Mic Check! Bernie Sanders swallows Occupy’s microphone

 

IT Marisa
This article is republished from ‘issue zero’ of the newly launched print edition of The International Times. The rest of the articles will be online on a new IT website soon. A limited number of copies can be bought from designer Darren Cullen’s online store here: https://www.etsy.com/uk/listing/264543463/international-times-issue-zero

 

Political Power 

There are still barricades around Liberty Square. More than four years after the eviction, New York City and Brookfield Office Properties, the owners of the park, have physically enclosed the space. Cars parked on nearby streets bear the logo of the new NYPD special task force for handling protests, the Strategic Response Group. The government is still concerned about the possibility of occupation, and clearly intends to prevent it from happening ever again. 

Occupy Wall Street challenged the legitimacy of the state. Rather than plead for—or demand—a place within the existing political structure of the state, the occupation created a new way of doing politics. Through a process of direct democracy, the people created a new kind of power. This power, just by existing, was a genuine threat to the dominant power of the media, non-profits, and political parties. Thus, Occupy Wall Street (OWS) had to be destroyed. 

Now, more than four years later, OWS is a distant memory. All that remains is the history. The question is how this history is going to be written, and by whom. Will it be in the hands of those who lived it, or the state that destroyed it? We the people made a revolution once. Let us not forget.

 

The Assembly 

On September 17th I stood in the middle of Zuccotti Park, with a group of facilitators, and began to hold an assembly. Thousands of people had come out for the call to #OccupyWallStreet, and they were intending to do just that. We talked for hours about whether to sleep in front of the Stock Exchange or to stay where we were in the park. Most everyone there agreed it was the experience of being together, hearing one another, and building an alternative to Wall Street that was important. We decided to occupy Zuccotti Park, and rename it Liberty Square.

That assembly became the New York City General Assembly ( NYCGA), and acted as governing body of the occupation. All decisions were made through a directly democratic process. We used a form of modified consensus, which meant that on any proposal brought before the assembly, we would attempt to reach consensus, but if we were unable to do so, then fall back on a 9/10 majority vote. There were working groups for every aspect of life at Liberty Square including food, shelter, clothing, and medicine. Basic needs were met by and for occupiers. There were no managers or leaders making decisions for us. We made decisions ourselves. It was our space. 

During the first two weeks of occupation there were multiple assemblies every day. Most of us had never had the experience of being in a self-governed space, where we were responsible only to each other. The park was filled with voices. Conversations would flow from one to the next, and for the first time in many of our lives, we felt like someone was listening. We amplified each other’s voices. Often, literally. When someone spoke in assembly their words would be repeated by all the other participants, who listened and internalized what they were saying. This ritual encouraged the individual voices to become a collective voice. We called this the people’s microphone. 

We, the people at Liberty Square had found our voice, and it resonated far beyond the occupation itself. In dozens of other cities occupations were starting and forming their own assemblies. They even used the people’s microphone. 

It was time that we all speak to each other, so the NYCGA drafted The Declaration of the Occupation. We wrote, “To the people of the world, We, the New York City General Assembly occupying Wall Street in Liberty Square, urge you to assert your power. Exercise your right to peaceably assemble; occupy public space; create a process to address the problems we face, and generate solutions accessible to everyone. To all communities that take action and form groups in the spirit of direct democracy, we offer support, documentation, and all of the resources at our disposal. Join us and make your voices heard!”

 

The Movement 

Occupy Wall Street (OWS) was growing from an action to a mass movement within a matter of weeks. By October there were hundreds of occupations all across the globe. People everywhere were taking the square and creating direct democracy. 

The larger we grew, the more attention we received. Reporters came asking for our leaders. They wanted to know what our demands would be. We tried to explain what we were trying to do, but the mainstream media simply was not interested in a story about direct democracy. They wanted a voice that adhered to the frameworks and discourses acceptable to the state. 

Then came the professional organizers. Whether from the unions, one of the many non-profits, the Working Families Party, or more openly the Democratic Party itself, and they came with their own agenda. They attempted to steer the occupation away from the process of direct democracy and toward representation. 

