One of the most interesting questions for the Occupy movement relates to how it might engage with the existing political system, especially with an election year looming.

Many respected voices from outside the movement have urged that it work from within the Democratic Party, much as the Tea Party has done with the GOP.  See, for example, this recent piece by George Lakoff, where he draws a comparison to the Tea Party:

What's next? That's the question being asked as cities close down Occupy encampments and winter approaches.

The answer is simple. Just as the Tea Party gained power, the Occupy movement can. The Occupy movement has raised awareness of a great many of America's real issues and has organized supporters across the country. Next comes electoral power. Wall Street exerts its force through the money that buys elections and elected officials. But ultimately, the outcome of elections depends on people willing to take to the streets - registering voters, knocking on doors, distributing information, speaking in local venues. The way to change the nation is to occupy elections.

Whatever Occupiers may think of the Democrats, they can gain power within the Democratic Party and hence in election contests all over America. All they have to do is join Democratic clubs, stick to their values, speak out very loudly and work in campaigns for candidates at every level who agree with their values. If Occupiers can run tent camps, organize food kitchens and cleanup brigades, run general assemblies and use social media, they can take over and run a significant part of the Democratic Party.

And from, Hendrik Hertzberg of the New Yorker:

For O.W.S., though, there is danger ahead. Winter is coming. The strategy of static outdoor encampments is straining the patience even of sympathetic mayors in cities like Oakland, where last week riot police stormed the site and a Marine veteran was left in critical condition. If the weather and the cops pare the numbers in the camps, it’s far from unimaginable that ideologues in the mold of the Old New Left—people for whom the problem is “capitalism” per se, as opposed to a political economy rigged to benefit the rich at the expense of the rest—could end up dominant. As it is, the Occupiers’ brand of romantic participatory democracy can too easily render their decision-making vulnerable to a truculent few. In the most notorious example, Representative John Lewis, the revered civil-rights hero, was prevented from speaking at Occupy Atlanta—not because the crowd didn’t want to hear from him (the great majority did, as they signalled, in the movement’s semaphore language, with raised hands and wiggling fingers) but because one man clenched his fists and crossed his forearms, thereby exercising a consensus-breaking “block.” A vegan filibuster, you might say. The pollsters tell us that Americans like O.W.S.’s essential message. They like the Occupiers, too—not as much as they like the message, but more than they like the Tea Party. But if the pressures of hypothermia, frustration, and correcter-than-thou one-upmanship converge to push them toward more provocative, less mellow forms of civil disobedience—“occupying” a nice warm state capitol building, for example—the messengers will mess up the message. And the public will cross its fists.

Unlike the Tea Party, which was born when the alien/socialist enemy held all three of Washington’s elected redoubts, Occupy Wall Street inhabits a different political world, one whose most prominent figure, the President, has fallen short of not only many Occupiers’ hopes but also his own—in large part because of the Republicans’ conscienceless exploitation of the perverse veto points of the congressional machine. Yes, O.W.S. has “changed the conversation.” But talk, however necessary, is cheap. Ultimately, inevitably, the route to real change has to run through politics—the politics of America’s broken, god-awful, immutably two-party electoral system, the only one we have. The Tea Partiers know that. Do the Occupiers?

Read more http://www.newyorker.com/talk/comment/2011/11/07/111107taco_talk_he...

The choice to get in bed with the GOP was not without controversy for many Tea Partiers, who felt that their grass-roots efforts (yes--there really is, or at least was, a grass roots Tea Party!) were utterly coopted by the GOP machine and big money from the Koch brothers, Dick Armey,etc.  It seems that the lesson being learned from their experience by many on-the-ground Occupiers is to avoid that fate by adopting a strict "non-partisan" stance (officially, at least) and to cast the Dems, and affiliated groups like MoveOn, as part of a system that cannot be reformed from within.

Here at Occupy Cafe, Mark E. Smith has argued passionately for an election boycott as the only rational response to a system that fails to count our votes accurately and is utterly corrupted by big money.  While I am sympathetic to this argument, for me (and many others, I imagine) this stand evokes painful memories of Nader 2000.  The world would be a very different place today if he had stepped out of Florida, voter suppression and recount-rigging notwithstanding.  No way Gore takes us into Iraq after 9/11.  Instead, I could well imagine him using the attacks as a launching pad for a global shift from oil to renewable energy.  

