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Smudge's post-mortem on the DC Trucker Protest

Given as it's all a learning experience and it's easy to be a Tuesday morning quarterback, but we have experience in these matters, we never get enough and we always keep learning.

The positives.

It happened. It's a historical fact now. It got domestic and international press. Perhaps more international press than domestic press. It was peaceful, nobody got hurt and it showed us that trucker rallies are more than a theoretical possibility. Somebody did it. That's a start. This leadership is now credited and can continue to build off this nucleus. I see good things in the future.

And the overpass action. There were reports nation wide about supportive overpass demonstrations. There is broad support out there. There's more roots to this grass. We're just seeing what's on top.

My judgement.

I call this one a success for the above reasons. Luck kinda played both ways on this one.

The negatives are many.

Tired call to action.

"Trucker protest" is something that some of us have heard so many times we inwardly groaned to read it. "Here we go again" was the feeling. We understand why this is difficult, truckers are spread out all over the nation, it costs a LOT to take time off and bring a rig to DC and "truckers" in this case are limited to independent owner/operators which is probably about only about 25% of the overall industry these days. We'll never see millions, hundreds of thousands or even tens of thousands of truckers in one place doing a protest. It's just practically infeasible.

Poor pedigree.

Organizers came with baggage. The stigma of racism on organizer Zeeda Andrews led to an early red flag in our ranks. Basically she's a major muslim hater, this was clear on her facebook page and other media but most of this was cleaned up in a hurry. Peter Santili is a straight-up neocon by our standards. These two factors gave a lot of us great pause. Myself quite publicly. This kept a lot of broadcasting from happening and a lot of people from throwing in their support. In a nutshell, it's wasn't gonna get wide support in our diverse communities. Add to this the confusion about Zeeta's having ever been a trucker which she or somebody claimed to be at one point, we were off to a bad start for front-people.

A dozen is the new million?

Grandiose claims. Truckers are gonna "shut down DC", there's gonna be A MILLION OF THEM joining MILLIONS OF VETERANS, hey man, that turns a lot of people off, myself included. You think this stuff sounds any less silly when we say it than when leftists say it? I mean seriously this movement has never mobilized a million. Tens of thousands certainly but not even hundreds of thousands. And this had consequences, see below.

Lack of message and message control.

This group didn't go off message, they never had one until it was basically too late. The early language from Zeeta, no kidding, was "to throw the muslim out of the white house". Then it suddenly expanded to contain a pretty standard list of grievances representing independent owner/operators (somebody gave her a fast education) but then took a sovereign turn with the logistics coordinator Earl Conlon (with the arresting of government officials by citizen grand juries) which then was repudiated by Santili on air. Or webcast. Whatever. Then suddenly it becomes about "the constitution". Oh ok. We get it. Generally. Conlon then was reported by MSM to have reported that his words were just intended to rattle people up whereupon at least one MSM outlet declared the whole thing to be a hoax.

That was like follow the bouncing ball. You'd need to rewind that a few times it happened so fast. But guys, that just shows a real lack of communication, discussion, resolution and team building that's always incorporated into what we do. We have to argue about EVERYTHING naturally (debate is our number one for of evolution as a community) and this stuff is usually so ironed out by the time we actually do it that we are cohesive in all our PR messaging. And we have larger teams with more people with more diverse skills (apparently). But crucially, in the mind of the public, the hoax story fit and that's what they largely ran with. Besides the "few dozen truckers" theme, by which they declared the whole thing to be kaput as of Friday noon EST.

Schism in core team approaching critical phase of ops.

All of the above led to a schism in this group. Like 4 days before the scheduled event. That is like...ok that's not a red flag, that's a 4-ALARM FIRE. Objectively that's a point at which an organizer might abort the mission but who was left? A neocon webcaster and a woman who was a singer? The "repudiation of Earl show" ended with Earl and them saying they could do their thing their way and he'd do it his. The "trucker" part of this protest just got hustled out the door. Who are they representing now? It's kinda ludicrous BUT they managed to get another couple of volunteers in and they basically just went forward with the whole thing. Under a new facebook page. Which talked about the constitution.

