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.