And then there's the Supreme Court. Gore wins, no Roberts or Alito and Citizens United goes the other way, not to mention a host of other crucial decisions.  And the winner in 2012 is likely to get one or more appointments as well.

On the other hand, we have Obama behaving time and again as if he is captive to the same monied interests and/or deeply misguided institutional biases and assumptions that have characterized presidential politics for decades across both party lines.  And then there's the fact that he and the and others at the highest levels of the Democratic establishment have at best turned a blind eye to the abusive tactics of police towards the encampments, while many Democratic mayors have been active parties to it.  So it is understandable that many in the movement are deeply unhappy with Obama and the Dems, are protesting the DCCC despite its expressed support for the movement, etc.

There's another important aspect to his situation as well: the Occupy movement may be nominally non-partisan, but its "members" and supporters also clearly lean Left on average, to the extent that such a spectrum has meaning.  If we want to be "non," or even "trans" partisan in any meaningful sense, we need to start by acknowledging who is currently in the room, and whether or not that room is truly welcoming to people who consider themselves Centrists, Right of Center, Libertarian, etc.

I had one Occupy Cafe member remark that he had never seen so many angry liberals gathered in a single phone call before.  He almost didn't come back.  Fortunately, when he did he was pleasantly surprised when his random small group breakout landed him with someone whose views were far closer to his own.  I think that for now, we need to treat representatives from portions of the politcal spectrum outside the progressive wing as precious and honored guestsin this house.  Otherwise our "99%" slogan is merely empty rhetoric.

At the same time, we should be honest about the fact that many, although certainly not all, of the policy ideas being advocated throughout the movement have a history of being associated with the Liberal/Progressive end of the political spectrum.  If we deny that and try to limit peoples' energy only to those ideas that have a chance of appealing across the board in the current US political environment (getting money out of politics comes to mind as the signature initiative with this potential), I believe we will stifle much of the creative juice that is currently flowing and create a huge schism in the movement.

So... I am interested in hearing what YOU think about these questions, and in seeing if either some consensus or a clear outline of the various positions that define this terrain can emerge.  I suggest that you limit your posts to a single idea at a time, and also try to keep them fairly brief, in order to help keep this thread coherent, easily followed and in the nature of a dialogue rather than a series of diatribes.  

I realize I haven't helped matters by mixing a few different points together under this general theme.  Nor have I practiced the brevity I am now preaching.  Nevertheless, I hope that this discussion can model a higher order of "asynchronous" dialogue.  Are you up for the challenge?

We might start with these questions: 

  • How might the Occupy movement effect major change in the near term without working within the current political system?
  • How might the Occupy movement engage in electoral politics without being co-opted by major players within the political system?
  • What does it mean to be a movement of "the 99%?"  For example, the latest Pew Research Center survey shows that only 38% of Americans believe that global warming is caused by human activity and is a very serious problem.  Does that mean global warming is off the table for the Occupy movement?

Please note that this is a hosted discussion.  We will periodically be asking people to step back or step up, to make sure it is balanced and there is space for all voices to be heard.  We will also ask that side conversations that emerge be taken onto new discussion threads so that this core conversation remains focused and readable.  Thank you in advance for your help with this, and if you are interested in hosting a discussion yourself, please email connect@occupycafe.org.

 

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What heading?  I couldn't find it.

It's here, Bill.

Hi Ben,

The corruption that has made us a "corporatocracy" , a "kleptocracy" are bi-partisan, dems and republicans alike, both sides of the house.  All of this has progressed, advanced, escalated over the past 25 years ( or more) with the active engagement of both democrats and republicans.  So I think it is extremely important for OCCUPY to be non-partisan in the sense of above aprty politics and for reform, for change, naming what is wrong ( as it unfolds and as it stands); holding up and supporting what is trying to move in the right direction.

I had a brief glimmer of hope about where that 99% coalition is and how it might  be put together with OCCUPY's help to increase the pace of chnage, the pace of consensus towards a radical change in almost everything that we need to keep us on a permamnently sustainable, permanently thriveable path.

