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MurphTheSurf3 On November - 7 - 2011

We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defense, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America. (The Preamble to the Constitution of the United States, 1787)

The Nature of OWS
There is such a sad feeling in this country now that our government seems to have completely failed us. Justice. Domestic Tranquility. Common Defense. General Welfare. Blessings of Liberty. All seemingly gone or vanishing. It’s been coming for a long time. 2008 is our generation’s 1929.

And for nearly three years, the proposed remedy to the meltdown in the economy has been less of everything……less service, less education, less support, less building, for the 99 percent and less regulations and less taxes for the 1 Percent and the rest of the Top 5 Percent.

Occupy Wall Street has changed the conversation. Until now Big Money associated with the Conservative Right and Represented by the GOP has controlled the conversation and Democrats have fallen in line with much of the media accepting their script. It was deficits 24/7. Those to the Left, the Populists, the Progressives moaned, groaned, complained and argued. But to little effect.

And then the Occupy Movement emerged: a true populist group, not prepackaged, not co-opted, not sponsored, not bought and paid for. It was authentic, angry, disorganized and messy.

But what became clear was that the Occupiers were connecting with and activating a lot of people, inspiring them to snap out of their apathy and to demand change. If all they accomplished is to reestablish a sensibility amongst most Americans that we need serious changes in the way the wealthy and their corporations control our nation and its economy; and that we need to reverse the real class warfare that has transferred huge amounts of power and wealth from the middle and lower classes to those who were already wealthy and powerful, then we will have a voting public pushing candidates to either follow them or be swept aside. Then substantial, fundamental change will really come.

Who speaks for the Movement? No one and every one. There is a unique character to the OWS movement. Born out of social networking, it has a unique sense of “we” and “us”. The Occupiers sincerely don’t want and would distrust anyone who became the voice or face of OWS because they see it as communal. For them “official representation” is seen as a form of disrespect for the primary character of the movement. Furthermore, putting the movement into a few hands makes them the target for smears, attacks and easy labeling which in turn reflects on the Movement.

So what do they want? What does the Occupy Movement stand for? The core idea is pretty evident: The injustice of the rich and powerful 1% rigging the system against the 99%. It is important that the rest of the messeage be as succinct and clear; and be limited in scope and realistic. The Movement needs to define A) What is Wrong, B) What Needs to be Done, C) How Do We Do It?

So far the Common Ground that has emerged is that the great economic and social injustice has been perpetrated on and then hidden from us. This reality is being made known and taken to heart. With knowledge comes resolve to remedy the injustice. The remeedy will require Legislative, Judicial and Executive Action.

If Occupy hopes to effect those changes it wants, the Occupiers must depend on the system that we have. Sidestepping it will accomplish nothing but worn shoe-leather, nights in jail, and soggy rain-soaked sloganeers. They have to work with what we have. Political involvement is imperative by the movement at large in the coming months.

The most effective and expeditions way to do this is to identify leaders in government and in business who share the Movement’s core values and push them forward as leaders for the 99 Percent who share the Movement’s goals.

Among the most important specific goals are:
A) Insist that Every Government Effort be Shaped and Promoted as Work for the Majority
B) Get the Big and Secretive Money out of the Electoral Process beginning with efforts to expand disclosure and transparency in funding and to overturn Citizens United.
C) Restore an Appropriate Level of Taxation for the Wealthy and the Big Corporations.
D) Rebuild the industrial, manufacturing, commercial base focusing on small and midsize business and jobs

All of this needs to be accessible in a Declaration of Principles and Aims that will be the common reference point for those of, with, and for the Occupy Movement.

Occupy started as a social networking movement, and that remains central to its identity. Occupations take place in the “Real” and “Virtual” worlds. Keeping both alive is essential to the Movement. Twitter feeds, blogs, websites, satellite and network presence will remain linked to folks living in tents, gathering in assemblies, making speeches and homemade signs, marching and chanting. The sites are the Ethernet, the World Wide Web, city parks, banks, corporate headquarters, centers of political power, small towns and large cities. What is now needed is a blueprint as to next steps. Some thoughts:

1) Within the Next 10 Days. Hold a “Moving On” Rally to close the Movements “First Season” in every city/town where an Occupy Event has taken place, large or small. Feature The Declaration, strong grass roots speakers, creative signs, singing/chanting, a march to a symbolic place and then a closing in a gesture of solidarity. Negotiate with city governments to avoid confrontation. If necessary shrink the size of the encampment to a manageable level.

