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Forum Post: What are your "big five" issues (things you would change if you had the power)?

Posted 2 years ago on Jan. 8, 2012, 2:07 a.m. EST by francismjenkins (3713)
This content is user submitted and not an official statement

For me, my big five is (according to priority):

1) defeating SOPA

2) restoring Glass Steagall

3) trade reform (I like the proposed Border Tax Equity Act of 2011).

4) college education (increased Pell Grants so all Americans can earn a 4 year degree); and

5) infrastructure modernization.



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[-] 6 points by Mooks (1985) 2 years ago

If all Americans earned a 4 year degree we would end up with people with 4 year degrees working at McDonalds, WalMart, mopping floors, etc. Someone has to do those jobs. And a lot of good paying jobs like plumbers, carpenters, electricians, and a ton of other trades don't need a 4 year degree.

It is a fallacy to think that everyone needs a 4 year degree. A huge amount of the 4 year degrees being given out these days are useless anyways.

[-] 1 points by kingscrossection (1203) 2 years ago

And to be honest the richest person I know created businesses doing metalwork without a college degree

[-] 1 points by Phanya2011 (908) from Tucson, AZ 2 years ago

I totally agree with that, Mooks. A way to allow Pell Grants to all class of workers would be to include trade schools and other training in the things they could be used for. Lots of technicians need extensive, expensive training, but it's not considered "college".

[-] 1 points by Builder (4202) 2 years ago

Students can start their trade apprenticeships, or commerce traineeships while still in high school (freshman, I guess, in the US) here in Australia.

Great idea, I think. Not everyone is cut out for leadership roles in life.

[-] 1 points by freewriterguy (882) 2 years ago

i agree totally, i have thought this for 2 decades. It just shows that our society is built upon a pyramid scheme, only those with the most edumacation gets paid enough to own a home and afford a family whilst everyone else must slave away.

[-] 1 points by hchc (3297) from Tampa, FL 2 years ago

have you ever tried to go to community college and then transfer?

[-] 1 points by freewriterguy (882) 2 years ago

no i gave up on college and went to work, the best decision of my life. now i make more than most college grads

[-] 1 points by hchc (3297) from Tampa, FL 2 years ago

Thats interesting considering your first post. Why do you think things worked out for you, but not for the rest of the people who didnt go to school?

[-] 1 points by freewriterguy (882) 2 years ago

i think it has to do with trusting in our design, god made the motor the largest part of our brain for a reason, and idiot men today in college say, no lets build up all the smaller parts by going to college, and failing to create jobs, so they become teachers of other students adding to the pyramid system (inevitably doomed to collapse) who have no money.

actually, i think there is another level of society out there that people arent aware of, take for example the vent cleaner guy, he charges 300 minimum to come and clean my heater vents, and is done in 30 minutes. thats 300 an hour income, without a degree. my business is set up similar to that. I wonder if they teach this in college.

[-] 1 points by hchc (3297) from Tampa, FL 2 years ago

I think I understand what you were originally saying. That its all bullshit? Because if so, I agree with you 100%.

[-] 1 points by francismjenkins (3713) 2 years ago

Fair comment, but I'm obviously not endorsing the idea that we "compel" universal college attendance. Even if we increase Pell Grants enough so that it would, say, cover the cost of a state university education, there will still be more than enough people who don't take advantage of it to fill those jobs at McDonald's & Walmart (so no worries) :)

[-] -1 points by slammersworldisback (-217) 2 years ago

how about we return the primary and secondary education systems to a point where they produce qualified American workers...bankrolling american youths to waste 4 years of their lives on novelty isn't helping the students, the system, or advancing society or culture in any positive way......there has always been a way for those worthy of post-secondary education to get it....by merit, Scholarships of all types are, and have been, available to students that show above average aptitude...and for those marginal, and/or poor quality students, who haven't the means to go to college: Life is tough, if it's really important you can find a way.....

[-] 1 points by francismjenkins (3713) 2 years ago

Yes, nice idea (and you get no argument from me against this concept), but we've been at the "trying to improve primary education" game for decades, whereas at least we know American colleges offer the best education on earth (there's a reason students from all over the world want to attend our universities).

[-] 0 points by slammersworldisback (-217) 2 years ago

I see no point in paying for post secondary education when the job of secondary education is so poorly done......fix what we have now....THEN we can talk about expanding it...although, I see that as unnecessary and a burden on society.....as most students do not pursue employment related curriculum, and engage more in novelty and amusement....and the social aspects of higher education....instead of seeking specific employment or goal related training and education.

There should be a requirement of post secondary education...an end in mind....no goal = no acceptence

[-] 1 points by JesseHeffran (3903) 2 years ago

As a high school drop out, I believe the whole high school experience is an exercise in futility. When my peers were being taught the ways of the American pecking order through the different cliques of status based on achievements and popularity, I was learning the ethics of straight talking with no bull shit, being my self and loving it, and defending my friends with pin point accuracy in argument, while never forgetting where I came from and whom garnered my respect and who felt my wrath and contempt. Once I was done growing up and partying like a child with total disregard for authority, I went to college and did better than most my peers and kicked it more than my smartest peers. All in all, I am proud of the path I took and believe that learning is always better than being taught.

[-] 1 points by francismjenkins (3713) 2 years ago

I've very glad you were able to do this ... but please understand, not everyone is naturally gifted (btw, rebels always tend to be gifted). I'm with you. Although I did finish high school, I'm not sure how (I partied my ass off almost every day, I hated authority, rarely attended class, etc.). Today, I'm a lawyer, and thinking about a PhD in biology :)

We need to think about students who are facing very bad circumstances, where their "ego ideal" more likely comes from neighborhoods filled with gangs, drugs, and despair. I agree with the implication of Nietzsche, the young criminal is arguably the most gifted among his or her peers (in terms of intellectual potential). But how do we move people away from idealizing violent behavior?

I think ART is the best way to tame our evolutionary beast.

[-] 1 points by JesseHeffran (3903) 2 years ago

I know why gang violence exists but you can't cure it while the underclass, working class, manager class, owner class paradigm exists. Ganges, parties, factions and victims goes all the way back to the founding of this nation and is probably tribalism uphamized. What are the maleficence of youth, but nothing more than the underclass being born? They are the ones without the skills, looks, or patience for school and her regulations. And as for gangs, I see no difference between them and the US chamber of Commerce. Gangs and factions look out for their own, childishly of course. They exhibit self interested behavior coming out of schools and ghettos, and only a few learn enlightened self interests in college. This is my perception, and I am not at all totally sure it is the case. But it is something I have thought during my childhood and made a little more sense after reading history books.

[-] 0 points by slammersworldisback (-217) 2 years ago

education is a funny thing...the origin of that word means an entirely different thing that it is now understood......without making specific claim: your path was a educe-ation..a bringing forth from within..

most aren't

[-] 4 points by TrevorMnemonic (5827) 2 years ago
  1. Impeach Obama for constitutional violations and war crimes as well as recall all senators and congressmen who voted YES on the patriot act, HR 6166, the NDAA, and all other bills that violate the bill of rights.

  2. Arrest all frauds on Wall Street and put them on trial.

  3. Instate term limits on congress

  4. Pass HR 2990, the National Emergency Employment Defense Act. (infrastructure modernization, job creation, and restoring constitutional authority on the monetary system)

  5. Overturn Citizens United and pass the OCCUPIED amendment and get corporate cash out of politics.

  6. End the wars


HR 2990, easily the best bill I've seen in a long time.


The OCCUPIED amendment


[-] 1 points by Spade2 (478) 2 years ago

That's six things dude....

[-] 2 points by francismjenkins (3713) 2 years ago

Many here have commented, and rightly pointed out that getting money out of politics should be our first priority. I guess I should qualify my remarks a bit more. SOPA is something we can "maybe" PREVENT (so it seems like it should be an acute priority). The other stuff (including getting money out of politics, Glass Steagall, trade reform, overturning the Patriot Act, getting rid of indefinite detentions, etc.) will require more time (but please understand, these things are no less a priority in my mind, but the way I personally prioritized these issues was not arbitrary either, I think there is utility in the idea that it's easier to prevent a law from being passed, compared to reversing entrenched laws and changing an entire system). We have to change everything, but it will take years (so be ready for the long haul everyone). SOPA (in my humble opinion) should be a line in the sand, something we include in our to do list, but it is now or never (or at least, we have a chance of preventing this monster from emerging as yet another thing we have to fight for years to change).

