The Importance Of Non-Violence

by lizard

One of the concerns I’ve had since OWS first kicked off was whether or not those involved on the ground were going to be able to keep it non-violent. So far, the only significant violence has come from the police state response, which is sadly expected these days. Unprovoked macing of unarmed women encircled by plastic police netting? Par for the course. But the protests, despite these provocations from police, have largely remained peaceful, thanks in part to the structure of the General Assemblies.

During the last 24 hours, though, in Italy, violence has broken out, and it appears the protest was infiltrated by the black bloc contingent:

Witnesses said hooded militants infiltrated what had been a peaceful demonstration.

The violence started when a group of about 30 or 40 men torched SUVs along the route of the march, smashed the windows of a branch of Cassa di Ripsarmio di Rimini bank, attacked a supermarket and torched Italian and European Union flags flying outside a hotel.

The rioters appeared to belong to a violent movement called the black bloc – fringe groups of far-left and anarchists militants – who caused mayhem in central Rome last December when they infiltrated a peaceful protest by students against government cuts in education.

Nothing will derail America’s version of what is a global struggle faster than elements within these protests turning to violence. Whether it’s actual protestors, infiltrators, or provocateurs, it doesn’t matter. Once those images of violence get snatched up by the corporate media and amplified by the 24 hour news cycle, those who sympathize but are not participating will never lend their support, and the movement will fizzle.

Over at Electric City Blog, Gregg has put up with my off-putting commentary, and responded in part with this:

“Protesting with a list of demands while “occupying” parks isn’t going to change the world either. Do they give up? Or take the route of violence?”

My concern is not that the protestors are going to consciously take the route of violence because I think there are enough people who understand the damage that will do. That doesn’t mean there won’t be efforts to discredit OWS through violent means, and if that happens, there are too many people (the haters, the critics, the mockers, and other tools of the system) who want a reason to write-off these occupations because it challenges an unjust economic system that they may be currently benefiting from.

For example, this comment comes from one of those folks:

“As I’ve said before, I hope they keep it up and get more aggressive. Us real people far outnumber them and are getting very angry at watching the loser circuses of people whining about their situations. There will be a huge backlash.”

Yes, please get more aggressive, protestors, because “real people” are getting angry at how you fakers are bringing attention to the inequity of our economic system, and there will be a “huge backlash”.

After a month of peaceful occupations spreading to over 900 cities and towns, efforts to discredit this movement will probably escalate. That means those on the ground must be very cautious (including occupy Missoula) because there may already be elements within who will try and push for more confrontational actions to spark violence, and it will only take a few high profile incidents to seriously damage the credibility this movement has built up in a relatively short amount of time.

  1. BlackBart

    Younger OWS participants would do well to read up on the FBI’s COINTELPRO operations of the 1960s. Although there’s little chance today’s FBI would be orchestrating, the same tactics most certainly will be used by security contractors in the employ of those looking down on Wall Street from their offices 50 floors up.
    And remember, they will stop at nothing to keep the gravy train alive.

  2. Pancho

    I think that those who claim to be “anarchists” who have caused this disruption probably contain more than their share of undercover agents and provacateurs determined to fight OWS by discrediting it for something it’s not.

    My unfortunate though limited experience with self-styled contemporary “anarchists” is that they’re both narcissitic and clueless. They are most unlikely ever to be agents of needed change.

  3. If this “movement” continues to grow I’ll take odds on escalating violence. Progress, in what ever sense it is measured by participants, will be too slow and frustrating. The radical intellectuals will sell aggressive tactics and promote the idea of “propaganda by the deed” as a way to win popular sentiment as sympathy to injustices from (as Lizard describes) the police state. It will escalate.

    Since the French Revolution we have seen this time and again. The language of OWS is classical anti-bourgeois. This is not a new movement or idea. It’s simply time again for it to reappear.

    I hope I’m wrong. But if anyone wants to make odds that it won’t I’ll take the action (assuming the effort doesn’t peter out in the near future.) We’ve seen this movie before. Human nature is very predictable.

    • lizard19

      the french revolution didn’t have over a thousand mini-revolutions spread across the globe and connected through social media, and their bourgeois didn’t steer policy decisions that negatively affected hundreds of millions of people.

      • Yep, “Let them eat cake” wasn’t a “policy decision. I think you’re pretty naive. Read some history on the syndico anarchist of the late 19th century and tell me how geographically bound the movement was.Trace its roots to the French Revolution and Robespierre. Sure, there was no social media – but there was media and plenty of it to foment violence.

        And one more thing to consider about our new faster-than-print technology – radical ideas will also spread faster.

        Listen, Liz, I’ve never been afraid of violent revolution nor am I now. But as a young man I cheered on the SDS, the Yippies and the Weathermen. I was there when the peace movement became violent. And I assume JC was there too. And I’ve often said that if an ideal isn’t worth dying for it isn’t worth living for. I’m all for everyone working to change the world but don’t be so foolish to think that big change doesn’t have a big price.

        • lizard19

          if i’m being a bit naive, which i don’t deny, then i’d suggest you’re being a bit fatalistic.

          and you may be right, but i think it’s worth giving this movement credit for maintaing their non-violent contrast to police overreaction. i think there’s a good case to be made for the structure of the general assemblies keeping things as peaceful as possible. so far.

          if protestors start engaging in violent direct action, then it will more than likely be happening outside GA consensus. if that were to happen, i don’t expect corporate media to make that distinction. i expect the media to take any incident of violence and amplify it, and the PR battle the occupiers are simultaneously involved in could be lost.

          violent revolution? bah. i want paradigm shift. we’re not just up against a powerful elite who control the lion’s share of resources. we are up against our own participation in ecocide. if that doesn’t change, i hope the next sentient species does better than we did.

