The PJ Tatler

Brecht Forum's Fingerprints All Over Occupy Wall Street


Along with the many socialist and communist groups battling for  a piece of the Occupy Wall Street movement, we would be remiss to leave out the contributions from the Marxist Brecht Forum, host of well known radical speakers such as Frances Fox Piven and Stephen Lerner. Their fingerprints appear to be found in multiple places.

Being the educators they are, our first connection was found in a special workshop put on just for OWS attendees on Oct. 4th, according to their event listings:

October 4th, 2011 5:30 PM
People’s University at #OccupyWallStreet
@ Freedom Square (Liberty Plaza) Corner of Liberty and Broadway
Economic Update with Rick Wolff

Occupy Wall Street continues to capture the imagination of millions across the globe. Join us for a series “People’s University at Occupy Walls Street” as we connect the dots, build bridges and move forward for a world free of capitalism and war!

As promoted on his own site, Professor Wolff describes it as a “teach-in”:

 October 4, 2011 – 18:00 – 19:30
Zuccotti Park, Broadway and Liberty, New York, NY

Professor Wolff will participate in a teach-in at Occupy Wall Street. His talk will focus on Marxism today and in light of the crisis. He will speak about possible, practical solutions.

You can view Prof. Richard Wolff speaking at OWS here and also appearing on Russia Today (RT) to further stress the need for society to question capitalism and learn more about socialism. He teaches at the Brecht Forum and serves on its’ Left Forum board with Frances Fox Piven.

Fellow Brecht Forum thinker, Arun Gupta, was shown recently when  The Blaze posted this video, also from Russia Today, where he describes the failure of capitalism:

Arun Gupta happens to be one of the primary faces behind the “Occupied Wall Street Journal” produced by his own Although The Blaze points out the funding connections to Soros, Tides, Code Pink and more, we need to recognize the support received from the Brecht Forum, where Brecht’s facilities serve as their workspace:

They worked through the night Thursday into Friday and will reconvene this afternoon to wrap up the production work at The Indypendent’s temporary workspace at The Brecht Forum, a Marxist culture center on the West Side Highway not far from the demonstration site.

Arun Gupta’s projects, according to The Baltimore Free School, include the following:

Arun Gupta has been an editor of The Indypendent (New York) since 2000 and was an editor of The Guardian (New York) from 1989-1992. He was active in the anti-apartheid divestment and Central America solidarity movements in the 1980s and studied philosophy, history and mathematics at the University of Maryland. Gupta’s writing has also appeared in AlterNet, Z Magazine, and other publications. In 2010, Arun Gupta was a Lannan Foundation Writing Resident.

Some of Gupta’s more disturbing writing includes a piece called “Off With Their Heads! Let’s Celebrate the Royal Wedding of Prince William and Kate Middleton by Reviving Another Timeless Tradition.” In this piece, he apparently advocates a return to the guillotine:

What better way to help the English to topple a government rooted in medieval despotism, overcome their class deference and end a culture of hereditary idiocy than chopping off a few royal heads?

Plus, imagine putting the Queen’s head in a jar on public display. It would be the ultimate tourist attraction.

In another piece called “The Merchants of Hate,” he is somehow able to find a way to blame every crazy killer in recent history on conservatives, including Jared Loughner of course. It’s quite a wild list of accusations, seen here.

The right thrives on mobilizing group resentment, and the range of its targets over the last 50 years is astonishing: gays and lesbians, African-Americans, Latinos, feminists, welfare recipients, reproductive-rights activists, Muslims, undocumented immigrants, government officials, prisoners, intellectuals, liberals, antiwar activists and unions.

Gupta has also apparently worked with Alberto Lopez, who we previously described as part of the October2011 movement in Washington, DC and mentor for progressive techies. Gupta and Lopez have worked together as hosts for a Brecht Forum event to honor Bhairavi Desai, the Executive Director of the Taxi Workers Alliance, held at SEIU headquarters in Nov., 2010.  Both Gupta and Lopez have both appeared on Brecht’s Left Forum panels  along with others such as Stephen Lerner, recently captured speaking at the Left Forum about using economic terrorism to crash the system.

The Brecht Forum recommends and links to Alfredo Lopez’s MayFirst internet services and MayFirst hosts their mailing lists.

Many fingerprints are to be found all over every aspect of OWS, but when assigning credit (or blame), surely the Brecht Forum and Friends are enjoying their share of this opportunity for “change.”