That crowd may not show “popular support” at all

I’ve noted in the past that the left-wing, progressive element in US politics tends to adopt cause after cause, but that basically the same leaders and the same organizers reappear in each new group, while the old one is discarded.  If you look at the organizers of the Occupy movement, Black Lives Matter, and Antifa, I think you’ll be surprised at how many are the same people.  (Law enforcement officers with whom I’ve spoken confirm that facial recognition technology identifies the same leaders at many of the demonstrations of each of those movements.  That may be one of the reasons why activists mask their faces in such demonstrations.  Not only do they want to avoid arrest, they may want to avoid being linked to previous events of the same kind, but under a different banner.)

That’s not the only interesting point.  Another angle is the number of so-called “rent-a-mob” protesters who show up at such incidents.  They aren’t there because of moral or ethical or political conviction;  they’re there because they’re being paid to be present.

Two recent articles highlighted this trend.  The first covers a more commercial angle.

Pretend for a moment that you’re walking through your neighborhood and notice a line of people wrapped around the block outside a newly opened restaurant … There was a time when … you could trust that a crowd of people was, in fact, a naturally occurring mass of individuals.

But that time may be passing thanks to Surkus, an emerging app that allowed the restaurant to quickly manufacture its ideal crowd and pay the people to stand in place like extras on a movie set. They’ve even been hand-picked by a casting agent of sorts, an algorithmic one that selects each person according to age, location, style and Facebook “likes.”

They may look excited, but that could also be part of the production. Acting disengaged while they idle in line could tarnish their “reputation score,” an identifier that influences whether they’ll be “cast” again. Nobody is forcing the participants to stay, of course, but if they leave, they won’t be paid — their movements are being tracked with geolocation.

Welcome to the new world of “crowdcasting.”

. . .

George said the company has amassed 150,000 members in Los Angeles, New York, Chicago, Miami and San Francisco. Anyone can download the app. The members are of all ages and backgrounds, George said, noting that people are drawn by the chance to be social and get paid.

After launching two years ago, Surkus members have attended 4,200 events for 750 clients, including big-name brands, hospitality groups, live-ticketed shows, movie castings and everyday people who want to throw a party.

There’s more at the link.

So much for “rent-a-mob” in the commercial setting.  The second article gets things very wrong by trying to link an advertisement for Charlotte, NC with events in Charlottesville, VA ten days ago (the cities are 4½ hours apart by road, so I don’t see the connection):  but that’s secondary to what it uncovers.

… the discovery of a craigslist ad posted last Monday, almost a full week before the Charlottesville protests, is raising new questions over whether paid protesters were sourced by a Los Angeles based “public relations firm specializing in innovative events” to serve as agitators in counterprotests.

The ad was posted by a company called “Crowds on Demand” and offered $25 per hour to “actors and photographers” to participate in events in the “Charlotte, NC area.”  While the ad didn’t explicitly define a role to be filled by its crowd of “actors and photographers” it did ask applicants to comment on whether they were “ok with participating in peaceful protests.”

. . .

The CEO of Crowds on Demand denied to Snopes that his firm was involved in the Charlottesville protests but refused to provide details on the specific purpose of the craigslist ad and/or why it was temporarily removed yesterday before being restored.

Again, more at the link.

Crowds On Demand claims, on its Web site:

At Crowds on Demand, we provide our clients with protests, rallies, flash-mobs, paparazzi events and other inventive PR stunts. These services are available across the country in every major U.S city, every major U.S metro area and even most smaller cities as well. We provide everything including the people, the materials and even the ideas. You can come to us with a specific plan of action and we can make it happen. OR, you can approach us with a general  idea and we can help you plan the strategy then execute it.

We’ve made campaigns involving hundreds of people come to action in just days. We have a proven record of delivering major wins on even the toughest campaigns and delivering phenomenal experiences with even the most logistically challenging events.

Our services are now available throughout the United States, so whether you’re looking at doing a single event or a multi-city campaign, we have the resources available to achieve your goals.

More at the link, and at the section titled ‘Protests and Rallies‘, which claims that:

… we can organize rallies and get media attention for your causes and candidates. We also assist individuals, companies and political organizations with protests and picketing campaigns. We’ve protested governments, corporations and everything in between.

. . .

A foreign government hired Crowds on Demand to help generate a positive reception for its newly elected leader during the UN General Assembly. The concern was ensuring that the leader was well received by a US audience and confident for his work at the UN. We created demonstrations of support with diverse crowds. We also used the media primarily local and national outlets to bring more attention to these demonstrations which led to a mostly positive portrayal. The crowds that we deployed drew in more supporters creating a strong presence for this leader at the UN and an improved perception of him by the American public.

So, here we have two firms (how many more are there?), both offering to provide any sort of crowd you want, for any purpose, for payment.  We also have many reports over the past few years of protesters being bussed from various cities to the site of their protest, then ferried back to their points of origin (often associated with so-called astroturfing).  Here’s just one such report, including video footage, to illustrate the point.  Want another?  Try this one.

Putting two and two together, we know that many demonstrations are anything but spontaneous, and we know that many participants are paid – we’ve seen the advertisements offering them money, particularly those funded by the left wing of US politics.  Now we have evidence that entire corporations are in business to satisfy crowd-sourcing needs.  Therefore, the next time you see a major demonstration, it might be worth asking yourself whether all those in attendance are there as ‘true believers’ . . . or whether some of them are in it for the money.  I know I shall.

(I must confess, however, to an impish curiosity as to what would happen if a bunch of Trump supporters were to allow themselves to be ‘recruited’ as paid demonstrators for an anti-Trump rally . . . and brought along banners and placards showing their true feelings.  The resulting chaos might be epic!)



  1. This will dry up very quickly as soon as the core lefties cross the line and escalate the violence to the point where they get shot.

