Battle for the Soul of Occupy

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

Alright you jammers, occupiers and Springtime dreamers,

First they silenced our uprising with a media blackout… then they smashed our encampments with midnight paramilitary raids… and now they’re threatening to neutralize our insurgency with an insidious campaign of donor money and co-optation. This counter-strategy worked to kill off the Tea Party’s outrage and turn it into a puppet of the Republican Party. Will the same happen with Occupy Wall Street? Will our insurgency turn into the Democrats’ Tea Party pet?

It’s up to you to decide if our movement goes the way of Paris ’68, the dust bin of could-have-been-insurrections, or something more daring, more inspiring, something not yet dreamed.

Will you allow Occupy to become a project of the old left, the same cabal of old world thinkers who have blunted the possibility of revolution for decades? Will you allow MoveOn, The Nation and Ben & Jerry to put the brakes on our Spring Offensive and turn our struggle into a “99% Spring” reelection campaign for President Obama?

We are now in a battle for the soul of Occupy… a fight to the finish between the impotent old left and the new vibrant, horizontal left who launched Occupy Wall Street from the bottom-up and who dreams of real democracy and another world.

Whatever you do, don’t allow our revolutionary struggle to fizzle out into another lefty whine and clicktivist campaign like has happened so many times in the past. Let’s Occupy the clicktivists and crash the MoveOn party. Let’s #DEFENDOCCUPY and stop the derailment of our movement that looms ahead.

for the wild,
Culture Jammers HQ / Tactical Briefing #25, #26, #27 and #28 / Check out Oakland occupier Mike King’s take on MoveOn’s 99% Spring

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

Displaying 51 - 60 of 305

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The Anonymous 1

Some of the arguments her sound like they are right out of the Life of Brian:

Brian: Excuse me. Are you the Judean People's Front?
Reg: Fuck off! We're the People's Front of Judea

Unknown Artists

Unknown Artists had a conversation with MoveOn (and other organizations) about their use of the 99% at an event in Los Angeles titled "All in for the 99%". We pointed out that the museum they were using (the Ace Museum) was owned by convicted felons that routinely rip off artists and who helped cause the financial crisis. They argued that they had no idea that they were "renting" a museum and that we were wrong to ask them to not work with people who exploit the 99% when they are putting on events in their name.

If we are to believe their story, nobody in any of the groups involved with the organizing of the event (MoveOn and Rebuild the Dream, Russell Simmons, SEIU, ect) bothered to look into who they may be supporting with their event. We are still suspicious of this excuse considering Russell Simmons personally knows the CEO of Ace Museum, where the event was held... but best case scenario, they are demonstrating the same lack of criticality consistently exhibited by the Democratic party where economic sins are tolerated by those loyal to the party. (For the record, the felons we referred to earlier are big donors for the Democrats).

If you are interested, read the comments on our blog for the action: They begin with us being accused of "not sounding very 99%-y" but eventually result in Apple Via (followed by MoveOn) saying that they take our concerns seriously and placing a small sign stating the show's independence from the venue. In the end, they didn't address our requests to present an infographic about the owners of the museum at the event, but MoveOn did state that from now on they’d prioritize that kind of research. If they do, maybe MoveOn will find out it’s been funding the Koch Bros…?

If nothing else, it really gives you some insight into how these groups treat principals as things that are relative and optional so long as you can raise a lot of money and get some celebrities involved.


That's some funny shit on the blog. It seems like they want to tell you to fuck off, but also think you are probably right about them.


You know what? You've clearly never put on an event for 2,000 people. When you rent a space, you really don't do background checks on the board of trustees. It's great that you think that you do, but sorry: doesn't happen. Did the Occupiers do background checks on the board of Zuccotti Park? Does it say something about them that they chose to have their occupation in a park owned by some messed up 1% types? Seriously: you are just bitching and moaning now over nothing. The organizers told you that they took your concerns seriously but that they weren't going to cancel a huge event just for you, since YOU were literally the only person who cared. EVERY single artist was made aware of your complaint and NONE of them wanted to pull out or cancel the event over it. In fact, all of them stated that the owner of ACE was, in their opinion, a bit of a jerk but none worse than any other big gallery owner. So get off the cross, we need the wood for fire. Why don't you try to create something instead of just indulging in this kind of paranoid nonsense?

Unknown Artists

Okay, first of all, they were not “occupying” the space- they were paying rent. We would have been all for a Zuccotti Park style occupation. And Zuccotti Park was chosen because of it’s proximity to Wall Street, this event could have been held at any number of spaces in Los Angeles. And, from what we understand, the occupiers of Zuccotti did find out who owned the park and the circumstances that led to it being a privately owned public space. Someone involved with this event had to have known who owned this building when it was rented, there should have been a contract… unless these massive organizations just stuffed money into an envelope and met someone in an alleyway.

And this was our point- the decision they made wasn’t general assembly style where everyone can voice their concern, it was a bureaucratic, top down decision that says “don’t question or authority, just listen to our celebrity spokesmen Van Jones and Russell Simmons”.

