The old-left’s exploitation of the Occupy movement has been monumental. As soon as Occupy started, they came out with their fangs showing and grasped all the power they could. They came from all sides- radical feminists, entryist marxists, and several flavours of watermelon environmentalists (green on the surface, red on the inside.) Each of them wrestled for some control so that they could be the vanguard of the ‘revolution’. It was quite the spectacle.
It’s over now, so we don’t have to worry any longer about their (mis)appropriating the movement- right? Well, there’s still one more thing left to be done- they need to write the history.
There are two great examples of the old-left taking ownership of Occupy’s history. The first, is a book called Occupy This!, the second is a documentary called Occupy Love. If you’ve been following the development of these two pieces, you’ll probably know they’re both connected to Judy Rebick. And, if you’ve been following the development of the Canadian old-left, you’ll probably already know that Rebick is the their poster child- she’s also one of their leaders.
Rebick’s star power helped the denizens of the old-left grasp power over Occupy Toronto. She seemed only to show-up at Occupy when the TV camera’s were rolling though. I’ve had ten Occupiers confirm to me that she never slept in a tent (they don’t think that she even stepped into one.) With Occupy Love, Rebick used her media influence to get a (glowing) review for the movie, she donated her star power when she travelled to Vancouver for the premier.
To quote Rabble.ca’s Ethan Cox “…the film boasts an impressive collection of talking heads.” I don’t normally agree with Cox – after all, he’s the guy who published CLASSE’s ridiculous overestimate that 80,000 people attended (it was more like 15-20,000) Quebec student march. But, in this case, I can totally agree with him- the collection of talking heads was impressive, they are also quite representative of the old-left.
Cox’s review highlights four people- three who I’ve written about her before: Naomi Klein, Judy Rebick, and Bill McKibben. When you look at the people connected to this film, it really shows you how incestuous the old-left are. It’s always the same cast of characters in every story (with one or two new ones for spice).
I first crossed paths with Velcrow Ripper at Harsha Walia‘s Occupy Condos rally in Vancouver. He came to film Naomi Klein campaigning to help save Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside drug dealers and poverty pimps. We had a short hello, he was very cordial, but I was uncomfortable with the company he keeps.
I wrote about Bill McKibben in my article questioning if the pipeline protesters are Obama’s useful idiots. He’s the leader of 350.org, an environmentalist movement that also has ties to Judy Rebick. Have you ever wondered if Judy Rebick is the old-left’s version of Kevin Bacon? If Ralph Nader’s testimony has any value (I think it does), McKibben is a real Obama man. Nader says he was at a demonstration where McKibben gave a rule there would be no negative talk about Obama- he was wearing an Obama pin at the time.
As I said, the old-left is quite an incestuous crowd…
There was a bit of controversy on Occupy Love’s Facebook page today. Jason Wettstein, an early participant in Occupy Vancouver, posted a comment there and it was subsequently erased. Jason wrote to ask for an explanation, and Ripper and his team started to play nice and accept a dialogue. Wettstein’s complaint was that he was unhappy to see an Occupy movie promoted at a bank-sponsored event.
Ripper came out with an interesting statement in response:
It’s interesting how Ripper jumped into self-defence mode when Wettstein mentioned the case of infiltrators. Never have I heard anyone call Ripper an infiltrator- personally, I think he’s just a pawn being used to fellate the vanguard. They’re giving him exposure to their celebrity status, and (from what I’ve seen in the trailers) he’s created a propaganda piece that will make Rebick tremble inside with old-lefty pleasure.
Ethan Cox added an important comment on the thread…
First, remember, this is Ethan “80,000” Cox. And, next, remember that Rabble has been caught telling some pork pies in the past. Judy Rebick was the founder of Rabble.ca- she still holds a lot of influence there to this day. As much as Rabble is the ‘attack dog of the (old) left’ they are equally their fellators and cheering squad. Keep that in mind if you take the time to read Cox’s glowing review.
