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OpEdNews Op Eds    H2'ed 11/19/11

Here's What Attempted Co-Option of OWS Looks Like

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The 2012 election is almost a full year away and nobody knows who is running against President Obama, but that didn't stop Mary Kay Henry, the D.C.-based National President of the Service Employees International Union (SEIU), from  announcing last week  that her organization endorses President Obama for re-election. That's not surprising -- while many unions have  exhibited political independence , SEIU officials have long been among Obama's closest and most loyal allies in Washington -- but what was notable here was how brazenly Henry exploited the language of the Occupy movement to justify her endorsement of the Democratic Party leader: "We need a leader willing to fight  for the needs of the 99 percent  . . . .Our economy and democracy  have been taken over by the wealthiest one percent."

But now SEIU's effort to convert and degrade the Occupy movement into what SEIU's national leadership is -- a loyal arm of the DNC and the Obama White House -- has become even more overt, as Greg Sargent reports today:

One of the enduring questions about Occupy Wall Street has been this: Can the energy unleashed by the movement be leveraged behind a concrete political agenda and push for change that will constitute a meaningful challenge to the inequality and excessive Wall Street influence highlighted by the protests?

A coalition of labor and progressive groups is about to unveil its answer to that question. Get ready for "Occupy Congress."

The coalition -- which includes unions like SEIU and CWA and groups like the Center for Community Change -- is currently working on a plan to bus thousands of protesters from across the country to Washington, where they will congregate around the Capitol from December 5-9, SEIU president Mary Kay Henry tells me in an interview. . . .

One goal of the protests, Henry says, is to pressure Republicans to support Obama's jobs creation proposals. . . .

"The reason we're targeting Republicans is because this is about jobs," she said. "The Republicans' insistence that no revenue can be put on the table is the reason we're not creating jobs in this country. We want to draw a stark contrast between a party that wants to scapegoat immigrants, attack public workers, and protect the rich, versus a president who has been saying he wants America to get back to work and that everybody should pay their fair share."

But Henry added she salutes Occupy Wall Street for finding fault with both parties, adding: "We agree that on domestic social programs, we have not won the day with either party. And we are applying pressure to both."

Occupy Congress!This isn't a real pic, just "photoshopped, but it's what those who wish to Co-opt OWS want-- branding. 

Having SEIU officials -- fresh off endorsing the Obama re-election campaign -- shape, fund, dictate and decree an anti-GOP, pro-Obama march is about as antithetical as one can imagine to what the Occupy movement has been. And pretending that the ongoing protests are grounded in the belief that the GOP is the party of the rich while the Democrats are the party of the working class is likely to fool just about nobody other than those fooled by that already. The strength and genius of OWS has been its steadfast refusal to (a) fall into the trap that ensnared the Tea Party of being exploited as a partisan tool and (b) integrate itself into the very political institutions which it's scorning and protesting.

This is not a real image. It's a "photoshopped" mashup, but it's the kind of idea Obama co-opters of OWS want (image added by opednews, not Glenn)

As I noted several weeks ago, WH-aligned groups such as the Center for American Progress have made explicitly clear that they are going to try to convert OWS into a vote-producing arm for the Obama 2012 campaign, and that's what "Occupy Congress" is designed to achieve. I believed then and -- having spent the last few weeks talking with many OWS protesters around the country -- believe even more so now that these efforts will inevitably fail: those who have animated the Occupy movement are not motivated by partisan allegiance or an overarching desire to devote themselves to one of the two parties. In fact, one of the original Occupy groups -- as opposed to partisan organizations swooping in to exploit it -- has announced its own D.C. occupation to, in part, "demonstrate the failure of the Democrats and Republicans in Congress to represent the views of the majority of people."

Read the rest of the article here...

 

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[Subscribe to Glenn Greenwald] Glenn Greenwald is a journalist,former constitutional lawyer, and author of four New York Times bestselling books on politics and law. His most recent book, "No Place to Hide," is about the U.S. surveillance state and his experiences reporting on the Snowden documents around the world. His forthcoming book, to be published in April, 2021, is about Brazilian history and current politics, with a focus on his experience in reporting a series of expose's in 2019 and 2020 which exposed high-level corruption by powerful officials in the government of President Jair Bolsonaro, which subsequently attempted to prosecute him for that reporting.

Foreign Policy magazine named Greenwald one of the top 100 Global Thinkers for 2013. He was the debut winner, along with "Democracy Now's" Amy Goodman, of the Park Center I.F. Stone Award for Independent Journalism in 2008, and also received the 2010 Online Journalism Award for his investigative work breaking the story of the abusive (more...)
 

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