In Her Own Words: The Political Beliefs of the Protester Who Interrupted Bernie Sanders

Comments

1
Props.
2
Mara Jacqueline Willaford, however, does hate white people.
3
I wonder if her Evangelical Christianity is the normal hating-on-the-gays type?
4
I'm still curious as to why we haven't heard from Mara. We're only hearing from the calmer of the two, not the one who was shrieking to the point of losing her voice and looking like she was 2 seconds away from using physical violence on an old man for asking her to be reasonable.
5
She's doing a good job of alienating a chunk of people that *were* in her court.
6
Glad someone reached out to get her side. I vacillate on reform and revolution and I think most sane people that aren't brain washed rock the voters probably understand the despair we are all feeling with electoral politics; I voted Goodspaceguy in many elections here and I wrote in Vermin Supreme in the last presidential election, i'll write in Jill Stein or Vermin in this one if Bernie isn't on the ballot. One solid trend increases in most every election, eligible voters are steadily saying none of this applies or reflects what's important to me or my community. Even the POTUS has acknowledged that "voters" are way out ahead of politicians right now and that's a problem. The more people that don't participate, the more space is opened for a real candidate to come in and capture a constituency. Non votes are votes and that voice is a big one growing all the time.

And I don't read any hate towards white people in what she said @2 and what she said is true about power as well. She may hurt you individually or hurt your feelings personally but she has no power to oppress your race. She dodge the question a little but she's pointing out a very important fact about how it works.
8
Okay. So reject democratic politics, and run around like radicals disrupting white people's exercise of free speech. Great plan.
I can understand rage, especially youthful rage. But stomping out other citizens' free speech is nothing but mischief. It wasn't any liberal racism that caused the anger of the crowd; it was the contempt shown for their efforts to practice the basics of democracy.
Why the Stranger and MSNBC are amplifying and legitimating this childish and dangerous political nihilism is beyond me. I thought Charles Mudede's critique was spot on.
9
In the lead up to the interview, one correspondent responds to another by saying "well... I'd walk that back. I dont think this was a KKK rally.."
WTF

I think some of these folks actually have forgotten who their enemies are and what they are like.
10
@6
if non votes were votes, while would Republicans try to disenfranchise black people?
11
'The "anger and rage that we saw erupt," Jayapal wrote, is "not the problem." Rather, she wrote, "it's a symptom of the disease of unacknowledged and un-acted upon racism." '

Will nobody address the issue of consent? The people in the audience did not consent to give up their afternoon to listen to these two stage-stormers. The people who organized the rally did not consent to give their time to organizing political theater. They had their efforts stolen from them, and what they feel is exactly the anger they should feel.

Oddly, people who are normally very much in favor of obtaining consent seem to have their values disappear in a poof when conflicted over white guilt. If you were in the audience and were happy to give your time to these two speakers, hats off to you. However, nobody asked the person sitting next to you if they were willing to give their time.
12
Interesting. Did you leave out the part where she explained how any of this is going to help BLM achieve its goals?
13

How come BLM gave HRC a free pass today?

14
@3 She said she doesn't give a fuck about the white gaze.

Seriously, though, even though I thought my initial kneejerk anger through over the weekend and got the message she was trying to send, the more it becomes about her, the madder I get. I know that I don't have to like her. I also know that the anger is valid. I know that. But the more she talks, the less focused she is, and it's starting to really bug me.

"I don't give a fuck about the white gaze." Then why are you going on MSNBC?

Because she doesn't care about the white gaze, I feel like the things she's looking for, she's just not paying attention to whether they happen or not but continuing to accuse them of not happening.

This, from her Facebook: "Please note that white people have now demanded more explanations of me, a person who has no social or political power to affect their lives about confronting a rich old white man, than they have of politicians and police around the genocide, slavery, and disposability of Black lives in America."

She is a great speaker and could do amazing things if she bothered to offer solutions. But she seems absolutely nihilistic and narcissistic, and is enjoying the attention quite a bit. (Trait I'm suspecting of being Millennial in origin, tbh.) It's so fucking frustrating that she's throwing it all towards burning shit down.
15
She's whole lot smarter here than she sounded on Saturday, that's for sure. And I have totally respect her guts. She's growing on me.

My question is, since so many members of the Mt Calvary Christian Center, who ARE virulently anti-gay bigots, were part of her contingent - is she an anti-gay bigot? What are here other attitudes about social justice for every minority group like gays? And if she is a an anti-gay bigot would it be cool if Gay activists crashed her next BLM event and shut it down?

Some people may say well that's irrelevant. No. No. It's not. She has now successfully made her self the poster child of tactic - not a social justice moment - a tactic. The BLM stuff as far as the media and the left at large is concerned is totally secondary. So. What does she feel about gay marriage and marriage equality? And who else can use this tactic of shutting shit down to get attention just because there is a captive audience?
16
Activism? Looks like trolling to me.
17
@10, Short term and arguably a short sighted strategy. Electoral politics let off pressures, when people feel disenfranchised it give way to a lot of disruption. Riots, Occupy, resistance outside the voting both is on the rise because of the voice exercised by choice that is being taken away because we have no left or right just neolibral economic technocrats that maintain the status quo. Disenfranchisement hurts the system, it's short sighted for anyone to cut anyone out. Republicans enact ID laws, Democrats pay lipservice and patronize about realities while pushing out left ideas. The more people don't have option in the voting booth the more they will seek them outside of it.
18
@11 says: "Will nobody address the issue of consent?"

