Friday, October 21, 2011

Democratic PAC and MoveOn Using OWS As Fundraising Tool

Not a day goes by that I don't get several emails from various Democratic Party offshoots asking me to sign a petition to show my solidarity with the OccupyWallStreet movement.  But lately they've been getting bold, blatant and crass: they're using OWS as a gimmick to make money for their causes and candidates (same thing). Plenty of them are also selling OWS merchandise, such as shirts and caps.

This one just came from Jim Dean of Democracy for America, the nation's largest fund-raising PAC. It was founded by Jim's brother Howard, former chair of the DNC:
 Karen -
A couple weeks ago I met up with some DFA members in New York City to join Occupy Wall Street. It was a powerful day for me.
The people on the ground there in New York are fearless. They're standing up to big moneyed interests and giving a voice to working families. They're facing down threats from the mayor and the police to shut them down and they keep going -- marching during the day and sleeping outside in the park at night.
They've inspired a movement that has spread from New York to Los Angeles to Atlanta and hundreds of other cities across the country.
The best part is -- they're winning this fight. Big corporations and their allies are scared and they're fighting back. That's why we need to make sure that these folks have everything they need to keep this occupation going.
When I was there, I met some of the medics on the ground and they told me that they were in dire need of aspirin, bandages and other basic medical supplies. I've been told by some of our members in New York that they still need blankets and sleeping bags.
 Please contribute $10 right now to keep Occupy Wall Street going.

And here is just one of many coming my way from that Obama White House veal pen extraordinaire,
Dear MoveOn member,
In a few short weeks everything's changed. America is finally talking about how our economy is rigged to advantage the wealthiest 1% over the rest of us.

Thanks to the bravery of the protesters down on Wall Street, real change is now possible. So we all need to drop what we're doing and go on offense.
In addition to providing all the support we can to #OccupyWallStreet, at MoveOn we're scrambling to launch a huge campaign to make Wall Street pay. We're organizing mass meetings in hundreds of cities. We've hired filmmakers to tell the stories that the mainstream media are ignoring. We're turning up the heat on the banks by helping people move their money. And we're helping organize two major national days of protest in November.
Together, we can make sure this momentum keeps building. But this all takes money—for materials, coordination, tech, and supporting thousands of volunteers. This is the moment. Can you chip in $15?
OWS participants, angered by MoveOn's apparent co-optation of the movement, circulated a petition demanding that it back off and butt out. Here, posted this afternoon, is MoveOn's official reply:

Hi there, (demeaning salutation much?)
I received the petition you signed regarding MoveOn's stance toward Occupy Wall Street and wanted to respond. We've been in lots of conversations lately about this, and we take your concerns very seriously -- so I wanted to take a minute to share our thinking. We have and will continue to give a lot of thought to the best way to stand in solidarity with this growing movement while being clear that we are not Occupy Wall Street, and have no desire to direct, control, or speak for it.
MoveOn is a grassroots organization with five million members. In the past few weeks, our members overwhelmingly expressed support for Occupy Wall Street and encouraged us to do whatever we can to help Occupy continue to grow, spread, and succeed. That's been our mandate: to help our members help wherever they can.
Many individual MoveOn members have chosen to join their local occupation. Others have gone down to their local occupations and provided material support. In cities like Chicago, Sacramento, and Columbus MoveOn members have started petitions calling for an end to arrests and evictions of Occupy protestors from city parks. And many MoveOn members are just grateful for the work Occupy Wall Street has done to draw attention to a system that's not working for 99% of Americans.
Because we've gotten lots of questions about what MoveOn is, where our funding comes from, what we stand for, and what our relationship to Occupy Wall Street is -- and because there are a number of straight-up falsehoods floating around -- we collected the answers to those questions in one place. From that page, you can also let us know if you have other questions that we should answer. I encourage you to check it out here:
Thanks for letting us know what you think, and for your work to build Occupy Wall Street.
--Justin Ruben Executive Director
(Note: the link provided in the email doesn't work. Hmmm.)

Oh, and about that DNC. President Obama has already shared mucho millions he's been raking in from Wall Street -- so what do they want with us?

Final Note: OWS is accepting donations of money, food, clothing, blankets, etc. at its own site.  No parasites, leeches, enablers, co-opters, PACs or politicians wanted or needed.


Suzan said...

Good on you, Karen!

I was thinking about writing an essay on this subject. I quit MoveOn years ago when it was obvious that they were just another placating org set up to siphon off real revolutionary "change" sentiment (and make money for their own uses from it).

I did write an essay last week or so about not being coopted by these pretenders!

Thanks for all you do to keep us informed.


Valerie said...

Thanks for this, Karen. As always, the best place for me to pick up the REAL news is in the blogosphere and sites like Sardonicky. I think it is really important not only for the Occupy Movement to "out" MoveOn, et al. but for those of us who are aware of what is going on to speak out about it. Well meaning liberals who think they are supporting a progressive group can easily be taken in by their rhetoric. I certainly gave more than I could afford to MoveOn in 2008 before I realised, to quote Chris Hedges, what a "reprehensible" organisation they are.

