Welcome login | signup
Language en es fr
OccupyForum

Forum Post: More people, fewer tents

Posted 6 years ago on March 23, 2012, 1:58 a.m. EST by jrhirsch (4714) from Sun City, CA
This content is user submitted and not an official statement

What is keeping the rest of the people away from the Occupy protests? There should be thousands, not just a hundred. When they see arrests for sleeping in tents, they see a blur between right to assemble and trespassing. They are alienated. When they see arrests for holding a sign they identify because it is so clearly a violation of our most basic feedoms. The few who remain in tents are stunting Occupy's growth. We can't accomplish our goal of political and economic reform unless we attract huge numbers. Are the tents more important than the change we want to see?

27 Comments

27 Comments


Read the Rules
[-] 2 points by ancientmariner (275) 6 years ago

There were a lot more than a hundred in liberty square.

[-] 1 points by francismjenkins (3713) 6 years ago

If I had to point to a problem (although I'm not sure there really is any problem, for a variety of reasons I think OWS actually has a good strategy), but I would say a coherent message is important. I mean, it's all well and good that everyone has a different opinion regarding what utopia should look like, but I think it behooves us to sort of deal with the fact that while some change can happen quickly, for the most part, change is a gradual process, and some of it needs to be done through the political process (although some things cannot be done through the political process ... that's where things like "occupy town square" come in).

Glass Steagall won't restore itself, NDAA won't overturn itself, we can't get things like the right to hold recall elections if it's not done via the political process, etc. etc.

This doesn't mean we can't have a variable approach. Sometimes the standard occupation tactic is okay, but let's understand it for what it is, it's a desperation tactic. It's something you do when nothing else works, when we're being shut out by the media, etc.

Eventually, I would think OWS would want to grow out of the need to sleep in concrete parks. If for no other reason, it's just fucking uncomfortable (and eventually, you'll start having back problems and shit like that ... and back problems ain't fun, believe me).

[-] 0 points by jrhirsch (4714) from Sun City, CA 6 years ago

I look at the primaries and see the same candidates with the same ideas that we are against, winning state after state. It is clear that our message is not reaching enough people. NDAA, Glass Steagall, Etc. are a result of voter apathy. Our apathy must turn to boldness to succeed.

[-] 1 points by francismjenkins (3713) 6 years ago

Indeed ....

[-] 1 points by MattLHolck (16833) from San Diego, CA 6 years ago

problems not going away after work is over ?

[-] 1 points by jrhirsch (4714) from Sun City, CA 6 years ago

Not sure what you mean.

[-] 1 points by MattLHolck (16833) from San Diego, CA 6 years ago

tents don't go away

[-] 1 points by DemandTheGoodLifeDotCom (3360) from New York, NY 6 years ago

I agree with this post.

But in order to grow the movement you need leadership, structure and clearly defined goals. OWS will never accomplish anything without organization. Nothing is ever accomplished without organization.

If OWS cannot clearly explain the problems it is protesting and how it plans to fix those problems, it is not a movement that will ever change anything.

[-] 1 points by jrhirsch (4714) from Sun City, CA 6 years ago

My goal is to restore Democracy back to it's rightful owners, the people. It will then be up to them to decide which direction our nation should take. Without political control we will not be able to end the economic inequality that will eventually end in the collapse of our economy, or in revolution against our corrupt government.

[-] 1 points by DemandTheGoodLifeDotCom (3360) from New York, NY 6 years ago

"Without political control we will not be able to end the economic inequality"

Without economic equality, I would say you have little political control. Your income determines the political power you have. If income is allocated very, very, very unequally, political power is allocated very, very, very unequally.

How do you see the political process ending economic inequality?

I believe economic inequality will only come to an end when the workers organize into a single union and all of them in solidarity demand it from their workplace. And go on a general strike if that demand is not met.

"will eventually end in the collapse of our economy"

I think the Great Depression, the recent Great Recession and all of the downturns in between have taught us that the economy will never collapse. Capitalism will always get bailed out by government.

[-] 1 points by jrhirsch (4714) from Sun City, CA 6 years ago

Political and economic power is tightly entwined. Can we grab hold of both at the same time and loosen the 1% firm grip? Political power can be bought by the wealthy, but the people can obtain it without buying Congress. We have a hundred times as many votes. If we only realized how powerful we really are, and acted in unison, electing people who represented the people, not the corporations, we could take back congress in a single election. Your similar argument for a workers union would help equalize the disparity in wealth. Again the workers have the advantage, if they only knew it. Knowledge is the key to our success. Gaining either economic or political power would be a great victory and would eventually succeed in gaining both.