Despite all these external pressures the occupation kept going. We continued to make our own collective decisions, make our own media, and represent ourselves. We refused to adhere to state politics.

The NYCGA even drafted The Statement of Autonomy which clearly states, “Occupy Wall Street is a people’s movement. It is party-less, leaderless, by the people and for the people. It is not a business, a political party, an advertising campaign or a brand. It is not for sale.”

 

The State 

Once it became clear Occupy Wall Street could not be integrated into the state, it had to be destroyed. Whether through emotional and psychological methods such as calculated fostering of internal division or by outright brute force. In most places, it was by a combination of both.

The NYCGA, which was the source of our collective voice, and our political power, was the first target. All of a sudden there were people showing up to the assemblies with the explicit and stated purpose of trying to destroy it. They exploited our weaknesses around internalized oppression and access to resources. These weaknesses were real—they were indeed problems that needed to be resolved—but it had became impossible to resolve them under constant efforts to derail the process and condemn everyone making any serious effort to come up with solutions. 

Many of us decided it was time for a new democratic structure, and spent a great deal of time and energy convincing others to shift gears. The Spokescouncil seemed to be the best approach: rather than an assembly of individuals, the council meetings would coordinate between smaller collectives and working groups, each with rotating “spokes”. This approach we thought could address growth, scale, oppression, and accountability by building around smaller groups. A spokescouncil was created, but was never really able to operate due to the same calculated attempts at disruption that bedevilled the general assembly. 

The facilitators, myself included, were verbally and at times physically attacked. Those of us most committed to building democratic and accountable structure were accused of being authoritarian would-be leaders. These attacks further discredited the decision-making process, as they could be held out as proof that democracy itself was flawed, and made it near impossible to move forward. 

In the middle of all this, Liberty Square was evicted. I watched as police tore apart our tents and many of our bodies. Everything we had built was gone in a matter of hours, cleared in sanitation trucks, made “clean”. 

In December 2012 a report came out from the Partnership for Civil Justice Fund that revealed the extent to which all this didn’t just happen; Occupy Wall Street (OWS) was targeted by a coordinated effort between Homeland Security, the FBI, private security firms, and local police departments, who set out to infiltrate, disrupt, and evict Liberty Square as well as every other occupation. The state considered OWS to be a domestic terrorist threat—not because of any acts of violence, by the governments’ own admission there were basically none, but because we were engaging in direct democracy.

 

Diaspora 

It wasn’t until long after the eviction that I came to terms with defeat. I kept calling for meetings and hoping another occupation would happen, and that we would build stronger democratic structures. But it eventually became clear that OWS was over. Without the concrete everyday life of occupation it was unclear what decisions needed to be made. Direct democracy was only possible when the people were actually organizing their own lives. The indirect and direct brutality of the state had displaced us and ended our political project.

  

The Rise of the Party 

The Democratic Party had always been waiting in the wings of OWS, waiting for the right moment to reveal itself. The Working Families Party, more of a progressive caucus within the Democratic Party than its own party, already had organizers in our midst during the occupation. However, they never managed to win much influence on the politics of OWS. It wasn’t until OWS was dead that they could fully capitalize on the movement. 

 Bill De Blasio was NYC Public Advocate during OWS, and he would come to the park to posture against the Republic Mayor Michael Bloomberg. De Blasio later ran for mayor with the Working Families Party in the image of a community organizer who cared about the plight of regular New Yorkers. In his first State of the City Address he proclaimed, “This is a team that knows how to execute its core responsibilities – while never losing sight of the fact that we’re called to be part of a larger mission as well. Because the truth is, the state of our city, as we find it today, is a Tale of Two Cities – with an inequality gap that fundamentally threatens our future.” 

During his tenure in office, though, De Blasio has done very little to help the people of NYC. He has backed a housing plan that favors high density luxury condo development over real affordable solutions. He has evicted camps of homeless people while shutting down shelters. He has backed a police commissioner on broken windows policing, an increase of police in the streets, and strategic response groups to handle protests. The progressive vision he promised wasn’t much, but has not even lived up to that.