It came from the references to history that various "salons" referred to after the after the president's speech yesterday powerfully reinvoking and referring to, building on Republican Teddy Roosevelts famous speech redefining and correct the course of the Republican party all those years ago..In one "salon" Doris Kearns Goodwin, noted presidential historian,(I think it was she who said it) referred to the historic divide between the majority core of the Republican Party who are capitalists who recognize that capitalism requires boundaries and rgulations and who genuinely want  there to be well being for all and the new "tea party" Republicans who want no constraints on capitalism and  no government at all ( i.e. all necessary goods and services should be done via the private sector(albeit ften with public money))  Over the very long course of american history the "Republican" party has swung back and forth between these two points of view and it has usually taken a Presidential redirection to bring the party back to the more centralist and humanist party base.

Only 35% of Americans support th tea party views.currently dominating Congress so we already have , supposedly 65% "in the choir"  Of the 35% we should assume that at least half really wouldn't support the tea party if they understsood what tea party politics meant to them  and may already be more Teddy Roosevelt Republicans than true Tea Party republicans..It might be very fruitful for  Occupyto try and speak respctfully to who those 17.5%  really are, what their circumstances really are, perhaps they would realign in a way that supports a faster and more menaingful pace of course correction than might be otherwise possible.   As someone pointed out in yesterdays "salons" the core of  the traditional republican party are working folk ( that's why Maine was always a Republican state) and working folk are at risk if Tea Party Politics contiue in play.  By speaking clearly and strongly in witness and solidarity with working people ..showing in very specific ways how the positions advanced by the tea party damage working people OCCUPY could help to build a stronger coalition of the 99% than might otherwise come about.

Sure, Lindsay. Speaking respectfully to Tea Partiers and Republicans is non-partisan.

How about speaking respectfully to Democrats, since you say that the corporate kleptocracy is bipartisan? Unless you're assuming that Democrats are part of the solution, not part of the problem?

Why not point out to everyone that it is politics as usual that is the problem, a system where representatives don't have to represent their constituents, but can represent their personal beliefs, their investment portfolios, their friends, or anything they wish, which is usually the interests of their big donors but doesn't have to be and therefore wouldn't be remedied by getting corporate money out of politics?

As long as representatives can make decisions without consulting their constituents, the system is not a real democracy, just a sham democracy--a tyranny disguised as a democracy or a republic. The only real democracy is a direct democracy, but the Occupy Movement, which started out being based on direct democracy, is being slowly but surely co-opted back into politics as usual. Particularly when Occupy salons and forums discuss political parties instead of addressing direct democracy.

 

I have just read through the four pages currently here and and have some thoughts and ideas about what is proposed and discussed.

I support and would like to see all voting in the USA to be done using Hand-Counted Paper Ballots, counted at the polling place the night of the election by two different and diverse teams of counters and observers, video taped and broadcast by a minimum of two different devices and individuals and all citizen observers that would like to participate. There are some more details to make this an iron-clad way to get the true vote of the voters but this is the foundation.

I think you can get all the money out of elections and as long as the votes are counted using easily hacked and manipulated with malware electronic voting/vote counting machines, nothing will change.

I think not voting will only serve to give more fuel to the 1% to support their claim that most citizens really don't care enough to participate. I really cannot see how not voting will work. Even with thirty percent participation, you still have results that are certified. Some local elections get twelve percent or less participation in "off" years. There is no "We Do Not Consent" provision in any of our laws and systems of governance. The "consent of the majority" means those that participate in the voting. There is no legal requirement to vote and some are against being compelled and/or required to do so. I think the 1% would have a great propaganda tool if they could claim 70% do not care.

I think that because of electronic voting/vote counting, it is getting easier and easier for those that can control the vote counting to do so. I think the gaming of the elections to give the illusion that the country is moving more and more to the conservative right is progressing well for those that count the votes and that now they are focusing much more on the state and local levels of government as well as national. From the office of president on, I think any s/elected politician with  R  after their name serves to support the propaganda that the country is moving to the right. I think the past thirty years show this happening.

I also share concerns about the Supreme(not) Court, especially because I think the two appointed by Bush should not be serving on the court because I think Bush was selected, not elected. I am still thinking about how they are selected and haven't yet decided what I'd like to see happen.

I would like to see more representational government but I am not sure about direct democracy. Now I favor a proportional representation over direct democracy. I can see direct democracy being mob rule and I have some concerns about that.

There is much interesting discussion here and thoughtful ideas expressed. Thanks to all.

