Mercer's Poems
The (mis)Direction of the Occupy Movement?

Without your help, this could well be the very end of the humanistic approach to the Occupy movement. If you believe in doing right by your fellow human being, and standing up for fairness and equality for all, then you have probably been pleased with the fact that the Occupy movement was encompassing of all, regardless of their situation in life, regardless of their stance in politics, regardless of race, gender or religion. One thing the Occupy movement has done very well is give the homeless people of each camp’s respective cities and towns a place where not only can they have shelter, company, and food, things which they desperately need, but they can have a political voice too. They can get a voice heard that they do not usually have the opportunity to do. These homeless individuals are not apart of society, they are a part of society and one that this very unfair system creates. Through numerous avenues, the biggest one at the moment being something as cynical and disgusting as mortgage foreclosure, Americans are being made homeless. People worldwide are made homeless as a result of a financial system that prides itself on being miserly, ruthless, greedy and not-human. 

This used to be what the Occupy movement was about. A return to the human being, not the bank balance. A respect for the individual, not the wealth behind them. And these homeless Occupy Warriors were part of the key to that success. After all, what more committed an occupier can you get than one who has no home to go to elsewhere? Well, now it seems, their support is dwindling. Adbusters, the organisation that initially proposed Occupy Wall Street, and sprang a whole movement from it, now feels that occupations have run their course. As a result, they are no longer helping to support camps that are getting violently evicted by police. They are no longer willing to stand up for the rights of the people to protest and, why? Because they decided it was too much? Because they decided people should move on? Well pardon me but, I thought the whole point of this movement was there were no leaders and everything was decided on consensus? Were the people of occupy consulted about this? And if so, why the fuck did they agree?

Well, for clues on why individuals might be agreeing to stupidity such as this you need to look at all groups involved. I have mentioned Adbusters, who apparently stupidly decided to set up a revolution when they had neither the balls, the brains, nor the patience to continue it. Another group currently seeking to suppress the movement, and turn it into something altogether less inclusive and humanist in its aims is OccupyTogether.org. I’m also hearing the name ‘UncleRush’ who turns out to be some motherfucking greedy arsebasket, whose twitter bio is advertising a book of his entitled ‘SuperRich - The guide to having it all’ It claims to be a book about enriching your soul and happiness but, of course, it also includes tips on how to help yourself make a fuckload of money…Go figure!? That this guy could become some de facto spokesperson for a movement opposed to the individual pursuit of wealth as a means of happiness and respect!  What is more, a group called UnitedNY, whom in a previous blog I implored you all to research, were involved in the huge show on November 17th in New York, and seemed to take some kind of elitist control of events, despite Occupy Wall Street being an apparently leaderless movement, this group set themselves up as leaders! And to top it all, some gobby, credit and adoration loving motherfucker Anthony Kapel ‘Van’ Jones decided he’d like to get on TV and take some credit too, and he did, much to the adulation of a waiting public who seemed very quick to deify him without even questioning his motives, his intentions or his allegiances. Occupy Together were also involved in a bit of a scandal when they had a television advertisement aired, with their name on it, that they claimed was not made by them but was paid for in terms of production and air time by only $6000 - Now forgive me for being suspicious, but I call bullshit on that one. Maybe you could get short spots on local cable TV for that, but this ad was run on Bloomberg for crying out loud! YES Bloomberg! Thus directly paying the companies of the Mayor who has shown himself to be in nothing but ruthless opposition to the whole damn movement to the point of his openly allowing the city police to get away with brutality and illegal actions. 