[-] 2 points by bensdad (8977) 2 years ago

Mostly very good ideas -
is OWS a movement of ideas ?
or a movement of ACTION ?
can any of you, thoughtful, creative people tell us

[-] 1 points by francismjenkins (3713) 2 years ago

I'd have to guess both (but I'm not presumptuous enough to impose my assumptions on the thinking of others). I mean, action is usually preceded by ideas (or at least hopefully) :)

[-] 2 points by francismjenkins (3713) 2 years ago

Fair enough ... but I'd obviously love to get the $$ out of politics, and I have a suggestion (that I proffered in another thread). I would like to see congress pass a rule that prohibits members of congress, their staffs, campaign workers, etc. from holding private meetings with lobbyists (or any representative of a special interest group, company, etc.). I think members of congress should be obligated to hold regularly scheduled public meetings in their districts (where both representatives of special interest groups, and members of the public, can attend and speak out on issues). I'd even love to see a requirement where members of congress have to hold a public meeting in advance of voting on any new legislation.

I mean, we can talk about an amendment to say corporations are not persons (and I'm certainly not opposed to the idea, although I think success is more of a long shot, and it may even be an unproductive distraction). However, at least advertising is public and transparent (I'm speaking of the ads themselves), whereas lobbyists meet with elected officials in private, and these secretive relationships are where undue influence happens.

[-] 2 points by zymergy (236) 2 years ago

Excellent post for its approach, ideas, and that it is generating smart comments, in my opinion. I would only amend your title to read not "if you had the power" but "when you exercise the power you have". This post shows that the issues are clear, and the solutions are feasible. Now, all we need to do to achieve those solutions is to participate in a coordinated way with our votes. Register, communicate and justify, and vote. Keep these lists in mind for they could also represent the "demands" that people have often called for in this FORUM. Make these demands not of other people, but make them of ourselves. Vote out the current power structure and processes. Vote in a less corruptible and more democratic method of operating our government.

[-] 1 points by francismjenkins (3713) 2 years ago

Yes, I like your proposed amendment to my title (although I'm not sure I can change the title at this point ... but consider it changed in my brain at least) :)

[-] 1 points by zymergy (236) 2 years ago

Thanks, its nice to have this dialog with you. Please take a look at my recent post


your critique would be most welcome.

[-] 1 points by francismjenkins (3713) 2 years ago

Shit ... I did just look at it (made a little quip), but I'll read it :)

[-] 2 points by buphiloman (840) 2 years ago

1) A Constitutional Amendment authorizing Federal-level referendums.

2) Overturn Citizens United

3) Overturn Santa Clara vs. Southern Pacific Railroad

4) Student Loan Amnesty

5) Single Payer Health Care Option for all Americans

[-] 1 points by JesseHeffran (3903) 2 years ago

I have always been keen to universal health care but as a half measure, I would like to see single payer become reality. It would give the health insurance recipients more leverage when dealing with providers. And the rest of your Ideas sound good too. yeah, that sounds good but wouldn't that have to be done through a constitutional amendment, or then the courts would argue it usurps congress' jurisdiction.

[-] 2 points by buphiloman (840) 2 years ago

The real key is to put in place a federal referendum, so that we could have direct democracy at the federal level. This would empower the public, and offer a check on the current elitist system, which gives unequal power to the privileged aristocracy at the expense of the general population.

[-] 1 points by JesseHeffran (3903) 2 years ago

yeah, but wouldn't that have to be done through a constitutional amendment. or then SCOTUS could say it usurps congress' authority.

[-] 2 points by buphiloman (840) 2 years ago

Yeah, there'd have to be an amendment, or possibly even a constitutional convention.

[-] 0 points by BystanderDC (91) 2 years ago

Student loan amnesty is a horrible idea. We pay our loans so that others can go to a college. Maybe it would be better to say lower student loan interest.

[-] 1 points by francismjenkins (3713) 2 years ago

I think student loan forgiveness is a great idea, as is a program to bail out homeowners. I put up five ideas, but the list is by no means all inclusive.

[-] 1 points by buphiloman (840) 2 years ago

No, it is not a horrible idea. It is a terrific idea. It would clear billions in potential tax revenues, and increase social mobility in our society. Combined with government subsidized public higher education (on the English/Continental model) it would help bring the United States into competition with the best educated populations in the world.

[-] 0 points by BystanderDC (91) 2 years ago

If you forgave a billion in student loans. How would you fund the future generations of loans? You can't say subsidized higher education. That already exists, it's call Pell Grants. Student Loans are for those who can afford efucation but need assistance in tuition and living expenses. Secondly you have two different type of loans, Dpartment of Education and private loans (I.e., Sallie Mae). How would you mandate the absolution of private loans?

[-] 2 points by epa1nter (4650) from Rutherford, NJ 2 years ago

I don't begin to know how my list can ever be implemented, but here goes:

1) get the money out of politics.

2) get the money out of politics.

3) get the money out of politics.

4) get the money out of politics.

and ....

5) get the money out of politics.

[-] 1 points by beautifulworld (20414) 2 years ago

You probably have seen these, but I wanted to post them again for those who haven't:


See the "Occupied Amendment" by Representative Ted Deutch and Bernie Sanders:


[-] 1 points by opensociety4us (914) from Norwalk, CT 2 years ago

A single solution (or is that five solutions) to a lot of problems.

[-] 1 points by JadedCitizen (4277) 2 years ago

Somebody has their priorities straight. Right on!

[-] 1 points by XXAnonymouSXX (455) 2 years ago

1) End the Federal Reserve

2) Defeat SOPA

3) Repeal NDAA

4) Investigate 9/11 and Oklahoma City

5) Release all suppressed energy technologies to the world.

[-] 1 points by JadedCitizen (4277) 2 years ago

1) end corruption

2) end poverty

3) end discrimination

4) end harming our planet

5) end all wars

[-] 1 points by Spade2 (478) 2 years ago
  1. Money out of politics as most people have already said.

  2. Glass-Steagall

  3. Fully legalize marijuana and end the war on drugs

  4. Progressive and simpler tax code

  5. An end to ALL forms of subsidies (oil, pharmacuticle, farming, green energy, defense corporations, etc.)

[-] 1 points by sufinaga (513) 2 years ago

understanding biblical prophecy! 1.Ras Tafari is the True Christ. 2. jesus is the antichrist. 3. the queen of england is the Whore of Babylon riding on the back of the great beast. 4. the stone cut out without hands (daniel2) is the silicon chip which grows into a great mountain that fills the whole earth: worldwide web! this destroys babylon slavery: automation causes permanent mass unemployment. "there shall be no more curse" the curse was to work! (genesis) 5. cannabis is the tree of life for the healing of the nations. the end of cannabis prohibition is the REAL RAPTURE. the tree of life is growing in the midst of the street, inside people's houses and on either side of the river, on both sides of the tracks: in all classes of society. cannabis growing everywhere is the end of the bible and the koran. we cannot avoid fulfilling this prophecy. let your actions accord with what is due to appear!!

[-] 1 points by toukarin (488) 2 years ago

Big 5?

1] Stopping SOPA, possibly making something like a 2nd amendment for the internet... "right to bear internetz"? LoL....

2] We definitely need Glass Steagall...

3] Reform of Pharmaceutical industry preventing patent evergreening

4] Revamped and simplified tax code, simple progressive tax... i.e. does not matter where the money came from, if it was not there at the start of the fiscal, you need to pay the same tax on it... breaks will be in the form of credits earned for stuff like... if for example, I pay 1 million in wages yearly to my employees, any major investment into the local community.... things of that nature... then a fraction of that will count as a tax credit...

5] Providing vocational training to long term unemployed for jobs which are not glamorous, but pay well... plumbers, mechanics, carpenters, electricians... type of training provided will change as per demands of the economy..

[-] 1 points by kingscrossection (1203) 2 years ago

I only have 4. Immigrants, congressional and senatorial extras, entitlement programs excluding social security, and we should stop paying the indians.

