Though the Occupy Movement has certainly not been as much the focus of the collective public eye in 2012 as it had been in the late months of 2011, it still has pockets of activity and is planning for more. Occupiers gathered at the Conservative Political Action Conference — CPAC, for the uninitiated — to protest what Occupy called on its website “summit of the 1%” There, they were met by vitriol from Andrew Breitbart. In an encounter last night caught on video, Breitbart repeatedly screamed “behave yourself,” called the protesters “freaks and animals” and said “stop raping people.” The “behave yourselves” comment seemed more than ironic, given the circumstances. Watch the video via Mediaite after the jump.
In response to Breitbart protesters began to chant “racist, sexist, anti-gay/ right-wing bigots go away.”
This afternoon, another media figure, Rupert Murdoch, tweeted a much milder view of the movement, while also comparing it to the Tea Party. (Murdoch Twitter-watch seems to be a thing these days.)
CPAC panelists, however, discussed the differences between Occupy and the Tea Party.
Meanwhile, the New York Times has a story for tomorrow’s print edition that evaluates the movement and looks at where it is heading. The Times writes:
Far from dissipating, groups around the country say they are preparing for a new phase of larger marches and strikes this spring that they hope will rebuild momentum and cast an even brighter glare on inequality and corporate greed. But this transition is filled with potential pitfalls and uncertainties: without the visible camps or clear goals, can Occupy become a lasting force for change? Will disruptive protests do more to galvanize or alienate the public?
The story explains that Feb. 29 should see “a day of nonviolent direct action to reclaim our voices and challenge our society’s obsession with profit and greed by shutting down the corporations” in over 30 cities, originating with a plan from Occupy Portland called “Shut Down the Corporations.” Occupy Wall Street and Occupy Crown Heights and Brooklyn are among those participating, according to the event’s website. Meanwhile, May 1 also promises to be a big day as the movement is attempting to get people to play hooky on school and work to show “a day without the 99 percent.” Still, the Times notes that labor unions are saying that they aren’t going to strike on that day, putting the movement in a tricky spot, as unions have historically been Occupy supporters.
Update: 5:03 p.m.
The Observer notes that some protesters tried to “mic check” Sarah Palin at CPAC today.
Update: Sunday 9:49 a.m.
After reaching out, we heard back from Mark Bray, a member of the OWS press team.
In reaction to Breitbart, Bray said: “He takes isolated incidents of sexual abuses and want to makes it into some generalized trend by calling us animals and rapists.”
Breitbart “plays into his own constituency,” Bray said, adding: “I don’t really take it all that seriously.”
Meanwhile, as for the movement going forward Bray said that OWS is working to have a variety of events on May Day, even for those who might have to go to work.
“We’re trying to create a space that people of all circumstances can have something to do to show solidarity with the movement,” he said.