Commentary Magazine


Topic: Occupy movement

Get Ready for Occupy: Next Generation

What’s wrong with the original Occupy movement? If you ask most people, you’ll probably get a variety of answers, ranging from the filth and squalor, to the mindnumbingly inane political slogans, to the mass criminal acts and the desecration of once-lush city parks.

But according to Adbusters — the occasionally anti-Semitic magazine that published the initial Occupy call-to-arms — the real problem is that the original Occupy movement has sold out. It’s becoming too commercialized and institutionalized, and what it needs now is a second generation movement with none of the bourgeois pretensions of the first (via Newsbusters):

Burned out, out of money, out of ideas… seduced by salaries, comfy offices, book deals, old lefty cash and minor celebrity status, some of the most prominent early heroes of our leaderless uprising are losing the edge that catalyzed last year’s one thousand encampments. Bit by bit, Occupy’s first generation is succumbing to an insidious institutionalization and ossification that could be fatal to our young spiritual insurrection unless we leap over it right now. Putting our movement back on track will take nothing short of a revolution within Occupy.

Here’s a model of the revolution that Adbusters envisions:

The new tone was set on Earth Day, April 22, in a suburb bordering Berkeley, California, when a dozen occupiers quietly marched a small crowd to a tract of endangered urban agricultural land, cut through the locked fence and set up tents, kitchens and a people’s assembly. Acting autonomously under the banner of Occupy, without waiting for approval from any preexisting General Assembly, Occupy The Farm was notable for its sophisticated preplanning and careful execution — they even brought chickens — that offered a positive vision for the future and engendered broad community support. While encampments across the world were unable to re-establish themselves on May Day, this small cadre of farm occupiers boldly maintained their inspiring occupation for nearly four weeks.

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What’s wrong with the original Occupy movement? If you ask most people, you’ll probably get a variety of answers, ranging from the filth and squalor, to the mindnumbingly inane political slogans, to the mass criminal acts and the desecration of once-lush city parks.

But according to Adbusters — the occasionally anti-Semitic magazine that published the initial Occupy call-to-arms — the real problem is that the original Occupy movement has sold out. It’s becoming too commercialized and institutionalized, and what it needs now is a second generation movement with none of the bourgeois pretensions of the first (via Newsbusters):

Burned out, out of money, out of ideas… seduced by salaries, comfy offices, book deals, old lefty cash and minor celebrity status, some of the most prominent early heroes of our leaderless uprising are losing the edge that catalyzed last year’s one thousand encampments. Bit by bit, Occupy’s first generation is succumbing to an insidious institutionalization and ossification that could be fatal to our young spiritual insurrection unless we leap over it right now. Putting our movement back on track will take nothing short of a revolution within Occupy.

Here’s a model of the revolution that Adbusters envisions:

The new tone was set on Earth Day, April 22, in a suburb bordering Berkeley, California, when a dozen occupiers quietly marched a small crowd to a tract of endangered urban agricultural land, cut through the locked fence and set up tents, kitchens and a people’s assembly. Acting autonomously under the banner of Occupy, without waiting for approval from any preexisting General Assembly, Occupy The Farm was notable for its sophisticated preplanning and careful execution — they even brought chickens — that offered a positive vision for the future and engendered broad community support. While encampments across the world were unable to re-establish themselves on May Day, this small cadre of farm occupiers boldly maintained their inspiring occupation for nearly four weeks.

Bold and inspiring? The San Francisco Chronicle’s Chip Johnson had a different take on the same protest, as P.J. Gladnick at Newsbusters notes:

The group cut through a secured gate to enter the property in mid-April and has been squatting on the land since. Protesters have planted vegetables on two acres of land being readied for a corn crop used in biofuel research.

…George Chuck, a U.S. Department of Agriculture researcher whose work is literally grounded on those same two acres, sees it much differently.

“What’s worse is that when I tried talking to (some of) these guys, they just started spouting slogans someone else told them,” Chuck said.

And as far as the group’s efforts to grow crops on land Chuck said is not yet ready for planting, “They have no idea what they’re doing,” he said.

Since protesters arrived, they’ve managed to destroy a fruit tree that was the subject of a research project, created a waste pile, built a rickety chicken coop and left the gate open allowing wild turkeys to escape or be killed by predators that entered the unlocked facility, he added.

The group with the biggest interest in killing the Occupy movement at this point is probably President Obama’s reelection team. The Occupiers are so out there on the fringes that many of them are likely opposed to voting in the first place (because that would only be legitimizing the political system, or something). In other words, the political benefit of associating with them is negligible. But Obama and other Democrats have already come out in support of Occupy, so any crimes or images of squalor and rioting would be tagged to the president and his party.

The Occupy movement was supposed to be the Tea Party of the left, but instead it’s become a major embarrassment for Democrats — and attempts to clean it up and make it presentable have been a major failure so far. As the latest Adbusters column illustrates, Occupiers are not looking for more cohesion and legitimacy. If anything, they’re looking for the opposite.