[-] 1 points by poltergist22 (159) 2 years ago

I would Create a nationalday (www.nationalday911.org) 1 use the money to reduce the debt 2.use the money to create fair elections by giving each party's candidate an amount to spend no donations, where the people are the country's main concern not big business but recognizing that America's business is Business. 3 restore Glass Steagall 4 use the American list(www.nationalday911.org) to put us back to work. We can buy products from overseas after we are back to work this GLOBALIZATION is happening to fast to keep up with current trade laws 5 make white collar crimes as serious as other crimes because you don't get to interview the people who have lost their homes,life savings,or livelihood as often as the local bank robber but the effects are just as devistating

[-] 1 points by hchc (3297) from Tampa, FL 2 years ago

When everyone has a four year degree, its no longer special.

[-] 1 points by francismjenkins (3713) 2 years ago

Why does it have to be "special"? What does special imply? To me it implies a form of elitism, and I'd rather support education simply because it's "useful" (but I may be utilitarian to a fault)?

[-] 1 points by hchc (3297) from Tampa, FL 2 years ago

"special" is why people used to get them. It gave you a leg up on the competition.

Now high school is a joke, the level of education is pathetic. and the first two years of paying for college is nothing more than rehashing all the garbage from high school.

When eveyone has one, its the current equivelant of a high school degree. Those that want the edge will be forced into grad school, and more debt.

[-] 1 points by francismjenkins (3713) 2 years ago

Well, if we (as a society) pay for the undergraduate degree in the first place, then there's no debt to have "more" of? Moreover, once again, not everyone will go to college (even if its free to attend a state or community college). Also, I'm pretty sure someone who majors in a rigorous subject (like chemistry, engineering, or computer science) will still be in more demand than someone who majors in a non-rigorous subject (like theater or history).

[-] 1 points by hchc (3297) from Tampa, FL 2 years ago

See thats the thing. There is debt. Every penny that is given to someone comes from the entire society This is the relationship that while seems like not important, is very important when you are grading entire nations.

[-] 1 points by francismjenkins (3713) 2 years ago

I'm not sure what you're implying here. If it's the garden variety Austrian argument (e.g. taking from some for the benefit of others), I'll be glad to take on that philosophical battle. But if that's not what you're saying ... then please elaborate?

[-] 1 points by hchc (3297) from Tampa, FL 2 years ago

Im saying the entire "higher education" thing is a scam. The banks make out like bandits, whether the students take out private loans, or the gov subsidizes it through taxation.

The fact that almost everyone feels compeled to go to school, is bullshit. There is no reason someone must start off their life with 40,000 in debt for a bullshit education in management, english,etc. Almost every single job in this country can be taught to someone in a year. The whole thing is a scam to get money out of the people.

[-] 2 points by epa1nter (4650) from Rutherford, NJ 2 years ago

Although I agree that the school financing issue is a scam, I don't agree that most people shouldn't go to college.

School is not about getting a job. It should not be a servant to the industrial complex. It is not a conveyor belt pushing out cogs for a business wheel. That's what trade schools are for. Attending college should be about getting an education. I think everyone should have the right to one, and everyone should take advantage of it.

[-] 1 points by hchc (3297) from Tampa, FL 2 years ago

Have you been to a college lately? Its a freakin joke. Most that come out arent really any more rounded than they were when they went in.

And the high school education has gone so far into the toilet, its not like thats worth a shit either.

Life is the great education. University is to learn something to make a career out of.

[-] 1 points by epa1nter (4650) from Rutherford, NJ 2 years ago

We'll have to disagree - strongly - about that.

One thing alone belies your "college is for a career" assumption. Most people change their careers 6 times over the course of their lives. The discipline of thinking that college is designed to provide makes those shifts possible.

Can colleges do a better job? You betcha! They can and they must. But their purpose is, and has always been, education education, education. And if that's not what the one you attend is providing, demand your money's worth. The issue is not to denigrate formal education (as opposed to life education, which has its own, different value) but to work to make it what it is supposed to be.

Want specific job training? That's what trade school is for.

[-] 1 points by ohmygoodness (158) 2 years ago

Building on what has been entered earlier .

1) Money out of politics: capping amount of spending on campaigning, Capping on all lobbying expenditures especially from oil, defense, pharmaceuticals, health care and financial institutions and foreign interests. Representatives in congress accountable to constituents to support issues they were elected for. Revamp justice system to make leaders accountable and punishable for crimes. Revamp financial system to prevent the culpable from being the policy makers. All government employees must have their incomes made public and be subject to audit. Prevent the country from being sold out to foreign interests.

2) Break up monopolies in defence corporations, financial institutions, oil, media to ensure a prosperous middle class and prevent the current economic skew from ever happening.

3) Reframe foreign policy to prevent terrorism in the US and the world and prevent the US from being a police state.

4) Defence budgets to be rechanneled to Infrastructure, education and universal health care, while making national health take priority over greedy dollars.

5) Environmental sustainability and lead in curbing global warming through technology and innovation.


[-] 1 points by adacus79 (1) 2 years ago
  1. I would bring free energy to the world. Nicholi Tesla had it in the 1800's it does exist and is being suppressed. Anyone who Knows the technology needs to come forward to a very populated OWS event and demonstrate their technology. Zero Point energy will shift the power dynamic in favor of the republic faster than anything else in history. It will totaly disarm the globalists.

  2. The rest all comes second.

[-] 0 points by francismjenkins (3713) 2 years ago

"Free energy" is a misnomer, and there's quite a bit of misconception surrounding Tesla (who was a great scientist, but did not invent a means to generate "free energy" ... which has the pipe dream of physics until the idea was effectively ruled out). Ideas like thorium reactors and hydrogen fuel cells, are at least technologically viable (although replacing the combustion engine when it comes to large cargo moving trucks, will be a challenge, and large trucks generate chemical emissions which are among the most harmful to humans). In other words, getting our greenhouse gas emissions down to sustainable levels is absolutely doable, but getting rid of ALL dangerous chemical emissions will be much more challenging (and a more viable approach may be to simply advance molecular biology to the point where we can treat & cure all forms of cancer, respiratory illness, etc.).

[-] 1 points by sato (148) 2 years ago

instead of increasing pell grants I say we target REDUCING education costs

[-] 1 points by francismjenkins (3713) 2 years ago

I think the only way "government" can influence the cost of college education, is to expand state universities and community colleges. It's a simple supply & demand issue.

[-] 0 points by BystanderDC (91) 2 years ago

The problem is the demand exceeds the supply. Everyone in California wants to go to a UC school like Berkeley, UCLA, Davis etc. but there is limited openings. And out of state students pay substatially higher tuition for being out of state. Are you ok with that? Charging out of state residents 2-4 times as much for tuition for a state university?

[-] 1 points by francismjenkins (3713) 2 years ago

That raises a good point ... and not something I've seriously thought about (to be honest). Nevertheless, I'm not proposing that every student should be able to "get into" any college they choose. Just that there be enough seats in college class rooms (throughout the entire system) to accommodate all who wish to attend college (taking into account something like an increased Pell Grant, which IMO should be available to all students, regardless of parents income; that covers the entire cost of a state university or community college, up to a students first bachelors degree). However, acceptance at a "good college" would still be competitive (although I think it should only be competitive with respect to a students intellectual capacity, and likelihood of success in a particular program--ideally, no acceptance based on "legacy").

[-] 1 points by opensociety4us (914) from Norwalk, CT 2 years ago

Wait a minute. You want to limit the ability of power to censor the internet. You want to keep depositors money in the banking system safe. You want to promote free and fair trade. And you want to be sure the nation invests in its human capital and physical infrastructure.

You're a communist, aren't you?

[-] 1 points by francismjenkins (3713) 2 years ago

I'm sure to all those who never read Marx ... yes indeed, I'm a commi :)

[-] 1 points by beautifulworld (20414) 2 years ago


[-] 1 points by opensociety4us (914) from Norwalk, CT 2 years ago

"I'm sure to all those who never read Marx ... yes indeed, I'm a commi :)"

...which effectively means you're a communist :)

[-] 0 points by francismjenkins (3713) 2 years ago

I even have a Marx poster I enjoy looking at while wacking my monster :)

[-] 0 points by opensociety4us (914) from Norwalk, CT 2 years ago

What's even more absurd, scary even, is that "all those" haven't read a page of Smith either.