    When everything breaks loose – and at some point it will – the response won't be minimal, but maximal: because they'll be under seige by a violent mob, magazines will be emptied, potentially by multiple people, some of whom will know how to shoot.

    $25 plus lunch for an adventure is great fun; $25 for a bus ride and two hollowpoints in the chest, not so much.

  2. the left-wing, progressive element in US politics tends to adopt cause after cause, but that basically the same leaders and the same organizers reappear in each new group

    It also appears that the Obama-Organizer crowd will play both sides to the middle. That is perfectly consistent with the objective, which is political and civic chaos. See, e.g., Jason Kessler.

  3. I'm a little incredulous at this post. What possible point do you think you're making by presenting 'people buy bus tickets to get places' as evidence of anything? I can only assume that you view protesters are authentic only if they drive somewhere in their own car. Or something.

    Although you don't specifically mention it, i presume you are excluding the recent Charlottesville, Boston, et. al. protests from your cataloging of potentially astroturfed events – even though you do specifically call out Antifa in your first paragraph. Even if one thinks that the populace at large is so apathetic that they will only take the time to protest for some garbage fee, one must concede that people do tend to get energetic about outright Nazis.

  4. " people do tend to get energetic about outright Nazis."

    Do they? The american nazi party has been marching and so forth for a long time. They are an extensive joke in the movie Blues Brothers. They have marches and meetings all the time. Why the MASSIVE, VIOLENT, and CO-ORDINATED response this time?

    And if you follow the links, the point of mentioning the buses is NOT that "people buy bus tickets because they don't have cars" it's that ORGANIZERS are buying/leasing buses and using them to bring in outside agitators just for the event.

    Anyway, you can use your own eyes and the live streams/instagram/social media pictures from the people attending the events to see the truth of Peter's statement "the left-wing, progressive element in US politics tends to adopt cause after cause, but that basically the same leaders and the same organizers reappear in each new group". Just look at the URLs on the pre-printed signs. Same old agitators, same old ideas, showing up at all of these events.


  5. I've been reading the 4 1/2 bus ride as "proof" that the Charlotteville crowd wasn't astroturfed, and the question in the back of my mind always was, why wouldn't an unemployed/homeless person want to get $25/hr for a bus ride, a few hours of shouting, and a ride back? Particularly since Crowds on Demand refuses to detail what the business does, but "trust me, we weren't involved." Right… I've lost my trust in left-wingers unless proven by independent outside sources, and then I still wonder.

    Also as noted above, Jason Kessler (Occupy Wall St & Obama organizer) was the leader of the "Unite the Right" group, which led those of us reading the reports after the event to question how much it was a False Flag operation from the start (and how many of the crowd were Agent Provocateurs). Add in the police deliberately funneling the two groups together, and it appears that the objective from both the Mayor's & Governor's viewpoint was to deliberately cause a riot.

    "Never let a good crisis go to waste", even if you have to create it in the first place. Now, combine that with all the statues being taken down across the country, and the question becomes, "who is in the background, pulling the strings?"

    — Steve

  6. It came out at the trial that a significant number of the Malheur Refuge occupiers – including leaders, including some of the most militant – were informants/provocateurs working for the federal government.

    Maybe antifa is enough better about security to keep that from happening to them. Maybe the white nationalists of today are too, though what with Jason Kessler it doesn't look like that's the case.

    It's certainly not impossible that there were government provocateurs on both sides in Charlottesville; in fact if the feds weren't trying to put agents into both camps they wouldn’t be doing their jobs.

    Does that make the events in Charlottesville a mistake resulting from those handling informant/provocateurs on the "right" not knowing what those on the "left" were doing, or was there overall coordination?

    It’s worth noting that the NRA helped draft the National Firearms Act in the 1930s and supported California’s Mulford Act in 1967, which began the long march to California’s current gun control climate.

    The Mulford Act was a response to an open carry demonstration by the Black Panther Party in opposition to gun control in California. Richard Aoki, the man who provided the Panthers with some of their first guns and firearms training was… an FBI informant.

  7. Sounds like its time to start indiscriminately shooting crowd participants with paintballs.

    To start, as a warning.

  8. Nylon12 said…
    How long until ISIS or a serial killer uses crowdcasting?

    That thought had not occurred to me.

    How long until ISIS or a serial killer uses crowdcasting to assemble a large group of prospective victims?

    I suspect things are going to get much more interesting a bunch faster than we expected.

  9. You can easily tell how authentic a protest or support march is.

    Look at the signs. Really.

    Mostly hand-lettered, home-made signs and mass-produced political candidate signs are generally the indications that a march is real.

    Mass-produced protest signs, especially those carried by 'anarchists', and mass-produced screen-printed flags and t-shirts are generally an indication of deep funding and a fake march.

    Seriously. Organized anarchists? What the Heck? And how can a loose-collection of stoners and basement-dwellers afford to travel all over the USA, and pay for all their stuff?

  10. Mercenaries, bought and paid for. Treat them as such, problem goes away. How many will face gunfire for $25 an hour? cuz it'll happen if this amps up much more….

  11. The "cause" is NOT the "cause". The "cause" is an excuse. The REAL agenda is REVOLUTION. The overthrow of the constituted US government so that those on the left can impose THEIR goal of a communist rule that THEY get to control. The "issue" is IRRELEVANT aside from the fact that they can use whatever that issue is for their agenda. For a while it was gays and gay marriage. When they won that battle they moved on not even giving a rats ass about the death of 50 gays at an Orlando night club. Now the issue is 'trans' whatever. When they win that it will be on to something else…perhaps the 'rights' of pedophiles. What the 'issue' is not being important as long as it allows them to get their SJW warriors offended so they will go to battle for them.

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