When I first found out about Occupy and joined, I was hoping to make a difference and some change for the better.
The longer I stay, the more disillusioned I've become. We're focused on a million issues. Sketchy people are all over the place. 9-11 Truthers are rampant. Nobody seems to really know what to actually do to stop anything bad, our direct actions suck. Hartford has one Sunday outside a fundraiser for Paul Ryan, the best idea we came up with was standing 3/4ths a mile away holding signs for people to see zipping up and down the mountain at 50-60 mph.
I got a letter from the town Democratic committee. I think we need to Occupy that. Nobody in CT Occupy wants to touch Linda McMahon, even though she stands against everything we're for. We're pretending to be non-partisan and I don't know why. The right mostly hates us, and we're mostly left of the Dems if not outright anarchist. And then there's Black Bloc which just Quacks everything up.
Post by kikosanchez on Sept 27, 2012 17:01:07 GMT -5
^^ I'm highly unqualified to speak on Occupy's activities in general, but I do have experience with a similar group in college - the Progressive Student Alliance. During my term with them, they were highly focused on protests and disseminating information. Ok, nothing wrong with that. But when I brought up practical solutions such as speaking to the budget council and presenting them with an alternate budget to support a living wage for the university's employees, they hadn't even started down that road whatsoever. A lot of talk, very little working with the administration and coming up with real solutions.
So my advice would be to focus on local elections and to get congressman voted in that support your cause. Run fundraisers for consumer protections lobbyists (?). At some point, the movement has to have a solution or a charismatic leader that can vocalize central points of the movement to the general public. There's a good reason occupy has done little in its time, few everyday people know what it's about, it's too decentralized on principles and concerns. It's truly a clusterquack of interests.
Must watch for anyone with any sort of political interest. Bill Moyers did a really good show this week on ALEC and the type of stuff they're pulling across the country - especially in places like Tennessee, Wisconsin, Arizona, North Carolina, and other Republican dominated states.
Wish I had more time to give my thoughts in relation to LD's recent posts.
Long story short: All the torches & pitchforks outside don't matter if the castle is impenetrable.
Obvious, perhaps, but important to reiterate is something the political science student hears several times along the way in regards to the motivations of elected officials: Goal #1 is getting reelected.
With that in mind, I hope everyone took the time to look into the Bill Moyers ALEC report LD linked to in Reply #436.
You suggest that Occupy should take over the Democratic party. A lot of Occupiers distrust both parties, see Obama as Romney Lite and whoring himself out to the same bidders - Goldman Sachs, JP Morgan, Monsanto, etc...
How do you get past that? How are Occupiers to believe that the Democrats will actually take us seriously and let us help change the system?
As I said above, electeds' goal number one is reelection. We wouldn't have the term "lame duck" if that weren't the case.
You've mentioned, and I think this is an exact quote, "our direct actions suck." I'm saying if you've got the people and the purpose, you could redirect that.
Look at the Tea Party. No, seriously. Yeah, I know where their backing comes from. There's plenty in there to provide a blueprint for other aims, though.
Look what they did. It was originally in opposition to a particular policy. (Yes, it got hijacked by monied interests soon after, but remember it started with a specific populist grievance.) They focused on state capitols. They dominated those town hall meetings in 2009 and had the effect of watering down the Affordable Care Act from what it could've been. They ran primary candidates further from the center within an established party, and they volunteered for their own when they were on the ballot. I know it wasn't good for the country, but look at what they did for themselves over the past 2-3 years - by more conventional means.
Now imagine what would have happened if Occupy had followed those tactics since its inception. I think there might have been different results.
It's a fight against money in politics, right? You can't have a battle on different fields. The money's in the politics. So where do you need to go? We're not playing offense unless we're on their turf.
If I may drop some #lyricspam into this... About however since our forefathers came on this land, we've been coddling those we should be running through Please don't wait around for them to come and shake hands, they're not gonna be waiting for you
I'd argue that the Tea Party was set up by monied interests, and not hijacked. That had way too much establishment from the getgo. And there's also evidence which shows the Tea Party was being formed months before that tirade at the Chicago board. After Obama got elected but before his inaguration.
I asked a few fellow Occupiers about your comments and what they thought of it.
Me: Someone I know suggested Occupy take over the Democratic party in order to get its agenda done. That it's ripe for the taking and we should use it like the Tea Party took Republicans.
Friend 1: i thought that was your idea for a second. i was so concerned
Friend 2: Because it won't work. The Democratic machine is too powerful.
Did you give any details as to the source? Curious. Also curious as to how you replied to the "Democratic machine is too powerful" comment.
If the Democratic establishment machine is so powerful it can't be taken on and lose, then please explain to me why Hillary Clinton never had her "inevitable" coronation and we have Obama as president instead?
The Democratic Party of Wisconsin didn't take the lead on our 2011 recalls. That was primarily a bunch of angry teachers with clipboards and petitions filed from outside the party. The party didn't hop on board until they showed enough momentum as to be successful.
