Does protesting work? Do we need a full on revolution or can we reform the system? What positive things can be done to improve things? Does everything need to fall apart before it gets better? Share your thoughts and ideas here!
How can we create real and lasting change?
Declaration of the Occupation of New York City
This document was accepted by the NYC General Assembly on september 29, 2011
As we gather together in solidarity to express a feeling of mass injustice, we must not lose sight of what brought us together. We write so that all people who feel wronged by the corporate forces of the world can know that we are your allies.
As one people, united, we acknowledge the reality: that the future of the human race requires the cooperation of its members; that our system must protect our rights, and upon corruption of that system, it is up to the individuals to protect their own rights, and those of their neighbors; that a democratic government derives its just power from the people, but corporations do not seek consent to extract wealth from the people and the Earth; and that no true democracy is attainable when the process is determined by economic power. We come to you at a time when corporations, which place profit over people, self-interest over justice, and oppression over equality, run our governments. We have peaceably assembled here, as is our right, to let these facts be known.
They have taken our houses through an illegal foreclosure process, despite not having the original mortgage.
They have taken bailouts from taxpayers with impunity, and continue to give Executives exorbitant bonuses.
They have perpetuated inequality and discrimination in the workplace based on age, the color of one’s skin, sex, gender identity and sexual orientation.
They have poisoned the food supply through negligence, and undermined the farming system through monopolization.
They have profited off of the torture, confinement, and cruel treatment of countless animals, and actively hide these practices.
They have continuously sought to strip employees of the right to negotiate for better pay and safer working conditions.
They have held students hostage with tens of thousands of dollars of debt on education, which is itself a human right.
They have consistently outsourced labor and used that outsourcing as leverage to cut workers’ healthcare and pay.
They have influenced the courts to achieve the same rights as people, with none of the culpability or responsibility.
They have spent millions of dollars on legal teams that look for ways to get them out of contracts in regards to health insurance.
They have sold our privacy as a commodity.
They have used the military and police force to prevent freedom of the press. They have deliberately declined to recall faulty products endangering lives in pursuit of profit.
They determine economic policy, despite the catastrophic failures their policies have produced and continue to produce.
They have donated large sums of money to politicians, who are responsible for regulating them.
They continue to block alternate forms of energy to keep us dependent on oil.
They continue to block generic forms of medicine that could save people’s lives or provide relief in order to protect investments that have already turned a substantial profit.
They have purposely covered up oil spills, accidents, faulty bookkeeping, and inactive ingredients in pursuit of profit.
They purposefully keep people misinformed and fearful through their control of the media.
They have accepted private contracts to murder prisoners even when presented with serious doubts about their guilt.
They have perpetuated colonialism at home and abroad. They have participated in the torture and murder of innocent civilians overseas.
They continue to create weapons of mass destruction in order to receive government contracts. *
To the people of the world,
We, the New York City General Assembly occupying Wall Street in Liberty Square, urge you to assert your power.
Exercise your right to peaceably assemble; occupy public space; create a process to address the problems we face, and generate solutions accessible to everyone.
To all communities that take action and form groups in the spirit of direct democracy, we offer support, documentation, and all of the resources at our disposal.
Join us and make your voices heard!
*These grievances are not all-inclusive.
A full on revolution should not be considered unless we are already wayyyyy over the edge of the abyss. We haven't fallen over yet.
What positive things can be done? Well, enforcing the laws already on the books instead of writing new ones to open loopholes that are being closed would be a start. Prosecutions for fraud and arguably more serious charges including racketeering would go a long way to restoring confidence in a corrupted system. Prison time for those convicted? You bet, but possibly on a reduced sentence commensurate with a monitored and measured level of cooperation in undoing/repairing the damages caused.
If everything falls apart then there will be no other place to go but get better. Unfortunately the chaos and anarchy which will probably accompany such a fall out will set back and delay any self sustaining recovery.
Those responsible must be held to account and for them to realize their error they must be prosecuted and as a condition of leniency must work to undo what they've done. And that includes eliminating many laws/policies enacted post 9/11.
This is a good unbiased article.
.....nothing but trash reporting.
will be the only way to pump the cesspool out of Washington. Wars never declared as the Constitution mandates are waged.........No one held accountable. Those responsible for the mess of 08-09......No one went to jail.
This pig just keeps rolling on, eyes wide shut. Laws broken by those that make the law does not count............Until Washington is either completely cleared out or plowed up to plant corn, no amount of change needed will ever occur.
For that reason, I want the collapse. As things stand , there is no other way. Yet I know that if it happens the same will have their backs covered to live on better than most.........it's a double edged sword, pick a side, both will cut you.
I think I agree with you that it will take a collapse in order to get any type of change to the status quo. Why do you think everyone is so quick to poke holes in the few people that are trying to bring change to the system via OWS?
Is everyone so brainwashed at this point that the moment they see somebody remotely involved that they disagree with they automatically tune out? I thought that the beauty of not having a clear leader or message is that nobody can highjack the cause (see the Tea Party). Yeah you may get some wingnuts involved, but why can't people look past that and see the big picture?
