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OCCUPY WALL STREET


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#21 Chaos

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Posted 19 October 2011 - 05:06 PM

One of the most glaring problems with the supporters of Occupy Wall Street and the “occupations” in other cities is that they suffer from a woefully inadequate understanding of the capitalist social formation — its dynamics, its (spatial) globality, its (temporal) modernity. They equate anti-capitalism with simple anti-Americanism, and ignore the international basis of the capitalist world economy. To some extent, they have even reified its spatial metonym in the NYSE on Wall Street. Capitalism is an inherently global phenomenon; it does not admit of localization to any single nation, city, or financial district.

I disagree with this. To suggest that OWS demonstrators are unaware that capitalism is a global phenomenon is to suggest an abject absurdity. To suggest that this protest is in any way spatialized is to ignore its global companion movements such as Occupy Chicago or Occupy London. While these events are occurring in certain venues, these are just locus points of resistance where individuals come into contact with each other, not the sole legitimate arenas of resistance. While resistance may be currently associated with spatial locations that in no way precludes the resistance from becoming associated with other spatial locations as well, both global and local.

Another problem pervasive amongst OWS demonstrators is a general lack of historical consciousness. Not only are they almost completely unaware of past revolutionary movements, but their thinking has become so enslaved to the conditions of the present that they can no longer imagine a society fundamentally different from our own. Instead of liberation and emancipation, all they offer is the vague notion of “resistance” or “subversion.”

Also disagree with this. "Resistance" and "subversion" are just as nebulous concepts as are "liberation" and emancipation". If the protestors were unable to conceive of economics systems not in the status quo, they wouldn't be protesting. They obviously recognize the problems inherent in the current system.

Moreover, many of the more moderate protestors hold on to the erroneous belief that capitalism can be “controlled” or “corrected” through Keynesian-administrative measures: steeper taxes on the rich, more bureaucratic regulation and oversight of business practices, broader government social programs (welfare, Social Security), and projects of rebuilding infrastructure to create jobs. Moderate “progressives” dream of a return to the Clinton boom years, or better yet, a Rooseveltian new “New Deal.” All this amounts to petty reformism, which only serves to perpetuate the global capitalist order rather than to overcome it. They fail to see the same thing that the libertarians in the Tea Party are blind to: laissez-faire economics is not essential to capitalism. State-interventionist capitalism is just as capitalist as free-market capitalism.

Insofar as this relates to the above paragraph: the existence of those who want moderate reforms in no way proves the inability of the protestors to re conceptualize the economic system.

Other than that: I understand that the idea that reforms prevent revolutions is a standard tenant of modern day Marxism, but I've never understood why that's supposed to be true. What about solving some problems inherent in Capitalism by reforming it precludes us from solving other problems in Capitalism by abandoning it? This seems like a false dichotomy to me. Extrapolation would be appreciated.

In order to get a better sense of what they are up against, they must develop a more adequate understanding of the prevailing social order.

I agree with this statement, but only because it's a tautology.

Hopefully, the demonstrations will lead to a general radicalization of the participants’ politics, and a commitment to the longer-term project of social emancipation.

I also agree that a long term commitment to social emancipation is good. Pretty much everyone agrees with that.

There's a general hubris in Marxism that often leads it to overemphasize the necessity of Marxism to revolution. In no way is the masses' awareness of the tenets of Marxist theory necessary for revolution to occur. If it were, it seems likely that revolution will never occur, because let's be frank, the masses don't get along well with intellectualism and never have.
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#22 OriginalRawrcat

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Posted 19 October 2011 - 05:38 PM

One of the most glaring problems with the supporters of Occupy Wall Street and the “occupations” in other cities is that they suffer from a woefully inadequate understanding of the capitalist social formation — its dynamics, its (spatial) globality, its (temporal) modernity. They equate anti-capitalism with simple anti-Americanism, and ignore the international basis of the capitalist world economy. To some extent, they have even reified its spatial metonym in the NYSE on Wall Street. Capitalism is an inherently global phenomenon; it does not admit of localization to any single nation, city, or financial district.

