There is no doubt the Original Occupy Wall Street movement originated with Socialist style, anti-capitalist agitators.
When the notion/idea of the occupiers actually started to take shape and garner media attention, the Communists/Socialists/Anarchists within America decide they wanted a piece of the action.
A CIVIL WAR IS BREAKING OUT WITHIN OCCUPY WALL STREET OVER SUPPORTING OBAMA
April 16, 2012
By Buck Sexton
Occupy Wall Street is becoming mired in an ideological civil war just as it seeks to reestablish itself as a dominant force in American political discourse and openly pushes for a crippling general strike on May 1st.
What’s behind the various Occupy Wall Street (OWS) factions engaging in online squabbles and tweet battles? Believe it or not, Barack Obama. Within the movement, there are those who believe the established Left is trying to co-opt OWS to get President Barack Obama reelected. And it’s causing quite the stir. [Emphasis added]
In fact, Adbusters — a prominent force in the movement — is calling it a “Battle for the Soul of Occupy.” It is railing against groups like Moveon.org for seeking to piggyback on the enthusiasm and digital organization of the Occupiers to ensure the status quo in the federal government continues for four more years.
(Author’s note: This OWS struggle is already a chapter in my upcoming ebook, “Occupy: American Spring, The Making of a Revolution,” available next week on April 24th.)
But the Occupiers aren’t taking this usurpation lightly. Since Adbusters wrote an article decrying the phenomenon, Occupiers have been rallying to the meme of “Jump, jump, jump over the body of the old dead left.”
Adbusters has even tried to create a sort of cautionary tale for OWS followers by advancing the idea that the Tea Party is now a co-opted movement of Beltway Republicans — a fate they claim could befall Occupy with Democrats:
“First they silenced our uprising with a media blackout… then they smashed our encampments with midnight paramilitary raids… and now they’re threatening to neutralize our insurgency with an insidious campaign of donor money and co-optation. This counter-strategy worked to kill off the Tea Party’s outrage and turn it into a puppet of the Republican Party. Will the same happen with Occupy Wall Street? Will our insurgency turn into the Democrats’ Tea Party pet?”
If Obama partisans have been on a stealth mission of Occupy Wall Street co-option, this is wholly unsurprising. That the institutional left (unions, community organizers, liberal media) would disingenuously promote the regime in power while pretending to stand apart from the process is as logical as it is deeply cynical. Even anarchists should know it’s easier to get what you want when you control the levers of power.
Not so, it seems. The Occupiers’ media reaction thus far has been more Jacobin than Jerry Garcia, as even Adbusters is willing to call out Occupy-leaning establishment leftists as heretics:
“Will you allow Occupy to become a project of the old left, the same cabal of old world thinkers who have blunted the possibility of revolution for decades? Will you allow MoveOn, The Nation and Ben & Jerry to put the brakes on our Spring Offensive and turn our struggle into a “99% Spring” reelection campaign for President Obama?
Now ADD THIS:
From Progressive America Rising (Formerly Progressives for Obama)
Can Occupy Walk Through the Doors It Opened? Or Will It Paint Itself into a Corner?
April 8, 2012
Occupy Wall Street Activists
Respond to the 99 Percent Spring
By Allison Kilkenny
Progressive America Rising via The Nation
April 6, 2012 – Seizing on the popularity of Occupy Wall Street, a broad coalition of liberal-left groups and organizations created the 99 Percent Spring, a movement aiming to recruit and train 100,000 Americans to learn the ways of non-violent direct action. The initiative includes support from MoveOn.org, AFL-CIO, Greenpeace, the Working Families Party, 350.org, Campaign for America’s Future, United Students Against Sweatshops, CodePink, Global Exchange and Color of Change, among other groups.
The plan has been heavily promoted by celebrities such as Edward Norton, Elijah Wood, Marisa Tomei and Jason Alexander and political heavyweights like Van Jones, founder of Rebuild the Dream.
However, Occupy Wall Street protesters have expressed mixed feelings about the 99 Percent Spring, a response that should have been expected given a statement like, “Occupiers have varying opinions,” is a beige platitude akin to, “humans have varying opinions on life.” OWS is a big tent movement, and as such, it attracts the entire gamut of the (generally) lefty political spectrum.
“I can’t blame the Occupy movement for being at best suspicious,” says Joe Macare of Truthout and the Occupied Chicago Tribune, and observer of the Occupy movement, pointing out the 99 Percent Spring has adopted the language and imagery of Occupy Wall Street.
“I think Van Jones means well and is a smart, formidable guy, but I disagree with a lot of what I’ve read in his analysis about the extent to which President Obama, as opposed to just the Tea Party, the GOP-controlled Congress, etc., needs to be held responsible for the mess the United States is in. If Rebuild the Dream and MoveOn.org are serious about challenging corporate power, that’s going to mean calling out a lot of Democratic policies and a lot of Democratic politicians who are bought and paid for by the private sector.”
In a recent blog post for The Nation, Jones argues that all of this class war chatter is detrimental to Occupy, a movement founded on the very notion that wealth disparity exists and must be confronted for the sake of the survival of the “99 percent.”
“The vast majority of Americans do not oppose their fellow Americans, simply because they are rich,” Jones wrote.
In making this statement, Jones constructed a straw man. Generally speaking, Occupy Wall Street opposes corruption and corporate power, which they perceive as illegitimate wealth hoarded by the “one percent” who have rigged the US political system in their favor. The issue is not that there are rich people living in America. The issue is that some absurdly rich people, the “one percent”, are only the “one percent” because they cheated, with an assist from the government, and are currently crushing the underclass in order to collect even more wealth than ever before.
