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Reich writes: "Occupy served an important purpose, but lacking these essentials it couldn't do more."

Portrait, Robert Reich, 08/16/09. (photo: Perian Flaherty)
Portrait, Robert Reich, 08/16/09. (photo: Perian Flaherty)


Happy Birthday Occupy

By Robert Reich, Robert Reich's Blog

15 September 13

 

wo years ago the "Occupy" movement roared into view, summoning the energies and attention of large numbers of people who felt the economic system had got out of whack and were determined to do something about it.

Occupy put the issue of the nation's savage inequality on the front pages, and focused America's attention on what that inequality was doing to our democracy. To that extent, it was a stirring success.

But Occupy eschewed political organization, discipline, and strategy. It wanted to remain outside politics, and outside any hierarchical structure that might begin to replicate the hierarchies of American society it was opposing.

So when mayors, other public officials, and university administrators cleared the Occupy encampments by force - encampments that had become the symbol of the movement - nothing seemed to remain behind. Some Occupiers made plans for further actions, but a movement without structure, discipline, and strategy proved incapable of sustaining itself.

All major social-change movements in American history that widened opportunity and made this a more just society - women's suffrage, the labor union movement, the civil rights movement, the anti Vietnam War movement, the environmental movement, the gay rights movement - have depended, to some extent, on leaders who helped guide them, and decision-making structures that provided discipline and strategy for those who joined.

These movements could sustain themselves over many years, sometimes many decades, because they consciously maintained hope on the basis of small but concrete victories, built their numbers by choosing their battles carefully, and kept their eyes on the big prizes. They educated the public about what was at stake, and then used public pressure to push elected representatives.

Occupy served an important purpose, but lacking these essentials it couldn't do more. Inequality is worse now than it was then, and our democracy in as much if not more peril. So what's the next step?


 

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+20 # jwb110 2013-09-15 11:29
The missed opportunity for OWS was to leave the camps, drop the placards and become urban gorillas. Those sheer numbers just flooding the sidewalks of Wall Street would have served the purpose of slowing down people getting to work, etc. And as far as I can tell, at least this week, it isn't a crime to walk the streets in NYC.
 
 
+1 # robcarter.vn 2013-09-15 21:51
Pitty yes: as you say "All major social-change movements in American history that widened opportunity and made this a more just society:-
1/ women's suffrage,"
RC: Annie Arniel (1873–1924) - Silent Sentinels, arrested eight times in direct actions.
2/ labor union, The decline in unionization since WWII in the United States has been associated with a pronounced rise in income and wealth inequality.
3/ civil rights, MLK Asassinated.
4/ anti Vietnam War movement, Garson was active in the protest movement against corporate globalization and the protests in advance of the Iraq War. She survived the Capitalist War Machine attempts at silencing her, and was in attendance at Zuccotti Park during the Occupy Wall Street protests in 2011. Still the Vet's returned to hiostile public & No tickertape recognition till now a mobile wall to their dead starts.
5/ environmental, Is dying on it's haunches as Obama Fracks USA and Exell pipes away spilling poisons.
6/ GBLT rights, Perhaps will survive but many states religious objections are killing laws faster than USA can write them.
 
 
+3 # dkonstruction 2013-09-16 08:40
Quoting jwb110:
The missed opportunity for OWS was to leave the camps, drop the placards and become urban gorillas. Those sheer numbers just flooding the sidewalks of Wall Street would have served the purpose of slowing down people getting to work, etc. And as far as I can tell, at least this week, it isn't a crime to walk the streets in NYC.


The missed opportunity was to fetishize ultimately small and meaningless pieces of land instead of focusing on how to build real organization and alternative institutions and developing concrete "demands" and programs. How does slowing down people getting to work dismantle the military industrial complex? How does it build alternative economic institutions based on worker-owned, democratically governed businesses? How does it develop truly publicly-owned financial institutions that collect all tax dollars and invest them for public purposes instead of handing them over to wall street hedge fund managers? How does it address the control and use of the hundreds of billions (if not trillions) of dollars in public pension funds (which are also given over to private money managers instead of being in the hands of the workers whose monies they are and invested in things like developing affordable housing for its members and other working people for example).
 
