Josh Williams: ‘Peaceful’ Protester Posterboy & Arsonist
By Matthew Vadum
A media darling who became the face of so-called peaceful protesters in Ferguson has been arrested for arson, proving once again that nonviolent left-wing protest remains the rarest of unicorns in the age of Obama.
The black teenager, Joshua Williams, who marched shoulder-to-shoulder with radical left-wing professor Cornel West, was dubbed a peace activist by his many admirers in the fourth estate. As a National Review Online article described the situation,
“Williams has been portrayed in the media as an innocent victim fighting back against authority; he has been held up as the quintessential Ferguson protestor, decrying police brutality as he is time and again brutalized by police.”
Williams came to Ferguson, Mo. to protest what happened to 18-year-old Michael Brown. Brown, a young black man, was killed by white police officer Darren Wilson. The Aug. 9 shooting of Brown, who tried to seize Wilson’s gun, set off riots nationwide. The local grand jury’s Nov. 24 finding that no probable cause existed to charge Wilson with murder or any other crime touched off a new wave of unrest.
But now after months of loudly protesting the supposed injustice done to Brown, Williams stands accused of starting multiple fires at the QuikTrip store in Berkeley, Mo., a couple miles from Ferguson. The venue choice is significant. Brown committed a strong-arm robbery at the QuikTrip store in Ferguson, roughing up a much smaller man, just minutes before he attacked Wilson. QuikTrip itself has become a kind of rallying point for rioters, looters, community organizers, and other criminals in the wake of Brown’s death.
Williams reportedly confessed his crimes to police in a videotaped interview and was charged Dec. 26 with “1st degree arson, 2nd degree burglary and misdemeanor theft.”
In the beginning of his career as a Ferguson protester, Williams paid lip service to nonviolence as a means of effecting change.
“We have to come together as one and show them we can be peaceful, that we can do this,” he said in a fawning MSNBC profile in September. “If not, they’re going to just want us to act up so they can pull out their toys on us again.”
MSNBC hailed Williams for his energetic activism. “He hasn’t missed a single day of marching, protesting, or meetings.”
And the leftist cable news network treated Williams as if he were a reluctant leader somehow drawn into dramatic confrontations with the police.
“Like hundreds of other young people in Ferguson, many of whom have born [sic] the weight of a litany of alleged and frequent abuses residents say police have heaped upon the city’s black majority, Williams has found himself thrust into the heart of the city’s protests and civic action sparked by Brown’s death.”
But Williams’s connection to Ferguson is at best fuzzy. No one seems to know where he comes from. National Review Online reported that he may have been homeless and using the protest movement as his livelihood.
“I just keep getting different answers,” said newspaper photographer J. B. Forbes. “It’s almost as if he doesn’t really want you to know exactly where he’s staying.”
Protester Tony Rice told NRO that Williams stayed with him during the Ferguson protests. Rice said when he met Williams in the summer he did not want to return to his home wherever that might be.
“Virtually every time I see Joshua, the very first words out of his mouth are, ‘Can I borrow five dollars?’ Or, ‘Can I have five dollars? I want to get something to eat,’” said Forbes. “Apparently he hits everybody up for money.”
Living off the land, bumming money off others, and scrounging around are part of the community organizing tradition. The now-defunct Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now (ACORN) and its also-defunct parent organization, the National Welfare Rights Organization (NWRO), both underpaid employees, expecting them to leech off others in order to serve the cause.
Williams used standard Saul Alinsky-style tactics in order to push his agenda. He engaged in street theatrics, crying, and screaming in order to attract media attention. He also provoked police, deliberately got arrested, and disrupted a Ferguson City Council meeting. (He also did some things that Alinsky probably would not have sanctioned such as burning an American flag. Such brazen attacks on country were likely to scare off prospective supporters.)
Williams’s advocacy of peaceful protest was short-lived.
On the night the grand jury declined to indict Wilson, Williams tweeted his disapproval, using incendiary rhetoric and celebrating arson.
After rioters set Ferguson on fire, Williams wrote on Twitter, “Who burned s*** down we burned s*** down,” and “Man the whole west flossant [sic] is on fire f*** with us again we gave you 108 f****** days to indict him but you didn’t so we burned it down.”
Williams garnered attention across the nation by manipulating journalists, who, as good left-wingers, prefer to see what they want to see, even if it is not the truth.
This 19-year-old “community organizer” skillfully manipulated lazy news hounds, duping publications including the New York Times and USA Today. He used these scribes to gain widespread attention for his fabricated claims of police brutality. Reporters churned out puff pieces as they dutifully regurgitated his paranoid anti-cop nonsense.
Media outlets acted sympathetically because Williams is the living embodiment of the Left’s narrative. As a young black male in America he is always a victim, no matter how many crimes he commits. It’s always the fault of white people or society or whoever happens to be the Left’s villain of the day.
During a meeting last month of a special commission created to deal with Ferguson’s problems, Williams said black people ought to be able visit stores without being tailed by security who treat them like thieves.
“When the police go out there in their uniforms, they don’t see nothing but thugs,” said the thug. “All they see is targets in the streets.”
Williams got around, speaking at protests in the nation’s capital as well.
“The reason we came up here is because we are tired of being shot down in the streets like dogs,” Williams said at a rally organized by Al Sharpton’s group, National Action Network. “Police have a thing called the trigger finger — they can’t control they trigger finger when they see a black person in the street.”
During protests in Ferguson, Williams befriended radical academic West and marched alongside him. West visited the city in the fall for propaganda purposes, specifically, to be taken into custody in front of TV cameras. “It’s a beautiful thing to see people on fire for justice,” said West. “But I didn’t come here to give a speech. I came here to go to jail.”
David Carson, a St. Louis Post-Dispatch photographer who took pictures of Williams and West in action, wasn’t sure how the two met.
“I don’t know how he ended up arm-in-arm with Cornel West, but … for as much as Josh was holding on to West, Cornel West there, West was holding onto Josh as well and talking with Josh,” Carson said. “So it wasn’t like it was a one-way thing.”
West is the best-selling author and superstar professor whose image manages to outshine his dreary intellectual mediocrity. West, who describes himself as a “non-Marxist socialist,” was an adviser on President Obama’s 2008 campaign team. He has since turned on Obama, claiming the president has sold out and isn’t radical enough.
In his book, Democracy Matters: Winning the Fight Against Imperialism, West argues that the U.S. is under the control of racist, patriarchal, authoritarian fundamentalists. He supports black liberation theology, the same set of radical, anti-American beliefs preached by Obama’s longtime Jew-hating pastor, Rev. Jeremiah Wright.
To West, the ultra-violent Occupy Wall Street movement is an example of true democracy in action. When West uses the word “democracy,” he actually means “mobocracy.”
Both West and Williams support using mob violence as a means of fundamentally transforming this country that they hate so much.
So it was only a matter of time before they joined forces.