The current meme among the media elites is that the Occupy Wall Street protests are an organic and spontaneous movement created by college-aged students who are frustrated with the cost of student loans, housing, health care and overall corporate greed. If that were true I’d like to state the obvious, that behind every student is a teacher. Meet Professor John Asimakopoulos (for purposes of this article we’ll call him Dr. John). He is an associate professor of sociology at the City University of New York-Bronx where he works beside Marxist revolutionary Frances Fox Piven, the quickly aging and fragile grandmother who is best known for being one-half of the Cloward and Piven strategy. Dr. John has also been published alongside other famous Marxists intellectuals such as Howard Zinn, Ward Churchill, and Bill Ayers,
advisor to/lifelong friend of/acquaintance of/not associated with President Obama. Among Dr John’s 2,000+ Facebook friends are Wade Radthke from ACORN, Cindy Sheehan, an anti-war activist, and Lisa Fithian, one of the leading organizers of the Occupy Wall Street movement.
He’s well connected.
In 2010 and early 2011 Dr. John published a series of educational videos under the course title “Crushing Capitalism.” The stated purpose of the course was to “counter the dominant ideology of capitalism and expose the contradictions and inherent injustice of the system.” The full course description is below:
Crushing Capitalism with Dr. Asimakopoulos is an interdisciplinary video e-journal. It analyzes current events and scholarly topics such as imperialism, censorship, propaganda, political corruption, and corporate power. The journal combines multiple theoretical perspectives including anarchism, Marxism, classical economics, Socialism, and the progressive Left in general. Its purpose is to counter the dominant ideology of capitalism and expose the contradictions and inherent injustice of the system. It seeks to inform of alternatives to capitalism, and means through which these can be implemented as with direct action, to promote economic, racial, ethnic, and gender equality, create democratic political structures, and resistance to all forms of injustice.
In a two-part video titled “Lessons from the revolts of 2011” published on February 1, 2011, Dr. John spoke of his desire to have an Arab Spring-like revolt occur in America.
“The Arab Revolts … were massive and that’s a major problem in the United States. People simply do not go out to protest and if you don’t have big numbers in the streets, those of authority are probably not going to care or pay attention to you. But does that mean that mass protests are sufficient as the Arab revolts have indicated, absolutely not. For example, there have been great mass protests in Wisconsin and other states where collective bargaining itself has been attacked when it comes to public employees. But, at the end of the day despite all those protests by preliminarily unions and other activists groups, what was the outcome if you really think about it? Absolutely nothing, the state did what it wanted to do. Which leads us to the second point about the Arab Revolts.”
“It started out as peaceful demonstrations and we know all about this propaganda regarding peaceful civil-disobedience. And we’ll get to the point of why that’s propaganda in a minute. But the point here is that with peaceful disobedience there is a limit to what you can achieve if those in power are determined to literally kill you if they have to, which is the case in many of these Arab nations and of course any other nation with authoritarian government. Therefore, again if you noticed what happened in the Arab nations, people have to have the desire and also the will to violently resist the state apparatus – And that where things get tricky.
“But did the Arabs when they were revolting say, ‘Oh my God, the law says I can’t revolt. Mubarak says he’s going to arrest us if we don’t get off the streets.’ No. What they said is ‘Go to hell!’ And that’s a very important lesson for us. Today labor unions, activists, and so on, cannot simply rely on the tidy demonstration which at the end of the day when everyone goes home has accomplished nothing other than leaving some trash on the streets for some street cleaners to pick up. People when engaged in mass protests must be able and willing to do exactly what the Arabs have done and what American citizens have done in the past. And that is become far more militant and actually threaten the system.”
In the second part of the video Dr. John foreshadowed what the Occupy-movement here in the United States would need to do in order to be a successful revolutionary movement:
“You’re going to obtain a lot more if you become militant just like the Arabs, just like your forefathers in the 1800’s and be willing to arrest and occupy governmental institutions until they agree to engage in basic, yes I’m going to use the word reforms. But, there are reforms and then there are reforms. What I’m talking about are real changes that will set in motion fundamental transformation of the system. Which many on the left would pooh-pooh as being nothing more than window dressing.”
He continues, “Why not surround and occupy three branches of government. Why don’t we make sure the Supreme Court Justices cannot leave the premises, nor can the Congressmen in congress, nor the President in the White House. And insists that nobody is going anywhere until the following are voted and past on behalf of the people.”
Civil Disobedience and outright calls for violence are not new ideas for Dr. John. In fact, in an article titled, “Loot the Rich: Economic Civil Disobedience” published in 2006, Dr. John urged unions to become militant:
“We need a new form of violent direct economic civil disobedience capable of exacting significant financial blows to Capitalism. Direct action must be at an increased level of actual and threatened use of violence to increase the effectiveness of achieving working class goals.”
Interesting note for those with Glenn Beck chalkboards at home: Dr. John references an 1996 article by SEIU’s Stephen Lerner several times. Debtor’s Revolt
Speaking of Stephen Lerner, Dr. John shares Lerner’s sentiment on economical terrorism regarding bringing down the banks. Last March, The Blaze uncovered a video of Stephen Lerner that outlined how ordinary citizens could “bring down the stock market…bring down their [Wall Street] bonuses…interfere with their ability to, to be rich.” In a video titled “Debtor’s Revolt” published on August 10th, 2010, Dr John lays out the groundwork to Lerner’s plan:
“You’re not the only person being foreclosed and if you feel that your not being foreclosed guess what, you’re a couple payments away from foreclosure. Organize in your community. Put out pamphlets saying that you are going to have a meeting at a person’s home or some other center where you as a community can discuss what to do collectively when the people come to foreclose on a neighbor’s house. Once you have discussed what should be done in that community to prevent foreclosures and other seizures due to debt then what you need to do is talk to your local law enforcers – they may be your allies. Maybe not, but it doesn’t hurt to try. Explain to them what you are doing. Tell them, ‘we will try to prevent the foreclosure of our neighbor’s homes. We do not believe that is just and we wanted to help.”
“Having done this, the next step, would be try to slow down the processing of these foreclosures and seizures. Why shouldn’t we be protesting, as is our basic civil right the courts and other governmental organizations that are charged with processing these foreclosures. Stop them, prevent them from being able to process their paperwork.”
“Also, if a repo man does show up as some body’s doorstep or if an auction is scheduled do what the farmer’s did in the Great Depression — which would be show up at the houses and prevent the auction. Make sure that nobody bids to buy that house. Chase off the auctioneer.”
“If we were to engage in these policies, which by the way are quiet similar to what ACORN was doing and probably one of the reasons it was so brutally attacked for other reasons — if we were to engage in these types of actions — direct actions — then we would be sending a very powerful signal to the powers that be, which is, now as a community we are organizing. Now as a community, regardless of one’s political beliefs, we are going to say no to this blatant seizure of our own personal property.”
“This debt is illegal, this debt is unfair, this debt should be eliminated.
If the Occupy Wall Street protests are completely spontaneous, I’m willing to bet that the spontaneous movement started in this man’s New York City classroom. If Dr. John was not involved in the direct planning of Occupy Wall Street itself then it’s completely ironic that the concepts he ‘lectured’ about are being used by the likes of Stephen Lerner and Lisa Fithian in the current movement. For example, In Des Moines on Wednesday the local Occupy movement protested Wells Fargo Bank by holding up signs that read “Save Our Homes.” The bank responded by closing the lobby for an ‘unexpected emergency’ — exactly how Dr. John envisioned it 14 months ago, “Slow down the processing of these foreclosures and seizures.”