 

 bernie sanders

 

 

The Presidency 

The race for the presidency is on. Politicians of all stripes are making grand and empty promises to the people. They say they’ll make America great again, and bring new jobs. They say that they are one of us and we shouldn’t think of them as politicians. 

Bernie Sanders is running for president. He talks a good game, and, just like De Blasio, he uses the rhetoric of OWS in his speeches. In his announcement that he was running he stated, “Let me be very clear. There is something profoundly wrong when the top one-tenth of 1 percent owns almost as much wealth as the bottom 90 percent, and when 99 percent of all new income goes to the top 1 percent.” 

The entire campaign has been built around his outsider, activist, identity. He talks about the need for a political revolution and waxes poetic about taking on Wall Street and meeting the needs of regular people. However, he is in no sense a regular person himself. He’s a seasoned beltway politician that is running for the presidency of the United States. 

The pattern is repeated with each election cycle. A politician will say what they think people want to hear. It sounds good. But a politician cannot represent the people. They can only represent the politicial and economic interests that put them into office. The role of the politician is not to represent, but to maintain the illusion of representation, so that the state appears to have consent from the people. This is a crisis as old as representation itself. 

No one can represent the people, and no one can represent the movement. A real political revolution is not a change of those in power but the creation of a new way of doing politics.

 

The Square 

In 2011 there were occupations of squares happening all across the globe. From the Kasbah in Tunis, Tahrir in Cairo, Puerta del Sol in Madrid, to Syntagma in Athens, people were rising up. The space of the square was a symbolic and actual space in which the politics of representation were thrown out in favor of direct democracy. 

We the people at Liberty Square in New York City understood we were one part of this global square. We drafted collective documents speaking to the people of the world. We were not a political party. We were just people coming together and taking control of our lives.

Now, political parties are claiming the square for their own power. They are trying to rewrite history and erase the actions of people. Worse yet, they are packaging this history and selling it back to the people. But we know better. We were in the square. We heard each other. We know our power. It’s time that we take it back. 

 

by Marisa Holmes
Illustration Heathcote Ruthven

 

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28 Responses to Mic Check! Bernie Sanders swallows Occupy’s microphone

  1. Carlisle says:

    Bernie spoke ows rhetoric way before ows existed.

    • Lucifer Morningstar Jr says:

      Bernie is a time traveler too! Still not voting for the creepy old white dude. he likes guns too much.

    • John Marks says:

      Exactly, Carlisle. Bernie has been pushing these ideas and speaking about the growing wealth/income inequality for decades, not just a few years. He’s not copying anyone; he’s the original.

      • dicey says:

        Well, he’s not “the original”, of course. Yes, OWS didn’t create income inequality or the problems with capitalism, it was a response to those (and other) things, and its successes were fueled by that reality. Same with Bernie, potentially in both regards.

      • Dana says:

        No. No, he isn’t. He wasn’t the first one by far to notice any of this stuff.

        Next you’ll be telling us all he inspired Karl Marx.

  2. Charles says:

    People for Bernie is a wildly successful effort in support of Bernie Sanders. It was founded by and is run by veterans of Occupy Wall who were present On Sep. 17th, 2011 and who reject M. Holmes’ effort to rewrite history. She faithfully represents a voice that was present and deserves to be heard; but offering up as ‘the’ voice of OWS, or in any way representative of the thousands who participated, or the millions of supported it, is contradicted by many studies (like the Murphy Institute one that Ruth Milkman was part of) and by the many people who went on to different kinds of political (electoral!) activity.

    • dicey says:

      The problem is, Charles, that you’re totally overstating your case while making the exact same type of claim that you’re accusing Marisa of trying to make on OWS’ voice. Just don’t claim OWS while you’re electioneering, and you’ll avoid both issues. I think you know as well as I do that to suggest OWS was comfortable with electoral activity, or that your view was not a minority take on electoral politics within OWS, would be misleading.

