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Battle for the Soul of Occupy

Round #3.

In this Al Jazeera video a profound discussion emerges over the question of how Occupy should deal with the 99% Spring movement. Can we co-opt the co-opters? Should we simply ignore the 99% Spring? Or do we need a more visceral response?

Watch the video and let’s discuss how Occupy can win the battle for the soul of our movement.

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42 comments on the article “Battle for the Soul of Occupy”

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zevinxcruz

THE GRAND UNIFIED STRATEGY: Seven Strategic & Interdependent Initiatives For A Massive Mobilization of Civil Society That The 99% Spring Training Thought Was Too Bold Proving Our Doubts

Synthesized by Zevin X. Cruz

The following is an integral approach to art, activ¬ism and fundamental social change partially co-created with and/or for Occupy Wall Street (OWS), the Transition Movement and the Ron Paul Libertarian faction of the Tea Party. This groundbreaking strategy has been in the works for at least 12 years since the 1999 “The Battle In Seattle”—the trigger event of the Economic Justice / Anti-Corporate Globalization Movement—which has its modern roots to Martin Luther King’s 1968 Poor People’s Campaign . It offers what’s been missing from activism for decades—a cohesive vision (The Society of the Third Millennium), coherent strategy (The SUM: The Ten Philosophical Pillars of Neo-Transcendentalism) to rally around one global demand (The Grand Imperative)—“Abolish Empire & Establish Earth Community!”—the Ultimate Goal. It succinctly synthesizes what we are against and what we are for in one short, six-word, uncomplicated yet all-encompassing sentence.

Within The SUM, is the Grand Unified Strategy (GUS) consisting of “Seven Strategic & Interdependent Initiatives for the Massive Mobilization of Civil Society.” 1) Create Counter-Institutions by assisting OWS through Bill Moyers’ Movement Action Plan (MAP). 2) Build Alternative Institutions by participating in the Transition Movement’s efforts of community resiliency through the revolutionary act of relocalization. 3) Create A Parallel Government cabinet, new President, Supreme Court and Congress consisting of 535 nationally elected citizen legislators that pledge to end the infinite growth paradigm and get money out of politics. 4) Convene A Second Constitutional Convention to propose new amendments, like The Second Bill of (Economic) Rights, draft a new Declaration of Re-Independence this time from the corporate tyranny of the economic oligarchy and a Common Ground Agenda for the people to publicly proclaim it on July 5, 2012, as the symbolic start of this nonviolent, non-cooperation Second American Revolution. 5) The Grand Ultimatum is publicly presented to launch a “Massive Mobilization of Civil Society” on the same day by “Drawing-A-Line-In-The-Sand,” once and for all, as our ultimate political leverage of government accountability through a “National Unifying Purpose” by creating a sense of urgency to accelerate all relocalization efforts in preparation for the possibility of a sustained, nationwide, general strike by November 5, 2012, (Guy Fawkes Day), and one day before the U.S. Presidential Election to unplug the machinery of the system, where our true, collective, people power lies. 6) The Cultural Creatives’ Convergence Quest (C3Q) is launch to promote a profound paradigm shift required to trigger a tipping point in this 50-project, 50-state, 5-month, cross-country, site-specific, outdoor, guerrilla art installations as a live Reality TV show of a change of consciousness campaign. When a critical mass is created and if the government still refuses to comply with the people’s last plea for comprehensive change than the greatest and most powerful unified mega-movement campaign of civil disobedience begins based on Gene Sharp’s methods of nonviolent action like: 7) The Nationwide General Strike that countdowns in a strategically staggered withdrawal of the system in the following proposed manner:

Mon, Nov. 5, 2012—Day 1: SOCIAL Noncooperation (school strikes, boycott of sport events); Tues, Nov. 6—Day 2: PO-LITICAL Noncooperation (withdraw consent to demonstrate the illegitimacy of government authority by boycotting the U.S. Presidential Election); Wed, Nov. 7—ECONOMIC Noncooperation (withholding of labor and non-essential ser-vices)—all done until the government complies with our demands or forced to relinquish their power in a peaceful political purge of Congress, the Presidency and the Supreme Court that finally commences the creation of Earth Community But in order to coalesce all of the fragmented alternatives into a unified vision we need to give Earth Community a name that underscores sustainability in a new post-carbon era, one suggestion is the Society of the Third Millennium (S3K).

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dravazed

Organized labor has been supportive of Occupy. This isn't cynicism and it isn't opportunism; our interests and theirs genuinely merge in our recognition of ourselves and each other as members of the 99%. There's no need to recount labor's long experience with struggles and the kinds of skills they have garnered from that process. They have been a help to Occupy, and that help has been reciprocated in many locales and instances (Oakland being a prime example).

