OCCUPY: Infiltration of Political Movements is the Norm, Not the Exception in the United States

March 16th, 2012

Part II – Published on Global Research.ca, by Kevin Zeese and Margaret Flowers, March 13, 2012.

… Infiltration is the Norm, not the Exception, of  U.S. Political Movements:

When the long history of political infiltration is reviewed, the Occupy Movement should be surprised if it is not infiltrated.  Almost every movement in modern history has been infiltrated by police and others using many of the same tactics we are now seeing in Occupy.  

Virtually every movement has been the target of police surveillance and disruption activities.  The most famous surveillance program was the FBI’s COINTELPRO which according to COINTELPRO Documents targeted the women’s rights, Civil Rights, anti-war and peace movements, the New Left, socialists, communists and independence movement for Puerto Rico, among others.  Among the groups infiltrated were the Southern Christian Leadership Conference, the NAACP, Congress for Racial Equality, the American Indian Movement, Students for a Democratic Society, the National Lawyers Guild, the Black Panthers and Weather Underground. Significant leaders from Albert Einstein to Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., who are both memorialized in Washington, were monitored. The rule in the United States is to be infiltrated; the exception is not to be … //

… What Have Been the Goals, Strategies and Tactics of Past Infiltration?

The most common purpose of infiltration is the intelligence function of gathering information, but the goals are commonly more aggressive. Herbert Hoover ordered FBI agents to “expose, disrupt, misdirect, discredit, or otherwise neutralize” the activities of these movements and their leaders according to COINTELPRO Documents.

According to, Surveillance and Governance: Crime Control and Beyond, the goal of COINTELPRO was also to “expose, disrupt, misdirect, or otherwise neutralize” groups.  FBI field operatives were directed to:

  • 1. Create a negative public image for target groups by surveiling activists and then releasing negative personal information to the public.
  • 2. Break down internal organization by creating conflicts by having agents exacerbate racial tensions, or send anonymous letters to try to create conflicts.
  • 3. Create dissension between groups by spreading rumors that other groups were stealing money.
  • 4. Restrict access to public resources by pressuring non-profit organizations to cut off funding or material support.
  • 5. Restrict the ability to organize protests through agents promoting violence against police during planning and at protests.
  • 6. Restrict the ability of individuals to participate in group activities by character assassinations, false arrests, surveillance.

The COINTELPRO documents http://www.amazon.com/Cointelpro-FBIs-Secret-Political-Freedom/dp/0873488776
disclose numerous cases of the FBI’s intentions to stop the mass protest against the Vietnam War. Many techniques were used to accomplish the assignment. The documents state: “These included promoting splits among antiwar forces, encouraging red-baiting of socialists, and pushing violent confrontations as an alternative to massive, peaceful demonstrations.”

Infiltration to gather intelligence and intentionally disrupt and break up social movements is common in the United States. At this point in history when the degree of wealth inequality has reached such staggering proportions that the richest 400 people have the same wealth as the bottom 154,000,000 people, when unemployment and foreclosures rates are high, when tens of millions can’t afford health care and students can’t afford to go to college, those in power are fearful that the people will rise up. Events of the past year, particularly the Occupy, reveal that this uprising has begun. It is likely that the powerful will use the tools available to stop Occupy, including infiltration to disrupt, divide and misdirect.

In Part III, we will describe common behaviors of infiltrators and how other social movements have tried to minimize the impact of infiltration. We will then examine the basic structure of the Occupy and analyze its strengths and weaknesses in the context of infiltration. Our hope is that this series will lead to a broader discussion within the movement so that efforts can be made to balance the strengths of Occupy with actions necessary to protect the movement from disruption and division.

If you have experience with your Occupy responding to infiltration please send them to research@october2011.org. Experiences that have worked and failed are of interest. (full text).

(Kevin Zeese and Margaret Flowers are original organizers of OccupyWashington, DC/October2011 and are currently among the organizers of the National Occupation of Washington, DC).

Link: OCCUPY on Google News-search, March 15, 2012 / 09.40 MEZ.

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