I think the young women WERE addressing the issue of consent. Black people are definitely (and loudly) withdrawing their consent to be dominated by a system that privileges light skinned people to the point that young black men are disposable, more or less.

The young black leaders Bernie marched with were assassinated under regimes run by Bernie's predecessors in power. Not much has changed, has it?

I see why people are screaming. Don't you?
19
Wow, this girl is all over the fucking place.
20
And @7 restated a point I've been making all weekend- these two managed to hijack a speech by the only candidate that they could ever dream, in a million fucking years, of even getting within spitting distance of. Do you seriously think these "activists" could have pulled this off with a speech by Hillary or Jeb? Fuck no, they would've been shot on site.
And, yes, I'm curious how that evangelical christianity is working out in regards to her acceptance of others who make lifestyle choices her lord might not agree with.
21
@13 Good question. But each BLM action should be taken at face value. There isn't some sort of sanctioning body. People that look at this one and somehow tie it to the Netroot action don't even realize that Netroots is a venue where groups, partisan and non partisan, sell themselves to the democratic party. The object there was to grab attention and force themselves onto the playing field inside the party. In which case it was very safe to do so because Hilary wasn't even there. The motivation in that action was very different from what happened Saturday.
23
@3, @15 In terms of her religious views, she did write this 5 years ago (which of course, your views can change in 5 years). This just sounds downright nutty and homophobic..yet I'm a supremacist because I'm white.

http://www.thefalcononline.com/2010/11/b…
25
@11 says: "Will nobody address the issue of consent?"

Your statement reveals exactly the hypocrisy of your privilege. Evidently it has escaped you that the core problem of structural racism is that it affects people who have not given their consent. Their whole lives. And the fact that you are OUTRAGED by a single event that didn't go the way that you wanted it to, that made you feel put out, is EXACTLY how victims of structural racism feel every single day of their lives. Can you put on your empathy hat for a minute and really think about that? Think about how desperately hopeless, how beat down, how disenfranchised you would feel when something like this happens to you every day of your life? I admit that when I saw it happen, I, too, was pissed off. It took me at least a day to realize that my anger and resentment of the 'interruption' were, in the grand scheme of things, a speck of sand compared to how this country has treated black people for over 200 years. This is not white guilt. This is a realization that I was not listening, and was not thinking about others as much as I was thinking about myself.

Get a grip and come to terms with the fact that if you believe that everyone must always be respectful of your time and your feelings, then you are truly the shiniest example of privilege in this city. Because most people don't. They can't even imagine what that would actually feel like if everyone actually was respectful of their time and their feelings. And that is fucking sad.
26
@25 I agree with you, but let's not forget that these people are supporting sanders because he is, in part, trying to solve issues of income inequality (which is heavily correlated with racial inequality). So I wouldn't say the audience didn't care about others. They were there because they DO care about others.
27
@26 You're right, they were there because they care. Which is why the crowd and Bernie were the perfect targets to be challenged to do even better. The gal manufactured a 'teachable moment'. One that many of us needed, even though we didn't even know it, and even if we might resent her for it. It was exceptionally brave, although when you are that desperate to incite change, it probably didn't feel to her like she was being brave - she was just doing what she thought needed doing. And Bernie impressed the hell out of me because he took her seriously, and obviously gave some real thought to what he should do about it - both in the moment, and in the days after.
28
She had two hours to interrupt other speakers but didn't.

Let's face it, her 15 minutes ran out when she supported Palin.
29
The first thing that crossed my mind when I saw these two screeching in the ear of the man who had already offered to let them speak was how similar it was to Andrew Breitbart's reactions to Occupy protesters at CPAC a few years ago. He repeated yelled, "Behave yourself!" at them, when he wasn't referring to them collectively as animals, or filthy, raping, murdering freaks.

However right their cause might be, I really hope they're embarrassed and ashamed by the comparison of their chosen methods.
30
I'm with @20 - I can't wait until Hillary comes to town. That should be one interesting event.
31
1) No, Ms. Egomaniacal activist, it wasn't _you_ who 'launched a national conversation' on racial injustice. Attention whores never changed a damn thing.

2) You attitude towards Sanders displays your incredible naivete towards the political situation in America today. It shows you haven't been paying attention, and talk from people who just woke up and recently realized about this 'injustice' thing is damn cheap. Overly emotional shrieking and complete historical ignorance is the province of the right-wing blovosphere. Seriously, if you can't tell the difference between Sanders and any other politician, you're no different than people like O'Reilly & Limbaugh.

3) The big thing these two need to realize is how completely fucked up things are. BLM is important and vital. It's on a long list of other issues that are important and vital. The attitude that BLM somehow trumps all others is just immature egotism. What about women's access to healthcare? What about economic inequality? Your actions show that you don't care about anything else but yourself and your super-cool "uppitiness."
32
This is such bullshit what these two women did. Other women worked hard to organize this event, and thousands of people came down to hear Bernie, not them. They destroyed a rally for social security and Medicare -- which is exactly what the liberal press wants, the conservative press - and their actions were totally true to the Tea Party which destroyed town hall meetings across the country on health care.