If you actually read the discussion on the blog, you would see that we told them we understood the logistics behind moving the event and asked them to at least denounce the owners and their activities at the show. The event was supposed to be full of protest art anyway, and we offered to provide an info-graphic doing just that. It could have been a great object-lesson in how the 1% controls real estate in the USA.

Do you really believe it is okay for big groups like MoveOn to give the money we donated to them to the same people they are supposedly protesting? Do you really think it is unreasonable to ask for that kind of accountability? I mean, we are talking about less than an hour of research to make sure they aren’t potentially funding the Koch Bros with their left wing 99% event…. Even MoveOn eventually agreed that they should have looked into it, and said they will do so in the future.

And, since you brought it up, we are a group of artists working from the inside and several of us have been involved in mounting large-scale shows involving crowds that were larger than the one at that event. We have had to make decisions like that before, and have always looked into who we are dealing with and supporting with our money and labor, and interestingly enough- none of our shows had a political agenda or claimed to speak for the 99%. We feel that it is simply irresponsible to not understand what you are supporting with your money- especially if you are trying to represent a group that is supposedly fighting for financial equality. And, several artists (one who is very well known) did contact us because they were very concerned about the situation and were torn between the commitment they made and not supporting the museum owners. Ultimately, they decided to not withdraw, but were very upset with the organizers for not looking into it beforehand. And we were not the only people who cared about this issue- our petition was supported by some very famous artists as well as artist groups such as W.A.G.E., Occupy Museums, Art Leaks, and the Asians Art Museum. Considering we only had a week to get support while we still had to work our day jobs, we are happy with the support we received and not surprised at the attacks we received from supporters of the Democratic machine.

Ultimately, as artists, we feel this event served to support the men who are directly exploiting us. When we approached the organizers of the event with our concerns, we were largely ignored, and people like you have come to their defense. If this is the kind of help groups like MoveOn has to offer, we don’t want it. This institution is the Goldman Sachs of the art world- and we don’t believe that the organizers’ ignorance of that fact absolves them of their responsibility to the 99% they are purportedly representing.

And finally, we did create something. Aside from the videos we released, our intervention resulted in numerous conversations where the motivations and intentions of these groups are discussed, as well as the activities of the owners of the Ace Museum. This conversation is part of our creation. Thanks for helping.

Independent Can...

Occupiers, keep the passion alive, and believe in a new breed of political candidates for public office that need your grassroot support. They do exist. They don't have the huge Super PAC money, and they will work for Real Change that affects Real Americans. For a growing list of Independents, check out IndeCan - We must break the American Duopoly. We must transform your passion for change into workable action, that has to hold the tide of further suffering to our American ideals, and start pushing out country back into balance. No matter what. Keep fighting the good fight!

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puhhh leasse do not insult Paris '68 as some lame pseudo- feel good peace protest as we have today. Paris 68 was a complex uprising with various factions of students who composed, the new left, Marxist, anti state (anti Stalin) communist with of course influences from the Situationist International. Not to mention a short lived alliance between workers, whom of course once they state gave them their pathetic pensions they abandoned the protest leaving the students behind. This is why guys like Marcuse were saying at the time that the worker has lost its revolutionary potential and putting faith into radical intelligentsia aligning with the outside groups posed a chance, a belief honestly I'm not so certain of myself. This was the tragedy of '68 that the alliance between intellectual and proletariat mass was thin, weak and possibly over estimated.

Paris '68 or May '68 was the closest it got to the real deal in ages considering the power of "the spectacle", with uprisings in places France, Italy, Czechoslovakia, and Germany. It was the real deal because it was radical, that means going to the root of the problem of confronting the state turning Paris into a barricade with philosophers like Sarte literally telling kids to get physical and they did .. la violence. The further tragedy was this failure to produce any meaningful change the dissidents or I should cadres of the new left delved into identity politics and political correctness a deal with the devil that produced an ideology of the denial of ideology hence today all these bloody feel good green, fair trade, co-op, organic movements which at best made capitalism work better because it could respond to those needs and help idiots "realize" themselves as good liberal consumers... yippeee!

We arrive at the present in a time that as I mentioned earlier the majority of us and so called "activist" want to confront a very real system rooted in ideology with a movement empty of its own positive ideology which is why so man of these idiots run around saying "repeal, reform, more laws to save the constitution".. I mean could you imagine these neurotics in the face of a fascist uprising?


Which ever segment of this historic moment you tack toward, always be aware that Corporate America and its operatives in the State will be infiltrating your ranks, promoting discord and confusion. They are afraid of Occupy. They will do all they can to destroy it. If we succumb to disrespect and anger amongst ourselves and toward our allies (no matter how less radical they may be), we do the work of the corporados and the State for them. Stay clear. Stay strong. We are legion.


Wait, Occupy are planning a bunch of protests for the first of May?

Isn't that the traditional day of the working man, as celebrated for centuries by trade unionists etc.?

It seems to me that Occupy wants it both ways. They want to ride on the coat-tails of Big Labour, but then want to remain "pure" of them. It sounds silly to me. You should be proud that you have put wealth inequality on to the national agenda. Stop fussing if the mainstream then want to join your party.

It's all good though. You stay pure and look silly. Obama can then look moderate and win in November.

Stay pure comrade!


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