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Forum Post: Occupy Wall St. is not a leaderless movement.

Posted 12 years ago on Oct. 28, 2011, 5:58 p.m. EST by rusjay (29) from New York, NY
This content is user submitted and not an official statement

Occupy Wall St. is not a leaderless movement.

Published by Rusjay on October 27th, 2011 - in News www.ConjureAIR.com

Occupy Wall St is a revolution full of leaders.

OWS chooses not to appoint a “Head Leader” or “President” because everyone who has participated understands that everyone is a leader.

I am one of the many leaders. Every participant is a leader!

The term “Leaderless Resistance” is being used against the 99% to try and give a general notion to the general public that the occupiers are an unorganized group who lacks foundation. Thos who has attended an OWS General Assembly knows that this notion is false.

People who choose to use their voice are leaders. The General Assembly respects and hears any individual’s voice. Equality and freedom of speech is the basis of the Democracy that rules every General Assembly. This type of Democracy is the reason why OWS general Assembly is incorruptible which makes it a formidable force. Each individual is encouraged to speak any concerns, questions and friendly amendments. The General Assembly addresses any false information and corrects them in front of everyone.

We should change the general information in the OWS webpage to reflect this idea.

The “leaderless” verbiage is paraded by the media and the oppressors to force the hands of all OWS into appointing a single “leader” to try and make it political. WE MUST NOT COMPLY!

If OWS ever appoints a single “leader” or “president”, that individual will be targeted to bring down the whole movement.

The oppressor will deploy the common tactics of name smearing, dirt digging, corruption and lies to try and take down the “leader” and everyone else that is part of the resistance.

We must all understand that once a single “leader” is appointed to be the voice of the whole movement, everyone becomes a follower. This will create a division between the people and the different groups all across the world. This will create inequalities between everyone who participates and that my friends will be the beginning of the end.

DO NOT COMPLY! We do not need a single leader, we are all leaders!

Article Link: http://conjureair.com/?p=469



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[-] 2 points by hairlessOrphan (522) 12 years ago

If you think "leadership" is a privilege, you're doing it wrong.

If you think "leadership" is about "being the voice of the whole movement," you're doing it wrong.

If you think "leadership" is invested in some individual, such that "THEY" can target the one person and "bring down the whole movement," you're doing it wrong.

If you're worried about "divisions," you're doing it wrong.

If you think your GA is "organized," you're doing it wrong.

If you think "we are all leaders" is a logically coherent statement, you're doing it wrong.

Tired of this kid stuff.

[-] 1 points by rusjay (29) from New York, NY 12 years ago

so you'd rather be a grown up with business as usual?

[-] 1 points by hairlessOrphan (522) 12 years ago

Are those really the only options you can think of? Kid games or business as usual? I encourage you to think harder; take the shackles off of your imagination!

[-] 1 points by OkFineIWin (46) 12 years ago

Make some suggestion with your criticisms.

[-] 1 points by hairlessOrphan (522) 12 years ago

On the one hand, you're right. We should be making suggestions.

On the other hand: to who? Where? At GA? Where you have to hand-convince a thousand kids of wildly varying cognitive abilities (see below, rusjay's comment: "think harder? Don't need to!" Really, guys?) that this isn't working for a lot of people - a task that would take weeks - even before you can get around to making suggestions? Here? This place is a cesspool, and the kids at the park don't even read this shit. At the NYCGA site? Ok, maybe. There are only like a hundred people there, but maybe they're the only ones willing to pay attention.

Have you asked around at the park? Most of them think everything's going perfectly - they have no idea how disconnected they've made themselves from the larger world, from people who aren't at the park. And they have no incentive to improve, either. They think a couple hundred people at a handful of cities is good enough.

This is the scope of the world, now. That's my point. This is the scope as far as they can see it, and it feels pretty close to the GA system's maximum capacity. I can't say for sure; I'm not a systems analyst. But it amazes (i.e. frustrates) me how Occupy was able to gather so much momentum in its opening weeks - and be completely, utterly incapable of taking advantage of it.

[-] 1 points by OkFineIWin (46) 12 years ago

I understand your frustration. I am not able to attend much and must help from home. I see a lot of untapped resources (supportive people) online and would like to see more synergy between the two. I will figure out how to help that happen or join in if I'm beat to the punch.

I do not share the opinion that OWS should be tasked with thinking up the solutions to issues. They are not legislators. They are protesters. What they are doing well is shifting the national conversation toward the issues that matter. At least they matter to me.

You do not need their consensus to offer support or outreach. Nor to help clarify the understanding of the issues. Help build this in whatever way you are able.