          • I don’t think I’m being fatalistic. I’m proposing a bet and not saying where it (the violence) will come from.

            You’re right though, credit where due. But the night is young, so to speak.

            • Ryan Emmett Morton

              Your reading and interpretation of the French Revolution, Dave, is rather bizarre. The French tore down the monarchy in an effort to replace it with a republic. They got Napoleon instead, but the outcome really doesn’t reflect the cause(s).

              Further, violent revolution was the same answer the American’s used against the British.

    • Steve W

      Dave, Since you are a human, are you tipping us off that you are thinking that you might get violent? Or is it just those other humans you are worried about?

      I’ve met the people who are camping out, and I’m not worried about them. You on the other hand I haven’t met, and your expectations of violence make me wonder about your life experiences? What leads to that expectation?

      Why not go chat with some people and find out instead of this endless speculation?

      • Steve, I have no need to get violent – yet. Nor do I have any expectations that I will change the world. But fuck with my freedom much (more) and all bets are off. I subscribe to the “non-coercion principal” but I also subscribe to protecting my liberty. Any violence from me will be strictly a matter of self-defense.

        And I have no need to “go talk” to anyone. Anecdotes are not data. All I need to do is look to history. I’m not worried about the campers in Missoula either. I’m actually not worried about anyone as I said above.

        • lizard19

          i’m worried for the occupiers, honestly. the streets of dear sweet Missoula are not always peaceful, and those camping have gotten a first hand look at the degradation of alcohol abuse, mental illness, and chronic homelessness.

          i also suspect there has already been infiltration by other unsavory elements. the occupiers are taking a big risk doing what they are doing here in Montana, where there are dangerous people on the fringes more than willing to use violence to make a political statement.

        • Ryan Emmett Morton

          What freedoms are being “f—ed” with? The only tenable encroachments I’ve seen in recent memory came from the PATRIOT Act.

          • That’s certainly a bill that I have criticized from birth. But there are more. I simply won’t outline them to someone who has consistently questioned me in bad faith. But maybe you should look at property seizure laws, the number of people in prisons, the fact the the police can lie to you but can throw you in jail for lying to them? If you think the Patriot Act is the only recent thing that fucks with your freedoms you haven’t been paying attention. How about Gonzales v Raich?

            • Ryan Emmett Morton

              I questioned you in bad faith? Ha ha ha ha! What does that even mean? To question someone requires that I have doubt or little to no faith in what that person is saying.

              The police state has been ushered in by the conservatives of this country not OWS folks: property forfeiture on drug charges (with or without a conviction); PATRIOT Act; AG Gonzales; Texas; etc.

              Good to know you support medical cannabis though.

              • Maybe you should take a class in rhetoric if you don’t know what arguing in bad faith is. And it’s something you do and now have done twice to me in this thread.

                I have news for you, Ryan, I’ve been a civil libertarian a long damn time (my guess is longer than you have lived but I could be wrong about that) and you trying to tie me to “conservative” beliefs simply shows how little you know about me.

              • Ryan Emmett Morton

                “Arguing in bad faith” is not “questioning in bad faith.” Maybe you should take the class on rhetoric… or read the dictionary. But keep counting, Dave. If this is what you call “bad faith,” then I don’t want to be good! LOL!

                Also, libertarian is just a fancy term for conservative anarchist.

              • “Conservative anarchist” – best nonsense of the day.

  4. Pogo Possum

    Looks like you just got some more support in the Occupy movement, Lizard.

    • Steve W

      be very afraid

      • Pogo Possum

        with friends like this…….so should you.

        • Steve W

          don’t look under the bed…

          • Pogo Possum

            Running out witty comeback lines Steve?

            • Steve W

              I didn’t know that there is a finite supply of short clever responses to your seemingly endless desire to promote websites who trade in ignorance and bigotry, Popo.

              I see no evidence of a shortage of wit or the will to post it from my side of the keyboard;

              Your side of the keyboard, however, seems to be experiencing a paucity of ethics. At least from the perspective of how i define ethics.

              It seems you have flat run plum out of shame. Of course that’s one of the pitfalls of anonymous posting. It’s quite likely your mom doesn’t know what you are posting, and it shows.

      • Pancho

        I see that former Congressman David Duke, the ex-Grand Wizard of the KKK, the former Republican nominee for Governor of Louisiana, has endorsed the Tea Party.

        Great video of him doing so. He looks different. He’s had plastic surgery and dyed his hair blond (from gray) to look more “Aryan .”

    • lizard19

      so in addition to Alex Jones, you also like to frequent white power sites. good to know, Pogo.

    • There was much renunciation of that endorsement from all over twitter yesterday, Pogo.

      Never ever saw that from the Tea Party. Individually some GOP may have spoken out – but nothing top-down.

      Saw “there’s always those elements,” but no “we don’t want anything to do with that.”

  5. lizard19

    maybe Pogo and others should check out this link to, which JC linked to in his recent post. here is a snip:

    In America today, 400 people have more wealth than the bottom 150 million combined. That’s not because 150 million Americans are pathetically lazy or even unlucky. In fact, Americans have been working harder than ever — productivity has risen in the last several decades. Big business profits and CEO bonuses have also gone up. Worker salaries, however, have declined.