 
+3 # RobertMStahl 2013-09-15 12:40
To see into the eyes of a man, please see interview by Occupy Media (and thumb up)
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YP6voXiFISY&feature=youtu.be

and, this short piece,
http://everything-pr.com/barrett-brown-gagged-by-the-cyber-intelligence-complex/245829/#.UjNNxdIw2iD
 
 
+15 # Skeptical1247 2013-09-15 13:00
I have become hugely disappointed in Occupy, whose energy and determination held so much promise for making a necessary difference in the US. I was SO proud of them. And then.. it all evaporated, having produced nothing more than an apparent vindication of the 1%-er assessment of them being an unruly mob.

I get the group reluctance to have a typical hierarchical structure, i.e. "leader", hero, spokesman, and ultimately... "shit magnet" for the movement. I feel that US citizens have been so "socially conditioned" into an addiction to larger-than-lif e, and thus doomed to failure, "heroes" or "saviors". The Presidency of the US is the prime example of the addiction manifesting itself. I think many of us thought we were electing that hero who could make a difference all by his widdle self and lead us out of the swamp of plutocracy.

What we were in reality electing was a"Head Cheerleader" to espouse a vision for the future of the nation. And then harsh reality asserted itself. Our Congress is an abomination, but the existence of a Congress was to put in place a "Council of Elders", private citizens of high moral and ethical standing, of intelligence, to guide our "Tribe" into the future. ((hysterical laughter ensues)

But Occupy seemed to fall into a trap of distrust and despair preventing them from organizing anything other than toilet facilities. No Council of Elders was formed, no organization ensued, no "platform" written...zip.
 
 
+7 # Kathymoi 2013-09-15 15:15
I am eternally grateful to the OWS groups who brought attention to the pressing issues of our times that are ignored by our major media outlets. One of the most striking accomplishments of the OWS groups was to be so big and so important and to have such a clear and significant message and to be consistently ignored by the major media. The treatment of the media of the Occupy movement made the purpose and power of the consolidated media quite apparent. OWS has served us as a beacon and OWS facebook continues to identify issues.
However, you couldn't be more right about us needing now to get involved in creating change in a more organized way. One thing that I think is essential is that we --the people--identif y a group of at least one hundred people that we think together could bring the knowledge of different areas of public concern, the energy, and the competence to represent us--the people--in the position of president of the United States. Of course, one person's name would have to be on the ballot because we have not amended our constitution to allow a group to run for office. But the truth is that a group is the executive branch. There is the cabinet, the staff, advisors, researchers. We need to know who all of these people and we need to recognize them all. And we need to also select and campaign (inexpensively) for and then elect from among ourselves people to fill all the positions in government. No reliance on political parties. all independents.
 
 
+5 # WestWinds 2013-09-16 05:42
The first thing we need to do, Kathy, is cut off the head of the snake. There are too many issues to drown in; I can't think of any system in our country that isn't corrupt. We need to define critical items and go after them, like campaign finance reform (that has teeth in it), a Constitutional Amendment banning corporate personhood, fair and clean elections, and some method of immediately removing from office anyone who lies to us about who and what they are. All of the other issues will straighten out after we get the basics in place. We need to cut off the head of the snake first.
 
 
+14 # Capn Canard 2013-09-15 18:39
very weak... things don't change until the people become aware of them. OWS did their part and now it is your responsibility. So stop your crying and get to work.
 
 
+7 # WestWinds 2013-09-16 05:33
Because OWS was so effective and was getting results on more than one stage, I believe it was targeted by the Right for infiltration and being taken down from the inside.

I belonged to an Occupy cell and we had a defacto leader who eventually turned everyone off so they went home and never came back.