    • Marisa Holmes says:

      Charles, presenting yourself as an occupy “veteran” is ridiculous. You did not plan for S17 or play a major role in the organizing of OWS. You were present on the margins waiting for the right moment to reveal yourself, but had no influence.

      I am writing from my experience as someone who did organize and have influence. I’m building an argument based from collectively written documents that were discussed and debated at length before being consented to. Obviously, not even I could represent OWS. The assembly, and the documents produced by the assembly represent OWS.

      You are distorting the history of OWS by connecting it to the Sanders campaign. This is a cheap ploy at mobilizing constituencies rather than building a real movement.

    • MaryAnn VanLeir says:

      This is not helping. Bernie is not a beltway politician. But like BO he does not have a magic wand, he needs the people to rise up. AND he HAS to be inside the Beltway to have any impact at all. When you all were in NY, at the height of the movement, my son’s fiancee, working in NY, had to walk past everyday. You know what, she was convinced like many others that you were a bunch of lazy hippies. I was in shock. This is a young lady with a masters in education and she cannot gt a job in her field and she is struggling to pay the loans for school. Yet she comes from an upbringing that led her to believe to go along to get along and any issues she is having are her fault. STOP beating up someone like Bernie, he is one man and he needs the people behind him. We would win the day the year the forever if people got it and get out and vote. Spend your energy working on that.

  3. Frank says:

    Nice article …

  4. Mike Peake says:

    Bernie votes with the capitalist, corporate democrats (who smashed Occupy) 98% of the time. He’s a democrat ally who says he’ll support Hilary if she gets the nomination, which is putting party lines ahead of any of his stated principles. Everyone should consider that extremely carefully. Occupy is about empowering the people. This is imperative. Bernie never, ever questions capitalism, and neither do the democrats, ever. They won’t. They can’t. Occupy does and demands a better way. Bernie does not represent us; he parrots our demands with zero intent of delivering (the democrats would never allow it if by a fluke he were elected and actually attempted to do what he’s saying). Power to the people. We can build a better world OURSELVES. “We are non-partisan. Both major political parties have sold out the American people.” ~OWS twitter, 2013

    • Lauren Steiner says:

      Hi Mike,

      Bernie has been talking about wealth and income inequality and the plutocracy since the 70s when it wasn’t even that bad. He was NEVER a member of the Democratic Party, because he ALWAYS considered them an establishment party in many ways as bad as the GOP. But he is a pragmatist. That’s why he caucused with the Democrats in 1988, because he thought Jesse Jackson’s movement was crucial.

      The ONLY reason he ran as a Democrat this time was to get noticed by the electorate. If he ran as an Independent, which I asked him to consider when I met him for the second time in Oct. 2014, was that he knew if he ran as an Independent, he would get ZERO attention in the press and with the public. He still got no attention from the press – 10 minutes on national news in all of 2015. But because he was running as a Democrat and specifically challenging Hillary, a neo-liberal corporatist warmonger, he was able to gain traction among the public through social media.

      Please stop repeating that tired talking point of the naysaying left that he promised to endorse Hillary if she wins. He HAD to say that to be able to run in the party. Besides, even if he does, the vast majority of us have no intention of voting for her. Further, despite claims of the naysaying left who have said he agreed to raise money for the Democrats, he has not done so once.

      As for questioning capitalism, Occupy never was an anti-capitalist movement. As you know, it was a big tent that attracted people from Ron Paul Libertarians to progressive Democrats to socialists. While Bernie does not advocate that the government own all businesses, he thinks many functions should be in the public domain such as education and health care. He has come out against private prisons, private charter shcools and the effort to privatize the post office.
      He is a Democratic Socialist who like FDR advocates for redistribution of wealth. I would hope you would agree that that would be a vast improvment.

      Like Occupy, Bernie challenged the Fed, was responsible with Rand Paul for auditing the Fed. He condemns Citizen United and wants it overturned. He wants free college and free health care. He has been leading the fight in the Senate against climate change and calls it the biggest national security threat. He just introduced a bill to ban new fracking in public lands and waters.

