October 8, 2011
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.
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?
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 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.
Economic demands are absolutely vital. The movement needs to offer specific solutions for the grave abuses and economic tragedies which are plaguing working people. These demands acquire a material power as they gain mass support. To get support from the inner-city ghetto, from the farm belt, from women, from labor, from the elderly, their vital concerns must be directly addressed. These groups absolutely do not need more analysis telling them how bad things are. They already know that. They need to see a social force which is ready to take leadership in accomplishing radical reforms -or else the revolution, as the case may be.