Battle for the Soul of Occupy

Round #5 - Will MoveOn knock us out?

As we prepare for the May uprising, two power centers of our movement have announced plans for a spectacular bi-coastal May 1st bridge blockade. On the West Coast, Occupy Oakland and Occupy San Francisco are planning rush hour disruptions on the Golden Gate Bridge while in New York City, occupiers say they will block one or more Manhattan-bound bridges. These acts of nonviolent direct action will set the tactical tone for the next phase of Occupy: they signal the turn towards Strike actions aimed at disrupting the flow of money. And, on a deeper level, these blockades come at a pivotal moment for Occupy as the movement grapples with a battle for its soul.

The question many occupiers are debating is whether the spirit and voice of Occupy will stay with the new left horizontals who launched the uprising or whether it will move towards MoveOn’s 99% Spring, and their old left buddies at The Nation magazine, Ben & Jerry’s, et al.

For the first most spectacular days of Occupy – such as on September 24 when eighty Zuccottis were arrested and shocking footage of women getting maced was replayed on national television – MoveOn ignored our movement. They decided to jump on board much later when 700 nonviolent occupiers were arrested on the Brooklyn Bridge. They saw this mass arrest as an opportunity to fold Occupy into their electoral Rebuild the Dream campaign to bolster Obama. At a time when Occupy was inspiring hundreds of thousands of people across the nation to take the squares, set up leaderless encampments and reinvent democracy in people’s assemblies, MoveOn held an October 5 online “Virtual March on Wall Street” with their friends at Rebuild the Dream.

At the peak of Occupy, when the people’s movement had catalyzed a global day of action on October 15 that saw millions of us in 82 countries rally in financial districts and capital cities for real democracy, MoveOn tried to cash in on Occupy’s momentum with a donation pitch. “We have to capitalize on this momentum now,” wrote MoveOn in an email to its members. “Can you chip in $5?”

And now, MoveOn wants to hijack our movement with their 99% Spring.

MoveOn is an existential threat to our movement because they don’t have a revolutionary bone in their body … if we give these clicktivists any more room then they will pull off a managed cooling of our revolutionary fervor … they will neuter the kind of bold, militant nonviolent direct actions that are the key to the next phase of our movement. Don’t let them do it!

Jump, jump, jump over the dead body of the old left!

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

142 comments on the article “Battle for the Soul of Occupy”

Displaying 11 - 20 of 142

Page 2 of 15


"progress is piecemeal" --- you must be a progressive. Your theory of change is false. Progress happens in sudden bursts, as Occupy has proven.


Easy, easy. MoveOn is indeed a vehicle directly tied to the misnamed Democratic Party, and it exists to keep people in the tent--to pull the lever for warmongers and bankers with the D after their names. Remember who Zero put in his Cabinet of Horrors? Why, that great embodiment of democracy, Goldman Sachs. And let's not even start in about civil liberties.

MoveOn is WORTHLESS and worse than worthless, when it comes to the question of *power*--and that's the central issue. The Dem Party exists to keep power in the hands of the 1%--just like their shadow, the GOP.

That said, there are indeed some great folks in and around MoveOn actions, and we should unite with them wherever possible--which will be more often than not.


These groups are not the "old left." They are the liberal establishment. The real old left has a solid, albeit misguided, track record of standing for justice and rejecting corporatism and reformism.

kodiak bears in...

The last comment was just trolling but in all seriousness, there's no reason to spend any meaningful amount of time or energy fighting battles like this. Yeah reformists are lame as shit an all that but you have to either find a way to work with them or ignore them, making it clear that they don't represent your views in any way. Fighting them is nothing more than a convenient distraction, and it shows a real lack of political imagination from people who are supposedly the vanguard of revolution.
There's nothing wrong with accepting an inside/outside approach to changing things, especially when you don't have to do any work yourselves to implement the inside part, as MoveOn so readily wants to. Really what we need is inside/outside/at home approach, where "at home" is our own communities but also our own lives and ideologies, and taking the high road to revolutionizing ourselves means not getting caught up in fights like this which are just petty and narccisistic.
I'm personally concerned every time Adbusters comes out with statements like this, because the tone and rhetoric always reeks of a shitty attempt to assert or reassert their position in front of the Occupy movement in a de facto leadership role. If Occupy is genuinely worried about being coopted, they need to look no further than Adbusters and it's leadership, which has been subtly working that angle since day 1 (and before).

kodiak bears in...

Also, in the previous post I said that the previous previous post was just trolling, but what I meant was, I was saying what I genuinely believe, but kind of being a dick about it because there were no thoughtful discussions to conveniently engage in yet. The new left is still dead, and I DO want to jump over it's body.


Hi all-
This video has a great explanation of why we need to stay away from groups like move on. Basically they are invested in fund raising- not problem solving. Please watch, Rob explains the issue very well.


Funny thing is...I have heard about the 99% Spring but I haven't heard about MoveOn or Rebuild The Dream in connection with the 99% Spring.

The are not doing a very good job of co-opting...


Ha!! They are doing such a good job co-opting that you didn't know MoveOn was behind 99% Spring... brilliant. Guess you proved Adbusters point.


If you go to the 99% spring website they make it very clear that they are, and that they have no interest in co-opting anyone. There are many organizations participating in the occupy movement, as long as they are adhering to the idea the idea that this is a movement to limit corporate influence over public policy, why should they not be welcomed to participate?


Add a new comment

Comments are closed.