I got this from
Glenn Beck Corrente:
On Sunday, October 23, a meeting was held at 60 Wall Street. Six leaders discussed what to do with the half-million dollars that had been donated to their organization, since, in their estimation, the organization was incapable of making sound financial decisions. The proposed solution was not to spend the money educating their co-workers or stimulating more active participation by improving the organization’s structures and tactics. Instead, those present discussed how they could commandeer the $500,000 for their new, more exclusive organization. No, this was not the meeting of any traditional influence on Wall Street. These were six of the leaders of Occupy Wall Street (OWS).
Occupy Wall Street’s Structure Working Group (WG) has created a new organization called the Spokes Council. “Teach-ins” were held to workshop and promote the Spokes Council throughout the week of October 22-28. I attended the teach-in on Sunday the 23rd.
According to Marisa Holmes, one of the most outspoken and influential leaders of OWS, the NYC-GA started receiving donations from around the world when OWS began on September 17. Because the NYC-GA was not an official organization, and therefore could not legally receive thousands of dollars in donations, the nonprofit Alliance for Global Justice helped OWS create Friends of Liberty Plaza, which receives tax-free donations for OWS. Since then, Friends of Liberty Plaza has received over $500,000. Until October 28, anybody who wanted to receive more than $100 from Friends of Liberty Plaza had to go through the often arduous modified consensus process (90% majority) of the NYC-GA—which, despite its well-documented inefficiencies, granted $25,740 to the Media WG for live-stream equipment on October 12, and $1,400 to the Food and Medical WGs for herbal tonics on October 18.
At the teach-in, Ms. Holmes maintained that while the NYC-GA is the “de facto” mechanism for distributing funds, it has no right to do so, even though she acknowledged that most donors were likely under the impression that the NYC-GA was the only organization with access to these funds. Two other leaders of the teach-in, Daniel and Adash, concurred with Holmes.
Ms. Holmes also stated at the teach-in that five people in the Finance WG have access to the $500,000 raised by Friends of Liberty Plaza. When Suresh Fernando, the man taking notes, asked who these people are, the leaders of the Structure WG nervously laughed and said that it was hard to keep track of the “constantly fluctuating” heads of the Finance WG. Mr. Fernando made at least four increasingly explicit requests for the names. Each request was turned down by the giggling, equivocating leaders.
The leaders of the Structure WG eventually regained control of the teach-in. They said that they too were unhappy with the Finance WG’s monopoly over OWS’s funds, which is why they wanted to create the Spokes Council. What upset them more, however, was the inefficient and fickle General Assembly. A major point of the discussion was whether the Spokes Council and the NYC-GA should have access to the funds, or just the Spokes Council.
Daniel, a tall, red-bearded, white twenty-something—one of the six leaders of the teach-in—said that the NYC-GA needed to be completely defunded because those with “no stake” in the Occupy Wall Street movement shouldn’t have a say in how the money was spent. When I asked him whether everybody in the 99% had a stake in the movement, he said that only those occupying or working in Zuccotti Park did. I pointed out that since the General Assembly took place in Zuccotti Park, everybody who participated was an occupier. He responded with a long rant about how Zuccotti Park is filled with “tourists,” “free-loaders” and “crackheads” and suggested a solution that the even NYPD has not yet attempted: Daniel said that he’d like to take a fire-hose and clear out the entire encampment, adding hopefully that only the “real” activists would come back.
The main obstacle to the creation of the Spokes Council was that the NYC-GA had already voted against it four times. One audience member observed that no organization would vote to relinquish its power. Some of the strongest proponents of the Spokes Council responded that they had taken this into account, and were planning on creating the Spokes Council regardless of whether the NYC-GA accepted the proposal. They claimed that, in the interests of non-hierarchy, neither the Spokes Council nor the General Assembly should have power over the other.
In the minutes of the teach-in on Saturday the 22nd, the leaders recognize that usurping power from the NYC-GA might make people uncomfortable. The Structure WG’s eventual proposal was to keep the General Assembly alive and functioning while the Spokes Council “gets on its feet.” Working Groups could still technically get funding through the NYC-GA, but the “GA may stop making those kinds of decisions because people [will] stop going… To officially take power away isn’t necessary,” especially because the NYC-GA works on the consensus model. A small group of people aiming to delegitimize the NYC-GA could easily attend each session merely to block every proposal. According to a member of the Demands WG, this is already occurring in several Working Groups.
To placate the rest of OWS, the Structure WG amended their original proposal and gave the NYC-GA power to dissolve the Spokes Council. This amendment is irrelevant, however, given the 90% majority requirement in the NYC-GA, and the ability of members of the Spokes Council to vote in the NYC-GA.
But wait! There’s more!:
My Address to the General Assembly
After the Structure WG’s teach-in ended, I put together a short summary of what I’d heard. I waited for two hours while the General Assembly slowly got to the announcements–the only part of the NYC-GA open for anyone to participate.
When my turn came to speak, I brought up the plans of “the leaders of the allegedly leaderless movement” to commandeer the half-million dollars sent to the General Assembly for their new, exclusive, undemocratic, representational organization. Before I could finish, the facilitators and other members of the OWS inner circle started shouting over me. Amidst the confusion, the human mic stopped projecting what I, or anybody was saying. Because silence was what they were after, the leaders won.
Eventually one of the facilitators regained control of the crowd and explained that I was speaking “opinions, not facts,” which is why I would not be allowed to continue. He also asserted untruthfully that I had gone over my allotted minute. Notably, the facilitators and members of the OWS inner circle regularly ignore time restrictions.
This reaction shouldn’t surprise anyone. It is reasonable to expect any undemocratic organization to be co-opted eventually by a vocal minority or charismatic individual. On Friday, October 29, the proposal to create the Spokes Council was put to the NYC-GA for a fifth time, and finally received a 90% majority. The facilitators assisted the process by denying two vocal critics of the Spokes Council their allotted time to speak against it.
When all this started I said the whole idea that OWS was leaderless was bullshit. I asked who was really leading the movement and who controlled the money, which is essentially the same thing.
“You’re wrong” they said. “They’ve created a whole new horizontal open-source consensus twinkles method that is better than fluffy bunnies” they said. “Just come to a rally and try the Koolaid” they said.
I used to live next to a dairy so I know what bullshit smells like and I trust my lying eyes over what anybody tells me. You can call me a ratfucking fascist whip-kisser all you want but I still ain’t drinking from the communal punchbowl.
Seriously, this hasn’t been fun or pleasant. It’s been painful. I find myself being insulted and shunned by people I considered friends because of my position on OWS. This isn’t the first time. A little over four years ago I suddenly became a pariah at a blog I had been a regular at for over two years because I wouldn’t drink the Obama Koolaid.
I left that blog because I would not cave in and worship at the Cult of Obama. I don’t care if I lose every reader at this blog but I’m still not going to cave in and worship at the Cult of OWS.
Four years ago I took a good look at Obama and was underwhelmed. I tried to see what everyone else saw but it just wasn’t there. The more I saw of Obama the less I liked.
When I first looked at OWS I saw things that concerned me. I expressed my concerns, hoping but not expecting to have my doubts relieved. Not only do I still have those same concerns but the more I see of OWS the less I like.
If that’s how I feel as a DFH liberal, then OWS has a tough row to hoe if they hope to win converts from people who aren’t already sympathetic to many of their causes.
In the meantime I’m gonna keep on being me.