[-] 0 points by francismjenkins (3713) 2 years ago

I've read wealth of nations (and still have a copy on my bookshelf). Before law school (as an undergrad) economics & premed was my thing (but I wound up on the economics side, although I'm regretting not going the science route ... fortunately, I have a great GI Bill, so I can still do it), nonetheless, economics was my first intellectual love (and I'm still having a love affair with it) :)

[-] 0 points by capella (199) 2 years ago

1.balanced budget ammendment. 2 go after our own energy resources,..oil, coal, gas. 3 get rid of obamacare. 4 get rid of the epa. 5 secure the borders

[-] 0 points by gosso920 (-24) 2 years ago

Rick Perry can think of three... oh, wait.

[-] 0 points by freewriterguy (882) 2 years ago

What a great question, not that I would want any power over another man, I would prefer us all to have equal say in our government and penalize those who come against other mens rights.

  1. I would limit corporations to one state, and expand the antitrust / monolopy laws to dissect corporations into the hands of more business men. At the same time I would put a cap on how much wealth one man can make when his wealth is dependant upon the backs of others either thru business, or thru a collection of homes. Along with this I would expand the stores stock to include small business goods, and penalize them for the corporate goods that they only tend to stock. Several avenues can be explored in this point of course in its refinement.

  2. I would end the radical government spending that has existed in every level of our governments where they must spend the money budgeted to them, or else they lose it for the coming year. Rather I would reward those gov agencies who lived on less than was budgeted them by giving them first dibs on supplies, or a credit for major purchases in the future when the coffers are full.

  3. I would free up the monopoly that has locked up the earth so that so many americans cant own land unless they are millionaires. This might include guaranteeing at least one acre that each american can own free and clear including water, and mineral rights. The current system seems to be heading towards charging for gravity useage, and oxygen consumption on the land we purchase.

  4. I would include our citizens on many of the decisions made that involve radical actions of government, such as going to war with a country like iraq, when it wasnt iraqi citizens that attacked us but saudi arabians. This might include internet site or email where we the people may be involved in the decisions made in congress, and where we the people , our decisions overide or have more significance in the outcome than our "elected representatives". You see back then, representatives were needed because we didnt have internet, but now we can all be involved. Included in this plan would be a punishment for those who would hack in or abuse this system.

  5. I would put together a fund that really helps small business instead of the lies like the sba.gov that doesnt put forth any help unless it is collaratalized 100%. A fund that would help people overcome the initial start up expense of business, such as financing jobs awarding them, when banks simply will not, unless it is again collaratalized 100%. part of the program might include 0 taxation on that business until after that business shows a significant profit, especially if that business can show that they created a job for another american.

  6. I would stand behind the constitution that has been hacked away by so many government agencies, like forcing us to pay for our right to drive a car, or own a gun, pay taxes on our business, or penalize us for hiring an employee when we can show that we didnt even make a proft. Eliminate the seat belt law, (men shouldnt be told what to do in their property), protect our privacy on the internet and when information is given to others, force businesses to keep that information private, penalizing the initial offenders, and putting out of business the repeat offenders of our privacy!, and so many other basic rights.

  7. I would equalize the power that rich bankers and creditors, especially the credit reporting agencies have over americans, where they are in bed with the creditors and ignore the complaints of its citizens in their abuse of power. Included in this I would end predatory lending practices, such as what you see on every corner, check city, check n to cash, agencies that prey upon the poor. You should all attend a small claims court session and see for yourself 90% of collection activities there are against the poor citizens who fell prey to this practice. For shame!

[-] 1 points by francismjenkins (3713) 2 years ago

Agreed, no one should have power over others (notwithstanding we have to fight against our own nature to become like this). We shouldn't be disturbed by the fact that this sort of "will to power" is part of our nature, every step of the way towards enlightenment required transcending certain aspects of our animal instincts.


[-] 0 points by ZenDog (20562) from South Burlington, VT 2 years ago

you don't aim very high, do ya.

We're going for some sweeping reform - this movement is going to get the money out of politics.


Because we can. There are those within the system itself who have longed to do just that - as can be seen with past efforts to limit campaign contributions. The right wing scum managed to prevent such action with their conservative activist judges on the Supreme Court.

And now their allies on Wall Street have stolen perhaps trillions from the public with their sub-prime loans, their mortgage derivatives, and everything else.

We're angry. And as all of that corporate money pours into election advertisement, and the economy limps along, we'll just get angrier.

We'll get bigger.

And louder.

And change is coming!

  • the American people are coming !!!!!!!!!!!!!!
[-] 0 points by BystanderDC (91) 2 years ago

I disagree everyone should get a 4 year college degree guaranteed to them. Community college is cheap enough. And honestly not everyone can function and successfully complete a college degree. How about take that money and use it to reform our education system. I know teachers are never fans about incentive based pay on the success of their students, but what about a bonus scheme if Trevor students perform well on standardized tests. Then again in DC we had a scandal where teachers were helping students get higher scores, do I an not sure how to address that.

[-] 1 points by francismjenkins (3713) 2 years ago

Okay, but I didn't mean to exclude community colleges from the mix. I think they're a great option for students (particularly those who lack a rigorous background in science and mathematics, and need better preparation for a bachelors degree program), but I also think a bachelors degree is the new high school diploma (in other words, a high school diploma is no longer enough, and in most cases, an associates degree is not enough, with some exceptions). Even manufacturing jobs will demand some degree of rigorous training in engineering (as manufacturing is becoming increasingly automated).

It's also important to realize, fighting against automation (which is a common knee jerk reaction to unemployment) is a losing strategy. If we want to use less energy, we need increasing efficiency in manufacturing and food production (as those activities use the most energy).

[-] 0 points by sufinaga (513) 2 years ago

1: legalise marijuana. 2: take back ownership of the land. 3: seize ownership of automated industries. 3: end age hierarchy in education factories with bully heads. have free education for life. 4: ban medication for mental disorders. a humanitarian healthcare system free for all. 5: stop the violence! stop the wars! stop the war machine! stop the police brutality! BE FRISK AVERSE!

[-] 2 points by francismjenkins (3713) 2 years ago

Ban medication for mental disorders? I mean, I agree that we are over-medicate as a society, but do you have any background in biochemistry? Seriously, mental illness does exist, and psychotic patients do benefit from antipsychotic medication (dopamine antagonists treat severe cases of paranoia, and allow many of these patients to live semi-normal lives). Also, we do need more flexibility in education, but some classes require laboratory training (and unless students can afford modern laboratory equipment, they'll need to attend traditional college classes to get this sort of training). Seize ownership of automated industries? I'm not sure what exactly you're suggesting here ... if you're talking about something like democratic capitalism, then I'm all for it (but I'm certainly against the idea of "government" seizing anything). Democratic capitalism can only happen from the ground up. Humans have tried the "top down" approach (research Leninism), and it failed miserably.

[-] 1 points by sufinaga (513) 2 years ago

i refer you to Dr Peter Breggin MD "Medication madness" also my own videos on youtube "quadripolar psychology" "developmental psychology 1/6" "developmental psychology. beginner's mind1/3" unified field theory. quantum computer brain." you are spouting a sales pitch for the drug companies and the drug prescribing and coercive medication regimes. stop messing with people's minds. medications are addictive. medication does not work. medication is mental slavery. brain biochemical imbalances are BS!

[-] 1 points by francismjenkins (3713) 2 years ago

You mean the doctor who proposes we replace drugs with electroconvulsive therapy? You're right, I plead guilty, I'm not influenced by quacks (preaching pseudoscience).

[-] 1 points by sufinaga (513) 2 years ago

no am against messing about with the brain with chemicals or electricity. but electromagnets are very effective see my video youtube/sufinaga "dark energy is eternal life"'

[-] 1 points by francismjenkins (3713) 2 years ago

Again, what's your background in biology, neurology, biochemistry, etc.? I mean seriously, if you have no academic training in these subjects, I see no reason to accept your commentary as "well informed" (and siding with one doctor, who represents a minority view among his peers, and is indeed viewed as something akin to a "quack" by his peers, will not convince me of anything, nor should it be persuasive to any reasonably intelligent person).

[-] 1 points by sufinaga (513) 2 years ago

are you in a position of authority over others, giving them MEDICATION THAT KILLS THE IMAGINATION!!! chemical warfare on their brain function to relieve their distress is the wrong way to go. the medication is addictive and does not work. it destroys the capacity for joy and real relationship with others. have you no humanity, no concern for others? or are you a psychopathic bully in authority over our distressed fellows? for sufis, distress is a blessing!!! a non-psychedelic can never enlighten a psychedelic. beware of the non-psychedelic! another substantial point is that neither the nurse nor the patient know the real effects of the medication. the patient does not know what the medication is doing to him. THAT IS UNETHICAL PRACTISE!!!!!

