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 . 
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.  "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.
- John Stauber, The Progressive Movement is a PR Front for Rich Democrats, March 15, 2013, CounterPunch.
- Charles Young, "Front Groups, Not Issues!" Yes, the 99% Spring is a Fraud, Counterpunch, April 13-15, 2012.
- Annon, "Fooled Again? MoveOn’s 99 Percent Spring, Obama and the Dems March in Lock-Step", Counterpunch, April 12, 2012.
- Edmund Berger , "Harnessing People Power: Co-Option at Work in America Today", Swans Commentary, April 23, 2012.
- Arun Gupta, "How to Rebrand Occupy", Truthout, April 30, 2012.
- Ann Robertson and Bill Leumer, "How Democrats Exploit Occupy: Don't Target Us!", Counterpunch, June 1-3, 2012.
- Insider, Movement Strategy Brunches: "Campaign Season" Never Ends for the Professional Left, CounterPunch, November 14, 2012.
Responses to Criticism
- Bryan Farrell, "Conspiracy theorist takes a swing at Tar Sands Action but misses", Waging Nonviolence, April 25, 2012.
- Mary Bottari, "99% Spring has Sprung: Shareholder Actions Underway Across the County", PR Watch, April 29, 2012.
- Joshua Kahn Russell and Harmony Goldberg, "New Radical Alliances For A New Era: How the Left’s talk of co-optation missed the real critical questions that 99% Spring offers our movements", Znet, May 9, 2012.
Response to Farrell and Bottari
- Edmund Berger, "Of Conspiracies, Critics, and the Crisis: Reflections on the 99% Spring", Dissident Voice, May 4, 2012.
- Sarita Gupta - Jobs With Justice
- Bob King - United Auto Workers
- George Goehl - National Peoples Action
- Ai-jen Poo - National Domestic Workers Alliance
- Justin Ruben - MoveOn
- Joy Cushman & Judith Freeman - New Organizing Institute
- Liz Butler - Movement Strategy Center
- John Sellers & Andrew Boyd, co-founders of Agit-Pop, - The Other 98%
- Mary Kay Henry - Service Employees International Union
- Richard Trumka - AFL-CIO
- Van Jones & Natalie Foster - Rebuild the Dream
- Rashad Robinson - Color of Change
- John Wilhelm - UNITE-HERE
- Phil Radford - Greenpeace
- John Cavanagh - Institute for Policy Studies
- Scott Reed - PICO National Network
- Tracy Van Slyke & Ilana Berger - New Bottom Line
- Lawrence Guyot - Veterans of the Mississippi Civil Rights Movement
- Julian Bond - SNCC Legacy Project
- Leo Gerard - United Steel Workers
- Daniel Cantor - Working Families Party
- Larry Cohen - Communications Workers of America
- Victor Sanchez, Jr. - United States Student Association
- Becky Tarbotton - Rainforest Action Network
- Randi Weingarten - American Federation of Teachers
- Brian Kettenring - Leadership Center for the Common Good
- Randy Jackson - UNITY
- Saket Soni - National Guestworker Alliance
- Bill McKibben & May Boeve - 350.org
- Sharon Lungo & Megan Swoboda - Ruckus Society
- Ian Inaba - Citizen Engagement Lab
- Patrick Reinsborough & Doyle Canning - smartMeme Strategy & Training Project
- Rachel LaForest - Right to the City Alliance
- Brigid Flaherty - Pushback Network
- Richard Hopson - Alliance of Californians for Community Empowerment
- Tim Carpenter - Progressive Democrats of America
- Bob Callahan - Change to Win
- Michael Leon Guerrero - Grassroots Global Justice Alliance
- Roger Hickey - Campaign for America's Future
- David Donnelly & Nicholas Nyhart - Public Campaign Action Fund
- Aaron Ostrom - Fuse Washington
- Jeff Ordower - Missourians Organizing for Reform and Empowerment
- Karen Scharff - Citizen Action of New York
- Marianne Manilov - Engage Network
- Bruce Klipple - United Electrical Workers Union
- Pablo Alvarado - National Day Laborers Organizing Network
- LeeAnn Hall - Alliance for a Just Society
- Leslie Moody - The Partnership for Working Families
- Teresa Cheng - United Students Against Sweatshops
- Arturo Carmona - Presente.org
- Robin McGehee & Heather Cronk - Get Equal
- Gerald McEntee - AFSCME
- Hugh Espey - Iowa Citizens for Community Improvement
- Patti Lynn - Corporate Accountability International
- Bob Nicklas - American Federation of Government Employees
- Aparna Shah - Mobilize the Immigrant Vote
- Celia Kutz - Training for Change
- Chris Gabriele - People Organized for Westside Renewal (POWER)
- Chris Hicks - Student Labor Action Project
- Corrine Fowler - Colorado Progressive Coalition
- Phaedra Ellis Lamkins - Green for All
- Lillian Walker Shelton - DC Jobs with Justice
- Tom Swan - Connecticut Citizen Action Group
- Sarah Weintraub - Vermont Workers' Center
- Judy Hertz - Midwest Academy
- Sondra Youdelman - Community Voices Heard
- Eric Byler - Coffee Party
- Victor Menotti - International Forum on Globalization
- Joe Hansen - UFCW International Union
- Sulma Arias - Sunflower Community Action
- Don Carlson - Illinois People's Action
- Jennifer Ritter - Lakeview Action Coalition
- Kirsten Moller - Global Exchange
- Bob Fulkerson - Progressive Leadership Alliance of Nevada
- Bruce Wright - Poor Peooples Economic Human Rights Campaign
- James P. Hoffa - International Brotherhood of the Teamsters
- Elspeth Gilmore and Jessie Spector - Resource Generation
- Pamela J. McMichael - Highlander Research and Education Center
- Pamela Twiss - TakeAction Minnesota
- Maura Cowley - Energy Action Coalition
- Steve Kretzmann - Oil Change International
- Will Tanzman - Southsiders Organized for Unity and Liberation
- Jodie Evans - CODEPINK: Women for Peace
- Steve Schnapp - United for a Fair Economy
- Ethan Rome - Health Care for America Now
Resources and articles
- ↑ The Progressive Movement is a PR Front for Rich Democrats, Joh Stauber, March 15, 2013, CounterPunch
- ↑ Counterpunch The Guns That Smoked: 99 Percent Spring: the Latest MoveOn Front for the Democratic Party, March 16-18, 2012.
- ↑ 99% Spring Who we are, organizational web page, accessed April 5, 2012.