Occupy Nation - Page 2

Let's take back the country — starting now, by planning a tour to occupy the country

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Guardian illustration by Eric Drooker


DEFINING MOMENTS

Mass social movements of the 20th Century often had defining moments — the S.F. General Strike of 1934; the Bonus Army's occupation of Washington D.C.; the Freedom Rides, bus boycotts and Rev. Martin Luther King Jr.'s March on Washington; Earth Day 1970; the Vietnam War teach-ins and moratoriums. None of those movements were politically monolithic; all of them had internal conflicts over tactics and strategies.

But they came together in ways that made a political statement, created long-term organizing efforts, and led to significant reforms. Occupy can do the same — and more. At a time of historic inequities in wealth and power, when the rich and the right wing are stealing the future of generations of Americans, the potential for real change is enormous.

If something's going to happen this spring and summer, the planning should get under way now.

A convention could begin in late June, in Washington D.C. — with the goal of ratifying on the Fourth of July a platform document that presents the movement's positions, principles, and demands. Occupy groups from around the country would endorse the idea in their General Assemblies, according to procedures that they have already established and refined through the fall, and make it their own.

This winter and spring, activists would develop and hone the various proposals that would be considered at the convention and the procedures for adopting them. They could develop regional working groups or use online tools to broadly crowd-source solutions, like the people of Iceland did last year when they wrote a new constitution for that country. They would build support for ideas to meet the convention's high-bar for its platform, probably the 90 percent threshold that many Occupy groups have adopted for taking action.

Whatever form that document takes, the exercise would unite the movement around a specific, achievable goal and give it something that it has lacked so far: an agenda and set of demands on the existing system — and a set of alternative approaches to politics.

While it might contain a multitude of issues and solutions to the complicated problems we face, it would represent the simple premise our nation was founded on: the people's right to create a government of their choosing.

There's already an Occupy group planning a convention in Philadelphia that weekend, and there's a lot of symbolic value to the day. After all, on another July 4th long ago, a group of people met in Philly to draft a document called the Declaration of Independence that said, among other things, that "governments ... deriv[e] their just powers from the consent of the governed ... [and] whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness."

 

ON THE ROAD

If the date is right and the organizing effort is effective, there's no reason that Occupy couldn't get close to a million people into the nation's capital for an economic justice march and rally.

That, combined with teach-ins, events and days of action across the country, could kick off a new stage of a movement that has the greatest potential in a generation or more to change the direction of American politics.

Creating a platform for constitutional and political reform is perhaps even more important than the final product. In other words, the journey is even more important than the destination — and when we say journey, we mean that literally.

Occupy groups from around the country could travel together in zig-zagging paths to the Capitol, stopping and rallying in — indeed, Occupying! — every major city in the country along the way.

Comments

Can't wait to read the ignorant hate mail that this is gonna generate from anonymous guests.
Good job guys, expose them for what they are.
GO NINERS.

Posted by Patrick Monk. RN on Jan. 17, 2012 @ 8:35 pm

so we can put on a show! (Didn't want to disappoint the Monk.)

Posted by Chromefields on Jan. 18, 2012 @ 8:27 am

Great idea, our political 'system' is becoming more like a farce every day so let's lighten up, dress up and have some fun while we still can.
PIGASUS FOR PRESIDENT.

Posted by Patrick Monk. RN on Jan. 18, 2012 @ 11:00 am
Posted by Patrick Monk. RN on Jan. 18, 2012 @ 11:18 am

So I don't blame you for trying to talk it up.

But it's had it's 15 minutes of fame, and now looks more like the usual suspects with their usual whinery.

Posted by Guest on Jan. 18, 2012 @ 11:27 am

Usual suspects being whom?
The Movement is still going strong. Just because you don't see it on Fox News or CNN means nothing. See what went on in DC yesterday?Probably not.

