The mayor of Seattle has warned protesters may use Tuesday’s Occupy May Day events to “commit violence, damage property and disrupt peaceful free speech activity.”
In a news release over the weekend, Mayor Mike McGinn also warned, “Websites have described trainings in how to conceal weapons beneath signs and banners, and how to target police officers on horses.”
States the release: “We also have evidence that other people may be coming to Seattle on Tuesday with the intention of using the public demonstrations as an opportunity to commit violence, damage property and disrupt peaceful free speech activity.
“There has been a significant increase in graffiti and posters alluding to violence around the May 1 events. Websites have described trainings in how to conceal weapons beneath signs and banners, and how to target police officers on horses. At a protest at the Port of Seattle in December 2011, several people used peaceful demonstrators as a shield to throw projectiles and incendiary devices at police officers.”
WND reported last week Occupy’s plans for nationwide May Day chaos are going full-speed ahead, with the movement boasting of “direct action” schemes that include protest marches, shutting down the financial sector, and blocking bridges and tunnels.
The group’s official websites announce plans to “occupy” Manhattan-bound bridges and tunnels as well as the Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco Tuesday.
Besides street protests, sympathizers are asked to engage in a U.S. general strike to “shut it down,” referring to the country’s economy.
The MayDayNYC.org website, which serves as a national planning hub, published the call to arms:
“This May Day, Occupy Wall Street, in coalition with numerous other organizations and occupations, calls for a Day Without The 99%: No Work, No School, No Shopping, No Housework, No Compliance. Let’s take the streets, reclaim our communities, and support each other. NOT the 1%.
“If you can’t strike call in sick. If you can’t call in sick hold a slow down. We know how to shut it down because we’re the ones that prop it up.”
The Manhattan-based Occupy calls for “direct action and civil disobedience” in Midtown throughout the day, including “creative disruptions, bank blockades, outreach to commuters and tourists, and more!”
Occupy Wall Street announced a plan to blockade New York City bridges and tunnels.
“On May 1, 2012, autonomous direct action groups within Occupy Wall Street, as a part of the global mobilizations for general strike and economic non-compliance, will block one or more Manhattan-bound bridges or tunnels to protest the shameful opulence of the 1%.”
Occupy warns: “We are announcing these blockades now as a fair warning to the rest of the working people of New York and New Jersey who are considering joining the strikes and mobilizations of the day: the city will be shut down, so enjoy the day without the 99%!”
The Occupy-affiliated StrikeMay1st website links to May Day schemes from the movement’s local branches in over 120 cities nationwide.
In the San Francisco Bay Area, protests are slated to kick off with Occupy activists congregating at 6 a.m. Pacific Time to “Occupy the Golden Gate Bridge.”
The Bay Area schedule is replete with “anti-capitalist” events such as an “anti-patriarchy” protest and actions to protest “gentrification.”
Occupy Seattle calls for a “revolt/blockade” as well as participation in the general nationwide strike to “shut down the global circulation of capital that every day serves to enrich the ruling classes and impoverish the rest of us.”
Similar proclamations are posted on Chicago’s May Day website, which includes instructions in both English and Spanish.
‘Economic terrorist’ brains of Occupy plot?
The plan to shut down the U.S. economy is reminiscent of plans first hatched in March 2010 by Stephen Lerner, a controversial anti-capitalist SEIU organizer. Lerner visited the Obama White House at least four times.
WND was first to report Lerner was the brain behind some of the economic protest templates being used by the Occupy Wall Street campaign.
Lerner last year laid out a mass economic protest plan intended to bring down the stock market. He boasted it could be used to cause a new financial crisis. His ideology prompted some conservative critics to go so far as to label him an economic terrorist.
Writing in the Washington Post last September, columnist Harold Meyerson, vice-chairman of Democratic Socialists of America, quoted Lerner describing how a coalition was fomenting the current economic protests.
Lerner described himself as part of the coalition, referring to the organizations behind the demonstrations as “we.”
Lerner told Meyerson: “It’s a confluence of planned and unplanned demonstrations. … We build on each other. We go ping-ponging back and forth.”
In an interview about the Wall Street 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?”
In an op-ed titled “This can be our moment,” published in the radical In These Times magazine, Lerner calls on followers to “go on offense” and “make Wall Street pay for the trillions it stole from us.”
Lerner outlined his campaign to “stoke simmering discontent into concrete, concerted direct action to challenge corporate extremism.”
Lerner’s campaign was intended to sow “the seeds of a movement that turns the tables on [Wall Street].”
The Blaze.com posted audio of Lerner addressing a conference in which he stated the aim of such an economic campaign would be, among other things, to “bring down the stock market.”
“There are actually extraordinary things we could do right now to start to destabilize the folks that are in power and start to rebuild a movement,” Lerner said.
During the presentation, Lerner called for a mass strike by mortgage payers that, he said, could cause a new financial crisis.
“And so the question would be, what would happen if we organized homeowners en masse to do a mortgage strike. Just say if we get, and, and, if we get half a million people to agree, we’ll all not, we’ll agree we won’t pay our mortgages, it would literally cause a new financial crisis,” he said.
Occupy partners with anarchists
The latest Occupy plans come as WND reported earlier this week Occupy has partnered with an anarchy movement to deploy joint chaotic actions aimed at protesting capitalism.
Last weekend, Occupy D.C. and an anti-capitalist group calling itself the Anarchist Alliance D.C. Network caused a ruckus at an International Monetary Fund convention. Protesters reportedly attached climbing ropes to security barricades outside the main IMF entry checkpoint and pulled them down. Other ropes were used to pull down obstacles along the path delegates used to attend the meetings.
Protesters stormed several hotels where IMF delegates were staying, including the Washington Circle Hotel and the Mayflower.
A Facebook “anarchy” page was created in the run-up to the IMF event. The page, titled “Anarchy Spring training and IMF protest in DC-April 19th to 20th-2012,” served as an online planning forum.
The Occupy Wall Street website initiated a subsection titled “anarchy” in which related events are posted.
The site boasts of a Manhattan protest earlier this month, following an anarchy book fair, in which agitators marched through the streets turning over trash cans and spraying anarchy symbols on local businesses. Protesters reportedly used eight-foot-long metal pipes to smash the windows of a Starbucks in New York’s East Village.
One group, calling itself the First of May Anarchist Alliance, has partnered with Occupy to protest the Trayvon Martin shooting.
The anarchy tactics apparently come directly from the playbook of a direct-action organization known as the Ruckus Society, which helped to spark the 1999 World Trade Organization protests in Seattle that turned violent.
Ruckus is directly tied to Occupy. WND previously reported official direct-action training resources for Occupy events include several manuals from the Ruckus Society.
Ruckus was also listed as a “friend and partner” of Occupy events, including the movement’s Days of Action held in October 2011.
Ruckus is funded by the George Soros-financed Tides Center, which has been involved in Occupy since the movement’s onset.
Another grantee of Tides is the Adbusters magazine, which first announced the Occupy movement. MoveOn.org, which has joined Occupy, is funded by Tides.
With additional research by Joshua Klein