As others have already pointed out, the movement is as much about protesting Obama's big sell-out and raging against the corrupt and inept two-party system as it is about anger at the unfettered capitalism that destroyed the lives and livelihoods of millions of people. But that hasn't stopped various offshoots of the Democratic Party from attempting to glom onto it, and ever so subtly (or not), frame it to their own specifications.
The Center for American Progress (CAP), a D.C. think tank with direct ties to the White House, has set up its very own website on the mass demonstrations. But they refuse to call it "Occupy Wall Street" or occupy-anything. That connotes a state of siege, and might cause the banksters to feel even more uncomfortable or petrified than they are already. So CAP has renamed it, innocuously, The 99% Movement -- much safer, given that Goldman Sachs has been Obama's biggest contributor, and Lloyd Blankfein is the guest of honor at many a White House luncheon and state dinner. (He is said to be fleeing the Big Apple for Washington today, in light of threatened demonstrations against his for-profit talk at Columbia U. Do you think he'll be asking Barry for Secret Service Protection? Do you think he'll get it?)
|Wall Street-Upon-Potomac: The Blankfeins|
But back to CAP: its founder and leader is John Podesta, the former Clinton chief of staff who helped push through the repeal of Glass-Steagall and turned banks into gambling casinos. Podesta also was in charge of the Obama Transition Team and had a role in bringing in another banking deregulator (Timmy Geithner) to head up Treasury and bail out his buddies.
|The Boss and The PR Guy (Obama, Podesta)|
Of course, CAP was founded during the reign of Bush II for the express purpose of establishing a Democratic War Room with a thrust on opposition research. From Wikipedia:
Podesta laid out his plan for what he likes to call a think tank on steroids. Emulating those conservative institutions, he said, a message-oriented war room will send out a daily briefing to refute the positions and arguments of the right. An aggressive media department will book liberal thinkers on cable TV. There will be an edgy Web site (ThinkProgress.org) and a policy shop to formulate strong positions on foreign and domestic issues. In addition, Podesta explained how he would recruit hundreds of fellows and scholars -- some in residence and others spread around the country -- to research and promote new progressive policy ideas. American Progress is slated to operate with a $10 million budget next year, raised from big donors like the financier George Soros.CAP has come under criticism for refusing to divulge its list of donors, and also for cheerleading Obama's war escalations and drone attacks -- in stark contrast to its raison d'etre during the Bush years, which was to excoriate torture and bellicosity. According to an article by Jeremy Scahill, CAP and other "veal pen" offshoots such as MoveOn and Media Matters, are nothing more than "pseudo PR flaks targeting liberals" to advance the White House agenda.
Since the protests began three weeks ago, I have gotten a steady stream of emails from MoveOn, 21st Century Democrats and any number of veal pen shops, seeking my signature to show "solidarity" with Occupy Wall Street. A few have even blatantly tied their fund-raising campaigns to the mass movement. These organizations all belong to the Common Purpose Project, which meets at the White House every week to make sure the members stay in line with what Obama wants. And what he wants, apparently, is simply to use the Occupy uprising to make the Tea Party and GOP look bad, at the same time he "gets" our frustrations.
And according to The New York Times, The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, the party’s powerful House fund-raising arm, has even started circulating a petition among the crowds of protesters, seeking 100,000 party supporters to declare that “I stand with the Occupy Wall Street protests.”
The Obama for America re-election outfit itself has remained largely silent on OWS. I imagine they are feverishly reworking their marketing to jibe with the current climate. Somehow, I believe that even they won't be clueless enough to continue pretending they are a "grassroots movement made up of people just like me." I haven't, for example, heard another word about entering for a chance to win a meal with Barry.
They know that we know about the true agenda of the Democratic Party, which has nothing much to do with us. I don't believe there is a veal pen large enough to contain all the millions of people thoroughly disgusted with the corruption of our government. And the politicians are likely as scared as the plutocrats.
**Update: Glenn Greenwald has more.