Posted by Lucas on Jan. 18, 2012 @ 1:21 pm

It's the same people, only now they have a new label. So you have the Tenants Union co-opting it in the interests of "preserving" housing. Same people, same issues, same tactics - just a new brand.

Same ol' same ol'.

Posted by Guest on Jan. 18, 2012 @ 3:20 pm

Over the past few decades there has been an incremental loss of our civil liberties, this incremental-ism was decided on long ago by the Globalists as the method of choice for the destruction of national sovereignty and the enslavement of all of the 99%.

With Bill after Bill being passed and Executive order after Executive order being handed down, our rights have slowly eroded away, and their pace has picked up to breakneck speeds in just the past two decades.

With Bills like the Patriot Act, NDAA, SOPA, PIPA and thousands of others, with too many executive orders to count, the U.S. government and the 1% have consolidated power and set themselves up to use the military and police to enforce their global power structure.

We had been warned numerous times by those that were in the know and by our founding fathers, who they now call terrorist, that this could and would happen if allowed to go unchecked.

Now it's here, the New World Order has showed its face, and the 1% who run it are showing their teeth, the question for us and for the Occupy Movement as a whole is will we stick to the same old lines or emerge as a counter to the suppression of civil and human rights. Will the Occupy Movement stand as the defenders of freedom, or falter in their duty to themselves, the 99%, the Constitution, Bill of Rights, Deceleration of Independence, and most important their children and their children's children.

Posted by coryvclark on Jan. 18, 2012 @ 12:29 pm

We need to ban together and get a million people to occupy Congress. Then follow up with another million people to occupy Wall Street. Only then the 1% might pay attention.

Posted by Mission Loco 94110 on Jan. 18, 2012 @ 1:40 pm

As we are proceeding and growing some plans will succeed and more folk will follow in those footsteps, some will be less so but there are a few ideas that many know already and the rest should that will enhance the movement toward where it needs to go.

You could say towards its Goals, but even before Goals, clear values are needed to measure the goals by. George Lakoff has laid out a model of two clear and competing values that I believe can be a basis for defining the sort of open society that has come to define the 99% movement. This is not a call to move there as I believe we are already there but to make the discussion more clear and precise.

From that I have found two values of action and two values of observation that I believe to be bedrock that all that the 99% wishes can be built on.

The first value of action is that there will always be some level of leadership, be they a facilitator, a visionary, even rotating or divided, but the very act of laying out an idea and others agreeing to go with a version of it, confers leadership on the planner. The leader is always by that definition the agent and envoy of the whole group, and therefore accountable to the group.

The GA has always insisted on a very short leash, making long and messy discussions fearful of having actions almost everyone would support. Increasingly working groups have had to happen as the GA does not have enough hours in a day to learn and decide immense amounts of minutia and leadership lines will of necessity become more defined.

But the concept of Leader as Agent of the group with a job like any other and a tight leash is it cannot be short needs deep thinking. This concept also needs to be transferred to Government and Corporate decision making as well, as the 99% keeping the 1% accountable is the basis of all that we are doing.

The Second value of action is the empowerment of everyone else to achieve all that they are capable of achieving. In competition only one achieves and the rest lose out, but only the achievements of that one are available to the rest of society. If everyone achieves than there is a great deal more available to the rest of society and the entire society is much wealthier for it. If society bears an expense to make this so it is well spent.

Of that description acquiring and certifying knowledge (by school or other) in a manner free and open to everyone is the most obvious example, but a bridge across a river or a GNU sponsored computer program would be also, as well as the ability to confer and influence, and thus hold accountable those whose job it is to be the organizing agents noted above. There is more of course though it seems overly simple, but most of the good and bad that happens falls on that divide.

The first Value of observation is Empathy. A concept so basic it is welded into our genes, that we can place ourselves into the lives of others and feel what it is like there. But in many it is damaged, and others work hard to cloud it. However if the need is recognized the clouds can be dispersed and with it Goals that achieve the values of action become apparent.