Real OWS people even came in from Tampa to help straighten things out and get our rather large group going again, but this person had grabbed off the job of leader and was in no way going to cooperate with the generous folks from Tampa who gave up their days to come out for us.

This person, this self-appointed leader was rude to our Tampa guests and marginalized them in the extreme and ended up screaming at them until they too left.

I really believe it was no accident our cell went south and if OWS were to rise up again, then I would say we did need real leaders, trained to the movement who could keep shills from coming in and taking over. We'd need some kind of badge system to identify real trained leader and organizers from the wannabes.
 
 
+20 # mblockhart 2013-09-15 13:09
Though almost all the problems they addressed could ONLY be solved in the political realm, OWS refused to go political even when many of its supporters were advising them to so do. They should have occupied the Democratic Party where they had significant support, like the tea bags have occupied the Republican Party.
 
 
+10 # Kathymoi 2013-09-15 15:23
No. Forget the democrat party and the republican party, both of which depend heavily on the same billionaires to fund their showy conventions, their million dollar campaigns for a career politician who is under the thumb of the party. What we need is the people to get involved in creating a representative government. I have really come to understand that government of the people means NOT GOVERNMENT OF THE POLITICIANS AND THEIR BIGGEST DONORS. It means government of people who are not politicians, who bring expertise in their own field and not expertise in politics, and who bring honesty and open communication. People who represent people, who are for people instead of being for the billionaires who can fund the huge political machines that political parties are. WE need independents, people that we know from our communities; people that we know from their work in a non-political field; people we can trust. We need people who are not billionaires. We need campaigns that do not cost millions. We dont' need a convention. We don't need tv commercials. we don't even need radio commercials. We can expect opposition from these media to be fierce, and we need to see them for what they are. We can. We need to do the work.
 
 
+11 # modernjacobin 2013-09-15 17:41
Thanks for saying this--I don't know how i missed your post. In fact, last year at the Left Forum, Michael Moore made a similar comment on the need for more people running for office. He is right.

I am freaking fed up with being screwed by our Tweedledee and TweedleDUMB Dems and Repugs, kissing up to the big bankster Cheshire FATCAT in the tree. (The same FATCAT that takes copious dumps on the 99% from time to time while we have to scoop it up!) Also FED UP with our so-called "best and brightest" asshats from their overrated, overpriced universities running--aka RUINING--this nation. (Yeah, if you're so *bright*, how did you screw it up so royally?) Not to mention pols from both parties who:

1. complain about how $350,000 is POVERTY in NYC and other cities; no new taxes necessary.

2. tell all of us to tighten our belts while THEIR WIVES buy boatloads of $1000 designer belts. And have a matching pair of shoes for every overrated, overpriced designer dress. (Goes with their overrated, overpriced university!)

3. SHUT schools in already underserved minority areas (while, of course, sending their own BRATS to private school. Ask Rahm and Michael Bloomberg.)

4. Cheat on their taxes--and get second chances! (Ask Turbo Tim.)

5. Allow college loan rates to go up because THEIR 1% BRATS will not need loans.

6. Ignore health care. They already have best
 
 
+7 # WestWinds 2013-09-16 05:49
I think a real problem is K Street. From what I've heard, these lobbyists show up in a representatives office and tell them, "Play ball or we'll drown you in attack ads." And they have and have been very successful; look at what happened to Alan Grayson in FL.

We need to raze K Street and make a law that anyone who has worked in the government cannot be a lobbyist for five to ten years after the fact. But most of all we need to get rid of the lobbyists; they never represent us, only big industry and private interests.
 
 
0 # Cassandra2012 2013-09-16 12:32
[quote name="Kathymoi"]
???"Democrat" party?
 
 
+6 # Capn Canard 2013-09-15 18:44
Your fixation with the old ideal of vertical political structure is a dead end. We need to, at the very least, create a new political structure that is lateral and horizontal. Like the way OWS was structured. It was a good model and it worked better than expected until the powerful shut them down.
 
 
-1 # GravityWave 2013-09-16 10:02
Right on.
 