So call me a cynic, call me suspicious, but when people mentioned some of these things to me, and mentioned how they would like to look further into these individuals and groups to find out quite where their priorities lay, I jumped at the chance to join in.
What follows is not evidence or accusation of anything, it is all links, circumstantial links, but numerous and too prominent to ignore. As the old adage goes, ‘there is no smoke without fire’ and it seems there is a veritable inferno under the Occupy movement right now, and one that, on current showing, appears to be growing in strength. The movement is becoming less and less about what it was set up to be, and more and more about something else entirely. Hopefully, some of these links can make you think, make you question the way things are going and whether you want to be part of them, or whether you want to be part of a movement more dedicated to the original cause. I hope you find in favour of the latter, because the movement needs more independent bodies and minds behind it.

so, we shall start at the beginning. Suspicions were first aroused, as mentioned above, when a national TV Ad campaign was shown, this is a link to the ad in question. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GVQPo62x3UI - Seems harmless enough right? But here’s the boast in the description (a description might I add, that asks for donations too!) “It has already aired on Fox News, History Channel, Bloomberg and elsewhere!” - And therein lies the problem. Initially, the official story was that this ad was produced without Occupy Together’s knowledge (despite the fact that their logo at the end is very well made and prominent, hardly the work of someone who was just tagging their name at the end out of ‘solidarity’) But also, this ad, apparently on only $6000, managed to buy thirty seconds of airtime on a plethora of national networks in the US…$6000…for a 30 second ad spot….On MULTIPLE NATIONAL NETWORKS! Forgive me for being suspicious, but that looks, sounds and smells like bullshit to me. So where did the money come from? Well, it was Occupy Together’s lack of transparency on that question that led to myself and others looking a bit further into just who was funding Occupy Together, and who did they have links with.

Well, the ad itself was heavily promoted by an organisation known as Rebuild The Dream - They can be found at http://rebuildthedream.com but just who are they? You can find their pretty mission statement about rebuilding America from the ground up here, http://rebuildthedream.com/about.php but, their main spokesperson and one of the founders of the movement is on Mr. Van Jones, who was mentioned above. So who is Van Jones?  Anthony Kapel ‘Van’ Jones is many things, an attorney, a civil rights activist, but one thing that cannot be ignored is that Van here was once a special adviser to Barack Obama himself on green jobs. Pardon my suspicions but I’m not sure I truly trust people with such close, partisan links to, not only one particular party, but indeed, one particular individual who will be campaigning for reelection next year. But, surely Van Jones is not the only person or group behind Rebuild The Dream?

You would be correct, you see, most of the money and clout behind Rebuild The Dream came from an organisation known as MoveOn.org - And just who are they? I hear you ask. Well visit their website and find out 
http://front.moveon.org/ - At my current time of looking at it, their top political ad says “Don’t be stupid, Be Democrats.” This is an organisation that is so partisan to the Democrat movement it is unbelievable, and shameful on OccupyTogether for allowing themselves to get involved with any groups so heavily invested in them, i.e. Rebuild The Dream. It all begs the question, is Occupy Together just a spin off. Is Occupy Together merely a movement that feigns independence whilst receiving funding from big, Democrat partisan organisations? 

Here is the deal, in all this trawling and research, looking for links, it was our mission to find links to the Republicans. We felt sure that, behind all this, there was big money, and big money does not care who it is aligned to. But the links were difficult. Almost all roads led to Democrats or Democrat partisan support groups. This is a worry, particularly in the run up to an election campaign. The possibility of co-option of the Occupy movement for mainstream political gain has been a warning many have put out but too few have heeded, but the actions of the likes of Adbusters and OccupyTogether seem to be allowing the movement to head in that direction! It may be naivety on their part, it may be someone pulling the strings, but whatever it is, people need to resist it!