It is interesting the police are starting to arrest incredibly peaceful protests like Tampa and Cincinnati. I imagine the powers that be have concluded that Occupy isn't going to go away like they thought and is in fact, gaining strength. So they now need to try to cut it off at the knees. If you read about Occupy Tampa (thanks Neil), the protesters couldn't possibly more peaceful and accommodating - sleeping on the sidewalk next to the park (because it is illegal to sleep overnight in the park) and laying down orange tape to maintain a free/clear space for pedestrians to pass safely on the same sidewalk. Chris Hedges says the turning point in all this will be when the rank and file police refuse to arrest the protesters on behalf of the corporations. I imagine there are a lot of the rank and file just trying to stay clear and in the background an not harass the protesters. But eventually, they will be forced to take a side.

Valerie said...


I wonder if you would have any luck getting people to join you by making a sign that says, "Join us in our fight for fairness! Your country needs you!" Not necessarily those words but you get the idea. I am thinking about making a similar sign to take to Occupy Adelaide on Nov 5. Noam Chomsky is in town. Organisers are hoping he will visit the protest site.

Anne Lavoie said...


Yeah, you've got me thinking now of various new angles to take with the messaging. Maybe something like Serve Your Country ..., Honor the Constitution..., Exercise Your Rights..., Show Your Patriotism...., Love Your Country... with a brief message after. Thanks!

BTW, there was a lady at each of the Occupy events I went to who was collecting email addresses from participants. I declined to give mine and asked if she had a website I could go to, but she said she didn't.

I told her I got my event info from The Meetup part of that website also asks you to sign up using your real name and email, neither of which I did - I simply showed up. Everyone is trying to collect info!

One of my favorite signs:
1% Richer
99% Poorer
100% Unfair

Valerie said...

I'm off topic again but I just heard an interview with Bill Black (another one of my heroes) on Democracy Now (Thanks, Will for sending me off in that direction). Apparently, Merrill Lynch has just moved several billion if not a trillion (no one knows) of its bad assets (derivatives) over to Bank of America because B of A is covered by FDIC insurance. Long story short, when it all blows up, as it is about to do, the tax payer will be on the hook for yet another bailout where the investment bankers privatise the gains and socialise the losses. This was done with the blessing of the Fed by the way so Bernanke is up to his hind end in doo-doo. Ditto for the Prez.

So, as mayors are shifting to bully tactics against the protesters, Wall Street and the big bankers are up to their same old dirty tricks. Here are some links. I found it pretty difficult to understand - which is why they get away with it.

By the way, as much as I love Elizabeth Warren, and I do, Alan Simpson is also running for election in Florida. From everything I see, he is a really good egg too. Just thought I would throw that one out there. If anyone disagrees, I would be interested in understanding why.

Anne Lavoie said...

I think you meant Grayson, not Simpson. Grayson=Good Guy, Simpson=Government Teat

Democracy Now! Please! (Thanks)

Occupy sign:
The System is Rigged
BuY the Gov't, For the Rich

Anne Lavoie said...

This is off topic, but is yet another example of media dishonesty.

The news media recently relayed the news that Obama was announcing that all US combat troops would be withdrawn from Iraq by year's end, bringing a close to a 9 year war.

That is only NEWS if you believed we were going to violate Iraq's demand in the SOFA of 2008 that required we get out by the end of this year.

The 2008 Status of Forces agreement (SOFA) signed by Bush, with a deadline of December 2011 was a DEMAND made by the Iraqi government as a result of Iraqi OUTRAGE over the Blackwater slaughter and other indiscriminate civilian deaths.

The US negotiated a timeframe for withdrawal of a couple of years. Ever since then, the US has been the one begging to stay. That is well documented by former Defense Secretary Gates' official statements.

The news media announced that this withdrawal was a result of there being no agreement reached for troop immunity from prosecution, so we had no choice but to leave. That is only partly true and a very twisted version of reality.

Here's a kicker. CBS news actually attempted to amend their news piece by saying that 'something was left out' and attached another piece telling us that the Iraqi government had been BEGGING us to stay, but Obama was keeping his promise to get us out.

That wasn't twisted. That was an outright lie. Obama and the US Military was trying to STAY and failed. Do they think we forget everything we see and hear? Apparently so.

What a weird 'reality'. The US originally bought time, then tried to extend it saying we thought they weren't ready, insisted on immunity for troops to stay, failed, and TIME WAS UP. End of war and occupation, thanks to Iraq.

It wasn't Obama's choice or even Bush's. It was Iraq's. That is Reality.

Fred Drumlevitch said...

Co-optation has become the primary strategy used by the major power blocks in the twenty-first century --- even in some of the traditionally totalitarian nations.

Co-optation of fundamental human emotions and desires so skillfully done by advertisers has convinced so many in our consumer society that they don't just want, they MUST HAVE that new product or glamorized service.

And western governments don't need a contemporary Lubyanka prison or accompanying gulag system for political prisoners --- not when most of the opposition can be made prisoners of their own manipulated hopes. There's always the hope that just a few years down the road, "your" candidate will win, and make "your" priorities real --- never mind that the candidate was likely bought and paid for by establishment interests even before he threw his hat into the ring, and that what most people think of as their own priorities have actually been expertly molded by a lifetime of socialization and faux "information".

An astronomer faced with an asteroid on a collision course with earth knows that it will be far easier to deflect it than to destroy it. Likewise, politicians know that opponents of their world will be more easily co-opted than fought head-on. If they can additionally convince the rubes to contribute money towards their own co-optation, then they've really hit the jackpot. That's why we're seeing the established political organizations try to link up with OWS.

Valerie said...


Yes! You are so right! Thanks for correcting me! Alan Grayson = Good Guy!