    Most of the Occupy Wall Street protesters aren’t opposed to free market capitalism. In fact, what they want is an end to the crony capitalist system now in place, that makes it easier for the rich and powerful to get even more rich and powerful while making it increasingly hard for the rest of us to get by. The protesters are not anti-American radicals. They are the defenders of the American Dream, the decision from the birth of our nation that success should be determined by hard work not royal bloodlines

    • Pogo Possum

      Is George Soros one of the 99% or one of the 1%?

      • I’m going off topic here (assuming the graces of the author) and asking – What is it with Soros? I mean – he comes up even where there’s no connection…and (like I mention above in this thread) there is none of the same disdain for the Koch Bros.

        So why this apparent double-standard…and why toss around the accusation of some connection (over and over) when its been shown (almost all the time) there is none?

        A few years back people kept trying to connect Soros to Matt Singer. Funny thing happened – while there was none for years, he did eventually get some Soros $, indirectly. Matt, of course, wrote of that irony.

        • lizard19

          i don’t think it’s all that off topic, so by all means, let’s explore this tangent.

          someone asked down at the courthouse a few days ago where the money for “all this” was coming from. she was not a supporter, and i can only assume she was thinking about Soros.

          i think the double standard is interesting as well. Natelson is still pathetically trying to depict the honorable patriots of the tea party as not being co-opted by corporate cash and christian conservatives. hilarious.

          but Soros, i guess, for them, represents the hypocrisy of “liberals” who claim to be working for the “working man” and it fits into the right’s perspective that “liberals” are all a bunch of wealthy elites themselves, trying to tell them how to live their lives.

          personally, i think Soros money is just as tainted as Koch money, especially if one gives any credibility to the idea of “color revolutions”

        • Pogo Possum

          I ask the question, and few seem willing to answer, because the left and the Occupy movement seems a bit schizophrenic when it comes to targeting who is and isn’t one of the 1%.

          Mention the Koch brothers and bang….they are one of the 1%. Wall street trader, CEO or CFO of a large bank or corporation, or critic of the whole Occupy movement …… of the 1%. Some on this blog even target the lowest paid employee of large financial firms as worthy of attack and part of the 1% just because they happen to work for an employer deemed to be one of the 1%.

          The Occupy movement likes to condemn and march on “the rich” ……..unless they profess left leaning sympathies. If you are a convicted insider trader like Soros who made billions and cost taxpayers around the world billions through manipulative currency speculation but pours millions of dollars into left leaning causes, you get a pass. Other left of center Occupy supporters are also immune to criticism. I could have substituted their names for Soros: Deepak Chopra (worth $80 million), Susan Sarandon ($50 million), Alec Baldwin (worth $65 million), Michael Moore ($50 million), Tim Robbins ($50 million), Nancy Pelosi ($35 million), Roseanna “bankers earning over $100 million should be beheaded” Barr ($80 million), ……and the list can go on.

          The Occupy movement message appears to be liberal wealth is good…….conservative wealth is bad. That appears hypocritical to a lot of middle America.

          • JC

            “The Occupy movement message appears to be liberal wealth is good…….conservative wealth is bad.”

            You haven’t been paying attention. You are just trying to conjure up a convenient meme by which to discredit what is going on and protecting your own special interests. And you have an inability to comprehend that the occupy movement is not driven by wealthy liberals.

            Did you read my piece yesterday? Wherein does your imaginary message reside?

            • Pogo Possum

              Read it JC. And it appears you aren’t paying attention and have an inability to comprehend what I just wrote.

              • JC

                Paying attention? I’m in the middle of things, and you are a fringe observer who can’t figure out how to pigeon-hole a movement into a neat tidy little understandable box.

                As to comprehending what you wrote, you saw my reply. Just because you don’t like my answer doesn’t mean I don’t comprehend you. I comprehend perfectly well how scared plutocrats are working to discredit and tear down the occupy movement.

                Got something to lose, chump?

              • Pogo Possum

                Chump?????? A little harsh, don’t ya think JC.

                As an organizer and active participant you “are” “in the middle of things” JC, and people “in the middle of things”, especially fledgling revolutionary movements, tend to view the world from a narrow perspective that is reinforced daily by those like minded people within the same small spheres.

                The challenge is to step out side your sphere and listen to the messages the public is hearing and seeing.

              • lizard19

                pogo, take your own advice. listen instead of trying to tell us what the message is, and who these people are, and who they should be angry at.

              • Pogo Possum

                Thanks for the advice Liz. Already did. Now it’s your turn.

          • Steve W

            Well Popo, I’m glad you and I and Sarandon can agree that everyone who makes what Susan Sarandon does should be taxed a lot more.

          • Pancho

            Soros, Sarandon, Barr, etc.

            You’re talking about people who have continuously challenged the establishment, funded the people’s causes, been out there often with us even on the picket lines.

            Don’t pretend that Occupy protesters are against everyone with money. You’re not writing for Fox “News” here.

            One of the most decent men ever to serve in the U.S. Senate was the richest man in that chamber, at the time. I have never heard of a single thing that he did in his lifetime that any progressive might fault with. He was Claiborne Pell.

            So they’re richer than I would ever want to be. (I live at the poverty line because I’m not impressed by dough, though I could have chosen at any time to make tons of money.)

            BFD!, really.

            But to go on about the conviction of Soros is pretty lame.

