The “99% Spring” Aims to Train 100,000 Activists

More than 60 progressive groups are uniting behind the effort known as "99% Spring" and are planning to train 100,000 people across the country in methods of non-violent direct action.

During the week of April 9 – 15th, leaders from the groups will converge to train young activists to tell the story of what happened to the national economy, learn the history of non-violent direct action, and use that knowledge to take action on campaigns to win change. Lead organizing groups include the United Auto Workers, AFL-CIO, National Peoples Action, The International Brotherhood of Teamsters, Rebuild the Dream,, and UNITE, the hospitality industry union. Following in the spirit of Martin Luther King, Jr. and Ghandi, the effort hopes to give young activists the tools to organize actions and follow in the footsteps of the Wisconsin Uprising and the Occupy Wall Street Movement.  In some areas the trainings are supported by OWS, in other areas they are not.

Trainers are gearing up for more than 900 gatherings taking place in 48 states over the span of one week. While each training will have its own local touch, a common curriculum ties all trainings in the 99% Spring together. Trainings will focus on economics, community-building, goals, strategies and tactics to mount campaigns, as well as techniques of nonviolent direct action. The Center for Media and Democracy's Mary Bottari will be in Chicago, April 14, helping with the economy curriculum and trainings of hundreds of activists there.

"The hope is that if people are not directly connected to campaigns, they will be able to take action locally for what is affecting them," said Joy Cushman a 99% Spring organizer and trainer.

For a complete national schedule, visit The 99% Spring and find out how to sign up to lead, host or attend a training.


The 99% spring is a well-funded attempt to co-opt the Occupy Wall Street movement and turn it into another Democratic Party booster club, like MoveOn. The "99% spring" is designed to fold into the Obama 2012 campaign and make sure the energy of OWS is either dissipated or co-opted for the Democratic Party. Please use your resources to look at the money backing this campaign and the motivations of the main organizations involved. Are they interested in actually removing the 1% from power and restoring democratic government, or do they have a track record of supporting the Democrats and encouraging people to choose between the two corporate-sponsored candidates?

It's wise to treat this configuration with the suspicion it deserves. "the groups will converge to train young activists to tell the story of what happened to the national economy, learn the history of non-violent direct action, and use that knowledge to take action on campaigns to win change" Who's story might that be? Move-on's involvement makes it hard to believe that this isn't an outreach program that will ultimately benefit our current reigning security apparatus. One of the finer qualities of the Occupy Movement was the fact that no one group successfully co-opted the uprising. A quality that should remain.

Not so fast, says activist and author [[John Stauber]], an expert in exposing corporate and political front groups. "What’s going on is very simple. Massive amounts of soft money from unions, wealthy donors and foundations such as the Tides Foundation are flowing into NGOs willing to help support the re-election of Barack Obama, and this MoveOn front group is key to whipping liberals and progressive activists into line to attack Republicans for the cause. The brand and energy of Occupy Wall Street are being coopted by MoveOn’s 99 Spring for this purpose,” he said in an interview. Here they go again. 99% Spring reminds me of the [[AAEI]] coalition, another [[MoveOn]] front coordinated by [[Tom Matzzie]] that worked with Nancy Pelosi in 2007 to see to it that the Iraq war was funded and used as a political stick to beat Republicans in 2008. Or the massively funded [[Health Care for America Now]] coalition backed by MoveOn in 2009 which made sure that single payer health care was ignored while the White House pushed its pro-insurance industry legislation derided as ‘Obamacare’. In this latest case, the so-called 99 Spring, MoveOn is enlisting other NGOs to create the appearance of a populist uprising from the Left, when it’s all about keeping the rabble in line and aimed at the Republicans to re-elect Obama. Want current evidence of the coordination among Obama and 99% Spring? The major campaign hook for Obama this week is the Buffett rule and "tax fairness." And MoveOn is urging the trainers of the 99 Spring to focus on tax fairness demonstrations as their first action. It couldn't be any more obvious. This is just Democratic Party manipulation of the so-called "movement" to re-elect Obama, a failed President for the 1%.

Check out [ this crtique] published April 12 at CounterPunch. I am quoted near the end: “Democratic donors and unions have — since the 2000 Nader/Gore/Bush election — flowed millions of election year dollars into non-profit organizations and liberal media to rally progressives and create an echo chamber that can impact politics in favor of Democrats. Clearly this is precisely what’s at play for the 99% Spring effort led by, Van Jones and other trusted Democratic Party collaborators. 99% Spring’s activities will surely be carefully and quietly coordinated behind the scenes to have a maximum positive impact in defeating Republicans and re-electing President Obama,” he continued. “These groups will claim independence from the 2012 Democratic campaign agenda, but the fact is that funding will flow to them simply to create buzz and the appearance of a movement that dovetails perfectly with Obama’s campaign rhetoric. For months we have seen Democratic advertising money flowing to loyal media collaborators such as on AlterNet, The Nation, Mother Jones, and others. Come December this big liberal election year slush fund will dry up, but until then the progressives who play this game will have plenty of cash for staffing, online media, and protest events aimed at Republicans. The feeding trough is overflowing for those who play this game every four years.”

Thanks for posting this, and your previous comment. It's helpful for all those in the Occupy movement who are too young to know what's really going on, to understand how it all works. Nobody knows better than you how the organizations you mentioned (and many more) make money out of the faux democratic process. They rely on it for their living and they'll do anything to ensure the propaganda is channeled towards keeping the status quo intact. The Counterpunch piece is excellent.

KPFA reported on the 99% Spring in Orinda, CA, which sounds very much like the Democratic Party operation that Counterpunch reported in "Yes, the 99% Spring is a Fraud," The Tri-Valley Democratic Club organized in Orinda. They say they're gonna go out and do some good, create some change. Really? They don't say what kind, but they say "There's a carpet in the White House that says the arc of the moral universe is long but it bends toward justice," and they want to nudge it just a bit further. At least the reporter asked one of the organizers whether Orinda residents could really be expected to sympathize with the 99%. Story at 18 minutes, 45 seconds. The city's property values are very high. The next Orinda 99% Spring nonviolent direct action will be outside a post office to thank Americans for paying their share of taxes. I wonder who they imagine is going to arrest them for that.

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