Inside the Orwellian machinations in Occupy Wall Street

posted at 1:00 pm on November 6, 2011 by Ed Morrissey

Last month, I wrote that the Occupy Wall Street organization looked like a child from a marriage between Animal Farm and Animal House.  In an insider account written by an Occupier alarmed at the hijacking of the movement — and its funding — from the OWS “General Assembly,” it’s clear that the analogy didn’t go quite far enough.  It’s Animal Farm meets Animal House, all right, but with Niedermeyer running the Deltas.

It’s impossible to do this justice through excerpts, so be sure to read it all.  However, a couple of points stand out (via Instapundit):

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).

To understand what follows, one has to have some familiarity with the organization of OWS.  The General Assembly (NYC-GA) nominally makes all the decisions through overwhelming consensus; it requires 90% agreement to approve any decision, including expenditures.  Sound groovy?  Well, not really; a minority of 11% can essentially block all action, and apparently often do. And you thought the US Senate was bad …

This produced the need for subcommittees, called Working Groups (WG), which try to vet all issues and make recommendations back to the NYC-GA.  It also eventually led to the creation of the Spokes Council, thanks to frustration in the Structure WG with the “Finance WG’s monopoly over OWS’ funds[].”  To use the UN analogy of the “General Assembly,” the Spokes Council would be the Security Council of OWS.  The account by Fritz Tucker shows that the better analogy for the Spokes Council is that of the pigs in Animal Farm.  Think I’m kidding?

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.

Yeah, well, some animals are more equal than others, too.  Free-loaders and crackheads?  Funny, that’s exactly what many people think of the entire Occupy movement.  What ever happened to radical democracy and radical equality?  In a dash of Lord Acton, it turns out that power corrupts even the socialists … or as history showed time and again in the last century, especially the socialists. When it came to creating the Spokes Council, they plotted to usurp real power — and the cash, let’s not forget — by manipulating the rules and flat-out ignoring them:

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.

Fritz Tucker tried to speak out against this usurpation of power.  How did that work out?  Just exactly as anyone who spent any time at all studying Soviet politics might imagine:

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.

What a shock!  The leaders getting criticized get to make the determination whether certain people can speak, and then whether their speech contains opinions or facts.  What a great system OWS has designed … for people who want to seize control of the movement and the funds.  It looks like this movement has its own 1% that want to dictate to the 99% how to live their lives.  Frankly, I think the 99% have a better chance in the system we have than in the neo-Stalinist model they’re building in Zuccotti Park, and we have a century of experience on our side in that argument.

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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).

I think it’s a very likely possibility that no one will soon actually “know where” the money is, that no one will actually be able to explain just where it went or who has it or, you know, actually be able to provide receipts for much of anything.

Lourdes on November 7, 2011 at 2:30 AM

as a friend said to me recently. there are people who understand socialism and people who believe it.

what you are seeing here is the formation of those who understand it. they understand the power and the understand the control and that always leads to the same place….

the other people are those who believe it will work. you can always spot the believers in photos of socialist experiments….they are the skulls making up the killing fields, the people in gulags or the starving millions in moa’s china…

in the example above, those are the people outside the general assembly who are just repeating the history of socialism in a tent…except they are on at the end of page 1…

irishguy on November 7, 2011 at 6:30 AM

Yet another occasion to reflect on the genius of our Founders.

Oh, if we had only listened to them . . . .

AZCoyote on November 7, 2011 at 6:33 AM

Awww… Little commies. They grow up so fast.

bitsy on November 7, 2011 at 7:02 AM

Four legs good, two legs better.

Athanasius on November 6, 2011 at 3:39 PM

“You can’t expect to wield supreme executive power just because some underwatery tart threw a sword at you!”

