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!

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

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Here Here!
Aside form your initial error Re: "Chicktivists" I wholeheartedly agree with the spirit of your comment.
De-colonization is a must. I've been with OSF since 10/06/11 and I've been involved and around several other camps and among the most discouraging signals in and around the movement is that only people of the middle and upper-middle class can effectively participate in the movement. in my experience, the majority of individuals who have assumed central roles in planning and organizing have been Male Caucasians. It would be unfair to blame these individuals for the entirety of the fact that not enough young people of color from any socio-economic background are showing up. I do, however feel like there have been a few instances where the opportunity to encourage participation has been missed or ignored.

It's sad to think that only an elite group within the 99% can effectively plan and carry out significant actions.
In my experience, the women in the movement have been largely keeping the flame of passion alive and dong the exhausting and, often thankless, job of maintaining high morale.

Before I was arrested at the SF commune I saw unity in action. I didn't see race or class, or gender. I saw an image of the future. When we win...and we WILL win, we will completely delegitimize the many fallacies that keep our spirits separate and our minds enslaved. Why wait until the day of victory, our movement will be so much stronger if we see that this moment in history is where we Humans are fighting against a system. Not a race, or a class of people (not even the 1%), not a specific gender, but a cold, unfeeling system of social control.


Humans are indeed fighting against a system, however, one has to remember that the inhumanity of the system stems from humans who are more than happy to exploit others, as if they were disposable, replaceable automatons, existing merely to service the elite, and increase the elite's wealth. The ruling class, (besides holding all the power and most of the wealth) have limitless means of propaganda at their disposal.

The question remains, how can Occupy most effectively convey to the 99% that the left vs right dichotomy is a false construct used to turn people against one another, instead of figuring out where the root of the problems lie, and that choosing a brand by voting, (Democrat or Republican) is an exercise in futility?

How do you motivate a populace (the 99%) to take action, when they've been conditioned to be subservient and reliant on 'the state' or voting as a solution to their complaints?


Ha yeah then everyone was wearing CBGB's Ts thinking they were making a rad statement. Now they've bought the kids Ramones gear with their Nikes and iphones, taking them out to the gay pride parade in the Subaru.
And they looooooove the 99% spring. Like, can you point me to the merch booth?


I miss the mind bombs. Adbusters used to put out magazines with these powerful images without even a paragraph of explanation. Now it's like reading a book, and the articles are great, really, but the impact of imagery is noticable. Classic example: Jeep ad. "Your ticket to the outdoors." Took up two pages. You see a nice mountain covered in trees. NATURE. JEEP. Next page? DEAD FOX. Guts and blood everywhere with tire tread pressed into its mangled body. Some people might laugh but they get it. Cars are the enemy of nature. That style of communication is what I miss. I guess I miss narrating Adbusters as I page through it. Now people, contributors, do it for me. Occupy is needed, badly. People have got to align, ignore where they disagree, focus on what is wrong with the structure of our Democracy that makes people feel powerless and unable to participate in decision making on a policy level, and we must get in the streets. I hope Adbusters can hand the power of narration back to its readers then.


We need to COMBAT the overwhelming, unremitting propaganda of corporations and government, who work together to achieve the same aim - total domination of humanity for the purpose of extracting wealth:

Owned And Operated:

The War You Don't See:


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