Move On Tries to Take Over Occupy Wall Street Protests

Move On Tries to Co-Opt the Protests

David DeGraw – one of the primary Wall Street protest organizers – just sent me the following email:

Top MoveOn leaders / executives are all over national television speaking for the movement. fully appreciate the help and support of MoveOn, but the MSM is clearly using them as the spokespeople for OWS. This is an blatant attempt to fracture the 99% into a Democratic Party organization. The leadership of MoveON are Democratic Party operatives. they are divide and conquer pawns. For years they ignored Wall Street protests to keep complete focus on the Republicans, in favor of Goldman’s Obama and Wall Street’s Democratic leadership.

If anyone at Move On or Daily Kos would like to have a public debate about these comments, we invite it.

Please help us stop this divide and conquer attempt.

DeGraw – who is wholly non-partisan [like the writers at Washington’s Blog] – tells me that there are many political views represented, and that Occupy Wall Street is very diverse with opinions across the political spectrum (and see this.)

This mirrors what some of the original organizers of various “Occupy” protests in other cities have said as well: MoveOn attempted to take credit for the events.

As I noted last week:

Everyone’s trying to cash in on the courage and conviction of the Wall Street protesters.

People are trying to associate Occupy Wall Street with their pet projects, in the same way that advertisers try to associate the goodwill of the Super Bowl, NBA playoffs, World Series or Olympics with their product.

But I hear from OWS organizers that the protesters come from totally diverse political affiliations. Many protesters support Ron Paul, many like Obama, others are for other parties or candidates or don’t vote at all.

The protesters themselves are having none of it, tweeting today:

We don’t want to be the democratic tea party or liberal tea party. We want to be our own movement separate of any political affiliation.

Update: Another tweet from the protesters:

We don’t represent liberal interests nor are we the liberal tea party. We represent the interest of the 99%

And as I pointed out Tuesday:

The two main challenges [facing the protesters are]: (1) An attempt by both the Democratic and Republican parties to co-opt it (see this, this and this); and (2) agents provocateur (see this, this and this) [and here].

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  • Rush Limbaugh (0-00), Sen. Nelson (D-NE), and Joe Lieberman (I-CT) stormed 8th floor of the Chicago Stock Traders and put up a sign that says WE ARE THE 1% … 😉

  • The 1% who control the powers that be have much experience in coordinating military matters, including police crowd control.

    The 99% have none. Cooperation will work better than exclusiveness.

  • St0rm1n


    I appreciate your attempt to mainstream the “occupy x” movement. How do you explain this:

    The mob movement was organized by “Occupy Wall Street,” a front for the Marxist General Assembly movement, whose communications director, Brian Phillips, clearly articulated the organization’s primary objective “to overthrow the government.”

    That goal has been echoed in the last two weeks from coast to coast, as affirmed by an Occupy LA leader, who proclaimed that nonviolence is not an option: “[T]he bourgeoisie won’t go without violent means. Revolution! Yes, revolution that is led by the working class. Long live revolution! Long live socialism!”

    Good luck with that.

    • Horse shit St0rm1n. You are infected. Get inoculated.

    • Scott

      Nobody you mentioned leads Occupy Wall Street…. It is true that in other cities like Los Angeles organized groups ranging from liberal to marxist have organized solidarity events, but they dont speak for the movement as a whole. I have been to several GA’s in Liberty Plaza and promise you they are not led by any party, liberal, socialist, or marxist.

      • tal

        If you google St0rm1n’s allegations, you’ll find that it’s duplicated dozens of times: people are simply copying & pasting some right-gate-keeper’s original post. If you search for Brian Phillips, maybe expecting to find some Marxist big-wig, you get this guy:
        a 25-year-old google employee.

        If you search for “the Marxist General Assembly movement” you find nothing (except the above-mentioned ‘dittos’) because there IS no such thing as “the Marxist General Assembly movement” or “the NYC Marxist General Assembly” or anything resembling such entities.

        Someone reported on a random OWS general assembly, held every afternoon, during which Brian Phillips spoke, fabricated an alarmist scenario, picked-up and re-posted by dozens of people who can’t be bothered to perform their own due-diligence. That’s how it happens. So, IMHO, Breibart, Limbaugh etc. are all working for ‘The Man’, in the same manner as was Hal Turner. Google him.

        However, don’t believe for a minute that the left is exempt from these tactics because it isn’t. I believe OWS is the perfect opportunity to hone our observational skills to determine where the gate-keepers and shills lie (literally & figuratively) on BOTH sides.

        It’s Populism our controllers fear (read your history) and they will resort to any tactics to keep the left & right apart!

