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Tue May 1, 2012, 12:32 PM

'Battle for the soul of Occupy':Activists fear being 'pulled to the right,' becoming Democratic pet

Source: MSNBC

As Occupy protesters hit the streets for a nationwide general strike on Tuesday, some in the movement fear the emergence of two new activist outfits made up of "old left" advocacy groups and unions is an attempt to turn them into a "pet" for the Democratic Party and President Obama’s reelection effort.

The new groups, 99% Power and 99% Spring, include backers such as MoveOn.org, Rebuild The Dream, AFL-CIO, United Auto Workers, CODEPINK: Women for Peace, and The Ruckus Society. The groups bring money with them – something in short supply for Occupy – but their efforts are being eyed warily by those who helped launch the Occupy movement.

Skepticism of electoral politics runs deep in the Occupy movement and it could affect the ability of Democrats to mobilize activists during the 2012 campaign, despite attempts to appropriate the "99 percent" rhetoric. But Todd Gitlin, a former leader of the 1960s group, Students for a Democratic Society, who has just published a book on Occupy, believes the concerns of some in the movement are "outlandish."

"It was inevitable that there would arise political actors that want those same reforms, although they don’t necessarily share the real-time spirit of the movement. These are the membership organizations, like the unions and MoveOn … who did turn out for the big marches in October and November, and who are numerically very large but were always from the beginning being met with suspicion on the part of the Occupy movement," said Gitlin, a professor of sociology and journalism at Columbia University.

Read more: http://usnews.msnbc.msn.com/_news/2012/05/01/11485085-battle-for-the-soul-of-occupy-activists-fear-being-pulled-to-the-right-becoming-democratic-pet?lite



You got to be careful of those RW groups like MoveOn.org, Rebuild The Dream, AFL-CIO, United Auto Workers, CODEPINK: Women for Peace, and The Ruckus Society.

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Reply 'Battle for the soul of Occupy':Activists fear being 'pulled to the right,' becoming Democratic pet (Original post)
hack89 May 2012 OP
brooklynite May 2012 #1
hack89 May 2012 #3
saras May 2012 #5
rhett o rick May 2012 #20
Enrique May 2012 #2
Iliyah May 2012 #4
movonne May 2012 #6
marshall gaines May 2012 #7
iamthebandfanman May 2012 #8
SunSeeker May 2012 #9
EFerrari May 2012 #15
progressivebydesign May 2012 #10
EFerrari May 2012 #16
cprise May 2012 #23
WHEN CRABS ROAR May 2012 #26
starroute May 2012 #11
randome May 2012 #12
EFerrari May 2012 #17
rhett o rick May 2012 #21
cprise May 2012 #25
Brooklyn Dame May 2012 #13
happerbolic May 2012 #14
EFerrari May 2012 #18
Jackpine Radical May 2012 #19
rhett o rick May 2012 #22
starroute May 2012 #27
rhett o rick May 2012 #28
jtuck004 May 2012 #24

Response to hack89 (Original post)

Tue May 1, 2012, 12:36 PM

1. I think the biggest issue here is that...

...the new entries believe in utilizing the political process, whereas the core-group in Occupy seems to believe that both parties are irreparably corrupt, and want to focus on building a completely new political and ecnomic system from scratch.

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Response to brooklynite (Reply #1)

Tue May 1, 2012, 12:40 PM

3. It would be nice if OWS told us what this new political and ecnomic system would look like

beyond the usual platitudes. The bigger question is how they intend to reach that goal outside of the political system.

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Response to brooklynite (Reply #1)

Tue May 1, 2012, 12:49 PM

5. I guess that defines me as an Occupy core-group

 

I don't know about "from scratch", but we can't USE our political process for ANYTHING until we FIX it.

If "mainstream" Dems were seriously working to eliminate the spoiler effect from American politics, I think the divide between the Dems and Occupy would largely disappear in practice, although many theoretical differences would remain.

Without the spoiler effect, the public could effectively shape both (or more) parties to fairly represent their values. As it is, that is not possible.

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Response to brooklynite (Reply #1)

Tue May 1, 2012, 06:27 PM

20. Occupy needs to recognize that the 99% is a very large and diverse group.

There are going to be differences.

Beware of those that would try to divide us.

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Response to hack89 (Original post)

Tue May 1, 2012, 12:36 PM

2. Code Pink just led a Drone Summit

very critical of Obama's drone policy. Did not pull any punches from what I saw. The other groups are a different story, although I've never heard of the Ruckus Society.

It's absolutely a valid concern, the interests of Occupy and the Democratic Party are not the same.

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Response to hack89 (Original post)

Tue May 1, 2012, 12:41 PM

4. Most 99ers will remain

center or even more to the left although I'm pretty sure that you will have the likes of moles from the RW to infitrate the movement of course in order to discredit it for the 1%. The 1% have the money, a lot of money.

I would not be surprised that these moles divide the 99% for the sole purpose of allowing the GOP party to win in November 2012. If that happens, the 99ers and the country are f**ked.