 
+10 # Skeptical1247 2013-09-15 13:22
NEST STEP: What could have and should have occurred was the recognition that everybody's various and sundry complaints and interests or issues had a single source... the 1%, the Banking Cartel and the Fortune 400 CEO's.

Acknowledging that there exists literally hundreds of organizations addressing special issues like environmental concerns, social justice concerns, labor unions and political concerns, which are all battling that same entity, but doing it as little un-related fiefdoms, this could have borne some fruit. A coalition of collective effort could have happened, and still NEEDS to happen if this nation is to return to some sanity and usefulness to its citizens.

Truthfully, we have everything we need to accomplish this. What is required is a Rallying Point, a political platform or manifesto (don't like the connotations of that word, but it is accurate) which people can relate to and "buy-off" on rather than a hero. Truthfully, we have hundreds of heroes available to us, P. Krugman, R. Reich, C. Hedges, N. Klein, B. Sanders, W. Black, E. Warren for examples. Now if We the People could only get our shit together just a little tiny bit. We could collectively make a difference in our lives and in our nation.
 
 
+6 # Kathymoi 2013-09-15 15:31
Oh I like what you are saying, but I disagree wholeheartedly about needing a political party to do this. I think we need non politicians--pe ople like Chris Hedges, Noam Chomsky, Bill Moyers, and no doubt people in your community who are working in your community in one of the areas of public concern that you mentioned. There are thousands of such people across the United States. And we need to identify people with expertise and integrity in their field who we would like to represent us in our government. In my community we have a leader in the effort to label gmo's. I would like to have him be an advisor to the president, the governmor, or on the FDA or the EPA. WE have an organic dairy farmer with a phd in soil science who I would like to see on the EPA or in any government position. No one person is capable of running the United States and it is time we the people stopped pretending that our president does it all. We need to identify a large group of people (not politicians) who together can bring the integrity, intelligence and knowledge to competently take the executive branch. We have to trust non politicians. And I'm sure that we can do a better job than politicians. But it means getting involved and not waiting for a political party to tell us what our choices are.
 
 
+3 # WestWinds 2013-09-16 06:11
The problem with this non-party idea is that Washington is full of lawyers, lawyers who know the system and know the law. It is pretty difficult to go up against them when they have been taught how to take an argument apart, how to fight and how to win.

The average person is going to have to be pretty experienced and pretty savvy to keep up with them because they are an arrogant group and if you are an outsider; non-lawyer, they will gang up on you and take you apart just for the sport of it; absolutely don't expect them to be kind or fair; they are out to win.

This idea of just average people is sweet and nice, but not very practical given the state this country is in. There would have to be other forms of leverage to make this idea work.

The other thing is that you keep saying no politicians, well, how long in office does it take for an "average person" to become a politician and learn how the game is played and play it that way? And as soon as they do, K Street and their backers then own the non-politician and he/she is their dancing puppet.

I think we have to look beyond just the mere people. We need to change the system (Constitutional Amendment, etc.,).
 
 
+3 # WestWinds 2013-09-16 06:02
I agree with you, Skeptical1247; divided we aren't going to get any traction. And I highly encourage people to look at the Green Party. They have made tremendous strides in a short amount of time and their platform addresses everything we have been talking about. OWS should have occupied the Green Party and put more and more people into it. It's not owned by the corporations; and doesn't accept corporate donations of any kind. If you don't care for the people running for office from that party, then newer members should step up to the plate and let us have primaries within that party.
I'm serious, have a look at the GP platform; you may be very pleasantly surprised.
 
 
+2 # modernjacobin 2013-09-16 09:15
I actually voted for Jill Stein last year, after being fed up with one failed promise after another.

The idea of the "lesser of two evils" is getting to be a very tired excuse--and it's precisely why the Dems have taken so many of us for granted. Just this morning I read about Obama being annoyed about people "pestering" him to appoint Janet Yellen as Fed Chief now that his fave boy, Summers, has dropped out. Doesn't that say a lot that his priorities are NOT ours? Ditto 99% of the pols--with perhaps a handful of exceptions like Grayson, Sanders, Warren, probably Murphy, etc.