Maybe I am just naive?
I see a group with good intentions that are questioning $ and politics. Are they the model protestors? No, but at the start they seldom are.
The system itself is the problem. Reforming the system will only change the form of the problem, rather than solve anything.
Working hard, paying taxes, and being obedient? Check. Result: nothing changed.
Participating in election to vote for one who claims to stand for reform? Check. Result: nothing changed.
Calling and faxing senators and house to protest TARP, bailouts, and frauds? Check. Result: ignored by senators and house members.
Nothing is heard by our government but money and protests. I'd say, bring on the protests and the revolution. All passive ways have been tried and none worked.
The reason for our elites not willing to change is this: they do not see anything wrong with their action. Read this from ZeroHedge poster AldousHuxley:
The good news—and the bad news—for America is that the nation’s own super-elite is rapidly adjusting to this more global perspective. The U.S.-based CEO of one of the world’s largest hedge funds told me that his firm’s investment committee often discusses the question of who wins and who loses in today’s economy. In a recent internal debate, he said, one of his senior colleagues had argued that the hollowing-out of the American middle class didn’t really matter. “His point was that if the transformation of the world economy lifts four people in China and India out of poverty and into the middle class, and meanwhile means one American drops out of the middle class, that’s not such a bad trade,” the CEO recalled.
I heard a similar sentiment from the Taiwanese-born, 30-something CFO of a U.S. Internet company. A gentle, unpretentious man who went from public school to Harvard, he’s nonetheless not terribly sympathetic to the complaints of the American middle class. “We demand a higher paycheck than the rest of the world,” he told me. “So if you’re going to demand 10 times the paycheck, you need to deliver 10 times the value. It sounds harsh, but maybe people in the middle class need to decide to take a pay cut.”…
When I asked one of Wall Street’s most successful investment-bank CEOs if he felt guilty for his firm’s role in creating the financial crisis, he told me with evident sincerity that he did not. The real culprit, he explained, was his feckless cousin, who owned three cars and a home he could not afford. One of America’s top hedge-fund managers made a near-identical case to me—though this time the offenders were his in-laws and their subprime mortgage.
And a private-equity baron who divides his time between New York and Palm Beach pinned blame for the collapse on a favorite golf caddy in Arizona, who had bought three condos as investment properties at the height of the bubble. It is this not-our-fault mentality that accounts for the plutocrats’ profound sense of victimization in the Obama era…
Yet many of America’s financial giants consider themselves under siege from the Obama administration—in some cases almost literally. Last summer, for example, Blackstone’s Schwarzman caused an uproar when he said an Obama proposal to raise taxes on private-equity-firm compensation—by treating “carried interest” as ordinary income—was “like when Hitler invaded Poland in 1939.”….
A Wall Street investor who is a passionate Democrat recounted to me his bitter exchange with a Democratic leader in Congress who is involved in the tax-reform effort. “Screw you,” he told the lawmaker. “Even if you change the legislation, the government won’t get a single penny more from me in taxes. I’ll put my money into my foundation and spend it on good causes. My money isn’t going to be wasted in your deficit sinkhole.”
The system only exists because we use a medium for the exchange of energy...
Goods, services, etc... all come down to energy that shared among people....
Why dont we just share with each other? Well...because of fear....
Fear of getting ripped off...fear of not having enough....and distrust of one another...
We necessitated this system....by giving away our power.....so that some other entity could regulate exchange....
Freedom comes when we no longer look at each other with distrust...when we see each other as family...when come together as one human race....
All this starts with grass roots movements that build community
In the end it all comes down to community...local or global..
Protesting can bring attention to itself and therefore attention to the discontent. (whatever that may be)
Creating change is a different beast.
Protesting can morph into positive change, civil rights and the Tea party are two notable American examples that morphed into forces strong enough to exert enough pressure.
Both of those movements were grass roots and peaceful, dedicated to non-violence.
I don't know of any violent protest movements which resulted in long term change for the positive. Disruptive change just isn't conducive to a united front, and the steadfast determinism that is necessary to think through the responsibilities and sacrifices that are required.
Violent and disruptive elements are about exercising power. They're not about positive change or they wouldn't be disruptive in the first place. Many people that WANT positive change are caught up in the excitement of a disruptive protest. They'd like to think the solution could be that simple, but it's not, they are being used.
Generally no, most protests don't affect positive change.
The people, accepting responsibility to be the change they desire.
If you want the 'government' to help poor people, skip the government and help the poor people.
If you want to bring the bankers to heel, create your own bank, or find one that operates on sound principles.
If you want to bring the government to heel, create your candidates and support them.
These methods require personal time and patience and effort to affect change. And a change of mindset from "someone else is the problem", to "I will take personal responsibility and act in accordance with my beliefs".
That is what Marx meant by "useful idiots", it's easy to get people stirred up by things they don't like, then whoever stirred them up, takes advantage of the disruption to take control. ie Arab Spring = Caliphate
The wall street protestors are doomed to failure unless they can copy the example of the civil rights movement and the Tea party and assume personal responsibility.
If that's too tough for them, they'll fail.