March 5, 2012
Auto union orchestrates, leads ’99% Spring’ campaign, records show
Published: 12:23 PM 02/21/2012
By David Martosko - The Daily Caller
From April 9 to 15, “100,000 Americans will train for non-violent direct action,” promises a new website called “The 99% Spring.” But while the 43 organizations co-signing a letter on the ragtag-looking site indicate the sort of leaderless resistance characterized by the Occupy Wall Street movement, a series of files The Daily Caller downloaded from the United Auto Workers website indicate that the organized labor powerhouse is behind the effort.
The files, downloaded Sunday, include campaign talking points, a fill-in-the-blank press release template for participating organizations and an advance look at the social media campaign the organizers plan for Facebook and Twitter.
Also included is a “FYI” letter designed for endorsers to distribute, complete with a blank space at the top of the list of participating groups. Filling in a given organization’s name lends the impression that it, not the UAW, is the campaign’s driving force.
A Google cache indicates that the files were available on an unprotected area of the UAW’s web server at least as early as February 16. They disappeared from public view Monday.
“The 99% Spring” name evokes the Occupy Wall Street movement, with its repeated division of Americans into the wealthy “1%” and the poorer “99%.”
UAW president Bob King endorsed the new campaign but has given no public indication that his union is behind it, or that the UAW is ready to publicly embrace the Occupy Wall Street movement’s “99%” rhetoric.
King, however, is decidedly in the figurative 1%. According to the Center for Union Facts, a non-profit organization that tracks organized labor through government documents, he earns $168,073 in salary and benefits.
The “99% Spring” campaign’s social media plan document included a note from its creators. “If you’re having trouble grabbing the images, feel free to email us directly,” it said, before listing the email address of community organizer Josh Bolotsky.
Bolotsky’s online biography was deleted shortly after The Daily Caller contacted him for comment, and then restored after TheDC asked him to comment on its disappearance. It describes him as “an online organizer, blogger, comedic performer/writer and occasional voiceover artist, currently serving as New Media Coordinator for Agit-Pop Communications and its Other 98% Project, when not serving on the national leadership team of Living Liberally.”
Responding to questions about the campaign, Bolotsky insisted that it “isn’t actually a UAW campaign or project.” He said “an independent tech issue led to some docs, both public and private, appearing briefly on their site.”
Bolotsky named activists at the Movement Strategy Center and the New Organizing Institute who he said were “[t]he chief co-coordinators of the overall project.” But searches on those organizations’ websites turned up no mention of the “99% Spring” project at all.
Online records show that the campaign’s web domain was registered by MoveOn.org Political Action, the liberal PAC started by Berkeley Systems founder Wes Boyd and his wife. Boyd’s software company was best known for its “flying toaster” screensaver, and for the “You Don’t Know Jack” trivia game series.
The “current campaigns” link on the MoveOn.org PAC website leads to a page that also does not mention the “99% Spring” campaign.
Spokespersons for United Auto Workers and its president, Bob King, did not respond to requests for comment.