Skip to main content

No. Full Stop. And here's why (excerpted):

So I’ve been tweeting up a storm today on the question of whether #OccupyWallStreet needs to compile a formal list of demands. (Spoiler alert: Nope.)...

The Montgomery bus boycott started out demanding a line separating the whites in the front of the bus from the blacks in the rear, so that black patrons wouldn’t have to give up their seats when the white section filled up. (Rosa Parks was seated legally when she sat down.) Mario Savio made no demands at all in the most famous speech in the history of the American student movement. Malcolm X’s demands shifted weekly, sometimes hourly, and the suffragist and abolitionist movements both encompassed vast, unwieldy coalitions.

I should say, I guess, that I’m not anti-demands in principle. If you happen to be fighting a narrow, single-issue, clearly-defined campaign, then by all means articulate what you’re looking to get. But if you’re not — and Occupy Wall Street isn’t — then any demands you put forward will serve a tactical purpose, and the question of what to demand has to be preceded by a discussion of whether it serves your interests to make any demands at all....

What’s going to change the dynamic in Washington DC, if anything will, is the continued growth of this movement. If you want to see Occupy Wall Street lead to a transaction tax, you want the movement to grow. If you want it to compel the demise of the legal concept of corporate personhood, you want the movement to grow. If you want it to overthrow global capitalism, you want the movement to grow.

It won’t grow if it’s completely contentless, of course. But it’s not contentless now. The General Assembly passed a “declaration of occupation” a few nights ago, and there’s some real meat there. I said in a recent blogpost that it was my sense that pretty much everyone in Liberty Plaza thought “that something was seriously broken in the American economy, that something was seriously broken in American politics, and that an accelerating concentration of wealth and power in the hands of a small minority was at the root of most of of that brokenness,” and none of the many people who’ve read or linked to that post have yet disagreed. If you think OWS has no message, you’re just not paying attention.

The OWS critique of our current national (and global) crisis will continue to unfold. Those discussions are ongoing, in a zillion venues. And I’m not convinced that this movement is any less coherent right now than the suffragists at the turn of the century or the lunch-counter sit-in crowd in the spring of 1960 or the London demonstrators over the last few months.

And at any rate the crucial task for Occupy Wall Street right now isn’t coherence, any more than it’s the articulation of specific demands. It’s resonance as an idea, as a movement.

You don’t win by making demands. You win by taking power or forcing power to bend. Either way your stated demands are peripheral to the outcome — what you demand has only the vaguest relationship to what you win.

Cross-posted at Plutocracy Files.

Originally posted to PlutocracyFiles on Mon Oct 03, 2011 at 03:35 AM PDT.

Also republished by Occupy Wall Street.

Your Email has been sent.
You must add at least one tag to this diary before publishing it.

Add keywords that describe this diary. Separate multiple keywords with commas.
Tagging tips - Search For Tags - Browse For Tags


More Tagging tips:

A tag is a way to search for this diary. If someone is searching for "Barack Obama," is this a diary they'd be trying to find?

Use a person's full name, without any title. Senator Obama may become President Obama, and Michelle Obama might run for office.

If your diary covers an election or elected official, use election tags, which are generally the state abbreviation followed by the office. CA-01 is the first district House seat. CA-Sen covers both senate races. NY-GOV covers the New York governor's race.

Tags do not compound: that is, "education reform" is a completely different tag from "education". A tag like "reform" alone is probably not meaningful.

Consider if one or more of these tags fits your diary: Civil Rights, Community, Congress, Culture, Economy, Education, Elections, Energy, Environment, Health Care, International, Labor, Law, Media, Meta, National Security, Science, Transportation, or White House. If your diary is specific to a state, consider adding the state (California, Texas, etc). Keep in mind, though, that there are many wonderful and important diaries that don't fit in any of these tags. Don't worry if yours doesn't.

You can add a private note to this diary when hotlisting it:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary from your hotlist?
Are you sure you want to remove your recommendation? You can only recommend a diary once, so you will not be able to re-recommend it afterwards.
Rescue this diary, and add a note:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary from Rescue?
Choose where to republish this diary. The diary will be added to the queue for that group. Publish it from the queue to make it appear.

You must be a member of a group to use this feature.

Add a quick update to your diary without changing the diary itself:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary?
(The diary will be removed from the site and returned to your drafts for further editing.)
(The diary will be removed.)
Are you sure you want to save these changes to the published diary?