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Response to hack89 (Original post)

Tue May 1, 2012, 12:49 PM

6. I don't care who joins up with the Occupy as

long as they are fighting against corporations from taking total control of our country....if they haven't already...the banks are banding together to hire force to stop the Occupy movement..

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Response to hack89 (Original post)

Tue May 1, 2012, 12:50 PM

7. provocateurs

 

also remember cointelpro type provocateurs who's main function is to infiltrate and cause dissension amongst groups in the movement to eventually cause breakup of that movement. Mission Accomplished said the PTB.

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Response to hack89 (Original post)

Tue May 1, 2012, 01:40 PM

8. Wait, Im confused..

I thought there was no spokesmen or leaders of the Occupy movement?
so, whos decided theres a threat of anything from anyone?
who are these unknown/un-named 'activists' that claim to represent 50% of the people at these gatherings?

beyond that,
since when is CODE PINK a mainstream 'old left' organization in bed with the party???

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Response to hack89 (Original post)

Tue May 1, 2012, 01:48 PM

9. Oy, again with the "some say" crap.

Come on MSNBC. That's Fox News reporting style.

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Response to SunSeeker (Reply #9)

Tue May 1, 2012, 04:04 PM

15. I keep looking for SomeSay's threads

and don't find them.

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Response to hack89 (Original post)

Tue May 1, 2012, 02:30 PM

10. I don't really want them...

The idea of Occupy was great. It was about the 99% who were being exploited by the 1% and Wall Street.

But now it's become a haven for angst-ridden teen anarchists who just like to destroy things, then go back to sleep at their parent's upper middle class home in suburbia. And for folks who are happy to be able to camp in a public place without having the police move their shit or throw it away.

The violence right now on May Day is going to be attached to the Occupy movement, when again it's just a bunch of testosterone-laced teen boys who don't really have a purpose in life.. they don't think about the people who they're hurting, which are NOT Wall Street. Sad to say, I don't support Occupy anymore, now that it's been perverted by extremists. And that's sad.

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Response to progressivebydesign (Reply #10)

Tue May 1, 2012, 04:05 PM

16. Yes, that is exactly what is has become

if you depend upon UsNews for your information.

lol

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Response to progressivebydesign (Reply #10)

Tue May 1, 2012, 06:42 PM

23. With all of the knee-jerk violence directed at them by police

you should be ashamed of yourself for daring to characterize OWS protesters as just a bunch of violent children.

I surmise those with a distaste for such protest are the ones reflecting upper middle class suburbia and its wannabes. The tiny amount of violence coming from OWS participants is happening where you can't just file it away in a detached manner.

Violence is not something I'll advocate either, but the view expressed above lacks all sense of proportion and prefers the (impossible) continuation of a tidy existence with simple choices.

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Response to progressivebydesign (Reply #10)

Tue May 1, 2012, 08:15 PM

26. Hmm, seems like I've heard this before, like fifty years ago.

Different times, same old bullshit.

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Response to hack89 (Original post)

Tue May 1, 2012, 02:40 PM

11. The problem is that the 99% Spring people are trying to *be* the movement

I just got an email from MoveOn. (I sent them some money like 15 years ago, and they never let go.) It says:

Today, May Day, is celebrated around the world as International Workers' Day. This year, people all over the country are participating in hundreds of protests, marches, and direct actions to confront the 1% and stand up for justice.

People from every corner of our movement--including many from Occupy, labor, and immigrants' rights groups--are joining in for an amazing breadth of actions. May Day is shaping up to be the biggest day of protest so far this year, and a wave of direct action for the 99% is building in America. You can still get involved. It isn't too late to join actions planned by hundreds of organizations today, and over the coming weeks.

You can find actions happening today and upcoming events from across our movement at the 99% Spring action hub:


What this MoveOn email seems to be implying is that the May Day protests are put on by "our movement" and merely "include" some Occupiers, along with members of labor unions and other old-line progressive groups. But that's exactly the reverse of what's really happening.

It then goes on to talk about "a wave of direct action for the 99%" -- again carefully using language to suggest that their own 99% Spring is "the movement" and Occupy is just joining in.

This is why the Occupiers are so suspicious. It would be one thing if MoveOn and their pals came along and said humbly, "We haven't been doing so well at promoting progressive causes, but you've caught the popular imagination in a way we never did and we'd like to be part of that." But instead, their message is more like, "We're running this show and you're just one small corner of it."

And that's the problem.

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Response to starroute (Reply #11)

Tue May 1, 2012, 02:52 PM

12. I don't read that at all.

You think Occupy is the only legitimate organization on Earth? Please.

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Response to starroute (Reply #11)

Tue May 1, 2012, 04:07 PM

17. Precisely. Two rich people with a mailing list

trying to appropriate a truly popular movement.

It's pathetic.

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Response to starroute (Reply #11)

Tue May 1, 2012, 06:34 PM

21. May Day is Internation Workers Day. Moveon is pointing out that there are many people

in the 99%, including Occupy, that will be protesting. How is that wrong? They are working to get people involved. Why do you want to disparage all other organizations other than Occupy? What good will come of that? Bless Occupy but they are not the movement, they are part of a huge movement that includes labor, teachers, moveon, etc.

