What Happens When You’re No Longer Needed by the 99%

The Occupy Charlotte statement from their consensus group kicking out a member is an eerie reminder of a classic Twilight Zone episode – “The Obsolete Man.”

Sister Toldjah has done a great job and covering her local Occupy group on Twitter, and the result is finding this gem – an illustration of what happens when the Consensus decides you are no longer tolerated.

We the people of Occupy Charlotte and the General Assembly thereof, wish it to be hereby known that Thomas C. Shope has been exiled from the Occupy Charlotte movement and is to no longer be used as a source for communication and/or donations. He has been separated from this organization due to his consistent and willful actions against the will of the people and the decisions of the General Assembly. Any and all communications to the media and any donations from the people that support us, are to be made and accepted by and from the members of the occupation at 600 E. Trade Street in Charlotte, NC.

At least one person came on to question this decision since it doesn’t seem very inclusive or 99%-ty. Their response came right out of the Twilight Zone. I’m not kidding. All I could hear is the opening from “The Obsolete Man” playing in my head as I read through their declaration. When people question the decision or the statement, the response from the organizers is that they need to move on, there’s nothing else to see here. There may be legitimate issues with the guy, but their manner of “kicking him off the island” is beyond creepy.

Click to read the full statement that seemingly came right out of the episode.

We the people, have gathered here in solidarity to combat the forces of corporate greed, economic injustice, and a wealth based political system funded and fueled by private interests and agendas. As occupiers and as a general assembly we are unified in our cause.

However, there are those with another agenda. A secret agenda. An agenda that is a cancer, weakening our solidarity and splintering our movement. There is a man that has been, and continues to privatize and destabilize our cause for his own benefit and the benefit of those who oppose us and what we stand for.

He has opened a private bank account in a corporate bank to accept donations on behalf and in the name of Occupy Charlotte. He refuses to disclose the name of this financial institution to anyone. He also refuses to let anyone know how much money is being held there and what is it actually being used for. The items* listed on the wepay page are items that are already donated or could be donated for free. This list includes wi-fi which was donated and paid for by the donor for a period of two months @ $45 a month and no setup fees. Porta-johns which are to be donated and invoiced to the donor. Internet services which include server fees which can be obtained for free by one of the occupiers who has offered to donate it.

He has refused the consensus of the General Assembly to dissolve the council of eleven and now operates it under the misnomer of an “Internet Team” of which the real internet team has been disabled so that these few may maintain control of all media and communications.

He has refused the consensus of the General Assembly to motion for media silence to protect the safety of Occupiers, choosing instead to issue a media statement without and directly against the consensus of the general assembly.

He has defied the will and consent of the General Assembly repeatedly and unrepentantly. In doing so he has compromised the effectiveness, solidarity, integrity, and credibility of our movement.

He has locked down and privatized our primary means of communication by claiming our Occupation’s Facebook as his own private property. He allows no one but himself and chosen members of the dissolved council to post media, statements and news on our behalf. They continually ban and censor people and statements that they do not personally agree with. If he wishes to continue to use this Facebook page as his own, by order of the General Assembly, he should do so without using the Occupy Charlotte name and change the name to his own. It even states on his page that this is a private page**.

He has threatened many occupiers with police & federal intervention for voicing these opinions to him. He has set blame upon innocent people and bystanders that have called him out for his inserting his personal agendas into the occupation movement***.

Our movement has been co-opted by private business interests.

Our donations are held hostage in a corporate banking institution.

Our means of communication has been privatized and censored.

We are held hostage by threats of violence**** and police & federal intervention*** from a man who claims to be our ally.

We are now an island, cut off from our brothers and sisters in occupation across the globe. The tide is rising.

We the people of Occupy Charlotte, Occupy North Carolina & Occupy Wall Street stand in solidarity and implore the General Assembly to concede unanimously to the exile of Thomas C. Shope from the Occupation Charlotte movement in all shapes and forms. He is no longer an ally to this movement nor to the people and ideals for which they represent.

20 thoughts on “What Happens When You’re No Longer Needed by the 99%”

  1. Is this the Judean People’s Front against the Judean Popular People’s Front…or against the Popular Front for Judea…or the Campaign for a Free Galilee…

    So we have the internal struggles of an amorphous social unrest turning into winner-take-all claims and accusations of treason to the Cause.

