Posted by: Ann Corcoran | April 19, 2012

Reader gives us inside look at one of those 99% spring training sessions….

…..for your laugh of the day!

You’ve surely heard something about them—Occupy, MoveOn.org, and unions have joined forces to train radicals for “action” this year.   Maryland Leftist agitators had a bunch of those training sessions last week as we see they bragged about on Progressive Maryland‘s website (here):

Progressive Maryland is proud to support the “99% Spring Action Trainings.” Occupy, USAction, MoveOn and a hundred other labor and progressive organizations are holding 1,000 action trainings in colleges, homes, and public spaces across the nation. Inspired by Occupy Wall Street and the workers fight in Wisconsin, 100,000 people are being trained to share and learn what happened to our economy, the history of non-violent action, and use that knowledge in campaigns to win change. PM publications editor Herb Ettel (seated left above) took part in Takoma Park.

Now, thanks to a reader who attended a workshop we have a clearer picture of what really happened at one “action training” session in Maryland (emphasis added is mine):

Boring from Within

“Boring from Within” … that’s what we five undercover activists thought we were doing on a beautiful Sunday afternoon when we attended a nearby “99% Spring Training” event.  But the event itself was what was boring!  After nearly two hours, the last of our group fled the encampment, scratching our heads over how in the world this confab of discontents was going to impact  each other, let alone the “1%”.

The MoveOn.org website showed that this particular event had 87 people registered.  As we’ve found with other leftist groups, they exaggerated the predicted turnout.  We counted about 33 people, including the 3 leaders and the 5 of us.  What stood out was the lack of diversity:  the group was overwhelmingly white and the mean age was 60+.  The only 20-something attendee was among the first to flee the premises within the first hour.

Before the session began, we were given The 99% Spring Training Guide, a 60-page black and white manual complete with photographs taken by Andrew Stern.  (And you wondered where he went after SEIU?)  The manual declares, “This training is a beginning, not an end,” and offers to work with anyone who wants to “implement a higher-risk action” (undefined).

Setting the pace for the afternoon, the leaders started the meeting about 15 minutes late, and they got farther behind as the day went on.  Not only did they lose control of the schedule, they began to lose control of the audience when a few people spoke up to ask, “What’s the agenda here?  Why are we are?”

We felt like we were at one of the “Occupy” camps, with people demanding to know what the objectives of the meeting were, who the 99% really is, how we’re supposed to be organizing, etc.

Undaunted, the leaders took to the flip chart, appointed a scribe, and proceeded to list “Group Agreements”, based on audience suggestions.  The first brave soul asked just who are the 99%?  Somehow a consensus formed that the 1% were people with “$5 million liquid”  (Huh?).  One of the leaders  implied that anyone making over $250,000 was part of the 1%.  Other “Group Agreements” included:  stay on topic; use inclusive language, such as “our government”; equalize time for everyone; respect others; stand when possible; and limit speaking time to 1 minute.  Someone advised that what we say, stays in the room, like “stays in Vegas”, which prompted another attendee to blurt out, “Please!  No advertising!!”  You get the idea ….

Some brighter bulbs became restive, and demanded to know what the day’s agenda was.  A leader replied authoritatively, “We know what the agenda is, and we’ll get to that as soon as we finish the Group Agreements.”  Her colleague chimed in, “Let’s celebrate this moment of unity!”

A leader wanted to know what people’s dreams were.  (She was following the training manual.)  Some of the dreams were:  do away with inheritance, medicare for all, fairness, end racism, and don’t buy Koch brothers products!

One of our activists offered that she and her daughter loved to read Free to be You and Me, celebrating individuality.  The audience murmured in agreement, and someone said this meant celebrating diversity.  Not long afterward, someone spoke about the “common good”, which prompted our activist to ask, “Well, isn’t that in conflict with Free to be You and Me?”  We moved on to the next topic.

Next, the leaders wanted to hear about people’s challenges, like foreclosure and economic problems.  What they wanted were sob stories.  As time went by, we didn’t really hear about sob stories.  In fact, some people thought they might be part of the 1%, and wanted to know what they could do to help the oppressed.  “Everybody should get something,” someone opined.

One couple got up and left …. followed by another attendee about 10 minutes later.  The audience was not holding.

After more comments like, “Capitalism is the root of our problems” and “Paul Ryan is a 1% wannabe”, we broke for a break, and a few more people broke for the door.

I decided to stay and tough it out, at least for one more segment.   One of the leaders showed me a written agenda, where I spotted “Singing and Dancing” at the end .. close to 6:30 PM!  It was then almost 3.

After the break, a leader read dutifully from a spiral bound manual, and in so doing, re-wrote economic history, blaming Ronald Reagan for our woes.  Someone complained that we knew all this, and wanted to move on to the guest speakers.

Up next:  a former congressional candidate from VA, and Democrat activist with Progressive Democrats of America.  She warned about the coming “Southernization of America”  (maybe that’s with a “k”?), with photo ID laws at polling stations turning us back to the Jim Crow days.  Most of her firepower was aimed at ALEC, the American Legislative Exchange Council.  Readers may recall that ALEC is the latest target of economic terrorism because of its support for legislation that the Left doesn’t agree with.  Coke, Pepsi and Mars reportedly have pulled out of ALEC.  (You may want to learn more about this, and think about a counter-offensive.)

To sum up this speaker’s presentation:  ALEC wants to roll back everyone’s rights, destroy unions, destroy education, and “destroy the environment until no one is left to fight it.”  (Yes, that is a quote.)

Moving along, the next speaker was a popular host on a local radio station, who implored everyone to be non-violent in the spirit of Gandhi and Martin Luther King.  Someone added that Gandhi was also about “non cooperation,” and seemed to imply that we needed to stop cooperating with policies we don’t like.

At this point, another break was announced and I fled the occupation to enjoy what remained of a bright, sunny afternoon.

Note to readers!  Did you attend an activist training session?  If so, we would like to hear from you.  If you haven’t attended one of these sessions, please learn a little about the Delphi Technique before you go.


Responses

  1. I’d like to clarify something. The “99% spring” is not officially endorsed by Occupy Wall Street. The General Assembly in NYC, the hub of activist activity, has not endorsed the “99% spring.” As for the activity itself, it is sponsored by numerous activist groups and some that are partisan. I am divided on the “99% spring” because some say it is co-option of the Occupy movement and others say it will improve it. As for now, I’m just going to sit and wait and see what happen. I might go to a training just to see what it’s like. I do appreciate the criticism of the event provided on this blog because others can see an opposing or concuring opinion.


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