[-] 1 points by hairlessOrphan (522) 12 years ago

I have to disagree on two major points.

First, Occupy must lead the conversation on what's wrong - and that leads the conversation on how to fix it. It is philosophically untenable to say, "something sucks, not sure what!" And then on a practical level, the very people they would task with fixing it are the ones who - due to enormous conflict of interest - can not be trusted to enact a fix in good faith. This is a systemic problem with our government in its current state. There is an inherent conflict of interest between the existing power structure and the protesters.

Second, I have no problem with your proposed solution of "help however you can," and in fact only a few weeks ago I suggested the very same thing, almost verbatim. What I'm saying is that although that suggestion is still good, it is not enough by itself. The concept of "greater than the sum of its parts" is being sidelined, here. Two problems:

1) The important stuff can not be done by individuals. And there's no way within the GA system to organize and coordinate groups of people. In war, this is the difference between an elite squad with a specific mission vs. the Mongolian Horde tactic. GA is the latter, and will always be the latter.

2) Individuals cannot act without a solid understanding of the philosophical foundation of the protest, which very people seem to have. And that's not because people are stupid. It's because the GA and consensus structure actively works against a unifying foundation.

People have a wild-eyed (and frankly stupid) idea that "democracy" means "a system where everyone is happy." That approach will guarantee that nothing concrete is ever declared or accomplished, because there will always be someone unhappy with it. The proper understanding of "democracy" is "a system where no one's thrilled, but everyone can live with it." The GA structure will never accomplish this. It takes a small (accountable, transparent, and scope-limited) organizational body to craft a statement of philosophy that everyone in Occupy can live with. That would be an enormous first step in a larger mobilization - even just of the proactive individuals you and I want to encourage.

[-] 1 points by OkFineIWin (46) 12 years ago

A simple Google search will provide the reasons we protest, but not many people go searching for information. They prefer to let it come to them. The MSM will never clarify the messages and can be expected to distort them. This is a huge obstacle for which I have no idea how to overcome. Possibly getting the message nationally broadcast during other events or during televised acts of civil disobedience.

I didn't mean to imply that our legislators should come up with the fixes. I would rather have honest (ethical) experts in their respective fields offering solutions.

Vas Littlecrow, as an individual, has done some very important stuff.

The protesters have shown a great ability to coordinate groups of people. Albeit mostly reactive, but effective. (see Occupy Oakland) Thankfully, in civil disobedience the horde usually gets the last word.

Unfortunately a small, accountable, transparent and scope-limited organizational body is just what the MSM would love to tear up. The GA will evolve, in time, and become quicker and better able to act.

[-] 1 points by hairlessOrphan (522) 12 years ago

PS - last note:

"A simple Google search will provide the reasons we protest, but not many people go searching for information. They prefer to let it come to them."

Does anyone else see the fundamental inconsistency of saying "we need to rally the 99%" and "we are going to expect most people to do things they prefer not to do, and we are specifically not going to do things that most people would prefer us to do?"

[-] 1 points by hairlessOrphan (522) 12 years ago

Not in list format because I'm trying to be combative. Only because I'm short on time. Forgive me.

1) Google search provides five thousand inconsistent, often mutually exclusive reasons why some people are protesting.

2) The way to overcome media distortion is clarity.

3) Honest and ethical experts are great for explaining how. Occupy should be explaining what.

4) Reactive and defensive ensures you are always playing defense.

5) "Great" is such a relative term. The organization for the march on the 15th was "great," in that we outsourced organization of the march to the police. I might have mentioned that already. The police lead the march, told it where to go and how to get there. Because the police were absolutely not shy about imposing authority, and the march had no opposing structure to reclaim authority over the march. "Great."

6) I am sick to death of hearing about how we are making all these decisions because we are mortally afraid of media distortion. Gosh, the big scary media is going to win! We have to do all these end-runs to avoid the big scary media - and no one seems to be paying any attention to the cost of these end-runs, or comparing them to what it would cost in just challenging the media. Get it? We're doing the MSM's job for them by distorting our own message(s) because we're so scared of MSM distorting our message!

Look, I'm not naive, and I've said plenty of times that I don't expect the media to give us a fair shake because we are challenging their parent companies. But that doesn't mean our best bet is pre-emptively tucking our tails between our legs.

[-] 1 points by rusjay (29) from New York, NY 12 years ago

don't need to..

[-] 1 points by rusjay (29) from New York, NY 12 years ago

have you participated in a general assembly?

