National Movement “Springs” in Sag Harbor

Posted on 12 April 2012

By Claire Walla

The 99 Percent Spring is a nation-wide movement aimed at motivating citizens to engage in non-violent, direct action to inspire change. Sounds like Occupy, right? Not quite.

“The 99 Percent Spring is the biggest spectrum coalition of community-based movements ever formed in the history of the United States,” pronounced Sag Harbor resident Michael Clarjen-Arconada.

In fact, he will be facilitating the very first 99 Percent Spring event here in Sag Harbor this Sunday, April 15 at the Sag Harbor Windmill. In conjunction with other “Spring” movements in other parts of the country, the Sag Harbor contingent will train attendees in non-violent, direct action methods.

With the advent of social media and the ease with which people can now connect across geographic divides, Clarjen-Arconada continued to explain that the “99 Spring” movement now encompasses organizations in most major cities from every single U.S. state.

Again, this is not the Occupy movement, he clarified. It’s bigger than that. The 99 Percent Spring is a national coalition made up of several grassroots organizations. This includes Occupy, but also extends to over 100 other groups. According to information on the coalition’s website, pledges of support come from national unions like the United Auto Workers and the United Federation of Teachers, as well as grassroots organizations and NGOs.

Clarien-Arconada, who has been participating in grassroots organizing for the past year, is facilitator of the East End working group. He, along with about a dozen others training in non-violent, direct action techniques, will facilitate the event on Sunday.

“We will go into an in-depth study of the history of non-violent methods,” he explained. This discussion might include figures synonymous with non-violent protest actions, like Ghandi and Martin Luther King, Jr., but Clarien-Arconada said other movements, like women’s suffrage at the turn of the century and the unionization of auto workers in Flint, Michigan in the 1930s.

“The training is about thinking globally, but acting locally,” he said.

Clarien-Arconada explained that the momentum for change, which is now manifesting itself as the 99 Percent Spring, was ignited in the public consciousness about a year ago with the Arab Spring, during which Egyptian citizens banned together in Cairo (primarily using social networking tools) and successfully overthrew the Mubarak regime.

That set off a firestorm of protests, including movements in other Middle Eastern countries and Europe, most notably Spain, which ultimately set the precedent for the Occupy movement here in the U.S.

More specifically, Clarien-Arconada said the group on Sunday will discuss various methods for bringing about justice, from non-violent protests in public areas to voicing discontent outside the homes of some of the “one percent-ers” who live here in the Hamptons. (Plans are currently underway for this direct action.) However, more direct action also includes becoming a vocal presence before local government.

Clarien-Arconada got involved with the national effort to bring about change last January, after having coordinated the screening of a film about the corruption in the banking industry, “Casino Jack,” at the Sag Harbor Cinema. Because of the success of the event, he was then invited to speak about grassroots organizing with over 1,000 others at a conference in DC.

“That was inspiring,” he said. “It [motivated] me to understand how a peaceful revolution could happen through the use of the Internet.”

Now, people representing all walks of life—from noble prize-winning economist Joseph Steiglitz to famed university professor Noam Chomsky—are helping to spur the movement forward.

While Clarien-Arconada said the goals are still in the process of being formed, he said what everyone is working toward is pretty simple: full transparency and accountability in the open government process.

“The idea is to create a new system,” he explained. “To plant seeds. This is the new civilization of ecological communities organized locally, from the bottom up.”

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5 Responses to “National Movement “Springs” in Sag Harbor”

  1. this is f**king rediculous says:

    PRESS RELEASE: Occupy the East End Rejects MoveOn.org Takeover Attempt
    April 8th, 2012

    Please disseminate to everyone in and interested in the Occupy Wall Street movement. Thank you.

    APRIL 8, 2012—FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

    OCCUPY THE EAST END TO MOVEON.ORG:

    WE WILL NOT BE HIJACKED!

    We had been silent. We had hoped that the organizations that are attempting to co-opt and dilute the Occupy Wall Street movement would stop. The Occupy movements across the country are fighting for better lives of the 99% of Americans who work for a living. We had hoped that these interlopers would recognize that what they are doing is wrong.

    But they have not done the right thing. Now it’s time to speak out and fight back.

    A Democratic Party-affiliated organization, MoveOn.org, is actively attempting to hijack the Occupy Wall Street movement. This brazen co-option attempt began by mimicking the Occupy movement’s terminology and rhetoric, not to embrace it, but to channel our movement’s energies toward backing Democratic candidates and policies. MoveOn says: “MoveOn stands in solidarity with the brave protesters at Occupy Wall Street, but we’re not Occupy Wall Street and we’re not trying to become Occupy Wall Street.” If that’s true, why are they posting articles with titles like “Which Corporations Occupy Congress?” and sponsoring events with titles like “We Are The 99%?” This is “Astroturfing”* at its worst. MoveOn is creating confusion on purpose.

    Ground Zero in MoveOn’s takeover attempt of Occupy is focused on the eastern end of Long Island in New York. Occupy the East End represents the OWS movement in the Hamptons and Shelter Island, which happen to be the most popular summer playground for the 1%.