There is also another factor in economic inequality that is the peoples fault. They are mesmerized by the media to buy what they don't need at prices they can't afford. $200 for a pair of Nike's? $3 for a box of cereal that contains 12 cents of grain? A $40,000 SUV that takes $100 to fill the tank. The economic equation is not just related to income.

[-] 1 points by DemandTheGoodLifeDotCom (3360) from New York, NY 6 years ago

Sure, there may be some path to that goal through elections. But I'm not sure how that would work.

The only way to take control over the allocation of income is if you have control over the businesses. The only way to gain control of businesses is if workers refuse to work for any business where they do not have full control over its income allocation. So that would only happen with a strike.

I would disagree with your second paragraph. Financial problems exist because people lack income, not because they spend their income frivolously.

[-] 1 points by RedJazz43 (2757) 6 years ago

All you need to do is go to any occupation and it is quite clear that OWS is far from leaderless. It has many very talented and dedicated leaders. What it doesn't have is people on ego trips, or at least it is less ego driven than any movement I have seen in nearly 50 years of activism. As far as structure goes, that is what the local general assemblies are all about. For better or for worst that is the current structure of OWS and anyone who wishes to change that will probably have to work through some general assembly somewhere to effect such a change.

OWS has a political document. It is relatively short. Only about 600 words. It is the Declaration of the Occupation of New York City, passed by the New York City General Assembly about a week after the occupation began. It lists more than 20 grievances. That seems to be a pretty clear explanation of what it sees as the problems in our society. As for solutions it is also very clear about that. It is up to us, not politicians and certainly not Wall Street. To do that we need more occupations and more general assemblies and we need to stand in solidarity with each other. What could be more clear.

As for the purpose of Occupy Wall Street, as Michael Moore put it at last week end's Left Forum, the purpose of Occupy Wall Street is to Occupy Wall Street.

What is keeping people away from OWS is many things. For the most part, most people don't know about it or don't know much about it. As for erstwhile supporters, I think the problem is that most of us have literally forgotten how to publicly and socially engage. As many commentators said, perhaps the most important thing about OWS is that it got people us and away from their tv screens and computers and got them out in the streets talking to each other. More and more people need to be encouraged to do that.

Right now there are over 1000 general assemblies around the nation and we need thousands more. There are still over 60 encampments, spring is coming and the will to re-establish encampments is blossoming with the spring flowers.

OWS is many things but to a considerable degree it is the permanent encampments that define the movement.

[-] 1 points by jrhirsch (4714) from Sun City, CA 6 years ago

Our protest against political and economic inequity is what defines this movement. So when all the camps are torn up and evicted will Occupy be torn up as well? These camps exclude more people than they include. Occupy must include millions more to be successful. We must protest in light, not in darkness.

[-] 1 points by RedJazz43 (2757) 6 years ago

All the encampments will most certainly not be torn up. There are over 60 encampments currently functioning in the US and this does not include hundreds of other encampments around the world. Spring is here and the struggle to re-establish encampments everywhere has begun. Given the hostility of the police to our efforts to re-establish encampments that suggest that this is exactly what we should be doing and in any event it is exactly what we are doing.

I completely agree that the movement needs to grow. Indeed it can't really discuss any meaningful next step until it has grown expodentially, but to grow means more general assemblies and the first job that most general assemblies tend to set for themselves is the establishment of an encampment. Once we have 20 or 30 million people occupying will be time enough to talk about a next step.

[-] 0 points by DemandTheGoodLifeDotCom (3360) from New York, NY 6 years ago

"It is the Declaration of the Occupation of New York City"

Are you sure? I cannot find that document. If that is what officially defines OWS, why isn't that on the front page?

What is on the front page is "Watch: The world we're building" which doesn't explain OWS and "Read: This call to action" which lists some principles and some things to do, none of which are going to solve any of the problems they are protesting. However, one of them says for workers to seize their workplaces by striking and organize them democratically.

So OWS is essentially calling for a socialist revolution. But it is buried.

If the front page of their website made this point the most prominent thing and organized the movement around selling this idea to the public by specifically explaining the benefits of democracy over capitalism and teaching people how to sell the idea to others so the movement can grow to the point where a strike can feasibly enable the workers to take control of the economy, OWS would be an entirely different movement.

It would be focused and the media would be very clear on what the OWS is.

