Since Occupy Wall Street emerged last September, debates over its impact have roiled both liberals and conservatives confused by the fact of a (successful yet) leaderless movement lacking concrete demands.
But something seems to be working. The 99% Spring is just the latest recent example of OWS’s influence. An impressive coalition of liberal-left groups and organizations, led by MoveOn.org and including the AFL-CIO, Greenpeace, the Working Families Party, 350.org, Campaign for America’s Future, United Students Against Sweatshops, CodePink, Global Exchange and Color of Change aims to recruit and train 100,000 Americans “to tell the story of what happened to our economy, learn the history of non-violent direct action, and use that knowledge to take action on our own campaigns to win change.” A cross-section of the country—from carpenters and stay-at-home moms to business people, students and farmers—has signed up for hundreds of sessions so far, according to an AP report.
To me, the simple fact that the cream of the liberal-left establishment is promoting direct action trainings in the six-months before a presidential election rather than focusing all its energies on the electoral horse race is dramatic testimony to Occupy’s impact.
After the trainings, a series of actions—referred to as "Shareholder’s Spring"—are planned to disrupt the shareholder meetings of Bank of America, Wells Fargo, Exxon Mobil, Chevron and thirty or so other leading multinationals along with a series of student-lead actions against Sallie Mae and other corporations that have profited off the student debt crisis.
The campaign’s kick-off will take place from April 9 to April 15 when more then 700 trainings are expected to be held in all fifty states as people gather in homes, places of worship, campuses, libraries and the streets to train themselves in non-violent direct action and join together in the work of reclaiming our country.