Occupier Marisa Holmes and the Professional Left's Soviet Style Power Grab at Occupy Wall Street
Spring is coming and the professional radicals behind the scenes have been making key moves all winter to consolidate their power, including a recent move remove ‘the 99%’ from any dealings with the vast amount of money is taking in from sources unknown. Meanwhile, Occupy supporters are perpetuating the lie that Occupy Wall Street is a ‘people powered movement.
Attention, Occupy Wall Street : Meet the new boss. The same as the old boss.
To understand what’s happening on the ground at Occupy Wall Street, you need to understand what the “General Assembly” is at Occupy Wall Street. Here’s a breathless description on the left wing site In These Times written by the inked-up inkslinger Alison Kilkenny.
General assemblies were one of the biggest attractions at the first-ever Occupy camp when it still existed at Zuccotti Park. The G.A., as it became known, was truly a surreal sight: hundreds of individuals gathered within the relatively small concrete patch to democratically vote up or down every -- and I do mean every -- decision Occupy Wall Street ever faced. Speakers were permitted to talk at length using the People's Mic and the activists expressed their approval with a new hand gesture ("twinkling") unknown to most Americans.
The G.A. was created as a direct response to the alienating, disenfranchising process known as the American political system. Within the borders of the assembly, every single participant is totally empowered. No Super PAC can buy more time to speak at a General Assembly. In fact, the few times I saw celebrities show up to the General Assembly and ask to cut the line of speakers, Occupiers shut them down and told them to wait their turn.
Yowzie zowie, these General Assemblies sound awesome! Alison Kilkenny is playing the role of carnival barker here, trying to sell the idea of an awesome new thing – a NATIONAL General Assembly. What Kilkenny conveniently leaves how is the New York General Assmebly is being purged of both people and power, as we speak. It’s classic bait and switch with an old skool Soviet Union twist.
You see, a few months ago they introduced something ‘new’ at Occupy – the Spokes Council. It was introduced by a woman name Marisa Holmes, who you saw talking about the G.A.s earlier. Here’s the 4 page proposal about how this new structure will work. Essentially, it’s a representative structure and of course, it was promised to be transparent and open and awesome.
When she was trying to sell the Spokes proposal, Holmes said that the G.A. would continue to have the power to make financial decisions and could dissolve Spokes at any time. Remember that, too.
People who were part of Occupy saw the problem but they were maneuvered. One occupier said…
We don’t need a council of Soviets and a new set of pseudo-representative politicians. We need patience, longer meetings, a friendly venue, and more experience. I have seen Quaker meetings (which operate by full and very formal consensus) take on everything from emergency budget proposals to gay marriage without resorting to a representative structure.
The Spokes are not that ‘open democracy’ thing that Occupy brags about so much. Despite how they were bills, the Spokes were a way to consolidate power. The 99% are all equal; it’s just that some people are more equal than other. As it turns out, a LOT more equal.
Kilkenny says ‘every single participant is totally empowered’ at the G.A.s. Well, not so much, really. First, the Spokes. started banning people like ‘disruptor’ Nan Terrie, who was making too much noise about rapes and assaults and asking too many questions about where the hundreds of thousands of dollars that Occupy Wall Street had was. Then Nan and other were booted and banned – yes, banned – from the G.A.s as well.
This tension actually caused a small riot to break out in late January, when Nan Terrie and a contingent from Occupy Newark tried to pass a motion at the G.A. get rid of the Spokes Council. They were concerned that the power was being taken from the General Assembly and given to the secretive, more restrictive Spokes.
Their fears turn out to be well founded. A few nights ago, the axe fell. Marisa Holmes -- the woman who created the Spokes and said that the G.A. would keep control of fiancies -- put forward a proposal to further neuter the G.A. by taking ANY finance decisions away from ‘the people’. The proposal has the decidedly upbeat Orwellian name Proposal to Improve the General Assembly.
The general assembly is the foundation of our movement. It has provided us with a space for our voices to be heard. I am saddened to say that the GA is not what it once was. It has devolved into interpersonal conflicts, abuse, and financial transactions. Money has torn the GA apart. If it is ever to be improved it must reclaim its sense of purpose, which is that of a space for political discourse. Thus, I propose the GA make no further financial decisions.
Gee, Comrade Marisa; if money is so corrupting, than why do you want to contaminate the Spokes with it?
This power grab is so transparent that it got a poor response from the G.A. but it probably doesn’t matter. People like Holmes are the real power now. The ‘people power’ thing is a myth and a lie put forward by people like Kilkenny and Holmes who know better. Of course, the left media provides more lambs to the slaughter and plays along. By the time the crowds show up again in the spring, the power shift will be comple and the G.A. will be a powerless dog and pony show designed to keep a false democratic face up while all the real decisions are being made the offices, hotel suites and hipster Brooklyn sublets.
So, who exactly is is Kommisar Marisa Holmes? She's said;
"I want an end to capitalism and all forms of oppression, and the best place to start is Wall Street. I want true freedom. I am in this for life. I am willing to die for it [and] I am willing to go to jail for it." - Marisa Holmes
She’s young-ish but already has an impressive resume as a professional radial. She’s one of the leaders of the ‘new’ SDS, the radical group from the 1960s. Here’s her website;. she went to school in Chicago and was part of a group in Chicago she was part called The Platypus Affiliated Society. Their purpose? (Warning: word salad ahead.)
Our task is critique and education towards the reconstitution of a Marxian Left. Platypus contends that the ruin of the Marxist Left as it stands today is of a tradition whose defeat was largely self-inflicted, hence at present the Marxist Left is historical, and in such a grave state of decomposition that it has become exceedingly difficult to draft coherently programmatic social-political demands. In the face of the catastrophic past and present, the first task for the reconstitution of a Marxian Left as an emancipatory force is to recognize the reasons for the historical failure of Marxism and to clarify the necessity of a Marxian Left for the present and future. — If the Left is to change the world, it must first transform itself!
Marissa has also worked with professional organizers like Lisa Fithian from 2007.
Stumbling into the wars resisters office, I found Josh Russell and Madeline Gardner wearing headsets and pacing. It was a week before the convention and they were having yet another discussion as to whether or not the planning committee had the authority to decide whether or not they had the right to make any decisions. In the words of Lisa Fithian, we were processing ourselves to death.
You remember Lisa Fithian, right?
People getting involved with Occupy because they believe the spin of Misteress of Truth Ms. Alison Kilkenney and her ilk would do well to study history and read George Orwell’s Animal Farm. They are being duped.