Yes, Bush was selected, Susan, not elected. So even having hand-counted paper ballots and getting corporate money out of politics couldn't stop the Supreme Court from nullifying the popular vote and selecting another President any time they wanted to.

Here's an excerpt from a topic on my website that explains how election boycotts have been effective in other countries:

http://fubarandgrill.org/node/1172

South Africa endured many years of violence under the Apartheid regime. Many people and countries worldwide boycotted Apartheid, but the US government insisted on supporting the Apartheid regime, saying that while the US abhorred Apartheid, the regime was the legitimate government of South Africa. Then the Apartheid regime held another election. No more than 7% of South Africans voted. Suddenly everything changed. No longer could the US or anyone else say that the Apartheid regime had the consent of the governed. That was when the regime began to make concessions. Suddenly the ANC, formerly considered to be a terrorist group trying to overthrow a legitimate government, became freedom fighters against an illegitimate government. It made all the difference in the world, something that decades more of violence could never have done.
 
In Cuba, when Fidel Castro's small, ragged, tired band were in the mountains, the dictator Batista held an election (at the suggestion of the US, by the way). Only 10% of the population voted. Realizing that he had lost the support of 90% of the country, Batista fled. Castro then, knowing that he had the support of 90% of the country, proceeded to bring about a true revolution.
 
In Haiti, when the US and US-sponsored regimes removed the most popular party from the ballot, in many places only 3% voted. The US had to intervene militarily, kidnap Aristide, and withhold aid after the earthquake to continue to control Haiti, but nobody familiar with the situation thought that the Haitian government had the consent of the governed or was legitimate. 
 
Boycotting elections alone will not oust the oligarchy, but it is the only proven non-violent way to delegitimize a government.
--------------

And here's something I wrote about the claim that not voting is apathy:


A democratic system of government is one in which power is vested in the hands of the people. That's the dictionary definition and even Ray agreed to it.

 
An undemocratic system of government is one in which power is vested in the hands of the government. That government could be a dictatorship, a monarchy, a plutocracy, an oligarchy, or even a pseudo-democracy, but if power is vested in the hands of the government rather than in the hands of the people, the system does not meet the definition of a democratic form of government.
 
 
In a democratic form of government, where power is vested in the hands of the people, voting is the most precious right of all, as it is the way that the people exercise the power vested in them, either directly by voting on issues, budgets, and policies, or indirectly by voting for representatives who are obligated to represent their constituents and can be directly recalled by the people at any time that they fail to represent the people who elected them.
 
In an undemocratic form of government, where power is vested in the hands of the government rather than in the hands of the people, voting is totally worthless and a waste of time, as the people do not have power and the government doesn't have to count their votes, can miscount and/or ignore their votes, can overrule the popular vote, and elected representatives are not obligated to represent their constituents but can represent their personal beliefs or philosophies, their big donors, or whatever they wish, and cannot be held accountable as long as they continue in office, which is the only time that people need them to represent the interests of the people. 
 
In an undemocratic form of government, voters can hope that their votes might be counted, can hope that their elected officials might represent them, but have no power to ensure that their votes are counted or that their elected officials actually represent them.
 
The system makes all the difference. As an analogy, breathing is a good thing and we humans couldn't survive without being able to breathe. But underwater or in a toxic environment filled with lethal gas, breathing can bring about death more quickly than holding one's breath and trying to escape. Breathing isn't always a good thing, it is only a good thing in an environment with oxygen suitable for human life. 
 
The same is true of voting. In a democratic system, voting is precious and essential. In an undemocratic system, it can be fatal, as it can allow the destruction of the economy, military adventurism, obstacles to basic human rights such as jobs, education, food, clothing, shelter, and health care, and other tragic consequences of allowing government to exercise uncontrolled power rather than vesting power in the hands of the people.
 
Most people in the US today are opposed to our government's ongoing wars of aggression. Even those who are uninformed and uneducated, who aren't aware that historically, the way that most empires fell was because they became militarily overextended, sense that there is something wrong with spending trillions of dollars on foreign wars while basic domestic needs go unmet. But because we do not have a democratic system of government, we have no power to end the wars. The best we can do is vote for candidates we hope might end the wars, but if, like Obama, they expand the wars instead of ending them, there is nothing we can do about it because our government has the power to start or end wars and we do not. If wars were on the ballot, it could only be as a nonbinding referendum, as there is no Constitutional way to force the government to obey the will of the people. The Constitution vested power in the government rather than in the hands of the people.
 