Jones departs from Occupy’s philosophy in a number of ways, including his romanticizing of a non-existent bygone era in America that needs to be “reclaimed,” which was packed with “justice and equality,” and so his involvement in the 99 Percent Spring complicates things, as does MoveOn’s participation in the project.
Many Occupiers view MoveOn as an extension of the Democratic Party, since the group first rose to prominence supporting Democratic and progressive candidates and attacking right-wing figures. Conversely, Occupy is a movement that tends to view both the Democrats and Republicans as being culpable for growing class inequality and the corporate takeover of America.
I tweeted to Occupiers, asking them how they felt about MoveOn’s involvement in the 99 Percent Spring, and it seems the initial responders, meaning those who perhaps don’t understand the degree of the group’s involvement, tend to take issue with MoveOn’s presence:
“Training people in nonviolence is great! But for what means, Under what name? We want real change, not mobilizing DEM base,” wrote @PHX99percent. “Like an 80-year old dude throwing on a toupee and trying to be a pick-up artist. MoveOn just be yourself!” @TempeBacon wrote. @Xanibrutal concurs: “If I wanted to be involved with MoveOn, I would have joined their generic grassroots organization instead of #Occupy.”
Others in the movement see MoveOn’s involvement in the 99 Percent Spring as a potentially valuable asset, as long as MoveOn doesn’t start evangelizing on behalf of the donkey.
“I’m not a big MoveOn fan,” OWS protester Jesse Myerson says, “I’ve criticized them publicly when they’ve tried to co-opt OWS. But that doesn’t mean that it is a toxic organization that can contribute nothing to the movement. If providing you with 100,000 Americans trained in direct action isn’t the most useful thing MoveOn, and its many awesome partners on this, could be doing, what is?”
Myerson warns against Occupiers becoming purists, meaning picky over who can call themselves Occupiers to the point of total extinction.
“[MoveOn] isn’t a monolith. It’s a pretty big group with a really big-email list and an executive leadership accountable to it,” says Myerson, adding that the e-mail list was used strictly for political stuff, specifically liberal/progressive stuff. As a result, MoveOn’s niche became the activist wing of the Democratic Party. Now, with many liberals disappointed with President Obama’s performance and drawn to the revolutionary spirit of Occupy, MoveOn finds itself in a difficult position.
“[The Democratic Party] base is showing tendencies toward abandoning the [party], and I bet a lot of MoveOn people feel the same pull. But then there’s MoveOn’s now longstanding institutional relationships and their knowledge that some critical things are going on legislatively that could really use some activist support in the streets. It’s a tough bind,” he says.
Myerson says he expects a mixed bag now that MoveOn is involved, but it’s “not up to us to judge MoveOn; it’s up to us to grow our movement.”
“A revolution is not an e-mail list. It isn’t 100 or even 100,000 people in the streets. It’s a widespread social consensus that overtakes the institutions of power,” he says. “Right now, it needs to be about generating consensus. On the scale of hundred of millions of people. The neo-liberal monster is a big enemy.”
Micah Uetricht, an Occupy Chicago protester who was arrested with 174 other people during a protest in October, expected to hear about a significant 99 Percent Spring backlash from OWS.
“The 99% Spring is a pretty unabashed attempt on the part of much of the ‘institutional left’ to capitalize on the grassroots momentum that Occupy put in motion,” he says.
However, Uetricht says that he hasn’t noticed any kind of outright rejection of the effort among Occupiers in Chicago.
“What I’ve seen and heard from Occupiers in Chicago is a very mature, thoughtful kind of radicalism.”
Protesters certainly understand the dangers of engaging with these groups i.e. the risks of co-option, but they also understand these established organizations may also become valuable partners down the road.
“Occupiers also seem to understand that even though these groups are far from perfect and don’t have the same kind of radical commitments that much of Occupy does, organizations like unions and community groups are the ones who are going to do the practical work of trying to implement the kinds of change OWS is demanding,” says Uetricht.
It’s Occupy’s job, Uetricht says, to push the country’s policies and dialogue to the left, but that doesn’t mean it can’t engage with the mainstream left on these kinds of projects.
George Goehl, executive director of National People’s Action, a network of grassroots organizations using direct action to battle economic and racial injustice, who recently appeared on Bill Moyers’ Moyers & Company to discuss the 99 Percent Spring, believes now is a crucial time to education Americans about non-violent resistance.
“The political system is so messed up, and income inequality is such a huge problem, that we need a stronger response,” says Justin Ruben, executive director of MoveOn. “Simply put, the goal of the 99% Spring is to empower activists to use non-violent direct action so they an challenge growing economic inequality and confront the increasing concentration of political power in the hands of the 1%.”
Ruben stresses that the 99 Percent Spring work is separate from MoveOn’s legacy of promoting and supporting progressive candidates.
“The 99% Spring is not part of that work,” he says, adding that the 99% Spring is happening through MoveOn.org Civic Action, a c(4), while the electoral work is housed in MoveOn’s PAC.
All parties seem mindful of the dreaded accusations of co-option, but rarely does such an annexation occur overnight. MoveOn being mindful of co-option accusations and compartmentalizing training in a separate wing of its franchise, Occupiers discussing the need to remain autonomous and perhaps co-opt MoveOn’s members, all of this is part of OWS’s ongoing struggle to maintain its identity without becoming a purist movement that alienates potential new converts and isolates the fledgling movement to the point of extinction.
**Emphasis added for focal points**
[Includes Black Panthers, Hezbollah, CAIR, etc.]