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Forum Post: Why use the term "Demands"?

Posted 2 years ago on Oct. 7, 2011, 7:14 p.m. EST by HMSinnott (123)
This content is user submitted and not an official statement

I've noticed that there is a tendency to use the term "demands" to state desires.

I think we should think carefully about that. Saying we "demand" something makes it look like we believe we have the power or right to impose our will on others whether they consent or not. That is not good and in reality is also not accurate.

We need to expand and to persuade others of the justice of our cause. Instead of "demands", how about "goals"?

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84 Comments


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[-] 2 points by RoseRed (4) 2 years ago

Nope. Demands are firm and absolute. This needs to made clear. However.. I think I understand your wariness.. So far the demands released have been moronic and without any understanding of politics & economics. There need to be fewer, more coherent demands.

[-] 1 points by HMSinnott (123) 2 years ago

In that case, how can we purport to make firm and resolute demands when they lack and understanding of politics and economics? Until the internal means of arriving at goals is resolved, we can't be arrogant enough to make demands.

[-] 1 points by RoseRed (4) 2 years ago

Agreed. However, you have to acknowledge that the "demands" made before were in the works and merely proposed. I think this is just a matter of semantics. Since the final demands are being articulated over the internet using the input of everybody.. they're not going to be a polished finished product right off the bat. I do understand your concern though.. the list WAS really, really bad.

[-] 1 points by iseeamuse (155) 2 years ago

it's not just semantics, it's PR. If we give in to the media's demand for "demands" then we are conceding. We need to be firm in developing our process first before we make any major "official" announcements that might end up hurting the general perception of us.

[-] 1 points by HMSinnott (123) 2 years ago

Very true, there needs to be a process to distill much of that is being discussed, and then having a democratic, open way to arrive at goals we can agree on.

[-] 1 points by HMSinnott (123) 2 years ago

I know it's semantics. However there's a saying in politics, and that is that "perception is reality." I hope this doesn't become another political movement or party with slogans and ideology, but we will be operating in the political sphere if we desire to accomplish anything.

[-] 1 points by andrewpatrick46 (91) from Atlanta, GA 2 years ago

Look up how Iceland recently drafted their new Constitution. that's what I propose we do to get our demands out coherently.

[-] 1 points by HMSinnott (123) 2 years ago

I'll look to do that, because I'm not familiar with how they did it.

[-] 1 points by paypal (1) 2 years ago

How about "forceful suggestions", or "deeply felt feelings"? That way they wouldn't appear so threatening.

[-] 1 points by HMSinnott (123) 2 years ago

Or objectives, or as I suggested, goals.

[-] 1 points by iseeamuse (155) 2 years ago

I agree, and believe "demands" was a term imposed upon us by the media. What we really need to do is state our list of grievances, and deliberate on proposals, nominate proposals, campaign, and vote. This is democracy.

[-] 1 points by HMSinnott (123) 2 years ago

I agree, and perhaps even as a preamble make a statement of our collective values.

[-] 1 points by Madhusudana (90) 2 years ago

It's not "good" but it IS accurate.

Since that IS the ultimatum, don't ever fucking forget it.

[-] 1 points by HMSinnott (123) 2 years ago

How is it accurate? I work with people who work hard and get stiffed every day and yet they haven't heard of this movement or know about it (until I talked to them about it). Do you really think you can reach them by making "demands" ?

[-] 1 points by MikeInOhio (13) 2 years ago

I agree. The first set of "demands" didn't go over so well. The $20 per hour minimum wage, forgiveness of all debts, etc. were, uh, crazy. It kind of makes one wonder who is running this show.

[-] 1 points by Dewey (19) 2 years ago

we no longer are going to be complacent. Like Flavor Flav (sp) said, I got a right to be mad, my people have been prosecuted. Wel,l we have all been beaten down by the plutocracy far too long. Time for some justice. They ain't given it unless we fight for it!

[-] 1 points by HMSinnott (123) 2 years ago

Believe me I know. I had my home foreclosed on by a big bank and Freddie Mac, and they charged a fortune in legal fees so I'm mas as hell myself. There's a lot of anger out there, and justifiably so. However, unlike the Tea Party we need to go beyond the anger and be able to come up with a rational program to move the 99% to act to correct things so we don't keep getting screwed.