Ironically, the anti-slavery Repub party of the 1850s is evidence that progress comes mostly from outside the established channels and parties: Repubs were already an offshoot from the Free Soil party. And if anyone examines the history of enfranchisement in England, it's also clear that the initial steps made toward progress were concerted by groups of reformers (e.g., London Corresponding Society, Society for Constitutional Information, Chartists) or 3rd parties like the radicals.
 
 
+23 # Vegan_Girl 2013-09-15 13:43
Occupy is not dead, it is just dormant.

I was part of the Occupy movement and I loved every minute of it. Those who were there remember that amazing joy that was being part of Occupy.

I am still here and still unhappy with the injustice and self-destructio n of this corrupt system. I am just waiting for the next protest. And I feel that all the other people who took part of Occupy are just waiting.

We are not going to go anywhere and I trust that our dysfunctional government will do something so bad as to piss off enough people again. The 1% knows they are sitting on a powder-cake that is devastation, injustice, and crushing hopelessness for millions of people. Where are we going to go?
 
 
+11 # Kathymoi 2013-09-15 15:39
The 1% are completely prepared for a huge mass protest. They have built the prisons and they have the tanks and door to door search mechanisms in place. --What we need to do is to stop waiting. We absolutely can not wait for any of the political parties that get on the ballots to offer us candidates for office who will represent the interests of the 99%. The political parties rely 100% on the donations of the 1%. Career politicians rely on being able to do favors for the big donors in order to continue to get the big donations. No member of a political party can afford to work against the interests of the 1%. Their party, the media, and their donors would all eschew them and that would be the end of their career. We need independents whom we, the people, identify from among ourselves as people we know and we trust. We don't need politicians in our government. We need representatives of the people to be "of the people". The politicians have given the public the impression that it is not possible for people to be in government; it would be too hard for them, too complicated. --Wait. A government of the people means that the people make up the government. If it were not so, wouldn't our constitution say, "a government of the politicians". We can't wait for the parties to tell us what our choices are. We need to define our candidates and elect them on our own resources. Forget television and conventions.
 
 
+1 # WestWinds 2013-09-16 06:17
>>>We need to define our candidates and elect them on our own resources. Forget television and conventions.
 
 
+7 # Kathymoi 2013-09-15 15:49
I love Occupy. And now the same people who had the wisdom to see that the foundations of our government and our society are so out of alignment with what we, the 99%, all cherish as "the values of our country" need to come together and identify people that we can trust to represent the 99% in our government. It is time to stop protesting the position of our corporate leaders and their representatives in our government and waiting for them to act in our interests instead of their own. It is time we the 99% came together in our communities and identified people we know who have integrity, intelligence, expertise in a significant area of public concern (one area is enough) and that we convince such people to run as independents for all the offices of our government, local, state, and national. We need a group of at least 100 people to come together and agree to run for the executive branch of our national government: president, vp, advisors, cabinet, aides, researchers, spokespeople. It's time to admit that no one person can run this country or has the expertise in all areas to do so. We need to be our government, and this is what I think a government of the people means. Do not believe that politicians are more capable or qualified to run our government than the people are. Not true. We need to get the politicians out and the people in so we can have a government of the people.
 
 
+2 # WestWinds 2013-09-16 06:23
>>>It is time we the 99% came together in our communities and identified people we know who have integrity, intelligence, expertise in a significant area of public concern (one area is enough) and that we convince such people to run as independents for all the offices of our government, local, state, and national.
 
 
+8 # modernjacobin 2013-09-15 16:58
Amen! I have nothing but admiration for all of those who stepped into the arena and woke up our nation. It may not be our US Spring but it could well be start of one. After all, that's how the Sons of Liberty got started. How much more can we ask for?