  • don


    You say that many of those at the NYC OWS are Ron Paul supporters and libertarians (libertarians as defined in the US – not the same definition as in the rest of the world). On what do you base this on? It will take more than simply linking to Ampedstatus, who in their statement of common ground make no mention little if any reference to woman’s rights, of protecting wild nature and the threat of species extinction and loss of bio-diveristy, and who call for holding “hard assets”, never defining what the hell that means. I suspect in means storing oil in a tank in the back yard, copper in garage, and hiding gold and silver in the backyard (assuming they got a backyard). As for Ron Paul, he’s a market fundamentalist who doesn’t believe in government of the people by and for the people who want to protect themselves from toxic chemicals being introduced into the neighborhood, and who don’t want their drinking water polluted, etc., but Paul doesn’t go for any of that since he believes the market should be the sole organizing principle in society.

  • ES 2012

    St0rm1n, can you give me any links to your evidence that Occupy Wall Street is a front for the Marxist General Assembly? Or is that just something you heard Rush Limbaugh say…..

  • Erlinda Pennington

    I do not see anything wrong with move on supporting occupy… They are not a tool of democratic party or any party. They are in support of any whom they recognized as progressive, working for the good of the country. Be thankful for everyone’s support. Thank you for starting it. We are all going to finish and WIN!

  • Head’s up. I got a Something’s Not Right Here message in chrome when I clicked on this link from Facebook. Here’s photo grab.

    I’d want someone to tell me. Keep up the good work!

  • gamma ray

    Thank you, GW writers, for your insightful coverage on OWS.

    My sense is that the initial lack of coverage on OWS tells us that the majority of protesters were sincere, independent, and well informed. I noticed that an uptick in press coverage of OWS didn’t occur until around the time Michael Moore become involved. Moore’s participation probably signaled the coming together of highly coordinated efforts to co-opt the movement. I found it telling that Moore frequently emphasized a government/political solution. Also, during Keith Obermann’s interview of Moore, there was talk of how OWS was not getting much press but the Tea Party got plenty, thus casting suspicion on the Tea Party movement (divide and conquer). In the interview, Moore also made sure he tied in the words “budget cuts” to the Tea Party. It looked like a choreographed series of tactics reminding me of Dr. Michel Chossudovsky’s well researched article last year “Manufacturing Dissent” on his Global Research website.

    Two days ago I stumbled upon a youtube video of a Tea Party protest in Chicago in 2009 and watched as CNN attempted to foster the false left right divide paradigm. Wow, more of the same and very blatant! Here’s the link to the video:

    P.S. Too bad Moore didn’t stand up to defend his mentor Ralph Nader when Nader was being vilified in the press and neolibeal establishment merely for speaking truth to power about how the monied interests had captured the political process.

    • Bill

      Fascinating. Thanks for the link! I’m re-sharing…

  • I just returned from spending a good deal of today with #occupynashville. During the GA, I made a statement to the occupiers there. As the Regional Organizer in Tennessee–for I came to the group from a protest in my hometown supporting OWS, and specifically Occupy Nashville. The statement I made, in my official capacity as the State Leader of a non-partisan, issues-based political movement and organization was simple. “ is proud to support your movement, and we will support you, stand with you, and fight with you until we win!”

    The key word in that statement was “support”. As we support many other allies in these troublesome days, so do we support the groups that have chosen to show their solidarity with democracy–not a political party, or a political platform. We are first citizens, and we are doing what citizens are called to do when democracy itself is endangered by the unabated attacks by any person, or group. (and most assuredly Moveon-Tennessee) is NOT a politically based, or politically controlled organization.

    We are issue based, and citizen driven. Period. To say otherwise is ludicrous. We have Democrats in our organization. We also have Republicans, Tea Partiers, Marxists, Conservative Evangelical Christians, and Atheists. We are not beholden to any party, candidate, or other organization, and never will be. To say that we have not addressed any wrong doing by Wall Street since the debacle of 2008 is absolutely false, whether locally or nationally.

    If I had believed in my heart that anyone at that gathering would possibly consider my presence there to be anything other than the support I, and those from MY community that attended with me, wished to share with #OccupyNashville, I would have quite frankly stayed at home, rather than give the appearance of ANYTHING other than my personal support, and MY statement of support fot the organization I lead.

    I am fully in favor of the movement remaining “pure” so long as it can, so long as it is honest to the issues when formed it. Issues. Not people, or parties. I assure anyone reading this that it is neither my intent, nor the intent of my national organization to “co-opt” anything. Our speaking out in support of OWS will continue because we are citizens, too, who are being asked for our support. That is because of our more than 5,000,000 members who stand together, with one voice. It is NOT because we have, or intend to co-opt anything. If anyone wishes to debate this with me, or my organization, just let me know. But, be forewarned. I will come prepared with the truth. You do the same, and we can debate as long as you wish. Otherwise….well, just don’t.

    • BUD BUD BUD,
      There is an interesting little Freudian slip (or could be examined as a possibility) in your statement of “Solidarity” that could be construed as self advancing (whether “Moveon.Org considers it co-opting or not). That being the last line of the first paragraph.

      “ is proud to support your movement, and we will support you, stand with you, and fight with you until we win!”

