Part 4 in my ongoing series urging Dems to give up the hope that Occupy members will vote with us in November. As I’ve been showing in this series with quotes from Occupy groups across the country, they are clear on this point; they tell supporters to vote for a third-party candidate or not vote, all but guaranteeing Republican-controlled government.
OWS claims a fear of being co-opted by the Democratic Party. In fact, the Occupy movement was co-opted early-on by professional anarchists and professional activists (what one blogger calls Occupy’s own internal 1%). They represent themselves as true believers while soliciting thousands in donations from the left, including from groups they openly despise, like Democrats, establishment activist orgs and superPacs. While their supporters voice legitimate concerns about their chronic unemployment and massive debt, Occupy organizers receive donations from multiple sources to pay business expenses and, it appears, to pay themselves. Nice work, if you can get it.
Donations are funneled through Kickstarter and WePay, according to this report. WePay makes 88 cents per transaction. A Google search for “we pay occupy” results in wepay pages for dozens of Occupy local chapters, each having raised thousands and, in many cases, tens and even hundreds of thousands of dollars. Occupy Boston on WePay has raised over $60k, stating that funds are use for “many things including food, clothing, shelter, supplies, computer support, internet access and more.” The Alliance for Global Justice – Occupy Wall Street (also on WePay) has received nearly $338,000 and states they are the “fiscal sponsor for Occupy Wall Street” with no details on where the money goes. Occupy Atlanta’s WePay page says donations pay for various things, including “the costs of the legal committee”. A committee has members, so presumably, the members are getting paid for their services.
Occupy’s own internal 1% firmly controls the General Assemblies of their local orgs and squashes dissent. One blogger and former Occupy DC committee member who ran a post that was received badly said:
I was immediately attacked by establishment activists and those within Occupy DC that see them as friends. I was summarily removed from all OccupyDC listservs and committees that I sat on, targeted with a barrage of obscenities, and threatened with physical removal if I returned to McPherson Square.
Ok, so they raise a lot of money, some members are paid, and they tightly control their member’s activities. What’s your point?
Point is, like the Tea Party, Occupy is no-longer the all-inclusive, well-meaning group they once claimed to be. Occupy has become a professional organization that profits from protesting and has no problem accepting money from groups they openly despise, like Democrats, establishment activists and superPacs. They claim to represent the 99%, yet they seem to despise about 90% of the electorate. And from the quotes I’ve seen in several Occupy local group sites and comments from their members, many members only seem to be interested in mayhem and anarchy. Some even tell members change will not occur “without blood” (remind you of anyone?).
As I’ve been saying to Dems in this series, OWS is not our ally. In fact, I’d say they’ve evolved into something with which we no longer want to be associated. We need to focus our efforts on our supporters; ensure all of our base votes and attract Dem-leaning groups. Forget the haters.
For an article covering all of this and much more, read this post by Liam Fox, the former Occupy DC committee member I referred to earlier in this post. Fair warning, though: the author condemns Occupy in its current form (as I do) but then recommends a direction that is doomed to fail, which is even more anarchy and, basically, overthrowing the government.
View the entire series, OWS Is Not Our Ally.