The real problem with liberalism is that they allow this kind of bullshit to take place.

Then, people show up to demand that single payer be on the table according to the bulk of medical opinion and the bulk of opinion among the American people - and they're arrested and thrown out.

These women are fake radicals. Hiding behind a big Christian bullshit cross and bullshit blackness. They go to an expensive school and have no concerns about real economic issues and real justice. They're just narcissistic, selfish egomaniacs.

It was horribly unfair what they did, but the attention this paper gives them - instead of social security and Medicare is just plain stupid.

15,000 people turned out to see Bernie Sanders -- and it would be 20,000 except for the fact that they destroyed a rally and destroyed 5,000 from the total count, plus, they destroyed an opportunity for the American people to hold a political candidate accountable on issues related to social security and Medicare.

These two programs are critical to ending poverty in the United States. They are conservatives exploiting issues related to racism. Stop handing them a damn mic.

It's social security's birthday this week. Where is the coverage?
33
@25-- I am pleased to hear that you reached a moment of epiphany by having two protesters screech in your ear and cancel your speaker. I've talked to several people who reached an epiphany during EST training, when they were kept in a room and forced to wet their pants. So you might look into that as well.

I wasn't actually at the event, so it's no skin off my ass. But this did deliver a "teachable moment" to me. It taught me never to participate in an event where BLM will be allowed on stage. Similar to "Occupy"-- which collapsed with no real gain and had many of the early active members walk off in disappointment-- the lack of org structure makes it impossible for the group to deliver a message or work towards an achievable goal.
34
Here is a shot of the very successful Sanders rally in Los Angeles today. Count the number of women of color in the front section. In the first 20 feet next to the stage, white dudes no not have majority, or even from the look of it, plurality. Women appear to have majority, and white appears to be minority. I see black, Hispanic, South Asian. http://imgur.com/YNdGbky
35
Clue: If you "burn it down," you have no idea what will grow in its place. At this point in the political life of America, we could do a lot worse than reintroducing the socialist spirit of the New Deal that pulled so much of the country back from the brink of abject poverty in the 1930s.

That's never going to happen at this rate. The subversion of the rally was heartbreaking. I'm sad that the organizers didn't have security on the stage to fend off the interlopers. This was disgraceful and extremely negligent treatment of your featured speaker.
36
I don't even believe she knows who Sanders is or what he stands for. All I see is a priviliged little girl from a private Christian university who has been coddled by conservative parents.
37
I didn't buy what these ladies were supposedly selling to begin with, and it stinks more with each passing day - and all the earnest white liberal 'splaining isn't making it smell any better.

38
"If it weren't for me, you wouldn't be talking about illegal immigration." -- Donald Trump

"I helped launch a national conversation around race and electoral politics and respectability that still going strong two days later." -- Marissa Johnson

A tossup as to which one is more self-aggrandizing? Or is "demented" a better term?
39
@36: So walking back from your slightly hysterical theory that they are right wing plants? :)

You know what I see here? A lot of white peoples,e who can't wrap their head around that maybe black people are getting to the point where they don't give fuck what we think, and don't give fuck about our time table for their issues.
40
She doesn't strike me as someone who's capable of "burning it down", or thriving in whatever the post-fire world would be. I wish the Stranger would give her a regular column though, for the sheer WTH factor.
41
Oh Jesus fuck.
42
Nothing like literally identifying as a crazy person (the daughter of two tea-partiers who went to college to "change her mind" to become a devout evangelical christian) to try to make an evidence-based argument about systemic abuse! At least we understand why she likes to screm and shout in public now, amirite?
43
@39

I don't think they're right wing plants, I think they're just right wing shits who love the idea of deeming one of the most progressive presidential candidates that we've ever had. They know very well that if the African American population sees Sanders as just another "old rich white guy" (while ignoring the presidence of potentially having our first Jewish president after our first black one) who they shouldn't get excited or hopeful about.

They're assholes. Homophobic, Sarah Palin loving ones at that. And of course they don't care what we think! They're conservatives! They hate the idea of freedom for everyone and will stoke the bullshit so that we can have a conservative in office in about a year and a half.

If you believe that they actually have these grievences and stopped Bernie's speech in the hope of creating real change, you're absolutely delusional.
44
This activist is 100% trolling. Don't even try and tell me that a local rep of BLM would not have been able to get time on the mic by coordinating with Sanders' staff in advance. This was a bullshit stunt protesting against a resistance that does not exist. A little bit of effort in advance would have given a stronger platform if they have actual local support goals.
45
@ 8, agreed. If you listen to the YouTube you will also hear about how she felt that the organizers got violent towards her. Um... yeah. They were shouting in getting in peoples faces, Bernie walked away and she was stopped from going after him. Give me a break. It is disappointing that national BLM will not speak out against what they did. As someone else said, Narcissist is right. @36, agreed. @6, no one 'reached out', cleary you didnt listen to the interview, she handpicked who she was interviewed by and didnt speak to media after her stunt when she would of had the chance to say what she said. But instead she wants to act like a child and throw a temper tantrum.
46
What Johnson did was the deluded and confused act of a wacko religious freak on a self-indulgent solipsistic ego trip fueled by a sense of racial ethnocentric entitlement. [Yeah, that’s a mouthful.] The Chinese have an expression for folks who are so full of themselves that you can't tell them anything without their “spilling over”: “[so-and-so] is a full cup.” And her off-putting extremist and narrow-minded responses in the interview above show that quality in spades and display the in-your-face boorishness of an immature psyche.