            The guy bought and sold some bank stock in 1988, making $3 million. He was fined $2.1 million 14 years later and continues to appeal his ex-post facto conviction on solid grounds.

            You talk about him and the Kochs as if there’s some moral equivalence. But the latter are determined to deny a major portion of the American electorate the voting franchise, by any means possible. They have polluted endlessly and simply bought off the regulators and had their dupes and stooges rewrite the laws that protect us all. The’ve continuously violated U.S. trading sanctions, which doesn’t particularly bother me, since I’m not a great fan of our foreign policy anyway. Theyve stolen from impecunious Indian tribes simply because they thought they could get away with it. They’ve bought congress as their own front group, and have bought governors’ mansions around the U.S. as well.

            I’m not a great fan of everything that Soros has done, some of which have really irked me, but please, get a clue!

            The Kochs, by the way, responded to Tester’s mention of their problems that had been documented in a 22-page Bloomberg News article, by using this same tactic. He got $8,000 from GE which had been involved in sanctions difficulties and $2,000 from someone else whom I’ve forgotten. $10 grand, their propaganda machine (i.e., the Washington Examiner) howls. Out of millions donated for his campaign. “He’s only doing the same as us,” they’d like people to believe.

            I went to my eye doctor this week. His cousin’s wife is the Koch flak who promoted this nonsense. I mentioned they were in trouble. He asked, “for trading with Iran?”

            I said, for that, for pollution, for illegal campaign contributions, for theft, etc.

            “It’s a business,” he said.

            “So’s the Mafia,” I answered.

            Here’s one of many stories you could reference:

            October 6, 2011, 9:05 am
            Soros Loses Challenge to Insider Trading Conviction
            By NICOLA CLARK

            Philippe Wojazer/Reuters

            George Soros was convicted of insider trading by a French appeals court in 2002.

            PARIS — George Soros, known as one of the world’s savviest investors, should have realized that he risked violating insider trading laws when he pocketed more than $3 million from dealing in shares of the French bank Société Générale two decades ago, Europe’s highest human rights court ruled on Thursday.

            France’s insider trading laws were sufficiently clear at the time to hold Mr. Soros criminally responsible, even though a separate investigation by the country’s stock market regulator failed to find wrongdoing, the European Court of Human Rights ruled.

            “Mr. Soros was a famous institutional investor, well known to the business community and a participant in major financial projects,” the court, which is based in Strasbourg, said in a statement about its ruling. “As a result of his status and experience, he could not have been unaware that his decision to invest” risked violating insider trading laws. The court added that, given “there had been no comparable precedent, he should have been particularly prudent.”

            Mr. Soros, 81, was convicted of insider trading in 2002 by a French appeals court and fined 2.2 million euros — the equivalent of what he was accused of making — after a Paris court found that he had bought and sold shares of Société Générale in 1988 with the knowledge that the bank might be a takeover target. Two co-defendants, one of them a former senior official of the French Finance Ministry, were acquitted.

            The case dates back to the privatization of Société Générale by a center-right government in 1987. The following year, a Socialist-led government sought to regain control of the bank. Sensing an opportunity, a group of investors connected to the French financier Georges Pébereau devised a plan to acquire control of the bank, sending its share price soaring.

            Mr. Pébereau’s raid was unsuccessful. But in September 1988, an associate of Mr. Pébereau informed Mr. Soros of the plans for the bid in a telephone conversation, according to court testimony in the case. (Georges Pébereau is the brother of Michel Pébereau, who was chief executive of BNP Paribas, a Société Générale rival, from 1993 to 2003.)

            France’s stock market regulator opened an investigation into the case in 1989, but determined that Mr. Soros had not violated French insider rules, which at the time restricted only employees of the companies concerned from trading on privileged information.

            The law was revised in 1990 to apply to third parties. Mr. Soros maintained that France had amended its insider trading laws because of his conduct, an argument that the panel of seven human rights judges said Thursday it did not support.

            In its 4-to-3 decision, the court said laws were written to be applied to a range of different situations, and that therefore the wording of statutes was not always precise. In the Soros case, “in view of the subject matter, well-informed professionals had a duty to be prudent in their work and to take special care in assessing the risks of their actions,” it added.

            Mr. Soros’s Paris-based lawyer, Ron Soffer, said the discrepancy between the findings by the market regulator and those of the criminal court demonstrated that French insider trading laws at the time were too vague to be enforced consistently.

            “The court seems to be saying that Mr. Soros and other investors should somehow have had a clearer view of the law than the people who were charged with applying it,” Mr. Soffer said, referring to market regulators.

            Mr. Soffer said Mr. Soros would appeal the decision to the Grand Chamber of human rights court. If the Grand Chamber agrees to hear the case, a ruling could come late next year or in 2013, he said.

            • Pogo Possum

              Ok……we agree then

              liberal wealth is good…….conservative wealth is bad.

              • JC

                It all depends on what you put your wealth to work doing. If you are trying to capture the political system, then it is bad. This is what leads to revolts.

              • Pancho

                I hope we don’t agree.

                Wealth is neither good nor bad. It’s what one does with it and to what lengths one is inclined to go to get more. I’d hoped to make that point even to someone as intentionally obtuse as yourself when I mentioned Claiborne Pell.

                Fat chance, I guess.

                I just checked on Phillip Anschutz, whose Washington Examiner just uncritically published the Koch attack on Tester.

