#OccupyWallStreet – Demands


The MSM continues to ridicule #OWS for not having a specific list of demands. The absence of demands, and consequent absence of a divide-and-conquer target, that’s driving the media into such a tizzy is not specifically a “tactic”, but, as far as I can tell, is a byproduct of the radical democratic process being practiced by the General Assemblies (nicely described by Matt Stoller).

Here is the closest thing I’ve found to an “official” statement on demands from The Occupied Wall Street Journal, a paper published and distributed by #OWS:

What are the demands of the protesters?

Ugh—the zillion-dollar question. Again, the original Adbusters call asked, “What is our one demand?” Technically, there isn’t one yet. In the weeks leading up to September 17, the NYC General Assembly seemed to be veering away from the language of “demands” in the first place, largely because government institutions are already so shot through with corporate money that making specific demands would be pointless until the movement grew stronger politically. Instead, to begin with, they opted to make their demand the occupation itself—and the direct democracy taking place there—which in turn may or may not come up with some specific demand. When you think about it, this act is actually a pretty powerful statement against the corruption that Wall Street has come to represent. But since thinking is often too much to ask of the American mass media, the question of demands has turned into a massive PR challenge.

The General Assembly is currently in the midst of determining how it will come to consensus about unifying demands. It’s a really messy and interesting discussion. But don’t hold your breath.

So it appears #OWS is specifically addressing the anger of the majority of Americans at the power, arrogance, and lack of accountability enjoyed by the coterie of the richest 1%, and the marginalization, disempowerment, and impoverishment of the remaining 99%–and doing it in a way that is “horizontal, autonomous, leaderless, modified-consensus-based”, which most people–let alone members of the political class–find it almost impossible to wrap their heads around.

When I visited Zuccotti Park today, there were some very tense cops trying to keep everyone within the bounds of the metal pens they had set up, but the park is just too small for the number of people occupying it. A second Manhattan General Assembly was scheduled to meet in Washington Square Park this afternoon; I wonder how Mayor Bloomberg will deal with the growth.

He’s obviously expecting the onset of winter to disperse the crowds without police action, but if the “contagion” (as our pundits called the Arab occupations of public spaces) spreads, there will be more demand for him to take forceful action, even if he feels otherwise. What I find interesting about Bloomberg is that he’s a One Percenter with tremendous overt political power, who also owns and controls a massive media machine.

As I stood inside, the park was surrounded by gawkers and tourists slowly filing by. The cops were telling the passers-by, “Take your pictures and move on, there are other people behind you”. Now #OWS seems to be a tourist spot somewhat more popular than the new World Trade Center, two blocks due north.

14 responses to “#OccupyWallStreet – Demands

  1. OWS coming to Canada.

    I peeled this comment off the comments section on cbc.ca. I hope the movement spreads successfully to Canada as we are never far from the direction you guys take down there.

    “Those on the streets around Wall St. are the physical embodiment of hope.

    They know that hope has a cost, that it is not easy or comfortable, that it requires self-sacrifice and discomfort and finally faith.

    But as long as they remain steadfast they point the way out of the corporate labyrinth. This is what it means to be alive. They are the best among us.

    Christopher Hedges


  2. doing it in a way that is “horizontal, autonomous, leaderless, modified-consensus-based”, which most people–let alone members of the political class–find it almost impossible to wrap their heads around.

    Not at all. They are modelling the Tea Party as far as their organization is concerned.

    The MSM continues to ridicule #OWS for not having a specific list of demands.

    To be fair, this isn’t isolated to the MSM. All of the nation is mocking these stinky hippies.*

    As each day passes, we see why these folks are not part of the 1%. They have no point. As you mention, they have no goal or specific list of objectives. Rather, they are massing and protesting, for as near as I can tell, just ’cause. And while fun for an afternoon or even a few days, “just ’cause” doesn’t get it done when an organization needs to get something accomplished.

    * Disclaimer. I, myself, am a hippie.


  3. I believe they will get more organized.
    This ain’t goin’ away, hippies or not.
    Hippies helped in the Viet Nam war, no small feat.
    Leaders will emerge, and the complaints are pretty obvious.
    A handful of super-wealthy people brought down the world economy, made billions off the ensuing suffering, and made sure it was all legal through purchasing the government (long ago).
    They want democracy, not the corrupt system we have now.
    They want their vote to count, not corporate money.

    “just ‘cause” hasn’t been stated by any of the protestors as the reason they are there. There are plenty of protestors carrying signs saying why, and they gladly tell any media why.


  4. I notice the media narrative – and the GOP narrative of course – is focused on the New York protests and on the minority who are actually ‘occupying’. And, as with the Tea Party, they train their cameras and their scorn on the fringes and those who provide the most entertainment. They willfully ignore the thousands, the tens of thousands (or perhaps hundreds of htousands) marching accross the country.


  5. Pingback: #OWS – Principled Action Against Corportist Rule « Dead Wild Roses

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s