It is no secret that the forces with the most stake in the status quo, namely the business class and those currently running the state itself, can be expected to use every available tool to react to any perceived threat from the Occupy movement.
We have seen this at the local level involving mayors or university chancellors ordering police to deliver pain and violence to the protestors in an attempt to crush them.
And, now that the Occupy movement is becoming large, sustained, and threatens to expand, we are beginning to see national coordination against it. At the police level, there has been speculation and rumors about the involvement of the Department of Homeland Security and the FBI (see for example Naomi Wolf’s recent Guardian piece), which if they turn out to be true, should be of little surprise to us in the era of the Patriot Act.
The level of these agencies’ activity will be based on the size of the threat they perceive. Currently the Occupy movement is only just budding, so its threat to the state and the i status quo remains a suspended potential – we’re not yet sure what it can do, but we know it has the capacity to get things moving, as the recent victory over the TransCanada pipeline has demonstrated, as well as comments by Nancy Pelosi and Republican primary candidates (we’re part of the 99% too!).
Regarding the FBI, the DHS, and other federal agencies, we should have no doubts regarding the lengths they are able and willing to go to to suppress any movement they regard as sufficiently threatening. As a potent reminder, among other more recent ones, here is a copy of the FBI’s COINTEL program under which Fred Hampton (of the Chicago Black Panthers, image below) was assassinated:
As soon as people start getting organized enough to push the politically powerful in a direction they don’t want to go, we start to see them react. The fact that people at the federal level are reacting is a good sign – it means we’re becoming more powerful, and they know it.
A memo just surfaced outlining political strategies for containing the political impact of Occupy. The lobbying firm that authored the memo outlines several of the strategies, and for the low price of $850,000 offers to do extensive leg-work to counter the political impact of the movement. This includes an extensive “audit” of social media forums in order to learn what the movement is up to and anticipate its next moves; research to get dirt on anyone associated with Occupy that could be used to discredit it; and preemptive “creative concept options” to use in the media as talking points against Occupy.
The points to take away from this, in my opinion, is that
1) the fact that Occupy is getting response such as this (and the hundred other such documents and activities we do not know about) shows its effectiveness and should encourage us to do more of the same;
2) that the mainstream political machines will be doing their best to adopt Occupy rhetoric and solicit votes by showing how much they are interested in helping the 99% (even as they pull the rug out from under us, as we will have to remind each other as the “vote for Obama” bumper stickers start to reappear);
3) that this is only a glimpse of the strategizing going on behind closed doors, and we should assume there is much more of this sort of thing and other sorts of similar things in the attempt to squash, crush, repress, divert, fragment, neutralize, or nullify the movement, which for the time being still holds mass appeal and massive potential. Begin the games.
Here is the full text of the memo. Below are some excerpts. Below that is the video explanation by of the document MSNBC.