                He give out tons of money, but hasn’t given a dime to any Democrats in 17 years. He spreads his dough around, but the most goes to the most fruitcake fundies, such as Rick Santorum, his favorite, but Marilyn Musgrave, Tom Tancredo and so many of the other homophobic flat earthers. He loved Connie Burns, of course.

                Good AP piece on Herman Cain, another pig at the Koch trough.Cain is only worth six million or so, so I guess you feel he’s one of the 99%.

                Cain’s Campaign Has Long Ties to Koch Brothers
                By Ryan J. Foley, Associated Press
                16 October 11

                Republican presidential hopeful Herman Cain has cast himself as the outsider, the pizza magnate with real-world experience who will bring fresh ideas to the nation’s capital. But Cain’s economic ideas, support and organization have close ties to two billionaire brothers who bankroll right-leaning causes through their group Americans for Prosperity.

                Cain’s campaign manager and a number of aides have worked for Americans for Prosperity, or AFP, the advocacy group founded with support from billionaire brothers Charles and David Koch, which lobbies for lower taxes and less government regulation and spending. Cain credits a businessman who served on an AFP advisory board with helping devise his “9-9-9” plan to rewrite the nation’s tax code. And his years of speaking at AFP events have given the businessman and radio host a network of loyal grassroots fans.

                The once little-known businessman’s political activities are getting fresh scrutiny these days since he soared to the top of some national polls.

                His links to the Koch brothers could undercut his outsider, non-political image among people who detest politics as usual and candidates connected with the party machine.

                AFP tapped Cain as the public face of its “Prosperity Expansion Project,” and he traveled the country in 2005 and 2006 speaking to activists who were starting state-based AFP chapters from Wisconsin to Virginia. Through his AFP work he met Mark Block, a longtime Wisconsin Republican operative hired to lead that state’s AFP chapter in 2005 as he rebounded from an earlier campaign scandal that derailed his career.

                Block and Cain sometimes traveled together as they built up AFP: Cain was the charismatic speaker preaching the ills of big government; Block was the operative helping with nuts and bolts.

                When President Barack Obama’s election helped spawn the tea party, Cain was positioned to take advantage. He became a draw at growing AFP-backed rallies, impressing activists with a mix of humor and hard-hitting rhetoric against Obama’s stimulus, health care and budget policies.

                Block is now Cain’s campaign manager. Other aides who had done AFP work were also brought on board.

                Cain’s spokeswoman Ellen Carmichael, who recently left the campaign, was an AFP coordinator in Louisiana. His campaign’s outside law firm is representing AFP in a case challenging Wisconsin campaign finance regulations. At least six other current and former paid employees and consultants for Cain’s campaign have worked for AFP in various capacities.

                And Cain has credited Rich Lowrie, a Cleveland businessman who served on AFP’s board of advisors from 2005 to 2008, with being a key economic adviser and with helping to develop his plan to cut the corporate tax rate to 9 percent, impose a national sales tax of 9 percent and set a flat income tax rate of 9 percent

                “He’s got a national network now that perhaps he wouldn’t have had 15 or 20 years ago because of his work with AFP,” said Republican Party of Wisconsin Vice Chair Brian Schimming, who has introduced Cain at events in Wisconsin. “For a presidential candidate, that’s obviously helpful to have.”

                He said Cain was smart to hire Block.

                Cain’s recent victories in straw polls in Florida and Minnesota highlight the importance of organizing supporters and Block, who has a deep network in the tea party, “gets that side of it,” Schimming said.

                But Block has had his problems as well. He settled a suit in 2001 accusing him of illegally coordinating a Wisconsin Supreme Court justice’s re-election with an outside group. Block agreed to pay $15,000 and sit out of politics for three years.

                While Cain is quick to promote his career at the helm of the Godfather’s Pizza chain, his ties to AFP aren’t something the candidate appears eager to highlight. Cain does not include his AFP work on his biography on his website, but spokesman J.D. Gordon said Sunday that Cain was “proud of his business record” and his association with the group.

                “He has made a lot of important connections through AFP,” Gordon said, pointing to Block and Lowrie, among others.

                And Cain continues to work with the group.

                While several other candidates will be at an Iowa Republican Party dinner on Nov. 4, Cain is scheduled to be in Washington mingling with activists at AFP’s annual “Defending the American Dream” summit. He is the only confirmed presidential candidate for the event.

                AFP spokesman Levi Russell said Cain has spoken at dozens of AFP rallies and events over the years to support a number of the group’s activities. AFP has often covered his travel expenses or paid a “pretty modest honorarium” but he has not been paid since becoming a presidential candidate, he said.

                “He’s a dynamic, pro-business speaker that connects well with our activists,” Russell said. “AFP is a very large organization, and there is a natural overlap between Cain’s message of fiscal responsibility and the basic principles that AFP advocates for.”

                A spokeswoman for the Koch brothers did not respond to The Associated Press’s request for comment on Cain.

                To some liberals, Cain’s rise with the help of AFP shows the incredible influence that outside groups controlled by super-wealthy individuals with specific agendas can have on the political process.

                “Herman Cain is the first presidential corporate spokes-candidate,” said Scot Ross, a liberal activist who leads One Wisconsin Now, which has often mocked AFP as a front group for corporate interests. “The best way to have your issues talked about in the issue debate is to have a candidate in your pocket with snappy comebacks and easily branded policy papers which mask how destructive they would be.”

