Former Occupier alleges OWS cult, rape cover up, financial fraud
Former Occupier Justin Samuels is talking. Some in OWS may not like what he has to say. But others would agree and Justin’s story may explain why OWS numbers and support have plummeted.
Justin joined Occupy in October 2011, not long after it started in September. Pro labor, Justin was interested in improving conditions for working people. A New York screenwriter, Justin wrote of the excitement of seeing people from all walks of life meeting together and interacting in the park in October.
But his excitement soon soured when rapes began to occur in the park and he was not happy with the Occupy response to the problem. “Obviously a number of people became concerned for their safety,” Justin said.
According to Justin, “people who call themselves “anarchists”” thought this should be handled internally. “That women raped should not call the police and this should be handled by Occupy. That police are the enemy and anyone who wants to talk to them is bad”.
As a result, many women left Occupy.
Rise of the Anarchists
As time went on, Justin recalled, the anarchist elements in Occupy seemed to drive anyone else out. Despite the fact that OWS received reportedly up to $750, 000, Justin noted that they refused to buy or rent apartments/ housing in which core occupiers could stay, primarily because their financial sponsor, Alliance for Global Justice, was opposed to it. However, they then paid a lot of money to churches to house the occupiers. Occupiers could stay overnight but then had to get out at 7 am and stay out all day, even in the winter. The reason for all this convolution may have been an attempt to get around the tax prohibition of not using donations for personal use, but it ended up being used for personal use anyway, seemingly in violation of tax prohibitions.
Justin noted in fact “the anarchist elements were even against homeless occupiers with medical or psychiatric problems applying for state resources like medicaid (and other forms of public assistance)”. He came to believe that they didn’t want people to get jobs or help, because if they did, they might leave the movement.
When suggestions that the poor find work came up in occupy, the anarchists referred to all jobs and all work as wage slavery. Never mind some of these young anarchists who wanted to prevent homeless people from getting jobs or access to social service resources are living at home being supported by their parents. Never mind that other anarchists used money from the general fund to support themselves. Their activism was basically an attempt to avoid having to work.
Questions have been raised about the money coming into OWS almost since it began. Money came in multiple ways, including through walk up donations at the park to contributions online by credit card. Over time, as was noted, a substantial amount was raised.
But concerns were never allayed and continue to this day, even with the money virtually expended. Despite demands by OWS that banks be transparent, it seems Occupy’s financial house was itself never quite in order, with Occupiers themselves continually asking for answers and feeling unhappy with the responses.
Various Occupiers in multiple meetings have alleged problems, lack of receipts, lack of transparency. Also the regular general assembly (GA) meetings at which such matters would normally be discussed have been discontinued so it is even harder to ask and get answers. Before going moribund, the GA put a freeze on new expenditures.
In one dust up exchange on the NYCGA (New York General Assembly) website about a week ago, Sean McKeown, offered the following defense of why there isn’t the desired “transparency”:
“There is a very simple reason we don’t have financial transparency – actions we were supplying with physical materials were not, 100% of the time, LEGAL. Receipts for canvas and paint three days before a banner drop could credibly be used in court against someone, so all along (without so much as a formal proposal, for those of us who come from outside of anarchistic culture and came after Day 1) the accounting plan of action has been to prevent information from seeing distributed posting unless it is absolutely necessary because people could go to jail.”
McKeown called it “security culture” accounting as opposed to “radical transparency” accounting. He then talks of Finance/accounting becoming an “affinity group”, which means the finance group would no longer be a working group and thus could theoretically operate independently not bound by the dictates of the GA.
Sean spoke of “trusted people” handling the action currently as opposed to the input from all that the GA represented:
while the group as a whole continues on with its work using highly distributed networks of individuals – essentially “trusted friend networks” – to assist with decision-making and mutual aid, distributed action and distributed decision-making still leading to forward progress even without a centralized decision-making body.
Justin said that finance actually blocked a number of proposals that had to do with activism but passed items that in his opinion made Occupiers dependent.
Finance had no problem with programs like church housing, free food, metro cards, clothes, medic, but they opposed attempts to start co ops. Co operative business might have led to formal employment for occupiers, and this was opposed by the anarchists who control finance.
That dependency came to be cult like, Justin recalled. Everything had to be done by consensus. “There was an almost religious devotion to arcane anarchist principles, regardless of whether they made sense”, he noted. Isolation from the rest of the world was encouraged by camping in parks and abandoned buildings so that members would have just each other, leaving aside any outsiders. Since many came from out of town, this further added to their dependence and connection to the group.
Some came with some mental or physical issue that was not attended to and which got worse while they were at Occupy. People were encouraged to go to “medics” that were voluteering with the group but who often had no real medical background, Justin said, as opposed to going to real doctors.
Media, discussions and tweets by Occupiers buttress Justin’s assessment. It is “us against the world” mentality, an almost holy cause, only we are the awakened ones who must awake others, this sense of holy quest bonding people together and giving them affirmation and meaning. They internalized the ethos that much of the world was out to do you wrong-media not to recognize you, banks and the evil 1% who just want your money. Police worst of all want to oppress you and brutalize you on behalf of the evil 1%. All in a conspiracy to control us. We must rise up in the streets to overthrow the control.
In the infamous Tom Cruise video about Scientology he talked about how as a Scientologist, one could “create new and better realities”. In Occupy’s reality, we live in a police state tied to the wheel of wage slavery, with the pittance allowed by our masters. It is the classic cult technique of redefining the world and what words mean, something of which L Ron Hubbard, the founder of Scientology was fond. Police are violent and brutal if they wear riot gear. Occupiers who smash things aren’t violent. Violence can only be against a person but not against property. Thus they can say this is a non-violent protest, and mean it in their parlance, because smashing what they view as the power of the state is not violent.
All the issues finally caused Justin to leave in March. He and others are calling for a full vetting of all the finances. He also encouraged further investigation into the rapes and urged those who haven’t done so yet to come forward.