Occupy Wallstreet Demands?

Currently, there are thousands of people amassed downtown in New York, as part of the Occupy Wallstreet movement/protest.  All over the country, supporting marches/protests/movements have erupted- from Boston to Los Angeles, San Francisco to Indiana, Maine to Florida.  It has moved international with events happening in London, Prague, Cork, and even in Slovenia.

Hundreds of people have been arrested, if not thousands at this point. I am moved by the visibility to issues of bank reform, financial desperation of the people, and anti-big-government bailouts/tax breaks being brought to the attention of the world.

However, I am concerned.  I am concerned because from what I have found so far, there is no *point* to this movement.

Don’t get me wrong- visibility is important.  But it’s visible now… and now what?

On the NYC General Assembly for the #OccupyWallStreet movement, there is a statement that:

Through a direct democratic process, we have come together as individuals and crafted these principles of solidarity, which are points of unity that include but are not limited to:

  • Engaging in direct and transparent participatory democracy;
  • Exercising personal and collective responsibility;
  • Recognizing individuals’ inherent privilege and the influence it has on all interactions;
  • Empowering one another against all forms of oppression;
  • Redefining how labor is valued;
  • The sanctity of individual privacy;
  • The belief that education is human right; and
  • Endeavoring to practice and support wide application of open source.

We are daring to imagine a new socio-political and economic alternative that offers greater possibility of equality.  We are consolidating the other proposed principles of solidarity, after which demands will follow.

Is it just me, or is this really, well, vague?  I feel my concerns are best summed up by “Tannubyky”:

…To “stand together to say we are tired of the greed and corruption” isn’t enough. This is supposed to be a NVDA protest. Non-violent Direct Action… Where is the action? It’s not easy to find for those who aren’t already involved. However, if you delve into it, watch the livestreams talk to the people involved do some research into the 1% and democracy, capitalism, tax allocations etc. etc. it soon becomes apparent that we do need to come together to solve this problem. THAT is what this is about…

Yes!  So what is the action?  What are the demands?  What is the point?

I would be DELIGHTED if O could see some actual proposals on the table.  Reform… okay, in what form?  To re-form, we must, well, form back into something, right?

Some banks themselves have called for bank reform ideas, such as the IBC in Scotland.  Back in JANUARY of 2010, Obama asked to seek reforms of the system, but there has been little movement- in many cases from what I have heard due to, well, no fresh ideas on the board.  I recall in March, listening to NPR (can’t find link, anyone?) when they interviewed the team trying to create a new oversight committee to oversee the banking system.  The lead of the team was deeply frustrated, because when they put the call out looking for members of said oversight committee, or proposals of names of who could be on it, the only names that came up were, get this, members of boards of directors for the major banks in the US.  The team lead was so frustrated- no one else seemed to want the job.

If the proposal is complete reform of the currency system and moving from big government to local government, such as moving to the alternative currencies already at play in the USA, its an interesting idea.  If the proposal is that we give the money currently being given in tax breaks to multi-nationals to the average person, its an interesting idea as well.  If the goal is to create an anarchist state free of any form of government or financial systems whatsoever… I have serious concerns.  I flash back to a lover of mine who had a sticker on his car during the 2004 elections that said “Bush in 2004, because the fall of the system is not coming fast enough” or some such thing.

I am not an anarchist.  I see major flaws in the US system of government and financial oversight.  I see major flaws in the corporate bodies that fill the skyline at Times Square and the NY Stock Exchange… but I want to see ideas.  Proposals.  Movements with a point.

Where are they?

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Lee Harrington

Lee Harrington is an internationally known sexuality, relationships, and personal authenticity educator. Having taught in all 50 states and in 6 countries, he brings a combination of playful engagement and thoughtful academic dialogue to a broad audience. An award-winning author and editor on gender, sexual, and sacred experience, his books include “Traversing Gender: Understanding Transgender Journeys,” and "Sacred Kink: The Eightfold Paths of BDSM and Beyond," among many other titles. He has been blogging online since 1998, and been teaching worldwide since 2001. Welcome to his world, and your chance to expand your mind and heart alike.

6 Comments:

  1. Wendy Blackheart

    I’d love to know myself – I understand the desire to protest, and to fight the way things are. My own experiences have been reflected in that of the protestors. But I don’t see any suggested actions or ideas being talked about yet. It seems like people all want change, but we don’t know what change we want or need. Its been nearly two weeks, but there doesn’t seem to be a strong focus or leader yet, which might be helpful. I almost want to say there is no substance – it a great venting of anger and frustration, and the joining together of the rest of us, the 99%, but there seems to be little focus at the moment.

  2. My understanding of the movement’s position(s) is this:
    One faction says: we will make specific demands, we just haven’t agreed on them yet.
    The other says: we do not intend to make specific demands because to do so would be to implicitly acknowledge that any slightly modified version of Wall Street would be acceptable. To us there is no possible surface modification (or even moderate modification) that Wall Street companies could make which would satisfy us. We want the entire system that Wall Street is part of to cease to exist. This is not a protest with the goal of specific changes, this is a protest to raise a spectacle. This protest is for the people who are sitting on their couches watching tv. The purpose of this protest is to enervate them and then maybe they will realize that what is happening (inequality, crony capitalism, influence of money on politics etc) is something worth getting outraged about.

    More here: http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/ezra-klein/post/youre-creating-a-vision-of-the-sort-of-society-you-want-to-have-in-miniature/2011/08/25/gIQAXVg7HL_blog.html
    And here: http://politics.salon.com/2011/09/29/at_occupy_wall_street/singleton/

  3. Fantastic article on US v World media awareness of #occupywallstreet http://ow.ly/6NQyX

    From James of England:
    My understanding of the movement’s position(s) is this:
    One faction says: we will make specific demands, we just haven’t agreed on them yet.
    The other says: we do not intend to make specific demands because to do so would be to implicitly acknowledge that any slightly modified version of Wall Street would be acceptable. To us there is no possible surface modification (or even moderate modification) that Wall Street companies could make which would satisfy us. We want the entire system that Wall Street is part of to cease to exist. This is not a protest with the goal of specific changes, this is a protest to raise a spectacle. This protest is for the people who are sitting on their couches watching tv. The purpose of this protest is to enervate them and then maybe they will realize that what is happening (inequality, crony capitalism, influence of money on politics etc) is something worth getting outraged about.

    More here: http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/ezra-klein/post/youre-creating-a-vision-of-the-sort-of-society-you-want-to-have-in-miniature/2011/08/25/gIQAXVg7HL_blog.html
    And here: http://politics.salon.com/2011/09/29/at_occupy_wall_street/singleton/

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