Thursday, October 13, 2011

Is #OWS George Soros' Version of the Tea Party?

"Huh?" you may be saying as you scratch your head on reading the title of this post. Or even, "WTF? I thought you supported the Occupy protests!"

I have, I did, and I do. But one of the things the Occupy protests seem to have in common coast-to-coast is the belief that their processes should be transparent--that their decision-making, via their General Assemblies, should be transparent. That's why the livestream videos so often show the various GAs in action.

There exists, however, the much-discussed (and universally execrated by the Left) ties of the Tea Party with the billionaire Koch brothers. It isn't the fact of the Koch brothers' wealth which is at issue in the minds of most people who deplore said ties; it's their having used their immense wealth in an attempt to directly influence American politics. Have you seen Occupy protesters carrying signs which read, "I am not a Koch-sucker!"? I have, several times, and in several locations, not just in NYC.

So for me, although I am not a Soros-basher, the idea that he, a billionaire in his own right, might have somehow been behind the whole Occupy movement, given that one of the things the protesters are protesting most loudly about is the undue influence Big Money has on American politics, would be . . . well, problematical, if not an actual show-stopper from my point of view.

What got me started on this was a blog post I read yesterday, which, oddly enough, had been tweeted by @Occupy_DC, with the comment that the tweeter agreed with some of the comments made in the post, but not all. You can read it here for yourself: The Occupation of Washington, DC. In it, Mr. MacDonald sounds to me to be more-or-less sympathetic to the Occupy movement, although that in itself doesn't prove anything one way or the other. Still, it gave me pause, enough that I decided to do a little online investigating of my own.

Of course, the allegation that the Occupy movement is a George Soros operation has been flung down by dyed-in-the-wool right-wing bloggers and media outlets online and offline, almost from the first. I won't include those examples here, because they're easy for anyone to find. Or just turn on Fox News at any given time, and you probably won't have to wait more than ten minutes tops before someone makes that allegation. With that in mind, here's another post I found: Occupy Wall Street: The Class War & The Nationalist Solution. The individual writing this doesn't seem to me to be quite as "non-partisan" as he purports to be, but I'll let that go. At any rate, if you read the post carefully, it seems the author is saying that one of Soros' foundations might have contributed minutely to the Canadian magazine AdBusters, which nobody has ever denied brainstormed the "Occupy Wall Street" idea in the first place, to the tune of $334,217.00. True, to a guy like me that's a lot of money, but in the great scheme of things it's barely a drop in the bucket, and the author doesn't even claim that any of that money was spent by the magazine on the Occupy movement per se. It's also true that this author makes the claim that a George Soros foundation did donate $4.2 million, indirectly, to the "U.S. Day of Rage" operation, whatever that is exactly (I'm still not too clear on that), but it's also true that the original "occupiers" in NYC have always, at times, acted in concert with other groups without espousing those groups' entire agendas--the big unions being a classic example of this.

Then this morning I saw a Reuters story which you can read here: Who's behind the Wall Steet protests? In general, I respect Reuters' reporting, and this case is no exception. I've found in the past that they usually do have their facts pretty straight before they start making accusations, but I think that this except, ". . . the group that started it all may have benefited indirectly from the largesse of one of the world's richest men," says it all.

Whatever may be the case with the "US Day of Rage" protest or any other protests or movements taking place which are not of the right-wing specifically, it still appears to me that if George Soros had anything whatsoever to do with the original Occupy Wall Street in terms of financial backing, it could only have been indirect and very minimal, if even that. It seems even clearer and more incontrovertible that neither Mr. Soros or his money have had anything at all to do with the various "Occupy" protests now ongoing, or being planned, across the country.

So why bring it up at all? If you've followed me on Twitter or read this blog for any length of time, you'll know that, while I am not myself a protester, while I am in no sense an "insider" where the movement's concerned (and that even extends to the protest taking place closest to me geographically, in Indianapolis), I do support what these people say they are trying to accomplish. And although I'm only a very ordinary, uneducated man, my good name, such as it is, is important to me. I support these people because, even though I don't always agree with everything they say or suggest, I believe the vast majority of them to be people of integrity, searching for honest answers.

If I thought for a moment that I'd been somehow "bought," even in a good cause, I'd say so in a hot minute, and so, I believe, would most of the people involved with these protests.

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