[-] 1 points by bella (14) 2 years ago

Follow the blog Sky of Stars. Read this post: The RIght to Better Government http://theskyofstars.blogspot.com/2011/05/right-to-better-government.html

[-] 1 points by AN0NYM0US (640) 2 years ago

Thank you! This is a good point. We are still a democracy. Until we have the full support of the 99% we have no right to demand things yet

[-] 1 points by HMSinnott (123) 2 years ago

You're welcome!!!

[-] 1 points by Oduvanchik (1) 2 years ago

I agree with RoseRed. We are accustomed to so much BS speak, Why not make very clear what we are demanding?

[-] 1 points by andrewpatrick46 (91) from Atlanta, GA 2 years ago

uhhh...We DO have the power to impose our will on Congress and The President, without their consent, that's kind of the idea behind elected REPRESENTATION. They don't have an opinion, their job is to represent our opinion and if we DEMAND something it is THEIR JOB to acquiesce our request.

[-] 1 points by HMSinnott (123) 2 years ago

Yes I know that, but before we get to that point we need to have broad real support among the people of our country. My point was that it might be perceived that we are trying to impose our will on them, and I know that's not true.

[-] 1 points by andrewpatrick46 (91) from Atlanta, GA 2 years ago

I would like to impose my will on these pricks actually. lol.

[-] 1 points by HMSinnott (123) 2 years ago

I know. :-) but we have tp persuade many many other people first.

[-] 1 points by RAWright (35) 2 years ago

Goals is a great idea. Goals can be just as firm and absolute. Demands will scare potential support away. We need to continue open discussion about the problems that brought us all together. We need to critically and unbiasedly analyze what has caused this recession and present adequate solutions to whatever problems we will eventually identify. Does this sound like a plan?

[-] 1 points by HMSinnott (123) 2 years ago

Yews I know some sub threads here are trying to figure out a way to do that, one idea is small groups to go over things and discuss them to come up with cohesive ideas.

[-] 1 points by RAWright (35) 2 years ago

That is what this movement needs and we must be the ones to bring stability to it.

[-] 1 points by HMSinnott (123) 2 years ago

I know. There must be a way to do this, and I've only been doing this for a day and so I feel I need advice on how this should happen.

[-] 1 points by RAWright (35) 2 years ago

You will find it within yourself to be the change you seek in the world. That is all the advice I have. Go and speak rationally with people. We must educate ourselves as unbiasedly as possible if we are to succeed in all this.

Cheers, Richard

[-] 1 points by HMSinnott (123) 2 years ago

Thank you Richard. I will look to do this as I go forward. Howard

[-] 1 points by SIBob (154) from Staten Island, NY 2 years ago

No, demands is the way to go. You cannot start a negotiation in the middle, (like Obama). You have to make the other side meet you half way, or you get no respect. That is how it works. http://sibob.org/wordpress/

[-] 1 points by HMSinnott (123) 2 years ago

You misunderstand I think. I'm not saying you don;t start with a position that we want to go in w/o giving up before you start. I'm just saying we don;'t call them "demands" since it not only has a bad connotation, but also shows a mindset that we seek to impose our will on others without even an effort to discuss or negotiate.

[-] 1 points by SIBob (154) from Staten Island, NY 2 years ago

Either way, we have to go in with something.

[-] 1 points by GammaPoint (400) from Oakland, CA 2 years ago

Agreed. And that's one of the reasons why I think some of the demands, like "instant transition to socialism!" are not necessary unhelpful. It scares the other side into making concessions if they think people are considering much more drastic things.

[-] 1 points by SIBob (154) from Staten Island, NY 2 years ago

That is an excellent point. If guys like Big Bill Haywood of the I.W.W. and Eugene V. Debs of the Socialist Party weren't around during the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, Teddy Roosevelt would have never initiated any of his "progressive" reforms. http://sibob.org/wordpress/

[-] 1 points by HMSinnott (123) 2 years ago

9I'm in Arlington VT by the way don't think it shows in my name. I think the harder part is actually reaching a cohesive point in all this where we are taken seriously.

[-] 1 points by SIBob (154) from Staten Island, NY 2 years ago

If there is perseverance, recognition will have to follow. http://sibob.org/wordpress/

[-] 1 points by GammaPoint (400) from Oakland, CA 2 years ago

Exactly. There is nothing that scares the rich more than a total loss of power that would come with socialism. If they see that some are advocating REAL socialism (rather than "oh I have to pay taxes! That's socialism!") then they might see the need for change.

