An open space for global conversation
Occupy Cafe is launching a systematic inquiry into the evolution of the #Occupy movement.
NOTE: This discussion was part of "Round 1" of our inquiry and is now closed. Our conversation continues with our "Round 2" thread here. And help us harvest more from this round here.
The questions below were taken up during a Cafe Call on 11/15. Participants in that call, as well as subsequent readers of this thread, posted their reflections here and then continued the conversation.
We are now pausing for a "harvesting phase," where we "listen together" and reflect on what has been said. There is a discussion thread in our "Harvesting" group here, where we can share what we have gleaned. Please join us in this collective meaning-making process.
Below is the post that initiated this conversation:
I first heard the term "Occupy 2.0" from Walt Roberts a couple of days ago, as he anticipated the dismantling of Occupy Portland where he has been active. Occupy Cafe is launching an inquiry starting today into the question of what this might look like. We plan to collectively craft a vision, or set of visions for the future of this movement as an offering of support to all those who have fought so hard thus far.
To all those brave souls in the encampments: you have already succeeding in radically changing the dialogue in this country and around the world and our thanks and gratitude and admiration go out to you. What might be possible now?
We begin with this inquiry:
- What are the most positive things you have experienced emerging from Occupy 1.0?
- What are the dilemmas/opportunities in the current situation of the Occupy Movement?
- What question, if answered, might make the greatest difference in the development of an effective response to the clearing of so many #Occupy sites?
Replies are closed for this discussion.
Question 1: Energy, the 99 concept, the beginnings of a self-organizing system.
Question 2: Why should well over half of the 99 put up with OWS's angry and/or starry-eyed liberal bias? This focuses us on what divides the 99. Exactly what the 1% would want. Would there have been evictions if 85% of Americans agreed with the demands? Or even knew what they were?
Question 3: How do we find consensus between conservatives, independents, and liberals for a 99 movement that unites us to share better the inordinate power the 1% hoards?
There are brainstorming platforms for the 99, but unfortunately they are "groupthink" models. Conservatives are not in the room in any significant way. www.aGREATER.US removes that bias, but it requires work. Image, though, if every year the 99 could force three pieces of legislation through Congress. What would the US look like in a decade?
What if there were omnibus election reform? More people and party's leadership could rise up. What if there were an infrastructure bank whose funds were administered efficiently by the States? There would be more jobs and pride in our communities. What if there were an comprehensive energy policy that cared for the environment but also created jobs and kept energy prices affordable? The economy would thrive.
But those are just my three choices. I ask the 99, what are yours? We're connected, let's see what we can agree upon.
Thank you John. This is an incredibly important post. We know that many conservatives are resistant to government programs, so how can we develop independent programs and initiatives (whether supported or organized by government or not) that are effective and can accomplish the same thing as government programs, while at the same time engaging in conversations across the political divide about how both business and government have important contributions to make and also can provide dis-services at the same time; and what to do about this.
These are the types of conversations and community planning/legislative development processes that we need to develop rather than railing against each other in the comments section in response to various articles. It is crazy that our political representatives draft and negotiate legislation behind closed doors rather than engaging the people in crafting legislation that we can all be happy with. We have to insist that a new way of developing legislative proposals is developed and adopted, so that the proposed legislation will be a slam dunk rather than a partisan contest.
I have discovered recently that the legislative process is much more transparent and accessible than I had realized. Of course it doesn't let us in the back room discussions and "executive sessions" but it is pretty easy these days to see what our own (any) representatives are up to, how they voted on specific issues. Also the websites each congressperson or senator has includes recent press releases which are really very useful in getting a "fix" on the alignment between one's own values and those of our reps.
Also very easy now to get a full copy of a resolution or draft legislation at the same moment a comittee gets it.
If we all took up the habit of using the resources available already to track what our reps are doing and using the easy contact options at these web sites to comment on what we find, what we observe, what we see., who knows what we might accomplish.
Not that it couldn't be even better ( I'd love to be able to drop in on hearings or listen to or give testimony via skype or equivalent..I'd love it if it were possible to enter a key word like "commercial fishing" and pull up all bill referred to committee or active on the floor witha plain english summary and clear contact info...lots of things)
But I must say..it is more transparent than I imagined.