[-] 1 points by francismjenkins (3713) 2 years ago

As I said before, there's good reasons to think that we're "over-medicated" ... but it's also true that some people do suffer from serious mental illness (and they're very happy to receive relief that some medications provide), the research into the genetic and biochemical causes of mental illness is very rigorous, and the doctor you cite is a quack.

[-] 1 points by sufinaga (513) 2 years ago

do not put medication into anothers body that you would not take yourself. in the future the prescribing of these medications will be seen in the same abuse of mental patients as lobotomies and ect. i am fully aware of the destructive nature of these drugs. it is a form of sadistic bullying. again from experience these drugs destroy peoples lives.

[-] -1 points by Thrasymaque (-2138) 2 years ago

Agreed. I have a few friends that suffer from schizophrenia and medication has helped them lead better lives. They would be the first to attest to this.

[-] 1 points by francismjenkins (3713) 2 years ago

Right, I mean, Bill Maher has this thing against medication, and suddenly this idea became popular. I enjoy Maher, he's an entertaining comedian, but he's not a fucking scientist (and to my knowledge, has ZERO scientific training ... shit, he probably couldn't distinguish a derivative from an integral).

[-] 2 points by Rico (3027) 2 years ago

Can't tell a derivative from an integral ? He's a derisive imbecile !

Let's toss in the folks who refuse to immunize their kids then send them happily off to public schools.

We don't need doctors. We have the internet.

[-] 0 points by RedJazz43 (2757) 2 years ago

The question itself is an antidemocratic liberal pipedream. The whole point of OWS is to build the movement. Once 10 or 20 million people are occupying or at least active in local GAs will be time enough to think about a "next step," about what we do next to build the new society.

[-] 1 points by wasdeafonce (10) from Carlsbad, CA 2 years ago

I agree that the point now should be communication. Nothing will change without us talking to each other. But i do feel that the message needs focus. It has reached far into our society, it has reached me, and like most middle class people we will need an alternative to the way things are currently before we react. I have started in on all my people that i deal with and most say what else can we do? So i think OWS should continue with its steady path of informing the people and we should start discussing alternative avenues for fixing our America. This is not a pipe dream, it is our choice.

[-] 1 points by RedJazz43 (2757) 2 years ago

OWS has an alternative. To most people it does not look like an alternative because the project is almost too massive to contemplate. OWS is not especially interested in liberal nostrums or legislative quick fixes. It really doesn't see legislation, changing the faces of those in Congress or even Constitutional amendments as a real solution to the problems that we face. OWS seeks to build an entirely new and different social system one in which democracy, justice, peace and love prevail internationally and in which we govern ourselves.

[-] 2 points by MaryS (678) 2 years ago

Are you really speaking for the majority of OWS protestors here? And how is that even possible with such diversity? This is all well and good but I'm not really sure I'm understanding you- that those people who want to actually change the government from within aren't really a part of OWS, or should get their head on straight and think like you? Should they leave and get their own movement? Instead of thousands of people with no real say and no real direction, you expect millions to get onboard with that? Thank God most of the people I read on here won't stand for that. It may very well be that a completely separate movement or organization may come out of this one, one that doesn't necessarily please the anarchists. But if all you want to see here are a bunch of estranged GA meetings.. what is that? You lived through the 60's like me, you saw how well the disorganization worked then. How many of the hippie communes survived? One of the larger ones that came out of San Francisco settled about 40 miles from me and they're almost non-existent now. From what I hear self-government didn't work so well. I just think the majority of people on here are probably tired of talking about it and tired of screwing around and mean business about changing the way THIS government works. Those are the ones I will be supporting.

[-] 2 points by RedJazz43 (2757) 2 years ago

Every OWS activist speaks only for themselves. What I am saying that I most definitely get the impression that most of the people who contribute to this site and who claim to be supportive of OWS have probably never been to an occupation or a GA or they would not express the views they have, but again, that is only my opinion. It is also based on a reading of the very few official pronouncements made by GAs.

Just look at what the hard copy on the home page of this web site says. It says that the revolution continues world wide. It says that we don't need Wall Street or politicians to build a better world. What are we to make of such pronouncements? Of course anybody can draw any conclusions they like, but that doesn't sound like they want to reform the system to me. What is more important, I don't think most of the people who participate in this website even bother to read such simple and straightforward pronouncements. However, if they attended even a single GA they would be drawn into what is essentially a revolutionary as opposed to a reformist discourse,

This is a maddening experience for those true liberals who are an active part of OWS. They face the difficult and so far impossible task of reframing OWS discourse along reformist lines. So far they have been unsuccessful. I do think that there is a real tension here that needs to be acknowledged by all OWS activists and generally is (it tends to be the nonactive supporters who are clueless about all this).

This does not mean that there is no place for liberals or people whose politics are unformed in the movement, but one of the defining characteristics of the movement is its reliance on nonviolent direct action. To the extent that people can unite around those tactics regardless of their philosophical approach, the movement has been able to remain united.

In fact, it has been the radicals in the movement who have been far more successful at building the movement so far than have the liberals. Very early on it was the radicals in the movement that successfully reached out to sections of organized labor, building the first alliance between organized labor and the radical intelligentcia since the 1940s. There are many other examples of this kind of successful outreach based on direct action, solidarity and the very explicit idea that the people we are in solidarity with need not necessarily adopt our world view, but that also does not mean that we are without one,

OWS is not about a hippy commune, which, btw, had absolutely nothing to do with the political movements of the 1960s either in terms of politics or of the individuals involved. I am not suggesting that there were no points of contact, only that the hippies and the New Left were two separate and distinct movements.

[-] 1 points by Courtney (111) from New York, NY 2 years ago

I completely agree, but think there can be a place for both in this movement. I'm one of the people who think we're going to need some pretty serious changes, and think reform will be a whack-a-mole type of game. But by trying to reform the system, we build solidarity and find out where the limits of our power to do so really are and realize what is actually necessary. For those of us who side less with the liberals and feel more firmly that capitalism doesn't work and is morally dubious--if someone can manage to make all of our lives better by overturning Citizens' United or creating a less authoritarian police force, most people would probably be cool with that too.

[-] 1 points by RedJazz43 (2757) 2 years ago

Reform and revolution are like oil and water. There may be points of contact, but ultimately they are incompatible. They are ultimately not the same movement at all.

To the extent that there is a point of contact I think it is around the issue of nonviolent direct action, which is really the tactical basis of OWS and around which both reformers and revolutionaries can unite.

A less authoritarian police force is an oxymoron. The police and the military are those institutions in society that have a sanctioned monopoly on violence. One is either for the police or not. If one is for the police then one would expect that if they were really for the 99% they would turn their ire and pepper spray on the 1%, not dispense with it, which would after all vitiate their need to exist at all.

[-] 1 points by MaryS (678) 2 years ago

Well I get what you're saying and I understand the purpose served thus far by the leaderless aspect of the movement but ultimately I see that as having very limited results and if a reformist movement is born out of this then it will have to be far more organized, imho. And I hear people expressing frustration about it constantly. I'm so over that people will just magically bring about peace love and harmony on their own and govern themselves. As one person expressed it on here, we don't need "No government", we need "GOOD government". That's all I'm saying.

[-] 2 points by Rico (3027) 2 years ago

I happen to agree with you 100% and I think many others do.

The majority of Americans will not get on board with throwing everything out, and I think that's a pretty silly idea in any case.

To borrow from the zeitgeist language, civilizations, societies, economic systems, and governments are like living breathing organisms that evolve over time. There has been little radical change, only evolution, because even as one system falls, we lift what worked and carry it forward. Rome's government may have fell, for example, but much of what she created in terms of institutions remains to this day. Likewise, America was an evolutionary step from the European monarchies.

Given civilizations, societies, economic systems, and governments are like living breathing organisms, they carry a lot of DNA that came to be in response to events over the course of human history that few fully understand. Making radical change to the DNA is as dangerous as messing with the human genome. In our arrogance thinking we know more than we do, we might change something that had a purpose we no longer understand to the detriment of all.