The problem with this analysis is that you're attempting to pin down OWS as a purely anti-capitalist protest and that it only should be. You later say that there are people there who think that capitalism can be reformed and worked within, and that's the thing about this protest: it's not purely anti-capitalist, it has anti-capitalists in it and... well... Zizek showed up, but a number of people in the protest and supporting it are simply progressives in that they do want reform. Sure, if you're going to take a staunch classical marxist stance and say that this is just an advocation of third way politics that makes capitalism more desirable, you're probably right. However, it's probably not likely that the state will be toppled and capitalism overthrown in favor of prole control of production in communes. I mean, sure, capitalism may be able to be overcome, the scifi nerd in me wants to point at Star Trek (the Ferengi don't count), but in the modern world, the state is not likely to eventually be toppled in the name of true marxism. We do live in a society in which the masses can make demands and, if we get the general public interested enough (it can happen with work), have large sway over political action. Taking this outlook, the OWS demands (I'm looking at a single main point that's made by the protest) for greater regulation of corporations and taxation of the rich can lead to a proletariat control of production. Reform in economic controls and demand for more populist democratic aspects that enacts those regulations, the citizen can control the means of production, or at least the Private control of the means of production, which is the fundamental criticism of how capitalism works to alienate the worker.

Sure, this single protest isn't the endpoint, but there is never an endpoint. It's about holding true to ideals and acting to uphold them, which in itself enacts the change that people demand so immediately.

I may or may not be full of shit, I'm still thinking about it, but it's a new point made.
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#23 retired

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Posted 20 October 2011 - 07:06 AM

https://sites.google...entdeclaration/


"Educate and inform the whole mass of the people... They are the only sure reliance for the preservation of our liberty." Thomas Jefferson


WHEREAS THE FIRST AMENDMENT TO THE UNITED STATES CONSTITUTION PROVIDES THAT:

Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.



BE IT RESOLVED THAT:

WE, THE NINETY-NINE PERCENT OF THE PEOPLE of the UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, in order to form a more perfect Union, by, for and of the PEOPLE, shall elect and convene a NATIONAL GENERAL ASSEMBLY beginning on July 4, 2012 in the City Of Philadelphia.



I. Election of Delegates:

The People, consisting of all United States citizens who have reached the age of 18, regardless of party affiliation and voter registration status, shall elect Two Delegates, one male and one female, by direct vote, from each of the existing 435 Congressional Districts to represent the People at the NATIONAL GENERAL ASSEMBLY in Philadelphia. Said Assembly shall convene on July 4, 2012 in the city of Philadelphia. The office of Delegate shall be open to all United States citizens who have reached the age of 18. Election Committees, elected by local General Assemblies or Working Groups from all over the United States, shall coordinate with the Working Group on the 99% Declaration to organize, coordinate and fund this national election by direct democratic voting. The Election Committees, Working Groups and local General Assemblies shall operate like the original Committees of Correspondence.



II. Meeting of the National General Assembly and Approval of a Petition for a Redress of Grievances:

In addition to ensuring a free and fair election of the Delegates to the NATIONAL GENERAL ASSEMBLY, the Working Group on the 99% Declaration shall be responsible for raising sufficient funds to secure a venue wherein the the 870 Delegates may convene, deliberate, consider, vote and ratify a PETITION OF GRIEVANCES to be presented to all 535 members of Congress, The 9 members of the Supreme Court, the President of the United States and each of the political candidates seeking to be elected to federal public office in November 2012. Subject to the voting procedure for the final vote of ratification of the PETITION OF GRIEVANCES as set forth in section III, the Delegates of the National General Assembly shall vote upon and implement their own rules, procedures, agenda, code of conduct, elections or appointments of committee members to efficiently an expeditiously accomplish the People's mandate to present a PETITION OF GRIEVANCES before the 2012 elections.