[-] 1 points by SIBob (154) from Staten Island, NY 2 years ago

If we all don't stand up and make that point, it will not happen. They are not going to willingly give up the privileges they have paid the politicians for. http://sibob.org/wordpress/

[-] 1 points by HMSinnott (123) 2 years ago

In reality, very few people even know the actual definition of "socialism" anyway. That's the pity of it, it's a term to scare those who equate it with top down Soviet style one party rule.

[-] 1 points by GammaPoint (400) from Oakland, CA 2 years ago

Yes, that's definitely true. 99% of Americans don't know what socialism is.

[-] 1 points by HMSinnott (123) 2 years ago

That means if we use that term, it will be used as a way to scare people just like the Tea Party used it inaccurately to scare people. It's a shame, I'm many people in the Tea Party are upset at the same things we are, but misdirected to ally themselves with their oppressors.

[-] 1 points by GammaPoint (400) from Oakland, CA 2 years ago

It is unfortunate. Many of the Tea Party supporters mean well but corporate media (mostly Faux but others as well) have convinced them to incessantly rail against their own interests.

[-] 1 points by HMSinnott (123) 2 years ago

Very true. However in time I see many of them seeing the errors of their ways.

[-] 1 points by GammaPoint (400) from Oakland, CA 2 years ago

Maybe. But being in Vermont probably makes you more optimistic than me, as I go back to Texas on holidays to visit family. It's amazing the types of things that get said in political discussions.

[-] 1 points by LoTek (53) 2 years ago

"We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common Defense, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America."

The preamble is kind of where the idea of the 'common good' is established.

[-] 1 points by HMSinnott (123) 2 years ago

Thanks for that. I read it. Sounds like a novel idea, but one concern I have is that you go through the trouble of electing 870 people to a Third Continental Congress, but your declaration already tells them what they are supposed to enact and how. What's their function then?

[-] 1 points by ms3000 (253) 2 years ago

I think it says the congress will vote on the platform and this is a list of ideas that everyone has been talking about. This is really an action plan with a real timelines to tap into the momentum without it getting violent. The substance will have to be decided by the elected delegates. It would be like the original Continental Congress where they vote on the planks of a platform and make recommendations.

https://sites.google.com/site/the99percentdeclaration/

[-] 1 points by iseeamuse (155) 2 years ago

The declaration, as written, doesn't seem to allow room for the idea of possibly creating a whole new, more equitable system from the ground up. It should, if it's going to be democratic and official. If so, the congress will need much more time for deliberation. And how will the people of Philadelphia/the World provide for the human needs of the delegates?

[-] 1 points by ms3000 (253) 2 years ago

Well the substance of platform (the 20 points) is a sample. What will be decided and voted upon will be up to the 800+ delegates. We don't have time if we are going to impact the election. The elections must be organized and held ASAP and the venue selected. They can then meet for months if they have to so long as they get the platform and list of demands to the candidates before November 2012.

This proposal gives the existing structure one last opportunity to change through the non-violent petitioning of the government under the 1st Amendment. It is a means to an end without bloodshed. If they do nothing and fail to implement the platform and demands within 1 year, they will be called upon to resign and new elections held. That was intended by the 1st Amendment to lawfully and peacefully petition the government.

Tearing down the entire system to replace it with direct participatory democracy over the internet or some other way, will require massive bloodshed and the destruction of the constitution and I will oppose such violence with my life.

https://sites.google.com/site/the99percentdeclaration/

[-] 1 points by iseeamuse (155) 2 years ago

I fear that not going allowing enough time for deliberation, and coming up with a platform that doesn't address the question of "do we amend the system, or make a new one" will factionize our movement after our proposal is implemented.

I think this could turn into an instance of repeating history, when our predecessors jumped into the Articles of Confederation and factionized into Federalists vs Anti-Federalists, almost inciting civil war immediately after our revolution. We need to be able to debate all possibilities.