We’ll move on, this time to UnitedNY. My suspicions in these individuals were aroused immediately when Tim Pool, the independent journalist broadcasting a live stream from Occupy Wall Street, was denied access to the ‘inner sanctum’ of the November 17th protests. The group that had denied him access was this shadowy UnitedNY troupe, who, by all eyewitness accounts and statements where behaving as ‘de facto’ police, and being rude to protesters.
Well, their website at the time was down, but I managed to find out a little information. First of all, for an organisation who were bossing things on November 17th, their website is small time! Their bandwidth was incapable of dealing with the rush of traffic that came their way after Tim’s encounter with them on the live stream, and the livestream was only being viewed by 30,000 people or so. You’d assume an organisation with the man power and legs to control a protest with estimates of around 10-20,000 people would have a website capable of handling that sort of traffic, right? Well, apparently not, since some delving into their statistics at the time revealed their average number of page views, per day, was only 154…What is more, links to their previous civil actions was scant, indeed, the only time I could see this organisation had organised anything before (and believe me, it was far from advertised) was a protest in support of President Obama’s jobs plan. Photographs of this protest featured a lot of signs bearing the characteristic A with a star in the centre of the aforementioned Rebuild The Dream? Coincidence? Maybe, but, call me suspicious, I don’t believe in coincidences where any of this is concerned! Is it more believable that these organisations are working together to co-opt what is a huge movement for their own political gains, or more believable that they all just enjoy a handshake, a chat and an undercurrent of support for President Obama?
Well, perhaps that can be cleared up when you delve a little further and find the name of UnitedNY’s spokespersons. One Mr. Doug Forand. Now, Dougy here, far from being the non-partisan supporter of right and just, humancentric politics, is a founding partner of a business known as Red Horse Strategies. And just who are they exactly? Well, they are a campaign management firm. They handle election campaigns for politicians, just so you know. So it seems far from UnitedNY being the non-partisan believers in a leaderless movement, they are run by individuals who make their money getting people elected. 
Does this tie in with anything I have mentioned before? Well I am glad you were curious enough to ask. The UnitedNY website was hosted at an IP address of a server for an organisation known as Change to Win. If you go to change to wins website http://changetowin.org/ you will see, on the right hand side, a lovely image of the US flag with the tagline beneath “REBUILD THE AMERICAN DREAM” - Wait? Haven’t we seen that tagline before? Yes! As a matter of fact, we have. It is one of the main slogans of the lovely Van Jones and MoveOn.org vehicle Rebuild The Dream!!!!! 

But do the links go further than this? Is there any concrete evidence that these people are trying to co-opt the movement? Well, as I said, these are just links, but as far as ‘links’ go, this is not so much peopled in bed with each other as a full on fucking Roman orgy! And all these organisations, every person, every org, everything listed here has links to the unions. One of the unions heavily involved with all these vehicles is SEIU - and what is SEIU’s current statement on their front page? http://www.seiu.org/ ”SEIU Endorses President Obama for Reelection.” 

Now, as I’ve said, numerous times. These are just links, I am making no concrete accusations, or allegations. But if you are a believer in this movement, if you are a support of Occupy, whether it be on Wall Street or the streets of your own city or town, whether it be in the United State or globally, THIS AFFECTS YOU! The large organisations that were once willing to throw their legal support behind you in the face of police brutality and political suppression, now seem to be siding with Democrat partisan unions and their policies. The same people who have asked the destitute, and the homeless to fight on the frontlines of their political ambitions are now abandoning them, and telling them if they want to Occupy somewhere, go occupy a homeless shelter!

What appears to be going on, at least in this author’s mind, is a disgusting manipulation of a pure movement of the people into something that is nothing short of a bullshit political manifesto in support of a Democrat President who has been part of the problem from the start, with his support of the Patriot Act, with his commitment to unjust war, and huge tax-payer funded bailouts of the big, corrupt banking institutions that was the very catalyst for these protests!

Maybe you believe there is something to these links. Maybe you don’t. But please, be suspicious, ask questions, demand answers and be independent. Stop relying on large, shadowy groups to accept donations and call shots for you. This movement is one centred around leaderlessness and individuality. Forgive my Life of Brain quote but “You are all individuals!”
If your suspicions, too, have been aroused by what I have said then get in touch. I can be contacted on twitter @mercerspoems and I am willing to send you the documentation of the investigation that I was a part of. We need more people looking into this, we need more concrete establishment of the co-option of the movement and we need more natural suspicion amongst its supporters! Stop believing that if you criticise it, you are in someway against it! It is right, and natural to criticise things, and you should never let anything get in the way of that.
Please, think for yourselves. Is this movement moving in the direction you want to? Or does it appear to have lost it’s true and right aims and be heading in a direction all together more sinister and politically motivated? Please ask the questions. Please, think. For the sake yourselves, of the movement, and of the people it was set up to defend!  

