1st February 2012
Post with 2 notes
OLAASM was established in direct response to, and protest against, the undemocratic, extremely opaque and hierarchical structure of the OLA Media Team. There are, of course, other reasons why the site was established, which are outlined in our opening article. We would not like OLA Media to think they get all the credit for our ingenuity. However, we’d like to take the time now to recap upon the issues surrounding the Media Team, particularly since the inception of OLAASM has led to a storm of slanderous and bizarre accusations against OLAASM - accusing us of being everything from undercover cops, to CIA, to dangerous provocateurs attempting to incite violence.
1. OLA Media and Social Media is not, and never has been, transparent.
The one ‘advertised’ meeting is held offsite, on Sundays. This meeting was only ‘advertised’ after intense pressure from Radicals in the movement demanded to know why Media, Social Media and PR, never held meetings. They have, admittedly, livestreamed these epic three hour meetings, but their minutes are inadequate.
2. OLA Media and Social Media is not inclusive.
Unlike all other OLA committees and the worldwide Occupy movement, OLA Media restricts membership. You can have no input into the committee unless you adhere to a strict and punitive system of rules and complicated voting structures, as outlined here.
3. OLA Media and Social Media is hierarchical and autocratic
We are a leaderless movement. This means individuals who rise up to a leadership position must use that earned social power to empower other individuals, and rotate out at an appropriate time to prevent the concentration of power. This has never happened in Media and Social Media, which allows only those who have been there the longest to take positions of power, to ‘vote’ and to have control over that committee. Social Media has been run primarily by an individual calling herself Liz Savage, or Beth Kempf. Beth also declares herself “No. 2” in Web, which is “run” by an individual called Brian Rushing who uses the pseudonym Daniel Dillinger. These two do not run on consensus, but make autocratic decisions concerning who has access to the site. Numerous individuals have been removed from the site after “pissing Beth off”. None of these decisions to remove individuals have been reached through consensus. Here is an email Beth recently sent out to the OLA listserve:
————— Forwarded message ————— From: Beth OLA Web/Social Media <email@example.com>Date: Tue, Jan 31, 2012 at 12:25 PMSubject: ********** and Kylene Wolenstein To: Occupy LA Media Team <firstname.lastname@example.org>Both of them need to immediately be banned and denounced from OLA media. PERIOD They seem to be working in tandem with other troublemakers from other occupations… or is that just fucking coincidence too
Here is an edited version of an email sent to us after we inquired whether we could write on the Occupy LA site:
————— Forwarded message —————From: <email@example.com> Date: Thu, Jan 26, 2012 at 12:25 PMSubject: [Occupy Los Angeles] So I see you came for the challenge.To: firstname.lastname@example.orgHello OLAASM, Great! I will give you contributor status to write blogs, post photos, ect. I hope that with this status you will use it for debating your stance, and not pissing me off, as you know, that will get you deleted. tent. And stop complaining to me.
Here’s a typical response of Beth / Liz to anyone who inquires about social media or the website (we included the query this was in response to):
What do people think of the idea of adding Occupiers court dates and detailed information (location, department number, time, etc) to the www.occupylosangeles.org website, to maximize support for our arrestees and also provide info for the press on where to go? Temperature check? I should have access to the calendar on the website. I can do the data entry. Idea came to me while I was sorting through all these legal Occupy documents.