      Finally, Bernie knows that he can’t do it alone. Bernie knows that social movements are imperative. That’s why he is calling for a political revolution. And we at LA for Bernie are interpreting that to mean more than just voting for Bernie and volunteering for him. We are educating people about all the local campaigns to fight fracking and the TPP and fight for single payer and campaign finance reform. In fact, at our big all-volunteer meeting on 1/23, we are having representatives from local groups who are active on those issues address Bernie supporters.

      In short, I think if Occupy had been interested in electoral politics and Bernie had been running then, they would have supported him. I know for a fact that many of the OWS leaders have in fact endorsed and are working for him. I hope you will give him a second look and not get trapped in the mindset that because he is running as a Democrat, he’s no good.

      Hope you’re well,
      Lauren

      • RanDomino says:

        “As for questioning capitalism, Occupy never was an anti-capitalist movement.”

        Ridiculous. It was anticapitalist on day 1. It “attracted” people from other persuasions, but that’s the fact of the matter. Get your bourgeois revisionism out of here. You are EXACTLY the sort of person being criticized in this essay. You politician scum.

      • Marisa Holmes says:

        Lauren, OWS did not have leaders. Anyone who identifies themselves as a leader in OWS is not being honest about their position. OWS was very clear that it would not support political parties. Whatever people do now as individuals is obviously up to them, but using the history of OWS to promote Sanders is not an accurate reflection of what OWS was about. Its really that simple. Do whatever you want, but dont use OWS to do it. This is disrespectful to those of us who gave their lives to movement.

      • MaryAnn VanLeir says:

        Thank you

  5. Great perspective, thank you for writing this. I want to share two of my own perspectives on the spokes council and on the legacy and impact of Occupy.

    I remember the beginning in NYC. The General Assembly and the move toward spokes council. I remember being in love with the idea of a spokes council, promoting it, push others to accept it, explaining it and why it’s better. One of my closest friends in the movement was against it from the start, I never understood why until years later. The spokes council was introduced upside-down. Over the years I’ve seen so many ideas make the same mistake and I hope this comment might find someone who will not repeat the mistake.

    The spokes council asked for power before it was even a thing. It was pushed through the “democratic” process by the will of a few (like me) not through a truly democratic method. What I’ve come to learn is that democracy isn’t only a vote with one’s hand but often times it is a vote with one’s feet. Once the hands had been raised and the spokes council was created all the working groups came together and the first order of business was to eject and exclude working groups who weren’t “operational”, this was the undoing, this is what doomed the idea from the start. We armed the disruptors with a flawed idea. Let’s not give our adversaries any more power because they didn’t make it fail, WE made it fail.

    We fail so we can learn. Failure paves the road to success. I don’t want my words to be heard as condemning or critical to those who put in so much work. It was a grand idea executed poorly.

    You see, we should have voted with our feet. If I could wave a magic wand and do it all over again the spokes council would have grown out of two working groups coming together and inviting more in. An additive process rather than a subtractive one. That is the part of democracy we don’t often see or hear about, people walking into a space and making it a thing. As more groups were added to the spokes council it would have become worthy of the power the General Assembly “gave” to it.

    We made this same (simple) mistake so many times in Occupy. These failures are the legacy. These wonderful, beautiful, powerful failures are remembered by everyone who was woken up by Occupy. These people who were woken up are now spread across the world, starting new projects, building foundations, shaping ideas and systems that will power the next Occupy thing.

    Many of the Bernie organizers are these people too, taking the lessons from Occupy and applying them to electoral process of a dead empire. Each of them failing in new and exciting ways! Laying another stone (of failure) in the pathway of success. This is why I roll my eyes at the in-fighting. Everyone is fucking up and that’s awesome.

    Let us not forget that many of the people who built Occupy also built the Obama campaign.

    Occupy isn’t dead, it’s a nugget of wisdom inside so many of the people who are out there building the next world. People who will vote with their feet when the next Occupy is presented to them.

