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Media spokesmen for the Occupy Wall Street demonstrations claimed that their operation is totally transparent, with everything subject to democratic discussion in a general assembly of all comers. But eyewitness reports from experienced observers on the ground in lower Manhattan indicate a much different reality behind these bland assurances. Forces appeared to be at work behind the scenes to manipulate the protest movement into a posture of supporting the presidential candidacy of Wall Street puppet Obama.
Eyewitness observers suggest that the deliberations of the general assembly are largely a diversion, and that real power is being increasingly concentrated in the hands of about 20 mysterious and anonymous individuals who appear to make up a kind of covert steering committee that pulls the strings on the general assembly, or else goes around it completely. The members of this cadre of mysterious operatives are not as young as the average demonstrator. The secret leadership is made up of people ranging in age from 25 to over 40, with the older ones occupying the key posts. Many of them appear to be active duty or recently retired military.
A Covert Steering Committee Behind the Scenes?
Attempts to ascertain the names of the behind-the-scenes leaders are met with stonewalling. When pressed to reveal her identity, one female leader gave her name as “Mary MIA.” Another gave his name as “Tony POW.”
If the leaders of OWS want to be transparent, let them make public at least the full names of the people who are actually running the show. No one wants to join a movement with anonymous leaders.
Observers have noticed that almost all of the likely members of the secret steering committee disappear from view between 4 and 6 p.m. each afternoon, right before the opening of the general assembly, for which they then re-appear. It is assumed that they are attending a closed-door meeting, but the general assembly is not officially informed of this fact.
Two individuals who appear to belong to the higher levels of the pecking order in Zuccotti Park are pictured above. The one on the left calls himself “Brendan.” When newspaper correspondents and other media representatives arrive, he is often the one who handles relations with them. “Brendan” looks old enough to be the father of many of the demonstrators.
The person pictured above on the right is a frequent speaker in the general assembly. He also has a role in relations with the press. According to one protester, he may have connections to the US military, but this has not been confirmed. Is his do-rag or bandana a fashion statement, or something else?
Who are these people? Who appointed them? To whom are they accountable?
Who Invited Michael Moore?
The general assembly is supposed to approve all major decisions. In reality, it appears to be occupied with endless deliberations about trivia while the really big decisions are being made someplace else. A case in point are the invitations which have obviously been extended to a whole series of discredited left liberal figures, many of them deeply implicated in inflicting the Obama presidency and continued Wall Street rule on our nation. Michael Moore, Naomi Klein, Mike Myers, and left-IMF ideologue Joseph Stiglitz have all appeared, and a visit by Noam Chomsky, a devoted supporter of the Bush theory of terrorism, is reportedly in the works. Eyewitnesses have reported that most demonstrators were not happy with the presence of the millionaire Michael Moore, who was using the demonstrations as props for his usual routine of self-promotion. But these objections carried no weight. Regular participants in the general assembly report that they were never consulted about whether to invite these left liberals. It is therefore a good guess that the invitations were actually issued by the secret steering committee. The general idea is once again to reduce the protest movement to a mere auxiliary in the effort to get Obama reelected.
The Consensus Straitjacket
The members of the secret steering committee have taken a leading role in imposing the unwieldy and time-consuming formalism of always reaching a consensus in the general assembly, meaning that any significant opposition can block the implementation of urgent actions. A simple up or down majority vote is not enough. (The last governing assembly of any major nation to give each member a veto over the actions of the whole body was the aristocratic Polish Diet of the 18th century, which was so dysfunctional that it led to Poland being obliterated from the map of Europe – not an example to be imitated.)
The consensus method provides immense comfort to the predatory speculators of Wall Street, since it virtually guarantees that no potent and controversial strategy to break the power of finance capital can emerge. Indeed, it guarantees that absolutely nothing will be able to emerge in an emergency after a rapid turn in the overall situation. The US Congress is paralyzed by a minority, but the consensus rules of the general assembly mean that it can be paralyzed by a tiny clique bent on sabotage. In the background, the covert steering committee is busy creating a series of faits accomplis.
The deliberations of the general assembly are one big filibuster. On October 4, much of the session was taken up with an agonized discussion of whether to buy or knit and sew sleeping bags as the nights became colder. Right-wing commentators hostile to the protests had a field day using this grotesque scene to mock the entire movement.
Those who run the General assembly sessions are known as facilitators. The relation of these facilitators to the secret steering committee is being investigated.
The OWS Declaration: Not One Concrete Demand for Americans
While the General assembly is occupied with questions like what to order for lunch as part of the shipments of free food that mysteriously appear at the demonstration site, the vital issue of program is left to a subcommittee. On October 5, the Olbermann evening news featured a reading of the Occupy Wall Street Declaration, written by protesters Ryan Hoffman and Lex Rendon. This document does not offer an analysis of the current economic crisis. Rather, it represents a laundry list of complaints, many valid and some spurious. Most important, this document contains not one concrete demand, measure, or program point on which the protesters are willing to pledge that they will be fighting for the interests of the American people. In that sense, it is a document of moral and intellectual impotence. It whines and complains, but it will do nothing to combat the widespread suspicion of the OWS movement felt in many quarters because of the Soros endorsement.