But the one action OWS advocates that will actually change things, instead of just talking about things, is buried in the middle of some post.

.

"As for solutions it is also very clear about that. It is up to us, not politicians and certainly not Wall Street. To do that we need more occupations and more general assemblies and we need to stand in solidarity with each other. What could be more clear."

What would be more clear would be explaining what that solution is! It is up to us to do what? What solution are we carrying out? We need to stand in solidarity of what solution?

.

"OWS is many things but to a considerable degree it is the permanent encampments that define the movement."

I still don't understand how an encampment is going to get anyone a job or the poor more money to survive. These are people with serious problems that need help immediately.

If you occupied until the government passed a law that raised the minimum wage and guaranteed everyone a job, I would understand the point of occupying. But that is not what OWS is doing.

If OWS said they want the 22 million who cannot get a full time job to occupy until every unemployed person is given a job, I would understand the point of occupying. But that is not what OWS is doing.

If OWS said they want the 150 million people who are in poverty or are close to it to occupy until every person is given a job that pays a fair, livable wage, I would understand the point of occupying. But that is not what OWS is doing.

[-] 1 points by RedJazz43 (2757) 6 years ago

The quickest way to find the Declaration of the Occupation of New York City from this website (at least for me and I'm a computer moron) is through the NYC GA (New York City General Assembly) link. It pops right up on the NYC GA link.

OWS is not explicitly socialist, though my reading of the Declaration of the Occupation is that it is anti-corporate. Most of the initiators of OWS are influenced by the anarchist intellectual tradition and they remain a dominant influence, but an influence only. I don't think it would be any more fair to call OWS anarchist than it would be to call it socialist.

I'm not looking at the home page now, but to the best of my recollection it says, "we don't need Wall Street and we don't need politicians to build a better world." It goes on to advocate a general assembly in every back yard. I'm not even suggesting that I particularly agree with that as a solution or even viable, but it does seem pretty specific.

I am not suggesting that an encampment will get anyone a job or the poor more money. What I am suggesting is that the name of the movement is Occupy Wall Street and I would ask what does it mean to occupy if not set up and encampment. As Michael Moore put it at the Left Forum, the purpose of Occupy Wall Street is to occupy Wall Street.

OWS is very small, very new and on top of that very politically diverse, so not much can be said of it beyond the few political statements it has made such as the Declaration of the Occupation. However, one can get a pretty good understanding of the spirit of the movement by spending a few hours at any encampment or sitting through at least one General Assembly. I have been to dozens of these. It is perfectly possible that someone else may come away from such an experience with a very different impression than my own, but speaking only for myself, the impression that I get is that OWS recognizes how small it is. It knows that it needs to build itself. It has done a pretty good job of reaching out to and energizing virtually every other social movement in the nation. So far, acting in solidarity with other social movements it seeks to pressure the ruling elites of our nation to move toward a more just society. It is not yet sufficiently strong to be able to implement its own program on its own, but it can say to the elites BASTA! ENOUGH!

OWS needs to be expodentially larger than it currently is if it is to implement any program of its own on its own, on the order of 20 or 30 million people occupying. Once we have reached that stage of development will be time enough to talk about a next step.

[-] 1 points by DemandTheGoodLifeDotCom (3360) from New York, NY 6 years ago

"It goes on to advocate a general assembly in every back yard. I'm not even suggesting that I particularly agree with that as a solution or even viable, but it does seem pretty specific."

I don't understand how anyone can call setting up a general assembly a specific solution. It is not. What specifically is it solving? All they are doing is building a pointless, unproductive bureaucracy.

What they need to do is formulate a plan to solve a problem and then set up local meetings to sell people on that solution so that they can get it implemented.

This seems like obvious common sense to me. It seems like obvious common sense to the mainstream media that mocked OWS for this. It is odd that the core of OWS does not see this.

The problem in society is not that we lack a bureaucracy. The problem is unemployment and income inequality.

.

"Once we have reached that stage of development will be time enough to talk about a next step."

That is backwards! You don't get in your car, travel for 10 hours and then decide where you want to go.

You will never get people to join OWS if OWS doesn't stand for some solution. We don't need a movement to tell people there are problems in society. Everyone already knows that. But there are Left solutions to those problems and there are Right solutions.

If OWS is not offering a solution, why would someone on the Left join forces with someone on the Right to implement solutions neither of them agree on!?!

[-] 1 points by RedJazz43 (2757) 6 years ago

General assemblies attempt to solve the question of who rules and how they rule. I personally am skeptical of them being about to accomplish their intended aim, but I applaud their effort.