I do not oppose voting any more than I oppose breathing. I oppose voting only when it occurs within an undemocratic form of government, thus legitimizing an undemocratic form of government and consenting to be governed undemocratically, just as I oppose breathing only when in a toxic or anaerobic environment where breathing can be fatal. Just as I would want to try to help anyone trapped in a toxic or anaerobic environment hold their breath until they could escape, I want to try to help people trapped in an undemocratic form of government withhold their votes until they can escape. If I tell a drowning person to hold their breath until they can get their head above water, I am not condemning breathing. If I tell people not to vote until they have a democratic form of government, I am not condemning voting. In both cases, I am trying to preserve life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness, and to promote the general welfare.

----------------------
While proportional representation is one of the minimal requisites for democracy, it is not necessarily democratic. Several countries with proportional representation are now undergoing severe economic crises because their legislatures were able to override the minorities opposed to fiscal irresponsibility.

As I've said before, despite the old joke that democracy is two wolves and a lamb voting on what to have for dinner, it can actually work, but only if the lamb has a solid and unbreakable block, not just once, but every single time that they vote on what to eat. Eventually, rather than starve, the wolves will agree to an alternate entree.

So if only one person in the country opposes a war of aggression, or a corporate subsidy, that person must have a solid, unbreakable block. Maybe nothing would get done, but I'd prefer doing nothing to continuing to murder millions of innocent children and indebting our own grandchildren.

As for the fears that extremists would take over, a mainstream poll here in San Diego asked voters what their most important issue was. Left, right, and center, the overwhelming majority agreed that they wanted to get the potholes fixed. Other priorities were named by small minorities, so they couldn't be consensed on, but in a direct democracy, the potholes would be fixed. And while it may not be ecologically correct, it doesn't frighten me at all.

Mark and All,

I have a difficult time thinking that other countries would address USA elections in any meaningful way and for me the comparison to South Africa, Cuba and Haiti just don't hold. I understand the different situations and issues with these countries but right now I have a difficult time imagining any other country in the world taking a stand against USA elections even if there was a massive "not voting" movement. In fact, I think other countries or say, the UN taking a stand against USA elections would probably serve to unite many against the countries that would speak up and this would be a big win for the 1% and military industrial war machine complex. I also think this completely ignores the USA military power and how the rights of USA citizens are slowly being eroded when it comes to expressing their First Amendment rights.

I am also wondering about that San Diego poll as I find it a sad statement in many ways. There is the part of me that would have liked to have seen something like health care, addressing poverty and education as "most important" issues. Wow, I'll have to think about that but I wonder even more now about direct democracy after reading this. Also, what if "nothing getting done" also resulted in "continuing to murder millions of innocent children and indebting our own grandchildren"?

And, I disagree. I think that hand-counted paper ballots as I described will give a true vote that is accurate and exact. I think that the Supreme Court would not even be called in to have any say in the elections if they were conducted using hand-counted paper ballots. The public would be able to observe the hand count and give witness to the accuracy. We certainly by design cannot do that now. Should the courts, government and/or military take issue with and try to invalidate an election using HCPB (as I described with some more details related to ballot security), it would at least pull back the curtain of illusion, that being that elections only serve for us to have the illusion that our voices matter and we have a say in how we are governed. Electronic voting and vote counting have effectively allowed the 1% to put a mute button on our collective voices. I think that we can have great positive changes if we remove that mute button and vote using the  hand-counted paper ballots only method I described.

Susan and all, any country that wanted to be considered by its own citizens and by other countries as having a democratic form of government, would reconsider alliances with a country that lacked the consent of the governed. Even the US, the world's sole military superpower which often acts unilaterally without seeking UN approval, reconsidered its support for the Apartheid regime after the successful South African election boycott.

Yes, our government could continue to murder millions of innocent children without our consent. It is a matter of individual conscience whether or not we consent.

As for the Supreme Court, all it takes if for the losing candidate to appeal to the Supreme Court, and whether or not there were any election irregularities, they could install the loser, as they did Bush, to ensure that his feelings weren't hurt. No matter how irrational their decisions, the Supreme Court has the supreme power to make them.