Beth / Liz’s response:
You do not decide what goes on the web site and what does not. You were removed from the web team for violating our policies. We do not allow people to delete others content because they do not like them, and we certainly don’t allow people on our team who make constant personal attacks on people to the point of it being presented in MSM. Not only that, but even from just the emails I receive and was forwarded I am disgusted by the way people are acting, demanding things, and thinking they can be our new fascist leader. If someone wrote me up listings of when and where the court dates are, I would be more than willing to put it on the website, however many have asked their personal info, names, ect not be passed around, as others see no issue doing this, without asking. I am not sure who put this email on the listserv, but whoever it is owes me money as I have lost work, and many hours of my life over nonsensical bs. My phone number was also given out which is violating our principles of solidarity. My privacy has been totally annihilated and it sucks. I deal with over 400 emails a day on most days which now takes up 4-5 hours of my time, and I am working more than 70 hours a week on the website, social media, and other occupy related work. I am disgusted by the amount of people being pushed away from this movement, including new people who saw the listserv and ran. I don’t want some snarky comments, or threats from lawyers as it doesn’t scare me. I want you to stop wasting my time and others as it seems to me you have very little to contribute to this team other than to derail things. if that’s not the case prove me wrong. Until then, peace, I will be working. FOR FREE. Thanks. Beth Lizsavage.email@example.com
PR has been ‘run’ by the same people since day one. Fortunately, they have had the grace to listen to the Radical call for openness and transparency and have made efforts to reduce autocratic power and open up the committee. The OLA Times has been ‘led’ by Mario Jefferson, and has never announced their meeting times on the listserve, on a website, or at a GA. Media, with its numerous factions and divisions, has been ‘led’ by Clarke Davis and Lisa Clapier.
4. OLA Social Media and Media are divisive
While we may not always approve of the precise wording of arguments made by Radical comrades such as Craig Toennies, Jared Iorio and Ruth Fowler, they undoubtedly have a valid point. The Social Media team has often used their access to the public to both belittle and discourage participation in actions organized by people the Social Media Team personally do not ‘like’. Requests for transparency, openness, horizontalism and questioning the way a committee functions, does not constitute a personal attack - but has resulted in personal responses by individuals which are attacks. Toennies’ humorous, if hostile, questions about the purpose of Social Media either refusing to help publicize, or actively discouraging participation in, select actions, has resulted in a stream of hostility directed at him by a member of Social Media - one Griffith Fuller. This same individual threatened Craig, Jared and Ruth in person at a General Assembly, in front of members of Social Media - PJ Davenport and Patti Beers. Both Patti and PJ refused to acknowledge his aggressive behavior, even when Griffith went into his bag, pretending to pull a gun out of it. Griffith is responsible for this anonymous email sent to the listserve:
Hey Kool Kidz-
Congratulations on the new website! I’m really liking it. You’ve
got some brilliant articles and great critiques. Obviously, you are trying
really really hard to draw attention to yourselves. I see a lot of potential in
your little project there, so I wanted to chime in and encourage you to keep it
up! Also, really liking the Twitter feed too. Totally lol’ed like 3 times. I
just wonder though, do you need to be that self indulgent and cruel all the
time? You don’t actually mean all that stuff you tweet, do you? I’m
guessing it’s probably that low grade coke you’ve been snorting over at the
occupartment that is making you do it. I totally understand.
Anywayz, I also want to commend you on how radical you’re being. I
mean- a snarky Twitter feed AND a Tumblr blog too; now that’s fukin
revolutionary!!!! Che and Karl would be blown away! Now if you could only get a
Facebook page, a Youtube channel, and a few decent reviews on Yelp!, the
dominant systems of economic exploitation and social repression would instantly
These fukin “reformist liberals” that are oppressing you within the
occupation are like totally lame. You would be getting way more accomplished if
they were never here. I don’t know how you can stand their vapid chants and
marches. Love how you hold them accountable for their privilege by tweeting
from your iphone…. Fukin radical!. They never saw that coming, I’m sure.
You made me see that they are our true enemies –not the multinational
corporations and corrupt government officials who have been screwing us for
years. Thank you!
I’m now sure that these “reformist” people who slept next to you
in public space, helped feed you and got arrested when you got arrested are
typical of the “liberal class” that we should have recognized and despised
all along. These are truly the type of people that Chris Hedges finds
repugnant. (BTW, You have obviously read his work closely; Hedges loves Twitter
and Facebook. Have you followed and friended him yet?) Nonetheless, you are
fully entitled to their support for everything that you feel like doing, even
if they don’t agree with it. After all that’s what a consensus based
movement is all about right? Trying to convince people with reasons and
arguments through mutually respectful dialogue is like way harder than talking
shit about them over social media, so why even bother?
