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Hydrogenbond's avatar

What's a "Paid Protester"?

Asked by Hydrogenbond (365points) February 6th, 2010

I’m going to a protest in my area and will be contributing. My mom’s boyfriend said that it will be dangerous to go because there is a notorious “Paid protester”. The place where the protest is happening is used to being peaceful, the police are there but do not intervene unless physical violence occurs. This protest will be an expression of free speech and is intending to be a PG event according to flyers.

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13 Answers

slick44's avatar

Somone who gets paid to protest.

phoebusg's avatar

A way to discredit an opposing view – in this case through a protest, is to first have someone represent the group from that view. And subsequently do it badly, giving the group a bad name.

I wonder if the paid protester’s purpose is that, discrediting the protest for the sake of media coverage and alternate ‘coloring’ of the message behind the protest.

But do tell, once and if you ask him ;)

Oxymoron's avatar

I already told you =(.

lucillelucillelucille's avatar

Anyone who has a job they don’t like ;))

Hydrogenbond's avatar

@phoebusg – I’m anti-government on this one, would the paid protester be pro-government?

phoebusg's avatar

@Hydrogenbond – yeah it could be anyone. Usually the entity you’re protesting about.
Sometimes they’ll even hire a said thug to start breaking things. Which by default makes you also a bad protester, blemishes your message – and gives it the certain color one expects in Fox news ;)

Hydrogenbond's avatar

@phoebusg – Alright thank you for your answer. It could also be somebody on my side though, just not as common?

laureth's avatar

A paid protester could also be someone who doesn’t really believe in the cause, but will protest and pretend to mean it for pay. This could suit the needs of the group protesting by making it look bigger than it really is, thus have more political clout.

Here’s a story about Facebookers who protested the Health Care reform measures in Congress in exchange for fake money for Facebook games.

phoebusg's avatar

Probably not as common, but not unlikely, as per above. For.. fake money. Interesting – I have a funny feeling this would be more likely than real money. No real dissonance to be had. All fun and games (games have powerful reinforcements designs).

Merriment's avatar

A mercenary (fighter for hire) who used his mouth as his weapon.

It could be for either side, although which side has more $$ in the fight would be a big hint as to which side they will be on.

I wouldn’t let that stop me from going though.

aphilotus's avatar

It’s a more specific word for a mole or agent-provocateur.

Lets say Health for Peace is a protest group advocating a radically liberal health care policy, and they show up at HMO XYZ ‘s annual meeting to protest them.

Some XYZ vice president might decide that this is going to be a PR disaster, as Health for Peace is known for having non-violent, effective protest. So a month before the meeting, he quietly hires Joe The Wreck, a local thug, to infiltrate Health For Peace.

Joe the Wreck starts going to Health for Peace meetings, and is invited to the protest.

At the protest, during a lot of non-violence, he just flips the fuck out and starts throwing rocks at the police, yelling “HAVE SOME PEACE, PIG-MUFFINS!” The police fight back, things get ugly, etc, etc. Tear gas, broken bones, jail time. At the end of the day, HMO XYZ looks OK and Health For Peace looks, well, unpeaceful.

Joe the Wreck collects a cool ten thousand bucks a few days later, having successfully discredited Health for Peace and dissolved whatever PR nightmare could have existed for HMO XYZ.

But Joe is an idiot, and is followed by one of his fellow Health For Peace advocates, who photographs him getting a bucket of cash from the XYZ Vice President, and takes that photo to the NY Times. Front Page Story: “HMO XYZ Pays Mole to Incite Anti-XYZ Riot”

Now the PR disaster is even worse than the VP ever thought it could be.

That’s what a paid protestor is.

Alternate use (less common): Health for Peace realizes that only ten people are going to show up, and they will look stupid. So they literally pay people to show up and “care.” Those people being “paid protestors” is an accusation HMO XYZ might make.

galileogirl's avatar

This question came up this week after my union has been protesting weekly outside district offices. There has been a whispering that we were paid protesters which is a total lie. I personally know almost every one who is there and if I don’t know someone I am walking with, I know someone who knows them.

Most paid protesters historically have been govt agents sent to spy or cause trouble

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