99% Spring

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This article is part of the Center for Media & Democracy's spotlight on front groups and corporate spin.

The 99% Spring is defunct a year after its much ballyhooed birth in February, 2012. Its once rich website is now (March 11, 2012) for sale at online auction, today's high bid is $147: http://the99spring.com . [1]

In February, 2013 ago the website proclaimed this sort of hyperbole from paid organizers Liz Butler of Movement Strategy Center and Joy Cushman of New Organizing Institute : ""We’re growing a 99% Spring that’s going to change America. It’s not just a singular moment for our movement, but also an incredible opportunity for you. What could be more profound: going through an empowering, transformative training weekend, learning from some of the best trainers in the land, and then using your newfound skills to build the power of your community. Imagine if the 99% of us for whom this country is supposed to work came together as a unified movement for democracy and justice? What could happen if hundreds of thousands of us were willing to take nonviolent direct action to reclaim the America we love from the banks and lobbyists who’ve stolen it from us? Let’s find out. Become a 99% Spring Trainer."

Now, the website has been scrubbed clean, the massive "movement" put away, and the URL available to the highest bidder. So goes the Revolution!

99% Spring was a 2012 election-year front group for MoveOn, Van Jones and other tightly-connected individuals and organizations receiving funding from wealthy individuals and their foundations aligned with the Democratic Party. Its apparent purpose was to co-opt the image and language of the Fall 2011 Occupy Wall Street movement to mobilize opposition to Republicans and their funders and policies during the 2012 presidential election year. [2] "Smoking guns" supporting this idea include:

  • "A WhoIs domain name search yields that The99Spring.com was created on February 9 and the Administrative Contact is none other than MoveOn.org Co-Founder, Wes Boyd.
  • "A look at the bottom of the webpage shows the website was designed by Agit-Pop.com. Agit-Pop.com is the website for Agit-Pop Communications, a public relations firm which describes itself as “an award-winning one-stop creative studio delivering strategic messaging, cutting edge New Media and boots-on-the-ground campaigning to the progressive netroots.” At the very top of its list of clients? MoveOn.org, but of course.
  • "A conference call to prepare leaders for trainings will be lead by a MoveOn.org Field Organizer, David Greenson on March 14, according to a 99 Spring email blast.
  • "Smoking gun five: The 99 Spring sent out an email with a subject line that read, “Become a 99% Spring Trainer” from Liz Butler and Joy Cushman..."

The 99% Spring was launched February 15, 2012, with great fan-fare and declared to be a massive escalation via non-violent direct action to achieve the goals of groups from the anarchistic Occupy Wall Street demonstrations to MoveOn. Immediate criticism of it in articles featured on this page resulted in defensive articles, also found on this page.

As of February 15, 2012, one year later, the "massive" new mobilization is not even a footnote in history. It accomplished nothing notable, except perhaps to further divert mainstream news coverage of Occupy Wall Street to Democratic Party operatives like Van Jones. And that was obviously a major objective all along. While clearly the "movement" attracted the attention briefly of well-intended individuals and organizations committed to the ideals of Occupy Wall Street, they were left with nothing but the remnant of an online debate between those who saw through this front campaign from the start, and those who allowed themselves to be fooled, or were a funded part of it.

Other Criticism

2013

2012

Responses to Criticism

Response to Farrell and Bottari

Supporters

"The 99% Spring was launched February 15 with the following letter signed by over 40 movement leaders and organizations." [3]

Signatories

Contact

URL: http://the99spring.com

Resources and articles

Related Sourcewatch

References

  1. The Progressive Movement is a PR Front for Rich Democrats, Joh Stauber, March 15, 2013, CounterPunch
  2. Counterpunch The Guns That Smoked: 99 Percent Spring: the Latest MoveOn Front for the Democratic Party, March 16-18, 2012.
  3. 99% Spring Who we are, organizational web page, accessed April 5, 2012.