Liberal billionaire and favorite villain of the right George Soros may be ideologically similar to the Occupy Wall Street protesters, but comments from a limited-access email list of Occupy Wall Street organizers reveal that many of the protesters want nothing to do with the wealthy hedge fund manager — who they say is a manifestation of what they are protesting.
“If Soros speaks at the park or in support of us, we are finished. i have over 500 emails from people complaining about Soros. he is very devise (sic),” wrote David DeGraw, the editor of AmpedStatus.com. “If you guys don’t agree, and he shows at the park, we will have to go into all out PR mode to make sure people know that anyone can just show up and speak.”
There has been speculation that Soros is one of the financial backers of the movement, a charge Soros spokesman Michael Vachon told CNBC is untrue.
“[He has not] funded the protests directly or indirectly.” Vichon said. “Assertions to the contrary are an attempt by those who oppose the protesters to cast doubt on the authenticity of the movement.”
Despite denials that Soros has money in the game, he has been sympathetic to the protest movement.
“I can understand their sentiment,” he told reporters at the United Nations this month about the protesters, according to CNBC. Despite enjoying his understanding, Occupy Wall Street has concerns about allowing the billionaire any access to their movement.
“HE’S ONE OF THE 1%” wrote Occupy Wall Street organizer Jackie DiSalvo. (RELATED: Private listserv: Protesters sought to sell merchandise for profit)
Others pointed out that he and his ilk represent exactly what they are protesting.
“[I] don’t think he can take over the movement. But i’m pretty sure that’s what he want’s [sic] to do. From my stand point, soros is part of the guy that created the crisis from the beging* [sic], unlike warren buffet [sic],” wrote a listserv participant by the name of Jerome. “(* speculation on derivatives, and sub-prime loans, he even wrote a book about it) So if he says he supports us, i think there is a problem of honesty, and cynicism from his part. That needed to be said.”
While many on the listserv cringed at the thought of allowing Soros to even speak at the Occupy Wall Street gatherings, others were more interested in fostering debate.
“I wouldn’t worry overly about Soros’ ability to corrupt or coopt OWS. I would focus on building and broadening the movement,” wrote a fellow going by the name Lycophidion. “That’s the best ‘inoculation.’ To the extent that it taps into the deep anger at the misery Soros’ class is creating for working people, and the deep distrust in a political establishment that has ever more shamelessly done the bidding of that class, I don’t believe anything Soros can say, or do, will have much traction…So, let him come. Debate him.”