                AFP’s agenda also includes weakening private and public sector unions, opposing environmental regulations and undoing Obama’s health care reform law, among other policies. But before the tea party and Obama, Cain worked with AFP on more local issues.

                In 2006, he campaigned all over Wisconsin in support of a proposed constitutional amendment that would have limited state government spending. A slew of officials and analysts said the plan would have ultimately devastated government services, and the Republican-controlled Legislature eventually backed off it.

                In a statement announcing Cain’s tour, AFP sent out a press release touting his “in-depth understanding of the battle to control out-of-control government taxes and spending.” Block promised that Cain was a speaker that activists would not want to miss.

  6. Here is a link to Prof Braudel on phases of movements.
    “The movement had become respectable. And with respectability came danger – Stage four. A major protest movement that has caught on usually faces two major threats. One is the organization of a significant right-wing counterdemonstration in the streets. Eric Cantor, the hardline (and quite astute) Republican congressional leader, has already called for that in effect. These counterdemonstrations can be quite ferocious. The Occupy Wall Street movement needs to be prepared for this and think through how it intends to handle or contain it.

    But the second and bigger threat comes from the very success of the movement. As it attracts more support, it increases the diversity of views among the active protestors. The problem here is, as it always is, how to avoid the Scylla of being a tight cult that would lose because it is too narrowly based, and the Charybdis of no longer having a political coherence because it is too broad. There is no simple formula of how to manage avoiding going to either extreme. It is difficult.”

    The supposed peaceful revolutions in South Africa and Russia were tricked into having supposed “political” change, but economic change remained with the banksters and so no real change happened. The South African revolution was supposed to bring land reform, but couldn’t because the rich white guys kept control of the money. (The Shock Doctrine by Naomi Klein).
    Keep the focus on Wall Street.

    • JC

      I think that the political coherence of the movement needs to focus around root causes, which i would predominantly identify as the corruption in our political system caused by its capture by corporate money, and the undue influence of the wealth of an extreme minority of people.

      Where I differ from groups like the 99PercentDeclaration is that I think the root causes of our nations problem need root solutions like amending the constitution, not a threat to start a third political party.

      Nothing would destroy the political coherence of the occupy movement quicker than trying to start and manage a new political party in a corrupt system.

    • Pancho

      The right wing spin now is to pretend the only people who are unhappy enough to Occupy are those graduates with big student loan debts and no jobs. It’s like complaining protesters aren’t washing behind their ears. The right wing noise machnine echo chamber is repeating, over and over, “they shouldh’t have taken out all those loans,” in this job market. What were they thinking, getting liberal arts degrees?

      The Koch propaganda factories, the faux think tanks, are jumping on the bandwagon. The Daily Mirror repeated this meme today in London.

      We can’t let them trivialize this.

  7. ladybug

    Wall Street is the source. It is the right target. Washington is for Randians and other ideological jello-fighters. Lobbyists work Wall Street.

    Isn’t it about time the 150 million knew a lot more about the 400, or 1%? Where is all the wealth stashed? Which of these individuals have financial ties to which U.S. Senator, which Supreme Court justice, etc? It’s time to pull the curtain away for all to see the specifics of endemic American corruption. And what a spectacle it is.

    When good people become well informed, the odds of substantial change increase exponentially. The 99% have the technology to overcome the corporate media’s propaganda. This is one element of this great struggle unlike others of the past, and one essential tool “the establishment” is finding hardest to put back into the bottle. Try as they might, “the message” is out of their control.

  8. lizard19

    for a good laugh, check out the nutty professor’s latest at ECW. here’s how it starts out:


    Does this sound like the abuse that apologists for Big Government fling at the modern Tea Party?

    It should. Tea Party activists have been the victims of some incredible verbal smears—especially considering that (unlike the “Occupy” demonstrators) they have been almost uniformly peaceful and law-abiding. But modern Tea Partiers can point with pride to the fact that the patriots who stood up for freedom before the American Revolution were rewarded with the same kind of mindless abuse.

    • Ingemar Johansson

      Yeah, but the TP’s would never stick their feet under a moving police motorcycle.

      • lizard19

        no, your TP’s are much classier. they like to spit on congressmen instead.

        • Ingemar Johansson

          And know you know the rest of the story.

          “The infamous scene of Rep. Emanuel Cleaver getting struck by errant spittle by a Tea Party protester during the ObamaCare protests became a focal point of Hardball tonight. Rep. Cleaver was Chris Matthews’ guest and he played the video for Rep. Cleaver. “He spit all over you, basically,” said Mr. Matthews. Rep. Cleaver did not acknowledge the statement, understandably, since he, himself has long-since walked back the charges his office originally made about the incident.

          On March 20th Rep. Cleaver’s office issued a statement saying he was walking behind Rep. John Lewis on the way to the Capitol. As he walked he heard racial epithets and was spat upon. The statement also said the “spitter” had been arrested but the congressman refused to press charges.

          But, the truth is, Rep. Cleaver was not walking to the Capitol when the incident occurred, he was walking back from the Capitol. Also, Rep. Andre Carson has claimed that there were no racial epithets shouted when the Congressional Black Caucus walked back from the Capitol, he claims it occurred on the way to the Capitol. Also, no arrests were made in this incident. Finally, the video clearly shows a man shouting right next to Rep. Cleaver’s face and the congressman behaves as though he was struck by errant spittle.”

          More likely a “spay it instead of say it”.

          • Steve W

            That some of the Tea Party behaved awfully and made racial remarks and spat on members of congress isn’t in dispute, Inge. We all know that happened.

