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Occupy Wall Street co-founder wants to launch 'nonviolent militia'

Two years on from Occupy Wall Street, a founding member of the movement is seeking to crowd-source $1 million to launch a ‘nonviolent militia’ to continue the fight against capitalism.

Occupy Wall Street, OWS, Occupy Militia Occupy Wall Street protesters rally in Washington Square. Credit: Bess Adler

Two years after the Occupy Wall Street movement began, a founding member is seeking to crowdsource $1 million to launch what she calls a nonviolent militia to continue the fight against capitalism.

“We are still developing the idea,” Justine Tunney, 28, told Metro, but confirmed that the money would be used for training and equipping a professional force of around 100 activists. High-risk actions would include attempts to "crowd control" police, and citizens’ arrests of Wall Street bankers.

The Occupy movement has lost momentum since its 2011 peak, and Tunney believes it has become too broad, attacking the consensus mode of decision-making and commitment of members.

“Milquetoast (weak) liberals are the cancer in Occupy,” she said.

Tunney’s call for action has been supported by another founding figure, Micah White, but has also revealed divisions within the movement.

“Premature if not completely unwarranted," said Occupy press officer Bill Dobbs. "There’s been scathing criticism of this notion among many OWS folks."

The militia is said to be inspired by the Italian "white overalls" movement, a “useful model," according to the InterOccupy blog. The 1990s group took on police and government in direct actions while wearing bulky clothing that made them physically difficult to arrest.

The project has potential, according to Dr. Todd Gitlin, professor of sociology at the University of Colombia and author of "Occupy Nation."

"There are many factions with different ideas including nonviolent militants," Gitlin told Metro. "There is support for actions such as attacking oil pipelines, and I would take that seriously.”

 
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