[-] 1 points by hairlessOrphan (522) 12 years ago

Yes. Two in Zuccotti and one in Wash Sq. Park. That's enough for me. Are you wondering why you're always playing reactive defense, why you didn't have toilet permits, why you weren't prepared for the generators being seized, why you don't have a plan in place for supporting Occupy sites being raided? I'll tell you -


  • why. It's because -


  • no one has any -


  • authority to make -


  • any practical decisions -


  • even if they have nothing -


  • to do with ideology.


[-] 1 points by rusjay (29) from New York, NY 12 years ago

so you want to instal a president so someone can make a decision for everyone? been there.. done that..

[-] 1 points by bensdad (8977) 12 years ago

I have attended one GA and a small number of group meetings. I dont think my small experience is enough to paint "the truth" - but I found the "process" and the "no leader" concept alien, stifling, illogical and inefficient beyond belief. One meeting was set up TO PICK A DATE for a predetermined action. IN FOUR AND ONE HALF HOURS - "process" could not set a date. Another meeting, set up to ammend our already "consensused" demand - started by throwing it out.
The heart of democracy is majority rule - not without hearing everyone. And a leader who can be fair and consistent and receptive to all.
Just because this method is new does not mean it will succeed.
The American revolution had many leaderS - we may have fucked it up, but Franklin, Washington, Adams, Jefferson brilliantly LED us to liberty. Lincoln LED us to one nation. Jobs LED this company to brilliance. King LED us to equality ( almost ). peripherally - many OWS people seem to be insulted when I bring up the idea that we need to act in ways to show we are in the real world. Leaderlessness - good or bad - makes OWS seem alien or wierd. No statement of purpose - makes OWS seem alien or wierd or immature.
Using words that the murdoch machine can easily use against us is not being fearful - it is being wise. Using tactics that have succeeded for our "enemys" - such as stressing VOTING to exert OWS power - like tp did - is smart. Sadly, many people deep in OWS seem to be "process fundamentalsts" first and revolutionaries second.

[-] 1 points by ediblescape (235) 12 years ago

Wikipedia is the soul of OWS where all leaders are voluteers.

[-] 1 points by entrepreneur (69) 12 years ago

To those who say that this leaderless movements need specific demands.. They are Wrong!. The problem here is we don't want to demand from corrupt 1% who are controlling the evil. We want to fix the 1%, not pray to them asking them to fulfil our demands. We have clear demands but there is no one who can fullfil it hence protest to change the system is the only way to deal with this. For example can you demand that there shall be 'NO FED' tomorrow. Who in this world can fullfil this demand, no one including president can do this, we the people has the power through continued protest to accomplish what we want, to what extent needs to be seen.

[-] 1 points by entrepreneur (69) 12 years ago

Not having leader is good for this occupy mission. 1% Folks are waiting to see leader emerge from various occupy missions only so that they can target him or her and find ways to put them behind bars or get them in various other legal traps. Not having leader is good for occupy and bad for 1%.
However clear plan must emerge from those who are leading the ows so it can help guide rest of ows supporters. Show the 1% who care least about humanity that you will be brought to justice by this leaderless movement.

[-] 1 points by rusjay (29) from New York, NY 12 years ago

someone who sees it... kudos

[-] 1 points by eldave1 (35) 12 years ago

The problem continue to be that there is no clear agenda for the movement. The cause is just, the battle is worthwhile and the participants are noble. But if you want Americans to engage in the debate, there needs to be an agenda - a list of of specific changes we want done. Examples: (1) Cap mortgage rates (2) Revise the Corporate Tax Structure (3) Criminal penalties for financial malfeasance, etc, etc.

The Civil rights movement was successful because ultimately, despite the grand nature of the cause, MLK was able to raise specific issues that Americans ultimately could see the sense of (riding in the front of a bus, no segregated schools, etc.). He would not have made the same progress if he simply occupied Selma.

Someone needs to articulate the manifesto - the specific things we want done - call it the Economic Bill of Rights - but it needs to be articulated or you will soon lose folks because they will not be able to get grasp of the concept of economic justice until such time is someone articulates what it is.

As always - in support: www.wordsofwhizdumb.blogspot.com

[-] 1 points by rusjay (29) from New York, NY 12 years ago

i agree.. but we can't just focus on wall st.. that would be an injustice for the cause.. we need to also make demands for everything that this cancer has touched... EVERYTHING.. :D

[-] 1 points by ramous (765) from Wabash, IN 12 years ago

Exactly! we dont need a leader, every voice should be heard, and no one voice and no one way be better or louder than anothers.

[-] 1 points by Glmillan (7) 12 years ago

The movement doesnt need a leader but it NEEDS some specific demands!