            Fortunately, OccupyWallStreet is a well organized and broadly supported cross section of Americans from all over the country.

            They have turned out hundreds of thousands more people in a few weeks than the Tea Party could muster in a couple of years.

            There is a reason for that. The reason is that Americans mostly didn’t support the Tea Party. And Americans mostly support the Occupy Wall Street demonstrations and events.

            You can try to spin all you want, but the numbers speak for themselves, Inge.

            • Ingemar Johansson

              If anyone intentionally spit there would have been filed racial hate crimes.

              And the popularity of the TP’s will be proven on election day.

              • JC

                Popularity? Funny that. A Times poll a few days ago showed the favorability rating of the tea party at 27%, and the Occupiers at 54%. Lots more good info in that poll if you’re interested in contrasting the two movements.

                So yeah, the tea party’s popularity might be proven on election day, but I doubt it is going to prove what you’re dreaming about.

              • Ingemar Johansson

                Over sampled Dems in the poll.


                DEMOCRATS 42%

                REPUBLICANS 31%

                Read more:

              • JC

                You gotta get over the notion that pollsters need to poll people that think like you. Sorry their poll didn’t have a rasmussen bias.

  9. The last few comments are indicative of the cohesion of the 99%. The OWS crowd working hard to discredit the TEA Party and the TEA Party folks working to discredit the OWS crowd. Seems like one big dysfunctional family with with stupid Aunt Betty yelling at crazy Uncle Joe that he’s fat and crazy Uncle Joe yelling at stupid Aunt Betty that she’s ugly.

    “We are the 99%” and this is what democracy looks like.

  10. JC

    People who try to make this into a tea party vs. occupy movement are totally missing the point. The last thing the OWS movement wants to do is become to the democratic party what the tea party has become to the republican party.

    Oh, and for those who have a difficult time stomaching such things, there are a lot of tea partiers agreeing with a lot of OWS ideas.

    The OWS movement absolutely not about maintaining ideological polarity in this country as represented by the two party system.

    • Ingemar Johansson

      Right JC.

      This OWS movement is “wag the dog” on steroids.

        • Ingemar Johansson

          I’m in full agreement with or next President.

          “On CBS, Cain suggested that the rallies had been organized by labor unions to serve as a “distraction so that many people won’t focus on the failed policies of the Obama administration.”

          • Steve W

            Inge, just weeks ago you told me you were backing that crazy lady from MN, Michelle Bachman.

            How fickle is thy love?

            Now days later you are predicting that Michelle is toast? You are just throwing her under the bus?

            Man, you conservatives play fast and loose with your love.
            Like a bee, flirting from flower to flower for someone, anyone, anyone who looks a tiny bit credible.

            Cain should go to the store and buy some Haagen Dazs and on the way back he could stop off at his local #Occupy! community and chat with folks and share some of his ice cream. He might learn something instead of talking jive.

    • Don’t you think it’s a bit premature to define what the OWS movement is? Seems that way to me.

      • JC

        Um, I think what I was saying more what it isn’t than what it is.

        As to what I said, the overwhelming tone of OWS-ers is not to be co-opted by the democratic party.

        As to the ideas that I was referring to that tea partiers might agree, I was referring to the Declaration of New York. Which is part of the movement trying to define what it is.

        My last statement about ideological polarity stands as an observation unless you want to provide evidence to the contrary.

        • Defining something by what it isn’t is one way of looking at the world. For example, I’m not a black women under 50 years old. But I’ve got nothing to prove. Just remember, the early TEA Party sentiment was not to be co-opted by the GOP.

          The only things certain in life is that we can’t know the future and what we don’t know far exceed what we do.

  11. My experience in demos going back to the Vietnam era is this: those in the crowd calling for violence are undercover operators from the police, FBI, etc. Sometimes, as happened with some Vietnam protests, they were among the SDS leadership. They usually take their time working their way into the crowd and are quite persuasive. The structure of Occupy rallies seems to work against the lone disruptive voice. And nonviolent strategies are always the best antidote.

    • Ingemar Johansson

      And the results of those late sixties protests?

      Nixon by a landslide.

      • Steve W

        Let’s return to the tax rates we had under Nixon, Inge. I’m all for it.

        Yes! Nixon tax rates by a landslide! I knew we could come together!

        • Ingemar Johansson

          As a corporate entity I pay less under Nixonian tax regulations.

          • Steve W

            Exactly. So we agree on returning to the federal tax rates for individuals and corporations from 1969-1973? Good!

            Here’s corporations first.

            Click to access corporate_historical_bracket.pdf

            And then here’s individual rates.


            • Ingemar Johansson

              Nothing ’bout the deductions?

              Take me back anyway,

              1. Much less foreign owned national debt.

              2. Much smaller deficit (% of GDP)

              3. Much smaller trade deficit.

              4. Much larger manufacturing base at that time.

              5. Medical costs about 1/3 of what they are now.

              6. About 100 million more idiot zombies now.

              7. About 1/10 of the common sense floating around than there was back then.

              8. Your governmental buddies didn’t have their fingers in everything ya did.

              • Steve W

                Wait a minute. Are you waffling, Inge?

                Come on, let’s get back to those Nixon rates.

                Sure there was a smaller deficit, the wealthy paid their fair share of taxes so of course their was a smaller deficit. Duh!

              • Ingemar Johansson

                Under Nixon I could pay my kids, my wife, with little tax consequences.

