Tag Archives: Stephen Lerner

Andrew Breitbart’s Big Government Admits Boo-boo on “Days of Rage”

Wall Street Protest

Wall Street Protest

New Orleans        I admit that I check the Google alerts everyday to see how the alternative universe is doing where this other “wade rathke” lives, who is often unrecognizable to me.  The most recent episode in his “life,” was some kind of “days of rage” planned for Wall Street, which was quite the buzz on Glenn Beck’s “news” website, Blaze.com.  On the right they took all of this fantasy so seriously that I actually had to turndown interview requests from various Fox News outlets wanting to know more details on what I was supposedly planning for this unknown event.  Most often I was linked to Stephen Lerner, my colleague from the SEIU years, who was attracting some of the right wing love out there.
I guess the “days” happened this last weekend with not 20,000 but perhaps 1000 folks in some part in New York City, none of which is surprising.  In NYC more than a 1000 folks would gather for almost anything.  The real shock was to read Andrew Brietbart’s Big Government report where they conceded that all of the reports of Lerner and “Rathke’s” wild and revolutionary doings here were in fact “unfounded,” and to add a cherry on top, they even zinged Beck and Blaze for the fabulous fiction.


#OccupyWallSt: Just a Saturday Stroll Through the Park…
by LaborUnionReport
It was supposed to be this:

Day-of-RageOn the 17th of September, we want to see 20,000 people to flood into lower Manhattan, set up beds, kitchens, peaceful barricades and occupy Wall Street for a few months.
Instead, as they say about the best laid plans, it was something entirely different. It was, frankly, a stroll through a park—Zuccotti Park, in lower Manhattan, to be exact.
A Non-Union Non-Event

Over the summer, on the heels of Arab Spring, an anti-capitalist group called adbusters established a campaign to occupy Wall Street, beginning on September 17th. Whether coincidental or not, September 17th also happened to be Constitution Day. While there had been some unfounded unfounded speculation a few weeks ago that the SEIU’s Stephen Lerner and ACORN founder Wade Rathke were behind the OccupyWallSt movement, there were never any signs that the Marxist-Anarchist protesters had any formal union backing—nor has there been anything posted on union websites about the occupation of Wall St.
This morning, protestors did, however, call for “revolution”.

Big Government then linked back to the Blaze below.
The alternative universe of the right is a scary, scary place though.  The original Blaze article may not have gone viral, but it did get traction.  More than 6000 righters had “liked” it and moved it to their Facebook walls.  The story had been tweeted 513 times and there were 739 comments most of which would have stripped paint off of cars.

And for all of the good work that Color of Change and others had done to get advertisers to boycott Beck during his Fox News time with Rupert Murdoch’s empire, it was disconcerting to see ads on the Blaze story from Orvis, where I’ve bought more than one fly rod and reel, and Green Mountain coffee promoting fair trade coffee, which will leave me head scratching a good part of the day.  What’s up with these guys?
US Who Is Behind the ‘US Day of Rage’ to ‘Occupy’ Wall Street this September 17th?

What, exactly, is a “US Day of Rage?” Well, on September 17th we may find out for certain, but until then, The Blaze is revealing what information does exist about this very nefarious-sounding campaign.

A US Day of Rage is the title given to a day of ostensibly “non-violent” civil disobedience orchestrated by a group of radicals — that reportedly include SEIU’s Stephen Lerner and ACORN founder Wade Rathke (who, coincidentally, formerly served as president of SEIU’s local New Orleans branch) — targeting Wall Street and U.S. capitalism. It’s worth noting that the title of the movement — if its intentions are indeed non-violent in nature — appears to contradict itself slightly.

But what is perhaps even more interesting than its title is who is allegedly behind the movement.

You may recall that back in March The Blaze exposed Lerner for stating his aspirations to destroy JP Morgan Chase and cause the collapse of the entire stock market.
Now, the US Day of Rage protests, staged by a collective of activist groups allegedly in conjunction with Lerner and Rathke, are planning the actual “occupation” of Wall Street September 17, complete with a tent city set smack-dab in the middle of Manhattan’s financial district.  Similar protests are purportedly set to take place across the nation — and even world — at the same time. Some Day of Rage organizers are even calling on activists to squat in Manhattan’s financial district for months at a time.
The Blaze’s report on Lerner, who serves on SEIU’s International Executive Board, caught the union agitator stating:

So, a bunch of us around the country are thinking about who would be a really good company to hate? We decided that would be JP Morgan Chase. …. And so we’re going to roll out over the next couple of months what will hopefully be an exciting campaign about JP Morgan Chase that is really about challenge the power of Wall Street. And so what we’re looking at is in the first week of May, we get enough people together – we’re starting now – to really have a week of action in New York with the goal of … I don’t want to go into any details because I don’t know which police agents are in the room, but the goal would be that we would roll out in New York the first week in May.

Then, like clockwork, some 400 activists brought Lerner’s dream to fruition and converged on JP Morgan Chase’s annual shareholders’ meeting in May — this time in Columbus, Ohio rather than New York. The group that staged this particular protest, the National People’s Action, reportedly confirmed it was there as part of its “Showdown in America” campaign against the big banks. Since the location of JP Morgan Chase’s meeting was surrounded by a moat, the activists, who likened themselves to Robin Hood, even brought a collapsible bridge to “storm the castle.”