Could even be a good way of letting our reps know we are watching..all of us..every single one scanning what's going on and sending emails to our reps. Who knows what that might do?
Your second question is one that I often talk about in my home group, but eyes immediately glaze over. No one wants to go that deep.
There IS a way to reach consensus. Just condense the many issues to the most common denominator and deal with only that issue. All the rest of the issues are symptoms.
What is the common denominator? Our voices aren’t being heard. Our own government has devalued us.
How to fix that in America? Go back to the point where it broke.
When a water main breaks, we fix the break so that everyone can have water. We don’t ignore the break and start rationing water – with some receiving greater allotments than others based on a notion that we can all be equal but only for so long as some are more equal than others.
The core problem is that government is broken, and we have been dealing with it by rationing power based on the same notion - that we can all be equal as long as some are always more equal than others.
When did government break? We happen to know that – as do the vast majority of our congress.
It cracked in one Supreme Court decision (Marbury v. Madison). That is when the Federalist Supreme Court assumed an unconstitutional power called “Judicial Review”. The court did not have the power to determine the constitutionality of legislation – and the Constitution gave Congress the right to determine the role of the Supreme Court.
The Federalists were thrilled with this unconstitutional decision and used silence to allow it to continue. They could then use the courts to protect themselves from the wrath of voters. The Anti-Federalists were furious. Thomas Jefferson said that such a system is certain to lead to tyranny by an oligarchy. He was right, as the Citizens United decision proves.
The main break came a few years later in a decision called “Mc Culloch v. Maryland”. The break was enormous and power was immediately reserved for the few.
Mc Culloch v. Maryland dealt with the unconstitutional establishment of a national bank. In the constitutional convention, the idea was brought to the floor but was soundly rejected because it would threaten the very existence of a sound government. In fact, it was agreed that government would not have the power to establish ANY national charters. Madison, who was president at the time, had agreed with this sentiment, but it was Madison who now wanted a national bank.
The bank was opened in Maryland and Maryland sued based on the 10th Amendment.
The 10th Amendment says that government shall have no power unless granted it by the constitution. The court – still assuming unconstitutional powers, said that because the amendment didn’t use the word “specifically”, it was not a limit on government powers, as all believed that the Bill of Rights was intended to be. It said that it is an unlimited expansion of government powers. Among other things, it said:
Congress MUST have every power unless specifically denied it by the Constitution. Even then, it must be able to assume specifically denied powers if those powers are implied or appropriate under the necessary powers clause.
Government is not required to honor the constitution. It is only a guideline or a series of suggestions that government should strive to meet whenever possible – a position that the courts and all branches of government maintain today.
This overturned the Constitutional Republic that so many fought and died for. In its place, the court instituted British Common Law. With the Constitution no longer the “Law of the Land” – as the text of the constitution says it is – the new constitution is an unwritten one. It is a series of laws and judicial precedents. So when you hear your congressional representative talking about the constitution – understand that they are not talking about the Constitution of the United States of America – which is a written document. England, and other countries, refer to their constitutions – but they have no written documents. They refer to a series of laws and judicial precedents. (called British Common Law)
Government is no longer a Constitutional Republic, but rather a system of checks and balances (with the court being the ultimate authority and legislator).
The court actually said that the people should never be consulted on small matters like this because they will make proper governance impossible. It basically threw out Article V that is the people’s assurance that they have a voice in their government. Article V describes the amendment process. Today, congress gets to decide whether a peoples’ amendment is part of the constitution or not – even if 100% of the people vote for it.
States are not sovereign. Up until that moment they were – having demanded that as a condition of ratification. This is proven by the articles of ratification of the constitution drawn up by VA, NY, MA, CT, RI, and NH. These states gave themselves the right to secede if the government didn’t live up to the bargain and propose a Bill of Rights that ALL states wanted. The court said that there could be no “conditional” ratification. If they didn’t want to join the union, they didn’t have to, but now that they are part of it, they cannot claim sovereignty. This coalesced power that was reserved for the few, and turned servants of the people into a system that made them kings among kings. It made the people a collective that is today more than 330,000,000 large. Working on local levels is nearly impossible. One voice out of 330,000,000 is pretty hard to hear.