ZK on November 7, 2011 at 7:38 AM

Pure astrotrurf

Grunt on November 7, 2011 at 8:13 AM

Next these turds will take the half mil. and go to the wall street people and get them to invest it for them.

mechkiller_k on November 7, 2011 at 8:22 AM

Lourdes : Dead on, probably find it in John Corzine’s bank account with the other missing money from his company :)

rgranger on November 7, 2011 at 10:23 AM

Hopefully a lot of people will learn from their Occupy experiences. I could see a lot of people turning to conservatism after this leaves a sour taste in their mouths.

hawksruleva on November 7, 2011 at 10:33 AM

I think it’s a very likely possibility that no one will soon actually “know where” the money is, that no one will actually be able to explain just where it went or who has it or, you know, actually be able to provide receipts for much of anything.

Lourdes on November 7, 2011 at 2:30 AM

Which would be a crime for a business. But for the government, or a new quasi-government, that’s par for the course.

hawksruleva on November 7, 2011 at 10:34 AM

He responded with a long rant about how Zuccotti Park is filled with “tourists,” “free-loaders”

They have $0.5mil of other people’s money–granted, freely donated, but presumably not a measurable fraction by the Zuccotti Park crowd–so by definition, every last one of these turds if “free-loading.” While eating donated food. Camped illegally on private property. And he thinks some of them have “skin in the game?” They could use his words verbatim in an SNL skit.

Apparently, chronic hypocrisy damages the irony cortex of the brain.

TexasDan on November 7, 2011 at 10:47 AM

No, what’s damaging is that the “ruling class” is bowing to them like the political leaders of the 60′s never did for the hippies.

ebrown2 on November 6, 2011 at 6:42 PM

It’s not the ruling class that is bowing to them. It’s what’s left of the democrat party after the mid term elections in 2010. The blue dog democrats were decimated. The survivors of the November 2010 were the uber leftist liberal fringe of the democrat party. For example: “God Bless Them” San Fran Nan.

It’s going to take the democrats decades to repair the democrat party, because of what the progressive left has done to the party- they marched them off a political cliff, with shoving Obamacare down American’s throats. The survivors are doubling down on stupid. In their defense they don’t know anything else, they have no original ideas. The party of group think, and conformity doesn’t allow for any free thinking or brainstorming creative problem solving is discouraged (They are central planners after all). When I turn on the boob tube to listen to their ideas for the economy, they are all old FDR programs from the 1930s. This is the year 2011, but they are all stuck in the Big Government past. They just know this time, they can make socialism work LOL!

OWS movement is not creating sympathy or inspiring average Joe American….it’s having the opposite effect – the amount of self indulgence and narcissistic behavior, by the protesters is repellent. (they do think they are entitled to squat on public, and private property). ACORN and Organizing for America is creating a backlash for Obama’s reelection campaign not empathy.

Dr Evil on November 7, 2011 at 10:53 AM

Fritz is lucky these kids are such amateurs. Traditionally, he should be in Mexico with an icepick in his head. (Speaking of which, do you suppose Canada will lease us land in the Northwest Territories to build the gulags?)

Blacklake on November 7, 2011 at 11:03 AM

Having this much money in the bank – wouldn’t that qualify them as one of the 1%?

gophergirl on November 6, 2011 at 1:25 PM

I was thinking it means they can be sued. Someone should clean them out.

stefanite on November 7, 2011 at 11:27 AM

Life imitates art. Human nature at its most predictable.

For those who haven’t read Atlas Shrugged, here’s a link to the passage about the Twentieth Century Motor Company. A bit of a long read, but worth it.

Socialism’s logical result

LooseCannon on November 7, 2011 at 12:02 PM

…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).

So OWS decision-making has ALREADY degenerated into a discussion of “how the ‘leaders’ can best steal the money“???!!!

It’s getting impossible to parody the OWS self-parody!!!

landlines on November 7, 2011 at 2:23 PM

I like the “no animal wears clothes”. It takes a lot for me to “loathe” someone, but putting clothes on a dog is worthy of the death penalty.

triple on November 8, 2011 at 5:46 PM

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