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Thursday, May 3, 2012

99ers? … Hmm

Suspect and inspect the brand
Excerpt, editing, brief comment by Carolyn Bennett
From Arun Gupta’s thoughts on MO’s slick maneuver

Will U.S. voters be
Fooled twice?

Domestic affairs (breakdown)

Four years ago, Barack Obama vowed to repeal the Bush tax cuts, make union organizing easier and put America back to work, Indypendent Newspaper founder Arun Gupta writes. Instead, his administration has attacked teachers and autoworkers' unions.
Divide and Conquer

The real unemployment rate is close to 15 percent. As non-financial corporations are hoarding $1.24 trillion in cash, social services are being strangled nationwide. In 2011, one in 69 homes entered a foreclosure filing and “not one Wall Street or bank executive has been jailed for perpetrating the biggest economic crime in history.”

Foreign relations (violence)

Barack Obama, the candidate, “wrapped himself in an antiwar mantle” but by 2011, Obama, the president, was waging war on six countries — Afghanistan, Pakistan, Iraq, Libya, Somalia and Yemen; asserting the right to assassinate U.S. citizens without due process; and continuing policies of indefinite detention and warrantless surveillance.

The demise of the U.S. Iraq antiwar movement is a warning to the Occupy movement.

Many liberals now celebrate [President] Obama as “‘one of the most militarily aggressive U.S leaders in decades’ [and] liberal groups like MoveOn have fallen silent on the issue of illegal wars and war crimes.”

Suspect, inspect rebranded brand

“For anyone involved in Occupy Wall Street, the menu of upcoming corporate targets is an appetizing line-up” (Wal-Mart, Bank of America, Peabody Coal, Amazon, WellPoint and Occidental Petroleum); but noticeably absent, likely intentional, are politicians.

Protesting corporations but not the politicians who work hand in hand with them,” Gupta says, “is a crafty way to redirect Occupy’s energy away from the Democratic Party, which is as much an object of Occupy Wall Street’s ire as are the Republicans. …

“The 99% Movement [backed by MoveOn dot Org Civic Action whose 501(c)(4) status prohibits political candidacy endorsement activity]  employs the ideas and language of Occupy Wall Street [but] toward ends diametrically opposed to OWS.”

This 99% brand supports Democratic Party candidates — up to and including President Obama.

99er ‘Movement’

“…The real story,” Gupta writes, “is how the main groups behind the ‘99% Spring’ — such as MoveOn and ‘Rebuild the Dream’ — have created a meta-brand known as the ‘99% Movement’ that encompasses a product line including

99% Power,
99% Candidates,
99% Uniting,
99% Voter Pledge and events like
All in for the 99% and
99% Spring Bank Protests

“‘Rebuild the Dream,’ MoveOn and SEIU [Service Employees International Union] sponsor nearly every formation. And their broadening of the coalition to include radical left organizations that reject electoral politics is a sophisticated way to enhance the overall brand: radical left groups can feel confident of maintaining their independence from elections by participating in the ‘99% Spring.’” However, “they are still building the 99% brand, which will then be used in forms like the 99% voter pledge and 99% candidates to boost the Democratic Party’s fortunes this coming fall.”

Mea culpa?
MoveOn’s executive director Justin Ruben responds

“‘We are the 800-pound gorilla and we work very actively on elections, including supporting Barack Obama and other Democratic candidates,’” Gupta quotes the MoveOn director.

“Ruben claims the 99% Voter Pledge drew inspiration from Occupy Wall Street. However, “the pledge,” Gupta says, “is so watered down from OWS’s original Declaration (e.g., ‘Make the wealthiest 1 percent pay their fair share,’ ‘Create good jobs now,’ ‘Stop cuts to vital services,’ ‘Represent people, not corporations’)  that, and here again the likely intent, incumbent Obama could endorse the pledge.”

Missed Progressive moment
Veteran antiwar activist and OWS press team member Bill Dobbs responds to MoveOn’s response 
We need a resistance movement — not more Democratic Party-aligned advocacy.  
This kind of relationship needs to be approached with healthy skepticism. There are benefits, but also perils because...social movements often wind up in the Democratic Party junkyard.
That’s where contemporary feminist organizing has ended up. That’s where civil rights struggles have ended up. 

I think Dobbs and Gupta nailed it.

Sources and notes

“How to rebrand Occupy” (Comment by Arun Gupta), May 2, 2012, http://socialistworker.org/2012/05/02/how-to-rebrand-occupy

Also at AlterNet
“The 99% Movement Has Something for Everyone -- But Is it Occupy? How will the 99% Spring impact the Occupy Movement? (AlterNet / ByArun Gupta), May 3, 2012  |  
Version of this article appears at other sources including Salon dotcom.

Arun Gupta and Indymedia

Arun Gupta is a founding editor and member of the board of directors of The Indypendent Newspaper, a New York City-based free newspaper published 16 times a year. The Indypendent is affiliated with the New York City Independent Media Center, which is part of the global Indymedia movement, an international network that is dedicated to fostering grassroots media production, and to IndyKids, a children’s newspaper. NYC IMC is an open publishing website (nyc.indymedia.org.). Board of Directors:  Arun Gupta, John Tarleton, Ellen Davidson; Senior Editor/Coordinator, Elizabeth Henderson, http://www.indypendent.org/about/staff


From the ashes http://crcc.usc.edu/blog/public-conversations/from-the-ashes-the-1992-civil-unrest-and-the-rise-of-social-movement-organizing/

The Center for the Study of Social Movements was founded in 2006 to provide ...

economy for all, http://blog.timesunion.com/opinion/category/tea-party/



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