III. Content of the Petition For A Redress of Grievances:

The PETITION OF GRIEVANCES shall be non-partisan and specifically address the critical issues now confronting the People of the United States of America. The Delegates shall deliberate and vote upon proposals for the PETITION OF GRIEVANCES and if necessary adjourn for further consultation with the People of the United States of America as our founding fathers conferred during the first two Continental Congresses. The final vote ratifying the PETITION OF GRIEVANCES shall be by simple majority vote. A duly elected chairperson of the National General Assembly shall determine the outcome of the vote on ratification in the event of a tie.



IV. Suggested Content of the Petition For A Redress of Grievances:

In order to facilitate the timely election of the 870 Delegates to the National General Assembly by July 4, 2012 and petition the government for a redress of grievances before the 2012 elections, the Working Group on the 99% Declaration, founded and duly announced to the New York City General Assembly on October 15, 2011, shall draft a suggested list of grievances to be respectfully submitted to the Delegates of the National General Assembly no later than June 30, 2012. The final version of the PETITION OF GRIEVANCES ratified by the National General Assembly, MAY or MAY NOT include the following issues suggested by the Working Group on the 99% Declaration:



1. Implementing an immediate ban on all private contributions of money and gifts, to all politicians in federal office, from individuals, corporations, "political action committees", "super political action committees", lobbyists, unions and all other private sources of money or thing of value to be replaced by the fair, equal and total public financing of all federal political campaigns. We categorically REJECT the concepts that corporations are persons or that money is equal to free speech because if that were so, then only the wealthiest people and corporations would have a voice. The complete elimination of private contributions must enacted by law because it has become clear that politicians in the United States cannot regulate themselves and have become the exclusive representatives of corporations, unions and the very wealthy who indirectly and directly spend vast sums of money on political campaigns to influence the candidates’ decisions when they attain office and ensure their reelection year after year. Our elected representatives spend far too much of their time fundraising for the next election rather than doing the People's business. The current system's propagation of legalized bribery and perpetual conflicts of interests has reduced our once great republican democracy to a greed driven corporatocracy run by boardroom oligarchs who represent .05% of the population but own 38% of the wealth.



2. The immediate abrogation, even if it requires a Constitutional Amendment, of the outrageous and anti-democratic holding in the "Citizens United" case proclaimed by the United States Supreme Court. This heinous decision, which equates the payment of money by corporations, wealthy individuals and unions to politicians with the exercise of protected free speech. We, the People, demand that this institutional bribery and corruption never again be deemed protected free speech.



3. Prohibiting all federal public employees, officers, officials or their immediate family members from ever being employed by any corporation, individual or business that they specifically regulated while in office; nor may any public employee, officer, official or their immediate family members own or hold any stock or shares in any corporation they regulated while in office until a full 5 years after their term is completed; and a complete lifetime ban on accepting all gifts, services, money or thing of value, directly or indirectly, to any elected or appointed federal official or their immediate family members, from any person, corporation, union or other entity that the public official was charged to specifically regulate while in office. In sum, elected politicians and public employees in regulatory roles, may only collect their salary, generous healthcare benefits and pension. Any person, including corporate employees, found guilty and convicted of violating these rules in a court of law by proof beyond a reasonable doubt, shall be sentenced to a term of mandatory imprisonment of no less than one year and nor more than ten years.



4. Term Limits. Members of the United States House of Representatives shall be limited to serving no more than four two-year terms in their lifetime. Members of the United States Senate shall be limited to serving no more than two six-year terms in their lifetime. The two term limit for President shall remain unchanged. Serving as a member of Congress or the President of the United States is the one of the highest honors and privileges our culture can bestow. These positions of prominence in our society should be sought to serve one's country and not provide lifetime career designed to increase personal wealth and accumulate power for the sake of vanity.



5. A complete reformation of the United States Tax Code to require ALL citizens to pay a fair share of a progressive, graduated income tax by eliminating loopholes, unfair tax breaks, exemptions and deductions, subsidies (e.g. oil, gas and farm) and ending all other methods of evading taxes. The current system of taxation favors the wealthiest Americans, many of whom, pay fewer taxes to the United States Treasury than citizens who earn much less and pay a much higher percentage of income in taxes to the United States Treasury. We, like Warren Buffet, find this income tax disparity to be fundamentally unjust.



