Occupy Wall Street: Grassroots or Astroturf? Ask Al Gore!

On July 26th, 2011, Adbusters posted a page on its website that asked the following question: “Is America Ripe for a Tahrir Moment?” Only days later, Al Gore appeared on CurrentTV’s Countdown with Keith Olbermann program to discuss what everyday, ordinary, non-astroturf Americans who happen to be angry can do to get involved.

Surprise! Guess what Al just so happened to suggest?

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Here’s the transcript:

KEITH OLBERMANN:

“Obviously the first suggestion relevant to this would be to exercise every vote that one has available to one in the next sets of elections. What else besides that do you recommend to those of us who are angry, and who have been angry throughout this whole process?”

AL GORE:

“Well, I enjoyed your special comment last night, Keith, and I want to focus on one particular suggestion you had about using the wonderful tools that are newly available for the reinvigoration of democracy. Now, they’ve been around for a while and more and more people have been getting involved.”

“We need to have an American spring. You know, the Arab Spring — the nonviolent part of it isn’t finished yet — but we need to have an American Spring, a kind of an American Tahrir Square. Non-violent change, where people from the grassroots get involved again.”

“Not in the Tea Party style. There are people who are genuinely upset in the Tea Party, I understand that, but that movement was funded with seed money from right-wing billionaires, the Koch brothers, and promoted on Fox News and turned into a stalking horse for this right-wing agenda that a lot of people have been trying to push on this country for a long time. What’s sacrosanct for them is to have absolutely no tax increases on the wealthiest Americans — they are at a low level now — and to try to shrink down government so they can get it out of the way of powerful corporations and special interests, so that they can have free rein. And the Supreme Court has, of course, has now declared that they’re persons and make these secret contributions.”

“I want to tell you, Keith, this country is in trouble. Our democracy has been withering on the vine, it really has been. This has been going on for some time. But this is not an event that can be taken lately. I know it’s difficult to imagine that the people who care about the values that this country was based on will rise up and get much more involved in the democratic process, but that is exactly what we need and that is the only thing that can get our country back on the right track.”

People from the grassroots? This smells more like Astroturf to me.



Kevin Zeese serves on the steering committee of the Bradley Manning Support Network and Voters For Peace, the organization he directs, is the initiator of WikiLeaksIsDemocracy.org.

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