-democratic secrecy, conspiracies and State agents provateurs who just love it because it's their language and it always immensely weakens our cause. (d) How can a peaceful society be achieved by violent means, i.e. by means that can quickly lead to the worst of all eventualtities, civil war? (e) How can a peaceful, participatory society be 'prefigured' by violent means?

    • David Marty 5th Oct 2012

      I completely agree with all points, though I repeat that I am not against violence per say. I am against violence for all these reasons you mention, though sometimes, in certain rare (very rare) cases it can be justified. In the case of the US, Spain and 'modern'democracies it rarely is the case that violence is legitimate. I agree.

      When I saw five guys beating and kicking some cop that was on the floor and then running away, I can't help thinking that this man has a family and he is just a worker following orders. Again, I have a hard time finding good arguments in defense of that type violence.

  • Christof Franz 5th Oct 2012

    Concerning the violence/non-violence question:

    I think Jon's critique and the 3rd point of the St. Paul principals are very important.

    There is an interesting piece about the question of violence by David Graeber: Concerning the Violent Peace-Police. You can find it here:

    http://nplusonemag.com/concerning-the-violent-peace-police .

    While it is a specific response to Chris Hedges and his utterances about "the cancer in occupy", it deals with the more general question about violence and non-violence in movements and how to deal with it and the media.

    I think it raises the following question:

    Isn't it itself an appeal to violence if one calls for the exclusion of those who choose violence as a tactic ("those that chose the violent course ... can not be part of a movement that is explicitely peaceful"). Isn't it an appeal to violence if one calls for a peace police?

    Graeber writes:
    "Successful movements have understood that it’s absolutely essential not to fall into the trap set out by the authorities and spend one’s time condemning and attempting to police other activists. One makes one’s own principles clear. One expresses what solidarity one can with others who share the same struggle, and if one cannot, tries one’s best to ignore or avoid them, but above all, one keeps the focus on the actual source of violence, without doing or saying anything that might seem to justify that violence because of tactical disagreements you have with fellow activists."

    And about Gandhi and his stance on violence:
    "Over the course of the next 40 years, Gandhi and his movement were regularly denounced in the media, just as non-violent anarchists are also always denounced in the media (and I might remark here that while not an anarchist himself, Gandhi was strongly influenced by anarchists like Kropotkin and Tolstoy), as a mere front for more violent, terroristic elements, with whom he was said to be secretly collaborating. He was regularly challenged to prove his non-violent credentials by assisting the authorities in suppressing such elements. Here Gandhi remained resolute. It is always morally superior, he insisted, to oppose injustice through non-violent means than through violent means. However, to oppose injustice through violent means is still morally superior to not doing anything to oppose injustice at all."

  • David Marty 5th Oct 2012

    @Jon Doe:

    Hello again Jon ;)

    When I asked about your pseudonym I might have offended you and I trully apologize, it was not my intention. It was purely a question meant to get to know you better. Nothing else implied, and I was certainly not questioning your level of committment (which is always a silly thing to do, anyway, wouldn't you agree?).

    Now, regarding the question of violence/non-violence, I think you raise good points and I feel I must explain myself a bit better.

    I don't think that violence -- in itself -- should be excluded. I agree with that and the Mexican case is one of many other good examples.

    What I have a problem with is with the fact that those that chose violence -- in the Madrid case -- did not consult their decision with those that are most affected by that decision. So, what I have a problem with is the violation of self-management. Purely and simply.

    Diversity is important, but only insofar that those most affected by any decision made in the name of diversity are ok with it.

    Now, I agree that diversity is indeed as important a value as self-management (and equity and solidarity, for that matter). So, BECAUSE diversity is so important to us, it should raise a very high bar for anyone to veto any decision that promotes it. It means that if you are only remotely affected by an initiative from a small minority, then too bad for you, diversity rules. But if you are HUGELY affected by it, then maybe your voice should be heard. Maybe you should even have veto power over it.

    Imagine that 10 people from an assembly of 200 want to try a different course to communicate about a certain protest. Let's say they disagree witht the majority. Let's say they find the tactics used so far unproductive and unoriginal. Now, let's say that letting them try and experiment costs the entire group an amount of resources (money, time, material, etc.) that is deemed affordable. Well, in this case I would argue that diversity was more important than how the majority feels about this small group. In fact, I would make it very hard for anyone from the majority to prove that promoting this initiative (thereby promoting diversity) is affecting them so much that they should have veto power. Maybe the group should allocate part of their yearly budget (say 5-15%) to finance these sort of initiatives only... That is what promoting diversity would mean, in my view.