Beware of those that would try to turn us against each other.

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Response to starroute (Reply #11)

Tue May 1, 2012, 07:03 PM

25. I think the critics from OWS are being insecure about this

And if I were able to somehow look at the OWS core and MoveOn supporters to a person, I would expect to find a lot of overlap. OWS is a response to intensifying conditions that MoveOn had said *could* become real if the system couldn't reform properly. I see it as natural that MoveOn would consider OWS' struggle as its own. Many people and organizations do.

Taking the criticism farther, one could just as easily claim that OWS is trying to take credit for the momentum created by the Arab Spring.

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Response to hack89 (Original post)

Tue May 1, 2012, 03:20 PM

13. There's a good chance that they will fold into the Dem party

-- at least that is the concern of many who want to stay on the 'outside' and change the system that way. The problem is that may not be very realistic given how entrenched big money is within the political system. The Occupiers and the May Day marchers have to realise their goals aren't separate; this is a global movement.

http://borderlessnewsandviews.com/2012/05/may-day-remembering-the-working-class/

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Response to Brooklyn Dame (Reply #13)

Tue May 1, 2012, 03:47 PM

14. Well said, Brooklyn Dame.

 

... and it is precisely moments like this can prove vital for the survival of ground up causes. To be able to look optimistically at this opportunity to truly influence the change that is needed to work it's way up the chain. and be able to properly vet (non infiltrating agents) into vital roles within the ranks of more established (and somewhat backed) organizations. Opinions will always differ, but with the energy of the youth and the good will and societal morality that is with the overall Left, this can turn into something really wonderful. Especially when done in a smart way that doesn't allow criminal provocateur types access to undermine any momentum and still allow as much discomfort ass possible for plutocratic royalists

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Response to Brooklyn Dame (Reply #13)

Tue May 1, 2012, 04:11 PM

18. No, there is no chance Occupy will fold into any party.

If that were a possibility, these people would be out knocking on doors already and not going to all this trouble. My sense is that a lot of them already went that route and found it unproductive.

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Response to EFerrari (Reply #18)

Tue May 1, 2012, 04:28 PM

19. There are a lot of Cheeseheads involved in the electoral process right now

(including me) who are putting people power up against the millions pouring in for the Walkerites, and who see this as a last-ditch effort. If we can't sweep 'em away, given the energy that is everywhere among our unprecedented wave of activists, then it seems that there is no way to win the electoral game against the power of the dollar. What's left? Actions outside the political mainstream. That would be things like general strikes and various acts of (I hope nonviolent) civil disobedience. OWS, here we come.

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Response to hack89 (Original post)

Tue May 1, 2012, 06:36 PM

22. Occupy needs to worry about Black Bloc and not moveon.org. Good grief CB. nm

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Response to rhett o rick (Reply #22)

Tue May 1, 2012, 09:02 PM

27. They need to worry about both -- it's a two-pronged strategy

They're trying to replicate what happened in the late 40s and 50s, when what had been a vibrant political left was crushed between two millstones. On one side, not only communists but anybody who could be described as a "fellow traveler" was demonized. On the other side, there were any number of safe, moderate-left organizations -- many of which eventually turned out to be CIA-sponsored -- into which progressives were diverted.

The result can be clearly seen in the labor unions, which lost their radical edge, their willingness to press for fundamental changes in the organization of American society, and even their ability to organize effectively -- and which settled instead for the promises of middle-class wages and good pensions and health benefits. And now, not only are those benefits being jerked out from under them, but the right is able to convince many union members or potential members that the advantages of belonging to a strong union aren't worth having the dues taken out of their pay.

Exactly the same strategy is being enacted now. Anarchists are being set up as today's communists -- painted as terrorists and violent thugs. This puts Occupy in a particularly difficult position, because if they defend the black bloc they risk being tarred with its alleged crimes, but if they attempt to purge it from their ranks, they're falling into the same trap that was sprung back in 1948.

And if they do that, the safe, friendly, moderate-left groups like MoveOn are ready to fold them into their own agenda of pushing for minor reforms that may put band-aids over some of the more glaring problems but will not fundamentally challenge the system.

The only way past the trap that I can see is for the Occupiers to be resolutely non-violent in their own public statements and positions, to make it clear that they will not tolerate having their actions sabotaged by vandals, but at the same time to resist demonization and guilt by association. It's a tricky balancing act, but I can't see any other path.

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Response to starroute (Reply #27)

Wed May 2, 2012, 12:24 AM

28. A two prong strategy of who?

The 99% includes a lot of groups that dont all see using the same strategy. That doesnt mean they are trying to co-opt anyone. Let's all work together.

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Response to hack89 (Original post)

Tue May 1, 2012, 06:57 PM

24. I hope not. One of the anarchists would probably pee on the couch so much

they would duimp the whole group at the shelter.



There's probably better metaphors.

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