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Could Occupy Wall Street fund a nonviolent militia with $1 million?

Justine Tunney proposes a game-changing move for the protest group she helped create.


Miles Klee


Posted on Sep 25, 2013   Updated on Jun 1, 2021, 5:39 am CDT

Militias, as we tend to think of them, are usually not the result of tech-savvy organization but well-armed folks sharing similar extreme politics and ideology. Google software engineer Justine Tunney has something a little different in mind—and tested the waters today on Twitter with a hypothetical scenario for reinvigorating and bolstering the Occupy Wall Street movement, for which she has been a crucial leader.

If we raised $1m to kickstart a nonviolent militia for #occupy w/ weekly trainings, would you guys be interested? @OccupyWallSt @VFPNational

— Justine Tunney (@JustineTunney) September 25, 2013

Tunney responded to initial concerns that “nonviolent militia” was something of a contradiction in terms by reminding her followers that, “[a]s MLK said, you can be militant and nonviolent.” She also articulated the reasoning behind the idea of training protesters: “We need discipline if we want to do things like shut down the NYSE.” The money would also go toward supplies sorely needed for the ongoing OWS mission, especially if it wants to get more ambitious:

,@downwithelite @OccupyWallSt We also need A LOT of body armor to take the NYPD punches. That’s part of why we need to raise money.

— Justine Tunney (@JustineTunney) September 25, 2013

Fellow OWS founder and former Adbusters editor Micah White backed the proposal with no reservations, linking to a Wikipedia article about another notable nonviolent U.S. militia.

@JustineTunney @OccupyWallSt @VFPNational yes

— Micah White (@LeaderlesRevolt) September 25, 2013

the nonviolent militia that trained Rosa Parks: @JustineTunney

— Micah White (@LeaderlesRevolt) September 25, 2013

For Tunney, however, the fight doesn’t stop at Wall Street.

Our long-term strategy should be using the militia to defend against state aggression when providing for the material needs of all people.

— Justine Tunney (@JustineTunney) September 25, 2013

So, could this fundraising campaign become a reality? Many more particulars would need to be sorted out, but support for the idea seems at least as strong as dissent within the ranks of OWS. The question is which site would host it. Tunney expressed admiration for the Kickstarter model, where no donations are accepted unless the full desired budget is met.

But bankrolling an anti-corporate militia may not go over well at Kickstarter, which disallows content that “infringes any patent, trademark, trade secret, copyright, right of publicity, or other right of any other person or entity, or violates any law or contract.” If Kickstarter decided to pull the plug on such a project, though, you can expect Tunney et al. to make it difficult for them.   

H/T Betabeat | Photo by Darwin Yamamoto/Flickr

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*First Published: Sep 25, 2013, 4:55 pm CDT