Posted 10 years ago on Nov. 15, 2011, 6:11 p.m. EST by KLRoberts
This content is user submitted and not an official statement
A MODEST PROPOSAL.
Occupy Wall Street will not last in its current form. Without building on the energy gained from the occupation of Zuccotti Park, the movement will fail to enact lasting change and be remembered as a group of passionate and angry protestors unable to articulate what they wanted to achieve. If OWS is to survive, we must begin to make demands; well-thought out, clearly articulated demands for specific changes we want to see. The occupation built us the support, gained us the recognition, and garnered the attention we need to begin campaigning.
While a big part of the OWS motivation surrounds the idea that politics are corrupt as they stand now, that the government is run by the 1%, that does not give us the luxury of opting-out of the process. We need to engage the political system and use it on our own terms. Demand corporations and their CEOs be held responsible, insist on an overhaul of the tax system, demand a reevaluation of how the penal system is run in our country. But, how do we do this in a way that stays true to the movement’s tenet of nonviolent protest and still places enough pressure on the politicians to help enact laws that would change the current system?
Adbusters, Occupywallst.org, and other media covering the movement are sending out messages that we must remember the movement is the idea and not the space. They are tossing around ideas for the next step in the protest. Where do we go next? What actions can we take to continue this momentum?
People are thinking too small. Even when making “big” suggestions, we are thinking only a step or two ahead, momentary ways to move things forward, keep the passion afloat. We need to consider how to engage in the political system without compromising our ideals. Time for something bigger, something that sounds impossible or delusional when you first read it. But, something that is achievable and, even if ineffective, will create enough pressure in the political landscape that the demands of the OWS movement cannot be ignored or spun as a bunch of unemployed young Americans complaining.
I say we elect our own president in November 2012.
One of the biggest strengths of the OWS movement is its rule by consensus, its general assemblies. If we choose a participant of OWS as our representative, a person to act as the face of the consensus-ruled body of the 99%, we could write-in the name on the election ballot in 2012. Between the social networking tools that allowed OWS to spread before the media would cover it, the word-of-mouth momentum of the movement, and the media coverage OWS finally has gained, we have the potential to elect our own candidate, without even needing the capitol to run a campaign. We spread the word, hold online media conferences, run our own grassroots campaign. Promote the name as simply a name to represent the entire body. The person will not be the president, we will. Call for everyone who identifies with the movement to write in the same name on election day. Redefine politics. Instead of building a political party, such as the Tea Party has done, we focus on maintaining the spirit at the core of the movement, the idea that we all need a voice in the political process and those in charge just aren’t listening.
Even if we don’t get the popular votes, we get the attention for our efforts and demands. Even if the electoral college refuses to vote based on what the public chooses, we’ve proven we have the support, the manpower, to change elections. And, say we won, and the popular vote chose a person who actually was dedicated to the needs and concerns of the public who elected her? Even though she might never see office, depending on the electoral college and the politicians already in place, we would have made the biggest show of solidarity and force possible without violence--we would have chosen our own anti-leader, a member of our movement, of the 99%, to run a consensus-driven government. The power we would gain behind our demands would be immeasurable.
Think about it. Spread the idea. Toss it around in conversations with friends, family, random strangers. Consider changing the landscape of politics.
Let’s choose our own president.
P.S. The following thoughts were born from conversations arising from this idea: "the other big thing this would do is force people to articulate their demands..beyond the excitement it would generate among participants, they would be required to make coherent statements about what they, as a collective candidate, want to achieve."
"i guess my other thought w/r/t the problem of a figurehead is that you could spread the name that everyone is to write in for the election, but never identify the person attached to the name. that way, even when leaders/figureheads/spokespeople emerge to discuss the issues central to the OWS "party" or movement, the candidate remains anonymous with his/her name a symbol for the consensus-driven governing model."