What Do “Occupiers” Want?
The “Occupy” movement that was born with Occupy Wall Street on September 17, 2011 has forced us to face our worst fears – we (the people) now have to actually define what we want and how things should change.
This is no easy task. The temptation is to be exhaustively comprehensive like the U.S. Green Party. Here on this blog, Roger Ingalls posted 8 demands, but I can hardly imagine the leader of a protest calling to the crowd, “What do we want?” and the crowd responding, “Create a nationalized commercial bank to fund small businesses based on the prime lending rate plus overhead costs!” Roger later boiled it down (and I’m only making fun of him a little because he’s a very intelligent guy with a sense of humor) to: “Get the money out.”
While I agree with both of Roger’s posts, in one he was very specific, and in one he reduced it all to a catchy (if right on the money) slogan. In my opinion, what’s needed, for now, is sort of in between these two – a set of general policies that are clear.
As opposed to the avalanche of a platform that the Green Party has created, I myself would propose a set of policies that open up our government to voices of the people. This would differ from what the Green Party has done in that it would not say how things should be (with a few exceptions) but rather open up discussion to topics that are not allowed in our current, corporate-controlled media and government.
It’s so great that people like Roger Ingalls and members of the Green Party are working with such rigor. But I think the first step is one that is being accomplished by the Occupy movement right now – free speech.
We have not been allowed to question capitalism up until now. We have not been allowed to question its juggernautical march toward pure laissez-faire. Now, these discussions are taking place out in the open – even in Washington.
I have my own policy ideas too. But for now I want to think and listen. For the first time in my life I feel as though I can go downtown and talk about my ideas and hear those of other people. The Occupy movement IS a success, but we have to realize that we are still in phase 1. Let’s talk. Let’s share our ideas. Let’s lead by example and be tolerant and really listen to each other.
It is true that to accomplish real dialog on any kind of significant scale we will have to greatly reduce the influence of money on politics and on the media. And it is true that we will soon need much more than dialog. And in phase 2 we will need to lay out policies that represent the ideals of those of us that have the audacity to think that human-beings are more important than corporations. The specifics of how this would work are important. But let’s not jump phase 1 just because the pressure is on – from those who would have us fail.
Tom Rossi is a commentator on politics and social issues. He is a Ph.D. student in International Sustainable Development, concentrating in natural resource and economic policy. Tom greatly enjoys a hearty debate, especially over a hearty pint of Guinness.
Tom also posts on thrustblog.blogspot.com