The self-proclaimed "99-percent" movement behind Occupy Wall Street claims to be a leaderless movement a la the so-called Arab Spring. So it's inevitable that a website that advertises something called the "99 percent spring" would emerge to complete their analogy. Unfortunately for the Occupiers, the analogy doesn't stop there -- rather like the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt, the forces leading the "99 percent spring" seem to be using the "leaderless" mantle to hide their motives.
The website advertises the movement as one inspired by "the tradition of our forefathers and foremothers and inspired by today’s brave heroes in Occupy Wall Street and Madison, Wisconsin," which is prepared for "sustained non-violent direct action." Specifically, from April 9-15 of this year, the movement will organize "across America, 100,000 strong, in homes, places of worship, campuses and the streets to join together in the work of reclaiming our country." This extended seminar on Occupier-inspired economics and sociology will "tell the story of our economy: how we got here, who’s responsible, what a different future could look like, and what we can do about it," as well as instruct participants on "the history of non-violent direct action," and get them organizing themselves.
Leaderless, self-educated, direct action, right? Wrong. According to the Daily Caller:
While the 43 organizations co-signing a letter on the ragtag-looking site indicate the sort of leaderless resistance characterized by the Occupy Wall Street movement, a series of files The Daily Caller downloaded from the United Auto Workers website indicate that the organized labor powerhouse is behind the effort.
The files, downloaded Sunday, include campaign talking points, a fill-in-the-blank press release template for participating organizations and an advance look at the social media campaign the organizers plan for Facebook and Twitter.
Also included is a “FYI” letter designed for endorsers to distribute, complete with a blank space at the top of the list of participating groups. Filling in a given organization’s name lends the impression that it, not the UAW, is the campaign’s driving force.
And what does the UAW plan to teach this "leaderless" movement? This speech by UAW President Robert King at a protest last May might be instructive:
King's remarks may strike critics as being in deep denial. He flat out refuses to accept that spending on education or entitlements might be too high -- instead, he blames the budget crisis on the Bush tax cuts and Wall Street. He also makes puzzling remarks about the cost of the "wars in Iran and Afghanistan," even though have been at war not in Iran, but in Iraq. Presumably, that little detail will be worked out before the workshops this April.
Ironically, King's status as a 99 percenter is itself questionable. His income -- nearly $170,000 per year -- places him well above the national average, though strictly speaking, he falls short of the 99th percentile.
However, the UAW is not acting alone. The Caller explains:
The “99% Spring” campaign’s social media plan document included a note from its creators. “If you’re having trouble grabbing the images, feel free to email us directly,” it said, before listing the email address of community organizer Josh Bolotsky.
Bolotsky is a self-described "online organizer, blogger, comedic performer/writer and occasional voice over artist" who "tries valiantly to fight evil." He does this by working as a New Media Coordinator for Agit-Pop (get it?) Communications. He apparently also once served as President of the College Democrats of New York, and occasionally does voice work for "non-evil campaign ads." What he defines as evil is not explained.
The man himself:
Bolotsky also has ties to the SEIU and Moveon, and when questioned by the Caller, fingered none other than the New Organizing Institute (previously covered by the Blaze here) as one of the key groups behind the "99 percent spring."
Whether the UAW ought to be teaching nonviolence is also an ambiguous question. A cached press release from the National Right to Work Foundation dated July 12, 2001 reads as follows:
National Right to Work Foundation attorneys have forced the payment of an undisclosed monetary settlement, in a case against the United Auto Workers (UAW) union, for involvement in a violence campaign against non-striking workers at Abex Friction Products (now Federal-Mogul Friction Products, a General Motors supplier) in 1996.
Five employees and the spouse of an employee, who were terrorized during a four-week strike at the Winchester brake manufacturing plant, settled multiple civil conspiracy lawsuits pending in the Circuit Court of the City of Winchester against UAW Local 149 and the UAW international union. (As part of the settlement, the employees and their attorneys are barred from revealing specific details of the agreement.)