Slander and innuendo are always the best ways to convince people over
to your side. That’s the true meaning of solidarity. I’m sure if you
backstab enough of them, they’ll eventually see things your way. If they
don’t, and instead a permanent divide emerges in OLA, no one can hold you
responsible; you are clever enough and brave enough to stay totally anonymous.
None of us really meant what we said about transparency in the first place, and
trust me; no one will ever have a clue who you really are.
We were all lost in a sort of “No Man’s Land” (©2008) until your
blog and Twitter came along. I’m so excited that you are bringing the focus
of the movement back to where it should have been all along: petty infighting
and personal attacks on the people who you pretended to respect and work with;
some of them even considered you friends. This is definitely the way to build
a powerful and successful social movement. I’d love to join your club
someday; maybe I’ll run into you guys at Jalisco’s. I always get horny for
tranny sex after I’m blown from snorting a couple lines, so I’m there a lot
I’m gonna try to keep up with your blog and twitter, and post regular
feedback to help keep you on the right track. I’m flaky and get bored real
easily though, so be sure to keep your content extra- smartassed, that way
I’ll stay interested.
With Love and radical Uber-Solidarity,
Quick question: My friend is a disabled, black, homeless, HIV positive,
unemployed, immigrant lesbian prostitute. She just finished her M.A. at
Oxford. Do you think there is any chance she might be unprivileged enough to be
your new leader? I told her that you have pretty high standards as far as that
goes, but you might let her start by sending the Facilitation emails telling
people that you decided their GA proposal won’t be heard for some obscure
reason. Or maybe she could be the one who tells people why their hardblocks
don’t count anymore unless you and your bros think they do? If not, is there
anyway one of you could marry her so she doesn’t get deported? Let me
and this anonymous twitter account @AgBlink - which is - or was - followed by the official Occupy LA account, and Liz Savage, PJ, Patti Beers and other Social Media members, until we called them out on our Twitter account @OLAASM
This small summary highlights why we at OLAASM continue to defend The Principles of Solidarity and call out all those in the movement who deliberately contravene these principles. We believe they do so not out of a twisted desire to destroy the movement (although the fruits of their efforts have been divisions and mistrust) but out of a misguided impulse to control and lead the movement, use it as a vehicle for personal advancement. They speak for people because they do not quite believe many of us are capable, and ready to speak for ourselves. This is establishment thinking. We believe OLA Media and Social Media is controlled by a small number of individuals who have a lot to offer this movement, but are still bound by the old ways of thinking, and hence resistant to consensus, collective decision making and relinquishing the power they quickly accumulated when this movement was still young. We believe that when they embody the Principles of Solidarity and make an effort to step down so that others can step up, they will truly be our comrades.
Until then, OLA remains a divided movement.
Until criticism and dissent is viewed as a useful tool for improving personal and collective accountability within this movement, we will continue upon a vicious cycle of abuse and victimhood. The answer?
Rotating membership. Social Media and Media makes a concerted effort to recruit and train new members at GA’s, at open, regular meetings, on the listserve, by listening to criticism and welcoming it as an opportunity to improve. Social Media and Media must acknowledge their privilege, and use the power they have accumulated to empower marginalized voices in an effort to be inclusive. Social Media and Media must engage, on a personal level, with their comrades who participate in actions, putting themselves at risk of arrest and police brutality, everyday. Social Media and Media must be aware that this a movement based on civil disobedience, embodying anarchist principles of self-governance, and while their ideals may be Liberal, this movement is not, and never has been, a pacifist movement, but an active, aggresive, nonviolent movement which actively challenges unjust laws through a diversity of tactics, some of which are more Pacifist, some of which are more Liberal, most of which are Radical.