    Vetoing any initiative -- and reducing diversity -- should pass a legitimacy test: “is this idea costing so much to everyone that it becomes unfair?”, “Is this idea substantially violating self-management? Equity? Solidarity?” or “Is it being sexist, racist, homophobic?” Etc.

    So, how about the violence in this case? How about the violence in the case of Madrid, sept 25th? Well, the violence that we saw during the 25S protests was the kind that affected the rest of us to such a high degree that anyone from the majority should have had some sort of veto power, in my opinion. If we agree that violence should always pass a very rigourous legitimacy test, then we should agree it did not pass it in this case.

    But again, it doesn't mean I am against violence per say. In fact not even Gandhi was against violence per say. I am not familiar with your Mexican case but you seem to know what you are talking about and it does sound like a good case in point where violence passed the legitimacy test. Violence is context-specific.

    Also, I strongly disagree with not criticizing ourselves publicly. That is just the kind of corporatism "play-for-the-team" we see elsewhere in party politics. I find it counter-productive. Ironically I think it even goes against diversity. I’m afraid that when we stop being critical we start doing propaganda instead, which I hate no matter where it comes from.

    What I find more important is HOW we deal with our disagreements. Are we bringing arguments to the table? Are we open to other people's opinions? Are we being relevant or just personal and mean? I think that anyone from outside the movement that sees how we deal with dissent is ten times more likely to read about us and maybe even join us if we provide a good example for how a political scene should look like in a real democracy.

  • David Marty 5th Oct 2012


    You say:

    "Isn't it itself an appeal to violence if one calls for the exclusion of those who choose violence as a tactic ("those that chose the violent course ... can not be part of a movement that is explicitely peaceful"). Isn't it an appeal to violence if one calls for a peace police?"

    I'm afraid I don't understand what you are saying, can you explain, please?

  • 5th Oct 2012

    I understand the point Jon, Chritof and Graeber are making regarding the St. Paul principle - staying focused on the conditions that have brought about the action and the need to maintain solidarity by not "publicly" identifying the actions of some demonstrators as inappropriate or disruptive to avoid justifying police violence in the eyes of the public which only strengthens the position of the State - but, if I don't know beforehand that the guy next to me is going to start a confrontation by say throwing a brick, that's a problem that needs to be addressed. It points to a lack of solidarity among those demonstrating; it will be used against them. It suggests a lack of organization and purpose.

    If the State via the police initiate the violence and those demonstrating do not respond in kind, the public impression will be altered. That's why the direct actions of King, Jr. in Birmingham were proceeded by a series of workshops on nonviolence where they each asked themselves: "Are you able to accept blows without retaliating?" What King and Gandhi had in common I think was that they saw no alternative except "to present our very bodies as a means of laying our case before the conscience of the local and the national community." They expected to get their heads cracked, but they chose not to retaliate, and in the end they won.

    I realize the actions in Spain today are different from Birmingham in the 60's, they are larger, more spontaneous and diverse, but I agree with the others, violence on the part of the demonstrators is counterproductive and those participating in the action should try eliminate it amongst themselves away from the cameras and the press. It's a matter of furthering their solidarity, organization and purpose against the injustices of the State.

    • 5th Oct 2012

      In the last paragraph I should have writen: ...violence on the part of [some] demonstrators...

  • Jon Doe 5th Oct 2012

    @david, Hello, and thanks for your detailed reply. I did feel that your question about my "anonymity" was an attempt to discredit my opinion and perspective, thanks for clarifying that it was not. Tamien gracias por hablando con mi en ingles, yo se que no es su lengua primeria. (also, thanks for speaking with me in english, I know its not your first language).

    My main point is that, from my experience/analysis in the US, to call any protestors "violent" in a media interview is a pretext for politicians and police captains to greatly increase police repression. I don't imagine the situation is very different in spain. A simple comment about "violent protestors" in what is otherwise is a friendly interview, can easily be picked up by other media outlets and spun to create a firestorm of hype that justifies the use of police to kick in doors, smash heads, and use prosecutors to bring conspiracy charges against anyone involved in the protests. There are many other ways to critique tactics that you feel are violating self-management. For example, saying something like "after police attacked, some people defended themselves and clashed with police, while the vast majority maintained there brave commitment to non-violence and refused to respond to police provocation."