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Occupiers Support Bombing Suspects

This seems to contradict those rumors that the Occupy movement might reinvent itself as a more public-friendly campaign this spring:

Dozens of members of Occupy Cleveland showed up at a Cleveland courthouse to support the five people charged in connection with an alleged plot to blow up a northeast Ohio bridge.

The five suspects — 21-year-old Connor Stevens, 24-year-old Joshua Stafford (aka “Skully”), 26-year-old Douglas Wright (aka “Cyco”), 20-year-old Brandon Baxter (aka “Skabby”) and 37-year-old Anthony Hayne (aka “Tony” & “Billy”) – pleaded not guilty during their arraignment Monday morning.

The suspects had the charges — conspiracy and attempted use of explosive material to damage physical property affecting interstate commerce — read to them in open court.

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This seems to contradict those rumors that the Occupy movement might reinvent itself as a more public-friendly campaign this spring:

Dozens of members of Occupy Cleveland showed up at a Cleveland courthouse to support the five people charged in connection with an alleged plot to blow up a northeast Ohio bridge.

The five suspects — 21-year-old Connor Stevens, 24-year-old Joshua Stafford (aka “Skully”), 26-year-old Douglas Wright (aka “Cyco”), 20-year-old Brandon Baxter (aka “Skabby”) and 37-year-old Anthony Hayne (aka “Tony” & “Billy”) – pleaded not guilty during their arraignment Monday morning.

The suspects had the charges — conspiracy and attempted use of explosive material to damage physical property affecting interstate commerce — read to them in open court.

The suspects are reportedly going to argue entrapment, which is really their only option. The FBI seems to have a rock solid case, all the way down to the suspects’ reported attempt to detonate the bomb through a text message.

Meanwhile, the indictment of Occupy is continuing. Occupy Cleveland claims the suspected bomb plotters were “in no way representing” the group, and, considering the diffuse nature of the Occupy movement, perhaps they weren’t. But they do appear to have been particularly active members. The local ABC affiliate published an old video interview today with one of the suspects, which was filmed for an Occupy documentary last fall:

We are getting our first look inside the Occupy Cleveland movement. NewsChannel5 exclusively obtained video of the recording by an independent documentary producer. One of the central characters in the video is Connor Stevens. He identifies himself in the video as an Occupy Cleveland participant. …

But in the interview recorded last fall, Stevens is heard describing a past conversation with a friend. Stevens suggested he’s changed his view about using violence to achieve the goals of the group.

“We were saying two years before that we would have been kicking out windows and stuff like that. Back in like 2008, I was at that state of mind and now I’m understanding that we’re in it for the long haul and those kind of tactics just don’t cut it. And it’s actually harder to be non-violent than it is to do stuff like that,” Stevens said.

Whoever released the video to ABC may be trying to bolster the entrapment defense, because Stevens indicates that he had renounced violence at that point. But it’s also a risk, as Stevens acknowledges that he had previously considered using violent tactics.

The bomb plot appears to have put an end to Occupy Cleveland, at least for the time being. The city declined to renew a permit for the group last week.

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The Class War Goes Hot

There are two wellsprings of class warfare in America. There is Barack Obama, whose reelection strategy is to taunt Americans about their rich neighbors. And there are the indignant loiterers of the Occupy movement, who married aimlessness to anarchism and produced a half-witted crime spree that boomer liberals then declared “meaningful.” Both want corporate bigwigs to pay up.

So does Brandon L. Baxter. We know this because in a recorded phone call about planning a terrorist bombing in Cleveland, Ohio, the 20-year-old Baxter allegedly said that “Taking out a bridge in the business district would cost the … corporate big wigs a lot of money.” The plot was foiled this week by federal authorities who revealed that most or all of the five aspiring terrorists involved were “associated” with the Occupy movement.

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There are two wellsprings of class warfare in America. There is Barack Obama, whose reelection strategy is to taunt Americans about their rich neighbors. And there are the indignant loiterers of the Occupy movement, who married aimlessness to anarchism and produced a half-witted crime spree that boomer liberals then declared “meaningful.” Both want corporate bigwigs to pay up.

So does Brandon L. Baxter. We know this because in a recorded phone call about planning a terrorist bombing in Cleveland, Ohio, the 20-year-old Baxter allegedly said that “Taking out a bridge in the business district would cost the … corporate big wigs a lot of money.” The plot was foiled this week by federal authorities who revealed that most or all of the five aspiring terrorists involved were “associated” with the Occupy movement.

Or is that irrelevant? “They were in no way representing or acting on behalf of Occupy Cleveland,” said a Cleveland Occupier named Debbie Kline. Of course they weren’t! Why would anyone think that anarchist terrorist Occupiers planning to bomb corporate bigwigs into coughing up cash would have anything to do with anarchist Occupier criminals who’ve spent a year setting fires, trashing businesses, and blocking ports to get corporate bigwigs to cough up cash? Apples and oranges, clearly.

