those of us who were around during the equal rights movement and the anti-war movement should be able to recall elements of those groups who wanted to use violence to make their opposition to the status quo known
stokely carmichael and the black panthers; Malcolm X (before he converted to Islam) ... they inveighed against those who subscribed to peaceful means to accomplish the end of racial discrimination
abbey hoffman, tom hayden, SDS and the weathermen espoused militant action instead of peaceful demonstration
not sure why we expect anything different from the Occupy movement
what i do recall is the fear the opposition felt
they were forced to consider the peaceful group(s)' positions in a way i do not believe would have resulted but for the paranoia caused by the willingness of the militants to wreak havoc
Malcolm X understood this; here were his words:"I want Dr. King to know that I didn't come to Selma to make his job difficult. I really did come thinking I could make it easier. If the white people realize what the alternative is, perhaps they will be more willing to hear Dr. King."but these were his words which ignited passion in some and fear in many:"I'll say nothing against him. At one time the whites in the United States called him a racialist, and extremist, and a Communist. Then the Black Muslims came along and the whites thanked the Lord for Martin Luther King."
"We declare our right on this earth...to be a human being, to be respected as a human being, to be given the rights of a human being in this society, on this earth, in this day, which we intend to bring into existence by any means necessary.""Our objective is complete freedom, justice and equality by any means necessary."racist white America knew it was a new day when they heard his words. they realized the era of stepandfetchit had ended:"The day that the black man takes an uncompromising step and realizes that he's within his rights, when his own freedom is being jeopardized, to use any means necessary to bring about his freedom or put a halt to that injustice, I don't think he'll be by himself."
"I don't favor violence. If we could bring about recognition and respect of our people by peaceful means, well and good. Everybody would like to reach his objectives peacefully. But I'm also a realist. The only people in this country who are asked to be nonviolent are black people.""I don't mean go out and get violent; but at the same time you should never be nonviolent unless you run into some nonviolence. I'm nonviolent with those who are nonviolent with me. But when you drop that violence on me, then you've made me go insane, and I'm not responsible for what I do.""It doesn't mean that I advocate violence, but at the same time, I am not against using violence in self-defense. I don't call it violence when it's self-defense, I call it intelligence.""Concerning nonviolence: It is criminal to teach a man not to defend himself, when he is the constant victim of brutal attacks. It is legal and lawful to own a shotgun or a rifle. We believe in obeying the law."be assured, Malcolm X scared the **** out of racist white Americans"Last but not least, I must say this concerning the great controversy over rifles and shotguns. The only thing I've ever said is that in areas where the government has proven itself either unwilling or unable to defend the lives and the property of Negroes, it's time for Negroes to defend themselves. Article number two of the Constitutional amendments provides you and me the right to own a rifle or a shotgun. It is constitutionally legal to own a shotgun or a rifle. This doesn't mean you're going to get a rifle and form battalions and go out looking for white folks, although you'd be within your rights - I mean, you'd be justified; but that would be illegal and we don't do anything illegal. If the white man doesn't want the black man buying rifles and shotguns, then let the government do its job. That's all."
his positions forced white America to recognize that MLK was actually a reasonable fellow to deal with
to a lesser extent the high profile activism of the chicago seven and the acts by the SDS and weathermen allowed the American public to view the antiwar demonstrators as more reasonable
the militant groups were infiltrated by government agents back then, who often attempted to provoke violent ooutbursts, giving justification for law enforcement efforts to quell the violence - and tarnish the movement
it would not surprise me to see the same thing happening today regarding the more militant wing of the Occupy movement