6. Medicare for all American citizens or adoption of a single-payer healthcare system. The Medicaid program, fraught with corruption and fraud, will be eliminated except for the purpose of providing emergency room care to indigent non-citizens who will not be covered by the single-payer healthcare system.



7. New comprehensive regulations to give the Environmental Protection Agency expanded powers to shut down corporations, businesses or any entities that intentionally or recklessly damage the environment and/or criminally prosecute individuals who intentionally damage the environment. We also demand the immediate adoption of the most recent international protocols, including the "Washington Declaration" to cap carbon emissions and implement new and existing programs to transition away from fossil fuels to reusable or carbon neutral sources of energy.



8. Adoption of an immediate plan to reduce the national debt to a sustainable percentage of GDP by 2020. Reduction of the national debt to be achieved by BOTH a cut in spending to corporations engaged in perpetual war for profit, the "healthcare" industry, the pharmaceutical industry, the communications industry, the oil and industry, and all other sectors that use the federal budget as their income stream. We agree that spending cuts are necessary but those cuts must be made to facilitate what is best for the People of the United States of America, not multinational and domestic corporations who currently have a stranglehold on all politicians in Washington, D.C. in both parties.



9. Passage of a comprehensive job and job-training act like the American Jobs Act to employ our citizens in jobs that are available with specialized training and by putting People to work now by repairing America's crumbling infrastructure. We also recommend the establishment of an online international job exchange to match employers with skilled workers or employers willing to train workers in 21st century skills. In conjunction with a new jobs act, reinstitution of the Works Progress Administration and Civilian Conservation Corps or a similar emergency governmental agency tasked with creating new public works projects to provide jobs to the 46 million People living in poverty, the 9.1% unemployed and 10% underemployed.



10. Implementation of a student loan debt relief forgiveness program. Our young students are more than $830 billion in debt from education loans alone with few employment prospects due to financial collapse directly caused by the unbridled and unregulated greed of Wall Street. Interest on these debts should be reduced and deferred for periods of unemployment and the principal on these loans reduced or forgiven by using a Wall Street corporate tax surcharge as reparations for their conduct leading to the economic collapse of 2007-2008 and current worldwide recession.



11. Immediate passage of the Dream Act and comprehensive immigration and border security reform including offering visas, lawful permanent resident status and citizenship to the world’s brightest People to stay and work in our industries and schools after they obtain their education and training in the United States.



12. Recalling all military personnel at all non-essential bases and refocusing national defense goals to address threats posed by the geopolitics of the 21st century, including terrorism and limiting the large scale deployment of military forces to instances where Congressional approval has been granted to counter the Military Industrial Complex's goal of perpetual war for profit. The annual estimated savings of one trillion dollars per year by updating our military posture will be applied to the social programs outlined herein to improve the quality of life for human beings rather than assisting corporations make ever increasing profits distributed to the top 1% of wealth owners.



13. Mandating new educational goals to train the American public to perform jobs in a 21st Century economy, particularly in the areas of technology and green energy, taking into consideration the redundancy caused by technology and the inexpensive cost of labor in China, India and other countries. Eliminating tenure and paying our teachers a competitive salary commensurate with the salaries of employees in the private sector with similar skills because without highly skilled teachers, there will never be a highly skilled workforce.



14. Subject to the elimination of corporate tax loopholes and exploited exemptions and deductions stated above, offering tax incentives to businesses to remain in the United States and hire our citizens rather than outsource jobs. Introducing an "outsourcing tax" to discourage business form sending jobs overseas. Providing tax breaks to companies that invest in reconstructing the manufacturing capacity of the United States so that we again make everyday products in the United States rather than importing them from countries like China and India.



15. Implementing immediate legislation and WTO intervention to encourage China and our other trading partners to end currency manipulation and reduce the trade deficit.



