Friday, 30 September 2011

Unions, Socialists Join Forces to "Occupy Wall Street"

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A growing number of unions, prominent big-government advocates, and socialist groups are joining the “Occupy Wall Street” demonstrations in New York and “solidarity” protests nationwide.

The trend has some analysts very concerned — particularly after reports claimed union bosses tied to the Obama administration were plotting to bring about chaos. And while the protests which began on September 17 may be small now, supporters and critics alike say this may be only the beginning of something much bigger.

In just the last week several large labor groups have officially announced their support for the occupation. The NYC Transit Workers Union, with nearly 40,000 members, voted to back the protesters on September 28. And the SEIU’s massive 32BJ union, which claims to represent over 120,000 property service workers, recently decided to use an upcoming rally to show “solidarity” with the Wall Street occupiers.  

"The call went out over a month ago, before actually the occupancy of Wall Street took place," 32BJ spokesman Kwame Patterson told the Huffington Post. But now "we're all coming under one cause, even though we have our different initiatives."

The Industrial Workers of the World (IWW) union, with over 10,000 members, also endorsed the demonstrations this week. “This occupation on Wall Street calls into question the very foundation in which the capitalist system is based,” it said in a statement, claiming the protests were aiming to hold accountable the “oppressors.”

“Throughout the world, from Egypt to Greece, from China to Madison, Wisconsin, working class people are starting to rise up. The IWW welcomes this,” the group concluded in its endorsement. “We see the occupation of Wall Street as another step — no matter how large or small — in this process.”

According to news reports, more major unions are now considering jumping onboard as well. And powerful organizations backed by “Big Labor” — critics call them “front groups” — are also openly supporting the efforts.

"Their fight is our fight," said Director Michael Kink of the union-backed Strong Economy for All Coalition. "They've chosen the right targets. We also want to see a society where folks other than the top one percent have a chance to say how things go."

Kink‘s organization is backed by some of the most powerful unions in the country, including the SEIU, the AFL-CIO, the Communication Workers of America, several teachers’ unions, and labor groups representing government workers. According to its website the group fights for bigger government and higher taxes.

A broad coalition of socialists and Marxists has jumped on the bandwagon, too. The Socialist Party USA, for example, announced on its website that it “supports the mobilizations to occupy Wall St. in New York and various cities across the US and encourages our locals to take part in these actions.” The party, which aims to create a “new social order,” is even broadcasting a live online video feed from the protests.

Notorious anti-capitalist agitators have recently started to draw attention to the so-called occupation as well — busily touting it to anyone who will listen. Among the biggest names is “documentary-film” maker Michael Moore, who told CNN that the protests would soon spread across America.  

The multi-millionaire even went to Wall Street in an effort to attract more media coverage for the occupation. “The people here have lit the spark,” Moore said during a video-taped interview from the protest site (below). “These numbers will grow and they’re going to grow all across the country.”



Moore told the interviewer he wanted to see increased taxes, a “democratic economic system,” and Wall Street bankers whom he blames for the crisis thrown in jail. And even though he didn’t plan to camp out with the protesters, he promised to return often.

“African-American studies” Professor Cornel West, a self-described socialist and the honorary chair of the Democratic Socialists of America, is another one of the big wigs who has joined the campaign. He called it a revolution.

“The elites will tremble in their boots,” he said, noting that Martin Luther King Jr. would smile from the grave. “Don’t be afraid to say revolution.” The crowd repeated each of West’s statements, as if in prayer, and cheered wildly following the short speech.

Openly communist propaganda venues such as the World Socialist Web Site (WSWS) are also hyping the events. Even the Communist Party USA-affiliated newspaper People’s World praised the protesters’ signs “demanding curbs on Wall Street, demands for finance reform, job programs for youth, no cuts to Social Security,” and more.

“The Wall Street financiers are terribly afraid,” the publication claimed, saying more than 5,000 demonstrators were present at one point. “Youth taking to the streets to protest the deeds of this nation's financiers constitutes a welcome addition to the big fightback going on in America today. Wall Street had better get used to it.”

Similarly, the communist dictatorship ruling mainland China used its propaganda organs to tout the demonstrations. Calling the alleged American press blackout “shameful,” China Daily Deputy Editor Chen Weihua blasted the so-called “mainstream media” for having “miserably failed” to provide adequate coverage of the thousand or so protesters.  

“One US journalist said it was because these people are too left-leaning and do not seem to have a clear goal for their rally,” he wrote. “I am not sure if they are all left-leaning, but a schedule I saw did include sessions on the Communist Manifesto and Spanish Revolution. Still, that does not justify a blackout imposed by the major news media outlets on such a prolonged protest.”

The increasing support for the protests is prompting a mixture of concern and celebration among conservative and free-market-oriented activists. While critical of the unconstitutional alliance between bankers — or “banksters” — and the federal government, constitutionalists remain suspicious of the overwhelming anti-capitalist sentiment displayed by protesters and their supporters.

The objectives of the purportedly “leaderless” anti-Wall Street movement remain somewhat murky — probably on purpose, according to critics. One of the most frequently cited demands, however, is that the government curtail the free-speech rights of companies and organizations.

But in other areas, some conservative activists believe they have found common ground. Some of the websites and organizations associated with the occupation, for example, have even attacked the Federal Reserve, the banker bailouts, and various government wealth transfers to the elite.

“We demand that solutions be found that stop the Federal Reserve from stealing our future,” said a “tactical plan” released by one participating organization known as US Day of Rage. The group blasted “banksters and their minions” and “too big to fail” policies, among other targets.

But more than anything, the protesters and activists appear to be clamoring for bigger government and an end to what little remains of the free market. And according to several reports, the whole movement is actually being orchestrated by anti-capitalist union bosses and tax-funded “community organizers” connected to the Obama administration.

Two of the most prominent individuals alleged to be pulling the strings behind the scenes  are disgraced ACORN founder and union boss Wade Rathke, and regular White House visitor Stephen Lerner of the SEIU. Both were caught earlier this year calling for massive protests, with a video surfacing earlier this year of Lerner scheming to bring down the stock market and destabilize the nation. Numerous analysts called the plots “economic terrorism.”

Despite initial fears among some conservative analysts that the demonstrations would lead to riots and violence from Los Angeles to New York and Boston, the protesters have remained relatively peaceful so far. However, reports of “police brutality” and scuffles with law enforcement continue to surface. And the movement is apparently attracting more supporters every day.

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Photo: Protestors march past Federal Hall on Wall Street, Monday, Sept. 26, 2011, in New York: AP Images