It is also perhaps worth noting that in March, The Blaze reported Rathke and Lerner called for “days of rage in ten cities around JP Morgan Chase.” Rathke mentioned some of Lerner’s key assertions:

While labeling Lerner an ex-SEIU official who was signaling that unions and community organizations were “dead,” also reported hook-line-and-sinker that in May, according to Lerner, there would be days of rage in ten cities around JP Morgan Chase signally the beginning of the anti-banking jihad.

So it might add up now that Klein Online reported Rathke’s efforts are being organized by Lerner, who, as part of his planned protests, called for “a week of civil disobedience, direct action all over the city:”

The planned Sept. 17 day of rage seems to be the culmination of Rathke’s efforts.
Those efforts are being organized by Stephen Lerner, an SEIU board member who reportedly visited the Obama White House at least four times.

The aim, according to Lerner, is to “destabilize the folks that are in power and start to rebuild a movement.”

“How do we bring down the stock market? How do we bring down their
lerner4bonuses? How do we interfere with their ability to, to be rich?” Lerner asked rhetorically in March.
So, it appears, Columbus could have been one of the ten U.S. cities en route to New York for the “big day.”


Stephen Lerner, the Banks, and the Right-wing Scare Machine

New Orleans     stephen-lerner-headshot-small The right blogosphere and websites were all heavy breathing about another “secret” tape claiming longtime SEIU organizer and strategist, Stephen Lerner, was an “economic terrorist” advocating that the masses should bring the banks and Wall Street to its knees.  At one level it is hard to suppress a yawn.  Anger at Wall Street and the banks from TARP to the botched foreclosures to the sudden profit taking while some still owe money to the U.S. Treasury is one of the great unifiers of the American people right now from the so-called left to the Tea Party people!  Why wouldn’t Stephen be on that bus?

Furthermore how “secret” is a tape filmed at as part of a public presentation at a panel discussion of some sort at Pace University:  answer – not a secret at all!   I’ve known and worked with Lerner for decades and his long experience with union lawyers and what used to be called “corporate campaigns,” has made him one of the more careful commentators on his work that I know.  The rest of us are verifiable flap jawed loose lips compared to Steve!

BigGovernment.com, the loud and furious factually challenged hate machine run by Andrew Brietbart, who I gather now is a journalist with the Huffington Post where he must have found a home after being blocked from Fox during the mid-term elections, while labeling Lerner an ex-SEIU official who was signaling that unions and community organizations were “dead,” also reported hook-line-and-sinker that in May, according to Lerner, there would be days of rage in ten cities around JP Morgan Chase signally the beginning of the anti-banking jihad.  Hmmm.  An ex-official issuing the call to “dead” troops to storm the barricades?  Does something not add up here?

The New American website went for the bait, but at least commented on the irony behind their uproar:

“It’s unclear exactly how much influence Lerner holds or who his fellow conspirators might be. He was reportedly fired recently from SEIU, one of America’s largest and most influential unions with around two million members, for spending vast sums of money on a plot similar to the one he described during the speech. The person who introduced him at Pace University said Lerner was working on building alliances with unions and other organizations in Europe and South America.  But regardless of Lerner’s true degree of influence, the tape has attracted considerable attention and condemnation.”

Well, yes, that seems right.  You need organization and members or someone to storm the barricades, and certainly Stephen is not airlifting boots on the ground from Europe and Latin America to do actions in the US.

In short welcome to the hate-and-scare hooey machine hard at work again.

Without talking to Stephen there are some simple facts that get in the way of this fantasy, no matter how pleasing it is to contemplate:

  • Lerner has not been “fired” by SEIU as they report.  He was placed on paid leave last fall to think through his contribution to the union, but was certainly present at the recent international executive board meeting.  He’s in a curious position no doubt, but it’s something like being an “injured reserve” in the NFL and waiting for the team to find a place to bring him back on the roster.
  • Lerner has written a number of well circulated papers over the last year expanding on his analysis of the impact of the recession and the need to frame larger campaigns around accountability of banks and the financial system for working Americans.  He is an avowed advocate of developing campaigns to finally bring them to account, but who among us hasn’t written something close to the same, isn’t engaged in such pursuit, and doesn’t believe this is necessary?  I’ve been on TV panels with Tea Party folks, and when we get to the subject of the banks, we all sound like we are part of the hallelujah chorus and have prayed at the same church forever.  That should really share you, Glenn Beck!
  • Finally, the Wall Street Journal has already reported from unnamed sources on the SEIU IEB that the union is embarking on a major 15+ city organizing campaign with expansive plans to mobilize labor and community members on economic issues from banks to local corporations.  They are following their own, different drum and clearly have their hands tied up in what may be a $100,000,000 organizing campaign mobilizing the entire union to win “climate change” in favor of unionizations again.

The right wingers need to leave Lerner alone rather than erecting yet another statute in their wax gallery of threats to America.  Knowing Stephen, he’s having a hearty laugh at all of this.   Especially since the more the Becks and Breitbarts embrace the banks, the more they are inadvertently building a huge, peace and unity bridge that will unite all of us against the ways that Wall Street, tax evading corporations (see GE in today’s papers), and the banks have ripped us off royalty from stem to stern and coast to coast.