I am personally more of a writer than an activist so I write for Occupy.com every now and then on history and literary topics and enjoy every minute of it too! Granted, even there I am not in the limelight with up-to-date events, but my mission is to clear away the crap on some of the most progressive events, thinkers, writers, and actors in history: i.e., all the great people who knew that without the 99%, the 1% are NOTHING. The ones who knew that without protest, we get nowhere.

Ask Thomas Paine. Ask Oscar Wilde. Ask Theodore Dreiser. Or ask Marilyn Monroe! They all knew that the 1% felt all literally and figuratively entitled to lord it over others. That only stupid 99%ers vote against their own interests. That without Utopia, we get nowhere. That it's the individual, not the corporation that counts. THAT WE WANT A GOVERNMENT FOR ALL THE PEOPLE! (Caps courtesy of a very pissed-off Dreiser writing in 1931.)
 
 
+3 # DPM 2013-09-15 22:38
We are still here in Traverse City, MI. Small, but hanging on. Join us. We need more people.
 
 
+15 # darthvadersmom 2013-09-15 14:47
Hey You Guys! This IS Occupy. Occupy isn't just a bunch of us in tents and stopping up traffic. We are media, we are teachers, we are fast food workers. We are still occupying. And it's STILL "Our Street!" but far, far more.
 
 
+2 # maggie_zhou 2013-09-15 15:41
Robert Reich is full of propaganda for the Democratic establishment, always peddling the tired message of the "liberal" faction of the elites. They sell us their messages with about 30% truth + 70% misdirection.

He wants us to continue the tried and failed path of only pursuing "small but concrete victories", "choose our battles carefully", and to direct "public pressure to push elected representatives ". In other words, don't point out the systemic, root causes of all the interconnected problems, keep working on single issues as separate movements, seek small reforms and celebrate them as victories, and don't call for anything more radical than pressuring elected officials.

The elites have been funding so called social movement NGOs through their "philanthropic" foundations for many decades, to mislead us in this direction that doesn't fundamentally threaten their status quo, but serves as pressure valves and provides false hope for the masses. Check out http://wrongkindofgreen.org/ for many excellent posts exposing the non-profit industrial-acad emic complex.
 
 
+2 # dkonstruction 2013-09-16 08:28
Quoting maggie_zhou:


The elites have been funding so called social movement NGOs through their "philanthropic" foundations for many decades, to mislead us in this direction that doesn't fundamentally threaten their status quo, but serves as pressure valves and provides false hope for the masses. Check out http://wrongkindofgreen.org/ for many excellent posts exposing the non-profit industrial-academic complex.


Thanks Maggie for your very thoughtful post and for raising the critical issue of the role of non-profits.

As someone who has worked for housing non-profits for the past 20+ years I completely agree with your take. For example, when the housing/foreclo sure crisis first hit I was screaming that we should be organizing homeowners to fight back collectively against the banks and not simply "helping" homeowners one by one as this would mean that 9 times out of 10 the banks would win and this is just what happened. But, since all the housing non-profits were getting their "foreclosure prevention" money from the very same banks and federal gov't that was doing the foreclosing none wanted to truly take them on and "bite the hand that feeds." This is a huge problem that virtually no one is addressing.

Long past time to be talking about the role of the non-profits (whether it's in this country or in Haiti or in African e.g., the Gates Foundation support for GMO crops/seeds) and how we can deal with this problem.
 
 
+4 # walt 2013-09-15 15:54
Occupy needs to reorganize and return in force without the mandate to camp out. That seemed to be the cause of the break-up.

One promise they made was to set goals for those elected in 2012 and follow them to ensure they did as asked. If not, they were going to form a new party.

I'd say it's time to resume and look at that new party. The two existing ones are listening more to lobbies than the people.
 
 
+1 # treadlightly 2013-09-15 15:55
Vanessa Veselka has described the next step in her book "Zazen".
Part of it at least.
If nothing else she presents the situation we now have in an escalated form.
I'm not sure if the solutions she offers are capable of bringing
about the neccessary changes but they are entertaining and food for thought.
 