Indeed, in her rhetoric we can hear a young person who seems to think that hers is the only conscience on the block regarding BLM. But, we didn’t need her self-aggrandizing guerilla tactic to teach us what we already know because – after all, Of Course, Black Lives Matter! No sane human being (regardless of color) disputes that. Frankly, we know and have known for decades that the sick, insidious, racial bigotry that can be found virtually everywhere in this so-called “land of the free” is a profound pathology from which the body politic has not yet been purged, let alone cured.

By their grandstanding, what Johnson and the others apparently failed to “get” is that BLM was not being disparaged by the fact that the issues at this rally were focused on social, economic and retirement security, all of which ALSO matter to most folks (regardless of color). So, in the end, what Johnson et al. succeeded in gratuitously sabotaging and precluding was a rally to support no less worthy causes also deserving the support of all.

Contrary to some comments here, however, I dispute that what Johnson and the others did in commandeering the stage and microphone reflected poorly or negatively on the BLM movement itself because the legitimacy and righteousness of the cause of Black Lives Matter stand by themselves, in no way diminished or done a disservice by what Johnson and her cohorts did in the name of BLM. In fact, that cause, among others, lies and remains at the heart of what American consciousness in the 21st century must face and process, and the sooner the better after centuries of delay.

What Johnson did was the deluded confused act of a wacko religious freak on a self-indulgent solipsistic ego trip fueled by a sense of racial ethnocentric entitlement. The Chinese have an expression for folks who are so full of themselves that you can't tell them anything: [so-and-so] is a full cup. Here we have a young woman who thinks hers is the only conscience on the block. Of Course, Black Lives Matter! No sane human being (regardless of color) disputes that. And that was never the issue at this rally, where social, economic and retirements security ALSO matter to folks (regardless of color).
47
Everything she says is consistent with Glenn Beck and Rush Limbaugh.
48
I don't give a fuck what she thinks.

I do give a fuck about racist cops gunning down black people.
50
[i]If anything, Bernie Sanders should have been courting—before he went to any other major city—he should have been courting BLM. [/i]

Huh, I guess that's why Sanders spent the past three weeks literally courting a member of BLM to become his press secretary. Just shows that even when changes are made, they go completely unrecognized.
51
the further we get from this, the more i think that she, her ethnic, educational and cultural background, her tactics, her theories on race, the crowd's reaction, and all of our hand-wringing and tut-tutting are SO VERY SEATTLE.

she's only black if you buy the (racist) one-drop rule. she's just as white as obama - more, considering that her parents raised her fundamentalist and conservative. obama's mom was a wild woman - a leftist radical, if you will.
53
Lissa dear, it's fine and understandable to not give a fuck and not want to be on a timeline, but there's a smart way to not give a fuck and and stupid way to not give a fuck, and this was a stupid way.

As an example of a smart way to not give a fuck, I offer ACT UP's targeted actions at St. Patrick's and the like, or the Code Pink protesters: Know what you are doing, know your targets, and know what you are going to say. What they did was just a dumb mess, and trying to justify it is the sort of liberal condescension that conservatives talk about.
54
It would of course be wonderful if BLM showed up in black communities when a black on black murder occurrs, as is the case in 9 out of 10 such instances. Moreover, many of the blacks killed by the police are criminals. Yes, "the system" is the problem! The wages of slavery and its perversities know no end. American ghetto blacks must be the most fucked-up folks in the world, as African blacks are often the first to note. And that is not "pre-judice" , it is "judice" based on experience.
55
"Black people don't need to be respectable, black people don't need to go on your timetable, black people don't need to reach out to Bernie Sanders."

"dismantling the system that has never, ever, ever, ever done anything for black people and never will."

so, modern day Rosa Parks?
56
Wow, 54) we've gotten to the all out racist phase of this comment thread
57
Let me tell you what you should care about and how you should care about plzkthx HEY WHERE ARE YOU GOING GET BACK HERE
58
I don't know enough about Marissa Johnson or Mara Willaford to have any strong opinions about their intervention during the Bernie Sanders rally. I am concerned about the assumption that because Johnson is an evangelical Christian she must be right wing and/or anti-gay. MLW was also an evangelical Christian.
At the same time, I can also understand how those who desire social justice are concerned that this kind of action will play into the forces of the status quo and anti-progressive reactionaries. The political left was torn apart by identify politics in the 1960s and the radical right took advantage to install and then entrench their reactionary, anti-progressive regime. At the same time, the feminist movement, anti-war movement, civil rights movement, gay rights movement, etc. were necessary and have contributed a great deal to social progress in this country, despite the fact that much work remains to be done.
So, it seems the challenge is to build and strengthen a broad-based, progressive coalition that not only addresses ALL forms of social injustice and their structural components--whether based on race, gender, class, ethnicity, or sexual orientation--but that ALSO does so in a way that doesn't alienate potential allies so that it can actually play a role in shaping policies and decisions at all levels of the political system.
59
All she does is perpetuate the stereotype. This woman simply is not up to the task. Say something intelligent and thoughtful, and people might listen. She's getting her 15 minutes, but it's almost up, and she didn't do anything with it but hurt her own cause with it. She is filled with hatred and she is in no way constructive. What a mess.
60
Let's get real for a moment and listen to the thoughts of some really long-term Black-American activists, who are really on the progressive side:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OLXzxqcZ…

http://www.blackagendareport.com/node/46…
61
Call me what you will, but let me state up front that this Washington State Senator Pramila Jayapal sure does remind me of Bobby Jindal.