2) Maintain an encampment in the Big Cities where possible: Washington, New York, Atlanta, Los Angelos, Seattle (and any others where a local group is willing to organize). Rotate Occupiers as needed. Have big gathering days (one night/day a week or on key dates). The rest can be smaller and symbolic. Make a national call for sleeping bags, blankets, tarps, heavy clothing, etc. to see the people through the cold with collection centers; for money donations; get a Credit Union to manage the funds donated

3) Call for a National March/Occupation In Washington in Mid-June. Schools will be out. The weather will be cooperative. Time it to match the Congressional Calendar to be sure the House and Senate will be in Session (and when they announce the date tie it to that Calendar so that any change by the members hoping to avoid the Occupation will be labeled as the cowardice it would be).
– While encouraging everyone who can to get to DC, encourage smaller in-solidarity-with occupations as part of the whole plan.
– Set up meetings with individual members of Congress and the President.
– The pivotal moment in the Occupation should be at the Capitol with a formal presentation of the Declaration to representatives of the national government. It will be interesting who shows up and who doesn’t. Presence or absence will make a statement.
– Make a special effort to get the MSM pulled into the event. Involve them from the first. Plan for maximum coverage: think visually. Keep to your announced and widely disseminated schedule. Have designated spokespersons available at organizing centers with prepared materials ready for distribution.
– Use the assembly model to plan out the next six months focusing on the national elections aiming to turn the Movement into Occupy the Election.

Tactics: A Code for Common Occupation
To be effective those who respond to the call to occupy will need to know what to do and what not to do.
– Remember everyone is watching. Supporters watch to be inspired. Opponents watch to find proof of fraud, ignoble behavior, or sinister motives.
– No drugs and very moderate alcohol use.
– In signs, posters, slogans and chants be clever without being gross.
– Follow the leaders: agree to abide by the decisions made in the assemblies
– Movement leaders (with help) must teach and insist upon the ways of non-violence in word and deed in what they do as they encamp and march, and in how they react to the behavior of others (the crowds, the provocateurs, the anarchists, the police). Violence on their part will feed into the right wing’s image of the Movement and give officials and the police excuses to crack down.
– Think defensively. Backpacks with heavy cloth soaked in water, swimmer goggles and bike helmets will provide nonthreatening protection to those caught up in a tear gas, flash bang grenades, pepper spray and batons assaults.
– Keeping to the Encampments at Night. No night movement. No night demonstrations. That is where/when the trouble happens. That is when it is easiest for things to get out of control and for over-reaction on both sides to escalate. That is when provocateurs on both sides can work their deviltry cloaked by darkness and confusion.
– Consider using some of the donated cash to hire a reputable security firm to provide protection, protect the encampment areas from thieves and vandals, assist organizers in keeping order, and in liaison work with the police.

A Word About Authorship: This piece is the result of the work of a small group of “vets” of the Civil Rights and Anti-War Movements working on-line, and done in cooperation with the Occupy Organizing Committees in Two Cities. Members of the PlanetPOV community contributed a number of ideas to the work. With thanks to AdLib, Adonai, Chernynkaya, Emerald1943, Foodchain, KillgoreTrout, Sabreen60, and SueinCalifornia

Written by MurphTheSurf3

Proud to be an Independent Progressive. I am a progressive- a one time Eisenhower Republican who is now a Democrat. I live in a very RED STATE and am a community activist with a very BLUE AGENDA. Historian, and "Gentleman Farmer."

83 Responses so far.

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  1. MurphTheSurf3 says:

    5,000 to 35,000 on the streets of NYC….

  2. MurphTheSurf3 says:

    Occupy lives.

  3. MurphTheSurf3 says:

    ONE WEEK LATER…The Movement is Moving but Where?

    It’s been a week since this article was published. In that week the headlines have shifted to coverage of growing efforts to end the encampments for safety, and health reasons.

    Efforts by Occupiers seem to have become focused on maintaining their camps that is a tactic of and not a goal for the movement. There have been a number of sad events in and around the camps in the last 10 days and even though some are unrelated to Occupy action their proximity to a camp connects them. Movement leadership is hoping to set up encampments on college campuses that is being resisted by colleges and that does not seem to be a great for the group given its “Wall Street” mission.