Same thing, to a lesser extent, to the Walker recall. That was a partnership between DPW and United Wisconsin, an outside group formed in the wake of Walker's budget bill which was going to do it with or without the Dems. They went about collecting 200K "pledge to sign to recall Walker" signatures before one could legally be filed.
In both of those cases, the Dems didn't act until they were outflanked and there was too much momentum to ignore... and that was done through working within, not outside of, the system.
That goes for the senate recall we started against the GOP majority leader in my district, too. We were a third rail they didn't want to touch more than any of the other state senate recalls. We didn't have funding, we didn't have approval, we didn't have support for 90+% of that effort. We got an inbox in the county Dems office, and "export volunteers" from outside the district for the final three days of signature collection. We needed just shy of 17K signatures to force that one, and we gathered over 20K.
I was the secretary of the committee which filed that unsanctioned fourth state senate recall. It has been suggested to me that, had we not done that, we would not have occupied the senate majority leader during the other recalls concurrent to Walker... and consequently, we may not have regained a one-vote majority in the state senate in another district had we not undertaken that effort.
They won't move if you don't push them. I'm just saying you need to push them on their turf if you expect them to do anything. I'm not necessarily saying you have to Occupy the Democratic Party, but to do something through more institutional means. That's how you get their attention.
The way our electoral system is currently designed with winner-take-all districts, there is a natural consequence that this will only leave you with two viable political parties. (See: Duverger's Law.) The fact of the matter is, third parties are not the way to go. Sorry, but that's the way it is - and this is coming from an unrepentant Nader2K voter, mind you.
So... do you allow the Bipartisan Party continue to do what they do inside the system while you're shouting at them from the outside... or do you get in there and push one of the parties to be better?
There aren't so many other options outside of what I'm suggesting, are there? Third-party efforts? Futile in the current electoral system - it's putting the cart before the horse in my eyes. Outright revolution? Against the American military in the Patriot Act, NDAA etc era? Good luck. (On a personal note, I oppose this because if things ever go Lord Of The Flies around here, I'm Piggy.)
What else is there?
Those two alternatives I just suggested are a path of futility and/or going to get you crushed. I know taking baby steps can be frustrating, but it's better than continued gridlock. Incrementalism can be a pain in the ass, but it's better than nothing.
I'd rather purge an existing party, make it better and stronger, than be ignored by it. Is there really another choice?
Glad to hear that. Loved seeing Wal-Mart employees are taking action, even though in a lot of instances currently it's a non-union employees' group. Also speaking as a former employee... God, that place sucks to work.
The Republican party will most likely have to rebuild if Romney loses and they can't retake the Senate.
I am a supporter of third parties. I think within 10-20 years, one might actually put a run on the big two right now - or there is a party which splits apart. If there is no split, I could see the Ron Paul fanboys and all the money they have pick off some Republicans and create a significant rise in the Libertarian Party. I personally like the Green Party, but I don't know how far they can go.
The other option is a super rich and bored individual who wants to make a run for the White House. Think Trump or Bloomberg, something in the line of Ross Perot in 92.
Curious... You say you support third parties... You say it's unlikely to be your preferred Greens... Then you say it's more likely to come from the Paul branch of the GOP, or perhaps a wealthy individual like Trump or Bloomberg - Republicans both... Even Perot, perhaps more an independent than either of them, has endorsed Romney...
Exactly how is the third party approach going to work to benefit aims similar to Occupy's, then? How is that *not* the exercise in futility as I earlier described it?
It's a long term project, that is for sure. The hope is that there is enough of a grassroots progressive moment which gets widespread disgust towards the mainstream parties and runs towards a candidate in a third party which can achieve good success. You see independent candidates succeeding in some parts of the country, such as Lincoln Chaffee, Angus King, and Bernie Sanders. The question is how do you get that nationwide, and in a candidate which isn't going to sell out to the highest bidders.
Most Occupiers don't trust the Democratic party - as the establishment is beholden to Wall St. and K St. - different companies and industries than ones which support Republicans mostly, but still bad. Look at some of Obama's advisors and administration picks. Former Bush era holdovers, former lobbyists or corporate lawyers, investment bank executives. You and I both know what is there.
The Democratic party talks the talk, but then walks with Goldman Sachs and Monsanto among others. There's still drone strikes in Yemen and Pakistan, Gitmo is still open, Wall St. still runs wild and unchecked, the too big to fail banks weren't broken up, the FDA director used to be aligned with Monsanto. Homeland Security under supervision of the White House persecutes and prosecutes Occupy while those responsible for the 2008 financial crisis remain free. Obama passed the NDAA, which includes a section authorizing the indefinite detainment of anyone (even Americans) for any reason at any time.
We need trust in Democrats, that they will do what the people really want and actually follow through with it. Not just listen to us, play some motions, and then throw us in jail for a few hours for the trouble.