Occupy protesters mic-check politicians

If you’ve ever been to a concert, chances are you’ve heard the phrase “mic check” muttered by the stage crew moments before the artist takes the stage to make sure the equipment is in working order. And if you’ve never been to a concert, chances are you’ve heard the phrase used in countless songs from artists like Juelz Santana to Rage Against the Machine.

Now the phrase has become a battle cry for Occupy Wall Street protesters to launch coordinated protests that interrupt speakers.

In the mic-check process, one speaker stands up and starts chanting “mic check.” He or she then leads a crowd in a call-and-response fashion. It’s being used all around the country to interrupt speeches from politicians (usually those who lean to the Right) like Rep. Michele Bachmann or simply alert the masses that someone has something to say.

“Mic Check! Mic Check! Karl Rove is the Architect. The Architect of Occupy Iraq. The Architect of Occupy Afghanistan. The Architect of tax cuts for the 1%,” yelled protesters during a speech from Karl Rove, former deputy chief of staff to George W. Bush, at Johns Hopkins University. “The 99% think it’s time to #Occupy the Architect. To #Occupy the Architecture. Occupy Wall Street.”

Rove was angered by the interruption and yelled at protesters, asking them to wait until the question and answer portion of his speech to share their opinions—as politicians who have been interrupted by protesters have long done.

His pleas were in vain as dozens of students started chanting “we are the 99 percent” while others were escorted from the auditorium. Only after about four minutes was Rove able to address the crowd without being interrupted.

“If you don’t have the courage to sit here and then ask your question, you’re just showing your moral carelessness,” Rove said to a round of applause. “I can do this all night long. You want to keep jumping up and yelling ‘[we] are the 99 percent. How presumptuous and arrogant you think [you] are.”

The video of Rove being mic-checked has collected more than 75,000 views and is the most recent in a line of videos showing OWS protesters interrupting speeches. On Sunday House Majority Leader Eric Cantor was mic-checked at the beginning of his speech at Rice University.

“We find it an outrage to welcome Eric Cantor, who regularly votes against the interests of the people,” the crowd began.

Aside from interrupting politicians at the podium, the mic-check chants have been used to introduce speakers like filmmaker Michael Moore and Muslim Americans.

Here’s a breakdown of our top Occupy Wall Street mic check moments:

Fernando Alfonso III

Fernando Alfonso III

Fernando Alfonso III served as an early Reddit and 4chan reporter and the Daily Dot’s first art director until 2016. He’s gone on to report at Lexington’s Herald-Leader and at the Houston Chronicle.