 
+8 # basilissa 2013-09-15 16:09
Robert -- check out the many Occupy-inspired foreclosure resistance groups around the country, as well as the Rolling Jubilee, which has retired millions of dollars of medical debt. Occupy is not dead!
 
 
+4 # Phil Osborn 2013-09-15 16:55
The point of Occupy was & is to expose what was going wrong, stuff that people knew one way or another, but never got to see in a compiled, focused, transparent and open place that could not be automatically ignored...

Here's a link to the original post the above came from: https://www.facebook.com/willard.osborn/posts/10151695407034370
 
 
+4 # modernjacobin 2013-09-15 18:17
I've enjoyed reading everyone's posts here. I'm not just fed up with our parties, but also mainstream media telling us that Occupy hasn't gotten anywhere. Hey, when MSNBC and even the WSJ are agreeing with OWS from time to time, you know the truth is getting out there! When some are reluctantly agreeing that higher taxes are necessary and CEO compensation is a joke, there indeed has been CHANGE.

But for the most part, mainstream banking, corporate, political, and media asshats who pride themselves on graduating from their institutions for the "best and brightest" have pretended they know everything about history. So they spout nonsense about Occupy having no direction, no leadership. Etc.

I'm calling out the BS here. Yes, Occupy does seem slow to effect the desired change. But if you've studied history, you know movements take time to percolate, not just 2 years.

It took pissed-off American colonists at least a decade to declare independence. It took at least 20 years before the Fall of the Bastille when wealthy intellectuals, pamphleteers, and the people frustrated with bread prices said we won't take this anymore! And it took a good 20-40 years of lobbying for the abolition of slavery in the UK and US. (Incidentally, the Repug party was itself an offshoot of the Free Soil party, the Green party of the 1850s.) The fact that all managed to push successfully with little or late interference of mainstream pols says a lot.
 
 
+3 # Joy Arnold 2013-09-15 18:22
Hopefully Occupy folks are participating in the regional Peoples' Assemblies occurring around the country (next one at the Highlander Center this coming weekend), in preparation for the US Social Forum planned for 2014.
 
 
+4 # tom paine devotee 2013-09-15 19:30
We have one way to take back our country, by election. We have no way of knowing how many more times we will be allowed to vote. Make the 2014 elections count. Don't vote for any incumbent and then only for independents no democrats or republicans. We will get an entirely new house of representatives and 1/3 of a new senate. That ought to scare the 2/3 s of the senate to clean up their act.
 
 
+2 # robcarter.vn 2013-09-15 20:59
Yes "Occupy put the issue of the nation's savage inequality on the front pages, and focused America's attention on what that inequality was doing to our democracy. To that extent, it was a stirring success."

Snowden did the same with NSA exposure, Chelsea did it with USA War crimes.

RSN and Common Dreams does it daily on many subjects.

But USA DEMOCRACY HAS FAILED ALREADY" Citizen's United and a GOP Supreme Court, a Vetoed UNSC and ICJ. So America is a dead loss now, if they can't export their strife by GMO, TPP, or other trickery they can't win this round the American Century is long gone.
 
 
+1 # Global Canadian 2013-09-16 00:46
Politics and people to lead, yes. Political parties, no. Policies to better the world, yes. No to policies passed only in order to seek re-election. No to celebrities yes to real heroes like those mentioned above. Parties everywhere polarise and project. If no one could blame the other party, perhaps they would see what the real obstacles are - together. So, yeah, these are radical changes to existing framework, completely different politics. Who will champion it? Where is Nader? Klein? all the others who have the raw material and name recognition.... .and then, we must all VOTE for INDEPENDENT CANDIDATES!!!!S ometimes the changes needed just seem so huge.........
 