That's the positive side. The negative side is that labor is a faint shadow of what it was 40 years ago. It used to have real power in this country. Its downfall was in no way inevitable, but labor became corrupted by its own lies--the central one of which was "Democrats are the friends of labor." It would take a book to detail the ways and events that constitute the longest-running abusive relationship in American political history, as labor persisted in calling 'friends' the very entity that was crushing its power and dismantling its protections under law. I will accordingly note just two relatively recent, illustrative examples.

Bill Clinton, "The Big Dog," is to this day regarded as some kind of pal to labor. This, notwithstanding the fact that more than any other single American politician, he was the point man for globalized capital. GAAT, NAFTA, WTO, repeal of Glass-Steagall, the Enron scandal, Telecommunications Act...the list could go on and on. In every way, he moved to strip the 99% of protections from the predations of capitalists. The resulting privatization, outsourcing, relocations, unemployment, and collapse of entire industries, devastated millions of working people's lives. Big Dog, indeed--and it was labor that got most savagely torn apart.

Let's not overlook the other partner in that great duo. Another man who gets applause whenever he shows up, is Al Gore. Ah yes, Al the Pal. Recall with me, if you will, when labor exerted itself to its maximum extent, calling in every debt and favor for which it was owed, in a fateful effort to keep the US Congress from granting Preferred Trading Status to mainland China. So great was labor's exertion, that against all expectations the US Senate was exactly tied. So what then transpired? The US Constitution provides that in such a case, the Vice President of the United States, acting as President pro tem of the Senate, casts the tie-breaking vote. Up steps Al, the people's tribune, man of the common good...and casts the deciding vote in favor of the Great Walmart of China. Goodbye, jobs. Goodbye, standard of living. Goodbye, human rights and workplace protections. Goodbye, goodbye. Gee, thanks, Al--you're swell. Al the pal, still applauded by labor.

What is the point of all this? Well, it's that labor is completely captive to its own lies. This is the effective, working meaning of 'deluded' and it approaches the hallucinatory. Labor has been feeding the hand that ties the noose for its neck so long, that it doesn't know anything else. Laughably but also tragically, this is portrayed as some sort of "realism," and as a course that must be taken because there's nothing else to be done. Lie upon lie upon lie, decade after decade, with predictable results.

This brings us up to the present, with the 99% Spring. Labor has been a friend, and is now looking for some solidarity. Unfortunately, it isn't the solidarity of its struggles with the bosses, but complicity with its own suicide-on-the-installment-plan. There has been genuine shock as labor has discovered Occupiers were not taken in by the false face of their fake friends. There is chagrin and the usual banal cliches about "voting for Republicans by default" and "serving Rove's purposes," as the binary blinders of labor ensure that it would never, ever, step out on its own.

Occupy is nothing if not independent. We did not and do not wait for masters to give us the go-ahead to dissent, rebel, or create. Labor, unfortunately, has lost the spine that enabled its own emergence into power. Having been fitted for tiny shoes, its bound feet make it impossible to walk on its own--much less, confidently stride ahead and forge a future with real allies. Today, of course, the rot in the country has gone so far that we are all imperiled, and there indeed is real danger upon us. Even so, the one thing we can be sure of is that doing things as before, is simply the guarantee of further calamity.

What should Occupiers do about the 99% Spring? Recognize there are some fine people there, some new activists who will learn useful skills, and that some resultant actions will be worthy of our participation and assistance. We should enthusiastically cooperate in efforts that challenge the 1%, because that's what we have been doing from the beginning. What we will *not* do, is let this all be turned into reelection of the very elements that have brought our nation to the edge of the cliff. We do not have to enable labor in its lemming march towards extinction, notwithstanding the rhetoric of "realism." It is this faux realism that has brought us to the present crisis, and Occupation is a splash of wake-up for anyone who is sleepwalking.

We have something to offer each other, but it is a false friend who offers his alcoholic buddy another drink in order to go along and keep things superficially happy. Labor has a lot to offer Occupy, but it is false respect to echo the incantations of business-as-usual. Real friends don't vote for servants of the 1%, the boss, the ruling class. By whatever name, these are the enemies of democracy, peace, and the hopes of common people. Let genuine, independent progressives contest the electoral field under their own power and banner, or abandon it as a rigged and hopeless contest; either way, this is preferable to being a partner to mutual destruction.

All Power to the People.

Anonymous

UNITED WE STAND!

Where they have interests in common, should not grass-roots unions be the natural friends of Occupy? For it is not a question of member-led unions taking over the movement - but working in partnership.
Adbusters should be on the alert for union-busters.

Anonymous

Of course, almost all things must start with an open dialogue. That dialogue must be devoid of racism, prejudice, and all other forms of hatred, focusing on the masses and the collective good of society. As I said, finding middle ground and compromise.

When you think about compromise, is it not a cornerstone and keystone of many things relating to life? Is it not the potential cornerstone of democracy as well? What about partnerships? Marriage? Day to day interactions with co-workers or peers? Yet many do not realize how deeply woven this one concept is within life itself. The same type of compromise/give and take is quite evident in nature as well.

