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Forum Post: A Proposed Solution for the 'They Don't Have Demands' Complaint

Posted 10 years ago on Nov. 22, 2011, 6:40 p.m. EST by jmperkins (5) from San Diego, CA
This content is user submitted and not an official statement

Insofar as we have digital tools that simply were not available even ten years ago, I have a proposal on how the occupy movement can generate 'demands' while still holding to our principles of fostering a direct, participatory and inclusive democracy.

Instead of trying to hammer out one set of demands to satisfy everyone, why don't we each write our own 'Why I Occupy' statement. In it, we can each individually list the grievances. What can make this not be an overwhelming glut of material is that we can all individually tag our personal statements: ie mine would probably mention #economic justice #end corporate personhood, #wealth redistribution #graduated income tax #negative income tax #create universal healthcare and so forth and so on. From here we could generate a tag cloud to track what it is that occupiers actually want to see change in our society.

You could even throw your weight behind another person's statement.

With a bit of programming know how, we could break down demands by community/city/school/whatever. Moreover, we could create a framework where we could split up demands between near future and far future and or by how much each item matters to us (I think long term demands are things like #move away from a debt based economy although I'm sure we could create more elegant ways to express the common ideas). I think this could possibly create a grassroots, emergent consensus as opposed to a top down one.

I think this could be a logical progression of the 'I am the 99%' meme. Would this system be more resistant to the cooption that has always plagued activism? I honestly have no idea. Granted this system would be gameable, but then so again are petitions. I welcome any thoughts or feedback on this idea (and offer my apologies if this has been suggested before).


John Perkins




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[-] 2 points by AmericanMachinist (24) 10 years ago

thats just main stream news and spin, I saw a list posted on the front page of this site weeks ago, no matter what you do you will not stop lie from Corporate owned media!

[-] 1 points by jmperkins (5) from San Diego, CA 10 years ago

As far as I know, the occupy movement has had several 'proposed' lists of demands, but nothing official yet. Or has there been official demands? I would love a link if so. Also, I agree that the 'lack of demands' thing is largely media spin as we all want economic justice. We're still trying to reach consensus on what that would look like.

[-] 1 points by AFarewellToKings (1486) 10 years ago

Although there may be barriers, your concepts are certainly worth exploring and should be part of a working group. Another example of employing direct democracy ('mob'-'rule') is employing a wiki http://occupythiswiki.org/wiki/Main_Page and I think it's interesting too.

Time is short though. consider this:

I'm a farmer. I know a good machine from a crappy one (read Egypt). But a good machine in the hands of a lousy operator leads to damaged equipment and loss of crop leading to debts and hunger. We're coming out with better machines all the time but keeping the machine I have running productively means I can acquire a state-of-the-art machine sooner. So let's fix the machine we have (the ballot box is your tool box) while we discuss the new machine.

OWS beats the drum of the 1st Amendment right of the people peaceably to assemble but yet when I mention the 1st Amendment right to petition the government for a redress of grievances I hear that that is not what OWS stands for, it's heirarchical, it's treasonous, or simply it's impossible. I appreciate that drafting that list is going to be a difficult task but I don't see how OWS is going to actually change anything if people don't use the right to petition as strongly as they've used the right to peaceably assemble.

I think OWS should morph into OLB, Occupy Liberty Bell or OIH Occupy Independence Hall. Have small peaceful assemblies all winter long in every congressional district spreading the word about the National General Assembly starting July 4th in Philadelphia. Ask the people of Philadelphia to invite their fellow Americans into their homes for the NGA and coordinate this all winter too. Have occasional "occupations" throughout the winter, growing in size as the spring approaches, the WE ARE THE 99% growing louder with each event. This keeps the light shining and the movement looks smart, smells like a rose. Imagine the city of Philadelphia's population doubling or tripling for four days in July 2012.

NGA NOW all roads lead to Philadelphia https://sites.google.com/site/the99percentdeclaration/

note that it is a SUGGESTED list of grievances. The 435 district GA's work on their list to prepare their delegates to go to Philadelphia, There all 435 ideas are put on the table where the NGA works with them to propose a final draft, that could/would return to District General Assemblies (DGA's) for approval. In the end, I think the list is a living document and what's on the list is not as important as the fact that The List exists, for 1st Amendment rights purposes. Remember, it's fully expected that The List will be ignored anyway.

[-] 1 points by theos32 (17) 10 years ago

Pick one demand, just one. Then repeat it over and over again. Once you have one then you can worry about everything else on the list.

[-] 2 points by jmperkins (5) from San Diego, CA 10 years ago

I agree with you that Ending Corporate Personhood is a worthy goal, but I think that effecting a single change (even something like ending corporate personhood) wouldn't effect significant change. Hence, multiple demands.

[-] 1 points by CrossingtheDivided (357) from Santa Ysabel, CA 10 years ago

This would disenfranchise much of the 99% who don't have easy access to these digital tools you speak of.

[-] 2 points by jmperkins (5) from San Diego, CA 10 years ago

Fair enough, although I would imagine that we could disseminate access...

[-] 1 points by CrossingtheDivided (357) from Santa Ysabel, CA 10 years ago

I'm in San Diego right now, and I can tell you that I see on a regular basis people in the libraries who use the computers out of necessity for their allowed 1-hour-a-day, 4-or-5-days a week (depending on branch, usually only 4 days a week, thanks to Mayor Scumders,) and I also see some working - and especially some elderly - people who don't have time to wait around for hours for a computer at the library, and in some cases wouldn't know how to operate a social networking-style quiz anyway.

So, nice idea, but until we've figured a way to Include-In the many who couldn't (or wouldn't know how to) participate, it's just a noble trial thought-balloon.Sorry to burst it!*

*We need to work on ways to make the Occupy message more accessible to those who aren't on digital media (and it's a large part of the population, never forget.)