The true colors of the Occupy Wall Street movement are starting to shine through, both in actions and affiliations. The picture that is developing is one of increasing violence married with extremist affiliations that is anything but representative of the 99 percent of Americans the movement claims to stand for.
On Friday night in Washington, D.C., the Occupy protests turned violent when activists marched on the city’s convention center in opposition to an annual summit held by the conservative Americans for Prosperity Foundation. Forbes reports on the conflict:
Occupiers, many of whom had their faces obscured by masks or bandanas, began banging on the transparent glass walls and doors of the building, demanding entrance, then attempting to gain access by pushing their way in when guests came or went. Eventually all doors bar one at L Street were locked, with AFP guests and accredited press able to do nothing but stand inside and watch the clash intensify, with a line of police and security guards manning the locked doors at the Mt Vernon St entrance.
At one point, a 78-year-old woman who was attending the event was knocked down some stairs while attempting to get around the protesters, as this video shows. She reportedly wound up with a bump on her head and a bloody nose. One occupier forced her children into the center of the protest, and four protesters were injured by a car when they were intentionally obstructing traffic. D.C. Police Chief Cathy Lanier said of the violence, “That is no longer a peaceful protest” and that the protesters have become “increasingly confrontational and violent toward uninvolved bystanders and motorists.”
In New York, women were recently forced to set up a “safety tent” after a rash of sexual assaults and fear of more sexual predators joining the protests. In October, Baltimore occupiers discouraged women from reporting sexual assaults and rapes to the police. Also in New York, an occupier turned violent this week in a McDonald’s often used for bathrooms when the restaurant refused to give him free food.
These incidents follow violence last month in Oakland, California, in which protesters shut down a busy port, took over abandoned buildings, set fires, burned American flags, defaced private property and destroyed ATMs. And as the movement turns violent, news is emerging regarding the Occupy movement’s radical, left-wing affiliations.
Heritage’s Lachlan Markay reports that as the Occupy Wall Street begins taking in hundreds of thousands of dollars in donations, an organization known as the Alliance for Global Justice (AFGJ) has been retained to process the transactions. That group’s other activities and associations are cause for alarm:
The AFGJ provides ‘grassroots’ support for organizations that pursue ‘a socially, ecologically and economically just world,’ according to its website. Among its initiatives are efforts to encourage American soldiers to desert and an anti-George Bush organization founded by members of the Revolutionary Communist Party.
The organization’s president, Katherine Hoyt, leads the Alliance’s Nicaragua Network program, which supports the country’s Marxist Sandinista political party — and was founded for the explicit purpose of overthrowing the country’s government. Hoyt previously worked for the Sandinista government, and has written numerous scholarly works lauding the group. The Sandinistas ruled from 1979 to 1990. Their leader, Daniel Ortega, was elected again in 2006.
Another of AFGJ’s affiliates: George Soros. His Open Society Institute has given the group $100,000. The Occupy Wall Street movement has other supporters, too, including Big Labor. The AFL-CIO took out advertisements supporting the protests and, according to The Washington Post, “Labor groups are mobilizing to provide office space, meeting rooms, photocopying services, legal help, food and other necessities to the protesters.” And despite the violence and radicalism, it’s a movement that President Barack Obama and others on the left have been quick to support, too.
There is no doubt that Americans are suffering under tough economic times. The jobless rate under the Obama Administration continues to remain high at 9 percent while Washington is considering raising taxes to finance more government spending. Americans are right to be frustrated, to decry out-of-control bailouts and corporate subsidies, and to voice their concerns. Violence, though, is not the answer.
There have been over 3,000 arrests at Occupy protests since they began only eight weeks ago. President Obama and liberal congressional and grassroots leaders have been encouraging and inciting these protests. It’s time for these leaders to persuade their followers to stop destroying property and assaulting others–especially women. These acts do not constitute peaceful free assembly or speech.