OWS realizes that it is a tiny tiny movement. It chooses not to make demands for many reasons. Among them are the notion that it wants to be much much bigger and more representative before it makes demands and feels that to do so at this point would be undemocratic. Another more radical tendency holds that to make demands legitimizes the very institutions we oppose. Again, once we are much much larger we would be in a position to displace those institutions.

The fact is tens of thousands of people have already joined OWS on exactly that basis. In addition it has energized and continues to energize virtually every other social movement including labor, civil rights, civil liberties, the womens movement, the gay movement the environmental movement and virtually every other social movement.

[-] 1 points by gnomunny (6819) from St Louis, MO 6 years ago

Click on the 'NYCGA' tab at the top of this page. You can find the 'Declaration' on that page rather easily.

[-] 1 points by DemandTheGoodLifeDotCom (3360) from New York, NY 6 years ago

Thanks.

It is disheartening to see that the movement is based on very vague ideas that nobody can use to solve anything and that they are written on a page that is buried on a site that gets 1/20th the traffic this site gets.

I wonder how many even know that site exists.

Meanwhile, the tea party opposition used their movement to change the majority in Congress and pass legislation that is having a real impact on society.

I can't understand how anyone thinks the OWS tactic will ever be effective at solving anything.

[-] 1 points by gnomunny (6819) from St Louis, MO 6 years ago

All OWS is doing at this time is getting the word out. It will probably take years to actually get anything done, which is fine. It took decades to get this country in the horrible shape it's in so to think anything can actually get fixed in a matter of months is naive. Right now OWS is akin to an infant just learning to walk. It will take many falls, many bruises before it can walk, let alone run. Mainstream may think OWS is a joke going into the 2012 election, but I suspect it will be a very different picture by 2016.

[-] 1 points by DemandTheGoodLifeDotCom (3360) from New York, NY 6 years ago

"All OWS is doing at this time is getting the word out."

What word are they getting out!?! That we have economic problems? Do you really think people are not aware of the economic problems that exist?

What they are doing is pointless. What they need to be doing is getting the word out on what solution will solve these problems so that they can build up the numbers needed to get those solutions implemented.

"It will probably take years to actually get anything done, which is fine"

No, it is not fine. Unemployed people need a job now. Financially struggling people need financial help now.

"It took decades to get this country in the horrible shape it's in so to think anything can actually get fixed in a matter of months is naive."

There have been systemic problems with this country ever since its founding. But the majority of problems exist because of the banking collapse that happened over the course of a few years.

It is naive to think a group that hasn't formulated a single solution to anything and has been explicitly against formulating demands will ever solve anything.

If OWS formulated a bill that guarantees everyone a job at a living wage and called upon the 27 million people who cannot find a full-time job and the 150 million Americans who are in poverty or close to it to occupy until that bill passed into law, a significant enough percentage of those people will join the cause and force change within months.

[-] 1 points by RedJazz43 (2757) 6 years ago

Permanent encampments are an essential element of OWS for reasons too numerous to mention, beginning with the very name of the movement. For me personally I think one of the most important things about having a permanent encampment in a visible public space is that it is a place for people to come and learn about the movement and to participate in the movement 24 hours a day 7 days a week. One doesn't have to figure out where the movement's offices are or what its office hours are. It is right there in an open public visible space and it is available 24 hours a day. One does not have to write the hour or day of a demonstration down on a calendar. All one has to do is show up whenever it is convenient. The movement is always going and there is always something to participate in. I have had some of the best political discussions of my life at Zuccotti at 3 and 4 in the morning.

Beyond that the encampments really are a way of working through exactly what kind of society we want and how social relations will work in a post corporate society. From an entirely practical standpoint certainly the general assemblies seem to work better in the context of a permanent encampment than when they are episodic.

Those are only a few of the reasons why permanent encampments for the movment are important. There are many more, but those are what come to mind in a relatively short note.

[Removed]

[Removed]

[-] -1 points by mugumbo (2) 6 years ago

People are just moving on and getting on with their lives instead of hanging on to a failed concept.

[-] 2 points by jrhirsch (4714) from Sun City, CA 6 years ago

In my town we have tentless protest. We are growing and the peoples support is growing as well. People are waking up to the corruption in our country whose ruling members concept of fairness has failed.

[-] 1 points by Jumphrey (106) 6 years ago

Right. People like you, who don't seem to realize that trolling on here is not working.