For seven straight days now, major cities across the US have seen protests on a massive scale. The social unrest we’re seeing unfold over this last week is unprecedented, rivaled only by the civil right’s movement of the 1960’s. Low and behold, nothing major happens in this country without some outlandish conspiracy theory far behind it. There is a narrative that is being widely shared among social media that purports billionaire George Soros to be funding the activists out in the streets. While these claims have some links describing Soros’ involvement in organizations leaning left in America and abroad, I’m going to explain why this narrative is completely false.
First of all… If you voted for either Trump or Clinton, and you are currently upset because some foreign billionaire might be funding a political movement? You have placed yourself in a spiraling paradox of hypocrisy. If Soros were funding these activists, and that has you more angry than knowing that during this presidential race almost $1 billion went to the 2 candidates mentioned above, you have your priorities way off. Corporations and special interests fund the candidates for every portion of our political system, all the way down to local municipalities. Yet here you’re worried about a couple of busloads of people showing up at a protest. Priorities are really key here.
Now, to sum up the argument by neoconservative outlets that want you to believe this theory. Outlets so absolutely astonishing in some of their content that I refuse to hyperlink them in here. I don’t want them even getting a click.
Their argument; That by way of George Soros’ wealth, the actions happening in America can literally be credited to just him.
Their evidence; A 13-year running philanthropy push in which Soros has openly made donations to activists organizations like MoveOn.org and others. Along with his continued large donations to Democratic super PACs, including one that supported Hillary Clinton’s campaign, and numerous media conglomerates. Also, that an email between Soros and Clinton unveiled by Wikileaks incriminates Soros of asking Clinton to persuade outrage against the Albanian Prime Minister… In 2011.
I can understand the frustration behind this. What I don’t understand, is how this is evidence of direct funding of physical protesters in the street. Soros is absolutely guilty of trying to use his financial power to strengthen a specific side of the political spectrum. As such, he is also guilty of helping to create the division we are currently experiencing in this country and abroad. Soros however, is a sidelines type of player. Convicted of insider trading, guilty of political division tactics? Absolutely, he is. Funding activists in streets across our cities for days on end… He is not.
Addressing the issue behind the WikiLeaks emails almost shouldn’t have to be done. In 2011, an aid to Soros sent an email to the office of Secretary of State (Under Clinton at the time) requesting she “Bring the full weight of the international community to bear on Prime Minister Berisha and opposition leader Edi Rama to forestall further public demonstrations and to tone down public pronouncements.” So, we have a 5-year-old request from a Soros aid to stir things up in a completely different country. While deplorable, this is not evidence of any activists today being paid by Soros. It’s ridiculous to even try and use the connection.
From first-hand experience, having been to 3 #DumpTrump rallies and marches over the last year, this claim is a blow, and completely undermines the numerous social action networks that have come together across the country to stand in unity since the day Trump announced his candidacy. People have been protesting, inside and out of his campaign stops the entire year. To dismiss their actions as irrelevant in this story is unfair, as they are likely the same organizers of the current actions alleged to be funded by Soros.
So where does that leave us? Having marched on Market St. in San Francisco, CA just Sunday night I actually asked a few people if they were paid by George Soros to attend. I got blank stares and questions asking about who Soros was. The protests are very real, and unprecedentedly large and organic. The messages and ideologies at these protests are of plenty. Can I be wrong? Of course. Someone could’ve gotten a check from Soros to be out there in the thick of protest. The Fifth Column is even willing to pay $100 to anyone that can provide proof of being paid by Soros to be present at a protest.
Spoiler alert though. We aren’t going to see said proof. Now that we understand this movement is real, can we stop being angry at protesters for doing their thing, and start being angry at the amount of influence money has our political structure?