And I don't like her one bit . . .
62

@36, Bravo to @36, sums it up the no Stranger staffer (or Seattle Weekly staffer) ever could!

63
"I would say that anybody who hears me say that, and thinks about their feelings first, is a white supremacist."

what a wonderful false equivalency, really drives the point home how little she thinks of others. then again how dare those people being shouted at have feelings about being unfairly labeled by a young naive woman that has obviously lived a lifetime of inequality

"Even if I did hate white people, I don't have the political or social power to oppress white people. And it's verifiably false [that I hate white people]. So flip that. The question is actually, Do you love black people? To the extent that you are literally willing to sacrifice your life. Are you on some Underground Railroad type stuff, or are you not? Because that's the tip I'm on. So I think framing is really important."

yes. underground railroad type stuff. how oppressive can those aging liberal white supremacists on and soon to be on medicare and social security benefits be? super oppressive apparently, booing-ly oppressive. just leaving emotional scars that will never heal like a whip lashing at the backs of the poor and enslaved.
64
@53: In 1999, ACT-UP and others shut down the first three of Al Gore's campaign launch events over the issue of US retaliation against countries that broke patents on AIDS meds. And mainstream liberals were aghast. Six months later Pres. Clinton signed an order ending that retaliation.

ACT-UP also completely disrupted the UNGASS (UN General Assembly Special Session) on AIDS in 2006 over the issue of access to meds. That is now widely regarded as fundamentally transforming access to care in the global south. And many veterans of that effort are panning hard for the upcoming UNGASS on global (illicit) drug policy.

ACT-UP, Fight Back! is indeed a good model for Black Lives Matter and I hope they do a shit ton more.
65
Nothing says I'm a white dude like wearing a baby blue oxford shirt you've had since the mid 80's. Rachel Dolezal needs to loan Bernie a dishiki.
66
@64 that's great in that instance, but what good does trying to open peoples eyes that already see do?

protests work to bring light to issues unseen and then the people democratically do the rest. police reform and the issue of police brutality is not as straight forward as denying medicine to sick people. not even as straight forward as drug reforms, which would be an ultimate start to ending racially driven policing and imprisonment tactics.

the power of voting will work incrementally but it will work peacefully. what would those interruptors have us do? start a new civil war? break people out of prison?

the idea is to change the criminal behavior of the powers that be without the use of criminal behaviors ourselves.
67
Remember the ineffective ACT/UP activists at The Rocket: just as clueless as them.

Look, everyone said we couldn't legalize MJ or gay marriage and I had to show people how, and embarrass the Powers That Be by using effective tactics. Racism is pretty much the same.

But you need effective tactics.

Which these aren't.
68
@67: are you off your meds again? What the fuck are you even talking about re ACT-UP and the Rocket?

And you had fuck all to with the effort to legalize cannabis. You weren't involved in any way shape or form with either I-75 or 502 (except maybe by donating, and I doubt you even did that).
70
Here are some of my thoughts on what happened.

People keep asking why they did this at a Sanders rally. My take on it is that the women are from Seattle and Sanders was visiting Seattle. If it had been any other candidate they would have tried the same thing, although they wouldn't have been as successful. Their message was more about the racism that exist in progressive Seattle. They think that progressives talk a good game, but don't actually show up.

They could have done it at a Republican event, but no one be shocked to find out that they are racist. They are saying that they don't want to follow, but lead. Sure Sanders might be their best option, but that doesn't mean in their minds that it won't just be the same old same old.

If they had been successful doing this at a Republican rally they would have been cheered on by progressives. I have been greatly disturbed by the name calling that I read on progressive site. Using all kinds of nasty names. I read one comment of someone say that if they were there they would have punched them in the face. What's up with that?

I would also point out that disrupting conservative events has been a tactic used by progressives for decades. Why should this be viewed any differently?

I think that they have some legitimate concerns. People say that they are attacking the one candidate that is most concerned about racism in this country and that BLM should dialogue with Sanders, instead of attack him for being a racist. But like the saying goes the squeaky wheel gets the oil.

These women were not paid to do this by any candidate trying to tarnish Sanders.

Although, few people will change their minds when ordered to bow down before them. And her comment that if she called you a racist, and your first thought is about yourself then you're a white supremacist who does that when someone calls you an offensive name. If she is an evangelical Christian why is she throwing around the word fuck? I know that it carries weight, but don't they teach you in church not to use such language?