[-] 1 points by OLLAG (84) 12 years ago

That makes no sense. You said that the term “Leaderless Resistance” is being used against the 99% to try and give a general notion to the general public that the occupiers are an unorganized group who lacks foundation."

But how can you be 99% if you aren't the general public. If you are most of the gebneral public (99%) of the general public then it couldn't be true

[-] 1 points by rusjay (29) from New York, NY 12 years ago

some of the 99% doesn't understand that they're part of the 99%...

[-] 1 points by GeorgeTandyJr (1) 12 years ago

I think the individual is using the term "general public" to refer to the people that are not actively involved in the movement and could easily be persuaded by the opinions of those who don't understand the value of having a "Leaderless Resistance" .

[-] 1 points by AARON (2) from Mossley, ON 12 years ago

Maybe you don't need leaders, but you definitely need a clear message to the public.

[-] 1 points by rusjay (29) from New York, NY 12 years ago


[-] 1 points by Debtfreemoney (3) from Kearny, NJ 12 years ago

Be careful of letting anyone lead or co-opt this movement as media, military and political tactics are to divide, separate and infiltrate movements. They cannot divide one cohesive movement based on moral and ethics, because the 1% has shown that they have none.

[-] 1 points by rusjay (29) from New York, NY 12 years ago

you mean hijack? it''s def a true and tried method..

[-] 1 points by gawdoftruth (3698) from Santa Barbara, CA 12 years ago

awesome post.

Real leadership is the moment some person does something which is right actions ahead of the crowd. Fake leadership is some person in some ranked position of authority. they want us to have hierarchal organization because that would make us vulnerable. Anyone can lead- all they have to do is serve.


I have been active here since the very beginning, and since the very beginning I have been trying to make some core points. These points clearly have not been digested or fully understood by the mob, and so I'm going to try to make a further attempt here again.

  1. Merely protesting in the streets will not bring change. In fact merely protesting in the streets is in fact a means to the end of avoiding the real work of a revolution, which consists of the evolutionary solutions, answers, problem solving process, and new political alignment we create.
  2. This forum is absolutely disorganized. It won't be read by most people and it won't and can't function as a core organizational system.
  3. Back at the very start of this, I petitioned the admin to add multiple sub forums and a wiki. Multiple sub forums were promised but have never arrived. I think that this tells us that the intention actually of this forum is message control and containment. The entire purpose really of this forum has always been to keep us spinning in disorganization. We are hanging out on a forum that expressly exists to actually keep us confused and disorganized.
  4. The real work of a revolution isn't going to happen on forums, it needs to happen in a much more organized fashion using collaborative software.
  5. The assorted other details about how to collaborate, how to work open source direct democracy, how to focus in on science instead of isms, how to become hyper rational about this, are details which are essential and crucial, without which we can predict the movement to fail.
  6. Technically speaking we are not 99 percent, we are one tenth of one percent attempting to represent the 99 percent. Our core mission must be to communicate to and with the 99 percent, and get them to join us. This forum will not accomplish that and neither will any of the other main websites.
  7. You can follow other people out to other wikis and other websites, where they will try to get you to get involved with what they want and their program, but frankly speaking, there is no other website and no other operation out there which understands the complexities involved with meaningful organization. In short, everyones being led to get involved here there and everywhere else, scattering the movement in directions which ultimately do not gain us critical mass, criticial momentum, or critical systemic lucidity.
  8. I have managed to get a wiki put up and have already put on that wiki evolutionary details which make it more organized than anything else. I can't do this alone. There are 10 or so wikis now out there, most of which were created in response to my pleas for a wiki, and several of which are in domains owned and operated by some corporation, (wikia, etc) And which we can thus assume will simply be closed, shut down, or deleted if they become useful to the movement.
  9. Probably at least half of the invites you have to go participate at some other site are people who are scamming everyone to waste time and energy, distort the movement, co opt it, and etc. When you walk off into a closet ask yourself how you know that the closet isn't created by some fed, or by some republican, or by some democrat, in order to sway things in their direction.
  10. The only meaningful strategic option we have for real change in this country is to create a new third party, and take every political office in this country.
  11. Once that is done, we can have an article 5 convention. If we have an article 5 convention before getting rid of the oligachs, that just opens the genie from the bottle for them to abuse that process with their corruption and evil.

For these reasons, I beg of you to please immediately join me on the wiki. We need to have all of these details and all of these ideas put together in an organized fashion, rather than posted in a long scrawl which will never be read.