Political Espionage and the Art of Activism

Last night witnessed one of the biggest, and most amazing nights ever for Occupy Wall Street. As thousands took to the streets to protest against corporate greed and wealth inequality not even the previously reticent mainstream media organisations could ignore it. 
But, there are problems with this. This movement has been going on for two months, and yet on one day a vast hoard of people can suddenly show up? Who are they, why were they there? Who organised them? What is more, with mainstream media interest they will start to wheel out their own ‘spokespeople’ rather than rely on the guys on the ground. Where, after all, is the legitimacy of an interview with a hooded, cold individual on the street; someone who has been part of the movement since its inception and knows all about it, when they can easily wheel their own mouthpiece into the warmth of some studio lights and get soundbites that suit their agenda?  

This movement is all inclusive, that much is true, but it is also completely independent. It is not partisan to any political agenda because it is its own political agenda, that anyone can believe in regardless of who they voted for, or intend to vote for. There are individuals from all walks of life represented in the core of the movement. But they should be wary of being too trusting, and allowing a force of numbers of bodies on streets overwhelm them, without checking whether those bodies are there for the spirit of the movement, or for the spirit of something else entirely.

A lot of word from the street last night spoke of an organisation known as UnitedNY organising things. Who are these people? Why did they feel the need to take on the role of organisers, and de facto police if some reports were to be believed? Ask the questions. What is their agenda? Were they there in the name of Occupy Wall Street, and the freedoms, transparency, equality and democracy for which it stands? It would seem not, given that they with no disguising of their elitism were trying to call the shots as the ‘authority’ behind last night’s events. So ask who were they there for? Who do they represent? Who runs them? Where does their funding come from? It is these questions, and the transparency that arises from their answers that Occupy Wall Street is all about.

There is a danger with activism that an individual can get so caught up in the moment. They can become so infused with the spirit and the passion of bodies on the street. They can become so wrapped up in what they are doing, and what they stand for that they lose the cynicism and the mistrust from which their movement was born. Anyone questioning the motivations or intentions of people who show support to them instantly become targets of hate - Suspicion ends up aimed at the suspicious while, potentially obvious co-option slips under the radar via medium of misplaced trust and an almost cult-like fanaticism to the beliefs of the movement.

Do not lose sight of your objectivism. It has been what has gotten the movement so far, and protected the movement from harmful influence. Most activists are aware of how to spot an undercover police officer, but how do you spot an undercover agenda? Particularly when you are told looking for it questions the very fabric of the movement? But, a transparent movement is the one glass house in which it would be wise to throw stones.  