I am interested in learning their views on Obama's Presidency? .
71

@53 and @64 FTW. Act-Up is the best model for political theater that actually forces change.
72
Ew. She should be on a ticket with Trump, they both are excellent trolls who are great at getting attention without any ability or desire to actually govern. She may not be a card carrying Tea Party member, but she certainly has their complete irrational narcissism and immunity to criticism down pat.
73
Did she and her companion pay for the microphone and the PA system? No.
Did they pay for the whole structure of advertising that rally? No.
Did they play ANY part in the effort to gather that rally? No.

So they had no right to disrupt it with their personal or class beef, no matter how morally right their cause is. They made it wrong just by stealing other people’s time and money. That’s the game as it currently stands. Period.

Next time they wish to speak to a rally, they are fully welcome to pay for their own microphone and PA, and go through all the whole damn effort it takes to make it happen, and good luck to them.
75
@68 Unless I'm mistaken, I don't see ACT-UP taking a giant shit all over anti-poverty programs.
77
Those of us who were politically active during the '60's remember the type. Just like Kwameesha Savant at a City Council meeting.

They all carried Mao's Little Red Book, and could quote it verbatim, without understanding what they were saying. They all slept under a poster of Che on the wall above their bed. They all knew the latest slogans, and it seemed like that was ALL they knew. They all were fans of the Symbionese Liberation Army. Whenever they grabbed the mike, they never gave it back, and they never spoke at anything less than a yell or a scream or a shout.

They're a big part of why Richard Nixon got elected, because people who REALLY wanted to bring about political change were so turned off by their tone-deaf drivel that we gave up political activism.

Be careful. You may not be doing yourselves any favors when you act up.
78
Perhaps she meant, "It's like, If he's our best option then I'm Berning this down."
Bern baby Bern, disco inferno. Gonna dance, gonna shout, gonna Bern this disco down.
79
"I would say that anybody who hears me say that, and thinks about their feelings first, is a white supremacist."

There you have it. Narcissist, childish clown.
80
"Just like Kwameesha Savant"

Go fuck yourself, elderly racist scum.
81
@68: He has also claimed to be one of the founding architects of the Internet as well as the security systems in place in Israel, and an early public tester (an oxymoron) for Google Glass. He would have us all believe he is very much in demand for his knowledge of every subject.
82
Why are people saying she supports Palin? I don't see that anywhere... it's killing me! Is that really true?!??!! Sarah Fucking Palin?!?!!!!!!!!!
83
She certainly tossed herself into a stereotype: the 'so angry that's she's rude, ignorant and irresponsible' black female. She did not cause me to cease caring about black lives - they DO matter. But so do ALL of our lives, and she didn't impress me that she gave a shit beyond ANYONE besides people of color. Sorry, but in MY court, in MY home? We don't exclude people based on color, like she does. Too many other blacks are worth listening to -- she is not one of them, imo. She's just a very young, know-it-all, know-nothing (yet) who's pissed at the entire white US for what has happened to black people at the hands of corrupt police. This in no way means we just DITCH the police, as she asks.

Uh .. was she even alive during the Rodney King riots or earlier, the Watts riots? We need police, but we do NOT need abusive police! We've gotten so "tough on crime" (which is bullshit), that we've hired men and women who, in the past, would NEVER have made it past the psych testing OR training necessary to be a GOOD cop! And, ALL OF US asked for that stupid "war on crime!" And that's just ONE thing she said that tipped me off to her youth, inexperience, lack of wisdom and a 'wish list' that IS being addressed.

I heard NO concrete "how to" either. Maybe people are sick of battling that and think that POVERTY is the underlying problem for ALL of the problems facing both minorities and soon, all classes except that top 1%!

Buck up, buttercup! We are almost ALL in the same damn boat!
84
I had looked forward to this rally, and was dismayed upon attending to have it shutdown by 2 members of Outside Agitators 206-a group which targets liberal Democrats. No mention of going after Republicans or the Tea party. Like the Tea Party, they could be part of the Koch brothers network. The individuals said they were acting for BLM, but according to the national group, they were not. In fact, the national leaders are calling on them to apologize to Bernie Sanders.
Listening to their rhetoric, myself and those around me were amazed at how crazy they sounded. Most of it was a diatribe against white people and all the sins they have committed, as if any race has an angelic past. If they really believed that black lives matter, then they should have spent their few minutes on stage educating , not insulting the attendees who just tuned them out. Lastly, Westlake does not belong to them. They should have spoken their piece and left.
85
Isn't she half white? So she hates herself and her Mom?

Everything she says and does is for effect. Nothing she says and wants will happen. It didn't happen under Obama. And it's not going to happen under our next President. Who is going to be white.

One can't say that they're starting a conversation when no ones listening.

The only ears that count are the upper echelon of the Congress and Senate. On the National and State level.

It's not going to matter until those who truly think that the BLM Movement actually matters vote with what they say in public. And not behind the curtain of the voting booth.