Comment Preferences

  •  No list! (5+ / 0-)

    The only reason they want a list of demands is so they can swat them down one by one with false facts and circular arguments. I want Wall St. reform! But there's a lot more than that. Corruption of DC by Wall St. $$ is a huge problem. We all know these things. Where's our single payer health care? Why does Monsanto get to ruin our food chain with their genetic crap and their hormones and their antibiotics? How come we can't fix our own roads and bridges, but we have endless piles of cash to waste in other countries, (where no oversight allows crooked corporations to pocket the money without doing the work?)

    If we were to make a list of demands, every crooked politician and RW pundit would be falling over the others to ridicule each and every one of them. This movement is for us, the 99%, who have been thrown into the ditch by the ruling class, the wealthiest and most powerful elite donors to the Washington lawmakers. Are you tired of corporate lobbyists writing the laws and then handing them to congress to be passed? Me too. Do we need private for profit schools getting money from the public school funds? This sucks. I am the 99%. We are finally awakened.  

    BTW, check out the latest on the hateful Koch Bros., they are extremely corrupt and do not follow the laws.

    Things are more the way they are today than they ever were before. -Jimmy Flynn

    by onionjim on Mon Oct 03, 2011 at 04:09:03 AM PDT

  •  Not yet. (3+ / 0-)

    Complaints, yes. Lots of complaints.

  •  No Demands.... (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    PlutocracyFiles, Charlie Grapski

    "It's not a protest, it's a demonstration."
    No Leaders....
    "We don't need no Steenkin badges."
    No "Allies"....
    We are the 99%, you are already with us.

    I was once a treehouse, I lived in a cake, but I never saw the way the orange slayed the rake... The Llama Song.

    by farmerchuck on Mon Oct 03, 2011 at 05:44:14 AM PDT

  •  Wish I had a 100 recommends (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    PlutocracyFiles, Renee

    with which to endorse this-but one will have to do.

    The folks who are going "but what do they WANT?" already goddam know what we want.

    The rest is details in how to get there-

    Leaders are responsible for providing those details, (spoiler alert) and they already know what to do. They simply have lacked the will.

    OccupyWallStreet is the will.

    •  Wish I had multiple recommends for this. (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      boadicea, PlutocracyFiles

      Exactly. When President Obama said make me do it, I'm certain he wasn't thinking about this. But this will provide that pressure. We already tried raising our voices in the healthcare debate not only by calling and writing, but dammit, we polled overwhelmingly for a significant change. It seemed that no one could hear us. But people are hearing us now.

      Poverty = politics.

      by Renee on Mon Oct 03, 2011 at 08:48:32 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  It's about Democracy, not a list (3+ / 0-)

    A fundamental issue is that our government serving the wants of big business instead of the needs of the people.

    look for my eSci diary series Thursday evening. "Forgive them; for they know not what they do."

    by FishOutofWater on Mon Oct 03, 2011 at 06:26:26 AM PDT

  •  Damn right no lists! (3+ / 0-)

    Fuck lists and fuck RW pundits too!  Not only are they the 1% but only 1% of our 300,000,000 Americans even waste their time on the most highest rated of all RW propagandists, Bill O'Really:

    I welcome their ridicule the same way FDR welcomed their hate.  So it's not RW ridicule that keeps me from supporting lists.  Besides, won't they just as easily ridicule a lack of lists?  Instead, it's that I'm simply fed up with lists.  Of course I only speak for myself (and a few friends) but I'm done with pin-pointing the problems while hoping our elected problem solvers get on the ball.    

    Where did the lists of 2008 lead us?  Where is true healthcare, true regulations on Wall Street, the end of the Bush tax cuts, the true end of our illegal occupation of Iraq.  (Yeah, I know "combat troops" are gone, but guess what, combat won't be until all of our troops are back home!)

    Thanks to Republican oligarchs, Blue Dog traitors and Obama's own eagerness to compromise at every turn, lists have become meaningless.  

    Again, speaking for myself, but I'm sick of it all.  I'm sick of watching this country slip into second rate status.  I'm sick of the general feel of helplessness.  The feel of each of our respective American Dreams slipping away.  The feel that "hope and change" was simply the catch phrase that scored best amongst test audiences. The feel that a brand new catch phrase is being worked on right now before being unleashed at the next summer olympics and used ad nauseam until the first tuesday after the first monday in November.  

    For me at least, this is the time to vent.  (Peacefully of course!)

    The only demands I care about will be on the handmade signs of others.  My brothers and sisters who join me in voicing my displeasure while I voice theirs. While we all voice the displeasure of the 99%.

  •  Yes: ONE - real DEMOCRACY (0+ / 0-)

    Not the myth of one.

Subscribe or Donate to support Daily Kos.

Click here for the mobile view of the site