    We live in increasingly media driven states that use hyped up images of terrorism and violence to justify extreme amount of violence against the less powerful. I think this was your first major TV interview, and I think you did a great job overall, but for the future it is very dangerous to use the words "violent" when describing protestors. I wouldn't want the words of an IOPS representative to be spun by international media conglomerates as a pretext for state violence. I know you were interviewing in a language that was not your first, so it is very difficult. Just please be very careful when representing IOPS, even in "friendly" interviews. But also don't let my concern stop you from continuing to do great interviews and getting to word out about IOPS.

    In terms of the larger debate about diversity of tactics and non-violence, I don't think that we have a significant disagreement. Though I'm pretty ignorant about spain, I trust your account of the events of S25 in spain, and I agree that there is a need to critique people who violate self-manageing norms, (like agreements to not respond forcefully to police violence). But, it is important how those critiques happen, and that those critiques be "internal" to the movement. we can debate "public" vs "internal", but an international media interview is never "internal" and is a very dangerous sort of "public" where you have little control over the impact of your words, and little ability to respond if those words are used against you, organizations, or movements you are a part of.

  • David Marty 5th Oct 2012

    @Jon Doe:

    Thank you for your reply ;)

    I get your point, I really do. But you have to understand that when I spoke about protestors violence, I did not speak about all of them, I spoke about a minority. Also, I did not say they responded with violence, I said they started it, they provoked it. Of course we can speculate whether any of them were working together with the police, that we will never know, but denying in a public interview what EVERYONE saw on video is a little too self-indulgent, don't you think? If anyone who was at the protest hears me deny there was any violence on the part of the crowd she is not going to want to hear the rest of the interview. I know I wouldn't.

    Also, every other protest of the 15M movement or associated groups have so far been very peaceful, even the Government Representative said so. We don't live in that atmosphere of constant violence and attacks from the government like you describe. There we no cases of "extreme violence"* to report, so we don't need to be so defensive, we can pretty much speak freely here without fearing that the media will distort it or use it against us. If the right-wing media want to present us as violent radicals there is nothing we can do to prevent it. I don't know how it is exactly in the US but let's just say this is not Egypt.

    *You say: "...kick in doors, smash heads, and use prosecutors to bring conspiracy charges..." if that was happening you would certainly have a point, but it is not happening.

    If the 15M movement has not yet turned into a mass movement with real political clout we should be looking inward, it is us we must blame. State and corporate propaganda is limited when dealing with domestic affairs of this magnitude and police brutality is counter-productive for them in the long run. So my opinion is we have to speak freely, even in public (so long it is constructive, we mustn’t criticize just for the sake of it). We should act like a mass movement, not like an isolated group of individuals under siege. There is no need to be defensive we should be active and act confident. If we act like we're besieged and under constant repression it will create a certain climate -- a culture of armed resistance if you will -- within our organization that will affect our membership. Do you know what I mean?

    Also, don't think that police officers are not listening to us when they are off-duty. They are workers like you and me. They have families and mortgages. They work long hours and when everyone takes a pay cut, they take a pay cut too. So when we remain mostly peaceful and we describe the situation as they happened, we gain their respect. Not all of them, for sure, but enough to have them take the streets and protest with us. How do you think the government representatives felt when they saw the police protesting on the side of the 15M?

    Having said that, had I had more time to explain myself here I would have explained how the movement is mainly peaceful, but the interview was very short and I am new to it.

  • Haroon Bajwa 5th Oct 2012

    I can safely say that my views on the subject of violence/non-violence have been well articulated by David Marty and John Vincent. I thank both of you for saving me from a lot of typing.

    In Solidarity

  • Will Henry Lapinel 7th Oct 2012

    David, great interview - I just purchased Occupy Strategy as part of the 3-volume print set on ZNet and look forward to reading it.

    I agree that the use of violence is a decision that affects everyone and therefore people should not use violence as part of a larger demonstration unless that has been agreed upon by everyone involved (and, I think there are very few situations, if any, in which the use of violence is effective as a political tool).

    I also don't think we should feel pressured to avoid criticizing fellow activists just because there's a camera on our face. That seems dogmatic. And in this case, I can't imagine mainstream media taking a clip from RT TV and trying to exploit it - mainstream doesn't acknowledge independent or alternative media.

  • David Marty 8th Oct 2012

    " I can't imagine mainstream media taking a clip from RT TV and trying to exploit it - mainstream doesn't acknowledge independent or alternative media."

    Me neither ;)