At this point I note the MSM had everything they would have needed to destroy the character of the organizers. If this was huge, it would have been branded as a "racist, right-wing trucker protest". Wait, actually it was. It just wasn't deemed big news right then.

Non supported communications online, social networking, etc.

As this thing went into motion we had some good reporting and then it just fell off a cliff. Santili was doing "live coverage" but he wasn't getting any reports from truckers. That was almost excruciating. And there was like such a howling LACK of all the heaping piles of technology we show up with practically everyplace. No streams, no interviews, no barrage of facebook and youtube and twitter. What we did find was recycled images from previous events and stock photos coming up in reporting indicating, INDICATING I SAY that there was a major lack of on-the-ground reporting. And I guess it's tough to do when your subject is whizzing around on the highway but how about more truckstop interviews, how about follow-along footage? Earl Conlon finally started streaming from his cab as they were driving and I wish they had that up from the get-go. As it was, a slew of posters and bloggers seem to have been caught recycling images and bringing more embarrassment to the situation.

Again, we never do something and hope the MSM will report on it, we make our own reporting happen and we drag the MSM with us.

Little apparent organization, updates.

Pete Santili did his (lack of) coverage but it was clear he wasn't organizing anything. This showed itself in the reporting gaps but also in the lack of any kind of schedule or supportive programming. Gee, wonder why? Have anything to do with his having humiliated the driver and logistics organizer? But when you do a street action you don't hope the press shows up, you start to pressure them to show up days in advance and every day until you are actually in action. You want to have press liasons someplace available constantly and these people force feed journalists with the info, with printed stuff to take home. You basically do their work for them. And you want a specific time/place to start and a specific time/place to stop. This boosts your message and allows you to control it to the end. Also, having an ending releases you (as an organizer) from ongoing liability. Any subsequent event is not associated with the organization.

Summary conclusions.

These negative factors severely impacted this group's ability to function and it's clear they lack experience with coordinated street action. Ironically if it had been larger, Peter Santili and especially Zeeta would have come under intense scrutiny and been outed. This would have put an even worse face on truckers than how it turned out. However this is entered as among the many possibilities for future action (most likely under different front people).

My deepest thanks to the drivers who made this happen, my highest encouragement to learn from it and do it again. Mr. Conlon, you are OK in my book. Feel free to tap us at the Daily Paul in the future, we've got a lot of capability See you next year?

P.S. this just in from base1aransas, you totally have to see this!

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Thanks in return for all those who thanked me but WITH ONE VOICE

"And the people rose up and with one voice said...."

We rose up to say we support the truckers, not the "organization" or the personalities. We all steer thanks and recognition to the truckers.

I think that's the big take-away for all of us. We supported the people not the fancied up, forced and false poofed-up and grandstanding individuals.

The lesson I take away is a reminder. Pretty much every position of crucial import I have got in this movement I stood up and pretty much took. I direct the persons or people directly involved and fit myself in there.

I'll never forget when I sent like the 20th email to Aaron Russo, the latest being subjected in all caps "AARON RUSSO PLEASE ALLOW ME TO MAKE MY CASE".

And like a week later I got a call and a voice said "I'm Hollywood film producer and director Aaron Russo". And boy did my life change.

So I kinda fault myself for not seeing through this and getting through to Earl and the drivers and offering direct support.

Let's do that now. You young people that are smart with tech? Get together, form a plan, get in touch with these drivers, convince them you are the best for the job.

You will be the best because you don't have your own major agenda. You just want to help them get their word out in their own way using the best and coolest technology and broadcast capability. Because you do. And that is a fact.

And you can start that RIGHT NOW. TODAY. So get crackin. And keep me informed. You might be getting the idea I've done this kind of thing once or twice. And I'll be coming out with some stuff to help you soon.

Most of those who think so actually don't and most people who think sew actually rip.

mountaincat's picture

My favorite quote of the weekend

"..there's...thooouuusands of them...and they are PISSED."

