On Saturday, a local progressive talk show lamented the death of Occupy Chicago over the winter, but, on the day before Easter, heralded its resurrection with an interview by a Move On spokesperson, and their “99% Spring” initiative. There are a few issues with all of this, most of all, Occupy Chicago did not die, except for those who weren’t paying attention, or who are part of the incredibly strong and subversive effort to co-opt the movement.
Let me be clear. I support Move On, mostly. Personally, I support political candidates and vote Democratic. Not always because I believe they are the optimal candidate, but because the alternative in our two-party curse is far worse for civil, gender and human rights in this country. That said, I passionately believe in the Occupy movement’s ability to affect the political process and discourse by not overtly adopting a politically partisan stance. In an election year that terrifies political apparatchiks and those who view the political theater paramount to morality and real change.
Move On is moving massively to refocus Occupy’s message and true grassroots strength into its own partisan messaging. Where Occupy is mustering strength and efforts to combat homelessness, poverty and foreclosure evictions, maintain focus on economic disparity, a cannibalistic economic structure and money in politics, and discuss the two-party stranglehold on governance, Move On would champion that two-part system as part of the mechanism beholden to it.
Indeed, everyone from the Tea Party, Move On, so-called Progressive media, politicians and Public Relations firms are intent in steering, co-opting or destroying the Occupy movement, most especially to prevent a truly democratic voice of average citizens and the poor who would otherwise be powerless and voiceless. I have been a party to more than a few meetings, interviews and discussions with various pundits, politicians, outsiders and others seeking inroads into the movement.
The movement is pure, at least for now. It is not perfect, but it is pure. It remains leaderless, which is the movement’s blessing, as no one holds a more persuasive voice than anyone else in the movement. Where else can someone walk up to a General Assembly for the first time and have their voice heard respectfully? If there is merit to that voice to have it voted upon and perhaps carried by all those attending? Does Move On operate in such a way? Doubtful. Does our own elected(???) government?
In The Last Man, I describe how a single personality can co-opt and destroy a movement. Move On should join Occupy. If they feel they can strengthen the movement, show up to a GA, raise their hand and state their case, and make it a communal effort. To assume they can simply announce this is the “99% spring”(a term they co-opted from Occupy Chicago, which was calling this the “Chicago Spring” months ago) shows that they care less about true democracy and the good work this movement has and is doing, and is merely reflecting and pushing the broken system we are fighting to change.