The second Value of observation lies in the reality that all can agree on. Not arrived easily humanity has spent a thousand years developing ways of observation and logic that has produced dividends beyond our wildest dreams, and problems also but it is only by that understanding that the processes needed can be found and magical thinking avoided.

One might think those values are shared by everyone, but they are opposed strenuously by all who would oppose the goals of Occupy and the 99% and that is the basic "Cultural Divide" in whole and detail, and so should be at the base of all demands and their unifying feature.

Posted by FreeDem on Jan. 19, 2012 @ 4:12 am

In the comment above I recommended a video and I should also have included this Google book that I believe provides a secular concept of values that all of our demands, policies, and people we put forth can and should be based on.

Seemingly basic they are the very heart of the "Cultural (& Financial)Divide" we find ourselves in, and why we Occupy, and what we even mean by Fairness.

But that is what was forgotten to get into the post above. The other Important (IMHO) piece of information is likely known also but I feel the need that everyone should be familiar, as it lies at the heart of not only Occupy, but the Arab Spring, and Color Revolutions around the world. That is the book on strategy and tactics by Gene Sharp called "From Dictatorship to Democracy".

In this case I feel no need to expound further as those links do an excellent job for themselves. I realize that many are familiar with these ideas but feel they should be common knowledge to all of us as much as possible.

Posted by FreeDem on Jan. 19, 2012 @ 4:37 am

Warm spiritual greetings, Following a month at Zuccotti Park-Occupy Wall Street, and then two months at the Stop the Machine! encampment on Freedom Plaza in Washington D.C., I assure everyone unequivocally that this is NOT the usual suspects with a change of masks. Check out my Occupy Congress Report on the San Francisco IMC posted January 17, 2012. Am returning to Cali Saturday morning, crashing at the Compared to What jazz band's rehearsal studio in Oakland...have emailed the mgr. of J-town's Kabuki spa to get the big furo (communal hot tub) fired up! :-)

Posted by Craig Louis Stehr on Jan. 19, 2012 @ 1:24 pm

This country is already "occupied," thank you very little.

It's been under siege and occupation for years by illegal immigrants who sneak into the country and start sucking up welfare payments and free medical care like leeches. These people have no intention whatsoever of assimilating into American culture. Learn the language? Learn how government works? Abide by the laws? Read the Constitution? Only when it works to their advantage so they can scream and protest for special interest rights.

It's occupied by generations of ignorant young people who are semi-literate (at best) and get all their information from television and Top-40 garbage music produced by people who HATE America. When you don't read and waste all your time trying to learn how to rap like your ignorant hate-filled heroes, spend 7-8 hours a day playing X-Box Live or think you're going to be the next "big baller" like Lebron or Kobe, you severely limit your opportunities to succeed. Sorry kids, but the sad fact is that 99% of aspiring rappers, professional gamers and athletes DO NOT MAKE IT! But what the hell, once you've wasted your potential on those pipe dreams and start selling coke to college-age party kids and finally get popped by he cops, you can always simply cry "Injustice!" and blame the government or the corporations or "The Man" or Whitey or whomever else you can conjure up so that you don't have to take responsibility for your own failure to become a productive and successful member of society.

These two groups are similar in that neither work to assimilate into mainstream American culture and both are ignorant of what it even means to be American. The illegal immigrants have never taken a U.S. History course or a course on Civic Responsibility. But, guess what? The illiterate hip-hop and bling subculture (no matter whether they're white, black, asian hispanic, whatever...) haven't either. They may have sat or slept or texted through the class, but they didn't learn a damn thing. In that culture, doing well in school is almost as bad as "snitchin."

