The Occupy St. Pete Movement is being confronted by long time local activists who are calling for them to either “occupy” city property or abandon their claim to represent the movement in St. Petersburg. Last night at an organizational meeting in St. Petersburg, long time agitator Reverend Bruce Wright showed up with a small entourage. Among them were those aggressively advocating socialism and rejection of all capitalism as an evil that has caused our worlds social problems. They suggested that the movement needs to stop being a business meeting and that people there needed to go out and take over a park. They accused them of not passing some sort of subjective purity test that only they seemed to be worthy to enforce. They referred to being in solidarity with people in Egypt who were “shedding their blood” and Oakland who had been subject to tear gas and flash grenades that day after they refused to vacate a public park they had no permit to “occupy”. There were calls for “revolution” by them and one or two others present, but one indicated it should be a “peaceful revolution”. However, even she indicated that at some point the police and others may confront them violently and this was to be expected.
A vocal minority at the meeting, this reporter included, indicated that the people who wanted to break the law and occupy a park in a pup tent were more than welcome to go out and do that immediately on their own. We pointed out that they were breaking the process of the OWS movement which was based on consensus building. It was pointed out that they should not come in and claim to speak for the movement without participating in the process. It was more forcefully pointed out that these young men and women should not allow themselves to be used by confronting the police, breaking the law and allowing their blood to be shed.
Reverend Wright indicated he was one of the organizers of Occupy Wall Street in D.C. and had been to New York. He referred to the Madrid Papers as being the inspiration of OWS (yet to be located on the internet by this reporter) and the “Indignado’s” occupying in Madrid. But they did not indicate that those folks had been subject to a failure of a socialist government that could not deliver on its promises. Another woman, Maria Augusto, indicated she was disgusted that the group has brought in a person who would speak about a local ballot issue on the Pier and railed against corporations as the source of all ills. She stormed out of the room at one point chanting “shame, shame, shame”. She and the entourage rejected the notion that capitalism and markets could ever be moral or valuable. There were people pointing out that it was not capitalism that was at fault, but corruption of some corporations in an unholy alliance with the Federal Reserve and the Government.
There are some courageous young men and women looking for legitimate problems with legitimate solutions and doing so in rational ways. They are standing up to these folks who have a history of provoking confrontation with the City of St. Petersburg, especially the Reverend Wright who launched tent cities for the homeless. Unfortunately, the Reverend Bruce Wright has also been evaluated in the Press for possible embezzlement from his ministry and has been arrested for driving without a license he lost for failing to to pay his child support. Let’s honestly and sincerely pray to God that these young leaders don’t get caught up in a movement so they end up being cannon fodder for someone else’s failed social agenda.