Ten Points for the Occupied Movement

by Jase Short

October 14, 2011

This document was produced in consultation with fellow socialists involved in the Occupy effort here in Nashville. It is based on our observations of problems that have emerged in our organizing efforts in Tennessee. The intent of this is to provide some grounding in our work and to start a broader conversation about how socialists ought to orient themselves to the Occupy movement generally speaking. It is not meant to be an exhaustive list, rather it is meant to be a starting point for helping us orient to these efforts in a constructive and helpful way rather than just being “along for the ride.”

Against Wall Street’s culture of economic exploitation, environmental degradation and human oppression we stand together to testify that another world is possible, a decent and humane world, a democratic world of liberty, dignity and solidarity.

  1. Our main focus ought to be support for the Occupy Wall Street movement with respect for our autonomy balanced by a coordination with other occupy efforts; united our movement will have impact, divided we will dwindle to nothing;
  2. Awareness and respect for the democratic process centered around the General Assembly is of paramount importance; cavalier “cowboy activism” only leads to fragmentation and easy targeting for provocateurs, as well as other forms of repression and misrepresentation (which discredits us);
  3. There is no such thing as “leaderless resistance” or “structureless organization” rather there are always informal leaders and structures in every such effort; we ought to avoid bureaucratized and elitist forms of leadership and organization, but this must be done via making our current structure more organized, transparent, democratic and accountable rather than recycling myths about “structureless”; there is a “tyranny of structurelessness” that must be combated (see this piece, though it comes specifically from a feminist movement source it is applicable to social movement work in general);
  4. Absolute independence from the two parties of Wall Street, their campaigns, their candidates and their agendas is a necessity; this includes independence from their grassroots arms, whether in the form of various Tea Party groups or those of MoveOn; further, we must remain independent of various groups dedicated to forms of social chauvinism (indirectly serving Wall Street’s interests) such as the Oathkeepers, who are attempting to divert our movement to nationalistic, conspiratorial and other forms of dead-end politics;
  5. We must recognize that the corporate media’s imperative to settle on a few demands is a red herring (if it was not that they would use something else to discredit us) but we must begin a process of defining what our demands our; the demands must be structured according to transitional logic in which anti-systemic impulses are built into the demands themselves (i.e. the demands ought to recognize that this is a confrontation and that there are no solutions amenable to both Wall Street and the 99%, the point is not to placate their anger but to strike at their power and thus build our own);
  6. Against all utopian projects and analyses we posit that this is no “spontaneous” effort but rather the culmination of years of micro-struggles and building rage by the vast majority against the transformation of our political and social system into tools to further the power of financial elites; movement-building is our goal and thus we must look at short, medium and long term strategy rather than immediate tactics; we are in this for the long haul;
  7. We must address the problem of privilege within our ranks if we are to avoid the reefs that previous movements in this country have run aground upon; the lesson of the movements of the 1960’s especially is that failure to address racism, sexism, homophobia and other forms of oppression within our movement will destroy us faster than external pressure from the carrots and sticks of Wall Street and its agents; we must a people’s movement and consequently must be more than a sea of white faces;
  8. We must strengthen our resolve in recognition of the fact that this crisis is unlikely to be solved by institutional mechanisms, that it represents a confluence of crises which are all mainly the fault of the dominant institutions of our social order and consequently we must have a democratic awakening of the populace—in the streets, in the home, in the religious sphere, in the workplace and in every major institution;
  9. We must promote and respect the self-organization of oppressed groups within our ranks, such as people of color committees, committees for “safe space,” and so forth;
  10. We must oppose all appeals to nationalism and social chauvinism in whatever form they are presented whether it is “buy America,” “rebuild the American Dream” or “take our country back”; all of these formulations—nationalist/protectionist, white supremacist and populist demagogic, respectively—are dead ends that will alienate masses of people and tend to attract the wrong kind of support.


2 responses to “Ten Points for the Occupied Movement”

  1. Anonymous Avatar

    Nice R.S.. But I don’t think we are done

    11. A property tax on all luxury goods and for capital used in luxury goods manufacturing. Capital used in the production of green energy exempt.
    12. Nationalization of all transportation.
    13. Forced shut down of coal plants.
    14. Getting healthcare enforcement out of the hands of the IRS policy makers, attorneys and revenue officers and putting in the hands of responsible citizen stake-holder committees.
    15. Taxing non-efficient shopping malls so people are forced to shop in high-density neighborhoods from LOCAL businesses and not franchises.

  2. Anonymous Avatar

    Manifesto of the 99%
    We the people are enjoined to form a more perfect union, to establish justice, ensure domestic tranquility, to promote prosperity for all and to secure the blessings of liberty for ourselves and future generations.

    It is up to our generation to restore these values in today’s imbalanced society.

    In the debacle of our present situation, a new paradigm is necessary to renew the foundations of our society. A return to the basics of what makes the United States the greatest engine for prosperity the world has ever known. The country that once beckoned the world toward freedom, democracy and dignity has become the laughing stock of the world. The greed of Wall Street with the support of our Government has become the millstone around the neck of our nation. The moneyed elite of our society has changed from being apart of the team that built an economy that raised the lives of all men with ample profits for themselves to a Gambler, who only wants to keep score through the accumulation of money, ever screaming for more profits for themselves at the expense of the people they pretend to serve. The greatest expansion of wealth has always come from the growth of the middle class. More job growth comes from businesses of less then 20 employees than any other segment of the economy. The 99% of the population that controls only a small portion of the nation’s wealth contributes the majority of the cash and all of the energy that drives the economy. The middle class historically spends every dollar they have which is reinvested over and over again each and every day in wages, goods and services driving the economy to prosperity. Accumulated wealth that is only used to keep score, yet produce nothing has become the bane of the nation. Controlling the government, media, and financial institutions through the consolidation of wealth has given reign over the majority to a powerful few who no longer have a moral compass to share with those who have given freely from the fruits of their labor.

    Be It Mandated:
    1.Abolish Wall Streets ability to gamble with our money and to be Too Big to Fail
    2.Abolish all Lobby’s
    3.Abolish all Campaign Contributions
    4.A 90% flat tax on Businesses that are not invested in companies that produce goods or services but are Profiteering from Money Scams
    5.Re-establish the Fairness Doctrine to Media
    6.Remove the burden of Medical Care and Pensions from Business and hand it over to our Government
    7.Free Universal Education both Universities and Vocational, to be repaid by 2 years in an AmeriCorps, Peace Corps, or the Military
    8.Rebuild our Infrastructure
    9.All Buildings to be Carbon Neutral by 2050
    10.All Vehicles to be electric or have a minimum gas mileage of 250 miles to a gallon by 2050

    R.S. Mills