Nathan Kleinman to run for office, fellow Occupiers won’t endorse him

Kleinman, seen at last week’s Occupy Philly meeting, didn’t exactly lobby for support.

Say what you will about Occupy Philly, but they’re consistent on one front: They definitely abhor leaders.

So when one member of the 50-plus-day encampment of late 2011 announced last week that he would challenge U.S. Rep. Allyson Schwartz, D-Philadelphia, for her congressional seat, the group declined to endorse him.

Nathan Kleinman may be the first Occupy protester in America to run for national office, but it didn’t matter to a general assembly meeting of Occupy Philly late last week. In addition to the endorsement snub, the group also adopted a resolution stating they are not a political party and that its general assembly does not endorse any political candidate.

But Kleinman says he’s not taking it personally.

“I really don’t want this candidacy to suck energy out of this movement,” he said after the meeting. “I’m still going to be here [as an Occupy member].”

Kleinman, 29, has a background in politics — and not just the outdoor, anti-1-percent kind.

Born in Philadelphia and raised in Abington, he graduated from Georgetown University and the Walsh School of Foreign Service with a degree in culture and politics in 2004.

In 2010, he worked as an aide to Joe Sestak during the pol’s successful primary campaign against Sen. Arlen Specter and then during Sestak’s unsuccessful general election campaign against Pat Toomey.
Kleinman also served as a legislative assistant to state Rep. Josh Shapiro in 2011 until resigning to devote his energy full time to the Occupy movement.

“The main reason why I’m running is because I’m afraid we’re losing our democracy, if we haven’t lost it already, to some creeping form of corporate fascism,” he said.

A spokeswoman for Schwartz declined comment.

For Occupy, not politics

During Thursday’s meeting at the Friends Center, Kleinman admitted that Occupy exists outside of traditional political roles. “I think the movement is not about electoral politics,”?he said.

The opinion seems in line with the group’s beliefs. Shawn McMonigle, 24, with Occupy Philly since its inception, told Metro that he doesn’t vote because the system doesn’t work.

Sean Damon, 34, another member since inception last year, had practical reasons for opposing Kleinman’s campaign. “I would prefer he didn’t run,”?he said, “because I think it’s going to take a lot of his time.”

Driving Kennedy

Kleinman volunteered to work for Barack Obama’s 2008 presidential campaign in Pennsylvania and later became a paid worker for the campaign.
“I wanted to do whatever I could to make sure a Republican didn’t succeed George W. Bush,” he said.
Even more fascinating, his duties as an Obama campaign worker involved acting as Ted Kennedy’s driver for a couple days and sitting with Michelle Obama on stage during a campaign event.


Elected leaders commit to regulating Times Square's costumed…

Bill de Blasio is not amused. The mayor told reporters on Monday that the costumed characters who flock to Times Square and trade photos with…


De Blasio, Bratton defend city's efforts after Eric…

Mayor Bill de Blasio justified the city's response to the death of Eric Garner, a Staten Island man who died while in police custody earlier this month.


NYPD: Suspect dead after two U.S. Marshals, cop…

A suspected sex offender died after a shooting at a West Village smoke shop that wounded two U.S. Marshals and an NYPD detective on Monday, officials said.


PHOTO: New Zealand Heral uses wrong image to…

The New Zealand Herald made a terrible mistake of using the wrong image to illustrate the tragic death of Staff Sergeant Guy Boyland – a New Zealand-born Israeli soldier who…


'Get on Up' producer Mick Jagger on the…

Mick Jagger, a producer on the James Brown biopic "Get on Up," talks about the time had to tell the singer some bad news and his favorite JB record.


'Glee' star Lea Michele to appear on 'Sons…

"Glee" star Lea Michele has been confirmed as a guest star in the final season of "Sons of Anarchy."


TV watch list, Monday, July 28: 'The Bachelorette'…

See Andi Dorfman make her big choice on tonight's 'Bachelorette' finale.


'Kim Kardashian: Hollywood' game easter eggs and cheats

"Kim Kardashian: Hollywood" is the hottest game of the moment. Here are its best easter eggs as well as some tips and tricks to speed your way to the top.


Computer to Jets: Start Michael Vick over Geno…

Jets general manager John Idzik says the choice of who starts between second-year quarterback Geno Smith and veteran Michael Vick will be a “Jets decision.”


Yankees looking to trade for Josh Willingham: Report

CBS Sports’ Jon Heyman reported Sunday the Yankees are interested in Twins outfielder Josh Willingham.


Joe Torre: I'm in Hall of Fame because…

Joe Torre spent 18 years putting together a near Hall of Fame career as a player. But it was the 12 years he spent as…


Yankees GM Brian Cashman breaks down art of…

The action frequently accelerates as the non-waiver trade deadline approaches, as it will on Thursday.


NYC teens learn how to develop apps during…

Through a program sponsored by CampInteractive, the high schoolers designed their own community-focused apps.


The Ministry of Silly Walks app is both…

Monty Python have dug into their back catalogue for cash-ins once more, but with the Ministry of Silly Walks app, they've made something that's fun too.


Zagat releases '30 Under 30' list

Zagat releases a list of the people changing the food and drink industry across the country.


Fist bump gets respect as clean alternative to…

Though long used to give props, the fist bump is getting some actual respect. The gesture, once dubbed a “terrorist fist jab,” could become the new…