There has been little media coverage of the tension between the Occupy Wall Street movement and the progressive institutions—such as MoveOn.org, the AFL-CIO, the United Auto Workers, SEIU, and Rebuild the Dream—that are working together as 99% Spring. Adbusters, the Vancouver-based anti-corporate collective that incited the September 2011 Occupy protest, warns that the movement is being co-opted. “Will you allow MoveOn, The Nation, and Ben & Jerry to put the brakes on our Spring Offensive and turn it into a ‘99% Spring’ reelection campaign for President Obama?” Adbusters asks in its “Tactical Briefing #29,” posted on adbusters.org and e-mailed in April.
99% Spring does appear to be a sheep in wolf’s clothing. Some of the 100,000 activists it is training for “non-violent action” thus far seem to have been trained to reelect President Obama. Writing in Pacific Free Press, Charles M. Young describes one training session on the Upper West Side of Manhattan that was organized by the Community Free Democrats (a Democratic Party club) and run by Marc Landis (a Democratic city council candidate).
Maybe resolution to the dispute lies in a variation on the call-and-response chants I heard last fall in Zuccotti Park. “Whose movement? Two movements!” Movement #1: Occupy, focused on May 1 actions across the country and on fundamental change in government and wealth distribution. Movement #2: 99% Spring, focused on November 6.
I attended a 99% Spring training session in Portland, Oregon, and posted a report on my blog.