Sadly, we're also multiple generations into this downward spiral by now. The parents of these knuckle-draggers were low-achieving welfare babies too. How are parents going to inspire young people to learn when they themselves do not see value in education? More importantly, why would they? They have their sustenance, free or deeply subsidized housing, EBT food stamps, baby-factory welfare payments, etc... given to them by the government and don't even see the value in self-sufficiency. Self-sufficiency requires individual effort, aka, "work" and even menial work generally requires some level of rudimentary education. These people are having none of it.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=2GklCBvS-eI

Posted by Guest on Jan. 19, 2012 @ 11:32 pm

Money is the root of all evil. I am poor and because of this I got a job doing political canvassing. That is where you get PAID to collect signators for different ballot incentives, or go door to door and as you take a poll over what candidate they will vote for you tell them why the candidate you are working for is great and leave some info for them. Another thing that paid me was family first, an org that had me do phone banks helping prop 8 the California bill that defines marriage as man and women. I called up thousands of people and told them the lie (that I was told) that same sex couples would not be losing any rights and everything would be the same save for the label or name. I am OK with gays, but I was republican and part of conservative social circles and everybody was telling each other that we do not hate gays, nor mean them any ill, we were just saving the namesake. After years of this I got recruited through FB for posting comments on blogs and high traffic sites. They had a few starting idea templates but encouraged us to make it our own. We posted horrible thing like death panels and just spread rumors about how it is going to make us get insurance we will be forced to pay for and such and such. They had us to do the same for the occupy movement. I had tea party friends that (in the begging of the occupy) were joining in and I felt the same about us poor not having enough of a say in what goes on. Plus because of my history and employment I understood more then most how those who have the most money have the most speech and influence (I would not have collected signatures, made calls, nor gone door to door unless I paid). I was so used to just doing what I should, plus I really needed the paycheck at the time so I went along with it for pay even though I did not agree with it thinking "what harm does it do". We wrote letter to politicians and news media about how the encampments were unsanitary eyesores, in the office we would share clips of comedians making fun of the occupiers and go troll on occupy sites that were occupy supportive. Well soon the people that did not like the occupy movement but did not have a reason now had reasons they could use that did not make them look bad. People are influenced by branding and culture and if you are Coke, Pepsi or even a slick car company you can make people want things and even tie their very identity and community groups (churches, hunters, etc..) into a brand or political philosophy. I stopped calling myself an open minded conservative and switched over to just open minded (not a liberal, I can not swallow the whole pill of either side). In conversation I still support what I believe to people but I will try to no longer let money or the desperation of poverty, or even peer pressure to be part of the group influence the causes I support. Be extra careful the petitions you sign for it may be a gal or guy who is just getting paid to punch the clock and does not even really support the thing itself. I do not know how to fix it. It is a system that has a reward system built into it so by behavior modification it will be near impossible to reverse that money changes how we think and what we value to value laws, and systems that help the ones with money keep it (even if indirectly through peer pressure and being part of a group). I now think for myself and let others do the same.

Posted by Guest on Feb. 02, 2012 @ 10:03 am

Seriously, if you want a redistribution of wealth and free health care, move to Canada! This movement is not going to bring about change. If America didn't have corporations, then we would not have the jobs that we currently have. Don't piss them off any more than you already have or they will completely move their companies overseas. They won't get taxed by our govt so you and I will get taxed more and we will have less jobs to go around. If you don't think that your employer pays you enough, then you should think about being in business for yourself. Start a business. Create jobs of your own and then you try and talk about redistribution of wealth. America needs another industrialized revolution. We need to make things again. We need inventors and people who want to start small business' to be the ones that are in power, and we need our government to support them by not over taxing them and preventing long term growth and future employment from ever becoming a reality. The job problem in this country is that business' are being taxed out of business. Is that what you want? Do you want business' to have to go out of business or move shop in order to stay in business'? Or, do you want them to stay here?! You are not at the mercy of a corporation! If you want them out of business, then you fight hard and COMPETE to put them out of business. Don't go whining to the govt. to tax them until they can't stand. You want more regulation, then create an economic demand for regulation. You are only creating more beaucracy!

Posted by Peter Anderson on Nov. 06, 2012 @ 10:04 pm

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