[-] 1 points by ms3000 (253) 2 years ago

How can a meeting of 870 delegates from July to October possible be worse than what we have? This 99% action plan has been revised and updated to include a Platform for the 2012 Election and a Petition of Grievances as authorized by the First Amendment.

https://sites.google.com/site/the99percentdeclaration/

[-] 1 points by iseeamuse (155) 2 years ago

I'm not saying it's worse than what we have, I'm saying it's a good idea. But planning needs to be done now to implement it. Enough of the national 99% needs to know that there's a vote on delegates going on, or even that there is a convention! I also take issue with the writing of the declaration that it doesn't propose an intent to allow discussion of the question "do we amend the existing system, or create a new one?" That seems to be, to me at least, a more important question than "what are our demands."

[-] 1 points by schnitzlefritz (225) 2 years ago

I'm part of the 99% and I don't think you have the right to make demands on my behalf. I agree that you may have goals and desires, although OWS is doing a lousy job articulating them. And now that the unions and the rest of the usual left wing organizers are moving in, you are quickly losing credibility with me.

[-] 1 points by ms3000 (253) 2 years ago

No one is making demands on your behalf. I am proposing a Third Continental Congress comprised of 870 delegates that you vote for (two from each congressional district) who will create a list of demands and a platform for the 2012 elections. They will vote and present the petition to the government and demand action or their complete resignations, Please read the proposal: https://sites.google.com/site/the99percentdeclaration/

[-] 1 points by HMSinnott (123) 2 years ago

I think that is a challenge that we do not become ideological but instead focus on real concerns and real solutions for real people. I have seen that there is a problem finding focus here, I think it's the fact that this forum is so free-wheeling that it is almost impossible to distill all the thoughts into something cohesive. That's another reason why it is ludicrous to make "demands" , there is nothing concrete to even make any demands at this point, only random thought, but as an excuse, this is certainly a new thing and needs to mature.

[-] 1 points by GammaPoint (400) from Oakland, CA 2 years ago

But demands are appropriate. We seek to gain the power to impose the will of the 99% onto the government (rather than the usual 1%), since this is supposed to be a representative government.

[-] 1 points by HMSinnott (123) 2 years ago

Yes very true, but first we need to make sure that the 99% understand the issues and are really with us, and don;t get frightened or misled by the corporate dominated media

[-] 1 points by GammaPoint (400) from Oakland, CA 2 years ago

Certainly, it's important that we get the rest of the 99% on our side. They will be frightened and misled by corporate media, but we should try to counter that. Weakening our position from 'demands' to 'goals' implies that we have on power, which will make people disinterested since then the goals will seem unattainable. It might also imply that we plan on voting for Democrats or Republicans to fulfill these goals, which is currently not the plan. We intend on forcing the government's existing members to take action and remedy the situation.

[-] 1 points by HMSinnott (123) 2 years ago

The movement needs to find a way to focus and not just float around random free association thoughts. I understand that it is new, and rightfully there is a distrust of authority and leadership, but there must be a disciplined way to reach goals so that we are taken seriously.

[-] 1 points by GammaPoint (400) from Oakland, CA 2 years ago

I agree. Do you have any ideas? (seriously)

[-] 1 points by HMSinnott (123) 2 years ago

Just an idea: If the forum could be categorized at least into general areas, such as political and electoral reform,. corporate reform, tax reform, etc. There are many more I know but that is a partial list.

[-] 1 points by GammaPoint (400) from Oakland, CA 2 years ago

No, that's definitely a good idea, and one that has been suggested numerous times. Some of are thinking about starting up a new forum dedicated to this for this reason.

But in any case, let's say we did have these subforums. They would probably be fairly disorganized still, no? So do you have any ideas as to what we could do from that point to build consensus? The only thing I can think of is discussions in small groups through IRC or at actual Occupancies, but I dunno. Would love to come up with something additional.

[-] 1 points by HMSinnott (123) 2 years ago

Yes I suppose they would become disorganized as well. What's needed, somehow is an objective means of collecting and compiling thoughts in an organized way so that they can be discussed. I'm sure the same thoughts have been expressed numerous times, and novel thoughts have been lost in the shuffle. However anyone doing this must be someone trusted enough so they are not suspected of injecting their own personal bias into the process.

[-] 1 points by GammaPoint (400) from Oakland, CA 2 years ago

For sure. But the problem with compiling ideas and doing some sort of voting on them via the internet is that it's so easily disrupted by those who want the movement to fail.