      MoveOn.Org . (WE) is proud to support your (OWS) movement”, “And WE (MoveOn.Org) will support you (OWS)”, “stand with you (OWS)”, and “fight with you (OWS)” “until WE (MoveOn.Org) win”.

      Hmmm ?!? Again, it’s, “your”, “you”, “you”, “you”, (then writing as a representative of MoveOn.Org) when you say, “WE WIN”. Why not, “. . . . . . . . . . . . . . ., and fight with you until YOU win”, or “. . . . until YOU are victorious”, or, “. . . . until YOU are successful”?

      Just “Cynical” on my part ? Maybe. Or is it possibly a “Conscious” or (a less devious but still with the same result) “Unconscious” self advancement for Mov.Org ?

      I got to wonder ?

  • MoveOn and many other “progressive” organizations are turning the Occupy Wall Street revolution into a scamming opportunity to create bogus petitions to get people on their email lists to hit them up for money. I stared tweeting about this weeks ago when I saw a few other groups trying to con people out of money claiming they were part of the Occupy Revolution.
    Beware of these scams too

    MoveOn gloms onto any progressive movement they think will bring them notoriety and donations. Last year during the LGBT Target boycott, they tried to hijack that protest too. Shame on Move On. Let them start their own revolution.

    • katie-NC

      Please consider this:
      Move on ‘s biggest problem is that as an organization that work and function under the corporate model which is a boss/dictatorship, more than a democracy. OWS is more than a democracy, they work to cooperate not compete. This OWS movement is wonderful because it is not about a party, it is about a paradigm shift. Social evolution. Humans can and should function in a compassionate manor towards each other and our home.

  • Excuse me. I truly believe in the right to peaceably assemble and to petition the government for a redress of grievances, the First amendment of the US Constitution I’ll have you know. I signed, from France, the only petition that defended OWS’ right to do so, which came to my attention via moveon’s site.

    Your movement is a profoundly political movement and you should not pretend otherwise; I applaud that fact more than any other. Do not feel offended if more actively politicized institution add to your ranks, but have them know what your grievances are, and if they disagree, ask what they are doing there? If politicians join the ride, ask them as well. Do not denounce them or any of us if we come in support of your efforts, esecially if we try to convert those effort into tangible results.

    This movement is a questioning of current political orientations. Where do you want to go?

    Francis Mickus
    Musée d’Orsay

  • Ellen K

    Let’s say there is a healthy dose of manipulation going on here. Add in a little paranoia. MSM is looking around for someone or some idea that will fit into its sound bite format. Since #OWS is a leaderless, decentralized movement, the MSM is looking for a person to articulate what’s happening. It’s true, MoveOn has been used to working within the system, but I don’t think asking Michael Moore to come on and explain what’s going on is any more far fetched than when the main stream media cornered Tom Morello a few days ago – they wanted him to tell them what was going on – he had to repeatedly tell them, “I am not the spokesperson for the movement.” On the other hand, Michael HAS been the spokesperson for a majority of participating, involved, left-leaning progressives for some time now. #OWS-99% Movement is a more diverse spectrum of consciousness. If we let them pit us against each other, it will be an opportunity lost forever. My best suggestion is that even though this is a decentralized, leaderless movement, a spokesperson or persons need to be appointed and perhaps issue daily releases from the GA’s across American – and then MSM will stop looking in all the usual places for a spokesperson – you can’t blame Michael or them for doing so, they don’t understand what is going on.

  • We must remain ever vigilant lest we be co-opted by those whose aim is to continue the reign of the status quo. Even here in Greensboro, North Carolina attempts to move us are taking place.

  • Ghales

    No, we cannot let anyone co-opt the movement but we DO WANT RESULTS.

    There are just a few annoying problems with a third party. Like with Nader (whom I supported), it divided us and left us with republicans in charge. Every time someone new comes along we just get more years of the same.

    However, much as I dislike what I am about to say, I wish we could just get the indies and issue voters to agree to fill the dem party with more voices that will get what we want much sooner than later. The lack of membership is what allowed the blue-dogs to gain too much power over the dem party and they vote consistently with the repubs that brought this insanity upon us all.

    I have been watching this debacle grow for 25 years now and it just gets worse. I can’t wait another 25 to try to grow another party. We have a better chance of getting decent reform to legislation by flooding the local and state dems and affecting who they choose to put in office in the first place.
    The liberals were very effectively demonized and pushed aside by the red-herring issues of the ‘welfare queen’, the abortion issue and then illegal aliens. All we got in return for that devisiveness was their going behind our back and effectively gutting every law that protected us from the growth of these too big to fail cancers called the military, bankers, outsourcing and wallstreet.
    Think about it for a while. It will work faster.

  • Dan R

    thank you. I cancelled my monthly contribution to Moveon today.

  • Thanks for using my image saying “Don’t Be Fooled” for the article. I originally intended it to be for an article I wrote about art scams on craigslist, so it’s cool to see it be reused – although I’d appreciate a credit 🙂

    Here’s a link to my article: