Is anyone else plain tired of the feeble attempts of Trade Unions, politicians, corporations and political parties to co-opt a movement which defiantly stands against everything these money-driven, corrupt entities represent? Show me your spirit fingers, occupiers! Chris Hedges phrased it perfectly in his Truthdig column on October 17th: “The faux liberal reformers, whose abject failure to stand up for the rights of the poor and the working class, have signed on to this movement because they fear becoming irrelevant.” Occupy LA, in solidarity with all Occupy movements, refuses to align itself with political parties nor existing political and social organizations. We do not seek political office, nor endorse our own candidate, never mind that of anyone else’s party. We are not a brand, a commodity, a soundbite, a marketing slogan. For this reason, the Occupy Movement is greater in number than both the Republican and Democratic parties combined. A recent poll showed it had 57% support of the American public, with 72% of those same people believing the rich should be taxed more. By the time this article comes to press, those numbers will have increased enormously. It is a global movement of people resisting existing corrupt corporate systems of power through peaceful, non-violent civil disobedience.
The Occupy Movement is a politician and corporation’s wet dream.
From Ron Paul’s attempts to hijack the movement, to the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee’s recent email urging supporters to sign a petition backing the wave of Occupy Wall Street protests, we are witnessing not an articulation of support for the movement, but the demise in the need and relevance of existing political and corporate structures, and their desperate attempts to piggyback onto something which might revive their own drooping stems. Why else would MoveOn send out an email which invites its member to support Occupy Wall St, not by joining an Occupy movement, but by attending one of their events?! “How is this connected to Occupy Wall Street?” the email asks, without ever responding to its own question. If MoveOn wanted to be in solidarity with the movement, they’d be sending people to the Occupy movement, not co-opting its supporters for their own separate events, nor soliciting campaign donations for their own organization by shamelessly using Occupy Wall St in emails such as this, sent out to its members on October 18th:
“In addition to providing all the support we can to #OccupyWallStreet, at MoveOn we're scrambling to launch a huge campaign to make Wall Street pay. We're organizing mass meetings in hundreds of cities. We've hired filmmakers to tell the stories that the mainstream media are ignoring. We're turning up the heat on the banks by helping people move their money. And we're helping organize two major national days of protest in November.Together, we can make sure this momentum keeps building. But this all takes money—for materials, coordination, tech, and supporting thousands of volunteers. This is the moment. Can you chip in $5?”
How about suggesting individuals spend five dollars on purchasing organic vegetables from a local farmer, turn it into a stew, and feed it to cold, hungry protestors, under police attack in Zucotti Park? That might actually be “helping” the movement. I fail to see how my five dollars, sent to your bureaucratic faux-liberal bullshit non-profit, will help anyone but those in your pay collecting a salary every month. Hearing rumors that MoveOn owned the domain name OccupyTogether.org, I emailed Occupy Together to verify the truth of this. They vehemently denied this was the case, and explained that “The only place we've even mentioned MoveOn was in an update about why we were choosing to go with MeetUp. We quickly realized that even though we were only trying to illustrate how much attention occupytogether.org received, we shouldn't have pointed out specific organizations or public figures that had mentioned us. We've tried our best to stay as neutral as possible as an information resource.” Unfortunately, Occupy Together’s attempts to stay neutral did not prevent them from aligning themselves with Meetup, whom they describe as “good souls”, shortly before expounding upon the brilliance of their online tools and technical support, which they have integrated into their site. If Meetup were truly “good souls”, Occupy Together, they would have provided you with the resources to implement your own tools. Instead they created a reliance upon their online resources, successfully piggybacking onto the movement and gaining themselves extra press. “Good souls” give without expecting anything in return, certainly not a massive plug nor free advertising space.
But the most shameless act of piggy-backing so far has come from Act Blue, a political committee which enables online Democratic Party candidate fundraising. They have released ‘Occupy Wall Street’ bumper stickers, t-shirts and yard signs on their website. They are supposedly “free” - though Act Blue, of course, asks for a donation, with the insidiously worded message that: “your contribution today will help offset the costs and support our continued involvement, spreading the message, and supporting the Occupy Wall Street movement.”
Act Blue's efforts to make money from the movement is rank hypocrisy, greed and opportunism. The Occupy Movement is independent of existing corrupt political parties and the financial structures they operate within. We do not engage in corporate activity of any kind, nor condone organizations which use the name of any Occupy Movement for economic or political advantage.
But it seems like no one out there seems to quite get it. If you know of any other piggybackers out there the public should avoid, please leave them in the comments section of this blog.
On a side note, on Tuesday 25th October at 7.30 pm, we will have a special General Assembly to discuss an important proposal regarding Occupy LA’s position re: political parties. I urge you all to attend. If anyone has the precise wording of the proposal, might be an idea to send it to the web team so they can post it online prior to the GA, or leave it here in the comments section.