At times in our history, we had no choice but to change a fundamental aspect of our institutions because of they way they were codified. The genius of the Founding Fathers was that they codified our system in a living breathing form that allows for incremental change in accordance with the continued evolution of their creation.

I for one put restoration of our Democracy at the very top of our objectives. All other changes we seek require political change, and restoration of our Democracy is a prerequisite to those changes. See my comment above at http://occupywallst.org/forum/what-are-your-big-five-issues-things-you-would-cha/#comment-574317 (nevermind the the vote count, someone is using bots to down-vote me and a few others here). Also see my related posts at http://www.themultitude.org/forum/viewtopic.php?f=47&p=4355&sid=a526a9cadc2ba7f30fee2b1fbe5f9703#p4355 and http://www.themultitude.org/forum/viewtopic.php?f=28&p=4258&sid=a526a9cadc2ba7f30fee2b1fbe5f9703#p4258.

I think we may need another movement if this one can't get it's act together.

[-] 1 points by MaryS (678) 2 years ago

Yes, thank you. That makes a lot of sense to me.

[-] 1 points by RedJazz43 (2757) 2 years ago

I'm fairly active in OWS and would consider myself a part time occupier. The fact that I work, have some medical problems and live at some distance from the nearest occupation prevents me from being a full time occupier.

I have been to at least half a dozen occupations and local GAs. While I see a lot of carping in the media and in sites like this about the lack of an identifiable leadership in OWS, I have yet to see that complaint in a single occupation or GA that I have attended. That is, while there are some fairly profound complaints about process within the movement, not in a single GA or occupation that I have participated in is there any visible movement at all for the election of an identifiable leadership.

Indeed, the ideologically dominant position in virtually every GA I have attended is very much for a statelessness in the new society they propose to build.

[-] 1 points by MaryS (678) 2 years ago

Well I have attended a few of the local GA's also and it's been very enlightening but a lot of what is talked about is just that- what is going on locally. I'm much more interested in the big picture. I don't want to see this movement die out with nothing real accomplished. I expect to see huge changes, I feel it, I know the potential is there if we direct and channel all this energy into more far reaching attainable goals.

[-] 1 points by RedJazz43 (2757) 2 years ago

A lot of intiatives that come out of local GAs end up having a national or even international impact. That is of course obvious in the NYC GA because of its central role as the initiating GA of the movement. It's also true of the GAs in DC because of their location at the center of national political power, but these kinds of initiatives can spring up anywhere as the port shut downs in Oakland demonstrate. So local GAs focussing on local issues are important. Most local GAs are able to network with other GAs nationally and internationally, so even when they focus on local issues, they are not unaware of what is going on at other GAs nationally or internationally.

I am not suggesting that more coordination between GAs nationally and internationally is not important and should not be a priority, but this is a very new movement, still in its infancy. When we first went to occupy Zuccotti we had no notion that the occupation would last more than a few days, much less spawn an international movement. Just as an infrastructure developed in Zuccotti as the movement grew there and more and more needs developed, so to will more coordination between GAs develop, but that will happen organically, just as the infrastructure at Zuccotti developed organically on an as need basis. In this instance the organizational development may be lagging behind the need, but not by much. We are, again, a very, very, young movement. Patience is a revolutionary virtue,

[-] 1 points by francismjenkins (3713) 2 years ago

Are you saying people will gravitate to something that they don't understand? I mean, I think OWS does have a message, even though it's a very fluid movement, which rejects the idea of prominent leadership (which I think is an excellent approach). I'm certainly not implying that OWS should concoct a list of demands (and I'm very glad that they resisted the temptation). I think the word "demands" sounds like extortion .... so please don't misconstrue my genuine curiosity regarding what my fellow humans are thinking :)

[-] 2 points by RedJazz43 (2757) 2 years ago

People understand, or very often misunderstand OWS in various ways. People bring their own understanding and their own consciousness to OWS, though it does seem to me that many people properly characterized as liberals who claim to be supportive of OWS do so as the result of a sometimes willful misunderstanding. Just look at the home page of this very web site. It says that we don't need Wall Street or politicians to build a better society. Yet people who contribute threads to this site that are basically full of ideas for politicians to implement. That, it would seem to me, is a pretty conscious effort to misunderstand what OWS is all about.

I suspect that most people who read and contribute to threads on this site have never even read the Declaration of the Occupation of New York City, virtually the only political document yet produced by OWS, yet another example of the effort to consciously misunderstand OWS, and here I am talking about people who claim to be supporters. Indeed, it looks to me that in many instances opponents of OWS have a better idea of what OWS is all about than do many of its erstwhile supporters.

One of the best and easiest ways to understand OWS is to spend a day at an occupation or sit through at least one GA, though I suspect that most of the erstwhile supporters of OWS on this site have done neither.

I think it is perfectly appropriate for reform movements to make demands on the system. That is what it means to reform a system. But OWS is not a reform movement. It is a revolutionary movement. It does not make demands on the system not because it is too genteel to do so but for exactly the opposite reason. OWS makes no demands on this system because it wants nothing from it except that it go away.

[-] 3 points by francismjenkins (3713) 2 years ago

I understand what you're saying, yet OWS does make some position statements (for instance, yesterday I read a statement by the general counsel opposing SOPA), and indeed there's strong consensus with regard to banking reform (like restoring Glass Steagall).

However, please don't misconstrue my support for political reform as suggesting that reform can only come from within our political system. In fact, in my discussions with many friends who support concepts like democratic capitalism, I emphatically point out that this sort of change in our society can ONLY come from the ground up.

Democratic capitalism, where workers own the business they work at, where they share in management responsibilities, where maybe the entire concept of "management" is replaced, etc., is a revolutionary, inspiring, and beautiful idea. Nonetheless, I think we can work towards this revolutionary concept of society, while also fighting for political reform (and I think that's what OWS has been doing, and maybe there's some degree of danger in getting overly hung up on semantics, where "purists" begin to emerge, which can have a chilling effect on innovation).

[-] 1 points by RedJazz43 (2757) 2 years ago

A legal position by a lawyer representing some OWS activists is not an OWS position. In fact, in that sense there are no official OWS positions as OWS does not exist as an organization. The closest thing to an organized entity in OWS is the GAs at the various occupations, or in some instances in places were there are presently no occupations.

With some justification the New York OWS is seen as the center of all this and thus what the NYC GA does tends to guide the movement as a whole and the NYC GA has made one and only one political statement, that is the Declaration of the Occupation of New York City which was passed only a few days after the occupation began,

Reform and revolution are like oil and water. There may be some points of contact, but essentially they are incompatible and any serious reading of the Declaration of the Occupation or attendance at any occupation or GA would bring most people to the conclusion that OWS is not at all about reforming the current system.

It is not a matter of purism. It is a matter of at least being familiar enough with the actual goings on of OWS as an activist movement (as opposed to the opinions of so-called supportive dilletant onlookers) to understand what the movement is really all about.

[-] 2 points by francismjenkins (3713) 2 years ago

I should say .. I am a lawyer (and I guess I do "think like a lawyer" in all things, it's very hard to shake) :)

I also admit, I love the US constitution, I love the common law, and those are things I treasure. They're not perfect, but they've been a solid foundation for our society and in many respect they've been a beacon of light for the world. However, we've become complacent, our constitution has been hijacked, and that I cannot forgive, I cannot forget, and cannot sit back & do nothing.

So maybe I'm not a 100%er when it comes to your entire ideology, but I'd like to think you guys are flexible enough to allow some variation in thought.

[-] 1 points by RedJazz43 (2757) 2 years ago

Well look at the Declaration of the Occupation of New York City from a legal standpoint. I think it is one of the great political documents of American history and in many ways politically superior to the much more famous Port Huron Statement.

Most revolutions frame their legal basis on the fundamental codes of the previous society. Look at the French Revolution. It was the King who called the Estates General, which was his legal and constitutional right to do. Thus convened the Third Estate declared itself the National Assembly but it did so on the constitutional authority of having been first legally convened by the King. This was also true in Russia where the Tsar called the Duma and the Duma organized the provisional government. The Constitutional Convention itself was called ostensibly to reform the Articles of Confederation and there was considerable controversy as to whether the Convention had overstepped its mandate.