I know, that was the veterans march.
I'm quite pleased to see the target attacked on three sides.
Thanks so much for the coverage Smudge Pot.

One big thing was learned by a lot of people that USED

to watch FOX news.

When FOX news snubbed the effort after the truckers promised to give interviews ONLY to them, they learned about the MSM.

Much like many DPer's learned in 2007-08.

NOTE that this has 90,000+ SHARES

It wasn't perfect that's for sure, but

I dig their effort to organize and unite and actually do something productive. Obviously they were in over their heads, but for me it was kind of entertaining to see them do the best they could despite the problems. I did think their marketing operation with being able to take telephone calls from individuals all over the world was very heartening and empowering to hear all walks of life start to speak out. The truckers reach a lot of people, something to consider with messaging. Glad it happened although I didn't agree with everything.

kind people rock

your summary/critique makes sense--

you made more sense of it than I did--


it's hard to be awake; it's easier to dream--

WOW..... PERFECT analysis

Having been involved in a few "let's put on a show in the barn" mis-adventures over the years, as well as both Ron Paul campaigns, I (we all) know how much bitter experience one has to go through in order to start approaching the appearance of a "well oiled machine" (no pun intended).

We all also learned the hard way about the MSM's snobbish and elitist blackout of anything noble and truly from the grass roots.

I think you offered a terrific analysis here, and hopefully those involved (and more) will not walk away with their tails between their legs.... but will stay committed to getting better and better at mocking the system and garnering support for the cause of the individual.

Congratulations and job well done to all the truckers and the vets who started the ball rolling. They helped to wake up the "normal" fed-up "conservatives", and I think it is a great step in the right direction.

Thomas Jefferson: “Indeed, I tremble for my country when I reflect that God is just, that His justice cannot sleep forever."

Viva La Revolucion!

"Lets put on a show in the barn" lol

That one phrase brought back mis-adventure from age 9 forward. Let's put on a show in the barn, let's play with matches and let's see how fast it goes.

Most of those who think so actually don't and most people who think sew actually rip.

Unpopular among most truckers.

That part was left out. Online there was a backlash from truckers that had to haul. Those truckers felt threatened with a shutdown by other truckers and the online threats got vicious.

"Don't mess with truckers" goes two ways.

Sandra, Thank you, we all needed to hear that! From the ..

From the beginning, (and I did keep my mouth shut about this issue), I felt the tone of this organization seemed to be more of that coming from a fringe group than anything else.

There was considerable endorsement by a few established voices on this board, to which I assumed they KNEW of, or were a PART of this group personally. And now it appears no-one, not even the truckers on this board are part of this group,

These same voices, somewhat attacked me personally for not... lol,

And now it comes out they knew little of, or nothing about this group, ..and they claim to be truckers.

Oh well, ..this is what makes this board so much fun.

But having said all that, doesn't diminish the fact, those truckers who took part in this DC event deserve our praise, and gratitude. (Take Your Bookmarks Wherever You Go!)


I didn't have my CB hooked up but that's the only place I'd like to have gone for info. Online I couldn't figure out who was a trucker (driver), who was disinfo, who's uncle was a trucker, who grew up around CB radios and knew trucker lingo...we seemed to have thousands of FORMER truckers...

Most of those who think so actually don't and most people who think sew actually rip.

They gave it their best!

I come from a long family tree of family farming and long haul trucking. One thing I do know about the vast majority of truckers in this country is, they are extremely down to earth family guys.

The ‘’ made three major predictions. The first one was very achievable, but the second was highly unlikely, and the third one being totally ridiculous, they were as follows;

1.) Their first prediction was that 10,000 truckers were coming into DC to protest the lack of Constitutional Rule of Law (this was very achievable considering the millions of trucks on the road today)

2.) There second prediction was they were coming to ARREST Congressmen and Senators for violating their oath of office. I found this statement very hard to believe because most drivers are family guys, just trying to make a living. Most truckers would have a very hard time arresting anyone let alone a Congressman or Senator. (I never expected this part to happen. Furthermore, I felt such a statement more than likely hindered their cause)

3.) There third prediction was that one hundred million Americans would be supporting them in this event. Such a statement was completely absurd, for if it were true, Ron Paul would have handily won and been the ‘Republican Party's nominee. After all that 100m number presents more votes than Obama got and half of what Mitt Romney got combined, in the last General election.

