MoveOn Recruits Students for Nationwide 'May Day' Protests
Last night Liz Butler and Joy Cushman of MoveOn.org hosted a “National Major Actions” conference call to discuss with fellow left-wing activists a slough of direct actions in the coming months.
Among those plans are a series of continuous disruptions and demonstrations against banks, corporations, and anyone they deem to be members of the “1 percent.” The call aimed to motivate activists looking to dig in deeper to their commitment to dismantling the American economy.
Actions began yesterday by shutting down the Wells Fargo’s share-holder meeting in San Francisco and were touted on the call. According to the L.A. Times, over a thousand protesters stormed the Mercantile Exchange Building and attempted to enter the meeting and demand Wells Fargo halt foreclosures, end investments in prison-management companies, end high-interest lending, and forgive mortgage debts to underwater borrowers. Some shareholders were unable to enter the meeting, and eight demonstrators were cited for trespassing.
The “success” in San Francisco was used to boost morale and amp up the other callers to plan further actions in the coming months. Their strategy is to target banks and other corporations' shareholder meetings, then to coordinate with other activists and organizations around the country to conduct simultaneous actions, which they call “echo actions,” in other cities, as a show of solidarity with the specific target action that day.
Also discussed on the call was The99Spring.com, which was launched in February this year and is being used as an organizing and training platform to plan and schedule attacks against the “One Percent.” The site features a designated “Actions” page featuring upcoming events across the country. Featured at the top of the page are the targets and actions, which include shareholder meetings of GE, Verizon, Walmart, Sallie Mae, and Bank of America, as well as May Day marches and an attack on “the link between higher education and the banks,” which begins today.
Actions planned for today were announced on the call and will take place at the University of Santa Cruz, where a giant thermometer will be erected to represent the student loan debt in the U.S. passing $1 trillion, along with a massive “wall of debt” to be built at the University of Oregon. Students will then be encouraged to add their personal loan debt to the wall to dramatize the suffering of American college students. Other actions for what will now be known as 1T Day are going on at college campuses and Occupy protests across the country.
A noteworthy point on May Day events scheduled for Los Angeles is that the unions and Democrats apparently do not want to work in conjunction with Occupy. So much for solidarity in sunny California. The Los Angeles demonstrations will consist of several massive marches converging on the city, presumably what occurred in Chicago last fall when several thousand protesters and unions held five large marches, shutting down streets across the loop and converging into one massive demonstration outside the Mortgage Bankers Association Dinner at the Art Institute of Chicago.
Occupy Wall Street, however, faces no such trouble back in New York. A spokesperson form Occupy Wall Street, “Ari,” said they have plenty of support planning their own massive demonstrations for the international labor movement’s highest holiday from their union brothers and sisters. There they will hold 99 Pickets.
99 Pickets is an attempt to be just that--99 picket lines at preferred targets of the “99 Percent.” The pickets began on April 18 and will continue through May 1, targeting Chase Bank, Standard and Poor’s, the New York Times, ABC, Wells Fargo, Blackrock, Fidelity, and Lazard, among others.
Without the ability to perform a proper mic-check during the call, the breakout sessions on the call accomplished very little, as there was little awareness that everyone couldn’t just speak at once and be understood. This caused the 90-minute scheduled call to stop short by about 60 minutes.
Still, the plans remain intact for the coming months and are clearly aimed to attract youth to get more involved, as the fresh attack on student loans ramps up. As long as there is a group of individual operatives and MoveOn.org to coordinate a website like the99spring.com, they will be able to focus their agitations on those who are most likely to follow down the road of perpetual protest and discontent--keeping the neverending struggle for “social justice” alive.