If you do take the time to go there, you may want to watch the trailer. There’s one thing I agree with what Ripper said on the promo- Occupy was, at first, a modern Agora. I talked about this at Occupy Vancouver’s camp back in November- think it was the best pro-occupy plug I got into the media. Unfortunately, the Agora soon faded- right about at the point where the old-left’s entryists started to wrestle for control.
Let me ask you a question. If Judy Rebick says it’s okay for someone who has filmed a movie in the name of Occupy to premier it at a bank sponsored event, does that make it okay? What are they putting in the Kool-Aid at Rabble these days?
It’s not. In fact, it’s brutally perverse. First, the suggestion that because Rebick says it’s okay hardly makes it that. Next, why didn’t he premier it in front of a group of Occupiers- were they afraid of dissent?
So, when will ordinary Occupiers be able to see this movie- will it be anytime soon? Someone asked them this question on their Facebook page today- their response was that it will be available to the lumpkin proletariat sometime in early 2013- “When the film-festival circuit is over”. It’s uncertain at this time if ‘will be available’ means that Occupiers will have to pay to watch their own revolution. Let’s hope that Ripper has plans to make some sort of gesture towards the people who’s images he’s selling.
He could take a lesson from Tom Morello- he gave free tickets to all of Occupy Vancouver when he took our stage…
So, what are the Occupiers getting out of the movie? Are they giving credits to all of the people who helped them? The word on the Internet is that they aren’t- someone posted a flame war on pastebin where the producers of two other Occupy film’s argue over the finer points of copyright law (an excellent read).
One of the film makers, Jordan Boschman, says he was at Occupy Love’s premier and he made an interesting comment about their use of other people’s work:
“I was just at the world premiere of the commercial documentary Occupy Love … Not only did they use a number of clips (I lost count) from internet uploaders that they did not credit…”
Okay, wow. So they took some other Occupier’s work to an International film festival and they didn’t give the poor schmucks any credit? If this is proven to be true, it’s a hell of a story on it’s very own. I can understand that not every credit could be on the trailer- but, how about on the website, don’t the lumpkins deserve that?
Is this all starting to feel more like Hollywood than it is like Occupy? Well, there may be a reason for that…
Am I seeing things, or does this clip say that she produced not one, but two Michael Moore films. Isn’t he a poster boy for the old-left? Yep, and he’s been the focus of a lot of criticism for his jumping into Occupy. One has to wonder if he has had any input to Occupy Love. Perhaps by involvement, or maybe by osmosis through his relationship with Tait.
Tait appears to have had a very interesting background– on paper, she appears more as a part of the old establishment than an Occupier. She was Chief Operating Officer (the whip-master who gets things done) for Salter Street Film, a policy wonk for Telefilm Canada, and Canada’s Cultural Attaché to France. With a title like that, one can guess she rarely flew to Paris in coach- how would that look if someone saw her?
I wonder if she has any juicy stories to share with us about Nicolas Sarkozy. Oh, and by the way, Telefilm Canada’s name is on the backdrop behind Ripper’s head- right beside Fidelity Investment’s…
The vanguard of the old-left have begun feeding off of the movement’s corpse. Now they’ve finished picking at the meat, they’re building a paper-mache PR bubble on top of Occupy’s bones. They’re taking some ownership of Occupy’s history. As I said, it’s all rather perverse.
It’s a shame that many everyday Occupiers won’t be able to see Ripper’s movie until the DVD comes out. I think there was a missed opportunity here- it would have at least had some PR value for the movie. But, some Occupiers won’t be able to afford the cost of going to the film festival. And, the tickets are limited availability.
I think it would be a great gesture for Ripper to try and reserve some tickets for occupiers and donate some to those in need. It will be playing in Toronto on October 13th (no, I’m not kidding)- lots of people from Occupy Toronto would love to be there. Perhaps setup an extra screening for Occupiers?