Government had every right to establish a national bank. Because of fractionalizing, that allows a bank to lend 1,000 for every 100 in deposits, we now have a Ponzi scheme as an economic model. There are always more loans in existence than there is currency to pay them. This system is numerically guaranteed to fail if the economy stops growing – which helps explain our ongoing wars. War is so good for the economy because it increases GDP. We now have a war-based economy. Jefferson talked about this happening when he said of the national banks, “That we are overdone with banking institutions … that these have withdrawn capital from useful improvements and employments to nourish idleness, that the wars of the world have swollen our commerce beyond the wholesome limits of exchanging our own productions for our own wants, and that, for the emolument of a small proportion of our society who prefer these demoralizing pursuits to labors useful to the whole, the peace of the whole is endangered and all our present difficulties produced, are evils more easily to be deplored than remedied.”. He also said, “I believe that banking institutions are more dangerous to our liberties than standing armies. If the American people ever allow private banks to control the issue of their currency, first by inflation, then by deflation, the banks and corporations that will grow up around them [the banks] will deprive the people of all property until their children wake-up homeless on the continent their fathers conquered. The issuing power should be taken from the banks and restored to the people, to whom it properly belongs.” How right he was.
This is the point that the flow of power began flowing to the Robber Barons. Goldman Sachs is the latest version of a robber baron. It is when monied interests began bribing officials and when congress said that a bribe is really a campaign donation.
This decision (Mc Culloch v. Maryland) was a formal coup d’etat. The American people who lost their government of, by, and for the people have never been told this. But now, thanks to the Internet, we can all avail ourselves of the evidence that proves this. The Avalon Project has a wealth of original documents posted on its site –and how illuminating many of those documents are.
Our government today holds the Federalist Papers out as our founding documents. But the people are never told that the Federalist Papers were a FAILED set of arguments. When six states refused to ratify the constitution as written, all hope was lost. Madison then suggested that rather than returning to the drawing board, Article V (the amendment process) should be used to correct the deficiencies. He promised to personally introduce a “Bill of (people’s and states’) Rights in the first session of Congress if the states would ratify the constitution as written. The dissenting states agreed and those states passed CONDITIONAL ratifications – which retained their sovereignty and the right to secede should the federal government overstep their lawful authority. (You can find these articles of ratification on the Avalon website. The states are VA, NY, MA, CT, RI, and NH.
This ONE decision – that threw out the Constitution as our governing doctrine is the break in the water main. It is the exact point where power stopped flowing to the people and started flowing to the banks and the corporations that grew up around them.
The way to fix all of the symptoms that the OWS movement complains about is done with one simple measure. Reaffirm the intent of the 10th Amendment according to the intent of the ratifiers of the Constitution and each of its amendments. The Anti-Federalists (like Jefferson) and the PEOPLE are the ratifiers. Without them, there would be no constitution.
Will this simple measure fix all of our problems? No. But it will bring civility and sanity to the process.
Things like the abortion issue would have to take on a different turn. The ratifiers of the constitution never provided for the federal government to have such power over such a thing. Women’s issues were very private and a woman’s body was her own. Men would never speak of such things in public. This issue would have to be proven under the ninth amendment (that the court has declared “is a joke”). The 9th says that there are some rights that are so basic that government (state or federal) cannot take them away from the people. Therefore, the argument would not be about my taking away your constitutional rights or you taking away mine. It would be for or against a PROPOSED amendment to the constitution. And that amendment would be agreed upon or rejected by the people.
As it stands, the court says that government does not have to honor the constitution because it is not a contract. At the same time, it says that only through an amendment (that government is not required to honor) can money be taken out of politics. This is strange circular thinking that makes us feel like hamsters in a hamster wheel. It is impossible for the people to win.
This is most clearly demonstrated (to me) in the case of our most recent amendment (the 27th). It says that there shall be no adjustment in pay until an election shall have intervened. It took congress three weeks to get around it by using the argument that the high inflation that it was intentionally creating to pay off the massive Regan defect (meaning devalue the value of the debt) has caused a situation whereby if congress doesn’t give itself a pay adjustment, that they will be in violation of the prohibition against pay adjustments. A few months later, the courts agreed, saying that a pay adjustment is not an adjustment in pay. The court called those who brought suit miscreants and rabble rousers – further declaring that the people had no standing to bring suit.
