I got my copy of Occupy Unmasked in the mail on Friday. I watched it later that night and here are my thoughts. I’m not going to do a play-by-play, but the movie is broken into three acts. These are the areas that drew my interest or I felt were important to note but by no means cover as much as I’d like for one post. Regardless of how much you already know or think you know…You need to see it yourself!
Nuts and bolts:
Runtime: 75 minutes
Occupy Unmasked takes viewers into the Occupy Wall Street camps around the country from New York to Los Angeles providing a first-hand look at violence and intimidation occurring within them, as well as to expose those at the heart of the events and to reveal the highly orchestrated nature of the movement. Exclusive footage and eyewitness accounts document criminal activity and raw brutality in the camps the majority of these incidents have not been reported by the mainstream media, which has in contrast portrayed the Occupy movement as self-organizing and non-violent.
Occupy Unmasked features the conservative visionary Andrew Breitbart and journalists Brandon Darby, David Horowitz, Pam Keys, Anita MonCrief, Mandy Nagy, and Lee Stranahan. Written and directed by award-winning director, Stephen K. Bannon (The Undefeated, Generation Zero) and produced by David N. Bossie (Border War, Perfect Valor), Occupy Unmasked is a shocking indictment of one of the most controversial movements in American history.
Anyone unfamiliar with the week to week news coming out of Occupy will be rattled and appalled by what is presented in this film. For that matter, anyone who has swallowed the main stream media’s version of Occupy is also in for a shock. For me, having covered Occupy continuously since the initial ‘Day of Rage’ a year ago, there was not much that I hadn’t at least heard about.
The timeline, the participants and how the initial crowds were drawn were well presented. Anyone reading the NY Times, Rolling Stone or watching MSNBC might take pause when they realize the complicity of Natasha Lennard, Matt Taibbi and Dylan Ratigan’s roles in getting the ‘movement’ organized. Small wonder they media cuddled OWS.
I was glad the film highlighted not only how the crowds were drawn to Occupy, but who was drawn. The use of the young, frustrated and aimless college aged kids and the long-term unemployed as pawns was apparent to me from the start. I doubt it occurred to too many of them until they were being booked while the ‘organizers’ were out roaming free to plan the next riot, however.
Touching on SEIU’s Steve Lerner plans to crash Wall Street, and turn into what would eventually be Occupy, was also something that I doubt the average person would know about. It was ignored by the media almost completely. They were too busy fawning over what a ‘mostly peaceful’ movement is was and downplaying all the rapes, drug use, child abuse, theft and molotov cocktails.
The parts that I found most interesting dealt with Lisa Fithian. For the uninitiated, Fithian is the go-to girl for all your anarchist and crisis creating needs. She’s a frightening piece of work. Unsurprisingly, she’s BFF’s with the AFL-CIO. Some of her resume:
- Longtime community organizer and direct-action agitator
- A key organizer of the violent demonstrations that caused the shutdown of the 1999 WTO meetings in Seattle and later the WTO in Cancun.
- Served as a human shield in actions conducted by the International Solidarity Movement in the Palestinian cities of Jenin and Nablus
- Has accused Israel of “slaughter[ing] Palestinians every single day in Gaza and the Occupied territories” – See video from 2010 using OCCUPY language.
- Seeks to “create crisis, because crisis is that edge where change is possible”
- Is the top street-level organizer of the Occupy Wall Street movement
Also, the link in New Orleans made by the film was an avenue that was new to me. Via Discover the Networks, emphasis mine:
Since 2003, Fithian has served on the national steering committee of United for Peace and Justice. In 2005, she provided direct support and guidance for anti-war activist Cindy Sheehan at Camp Casey in Crawford, Texas. Thereafter, Fithian coordinated the Bring Them Home Now tour, which featured more than 200 anti-war events in 28 states during a 25-day period. After the tour, Fithian went to New Orleans and spent a year working with Common Ground Relief on projects designed to help victims of Hurricane Katrina.
Fithian says that she and others “who are trying to create a new world … have to dismantle or transform the old order” which is dominated by “the corporations [and] the big banks [that] have been destroying this country.” “I just fundamentally don’t believe it will ever serve our interests as it’s currently constructed,” says Fithian.
Citing the late-19th and early-20th century anarchist movement in Spain as her inspiration, Fithian refuses to limit her activism strictly to methods of nonviolent civil disobedience. “I am not a pacifist,” she says, explaining that “I was raised in this culture, which is a very violent culture and I understand that I have some violence in who I am.” In a similar vein, Fithian once told the Internationalist Socialist Review: “I have no issue with property destruction. I think sometimes it’s appropriate, sometimes it’s not. Again, I look at it strategically. Does this help us or does it hurt us? Does it help us achieve our goal, or does it not? We’re in a society where property is idolized, so a lot of people don’t get it yet that it doesn’t really matter. It’s just glass or products.”
Some of the conclusions of the film, that Occupy is not done and that violence is on the way along with a following potential race war, remain to be seen. Given what we’ve seen so far and who is running the show behind the scenes, the violence aspect of it is more than plausible. Occupy is a campaign of intimidation through confusion, violence and lawlessness. I guess that is why President Obama has given it his blessing.