 
+2 # equality4peace 2013-09-16 00:55
Have you heard about this weekends attempt to form a new Cooperative Bank? Google it.
Started by those within and in sympathy with the Occupy movement as well as the 98%.
This is the best news I've heard for freedom and Democracy.
Let's all get busy on forming cooperatives for what we need as
well as electing non-politicians.
Carol
www.goldenrulefamily.org
 
 
+3 # dkonstruction 2013-09-16 07:30
Reich writes:

"All major social-change movements in American history that widened opportunity and made this a more just society - women's suffrage, the labor union movement, the civil rights movement, the anti Vietnam War movement, the environmental movement, the gay rights movement - have depended, to some extent, on leaders who helped guide them, and decision-making structures that provided discipline and strategy for those who joined."

What's missing here is that these movements also had concrete demands and programs. In one of the Occupy encampments there was a "demands" group that was looked down on (at best) by "Occupy Central") and worse there were those actively working to disrupt and derail it.

Many of the Occupy encampments also came to fetishize small and ultimately meaningless pieces of land instead of working to build a sustainable organization that could develop concrete demands around which further organizing and movement building could occur.

There was/is much that is great about Occupy but we don't need more mindless cheerleading and fetishizing support for activism for activisms sake. We need concrete demands, programs, organizations and building alternative institutions that push for the dismantling of the military industrial complex and transition to a peace-based economy and the development of worker-owned cooperative businesses and publicly owned and controlled financial institutions to begin with.
 
 
+1 # equality4peace 2013-09-16 08:43
So well said, have you heard about the alternative cooperative banking systems, now in the process?
One is suppose to formally begin today. Cooperatives seem to be the best way to go, to take back much of our freedoms.

Carol,
equality4peace@yahoo.com
 
 
+1 # dkonstruction 2013-09-16 11:15
Quoting equality4peace:
So well said, have you heard about the alternative cooperative banking systems, now in the process?
One is suppose to formally begin today. Cooperatives seem to be the best way to go, to take back much of our freedoms.

Carol,
equality4peace@yahoo.com


Hi Carol, Yes I have heard about it though not a lot of details and was a bit confused at first as to how they will get (if they are going for it) official financial institution status as there are a lot of barriers) or how these will differ from say cooperative credit unions. I am also a big supporter of creating genuinely publicly owned banks (along the lines of the State Bank of North Dakota) and think we need to add organize around creating these types of publicly owned banks into which all public monies (tax dollars) and public employee pension funds are deposited and then reinvested in "public purposes" (like creating affordable housing) instead of turning this money over to private wall street money managers. Let's get "our" money out of the private banking system and then they can gamble with their own money all they want instead of deluding ourselves that we will ever be able to "regulate" them such that they actually "behave" and don't present a threat to the rest of us for being "too big to fail."
 
 
0 # Edwina 2013-09-16 09:12
Yes, Occupy served the purpose of bringing people together to protest government/corp orate/banking actions, but was not strong enough to take on a powerful state. As I understand it, they have taken on more modest goals like fighting forclosures and building community organizations. Decades of corporate assault on unions and low-wage workers resulted in the labor movement being too weak to effectively act to protect ordinary citizens. Now we must begin again, and build peoples' institutions from the ground up. There seem to be some signs of change: more progressives being elected, in spite of the money being spent by corporate interests; civil rights and labor organizations embracing immigrant and student debt movements. It's been slow, but Americans are beginning to recognize themselves as the 99% that has been shafted by our current form of capitalism.
 
 
+3 # GravityWave 2013-09-16 10:32
We need to have a few billionaires of our own. A number have been vocal in support. We need them to support a central cell that can organize. That is bring in the port-a-potties, water trucks, medics on call, Like the wonderful people who did all this for the March on Washington.
I think AMerica is getting to the point it will show up for such organized marches.
We also need some of the projects others have mentioned here-simple slogans if you will.
And we need advisors who can meet the press, like Chris Hedges, who knows you need to occupy the streets and the monuments and the State houses, etc., an old hand.
We need a person to face off with our police forces and help them realize they are part of the 99%.
Where are our Vets when we need to make strategy?

I think it is all coming. But we all must help it along. You are all great. Start to make the next steps. We *have* to do this.
 

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