Mark and All,

Countries are reconsidering alliances all the time and many countries wondered why USA citizens were not in the streets in 2000 and 2004. I think South Africa reconsidering it's alliance with the USA would not be a big factor in anything the "powers that be" decide to do. Russia is reconsidering some of the treaties with us, many countries are very upset about the USA doing little to nothing to address climate change. The USA "powers" don't seem all that concerned.  China may be able to do something but it would be more like a take over than asking the USA to pretty please consider the rights and votes of the citizens.

My position is that my inactivity, my not voting would lead to much more harm, suffering and murder of innocent children and all life, so for me you are correct in that is is a matter of conscience. I do not like the system and I am working to change it. That is why I advocate for hand-counted paper ballots so that we will actually have elected representation as opposed to the selected representation we now have. It is also why I would like to see more and proportional representation.

I think that there would be absolutely no grounds for election appeal if all elections were conducted using hand-counted paper ballots as I have described in previous posts. I think we would have impeachment of the Supreme Court should such an unlikely scenario as you describe occur because that certainly would fall under the "high crimes and misdemeanors" requirement. I stand by the last paragraph in my previous post, I stand by all I've posted.

Susan, the murder of innocent children and the destruction of the environment is what we have now. It would continue with or without the consent of the governed. It is up to each individual to decide, as a matter of conscience, if they will consent to it by voting, or withhold their consent by not voting.

I don't fear China taking over the US militarily. Our prison labor works for less than Chinese laborers: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-TpFlOioXys We have a greater percentage of our population imprisoned than China does. As for human rights and civil liberties, things really aren't much worse than this in China: http://myoccupylaarrest.blogspot.com/ We are currently waging more wars of aggression and committing more crimes against humanity than China is. Their middle class is growing, ours is shrinking. 

You think there would be no grounds for appeal if there were honest elections, but no grounds are needed. The losing candidate simply appeals to the Supreme Court, and even if their case is frivolous, the court can choose to hear it instead of throwing it out, which a corporate court would do if there were any chance of a non-corporate candidate becoming President. For there to be any chance of the Supreme Court not intervening, there would not only have to be honest elections and honest laws, there would also have to be honest judges. In fact, the Supreme Court could intervene even if nobody filed an appeal. They could simply decide that it was within their jurisdiction under the Constitution (they alone have the sole power to interpret the Constitution, so there could be no disagreement or appeal) and intervene. Look up the word "supreme" in the dictionary. The Constitution vested supreme power in a supreme court. They weren't just kidding around, they were serious.

As for impeachment, Congress has only once tried to impeach a Supreme Court justice, Samual Chase in 1804, and he was acquitted. Congress has tried twice to impeach a President, Andrew Johnson in 1868 and Bill Clinton in 1998, and both were acquitted. Congress has never impeached a sitting Member of Congress. Since the Democratic Congress refused to even discuss impeaching Bush and Cheney for violating the Constitution and war crimes (which they apparently did not consider to be high crimes and misdemeanors), the chances of them impeaching a Supreme Court Justice, no less all of them, are zero.

Mark,

I do not agree with your judgement about those that make the decision to vote. And I do not agree with your position that all the murder of innocent children and destruction of the environment will continue with or without the "consent to be governed". I do think that because of human nature, there will always be some of that happening but I think that honest true vote count elections would do much to move forward the causes of Peace, Social, Environmental and Economic justice.

If individuals need to make the decision to not vote, that is their right in this country. If citizens were required to vote, not voting might make more of a statement. I think that saying "I do not consent and therefore I will not vote" may give one some comfort in the position they have taken but I think it will do nothing to change the reality of the world we are living in today. I do know that massive voter turnout has been the only effective way to have any chance against rigged elections. I think those doing the election selecting hope, wish and dream about some voters not showing up at the polls.

Mark, you could go on and on and on about what "could" happen but the probability of what you say happening is so remote that it is difficult to give it any more time for discussion. Just because the court and justices have the label "supreme" it does not mean there is no recourse as I said earlier concerning impeachment. And, the Robert's court is doing a lot of overturning settled law from past "supreme courts" so I guess "supreme" changes over time. I understand the impeachment process and what has and has not happened but I think that it would be very different if the members of congress were elected rather than selected.

As for honest judges, because we have had years of judges being ""selected" for their positions, it is becoming more and more difficult to find ones that don't legislate from the bench for the maintaining of easily rigged elections. The people could change that if they required that their votes be counted on paper and hand counted.

