Natasha Lennard writes: “The 99 Percent Spring” certainly appears like an Occupy Wall Street campaign. The effort — to give nonviolent direct action training and teach-ins on income inequality and Wall Street malfeasance to 100,000 people across the country between April 9 and 12 –- sounds born of a general assembly, from the emphasis on putting “bodies on the line” to the calls to “rise up” in the face of corporate hegemony.
It’s unsurprising then that some media reports described it as Occupy’s new tactic; and although numerous individuals involved in Occupy are taking part in the spring trainings, an Occupy Wall Street initiative this is not. The 99 Percent Spring is spearheaded by MoveOn.org and supported by around 60 progressive nonprofits and major unions, including the AFL-CIO, the Teamsters, Greenpeace, the Working Families Party and Van Jones’ Rebuild the Dream organization.
Inside Occupy’s (now-figurative) camps, cries of “co-optation!” abound. The fear, expressed by numerous Occupy participants I spoke to in different cities, is that the 99 Percent Spring trainings will steer energy away from Occupy spring actions and toward support for the Democrats this coming general election. Many still believe that MoveOn, as a recent CounterPunch article put it, is a “front for the Democratic Party.”