Failure to relate and understand such interpersonal relationship skills reduces people to mere squabbling children, self centered and intent on their own gains and manipulations of self interest. This is counter productive to peace and harmony. If one must always win, then another must always loose. This is the beauty of compromise; it's a solution that allows all to win. The world is bigger than all of us, and all people should win. Compromise on the most base level allows this.

If more people understood and practiced such skills, there is nothing that we couldn't accomplish working together, no matter the size of the group of people involved. This is the awakening that must happen, on a global scale, not just within the United States. If we, as a nation within the United States could accomplish this simple task, then we could affect the world for the better, simply through the changes we made to our government.

James Sanders
Veteran of Dessert Shield/Dessert Storm

Anonymous

Oh great, now we get to be treated to veterans telling us what we've been saying all along as if it is some kind of new insight garnered through the experience of slaughtering millions of people.

If you have a moment to spare from your continuous daily "epiphanies" Mr. "Veteran of Dessert Shield/Dessert Storm" , do you think you could tell us all how it feels to come to the realization that you contributed to the massacre of untold swathes of innocent people all at the behest of top people who very obviously prove every day that they don't give two shits about you nor the high-minded bullshit they they pissed out?

Anonymous

Yes what is it about this new class of "veterans" that demands such pity and support for the horrors they endured when they are all people who chose to join the military?
Sure they are entitled to their opinion but when boo-hoo-ing over the lack of support they are receiving after consenting to be trained to take part in killing missions and then, surprise, being sent out to kill confounds me a little.
One could easily say it was a far different situation for Vietnam vets who were conscripted. And it was a different time back then. These Desert Storm-Desert Shield people, even when tossing those ridiculously trite labels around in relation to the cooked-up, trumped-up PR driven so-called "wars" they agreed to participate in, are hypocrites. What did they expect when they joined the military? Fairness and compromise?

Anonymous

Fairness and compromise? How about this question for you. What did you REALLY know at 18? That's right. When I joined, I joined at that age. I didn't have privilege of large sums of cash to go to college for a secondary education. I had a basic two choices as the result. I could go factory type work and rot away for life, or I could go military and maybe get training that I couldn't afford to pay for on my own. I wanted more than a dead end factory life, so I made my choice. You also, like your above counterpart, seem to think life is a vacuum and people cannot change I guess. Let me ask you something else. Are you perfect? You have not made choices you later regret? Should we all hold those choices above YOUR head for the rest of your life because you were young and naive at one point? Or are you too perfect never succumbing to such situations? If so I congratulate you. Once again, as I asked of the above person attacking me, can we get back to standing side by side on the REAL issues? I also see no place that I asked for anything. I suggested a potential solution, and it's people just like you and the above that PREVENT people from banding together for common good because of the blame you want to toss around.

Malina L.K.

What bothers me about your answer in regards to "...this new class of veterans...". They are no different than other vets, I imagine. What disappoints me is in your elitist response. And you're fighting the 1%? James never boo-hooed over anything...he stated facts. I would expect this kind of response from the right, from the I don't give a damn group and certainly not from Occupiers.
Yes, the wars are propaganda that you and I disagree with. Does that give you the right to disrespect him and others who believed they were doing the 'right' thing JUST LIKE YOU believe you're doing the 'right' thing by being an Occupier and having others routinely and alternately laughing at YOU, calling YOU names, accusing YOU of being a non-bather and so many more iniquities. Right now, the only hypocrite in the room...is YOU. As an Occupier, I am repulsed by your snobbish attitude and I hope you are capable of seeing this and tweaking your attitude just a bit. I have spent the last 5 months fighting the system, trying to FIX this mess like YOU...but with this kind of attitude, we're not going to get anywhere. You don't have to thank him for his service (to me that's just lip service meaning very little) but you sure shit don't have to be degrading to him for his choices. Would it suit you better if he were a wall street trader? Would that make more sense to you? Hey baby, we can't all be perfect thinking, judgmental little minds, wrapped in our own superiority over others inferiority to ours, now can we? Maybe you would be better suited in a position of power where you can espouse your personal superiority over others; okay Mr. Romney? Learn from the people you rally against rather than emulating them!

Anonymous

Well, how about we start with this, I was not a "career" military member. If you know your history, then you will know that Desert Shield/Storm was many years ago. I also guess you live in a vacuum. I'd also suggest the hatred you quite well expose in your words given my initial words were about the compromise and coming together of people to change the very things you just suggested in your own words. However, I guess you missed those points? It is quite clear that people like you pushing judgement and accusation, when someone is reaching out to right their own wrongs or help right the system, are part of the lynch pins that keep the people from joining together and triggering change. Now, in your infinite wisdom to attack me, further perpetuating the divide and conquer that government and media perpetrate, can we get back to standing side by side against the REAL issues? A government that is out of control and corrupt? Thanks.

James Sanders

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