So, as I see it, the break in the metaphorical water main occurred when we lost our government in a coup d’etat (Mc Culloch v. Madison), and it is impossible to fix it because government is keeping the coup d’etat a secret to this day.
I think that if we can put some sunshine onto that decision, we can bring Tea Partiers and liberals together. We will all be working for the same cause – restoring a government that is of, by, and for the people.
I do apologize for the length, but am unable to give this much information to as many people as possible in any shorter form.
Occupy 1.0 has demonstrated that people are both able and willing to work together toward the common good. It's also brought to light the huge inequities that populations worldwide have been dealing with for years now.
And while that is still important, I think Occupy 2.0 needs to be brought up a level, in a similar way to how change is effected in France. When the people want change they basically bring commerce to a halt. People protest by not going to work or school, not buying anything, and blocking the streets so that nothing gets done. This is the only way the powers that be ever pay attention. Keep them from making a profit and you can be sure they will sit up and take notice. And all this is done non-violently.
Hi Laure;, Nive to meet you.
I agree this is a necessary part of it but with discernment and focus. ( Iam wondering how many of those who rushed to put money into credit unions are happy with that choicenow that they understand the limiited powers and services of credit unions..how many withdrew money from good community banks who have those services and are also serving the local economy, the credit needs and convenienec of the local community)
And also, don't you agree, massive demonstrations whiich hold up to the light impending decisions that undermine the 99%..ege the plan to grant these criminal bankks from criminal liability in exchange for a very small and inadequate settlement most of which is under the control of banks ? Or the keystone Pipeline?
Pick a movement.
OWS vs 99. Here's an example. Moving money out of big banks. Well over half of Americans have retirement plans. These plans are usually mutual funds that hold bank stocks. So, OWS's "move money" to credit unions is an affront to those whose stock will likely become devalued. I'm agnostic on that action. But you can't call that a 99 action when it has negative effects on over half the 99.
Nice to meet you. I am glad you are speaking to pension funds
Gray power can become green power.
At the moment pension funds are invested in a way that serves the greed and need of a handful of banks.& companies..Bank of America, Citi, JP Morgan Chase, Deutshe Bank and Goldman Sachs and which leave pension funds even more unfunded than they already are when they get stuck holding the bag.
"Massive Passives" "Dumb Money" tbanks and analysts call pensions funds.
It is because of this relationship between banks and pension funds that. the Bank Transfer Day was laughable to banks..they don't want any deposit accounts that carry less than a $5,000 daily balance. They were happy to get rid of all those accounts. They are making all their money using pension money.
We do need to be worried about the relationship between banks and pension funds and what that may mean to millions and millions of retiring ordinary working people who won't have what they were promised in their pensions.
In that relationship there is much power.
Gray power can become green power
Taking control of pension fund money away from these big banks ( through a program of divestment) would stop the 1% dead in their tracks.
Ben, I am not sure we are at a point yet to ask about an Occupy 2.0. Part of me is curious about what have you noticed that drew you to framing this conversation as a 2.0?
Wonderful that you're putting this call on today!
I can't join the call today but look forward to hearing how it goes. And I like the appreciative frame of these questions...
Raffi: I have observed this as a pattern in #Occupy conversations. I also take it as axiomatic that this movement, to the extent that it is a living system (which I believe it must be to thrive), will inevitably evolve.
The 2.0 framing struck me as provocative and timely. And perhaps I "jumped" based on the events overnight. I agree that it may strike some people as premature or unsettling in some other way. We are still digesting what is happening around the country. Processing what is going on and taking stock of what has been successful is probably the best place to begin, as well as consideration of what needs out attention now. At the same time, I'm reminded of Peter Block's suggestion that powerful questions must "evoke anxiety."
I know we have discussed the idea of an extended inquiry together. Do you have another framing you think would be better attuned to the moment or to Occupy Cafe's position within the global conversation?
i struggle with responding here because my sense is that online text conversation is a challenging format to unpack differences of perspective and disagreements. i'll try to follow up with you on this offline, ok? thanks for asking!
For me, your Occupy 2.0 frame is very timely. Thank you! It captures much of what I have been thinking about since the raid in NYC. As I see it, Occupy 1.0 has been a massive success, beyond what few of us could ever comprehend. It is time for Occupy 2.0 now! I would like to see this frame enter the national and global conversation as well. How can we help this happen?