    Its most recent attempt to co-opt our movement is by scheduling a “99% Spring Training” by a MoveOn front group called “99% Spring” on April 15, 2012 at the same location and time where Occupy the East End has been holding its General Assemblies since the group formed in October of 2011. Occupy the East End delivered an unprecedented unanimous block—every OEE member at the GA issued a personal block—to a MoveOn representative who “asked” OEE to participate—after MoveOn had scheduled the event. The MoveOn rep refused to change the date or time and informed OEE that “you will be taken over [by MoveOn] whether you like it or not.”

    We cannot be bought! We will not be co-opted!

    Moveon.org is a political lobbying organization that routinely backs Democratic candidates and was originally funded by the billionaire George Soros. MoveOn.org is considered the “lead lobbying group” for Obama’s reelection campaign, and has overt ties to various Wall Street entities.

    Occupy the East End is in no way affiliated with MoveOn.org, nor does it wish to become so. The attempt to take over OEE is a hostile takeover attempt to capitalize on the Occupy movement as a whole. Occupy Wall Street and Occupy the East End as a movement rejects the political system as a broken structure that needs to be overhauled from the bottom up.

    Occupy the East End urgently requests the support of all Occupations and occupiers to rebuff this attempt to CO-OPT OUR movement. All Occupiers are asked to join us at the Windmill on Long Wharf in Sag Harbor, NY on April 15, 2012 at 12:30 pm to make your voice heard at the General Assembly of the REAL Occupy movement!

    *Astroturfing: The creation of lobbying groups that appear to be separate from corporate interests, but that are actually funded by them. As opposed to “grassroots” political activism.

  2. Sag Harbor Native says:

    Its sad how misleading this 99% Spring/MoveOn garbage is. First of all what the heck is a facilitator of the east end working group? hahaha really?? As for Occupy being small I encourage anyone who reads this post to check out http://takethesquare.net/ this is OCCUPY. We are global and there are 1187 occupations in the US alone. Hey Mr. Leader Of 99% Spring people in Egypt don’t call it Arab Spring LOL that is the US MSM media’s name. If you actually knew anyone who was in Tahrir Square like myself then you would have know that. So much for teaching people facts about revolutions. Oh and it all started with http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mohamed_Bouazizi. Let us also not forget Iceland. BTW your event page has a max of 800 people ( keep dreaming) I have a question with all the millions of dollars of funding you have behind you I can assume you applied for a permit right? Or are you leading people into your fake revolution training only to be arrested. See we with OWS we think about things like that and we insure anyone attending anything we do is aware of their level of risk. You however seem to be misleading a whole lot of people in a whole lot of area’s. Wake Up!!! Is your training for the May 1 General Strike thats planned? I doubt it sounds like your training innocent people to go protest the RNC… Your in over you head sir. Way over your head. With that said your event page says that Occupy The Hamptons Occupy The East End are sponsoring your event. Thats a complete LIE. So right out of the gate your are telling lies.

  3. From a friend of a friend! says:

    Full solidarity for your anti-cooptation statement – I’m seeing endorsement from various autonomous political and Occupy groups – relative to MoveOn and other Dem Party front groups and NGO’s. The “99% Spring” – here in south FL the sponsoring group calls itself the Fair Share Alliance – exemplifies astroturfing to the core and follows the line taken by the leadership of the anti-worker SEIU when back in November it “joined” OWS – two days after endorsing Obama! – in demonstrations in lower Manhattan and on the Brooklyn Bridge.

    The real Occupy movement must continue to be built as an autonomous grassroots alternative to political and economic business as usual, or its existence is rendered meaningless, which is no doubt the sincere hope of the MoveOn crowd et al. The Democrats are helping take us all over a cliff environmentally and economically – literally serving the cause of working class annihilation! – and we must engage as intensely as we can at this point to raise awareness about their intentions re Occupy and more importantly about working class Americans. Whether Occupy can withstand the assault, I express with great concern, remains to be seen. But those of us who proudly claim the mantle of “radical” have been here before. We will persevere unlike the 99% Spring which is already stamped with an expiration date: Election Day, 2012.

  4. Darren Gengarelly SR. says:

    Where was everyone all winter? Did the movement need a nap? Whats worse than fair weather whiners? Good luck!

  5. Francesca Rheannon says:

    The 99% Spring is NOT a movement to coopt Occupy — it is a movement to expand its scope beyond the the purists so a real mass movement relating to the 99% of Americans who have been screwed by the system can organize for some real power. Unfortunately, I have seen the Occupy the Hamptons group become the Incredible Shrinking Organization because of the holier-than-thou purists who have formed the classic circular firing squad of the Left. Now they are attacking those who are working to create real change instead of contemplating how many radicals can dance on the head of a pin. The people behind 99% include the folks from the Institute for Policy Studies like Chuck Collins, who has been working against inequality and for economic justice for decades –with integrity and courage when nobody else was doing anything about it. The vitriol against this movement makes me suspect that the letter writers above are either working for the 1% — or might as well be doing so.


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