For the most part, the Occupy Movement has flourished without much official opposition, albeit skirmishes with police officials. But, with famed Zucotti Park almost fully cleared out, many are now left to wonder if the movement can even make it through the winter.
On the surface it would look as if, similar to what’s been articulated on our site already, the Occupiers have realized their 15 minutes of fame. With New York’s Zucotti Park almost cleared out, the Occupy movement appears to have reached its peak. Yet, a memo that’s been making its rounds could reinvigorate a cause that many believe is on its last legs.
The memo in question is a four-page briefing from lobbying firm Clark Lytle Geduldig & Cranford (CLG&C) addressed to the American Banker’s Association—the face of the U.S. banking industry in Washington. The memo is perhaps the first real evidence we’ve seen, since the Occupy movement took flight in September, Wall Street sympathizers are attempting to mobilize a formidable resistance that can render the Occupy movement obsolete.
For those unfamiliar with the CLG&C, it’s a right-leaning lobbying firm that employes a number of individuals with direct ties to Republican leadership, including current House Speaker John Boehner. One of the firm’s namesakes and partners, Sam Geduldig, is apparently famous for knowing “how to kill legislative threats to his clients.”
If Geduldig’s lobbying prowess isn’t enough to scare Occupiers and their supporters in Washington, then the contents of his firm’s memo could do the trick. The document—leaked this weekend but intended to be sent to the ABA on Thanksgiving Day—essentially outlines a $850,000, 60-day, five-pronged strategy for undermining the Occupy movement before it can substantially influence the upcoming 2012 presidential race.
And, what exactly does the firm’s plan entail? It includes conducting survey research in key election states; opposition research aimed at uncovering the movement’s funders, extremist leaders and other key players so that negative propaganda can be created; utilizing social media tools to anticipate OWS campaign strategies; building a coalition of supporters; and, perhaps most importantly, getting their message out their through paid advertisements and smart placement.
Occupiers Move Out of Zuccotti and Fringe
The CLG&C’s memo was apparently a reaction to the fact that Democratic strategists are considering embracing the Occupy movement as part of the party’s 2012 campaign strategy. Even scarier for the CLG&C is the prospect that the Republican party—a group that’s historically supported both Wall Street and big business—could also begin to turn against Wall Street firms.
“It shouldn’t be surprising that the Democratic party or even President Obama’s re-election team would campaign against Wall Street in this cycle,” charged the memo’s first page. “However the bigger concern should be that Republicans will no longer defend Wall Street companies—and might start running against them too.”
According to the CLG&C’s memo, a national campaign is necessary to make something clear to politicians OWS-sympathetic politicians: go ahead and criticize banks, but just know that doing so “will carry a severe political cost”.
Jeff Sigmund, a spokesman for the ABA, told us that CLG&C’s proposal was unsolicited and his organization has no plans to act on any portion of it. Still, the proposal could reinvigorate the Occupy movement the same way images of police brutality in various Occupy cities across the country (most recently at UC Davis) has done in recent weeks. Regardless of the ABA’s position on the memo, some very powerful people are attempting to create a very well-oiled machine to counter a movement that, ironically, many of its opposers view as sophomoric and aimless.
Lucky for those supporting the OWS cause, the ABA isn’t buying what the CLG&C is selling. But, there are certainly enough trade organizations and Wall Street-friendly groups left to pitch, and plenty of time left for CLG&C to find rally powerful support.
Still, the memo serves as more proof that greater forces than the Free Wall Street movement are at work to undermine the Occupy movement. Some say one’s strength is best judged by the strength of an individual’s enemies, and judging by the CLG&C’s memo the Occupy movement is far from irrelevant.
This story first broke on MSNBC by Chris Hayes.