    • Sally G says:

      Thank you, Drew, for a great perspective—I agree with your analysis about additive rather than subtractive; bottom-up even in Occupy! And I SO resent the “Occupy Is Dead” mantra—no, there are no more camps, for a variety of reasons, but the networks are alive, InterOccupy is providing tech, the weekly media call still occurs even if under a different name, local groups are working on local and national issues (sometimes under the Occupy name, sometimes not*), and the language change is permanent, it seems. Personally, I was not very involved at Liberty Square, but did join a local group, got more involved after the first national gathering, then with Occupy Sandy N.J.—still involved with plans for the Meadowlands area and the state VOAD, bringing the perspectives of inclusion, transparency, and bottom-up democracy with me. With New Jersey Organizing Project, we occupied the WWII War Memorial opposite the N.J. StateHouse in Trenton for 3 days on the 3rd anniversary of Superstorm Sandy.
      *When the name is avoided simply because of fear of a negative reaction, I get SUPER resentful—great way to keep us marginalized! When the avoidance is merely the result of working with/being an ally to a credible group that already exists or that forms with both Occupy and nonOccupy folks, I have no concern. Context is all.

    • Marisa Holmes says:

      There’s alot to say about the spokescouncil. OWS experienced a rapid period of growth. In a matter of two months we went from a small band of 50-100 people to thousands in NYC alone. There was the issue of scale and resources that came with that scale, but more than that there was a separation occurring. At the beginning of the occupation the people living in the park were largely the same people making decisions about how to run it. Overtime this was not the case, so there were people making decisions in the assembly that were not actually affected by the decisions. This was no longer direct. There needed to be a reorganization, so that “operational” groups concerned with maintaining the occupation would be making decisions, and there could again be a directly democratic process.

      Transitioning from the assembly to the spokescouncil needed to have support from the OWS community. It couldnt just happen organically in this additive process, because there was already a separation in the park, and people were concerned about “secret meetings” and the money. There needed to be a democratic process for there to be support for bringing about a new democratic process and structure.

      Due to the constant disruptions and eviction, which happened shortly after the spokescouncil began, the structure never really got off the ground.

  6. ANNA says:

    “But a politician cannot represent the people. They can only represent the politicial and economic interests that put them into office.”…which is exactly why Senator Sanders is the only candidate who can represent us. ALL the other candidates are sold out. I find it fascinating that you claim to know the OWS movement, but you haven’t followed this election closely enough to be aware of this crucial distinction in all the sold-out versus the single NOT sold-out candidate. So, if no politicians can represent the people, even if the economic interests that put them into office are THE PEOPLE, does that make you one of those with the notion that not voting is in some way an effective ‘boycott’?!

  7. Jack says:

    This was a great read until you got to Bernie. You’d think that an article with Bernie in the title would include more than a few parroted phrases about him and have actual meat to the argument, something to say. It seems to me that your editor or whomever told you that the ows stuff wasn’t enough to publish… It’s not that the point you make about Bernie isn’t important, but it seems like you didn’t do any research about him. I think it’s important that people scrutinize those running for public office but I wish people would stop thinking that’s it’s ok to publish such poor arguments about Bernie.

    If this article had ended without talking about Bernie, I think it would have been a massive success. But because you did include Bernie and you did make such a terrible argument, this piece fails as a whole and it really reflects poorly on the international times. I will think twice henceforth every time a seen an article published here.

    • David Graeber says:

      The piece was written by the author expressly in reaction to Sanders trying to coopt OWS.
      IT editors changed nothing except some basic editorial work on the prose.
      However if you don’t want to read IT in future because you don’t like the fact we publish authors who say this sort of thing, that’s fine. We like them a lot, ourselves.

      • Onnie says:

        “In reaction to Sanders trying to coopt OWS.”

        Is the argument that if I like and agree with much of what you talk about and work for, but don’t go along with every single thing you do or say, then if I support any part of your outlook I am “co-opting” your work?

  8. Sally G says:

    I have not been at Liberty Square for a month or more, but the last few times I have been there, there were NOT barricades—some police presence does remain—and I walk through Liberty Square whenever I am nearby, always with a sense of history/home, though I was a visitor only—never overnighted during the encampment.

