Battle for the Soul of Occupy

Old left money comes with strings attached.

On September 17 last year a new crop of wild lefties took the crusty old guard by surprise . . . then, one by one, the old lefties came to Zuccotti to pay homage and offer their support. A struggle for the soul of Occupy has been percolating ever since. At stake is whether the young anarchic spirit and voice of Occupy will stay with the new left horizontals who launched the movement or whether it will move towards the monied old left. One of the most decisive moments in that struggle came when Ben Cohen of Ben & Jerry’s ice cream fame started offering occupiers money claiming there were no strings attached.

Now, a story emerges from one of the most well-known projects to spring from Occupy - the Illuminator - and the disastrous consequences of accepting Ben's money:

Earlier this year, Ben Cohen doled out nearly $30,000 to a group of Occupy Wall Street activists with an unusual idea — for a passenger van to be rigged with a powerful projector that would beam progressive messages onto the sides of buildings... But before long, the van’s operators said, Cohen decided he wanted greater control of The Illuminator and less interference from the van’s affinity group, an Occupy decision-making body that relies on discussion and consensus... “He didn’t want to have to bother with the messy part of being in a democracy,” said Mark Read, the activist who initially proposed The Illuminator idea and helped operate it. “He’s a 1 percenter telling the 99 percent, ‘I’m your boss.’”

Read the rest of the story here and weigh in below.

Adbusters 111 Cover

On Newsstands December 3

At last we’re in Winter. It’s the year 2047. A worn scrapbook from the future arrives in your lap. It offers a stunning global vision, a warning to the next generations, a repository of practical wisdom, and an invaluable roadmap which you need to navigate the dark times, and the opportunities, which lie ahead.

Subscribe to Adbusters Magazine

Comments on the article “Battle for the Soul of Occupy”

Displaying 1 - 8 of 8

Page 1 of 1


Ben and jerry's occupy initiative 「」 looks to me like a good idea. If you look at the projects funded its all giod even for Occupy the Hood. When i become rich again i would give all my money to the Occupy movement in order to ensure a good rebirth in my next incarnation :)


The rich be funding and you be hating the illuminator got kickstarter'd so they be riding dirty. Ben and jerry's 「」 is all good they even funded Occupy the Hood O:-). People need to chillax this is a global revolution its meant to be fun and strictly for the lulz. From each according to his ability to each according to his need imho.


"new" left horizontals?? You believe this is a new thing? Dont be silly, there's nothing particularly new about the occupy methods, other than the name and context. Historically, horizontalism, occupation, have been happening for well over a century. But thats besides the point, what is truly tragic is this narcissistic, childish need to be glorifying itself, focusing so much on how special Occupy and its little rituals are. This self-aggrandizing obsession comes at the expense of serious attempt at trying to effect concrete meaningful change. Instead of doing something concrete, Occupy wants to convince itself that its symbolic actions are super relevant. A van with a projector?! Who gives a shit?!


I was very concerned when I heard about Ben & Jerry's arriving on the scene. I had been researching for my documentary and found many company names turn up in my research exposing them for who they really are. Ben & Jerry's do not live up to their positive image whatsoever... Here's what they're doing in Africa:

He's also on the Board of Advisors of the World Security Institute:

Add a new comment

To comment or reply please Log In, Create An Account or post as Anonymous.