16. Immediate reenactment of the Glass-Steagall Act and increased regulation of Wall Street and the financial industry by the SEC, FINRA and the other financial regulators, and the commencement of a Justice Department criminal investigations into the Securities and Banking industries practices that led to the collapse of markets, $700 billion bail-out, and financial firm failures in 2007-2008. Introduction of a small financial transaction fee to collect a tax on each and every stock trade and all other forms of financial transactions. Uniform regulations limiting what banks may charge consumers for ATM fees, the use of debit cards and other miscellaneous "fees". Ending $4 billion dollar a year "hedge fund loophole" which permits certain individuals engaged in financial transactions to evading income tax rates by treating their income as capital gains which are taxed at a much lower tax rate (approximately 15%).



17. Adoption of a plan similar to President Clinton’s proposal to end the mortgage crisis and instead of the Federal Reserve Bank continuing to lower interest rates for loans to banks who are refusing to loan to small businesses and consumers, the Federal Reserve Bank shall buy all underwater or foreclosed mortgages and refinance these debts at 1% or less to be managed by the newly established Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (and foreclosure task force described below) because 1% or less is the interest rate the Federal Reserve Bank loans to the banks directly who hoard the cash rather than loan it to the People and small businesses. The immediate formation of a non-partisan commission, overseen by Congress, to investigate the economic risks and possibility of eliminating the privately owned Federal Reserve Bank and transferring its functions to the United States Treasury Department.



18. An immediate one year freeze on all foreclosures to be reviewed by an independent foreclosure task force appointed by Congress and the Executive Branch (in conjunction with the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau ) to determine, on a case by case basis, whether foreclosure proceedings should continue based on the circumstances of each homeowner and the propriety of the financial institution's conduct when originating the loan.



19. Subject to the above ban on all private money and gifts in politics, to enact additional campaign finance reform requiring new FCC regulations granting free air time to all candidates; total public campaign financing to all candidates who obtain sufficient petition signatures and/or votes to get on the ballot and participate in the primaries and/or electoral process; shortening the campaign season to three months; and allowing voting on weekends and holidays; issuance of free voter registration cards to all citizens who are eligible to vote so that they cannot be turned away at a polling station because they not have a drivers license or other form of identification and the option to mail-in voter ballots in all elections.



20. An immediate withdrawal of all troops from Iraq and Afghanistan and a substantial increase in the amount of funding needed for veteran job placement and the treatment of the physical and emotional injuries sustained by veterans in these wars. Our veterans are committing suicide at an unprecedented rate and we must help now.



BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that IF the PETITION OF GRIEVANCES approved by the 870 Delegates of the NATIONAL GENERAL ASSEMBLY in consultation with the PEOPLE, is not acted upon within a reasonable time and to the satisfaction of the Delegates of the NATIONAL GENERAL ASSEMBLY, said Delegates shall organize a new COMPLETELY NON-PARTISAN INDEPENDENT POLITICAL PARTY to run candidates for every available Congressional seat in the mid-term election of 2014 and again in 2016 until all vestiges of the existing corrupt corporatocracy have been removed by the ballot box.



★THE NINETY-NINE PERCENT★
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#24 Chaos

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Posted 20 October 2011 - 08:24 AM

1-4 and 19 are awesome. While I agree with many of the others, they will not happen in this political climate. They need to be abandoned or they'll derail any potential for reform. If there really are 99% of people who want these changes, it'll eventually happen after we make the election reforms. If there aren't (and there aren't) it'll destroy the credibility of the movement while preventing any real progress. 1-4 + 9 ensure that other reforms will happen later, without 1-4 + 9 all changes will be impermanent. They're clearly the essential component of the proposal.

Don't go for broke. If you don't get everything you want, be patient. Don't make an all or nothing gamble with the future of the country.
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#25 The Incredible Hulk?

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Posted 20 October 2011 - 11:51 AM

All of these points and not a single one of them indicates the "99 percent" has any clue what the real problem is.
It's like this... they filled up the bathtub and pulled the plug. (vortex economics, Soros anyone?)
We're kinda rapidly circling the drain and these ideas simply pour more water into the bathtub. This can give the appearance that the bath tub is not draining... However, it ignores the fact "water" is passing through and pulling objects with it. The solution is obviously plug the drain, not add more water.
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#26 StrawserM

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Posted 21 October 2011 - 08:24 AM

What would you put on a reading list for someone who wanted to learn about the things they're upset about?
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#27 Dr. Fox On Socks

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Posted 21 October 2011 - 09:56 AM

What would you put on a reading list for someone who wanted to learn about the things they're upset about?

