Occupy Wall Street has managed to raise a tidy sum – half a million dollars - to fund blankets, pillows, sleeping bags, food, and the like. But precisely how it has managed to raise so much money is only now emerging. After all, OWS is not an official non-profit organisation. Or is it?
It seems OWS has partnered with the DC-based Alliance for Global Justice (AfGJ), an organisation dedicated to achieving ‘social change and economic justice by helping to build a stronger more unified grassroots movement.’ By collecting on behalf of OWS, donations to the latter become tax-deductible. In return, AfGJ retains a satisfying seven percent of all donations. Legally, this ties the two organizations’ finances.
But what is the AfGL? As it happens, it is among the most radical pro-Chavez organisation in the country; among its four core projects is the Venezuela Solidarity Campaign, which seeks ‘to expose and oppose U.S. government and corporate intervention in Venezuela’s sovereign affairs’. Another project — the ‘Respect for Democracy Campaign’ — works to ‘close the misnamed National Endowment for Democracy,’ a democracy-promoting non-profit funded by congress, which AfGJ blames for, among other things, the 2004 purported abortive coup in Venezuela targeting Hugo Chavez. Indeed, AfGJ grew out of the Nicaragua Network, an anti-US pro-Sandinista group, and AfGJ’s National Coordinator even takes American activists to Venezuela to support Chavez’s so-called Bolivarian Revolution.
With each new scandal emanating from OWS — ranging from sexual assault and antisemitism to public indecency and horrendous health standards (indeed it seemed they had every angle covered) — the willingness of national Democratic leaders and media elites to continue to support and fail to condemn these protests becomes more and more extraordinary. Now that its legal and financial links to a premier supporter of one of the US’s most hostile adversaries have become evident, surely it is time for them to speak out.