Protesters at “Occupy Wall Street” event
As the news media struggle to find a unifying theme behind the “Occupy Wall Street” protesters, a closer look at the activists behind the agitation reveals a transformative agenda aimed at assaulting U.S. capitalism.
The New York Times on Friday featured a video depicting the motivation of the Wall Street protesters without disclosing the radical background of some of those featured in the newspaper’s piece.
The video was entitled, “The young and old on what they hope to accomplish by joining the Occupy Wall Street demonstration in Zuccotti Park.”
One activist interviewed was Bev Rice, who has been sending online updates of the protests to the War Resisters League, where she has been an activist.
The League was one of the first radical groups to blame America for the 9-11 attacks.
On the very day of the 9-11 attacks, the League released a statement alleging, “The policies of militarism pursued by the United States have resulted in millions of deaths. … [M]ay these profound tragedies [of 9/11] remind us of the impact U.S. policies have had on other civilians in other lands.”
Another activist interviewed by the Times was holding a placard that quoted John F. Kennedy stating, “Those who make peaceful revolution impossible make violent revolution inevitable.”
Yet another was donning a red Kafiya, or Arabic headscarf with a specific pattern that has come to symbolize so-called Palestinian “resistance” against Israel. That style of Kafiya was popularized by Yasser Arafat.
The Occupy Wall Street movement launched two weeks ago and has been escalating ever since.
Earlier, police closed the Brooklyn Bridge and arrested more than 700 anti-Wall Street protesters for blocking traffic lanes and attempting an unauthorized march across the span.
The protests reportedly spread across the U.S., including to Boston, Seattle and Los Angeles. The organizers’ exact motivation has until now been sketchy.
The Twitter feed of a group calling itself Take the Square, one of the social media planners behind the Wall Street protests, has been blasting a multitude of messages, including:
- “Fight market dictatorship.”
- “People of the world rise up!”
- “We are legion.”
- “Take to the streets.”
Organizers have also been calling for rewriting the U.S. Constitution, imposing a “Robin Hood Tax” on most financial transactions worldwide with the goal of taking from the “rich” to give to the “poor” and giving the Federal Reserve permission to regulate interest rates on savings accounts.
The scheme seeks to bring to American streets the “same indignation that has prompted the people of Greece and Spain to occupy streets and squares on a permanent basis, the people of Egypt and Tunisia to overthrow their governments, the people of Iceland to nationalize their bank system and rewrite the constitution.”
So reads a call to arms by a group calling itself the General Assembly of New York City.
The group has been asking supporters to participate in a “Day of Rage” that started last month and seeks to escalate into protests across the nation.
The General Assembly of New York City has listed some of the possible goals of the current protests:
- The imposition of a Robin Hood Tax on all financial transactions: The tax is the brainchild of nongovernmental organizations largely based in the United Kingdom. It calls for a new tax on most goods and services to be implemented globally, regionally or unilaterally by individual nations.
The name of the tax originated in 2008, when Italian treasury minister Giulio Tremonti introduced a windfall tax on the profits of energy companies. Tremonti called the tax a “Robin Hood Tax,” stating it was aimed at the “wealthy” with revenue to be used for the benefit of poorer citizens.
A prominent supporter of the Robin Hood Tax is Jeffrey Sachs, a Columbia University economist who crafted a controversial economic “shock therapy.” Sachs is a key member of the Institute for New Economic Thinking, or INET.
Billionaire George Soros is INET’s founding sponsor, with the billionaire having provided a reported $25 million over five years to support INET activities.
This past April, Sachs keynoted INET’s annual meeting, which took place in the mountains of Bretton Woods, N.H. The gathering took place at Mount Washington Hotel, famous for hosting the original Bretton Woods economic agreements drafted in 1944. That conference’s goal was to rebuild a post-World War II international monetary system. The April gathering had a similar stated goal – a global economic restructuring.
- Rebooting the system and rewriting the Constitution: The concept seems to be a reference to a plan to push for a new, “progressive” U.S. Constitution by the year 2020.
WND previously reported at least three White House advisers and officials, including President Obama’s regulatory czar, Cass Sunstein, have ties to the Constitution rewrite effort, which is funded by Soros.
Sunstein has also been pushing for a new socialist-style U.S. bill of rights that, among other things, would constitutionally require the government to offer each citizen a “useful” job in the farms or industries of the nation.
According to Sunstein’s new bill of rights, the U.S. government can also intercede to ensure every farmer can sell his product for a good return while the government is granted power to act against “unfair competition” and monopolies in business.
- Reinstatement of the Glass-Steagall Act, which sought to enforce more government regulation of the banking industry. Some provisions of the act allowed the Federal Reserve to regulate interest rates in savings accounts.
Wall Street protests to turn violent?
Meanwhile, there are indications the Wall Street protesters are training to incite violence, resist arrest and disrupt the legal system.
Activists advertised on social network sites such as Facebook and Twitter for a “Day of Rage” on Sept. 17 to begin the “occupation” of Wall Street and continue with protests across the nation.
Planners have their own website – USDayofRage.org – which is not specific about the purpose of the “Day of Rage” other than calling for “integrity” to be “restored to our elections.”
The site accuses corporations of using “money to act as the voices of millions, while individual citizens, the legitimate voters, are silenced and demoralized by the farce.”
Advertisements claimed the protests at Wall Street and nationwide will be “non-violent.”
However, the official website provides resources, including videos and detailed written instructions, for protesters to engage in “civil disobedience.” The resources provided include instructions on how to resist police arrest and disrupt court hearings.
Similar instructions are provided on the website of an affiliated organization, which calls itself “Occupy Wall Street” and was also involved in planning the Sept. 17 protests.