    Wait a minute…why does this remind me of the Committee of Public Safety (Paris/France, 1793-4)? That phase of the post-French-Revolution was very bloody, partly because the Committee had the ability to charge and execute anyone who was seen as a traitor to the Cause.

    1. Wait a minute…why does this remind me of the Committee of Public Safety (Paris/France, 1793-4)? That phase of the post-French-Revolution was very bloody, partly because the Committee had the ability to charge and execute anyone who was seen as a traitor to the Cause.

      I’m glad I’m not the only one who thought of that comparison. IIRC, the early examples of that practice also involved charges that were at least facially legitimate if one didn’t look too deeply, so the fact that what they accuse him of at least seem to be reasonable complaints isn’t very reassuring.

      1. Heh, they are getting creepy with the people who are questioning the decision. They keep telling people that they need to focus on the future, and this guy is not the future.

      2. Shoot, reminds me of early stages of Stalinist purges. Ostracism is pretty much step one…

  2. Instead of protecting the rights of everyone they’re now going to deny rights by popular opinion?

    This is the trouble of having an amorphous structure- you have no legit way to stop anyone from talking on your behalf.

    1. Instead of protecting the rights of everyone they’re now going to deny rights by popular opinion?

      This is how true democracy works. Which is why we are (supposedly) a constitutional republic.

      What’s disturbing is that they don’t realize the dangers of the system they want to put in place.

  3. Greg: In fairness to them, he has no “right” to pretend to speak for them as a group, or take donations “for them” to his private bank account without their telling him to, in plain Anglo-Saxon terms, fuck right off.

    And “they” have a right to decide “they” do not view him as part of “their” movement, if they want. He has no right to be Viewed As A Participant by others who don’t think he should be.

    That’s free speech and freedom of association, right there.

    (He equally has a right to claim to be the “true” movement in parallel to them, of course.


    I don’t really like their thoroughly creepy choices in words and tone, and their formal procedure for drumming some dude out, but the actual complaints are facially sensible.

    From their point of view, he looks like some complete jerk ripoff artist, and any informal group – political or not- I know would uniformly shun him, in such a situation.

    The only difference here is that they’ve got this obsession with “consensus” (see creepy, above).

    1. I agree that they totally free to do this, and it does sound like the guy is trying to make a buck and be a self-declared leader in the movement. Like you said, it’s just creepy as hell how they go about it. When the formal declaration went so far as to declare him a cancer, that’s when I really started hearing the dialogue from the episode in my head.

    2. You’re correct. I used the term right in the wrong context.

      But this is a problem with the form of governence Occupy proposes- mob democracy. You still need someone or some people to be the representative or spokesperson or run the finances and if you don’t plan for leadership changes then this is what can be expected.

      I think this guy still thinks he is the legitimate represenatative and leader but there is a power struggle going on.

      The concern is that if they are already drumming people out and creating an out group this early on- I shudder to think what a country run like this would end up looking like.

      1. We already know what it will end up looking like: Stalin’s Russia, Cambodia under Pol Pot, National Socialist Germany.

  4. “Shope says he is fighting back so he can regain control and keep pushing the group’s message. Technically, Shope owns Occupy Charlotte. He registered the name as a business at the Mecklenburg County Register of Deeds earlier this month. Shope said he did so with the intent of maintaining control and to one day create a nonprofit of that title.

    He said the hundreds of Charlotteans who turn out for weekend marches are the true membership of Occupy Charlotte, not the campers.”



    Without mentioning the collection of donations or his general rude behavior towards campers, the above paragraph is enough said. Call it whatever you want, when you have a problem, you get rid of it.

    1. I got this from that article – from his side it looks like he’s trying to be the adult supervision, and views the people trying to kick him out as the usurpers.

    2. PS: This whole thing is not about a power struggle whatsoever. It’s about removing an offensive person from a community. Nobody’s trying to replace him. Also, the reason people just say to “move on and work on the goal” is because everyone is sick and tired of talking about Thomas Shope and all the drama that comes with it. They just want to do what they’re there for.

      1. Removing someone from a position of authority is by definition a power struggle. He may have seized that power improperly, but he has power and the others are trying to wrest it from him. QED – a struggle of power or a power struggle.

    1. From the manifesto quoted above, he has, or had, power over certain funds, online identities, &c. Stolen power is power still. At any rate, the cursory research I’ve done indicates that he has at least a plausible claim to same. The news organizations could be shading the truth, I suppose, but as a neutral observer the reported news could be used to support either position.

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