Occupy Wall Street has attracted interesting friends along the way. It garners support from such illustrious groups as the Communist Party USA, American Nazi Party, Socialist Party USA, Marxist Student Union, Black Panthers and the white supremacist group White Revolution. Sympathetic foreigners include Hezbollah, the North Korean government, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei (the supreme leader of Iran), the Communist Party of China and Venezuelan strongman Hugo Chavez. American leaders who have expressed support for Occupy Wall Street include President Obama, Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr., House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi and former Grand Wizard of the Knights of the Ku Klux Klan David Duke. Wow. Imagine those gatherings.More instances of this list in use can be seen here, here, here, here, and here.
There is nothing noteworthy about the list as a whole. Of course the KKK and CPUSA are not conspiring together to take down the U.S. government, and while there have been plenty of "out" CPUSA and SPUSA members taking part in OWS and other Occupy general assemblies and working groups, the Klan has not yet been actively involved in an "out" manner, nor has it been doing much recruiting at Occupy locations, for reasons that are utterly obvious. Governments hostile to the U.S. government are obviously going to cheer social unrest in the U.S.
What strikes me with these lists is one group in particular mentioned in them. The Marxist Student Union.
This is quite funny, actually.
The Marxist Student Union, at least the one referred to here, only exists in Memphis. Google Marxist Student Union and you will see that what comes up is the Marxist Student Union in Memphis - we have the only Marxist Student Union facebook page, blog, and so forth. It is a group of Marxist students (from a variety of Marxist persuasions) and students interested in Marxism. Once a month they discuss a reading or watch a documentary. They support some progressive actions on campus, such as the living wage campaign for U of Memphis janitors. The MSU recently worked on the successful election campaign of the first earnestly pro-union and progressive city council member Memphis has had in ages. Some of the MSU members like to drink beer together. Extremely subversive stuff. You know, like what you would expect the Shelby County Young Democrats to do if they actually did anything.
So some weeks ago one of the leaders of the Marxist Student Union (henceforth MSU) was in Chicago, and marched with some other "out" communists at one of the Occupy Chicago marches. This leader of the MSU, James, is a PhD student at the U of Memphis and it seems a disgruntled ex-student of James' sent social media photos from James' FB page to some very conservative/libertarian sites. This anti-big govt site ran a little exposé on James, the CPUSAers at Occupy Chicago, and the MSU.
And from there the MSU starts to get mentioned all over conservative media - I'm told these lists of groups "behind" OWS have been read on Limbaugh and Beck.
What is funny about that is this - the MSU has a whopping 12 or so people who would identify as members from all of 3 local colleges and universities and perhaps 30 people total who have attended an MSU event or touched base with the MSU in the last year. Other than in Memphis the MSU has had nothing to do with the formation or maintenance of an Occupy location, and here in Memphis the MSU is one group among many who participate. Memphis is not exactly the center of the Occupy movement or particularly influential upon other Occupy locations. James, an all around good guy and busy activist, is very active at Occupy Memphis, but I'm not sure than all of the other members of the MSU have yet to attend an Occupy Memphis event or show up at their Occupation site.
It's this sort of utterly laughable and remarkably fanciful "connecting the dots" that leaves me chuckling when I read almost all conservative descriptions of what is "behind" the Occupy movement - or their attempts to describe the vandalism in Oakland and so forth. The Marxist Student Union has a name which strikes a chord with conservative propagandists and one of its leaders has had pictures taken waving the red flag with known communists, like, uh four of them, with an average age of probably 35 or so, and one of them, gasp, campaigned for Obomber. Horror of horrors the red legion is all around us now. I suppose the lesson here is that it doesn't take very big bait to red bait.
The MSU was very thankful to have received all the attention. Their website has now had hits galore, and it's revolutionary street cred among leftists in Memphis has increased considerably, as they are now the only nationally recognized leftist student group in Memphis. Should the Marxist Student Union ever become a Marxist group of notable size in multiple locations, it will no doubt have paranoid conservatives to thank for the initial PR and fame.