Occupiers Occupy my Heart

I have just returned after three days at the OccupyLSX protest, initially scheduled to be in Paternoster Square outside the London Stock Exchange, however moved due to heavy police presence to outside St. Paul’s Cathedral, which is only steps away from the intended location. 
I have to say I have been taken aback. It is truly amazing. On the first day there must have been around 1000-2000 people or more on the steps and in front of the cathedral, and all of them there for the same reason. Forget the anti-capitalist stuff, forget the anti-austerity, forget the anti-establishment. These are being implemented as political tools. They are necessary steps to getting to a government we want to live under. The reason those people were there, and the sole reason alone, is because they love and respect their fellow human being. The message was there across the board, from children to the elderly, across ethnicity and religion, across race, across job, across everything the underlying message is so pure, so simple, and so true. We are all one. And this is the start of a global movement that intends to act with that mantra.
It was a bit nervy at times, the police cordoned off the area in a manner that was all too familiar as the ‘kettling’ tactic so widely used in protest situations. However what the police failed to recognise was that far from this, as is usually the case, being an intimidating and trouble-starting tactic, the crowds there couldn’t have cared less if they were kettled in; because they weren’t going anywhere anyway. Late on in the first day, the police forcibly removed people from the top steps of St. Paul’s Cathedral in a measure that was described by one officer as being “for the safety of the protesters.” However these officers were told to stand down by The Reverend in the morning, apparently all too happy with the message, and level of peace of the protest.
After that point, the police presence lowered and the atmosphere only continued to rise. It is truly a testament to the people there, and to the spirit in which they have come together, that trouble is virtually absent. It is a protest that is winning hearts, minds and sympathies; and this is vital if it is to continue, and to be fruitful.
The level of organisation too exceeded my expectations. Standard British levels of organisation have difficult putting together the proverbial piss up in a brewery. While initially it seemed occupation may be difficult, due to police shutting off the intended destination, consensus was reached within a matter of hours quite what was going to occur, and by late afternoon on Saturday tents were already being pitched. Not only did the organisation lead to an occupation being made possible, but it has also made it quite comfortable too. The field kitchen is well stocked and staffed, with a wide array of snacks, meals and assorted nibbles; as well as copious amounts of water, juice, milk, soya milk and other things to keep hydrated. There was a stall of surplus bedding and tent equipment which certainly helped make my second night a lot less chilly, and a lot more comfortable (thanks to whoever donated the tartan woolen blankets!) And there was also a good first aid area, and the media centre while not at full speed, was doing a great job of trying to get a place where people could charge devices; as well as keeping live-streams going.  
But, again, what is most striking is the atmosphere. More of a carnival, or a festival than a protest. The mood is one that, though reflective of the ills of society, also wants to live in the spirit not of how things are, but how they should be. There is a freedom in the air, and one befitting of a protest such as this. There is entertainment in all forms as guitars, trumpets and drums have all featured and, even I, with my two left feet and my unwillingness to move in any way remotely rhythmic, succumbed to the drummers beats.
It is truly beautiful. After only a few days, it has already become a community, as people intermingle with one another, make new friends, hear new opinions and go about it all with a free-spirited and open minded attitude that is almost unheard of in any social structure these days. Instead of different opinions leading to division and factionalism, it leads instead to discussion and the formation of new respects and friendships. It shows a movement of individuals who have realised that beneath all political beliefs, ideologies, ideas on how things can change, and the natural variation we have in our minds as human beings; beneath all this is one core belief, one idea, one value. That we are all human beings, and thus, at the very core of our existence, we must believe in each other. It is this, I believe, that the governments of this world are truly afraid of.
And it is easy to see why. When you can set up a leaderless social structure, and a community living within it in only two days, why do you need a government? When you can have an economic structure of ‘give what you can and take what you need’ that provides for all and excludes no one, in only two days, why do you need global financial institutions?
The fact is, neither is essential. Neither governments, nor banks are truly necessary and these occupy communities are the proof. All we humans truly need, are each other.

So, my first stint done, I have returned for a couple of reasons. Firstly, and most importantly I was hideously underprepared. This led to my catching a serious chill through the night on Saturday and spending most of Sunday shivering. The other reason is that I have appointments throughout the week, but I will also be taking my time to prepare for a return to Occupy in London. But, and I say this with utmost sincerity and from a part of my heart that I never knew existed, I miss it. There is something in the air there that just feels different. Having walked through the rest of London to catch my train all I could feel was the heavy, dank, oppressive and cold October air, as people rushed about from one place to the other slaves to a system I, only moments previous, had been occupying to denounce. The air at the camp is free. You can hear it in the claps and cheers, you can feel it in the wind, you can sense it with a sixth sense that we human beings have probably forgotten we had. And so it was with a heavy heart that I left; but also in faith. I have every faith that the individuals there will still be there for my return, along with many other new faces. I have every faith that the camp will only continue to improve in number, in strength, in solidarity and in atmosphere. And even as the winds turn bitter, and rain sets in, I have every faith the occupiers will remain.

If you are not there, and can make it, please do. There is food and water for you, there is a great atmosphere, bring your own tent or befriend someone else and see if you can rest in theirs. Because what is occurring is history, and whether you agree with everything that is said or not, you are welcome. But it would be a shame if you looked back through the history books with your children or grandchildren and weren’t able to say “I was there.” Get there, be there, make a difference.

My love goes out to all those occupiers in London and all the organisers and people who just chipped in and helped. You made a truly magnificent experience and I look forward to resting up, sorting out my business, and getting back. I love you all. (p.s. Look out for my little poem on the “WE ARE THE 99%” Banner…It’s on the central stalk of the E :D)