The results of success were already in on Friday at noon DC time, it was apparent their first prediction was not going to happen. By that evening it was crystal clear there would be no 10,000 truckers coming to DC. I wrote a piece on behalf of myself and my family thanking those truckers who did show, I was heavily criticized by a few on this board for not being realistic/optimistic.

My Conclusion of this event: I personally believe the is an organization with great aspirations to restore Constitutional Law in this country. They deserve a big hand for their efforts. But the facts are very clear they are an organization without members, and little or no real followers! At least not yet!

I’d like to close by saying once again, On behalf of myself and my family, we thank all those Truckers who gave so much this weekend. (Take Your Bookmarks Wherever You Go!)

Smudgie buddy please add a link to your original reporting...
Trucker Protest Veteran Action Weekend Thread

Chris Indeedski!

Daily Paul cured my abibliophobia.

I wasn't going to just to spite you

but you called me Smudgie.

Most of those who think so actually don't and most people who think sew actually rip.

fantastic - I found your soft spot.

That's just great.

LMNO (laughing my nuts off) :)

Chris Indeedski!

Daily Paul cured my abibliophobia.

Why stop at a million


Thanks from a trucking family.

I hope this reportage gets into the trucking community as they are close-knit and WELL aware of what is going on in this nation.

Chris Indeedski!

Daily Paul cured my abibliophobia.

All movements need to start somewhere

Any movement is better than no movement. Hooray to all who showed up and showed support and to all who reposted.

"A vote for the lesser of two evils is a vote to keep things the same", Buckminster Fuller..
A choice for liberty is always a choice for liberty.

Every little bit

helps. Remember! This has always been about spreading brushfires and that is exactly what is happening. Patience.


Brush fires. We need to light so many they cannot deal with them all!

Thank you truckers and supporters, job well-done under the circumstances!

In the fight for liberty, something is always better than nothing!

Freedom is the ability to do what you want to do.
Liberty is the ability to do what you ought to do.
"Where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty." 2 Corinthians 3:17

This demonstrates the

This demonstrates the necessity of controlling the message early on.
State a clear, positive message with wide appeal and stick with it.
Don't allow others to cloud the issues.

"The United States can pay any debt it has because we can always print money to do that." — Alan Greenspan

Thank You Smudge, Good Job.

We must realize that we are competing with professional public relations people that are paid to bring their slanted messages and edited visual clips to the public,and who have an army of couch potato's spewing only edited opinions that get airtime.

Ron paul has done the right thing in my opinion, by starting a competing news outlet.
Unfortunately, any change takes time and planning by dedicated people, but awareness that something is very wrong in the USA, has been accomplished,by this rally, in my opinion.


I couldn't figure out their point...

other than the constitution or something equally vague. I 'm surprised anyone showed up.

I have to think the people

I have to think the people who are going around claiming their demands were vague either A) haven't seen their very specific and exact list of demands or B) are trolling.

Well, no,

I'm not a troll as you would know if you were not a troll. And all I have ever seen is the constitution stuff which I admit I have not investigated this very deeply....just a typical dumb-ass American I guess.

If you're not a troll, why

If you're not a troll, why are you taking offense instead of googling for the thing I just told you about?

I'm not

taking offense but it sounds like you are.

Debbie's picture

Thank you so much for this great analysis, Smudge. I totally

agree with all your points. I hope they do it again too and tap us at the DP for our hard-earned capability garnered through two Ron Paul campaigns!! Your article is well worth a 2nd read-through on this subject.


Good analysis.

I am glad there was a lot of positive action during the last three days.