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Forum Post: Is the Occupy movement being hijacked?

Posted 6 years ago on April 19, 2012, 5:25 p.m. EST by PeterKropotkin (1050) from Oakland, CA
This content is user submitted and not an official statement

After a quiet winter, Occupy Wall Street is gearing up again for a summer of protest. Four months after they were evicted from bases across the country, protesters are emerging once more to camp out in New York's financial hub.

"I believe the way to change the system is to change it from within as well as on the exterior. We need to bring this to all fronts not just on the outside with our demonstrations ... we as [the] American people need to occupy the legislative body."

  • Walid Hakim, an Occupy protester running as Democrat, South Carolina

It is a movement that, at its peak, brought hundreds of thousands onto the streets of the US - united by a common anger at the excesses of the financial industry, and a dismay at government unwillingness to rein it in.

There is a day of mass protest and a general strike planned for May 1. The renewed demonstrations will undoubtedly be accompanied by renewed questions about the movement itself - some say is too unfocused in its objectives.

The Occupy movement tapped into a sense of discontent at the global economic situation and there were many similar demonstrations across the world that preceded it. But the first protest under the 'Occupy' banner took place in New York on September 17, 2011.

"Here you have an individual who's going off and pursuing his own course of action, not in the name of Occupy but in his own name, and again he is an individual and not someone who has powerful connections, resources etc. I also hope that folks in South Carolina and the Occupy movement don't end up becoming simple campaigners."

  • Mike King, an East Bay activist from the University of California, Santa Cruz

By October 2011, the movement had spread across the US with protests in Washington DC, Oakland in California and Cleveland in Ohio, among other places.

At the same time the Occupy protests went global. By mid-October, protests were taking place in hundreds of cities around the world.

But now a rival group has emerged - called the 99% Spring - which says it wants to train protesters for a campaign of peaceful protest.

Critics have denounced the group as a Democratic Party attempt to galvanise support for President Barack Obama's re-election campaign. Nonetheless, some former Occupy protesters are now advocating that change should come from within the government itself.

So with a rival action group emerging, how is the Occupy Wall Street movement developing? Is the movement's message in danger of getting hijacked by Obama's re-election campaign?

Inside Story Americas discusses with guests: Nathan Schneider, a writer with The Nation and The New York Times; Karunga Gashusha, a former Wall Street analyst turned Occupy protester; and Mike King, an East Bay activist from the University of California, Santa Cruz.

"This is a real resistance movement and not simply a PR campaign and by this I mean the movement itself. It's got to go beyond talking about message, it's got to go beyond changing the conversation. It has to disrupt power, it has to create structures that can challenge the structures of power that are currently in place. And co-option is always a two-way street or it can be. I think this is a case of co-option. These are groups, many of whom are sympathetic to what the Occupy movement has done and now they want to get in on the game. They are never going to be able to do it in a way that is as radical as the [Occupy] movement on their own."
Nathan Schneider, a writer with The Nation and The New York Times


It seeks to train people in methods of direct action It is sponsored by unions and mainstream democratic groups The movement has organised hundreds of training groups between April 9 and April 15 It intends to target annual shareholders meetings It provided pre-made training material for groups The group calls for higher taxes on the wealthy in the US and for more rights for workers It is supported by dozens of groups including trade unions and organisations like Moveon.org and Greenpeace Organisers say it does not seek to co-opt the Occupy movement

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[-] 1 points by forourfutures (393) 6 years ago

People trying to bring valid strategy to OWS are ignored. Here's a Article V activist trying to get someone to read a proposal to use Article V as legal process which can gain MAXIMUM legal authority if well done.


dan marks said on April 12, 2012

ATTN NYC !! I was just told, “You have to have a dedicated point person–there has never been a mechanism to present absentee props. There is always a specific presenter.”

Sorry this is unacceptable. We are spread out all over the country. We are trying to alert OWS about a Constitutional crisis that we may have great control over as Occupy. This is an emergency proposal because there are election deadlines to consider. This is a proposal from Inter-Occupy to OWS. Frankly I don’t give a damn if there has never been a mechanism to present absentee proposals. I know this is not your system but considering the people who are suffering physical harm in the streets, I must respectfully insist that someone read this short proposal on our behalf. My desire is to demonstrate that there is a peaceful way to create the biggest power shift in human history and we can begin now. This IS what OWS is here to do, there is no doubt in my mind. I am desperate to get your assistance. We don’t have to put one more person in harm’s way. If anyone else gets hurt because this information is not available to them, It won’t be for a lack of persistent effort on our part. There has not been any objection to this proposal in the site, just debate about what amendments may come up.

Help us for the next Scott Olson or UC Davis students. This is dire. I cannot walk away from this when we are this close and right now in this election year. This is a significant time period over the next 15 days. It can change everything if you help. Please.

No OWS proposal has any strategy for making any change. It could be said it is designed to "wear out the right to assemble" with a social movement immune to reason.

[-] 1 points by TitusMoans (2451) from Boulder City, NV 6 years ago

Many people have difficulty grasping the idea of true self-government, and it scares them.

Real self-government eliminates the need for a state, which automatically elimates a governmental class, but many people like the concept of rulers and being ruled.

[-] 1 points by francismjenkins (3713) 6 years ago

Maybe .... and if OWS is co-opted, it won't last. But anarchists still have plenty of ways to fight for real and meaningful change (if co-option does indeed happen).

[-] 1 points by hchc (3297) from Tampa, FL 6 years ago

The Dem party has been licking their chops at all these young kids in the streets since day one.

Obama is a lock either way. He's the perfect bankster/war machine puppet.