Me, I don't care about BLM. or their needs, concerns, wants. It doesn't affect me. And I'm not white either. Because I'm not concerned with those who don't care about others. If you want to hate on another race. Then FUCK YOU and anything about you. You want something, then give something.
86
Can anyone corroborate this story about this young woman, Marissa Johnson, as being a Tea Party operator and a former Sarah Palin supporter? I find it very suspicious that these folks don't disrupt GOP candidate rallies, but have done so at Bernie Sanders' rallies. It would be like if the Occupy Wall Street Movement were to disrupt speaking events held by Elizabeth Warren -- it just doesn't make sense. Bernie's a champion for Civil Rights and Racial Equality. He earned his Black Lives Matter card many times over, advocating for Civil Rights and Racial Equality in the 1960's and to the present day. There's an interesting investigative written by reporter Paul Loebe at Reverb Press dot com. The article is from August 10, 2015 and is titled "Black Lives Matter Seattle Protestor Is A Former Tea Party Palin Supporter"
87
Staggering narcissism, approaching solipsism. Mission accomplished, Ms. Johnson. You are indeed a creature of 2015.
88
Further evidence that the left doesn't do coalitions. Follows too that the left doesn't do victory. And why should we? Only the loser reserves the right to sanctimony forevermore.
89
@88

How does a couple of right wing Evangelicals taking over an event mean the left doesn't do coalitions?
91
Very enlightening article, and it actually feeds my thirst for intellectual food. Very deep.

Ok, so I know the knee-jerk reaction from a lot of whites, even liberals, is disgust for how these activists interrupted someone who is "on their side." But you know what?

She definitely doesn't see things the way I do...but now I see things the way she does.

And I mean, "Wow!" She makes so many incredibly valid points. What a brilliant mind.
I think this article is worth reading twice. If something she's saying doesn't make sense, it's not because SHE's not making sense. I get her, though. She's looking at the big picture. On a deeper level.

It is hard to wrap my head around sometimes because I do not process things in the same way as she or other blacks do. I have not, after all, lived with almost CONSTANT oppression like many non-whites have.

Besides the effects of oppression--on an individual, a family, a town, a society, a country, a culture--having to deal with it constantly means they think about it almost ALLLL the time. Or, you know, a lot. Whereas whites, well, let's be honest: many of us give it just a little thought now and then. So many "good causes". We can't think about them all, all the time, Sigh. But they live it, day in and day out.

So okay, besides the fact that I'm not black, I guess since she has spent more time thinking and processing the subject, I will defer to her expertise....

...besides the fact that she sounds like a fricken genius!!!

In many ways, her intellectual process is on a higher or different level.
93
"I would say that anybody who hears me say that, and thinks about their feelings first, is a white supremacist."

Then that phrase has no meaning anymore. If that's the barrier for being labeled a white supremacist, I have no issue with you calling me that. I might pour water over your head if you say it to my face, but that's as far as I'd take it.
94
Good recap, except this is taken out of context: "I would say that anybody who hears me say that, and thinks about their feelings first, is a white supremacist." The THAT she's talking about is very important; hopefully The Stranger adds that context to the article. I recommend listening to the interview.

To anyone uncomfortable with her saying this, remember she's a self-labeled extremest. She's delivering the message in a rough package, and once we get past our initial reflex to defend ourselves, we'll be able to try to understand what she actually means. What she's saying is that (black) lives matter more than (white) feelings, and if you think about your feelings before lives, you're part of the problem.
95
All I know is that white males can be proud and feel zero guilt and still support BLM and fair police and criminal justice. Unless either of these two want to step up and take the blame for world hunger?
96
N8,
None of us are under any obligation to "try to understand what she really means". Most of us have busy lives with varying degrees of difficulties, be it economic or health related. These girls do not deserve any more respect or understanding than anyone else. So quit it with the White Knight bullshit. Both girls shit all over Sanders and the organizers of the event. As many have pointed out, an event specifically about Social Security and Medicare. Two programs that essential to many of us, regardless of race. Johnson and her screaming halfwit partner know nothing about Sanders' ideology or background. "Bow down"? Only a megalomaniac nut job would ever utter those words.
97
@94 N8 "you're part of the problem"

The problem is falsely labelling people "white supremacists" for having a negative emotional reaction to someone screaming "RACIST!" in their faces. This speechjacking was nothing more than trigger-word hyperbole being taken way too far, and it is not racist to point that out.
98
Even if I did hate white people, I don't have the political or social power to oppress white people." Actually, my dear, that is exactly what you did: a self-proclaimed evangelical Christian shutting down a Jew. We Jews have seen that before, throughout our history, but she would not know much about that. Then she tells Bernie Sanders to Bow Down in a hashtag. The more I read about her, the more she seems self-serving, selfish, immature. Good for Bernie Sanders for taking the high road by letting her speak and then adding a racial justice platform to his campaign:
99
For anyone who supports what these two did...

A. Were you there or have you seen full video of what happened?
B. Did you listen to the full interview on TWIB?

Because I dont believe that you could have done both A and B, and then in any way justify their behavior.

