As you know, I oppose Donald Trump’s administration because of the hate he has expressed towards Mexicans. However, there is a difference between protesting to point out an issue and being paid to protest. Protesting is supposed to be about expressing your opinion on a subject matter out of concern for the issue and not because of paycheck. A reader brought to my attention a posting on Craig’s List advertising a mob for San Jacinto Plaza today.
As you can see from the Craig’s List post, “Rent-A-Mob” posted a one-day job offer for today. The “job” calls for women, 18-30 but the organizers will take anyone that shows up. According to the job posting, the “actors,” as they are referred to in the advertising, are expected at San Jacinto Plaza today to protest Confederate and Conquistador symbols.
The problem with paid protestors is that they are being paid to change public policy, not for the good of the community but for the good of a wealthy benefactor. Unlike political campaigns, where financial disclosures are required to track who is funding a cause, coordinated mob rentals are not required to disclose their funding sources.
It’s about lots of money, not a few pennies here and there. The El Paso event is supposed to pay $25 an hour to each protestor and is “expected to last 8 hours in duration.” That is an addition to a meal. Each protestor that shows up with a ready-made sign expects to make $200 for a day’s work of protesting. For ten protestors’, the direct cost for the mob bodies is $2,000. Twenty protestors would cost $4,000.
So, the question becomes, who’s paying to change public policy in El Paso?
In the case of the San Jacinto event, the group behind the protestors wants El Paso government agencies to remove Confederate memorials and Spanish Conquistador statues. I happen to agree with both sentiments, but I disagree with funding public policy movements, especially with sources of unknown monies.
Those that read my blog clearly know that I oppose Donald Trump because of his dislike for Mexicans. My motives are clear. I do not pay anyone to express my dislike of Trump.
But what are the motives for those behind the eradication of the Confederate monuments or the Conquistador statues? Is it altruistic or is there something else driving the funding of the mobs?
Those are important questions that the community needs an answer to determine whether the public policy direction is something they wish to support. Furthermore, it holds everyone accountable. I’m accountable for what I write on my blog.
Who is accountable for the activities of the rent-a-mob?
I asked the Craig’s List poster for information about their posting.
The people organizing the protest want to remain anonymous. The reason is obvious, they don’t want the community to see who is funding their operations. In response to my query to them, asking them who was organizing the protest, the answer was purposely vague:
“I work for Rent-A-Mob, we are the ones coordinating the effort to bring more actors to show up for this event. We are under contract with the group that is putting the rally together. Part of the contract has a confidentiality agreement where we are unable to release the information that you are seeking. If you are curious to find out the groups that are involved in this rally I would suggest to attend [sic] and to see what you are able to find out.”
I have seen “Rent-A-Mob” on various online outlets. Most of them accuse them of working for MoveOn.org.
I followed up asking for the name of the person who answered my original query and for information on “Rent-A-Mob”.
The response was:
“We do not have a website, we work with a few select groups and have contracts with them. We limit our presence online to avoid any unnecessary attention. We are based in San Francisco, and that is where I am, A [sic] believe there are some event coordinators flying to El Paso today for the event, but they are not affiliate [sic] with this company.”
Clearly, the group does not want to be held accountable.
Regardless of whether I agree with their request to remove Confederate and Conquistador monuments is immaterial because the protestors are being paid to protest. They are making money instead of demanding public policy changes.
I realize some readers will take this opportunity to point out that many of the protestors protesting Donald Trump on the streets are likely paid instigators. This is likely true and it is a shame because it distracts from the actual problem about national public policy.
Regardless, there is a problem with protestors being paid to protest because there is no accountability as to where the monies are coming from. That makes any changes in public policy suspect at best and very dangerous at worst because it is not about public policy when someone is paying the protestors.
Paid protestors need to be disclosed and accountability needs to be established for the good of the community and the nation.