The use of the term “Day of Rage” recalls the “Days of Rage” organized in the 1960s by the Weather Underground domestic terrorist organization co-founded by Bill Ayers and Bernardine Dohrn, close associates for years of President Obama.
Purple shirt power
In March, ACORN founder Wade Rathke announced what he called “days of rage in 10 cities around JP Morgan Chase.” Rathke was president of an Service Employees International Union, or SEIU, local in New Orleans.
Those efforts are being organized by Stephen Lerner, an SEIU board member who reportedly visited the Obama White House at least four times. Lerner is considered one of the most capable organizers of the radical left. He recently organized the SEIU’s so-called Justice for Janitors campaign.
As part of his planned protests, Lerner called for “a week of civil disobedience, direct action all over the city.”
His stated aim is to “destabilize the folks that are in power and start to rebuild a movement.”
In an interview about the protests, Lerner outlined his goals: “How do we bring down the stock market? How do we bring down their bonuses? How do we interfere with their ability to, to be rich?”
Forecast for American cities: Confrontation, intimidation?
There are other indications radicals and unions are planning chaos using the current economic crisis.
Last month, WND reported that a slew of extremist organizations, some tied to Obama, are preparing protests to coincide with major NATO and G-8 summits in Chicago next May.
Foreshadowing possible violent confrontations, some of the same radical trainers behind the infamous 1999 Seattle riots against the World Trade Organization have been mobilizing new protest efforts geared toward world summits as well as the current economic crisis.
The NATO and G-8 summits are not the only focus of radical groups. WND reported Heather Booth, director of a Saul Alinsky-style community organizing group, the Midwest Academy, was among the main speakers at the “2011 State Battles Summit” in June at the Hyatt Regency Capitol Hill Hotel in Washington, D.C.
Booth’s husband, Paul, also was a speaker at the union summit. Paul Booth co-founded Midwest Academy in the 1970s.
The four-day summit was organized by the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees, or AFSCME, with participation from the AFL-CIO, the nation’s largest union.
An official schedule for the event, obtained by WND, declared: “Our union is under unprecedented attack in every state. Extremist politicians want to weaken us as we head into 2012. Their tactics include budget cuts, layoffs, privatization and the denial of our very collective bargaining rights.”
Continued the flyer: “New challenges require new energy and new thinking. We encourage union activists to attend this conference and bring their creative ideas on how to overcome the challenges ahead.”
Heather Booth participated in a panel entitled, “Our Message, Alliances and Best Practices.”
Another speaker at the union event was John Podesta, who co-chaired President Obama’s transition team.
Podesta is president of the Center for American Progress, which is heavily influential in advising the White House. The center is funded by philanthropist George Soros.
Mideast revolutions coming to U.S.?
Citizen Action of Wisconsin, an arm of Booth’s Midwest Academy, is part of the Moving Wisconsin Forward movement, one of the main organizers of the major Wisconsin protests in February, as WND first reported.
The protests were in opposition to Gov. Scott Walker’s proposal for most state workers to pay 12 percent of their health care premiums and 5.8 percent of their salary toward their own pensions.
WND reported at the time speakers at the rallies likened the Wisconsin protests to the ongoing revolutions in the Middle East and North Africa while calling for similar uprisings in the U.S.
And just this past week, former Obama czar Van Jones told MSNBC’s Lawrence O’Donnell that “October is going to be the turning point for the progressive fight back” and referred to the Occupy Wall Street protests as part of a “progressive counterbalance to the tea party.”
“You’re going to see an ‘American Autumn,’” Jones said, “just like we saw the Arab Spring.”
‘Redistribution of wealth and power’
Obama himself once funded Midwest Academy and has been closely tied to Heather Booth.
Booth has stated building a ”progressive majority” would help for ”a fair distribution of wealth and power and opportunity.”
Her husband Paul is a founder and the former national secretary of Students for a Democratic Society, the radical 1960s anti-war movement from which Ayers’ Weather Underground splintered.
In 1999, the Booths’ Midwest Academy received $75,000 from the Woods Fund with Obama on its board alongside Ayers, In 2002, with Obama still serving on the Woods Fund, Midwest received another $23,500 for its Young Organizers Development Program.
Midwest describes itself as “one of the nation’s oldest and best-known schools for community organizations, citizen organizations and individuals committed to progressive social change.”
It later morphed into a national organizing institute for an emerging network of organizations known as Citizen Action.
Discover the Networks describes Midwest as “teach[ing] tactics of direct action, confrontation and intimidation.”
WND first reported the executive director of an activist organization that taught Alinsky’s tactics of direct action, confrontation and intimidation was part of the team that developed volunteers for President Obama’s 2008 campaign.
Jackie Kendall, executive director of the Midwest Academy, was on the team that developed and delivered the first Camp Obama training for volunteers aiding Obama’s campaign through the 2008 Iowa Caucuses. Camp Obama was a two-to-four day intensive course run in conjunction with Obama’s campaign aimed at training volunteers to become activists to help Obama win the presidential election.
Also, in 1998, Obama participated on a panel discussion praising Alinsky alongside Heather Booth, herself a dedicated disciple of Alinsky. The panel discussion followed the opening performance in Chicago of the play “The Love Song of Saul Alinsky,” a work described by the Chicago Sun-Times as “bringing to life one of America’s greatest community organizers.”
Obama participated in the discussion alongside other Alinskyites, including political analyst Aaron Freeman, Don Turner of the Chicago Federation of Labor and Northwestern University history professor Charles Paine.
“Alinsky had so much fire burning within,” stated local actor Gary Houston, who portrayed Alinsky in the play. “There was a lot of complexity to him. Yet he was a really cool character.”
With research by Brenda J. Elliott