A I was there, and B I listened to the interview as opposed to just reading the parts the stranger chose to print. I think a lot of people who want to say, "she makes a good point", are basing this off of headlines and clips. Why would you say its okay to act like a child when you dont get what you want? Stearns offered to let them speak after Bernie, and their reaction to that was to shake the podium and scream. Seriously? And then after their rant, it still wasnt good enough. They asked Bernie to come over like it was school yard fight. Nothing but a couple of narcissists. I cannot support any person or organization or movement that supports that kind of behavior. Not to mention most of her arguments make absolutely no sense. If you, "dont care about the white gaze", then why disrupt an event to scream about how white people arent doing enough? Also, you cant make threats at people (we will shut this event down) and then when they boo, call them racists and then use that as proof of their racism. Also, Sanders' campaign was already working on a social justice platform. Please stop trying to give these people credit. If you still think these people are so great then check out their real movement, Outside Agitators 206. In their four points of unity, 3. We don’t directly speak to corporate media, nor do we need them... I would like to point out that there is a link to her interview with MSNBC. I guess I missed the day that MSNBC stopped being corporate media. They both have public Twitter pages. If you look at them I think its pretty easy to see that these 2 were in it for their 15 minutes, they were not in it for positive change.
100
@96, re 'None of us are under any obligation to "try to understand what she really means".' Of course not, but first learning about what you're talking before weighing-in leads to a much richer discussion. Saying you're too busy to even try to understand the intent of their action, though you do have time to read the Slog and comments, then post on the subject yourself multiple times - hopefully you can reprioritize.

re "These girls do not deserve any more respect or understanding than anyone else." Agreed. The movement is about equal treatment, not preferential treatment.

re "shit all over Sanders and the organizers of the event." Sometimes that's the point of protests. It's unfortunate this happened at a good, important event. They obviously weren't protesting SS, Medicare, and Medicaid; they were there because of the access to Sanders. The discussions they've provoked needed to happen.

I'm certainly not saying it was a perfect protest, or that there aren't some weird things about the whole thing, or that I agree with all their language. The whole "Bow down" thing - I don't understand that; their suspect link with "official BLM Seattle" (whatever that is) still confuses me. But those details aren't very important and seem like a waste of energy at this point; these protestors aren't the ones running for office.
101
@97 Why do you believe 'the problem is falsely labeling people "white supremacists"'?

In the TWIB interview, Johnson asserted a problem is people valuing their own feelings over the lives of other people, which seems really hard to argue with.

Can you hep me understand why it's not okay for Johnson to have a negative emotional reaction from the threats of physical violence from multiple voices in the supposedly progressive crowd, and why it is okay for individuals in the crowd to have negative emotional reactions at simply the perception of subsequently being called racist?
102
I'm a white far-left leaning male in Canada and, prior to reading this, I had no idea what the real story was with this group of disruptors. After reading what she has said in light of these events, I'm incredibly impressed.

So many of the commenters here sound like awful and unconsciously racist and petulant children, and I wanted to lend my voice in support of her political views, but also wanted to express my disdain for her evangelical Christianity and the possibility that she's anti-gay.

I don't think she needed to be polite because I don't think black people need to be polite. Direct, disruptive action like this DOES get noticed. I applaud her chutzpah and I hope she continues to agitate for many more years to come. Because it is going to be a very long time before America is close to being able to treat black people with respect and dignity. Such a long way to go still.
103
N8,
"but first learning about what you're talking before weighing-in leads to a much richer discussion. Saying you're too busy to even try to understand the intent of their action, though you do have time to read the Slog and comments, then post on the subject yourself multiple times - hopefully you can reprioritize."

I was at the rally. I've read the girls' subsequent interviews and social media posts. Does that qualify me to comment on the subject, Mr. Aribratator? Please englighen.

Like most, I have my own life and challenges. I know that you, Johnson and her ilk do not care or cannot imagine what those challenges may be, that we should all carve out more space in our lives to dedicate to someone that labels people "white supremist" without ever speaking to any of them. Yet it is me that should "learn what I'm talking about". Wow.
104
The problem with most blacks is that they just don't know what's good for them. Hell, we give the first chocolate potus and they still can't be bothered to toss us a single gay bone!
105
We get it . Black unemployment has nearly doubled since the whole Obama thing; we could not be more sympathetic (you matter!) But check it y'all! We got a plan. Bussing 2.0; hear me out. If we can just get enough of our " new poor" to mix with yours then after a few generations we're totally in bizness!
106
Believe me brothers and sisters! We would love to let y'all off the hook (and we will!) but we just need you pitch in fight the bad guys for a few decades more. After that your free to believe in whatever imaginary sky God voodoo makes you feel better; ok?
107
Thank you, poster 100, for highlighting the dog whistle anti-Semitism behind this disruption. They admitted their religion was a motivator in their confrontation with Sanders, who would be our first Jewish president. To me, that was just as much a motivator for their action as BLM or any other smoke screen. Straight up Jew bashing still goes on, no matter how fancy you dress it up behind other rhetoric. And here I was just telling my father that so far Sanders hadn't been Jew bashed. Didn't take long until I was proven wrong. And shame on them for not having the guts to admit that was their reason, but instead vaguely cities their religious beliefs as part of their problem with Sanders specifically. They're revolting and they're tarnishing the rep of BLM. If that makes me a white supremacist in their eyes , so be it. I don't care what anti-Semites think of me anyway.
108
I'm confused...If she believes "I don't give a fuck about the white gaze. I'm just in another world." and she's fighting for equality, why was she even up on stage? She doesn't care if they see her and doesn't want them to care about her seeing them? If that were true, then isn't a stage the last place you would be? I'm not convinced she's really thought any of this through.
109
Giving a shit about someone is reciprocal. If you don't give a fuck about my opinion or ideas, I don't give a fuck about yours. It's very easy to flip her political stance on its head. If you honestly don't care about engaging other communities or movements, why should I bother engaging you? At that point, the door closes and she loses 95 percent of her audience.