And, all this said, I would rather spend my time on the realities of what is actually happening and has a high probability of happening. I have friends right now in WI working on the efforts to recall the governor there. They also worked on the WI supreme court recount and the recall of senators in the state. I support their efforts and am grateful for all they are doing. I am glad that they have become aware of all the many problems with elections and are leading the way in reform. Nine months ago they "Occupied" their capital and continue to have a daily presence there. And, while they are doing all of this, they are also working for Peace, Social, Economic and Environmental justice. I think they are heroines and heroes and I think they are doing a lot to make their state and this world a better place for all. I think they are making a very big difference by how they choose to say they do not consent.

You have every right to put out a call to not vote just as others put out the calls to write in candidates and others choose to vote. I hope that others will make the choice to address the problems with elections and will push forward for reform and will continue to vote in masses so we can maybe overcome the algorithms. I hope that the reality that Hand-Counted Paper Ballots are a necessity for a true vote count and honest elections will come out of all of this effort.

Now, off to Occupy.....................

Massive voter turnout may have some effect against certain types of rigged elections, Susan, but not against elections that are rigged by computers or central tabulators of the type that tally more than 90% of votes cast in the US. They can be programmed to allocate the votes proportionally rather than as cast. So if ten people vote, all vote for Candidate A, and the computers are programmed to allocate 60% of the vote to Candidate B, 30% of the vote to Candidate A, and distribute the other 10% among other candidates, the rigged results will show Candidate A with 3 votes, Candidate B with 6 votes, and 1 vote for another candidate. If 100 people vote and all vote for Candidate A, the results will show A getting 30 votes, B 60, and other candidates 10. If 1 million or 1 billion people vote and all vote for A, the rigged results will be proportionally the same. Unless you can prove that the election was rigged in time to prevent the losing candidate from being sworn into office, the only recourse is to ask Congress to remove them, something they've never done. At least 6 Republicans were sworn into office by the Democratic Congress in 2006, and the Democrats who had evidence that their elections had been stolen filed complaints with Congress only to be ignored. The Democrats needed more Republicans in office so that they could keep impeachment of Bush and Cheney off the table, and they simply refused to investigate the stolen elections. I think several more were stolen, but the candidates lacked proof or were pressured by their party not to file complaints.

I'm not talking about what could happen, I'm talking about what HAS happened, both with Congress and the Supreme Court. 

If somebody is sexually assaulted, the fact cannot be changed by whether or not they consented, but their self-esteem and their chances of getting redress in court would. The same thing holds for voting: 

Consensual Political Intercourse

http://fubarandgrill.org/node/1035#comment-3158

If you don't think the government is screwing you, or you want the government to screw you, go ahead and vote. But if you think the government is screwing you and you don't want the government to screw you, don't give your consent by voting and then come crying to me that you were assaulted. If you consent, it isn't assault.

 

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Weekly Cafe Calls

Regular Calls are no longer being held.  Below is the schedule that was maintained from the Fall of 2011 through Jan 10, 2013.

Mondays
"Vital Conversations" 

8-10a PDT | 11a-1p EDT | 3-5p GMT 

Tuesdays (except 10/16)
"Connect 2012"

1-3p PDT | 4-6p EDT | 8-10p GMT


Thursdays
"Occupy Heart" 

3-5p PDT | 6-8p EDT | 10p-12a GMT

Latest Activity

Clay Forsberg posted a blog post

"Happy Birthday Occupy Wall Street ... thoughts on Year One"

Fifteen years ago, I ran across a book, "100 Most Influential People in History," during one of my dalliances to my local Marin County bookstore. "Influential People" was one man's assessment on exactly that. But how he determined his rankings was the interesting part. They weren't always the reasons you would think. But after thinking about it, they made complete sense. For example:George Washington was ranked in the top 40 of all time. Understandable. But the reason why ... not so much. You…See More
Sep 20, 2012
Clay Forsberg is now a member of Occupy Cafe
Sep 20, 2012
Vic Desotelle posted a group
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Leadership Ecology

When a Leadership Ecology occurs, a web of relationships emerges revealing each person’s authentic leadership qualities through the transfer of their power to others. When done in a conscious way – a shared collaborative awakening happens.See More
Feb 6, 2012
Vic Desotelle posted a blog post
Feb 3, 2012

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