American Psycho
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The information in this post is confidential. If its contents are disclosed, our lawyers will swoop down from helicopters and smash through the skylight nearest you and drag you away with a black bag over your head to our super secret headquarters where you fight to the death with other people who shared this post.

Also known as: © CC-BY-NC 3.0 + beerware (you may use my work under CC-BY-NC terms provided that you buy me a reasonably-priced beer of my choosing if we ever meet in person).

#28 Enterprise

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Posted 21 October 2011 - 07:44 PM

American Psycho

Why are you always one of my favorite people on this site?
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Being a dancing star isn't easy.

I'm clearly not very bright.


Christians are stupid sheep who are incapable of thinking for themselves.


#29 kowalskil

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Posted 25 October 2011 - 04:22 PM

Yes, rich people always want to be richer and richer. This is unfortunate; no one knows how to stop this, without taking away constructive motivation. What fraction of Bill Gates' fortune is consumed and what fraction is productively invested? My guess is that the first fraction is much less than 10%, and that he is not a rare exception.

What do the organizers of the OWS movement have to offer us? Consider a complex machine which works but not perfectly. Anyone can destroy it; no advanced knowledge is usually needed to accomplish this. But one has to be highly knowledgeable in order to repair it, or to design a better replacement. I am thinking about sophisticated engines, airplanes, TV sets, X ray scanners, computers, airconditioners, oil refineries, etc.

The same is true for an economic system. No system is perfect; but some are more efficient than others. Trying to destroy US capitalism  without offering something better is likely to create a lot of misery. I am thinking about what Lenin and Stalin did, as decribed in my two short books. These books are now freely available online; the links are at:

http://pages.csam.mo...lski/links.html

Note that even now, one hundred years after the Soviet revolution, standards of living in Russia are much lower than in the US, and in other western countries.

Ludwik Kowalski (see Wikipedia)
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Ludwik Kowalski, author of a free ON-LINE book entitled “Diary of a Former Communist: Thoughts, Feelings, Reality.”

http://csam.montclai...life/intro.html

a testimony based on a diary kept between 1946 and 2004 (in the USSR, Poland, France and the USA).

The more people know about proletarian dictatorship the less likely will they experience is. Please share the link with those who might be interested, especially with young people, and with potential reviewers. Thank you.

#30 Enterprise

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Posted 25 October 2011 - 10:18 PM

Yes, rich people always want to be richer and richer. This is unfortunate; no one knows how to stop this, without taking away constructive motivation. What fraction of Bill Gates' fortune is consumed and what fraction is productively invested? My guess is that the first fraction is much less than 10%, and that he is not a rare exception.

What do the organizers of the OWS movement have to offer us? Consider a complex machine which works but not perfectly. Anyone can destroy it; no advanced knowledge is usually needed to accomplish this. But one has to be highly knowledgeable in order to repair it, or to design a better replacement. I am thinking about sophisticated engines, airplanes, TV sets, X ray scanners, computers, airconditioners, oil refineries, etc.

The same is true for an economic system. No system is perfect; but some are more efficient than others. Trying to destroy US capitalism  without offering something better is likely to create a lot of misery. I am thinking about what Lenin and Stalin did, as decribed in my two short books. These books are now freely available online; the links are at:

http://pages.csam.mo...lski/links.html

Note that even now, one hundred years after the Soviet revolution, standards of living in Russia are much lower than in the US, and in other western countries.

Ludwik Kowalski (see Wikipedia)
.

I'm sure zizek is advocating for a return of stalinism.
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Being a dancing star isn't easy.

I'm clearly not very bright.


Christians are stupid sheep who are incapable of thinking for themselves.


#31 Mister Sulu

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Posted 25 October 2011 - 10:24 PM

Well, the Oakland PD just escalated some shit.
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How does argument this relate to a debate resolution?






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