Transcript: Thom Hartmann: The Big Picture: First they ignore, then ridicule, then fight you - then you win. 4 October '11
First they ignore, then they ridicule you, then they fight you... then you win.
So said Mahatma Gandhi to his legion of peaceful demonstrators as he took on and defeated the British Empire - the most powerful empire on the planet at that time - without raising a single musket.
And today - history is repeating itself right here in the United States - as the young people in Manhattan and elsewhere around the nation face the same resistance Gandhi faced - being ignored, being ridiculed, being fought as they fought off the greatest concentration of wealth and political influence that's ever graced the planet - today's Wall Street.
The Occupy Wall Street movement started on September 17th - that's 17 days ago - and for most of those 17 days - the mainstream corporate media decided to ignore it.
Not because a big protest isn't newsworthy - heck, if a dozen Tea Partiers decided to have a cookout in Iowa there'd be Fox-so-called-News satellite trucks lining the roadway, and all the other networks too.
But instead, because it didn't fit in with their corporate narrative, they ignored it.
It didn't fit in with their agenda to make sure that the nation's millionaires and billionaires can keep their tax breaks and keep their political influence - because these are the same people who run and sit on the boards of directors of those very same media giants - so they ignored the movement - just as Gandhi predicted.
But soon enough - after the numbers swelled - and cops started penning up and pepper spraying women - and then corralling and arresting 700 people - the media couldn't ignore it anymore - so they moved from ignoring it to ridiculing it:
Andrew Ross Sorkin: do we think that the whole Wall Street protest is overdone, real, not real? Were there really a lot of people down there? Were there a lot? I could never tell.
Becky Quick: Well uh they arrested 80 people. Right? Andrew Ross Sorkin: Right. But I don't know if that was like all 80 of them.
Jesse Watters: I think if you put every single left-wing cause into a blender and hit power this is the sludge you'd get.
Charles Gasparino: They are some of the most uninformed people if you listen to them. Really unbelievable. I like the one guy says, we are affecting things. I think the only thing is affecting is traffic.
Ann Coulter: All of those quotes could have been said in 1789 France, or the Russian Revolution, or with only slight modification, when the Nazis were coming to power, in Cuba under Fidel Castro, Hugo Chavez in Venezuela. This is always the beginning of totalitarianism.
If only the Tea Party - with it's "keep your government hands off my Medicare" - "President Obama is a Socialist from Kenya" - and "death panels" - received the same sort of ridiculing coverage from the mainstream media.
But it didn't - the gray-haired zombies with tea bags dangling from their hats fit snuggly into the corporate media's narrative - if you want to rally for lower taxes on rich people and corporations - then you can get all the airtime and favorable coverage you want in the United States.
But despite being ignored and ridiculed - Occupy Wall Street is growing - and has momentum - as does Occupy Chicago which has continued for 11 straight days now, but has been largely ignored - as does Occupy Boston - and Occupy Minneapolis - and Occupy Los Angeles - and Occupy Washington, DC.
It's just getting bigger and bigger and bigger.
Which means...it's only a matter of time before the peaceful protests are put down with violence - with fighting.
Remember Gandhi's maxim: "First they ignore - then they ridicule - then they fight".
We're already seeing the fighting after two straight weekends of unprovoked, sometimes-brutal police crackdowns.
But as this movement grows - it's only going to get worse - more arrests - more pepper-spraying - more clubbing - more rhetorical violence from the corporate mouthpieces - more fighting.
And that's when everything will change.
As long as this movement stays united - isn't hijacked - and above all else - remains peaceful - then as Gandhi said..."you win."
The British colonists ignored - ridiculed - and then fought our founding fathers - and then they lost.
The Southern slave owners ignored - ridiculed - and fought the calls to abolish slavery - and then they lost.
The "Economic Royalists" as Franklin Roosevelt called them - ignored - ridiculed - then fought the progressives who wanted to create a New Deal and an American middle class - and then they lost too.
In the 1960s, after years of ridicule and fights, it was Civil Rights and the rights of the poor - the issues on which SDS was founded in 1964 - along with the right of young people to vote, which was passed as an amendment to the Constitution in just seven short months.
This is how our nation came to be - and it's playing out again in front of our very eyes today.
Wall Street - and its corporate media bullhorns - will lose too.
That's The Big Picture.