So, I'm all for Constitutional defenses if that's what it takes to get you off the hook. It is also rather obvious that Constitutional defenses of revolutionary actions can win over countless skeptics. That said there is a distinction between genuinely revolutionary changes and mere reform, including even Constitutional amendments.

Historically, the most cogent defense of the Constititon is the Federalist Papers, which are very clearly anti-democratic at their core. That is the Federalist defense of the Constitution is very specifically that it is not a democratic document. In his much more critical review of the Constitution Beard also asserts that the Constitutional movement was anti-democratic in An Economic Interpretation of the Constitution,

I firmly believe that in a truly democratic, just, peaceful, and loving society the people will need very different institutions with which to govern themselves than those which are currently embodied in the Constitution.

Common law is something else altogether which predates the Constitution and which is in many instances profoundly more democratic than the Constitution. Indeed, many revolutionary movements have essentially been movements to preserve or restore common law against ex post facto constitutional rules.

Among the oldest of popular struggles have been the protection and restoration of the commons often against existing constitutional law. It's the Robin Hood story after all. The very first article that Karl Marx ever published was in opposition to the wood theft law, a constitutional provision that violated centuries of the commons and common law. So constitutionality and common law are by no means always compatible.

[-] 1 points by francismjenkins (3713) 2 years ago

Dude, I have read the declaration of occupation, and I don't see how it calls for either revolution (it never uses that term) or reform (another term it doesn't invoke). It loosely defines what a just system should look like (it must "protect our rights"), and in the event of "corruption of that system" it is up to us to defend our own rights. I'm not sure what you're reading into this declaration that implies any specific form of action, besides a call to solidarity, peaceful assembly, and listing grievances (which, as it points out, is not an all inclusive list). I do know one thing, something that I hear over and over again, no single person represents the thoughts or grievances of every person who supports or is directly involved with OWS (and it seems like you're presuming to speak for the entire movement). I mean, even the term revolution has a loose meaning (in common parlance). From the Latin, revolutio, "a turn around" (traditionally, a fundamental change in power or structure than happens abruptly, over a short period of time). In fact, relating "peaceful protest" with revolution is tenuous. The French Revolution was obviously not peaceful, our own revolution was not peaceful, and in general (historically speaking) the concept of "revolution" has not implied peaceful protest (which is something explicitly mentioned in the declaration of occupation). So again, I see nothing that implies what you're suggesting.

[-] 1 points by RedJazz43 (2757) 2 years ago

OWS activists make the point that every body in the movement can only speak for themselves and not for the movement as a whole. That, ultimately, is what direct democracy is all about, or at least part of what direct democracy is all about. That's as true for me as it is for anyone else and I most certainly did not mean to give the impression that I was speaking for anyone other than myself.

Certain facts, however, are undeniable. The fact is that the initiators of the movement are strongly influenced by the anarchist intellectual tradition. It is also a fact that those initiators make no effort to deny this but are quite open about it. It is also a fact that when this is pointed out to liberal supporters of the movement those liberal supporters generally view the person pointing it out as a red baiter when in fact that person is doing nothing more than pointing out publicly known facts about the politics of the initiators of the movement about which those initiators make no secret.

With that in mind, the roots of the Declaration of the Occupation become much more clear. While it is neither explicitly revolutionary nor explicitly reformist, the very fact that it makes no demands and that it is not addressed to any political authority but rather "to the people of the world" is most instructive and revealing.

Also, quite central to OWS is its commitment to nonviolent direct action. That is both built into its very name (to occupy) and a regular source of its activity on a daily basis from the beginning of its existence. In addition to this it clearly has a primary commitment to direct democracy, which is very different than the decision making processes of representative democracy. These are all facts in the daily functioning of OWS, all of which fall under the general rubric of "revolution" a term that is constantly bantered about in OWS which presumably embodies all of the above: nonviolent direct action, civil disobedience, direct democracy, an appeal to people rather than to structures of power, a refusal to raise specific demands, a refusal to apply for parade permits and similar "permissions" which in fact would make demonstrating much easier, etc.

These are not mere opinions on my part but the actual operation of daily life in OWS. And since when do lawyers use terms like dude, which to me seems like a term of disrespect.

[-] 1 points by francismjenkins (3713) 2 years ago

Why can't I use the term "dude"? I mean, WTF (this is an informal conversation between two humans, expressing ideas ... and barring a professional/formal environment, I commonly use the term dude, not by any means intended an insult, but if you're offended by it for some reason, my apologies--even though I think taking offense to the word dude is ridiculously oversensitive). But anyway, anarchism? Which intellectuals (specifically) are you influenced by? What form of direct democracy do you advocate?

Is Comte a thinker you like? Voltairine de Cleyre, Louise Michel? How about Emma Goldman? David Ellerman is one I like (democratic capitalism, worker owned firms). How about guys like Chomsky or Kropotkin? I assume you guys aren't fans of Ayn Rand or Murray Rothbard?

To be honest, I find Chomsky's political views somewhat incoherent (albeit I agree with him on some issues). I mean, anarcho-syndicalism and state sponsored social welfare, are mutually exclusive ideas. Chomsky defends this position with an emotional argument (and ignores the fact that you can't have state sponsored welfare programs, if you don't have a state ... just ridiculous).

[-] 1 points by wasdeafonce (10) from Carlsbad, CA 2 years ago

I think people are stuck. Stuck in the fact that this is the only way they know. This is what we were taught, work hard, do a good job and maybe you can climb the ladder of success. Now that that reality is coming from together, people are looking for answers. They need a different choice, something to replace whats missing, something they could say is a better choice than the way it is. An alternative approach that they could understand and see working. A focused message. I see OWS as the vehicle to "we the people", and it will take we the people to change our world.

[-] 1 points by francismjenkins (3713) 2 years ago

Indeed, but hierarchical structure isn't merely the result of some grand conspiracy by 20th or 21st century capitalists, it's been with our species since the beginning, which indicates it may be a trait nature selected for (doesn't mean it's the ideal, since evolution was a rather crude process). However, this is complicated by what we're learning about emergence (for instance, pattern behavior of schools of fish, flocks of birds, crowds of people, or vehicle traffic patterns -- indicates "leaders" are not always responsible for group behavior); but it's even more complicated than that ... because emergent behavior can also be described as group think, or a "herd mentality" (maybe a sociologist here can chime in on this dynamic)??


[-] -1 points by Rico (3027) 2 years ago

I have only one because all the others can be effected once the Democracy is restored to We the People ...

  • Get the money out of politics: Modify McCain-Fiengold to zero all campaign contributions, fund the campaigns of the top 5 candidates (per number of qualifying petition signatures) using the Federal Campaign Fund, use C-SPAN/PBS for debates/political discussion, ban all political speech by mass media within 60 days of any election (already banned 1 minute before, why not longer?)

Once our Democracy is Restored, some ideas I'd promote to my fellow citizens would include...

  • Change business taxes: Tax corporations, banks, companies, etc via a progressive tax based on revenue (rather than profit) to limit their size and power while fixing the "too big to fail" problem.

  • Reform entitlements: Means test on social security and medicare, but medicare for all with benefits defined per the Chilean model.

  • Education: Add a year to high school providing citizenship skills including voting, politics, critical reading, ethics, personal finance, and consumer education. Our schools must do more than prepare good workers, they must also prepare citizens to participate in our Capitalist Democracy.

  • Simplify Income Taxes: There's no reason why we should all have to pay someone to do our taxes just because we might miss something. Zero deductions, zero credits, and a progressive tax with brackets separated by 10% each. The bottom 30% (never more) pay nothing, and the rest pay as needed to generate revenue equal to the average expenditures over the past 3 years. This allows temporary deficit spending, but also makes politicians raise taxes to pay for their programs.

  • Redefine "War": Officially define "war" as any act on foreign soil involving the use of weapons and demand approval by Congressional Armed Service committees within one 5 days (the president needs to be able to react quickly). Beyond this, the general congress has to approve the required expenditures as a separate line item (no funding wars using the normal operating budgets).

  • Require Right to Work: Associations of people have a right to speak politically, and the ultimate recourse of a member who disagrees with their stance is to leave the association. At present, some folks are forced to pay dues to associations that promote policies with they find egregious because most of their coworkers agree. This is wrong.