At the moment, the only thing that I can think of that would work is that if small groups get together, discuss what they think is important, and then they go out and try to convince others that those goals are the most important, and those new people go out, discuss with others, etc. Then at the actual occupations and on the internet these people need to repeatedly demand that that is what their goals are. If they do that then maybe the "goals" of the movement will start becoming naturally defined by those ideas.

...if that makes any sense.

[-] 1 points by HMSinnott (123) 2 years ago

I agree. Small groups are the best way, after all I believe consensus is the best way to go, instead of the centralized, top down methods that have led us to the mess we are in.

[-] 1 points by GammaPoint (400) from Oakland, CA 2 years ago

Great. What do you think the main goals of this movement should be?

[-] 1 points by HMSinnott (123) 2 years ago

First must be economic justice, By that I don't mean that everyone is entitled to equality of result, but instead everyone has the ability to utilize their talents and derive a reasonable return from them. To achieve this, we need a fair, equitable and simple progressive tax system. We also need a mechanism by which wages reflect real value, and that productivity in work is rewarded with increases in compensation. The banking system needs to be decentralized, we cannot tolerate "too big to fail" or more appropriately "So big they dominate." It should be easier for workers who desire to do so to organize for collective bargaining. Ultimately there may need to be a way for a more effective means to regulate large multinational corporations.

Politically, we need to reverse the Citizens United case, get corporate money out of politics, and to end the charade of secret shadowy pseudo organizations funded by 2-3 ultra rich individuals. Beyond that I have more radical ideas on how our nation should be governed, but I think that is not feasible at this time.

[-] 1 points by GammaPoint (400) from Oakland, CA 2 years ago

I would eliminate your thing about "ending the charade of pseudo organizations" since it seems vague and too specific. If money is out of politics then it shouldn't be much of a problem, no? I would also like to see instant runoff voting or something along those lines such that it was no longer a choice of the lesser of two evils, although if money was out of politics that would make the candidates a little less evil. Do you think instant runoff voting could be feasible?

But other than that, I like your list. Do you think pro-union statements are enough of a positive to potentially alienate many conservatives who have been brainwashed into thinking that unions are the root of the nation's problems?

[-] 1 points by HMSinnott (123) 2 years ago

It seems you are right, money out is money out. when I was in the Vermont legislature we had a presentation for instant runoff elections, since our state constitution requires a majority popular vote for election to state wide state office and if it fails it goes to the legislature. Yes I believe it would work, and I also think we should get rid of the electoral college.

I'm sure a pro-union statement might risk alienation. That's where education is needed to overcome the brainwashing that has occurred.

[-] 1 points by GammaPoint (400) from Oakland, CA 2 years ago

Yes, the electoral college should be eliminated.

Do you think in the timeframe of this movement that enough education can be had to overcome the anti-union brainwashing? Many of those who are anti-union are religiously tuned into Faux News and believe whatever it says. I'm not saying it's impossible, just worried about whether that demand will make it impossible for other things to be accepted. Of course in principle I think people should certainly have the right to unionize.

[-] 1 points by HMSinnott (123) 2 years ago

You have a point. We also need to make sure that it's made clear that yes, organized labor is an ally, but we are not an appendage or a front for them, we have broader appeal.

However we must also be careful not to become or be perceived as an elitist group that cannot attract real working people.

[-] 1 points by GammaPoint (400) from Oakland, CA 2 years ago

All fair statements. Thanks for the good discussion.

[-] 1 points by HMSinnott (123) 2 years ago

Same to you. I am grateful to have a way to rationally express my views in a constructive way instead of feeling I have to yell at the TV every night!

[-] 1 points by GammaPoint (400) from Oakland, CA 2 years ago

Hehe, agreed. When citizens feel that for once their views might actually matter or have a chance to be implemented political discourse becomes so much more interesting and important.

[-] 1 points by HMSinnott (123) 2 years ago

For sure. When you mentioned the small groups, did you have an idea how they could be formed and how they can communicate, considering the distances?

[-] 1 points by GammaPoint (400) from Oakland, CA 2 years ago

Well, sort of, but not sure exactly. Of course on the ground in actual occupations small groups could easily be formed during rallies for discussion.

But for those who are more comfortable talking about this stuff on the internet, people could organize into their own IRC channel, google chat rooms, low-grade makeshift forums, G+ hangouts, etc. IRC chat rooms are great for keeping anonymity. Sounds like work, but I guess that's what true democracy and discussion is.