The few existing articulate defenders of the Occupy movement note the peace-and-love vibe that abounds at protests. “I go down there every day, and I see sweet, compassionate, politically astute people,” said hippie businessman Russell Simmons about Occupy Wall Street. “I participate in their meditation daily. I see people who have high aspirations for America, who are idealistic. I see the most inclusive group that America has to offer.” Bingo! The group is so inclusive its doors are open to the likes of Brandon L. Baxter and the Cleveland Five.

There is only one entry requirement for the Occupy movement: a consuming resentment of the guy who has more than you. It is a grudge cult, a movement created to ennoble mankind’s worst impulse, and it must inevitably lead to violence. The class war must go hot.

As for Russell Simmons’s meditators, they represent a demographic with the most malleable group intellect since the Manson family—which is not beside the point. When you throw a bunch of late-comer deadheads into a pit with a gang of seething anarchists, which side do you suppose will exert its will on things?

Debbie Kline’s statement about the bombers not representing the Occupiers is legally valid but culturally useless. They both represent the same toxic political phenomenon: demonization of fellow citizens as the source of their woes. That notion is corrosive at its inception.

And it is the same corrosive idea behind the White House webpage urging Americans to “Just enter a few pieces of information about your taxes, and see how many millionaires pay a lower effective tax rate than you.”

The Obama campaign has the class-warfare brains, the credentialed thinkers (and the enlightened billionaire) who’ve drawn up a plan to make someone else pay for the fundamental unfairness of your life. If you think it’s a stretch to compare them to the class-warfare thugs of the Occupy movement just look at Europe, where the brains and thugs re-couple in strong political parties every time a bad-economy election is held. In Greece, where the evil 1 percent du jour are immigrants, the fascist Golden Dawn party may enter parliament in a few days. In the current French elections, extremists on the right and left have ratcheted up nativist rhetoric. Hungary’s Nazi-nostalgic Jobbik party recently held an EU flag burning rally to protest their longtime scapegoats, the Gypsies.

It’s worth recalling that anarchist terrorism started to rock Europe in 2010, a year before Occupy Wall Street and two years before the bomb plot in Ohio. Yes, it’s true, we’re not Europe. But that’s the point. We’re America, so why are we flirting with this garbage?

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Anarchist Bomb Plot Thwarted in Cleveland

Certainly this teachable moment will put an end to all the heated, class-warfare rhetoric we’ve been hearing lately:

The FBI arrested five men Monday evening, saying they had planted what were believed to be explosive devices under the Ohio 82 bridge over Cuyahoga Valley National Park as part of a May Day protest today.

The five men were “self-proclaimed anarchists,” who intended to detonate two improvised explosive devices (IEDs) under the bridge in Sagamore Hills, but had purchased the inert devices from undercover FBI agents, officials said.

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Certainly this teachable moment will put an end to all the heated, class-warfare rhetoric we’ve been hearing lately:

The FBI arrested five men Monday evening, saying they had planted what were believed to be explosive devices under the Ohio 82 bridge over Cuyahoga Valley National Park as part of a May Day protest today.

The five men were “self-proclaimed anarchists,” who intended to detonate two improvised explosive devices (IEDs) under the bridge in Sagamore Hills, but had purchased the inert devices from undercover FBI agents, officials said.

The FBI press release identifies the five men arrested – according to Breitbart.com two of them may be Occupy organizers – and provides more details on the plot hatched by the anarchist group:

According to that complaint, [Douglas] Wright,[Brandon] Baxter, and [Anthony] Hayne are self-proclaimed anarchists who formed into a small group and considered a series of evolving plots over several months.

The initial plot involved the use of smoke grenades to distract law enforcement in order for the co-conspirators to topple financial institution signs atop high rise buildings in downtown Cleveland, according to the complaint.

The plot later developed to the utilization of explosive materials. The defendants conspired to obtain C-4 explosives contained in two improvised explosive devices to be placed and remotely detonated, according to the complaint.

How intent were these anarchists on actually carrying out the attack? According to the FBI, the suspects had actually planted the explosive devices (inert ones purchased from undercover agents) and attempted to detonate them before they were arrested.

The left wonders why Moveon.org has been trying so desperately to co-opt the Occupy movement before it fully emerges for the spring. This is why. Moveon.org realizes that the Occupy movement could be highly useful for energizing progressive voters to vote Democrat. But for that to happen, Occupy leadership can’t be cooking up bomb plots, ignoring widespread rape on campsites, and destroying public property.

It’s been said a million times in a million different stories, but imagine if this had been related to the Tea Party. The plot would be pinned on the entire conservative movement, Republican lawmakers would be asked by the media to publicly condemn the Tea Party, and President Obama would suddenly find time in his schedule for one of his rare press conferences. That’s not to say that Democrats, or the progressive movement as a whole, should be blamed for this incident. But an acknowledgement of the double standard from the media would be nice.

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