On August 19, ten days after police murdered Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri, a slew of corporate media stories appeared charging that “criminals” and “outside agitators” were responsible for clashes during the protests. CNN alleged that “all sides agree there are a select number of people—distinct from the majority of protesters—who are fomenting violence,” quoting a State Highway Patrol Captain, a State Senator, and a former FBI assistant director to confirm this.
But what exactly are “outside agitators”? Where does this concept come from, and how is it deployed? In this feature, we analyze this rhetoric, what functions it serves, and what it conceals.
Meanwhile, in response to popular demand, we have made a hasty zine version of our previous article about the events in Ferguson, What They Mean when They Say Peace. Download a printable PDF here [7.1MB].