I think that's a about it for now. I'm sure I'll think of more over time ;o)

[-] -1 points by Libertarianliving (149) 2 years ago

Legalize MOST recreational drugs

Legalize Prostitution

Cut at least half of the "programs" of the Federal Government

Start drilling the hell out of our own oil.

Remove any and all affirmative action laws from our government!

[-] 1 points by francismjenkins (3713) 2 years ago

I would support legalization of marijuana, and refocusing federal drug laws solely on importation of hard drugs (such as cocaine & heroin). I'd also support decriminalizing drugs at all levels (particularly the state level, as states incarcerate most drug offenders), and instead approach the problem of addiction to "hard" drugs through effective treatment.

[-] 1 points by Libertarianliving (149) 2 years ago


[-] 0 points by BystanderDC (91) 2 years ago

What programs would you cut? And should we regulate recreational drugs like we do alcohol? DUI, public intoxication, underaged restrictions, taxation. My friend bought a cartoon of cigarettes yesterday at CostCo, it was $44 after tax. Imagine what recreational drugs would cost? It sure would not be cheaper and more expensive with all the taxes that would be levied on it.

[-] 1 points by Libertarianliving (149) 2 years ago

We could tax at least Marijuana at least TWICE by volume what we do cigarettes, which is a lot, and still not even come close to making it cost what it does because of it being illegal. It is a WEED, inexpensive to grow. And the "poor" people could even just grow their own. Would it increase Marijuana use? I believe it would have to somewhat. But most of us who don't use still won't and those that do will continue to. I won't start using it. I am not against others using it as I had my time in high school, college, and young adulthood. Maybe once every couple years I would stop at the 'retailer' for a small amount to have some kicks, but that would be it. And I wouldn't risk having my life ruined because of it when I wasn't hurting anyone. Like I said, I am sure use would rise SOME, possibly REDUCING some alcohol use, which could only be seen as a positive.

[-] 0 points by BystanderDC (91) 2 years ago

Maybe use California as the model. There you have the ability to buy marijuana as prescription. And realistically it is not do hard to get your hands on one of those. It is heavy regulated and purity is part of the regulation. You can grow your own but are limited to tr number of plants to not be deemed an illegal distributor. It's definitely not cheaper but I suspect quality and potency is better. The stuff from Mexico is dirt, you would have to use more for less what you could buy in California. Good points. And througha heavy tax system in the drugs like with tobacco you could fund other programs like the treatment of heavier drugs through the sale of marijuana.

[-] 1 points by hamalmang (722) from Lebanon, PA 2 years ago

Cannabis is worth about $10 a pound in some parts of the world. It should cost no more than coffee really. One of the biggest reasons for prohibition is to make these substances worth hundreds or thousands of times more than they should be. Cocaine is worth more in weight than $50 bills are because of prohibition.

[-] 0 points by BystanderDC (91) 2 years ago

I agree. And most likely we'd tax the crap out of it. Look at the California Medical marijuana market as your model. It is not cheap. And decriminalizing it elsewhere won't make it cheaper.

[-] 1 points by Libertarianliving (149) 2 years ago

But it could and should. It is our overbearing government that makes the price so high.

[-] 1 points by francismjenkins (3713) 2 years ago

You know, it's sort of funny, republicans accuse liberals of socialism, yet they're the supporters of centralized control. Over time, corporate law has continued to favor managers over stockholders (and it's been republicans who supported management though--for example--laws that restrict litigation, like derivative suits). Republicans gave us homeland security (and the surveillance state), they gave us the Patriot Act, it's a republican congressman who wrote SOPA (although plenty of democrats are co-sponsoring or supporting the legislation, probably because their buddy, former Senator Dodd, now heads up the motion picture association).

That said .... there's some good regulation, and plenty of bad regulations. The surreal irony is we tend to get rid of the good regulations, and make the bad regulations even worse and more draconian.

[+] -6 points by Thrasymaque (-2138) 2 years ago
  1. Separate money from politics.
  2. Stop all US wars and bring the troops back home.
  3. Create a system where health care and education are fully paid for by the state, and abolish all forms of private health-care and private education.
  4. Legalize same-sex marriage in all states and atolls.
  5. Make it illegal to pass off pseudo-science as science. All TV shows, news articles, and books that deal with pseudo-science and conspiracy theories would be accompanied by a label: "WARNING: The content herein is not scientific. The scientific method was not used. Please be careful and consume at your own risk."


  1. Start a professional sumo wresting league to keep overweight Americans active.
  2. Close the military base in Okinawa.
  3. Make all religions illegal, and donate buildings of religious worship to scientific institutions.
  4. Dismantle the republican party, and make sure it never comes back.
  5. Start an international court case to find out if George Bush committed crimes against humanity.
  6. Become a forerunner in dealing with the very serious problem of Global Warming.
  7. Make it illegal for fast food joints to sell large bucket sized soda drinks.
[-] 1 points by buphiloman (840) 2 years ago

"1. Start a professional sumo wresting league to keep fat Americans active."

Seriously....go fuck yourself. I've lived abroad, there are plenty of fat Germans, Italians, English, French, Spanish, and Russians.

Take your fucking bigoted stereotypes elsewhere.

I respect a lot of what you have to say, but this is in poor taste, and very much pisses me off. And, for the record, I am 6'3' 235, portly perhaps but not a "fat" american as you'd say.

[+] -9 points by Thrasymaque (-2138) 2 years ago

There are fat people everywhere. That's true. However, from what Iv'e read and seen, there is a serious obesity problem in America and I believe it should be dealt with. People can make their own choices, but children cannot. I was lucky to grow up in a family that knew how to cook healthy food. Many of America's children are mostly being fed with fast food which is very fattening and not very healthy. This makes me sad, and I believe it is a serious problem.

A large coca-cola in a Canadian, Indonesia, or Mexican McDonald (haven't checked in other countries) is a small coca-cola is an American McDonald. This is problematic I believe.

If you are not aware of this problem, I suggest you use Google to do some research.

Take your fucking bigoted stereotypes elsewhere.

It's not a stereotype, it's a documented truth. America is #1 when it comes to having a problem of obesity. Here's a list of BMI statistics from various countries. America's average BMI is twice that of Canada, and thrice that of France.


Denying this fact is a big part of the problem.

I am 6'3' 235, portly perhaps but not a "fat" american as you'd say.

I never said you were fat. If you're not and are happy with your weight, that's great.

[-] -1 points by buphiloman (840) 2 years ago

I wasn't denying anything. You can say things without being a complete dickweed though. It's called tact, look it up.

[-] -2 points by Thrasymaque (-2138) 2 years ago

I don't think it's wrong for someone to be fat. I have many fat friends. Fat Americans are not like fairies, they do exist. It think it's OK to talk about them. If it makes you happy, I changed the wording to overweight Americans.

[-] 1 points by francismjenkins (3713) 2 years ago

Obesity is a serious problem, and no, for the most part it's not genetics (it's eating too much crap). We should not allow political correctness to prevent us from discussing well understood science, in a straightforward way. A very small percentage of people have thyroid issues, but we're talking about a VERY small % of overweight people. I mean, imagine if people started forming advocacy organizations because they didn't like public discussion of diabetes (and suddenly diabetes became a valid state of being, like race or gender, instead of a medical disorder)? Let's not become fucking ridiculous. The more things we're "not able to talk about" ... the less free, more slavish, we become.

[-] 1 points by April (3196) 2 years ago

I agree. It's a serious problem. To talk about constructively, not, something to make fun of. Over eating, unhealthy food choices and inactivity are big factors. And it starts with kids. Jumbo portion sizes, junk food and video games. There is no substitute for kids playing outdoors, climbing trees, catching frogs and rollerblading in the street. I don't care what Wii version you have with whatever games and components. Kids will aquire a taste for what they are fed. Feed them junk, and they'll want more junk. Feed them healthy fruits and vegetables, they'll aquire a taste for that.

[+] -7 points by April (3196) 2 years ago

Bonus Item 1. Please edit to " those that are overweight".

It's not as if we're all fat. Plus it would just sound a little nicer. : )

Bonus Item 3. I'm not going there with you.

Bonus Item 7. Stongly agree. All jumbo food portion sizes should be outlawed. It's unbelievably disgusting and obnoxious. Unless you're sharing with 3 or 5 people.

Otherwise, it's all good!

[-] -1 points by Thrasymaque (-2138) 2 years ago