  9. Lisa says:

    David Graeber and Marisa, I’m being totally sincere when I ask, how is Sanders coopting OWS specifically? I don’t personally see him as connected to OWS, and I haven’t heard him try to invoke OWS in his public speaking, but maybe I missed something. It just seems to me that he’s a decent guy personally, trying to work within an absurd system. Whether the excitement surrounding him is all for naught, we’ll see. But I do think it’s interesting that he’s drawing huge crowds talking about revolution, socialism, and class inequality. I really believe that this would not be happening if it weren’t for OWS, which no matter what its critics may say, changed the consciousness of the masses. I don’t see OWS as being coopted by a politician, but that OWS opened people’s minds enough that someone like Sanders could even run. I don’t think anyone that truly loved and understood OWS would confuse an electoral politician like Sanders, with Occupy. OWS was an incredibly profound moment in history and in the hearts of those who embraced and were embraced by it, and I think its true power is still alive within us, and I think its influence is grossly underestimated. I’m rambling – sorry!

  10. Greg Blank says:

    Wow… I am stunned by this article. I too was surprised when I recently discovered the videos below, but the truth is there in black and white… Twenty three years before OWS, Bernie was talking about the 1% and the 99%, and even the 1/10th of 1% and how so much of the wealth goes to the 1%. OWS was basing it’s language almost verbatim from his speeches/interviews. Don’t believe it? Here is proof!!! Here are clips of his C-Span government videos from decades ago – so you don’t steal his history! You can find these videos also on C-Span’s website from 1988 and 1995 (and there are more of them). If you truly care about the truth and justice in the media you ought to correct your article and recant any position that Bernie stole or is co-opting OWS’s message, as this is 100% backwards!
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MV2x5PcIcIA

    • Editor says:

      My memories of Bernie go back to the Green Party in Oxford where his brother and nephew were councillors, and there were green sweatshirts with “Vote for Bernie” – twenty years ago. A bit later, as an elected Green councillor myself, I came to witness their hard work, patience and dedication in the face of what seemed like impossible odds for political success. While I understand too well the cynicism many feel for the political system, let’s not forget that Bernie (and the alternative political movement) sowed the seeds of OWS before most of the protestors were born. It is a great affirmation that these young people are now carrying the torch that was lit by those who went before. Never forget the pioneers, because it truly is the hardest and most formidable job.

      It would be fantastic to see an inspiring leading light like Bernie rise to prominence on the world stage and have an effect worldwide. It can only open the doors for democracy, something that has been discarded by the wayside in favour of corporate interests and greed. Great video by the way Greg – gives perspective.

  11. Goody says:

    This article is about as disgusting as when I witnessed OWS refuse to allow John Lewis – who nearly DIED for freedom (you know, as opposed to sleeping in a park and eating free chili) – to speak at a rally. This was some of the most outrageous, overprivileged crap I have ever seen in my life, and it was that action that I think exposed OWS for the pointless “movement” it was. Now, rather than rally for the ONLY CANDIDATE who is genuinely talking about addressing poverty, institutional racism, militarization of the police, decriminalization of cannabis, breaking up big banks and bringing back regulation, on and on and on. What Bernie is talking about isn’t perfect, but if even one thing he proposes somehow happened – free college, for example – imagine the difference that one change would make in the lives of real human beings, most especially the poorest people in this society. It is selfish – and a sentiment that usually comes from a place of young white privilege – to insist that we have to reject all participation in government because the candidate isn’t perfect. Do I agree with Bernie on everything? Absolutely not. I hate his support for Israel and refusal to say he would take any action to protect the Palestinian people. At the same time, I have looked at his record and history, and most of it consists of trying to help real human beings, speaking out against the ruling elite, fighting to prevent war and police brutality, and standing up for equality of gender, sexual orientation, race, and class. I’m sorry that’s not fucking good enough for OWS – maybe this inability to live in reality and make real coalitions happen is why the “movement” barely even exists anymore.

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