[-] 1 points by eldave1 (35) 12 years ago

I love this! It is dead on

[-] 1 points by rusjay (29) from New York, NY 12 years ago

i will read more on this..

[-] 1 points by occupysurvey (6) 12 years ago

If there is no leader, then what are the important issues? http://goo.gl/NuCTF

[-] 1 points by rebelwith (8) 12 years ago

i agree with your logic to create a real movenment of friends requires only good people to do something. Edmund Burke's rebuke to society "for evil to prosper good people must simply do nothing".The time for doing nothing has passed.My family and I are with you in spirit.Regards Liam Sheehy Tipperary,Ireland.

[-] 1 points by rusjay (29) from New York, NY 12 years ago

Thank you. Blessing to you and your family

[-] 1 points by rebelwith (8) 12 years ago

No, thank you, my prayers and thoughts are with you and all of your friends in OWS

[-] 0 points by ChristopherABrownART5 (46) from Santa Barbara, CA 12 years ago

rusjay, I cannot tell there is any kind of leadership if you do not answer questions. I've asked here.---



[-] 1 points by rusjay (29) from New York, NY 12 years ago

wow.. i did not know that.. maybe they are trying to stay away from political figures? but wow... that's something that should be addressed

[-] 0 points by ChristopherABrownART5 (46) from Santa Barbara, CA 12 years ago

rusjay wrote: I am one of the many leaders.END---

Please explain why there is no interest in gaining legal authority to meet any demand made.

[-] 0 points by hillary (252) 12 years ago

So if the GA has a flood of Anarchists on some evening then Occupy will vote to perform their agenda?!?

Should special interests just start flooding the GAs?

[-] 1 points by rusjay (29) from New York, NY 12 years ago

they can try.. HAHAHA..

there is this thing called a "BLOCK" meaning if one person does not agree due to moral or ethical concerns... anything proposed can be BLOCKED.. can you do that anywhere else?

[-] 1 points by rusjay (29) from New York, NY 12 years ago

can you imagine that? a single person is allow.. is able and is empowered to that degree...

[-] 0 points by hillary (252) 12 years ago

So the special interests can filibuster the GA indefinitely? Wow you're right, that really is innovative........ FACEPALM

[-] 1 points by rusjay (29) from New York, NY 12 years ago

you mean a special interest will argue based on common sense... not based on special interest?!? if they can then yes they will have the ability to filibust... but that wouldn't make them a sspecial interest then right?

[-] 0 points by hillary (252) 12 years ago

I wonder if an Anarchist's common-sense is the same as ours?

[-] 0 points by daverao (124) 12 years ago

Union leaders are our leaders. They dictate us. We picked up Walmart and Verizon because they told us. We cannot even talk about having big demonstration in DC.


[-] 1 points by rusjay (29) from New York, NY 12 years ago

TV can over throw any leader.. :P

[-] 0 points by doctorproteus (84) 12 years ago

maybe the leadership is just savvy enough to use this idea of amorphic power to advance their own ideological agenda. who is reporting all of these donations. $500kcan easily be alleged to be unearned income.

[-] 1 points by rusjay (29) from New York, NY 12 years ago

maybe.. ever been to a general assembly? do you know the process that needs to happen before you can withdraw 1$ out of that $500k?

[-] 1 points by doctorproteus (84) 12 years ago

i've been to many. most of them, unfortunately, seemed to be hour long squabbles over drumming. one shouldn't have to go to a ga for the manner in which the books are kept to be transparent. it can easily be assumed (even if its incorrect) that there are people who are living off of said donations in a manner much akin to being employed.

[-] -1 points by TIOUAISE (2526) 12 years ago


This obsession with "leaders" reflects an OUTMODED way of thinking. The Neanderthals probably chose as "MR. LEADER" the guy with the biggest shlong... :)

I imagine our own menagerie of Neolithic TROLLS reason much in the same way...

[-] 1 points by rusjay (29) from New York, NY 12 years ago

we need negotiators instead of generals..

[-] 1 points by Rael (176) 12 years ago

Explain how your "not outmoded" way of thinking is going to accomplish anything. The OWS is becoming irrelevant by its very "not outmoded" way of thinking that doesn't require leaders or even positions. It has become a childish wail that things are not as they wish they would be yet they cannot articulate how they want things to be.

[-] 0 points by TIOUAISE (2526) 12 years ago

From what I see EVEN IN THE MSM, OWS is doing EXTREMELY well indeed and is winning the hearts and minds of the American people. Why fix OWS if it ain't broke???

[-] 1 points by Rael (176) 12 years ago

Doing very well at "what" exactly?