                Under Nixon i could deduct all interest on consumer debt.

                Under Nixon if my wife and i were penalized for being married and both working we could fly to Mexico on December 30, divorce on the 31st, and remarry Jan 1st in order to pay taxes separately.

                Under Nixon i could barter with little or no consequences. That is if i had something that a neighboring rancher needed we could “trade” those items with out governmental interference.

      • Pancho

        Dear Ingemar,

        Thanks to George Wallace’s “Independent” (Dixiecrat)candidacy, Nixon won the popular vote in ’68 by 7/10ths of one percent of the vote.

        A real landslide.

        More than the protests, the Daley response to opponents of the Viet Nam war in Chicago damaged Humphrey, who wouldn’t have won the nomination if Robert Kennedy hadn’t been assassinated, minutes after winning the California primary.

        You should have run from Floyd Patterson like you ran from Ed Sanders.

        It’s obvious that you’ve taken too many shots to the head.

        • Ingemar Johansson

          You’re right, but consider this.

          Would’ve Wallace had as much support if the long haired protesters would have stayed home?

          They may have been Dems, but they were conservative red neck Dems.

          • Pancho

            A professor friend argues that such occurences are “100% causal” for the outcome.

            However, I feel that some percentage of responsibility needs to be assessed, such as in a tort where the injured party might have been 10% or 50% or whatever, at fault, therefore reducing the award by a similar percentage.

            Was it the “longhair’s” fault that Daley overreacted? Was it their fault that Kennedy was killed? Was it their fault that the party regulars, i.e., Daley and his ilk, refused to recognize McCarthy as the viable candidate, supporting Humphrey even though he hadn’t participated in any primaries?

            You’re using the term “long hairs,” as a pejorative to trivialize the ’68 protesters, much as Fox “News” now is claiming that the Occupy protesters don’t wash often enough.

            Jeanette Rankin led thousands of women in a protest in NYC in ’68. Was she one of your “long hairs?”

            Was it protesters’ fault that McGovern entered into the race after Kennedy’s death, splitting the anti-war vote?

            Was it their fault that Humphrey refused to repudiate the war?

            Was it their fault that the Democratic party was so reluctant to admit that the Viet Nam war was a horrific, dishonest and genocidal blunder?

            Okay. So they stayed home in November 1968. That was their “fault.” But you must admit there was little to motivate them to pick the lesser of the three evils.

            Obama has gone to great lengths to prove that he’s the Hubert Humphrey or Al Gore of 2012. Hopefully he’ll wake up in time to save us from one of the long list of loonies, hacks and wankers proposed by the “R”s to date.

  12. Ingemar Johansson

    No violence? Under a cowgirl moon?

  13. ladybug

    Corporate power and state power have been joined at the foundation to benefit oligarchs. This is what the 99% know in their hearts. We — the 99% — are sick and tired of paying rents to this corrupt arrangement.

    OWS is making space for the healing of injured souls. State/corporate-sponsored fear, violence and propaganda have reached their limit of cyclical (for all you Wall Street apologists) effectiveness. This is a new ballgame not artificially constrained to typical material wealth issues. This goes well beyond comsumerism. It seems to me to be a much broader, and deeper, battle for individual souls being contested on a more, and more level playing field. The NYPD seems to sense this, will the oligarchs? Oligarchs are no match for 310 million healthy individual souls– and that’s just in the U.S.

  14. Chuck

    Where’s the outrage over the leaders of the Montana left Occupying the Bellagio in their party dresses while their supporters freeze their ass off down at the courthouse?

  15. Pogo Possum

    Wall Street finally responds to #OWS:

    A Letter from Goldman Sachs
    Concerning Occupy Wall Street

    NEW YORK (The Borowitz Report)– The following is a letter released today by Lloyd Blankfein, the chairman of banking giant Goldman Sachs:

    Dear Investor:

    Up until now, Goldman Sachs has been silent on the subject of the protest movement known as Occupy Wall Street. That does not mean, however, that it has not been very much on our minds. As thousands have gathered in Lower Manhattan, passionately expressing their deep discontent with the status quo, we have taken note of these protests. And we have asked ourselves this question:

    How can we make money off them?

    The answer is the newly launched Goldman Sachs Global Rage Fund, whose investment objective is to monetize the Occupy Wall Street protests as they spread around the world. At Goldman, we recognize that the capitalist system as we know it is circling the drain – but there’s plenty of money to be made on the way down.

    The Rage Fund will seek out opportunities to invest in products that are poised to benefit from the spreading protests, from police batons and barricades to stun guns and forehead bandages. Furthermore, as clashes between police and protesters turn ever more violent, we are making significant bets on companies that manufacture replacements for broken windows and overturned cars, as well as the raw materials necessary for the construction and incineration of effigies.

    It would be tempting, at a time like this, to say “Let them eat cake.” But at Goldman, we are actively seeking to corner the market in cake futures. We project that through our aggressive market manipulation, the price of a piece of cake will quadruple by the end of 2011.

    Please contact your Goldman representative for a full prospectus. As the world descends into a Darwinian free-for-all, the Goldman Sachs Rage Fund is a great way to tell the protesters, “Occupy this.” We haven’t felt so good about something we’ve sold since our souls.


    Lloyd Blankfein

    Chairman, Goldman Sachs

  1. 1 Last Resort? « 4&20 blackbirds

    […] wrote about the importance of non-violence in the context of the OWS protests, but more broadly, I have never seen violence against other […]

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