    When I was deeply involved in the Civil Rights movement, we were regularly reminded that our strategy was not THE story. When marches were called off, or demonstrations postponed, or strikes shortened, and we registered disappointment or anger, we were told that these actions were levers to use in the promotion of our well stated priorities and that if they ever became the focus of our efforts then they became obstacles to progress.

    This article has been widely discussed here. I appreciate the many comments both supportive and challenging. Unfortunately, the thinking it represents has not been the subject of much discussion among the Occupiers, nor have other efforts to engage their amorphous leadership in discussion regarding broader, long term strategy.

    Next steps? It has been suggested that the OWS Movement has identified and gathered a number of like minded persons who are deeply unhappy with many aspects of American and Global life and the movement should be understood as a reservoir of activism and principle. This seems to be a healthy, practical approach that invites the like minded to work together. And is accepting of those who do not want to take that approach.

    OFA, Unions, Voter Drives have already taken this approach inviting Occupy Movement participants to link up with its efforts via twitter, facebook, website sign ups with some success. Tying into the anger, disillusionment, and demands of individual Occupiers without expecting group behavior to fit into a well defined agenda or a set of concrete goals makes the best of the situation.

    I and a number of my friends will continue to donate materials and services on a case by case basis, and to participate in meaningful events.

  4. MurphTheSurf3 says:


    Here is what I am hearing…..

    IT’S GOING WRONG BUT THERE IS STILL TIME….As much as the heart of the movement is in the right place, as real as the movement’s issues are, as authentic as the nature of the protest is….the lack of centralize­d planning and internal legitimate authority is really wearing thin. Long term sit-in protests hardly ever work out. They are too hard to manage and provide too many opportunit­ies to go wrong. The fault can lie with the police, with the organizers­, with malcontent­s, with provocateu­rs., with outside agitators.­…doesn’t matter….­IT GOES WRONG. Time to negotiate a small, space and participan­t limited ongoing occupy with period bigger events in the form of rallies, teach-ins, marches, symbolic actions. And then plan on a mega DC event.


    • Emerald1943 says:

      Hi Murph! I trust you are well!

      Yes, I have thoughts…as usual! :-)

      This is getting to be like herding cats!

      We’ve talked about this before. You can march, carry signs and chant slogans until you’re blue in the face. It won’t do a bit of good if the politicians don’t get behind the demands (when OWS finally gets them together).

      I believe my worst fears for the OWS movement are soon to be realized. Cold weather and longevity without appreciable results will hasten its demise. Nothing has actually happened to stop the Wall Street crooks, bring jobs, help out students with loans, stop the foreclosures, etc., that is, except for what the President has been doing! I don’t understand this refusal to stay out of the politics. The media will not maintain coverage for much longer. In fact, there has been a decrease in reporting except for the problems in Oakland. The TV audience is only interested in drama.

      If you are able to bring any influence on the movement, let them know that they are about to waste the best hope we’ve had in decades to actually bring about change in Washington that would benefit us all. Please don’t misunderstand me…I’m as idealistic as anyone out there. I’m just trying to be realistic.

      Can there be a change from this “consensus” thing to a more practical approach? Some way to actually make a decision on a list of demands/goals for the movement? If not, I fear the same thing as you do.

      The protesters who have doubled down on staying for the winter are to be admired for their stamina! I’m sure it’s not easy when the weather turns bad. It would be a shame for their misery to go unrewarded because of disorganization in the movement itself. It would also be a shame for the movement to die out before the big event in Washington can even take place.

      At some point, leaders must take control of the message and develop a plan. I would have to agree with you about a smaller presence for the winter, even procuring indoor facilities for really bad weather. We don’t want anyone getting hypothermia out there.

      Sorry to sound like a broken record…but IMO, this is the bottom line.

  5. MurphTheSurf3 says:

    Occupy’s A**hole Problem: Flashbacks from An Old Hippie


    Fits in very well with the post’s Tactics: A Code for Common Occupation

    I am forwarding it to a dozen or so in the midst of it all to read and consider.

    • foodchain says:

      Hey Murph, I’m so interested in this. Your link talked about what we did wrong so many years ago. We should have paid attention to this process or that but I find that Vietnam was so intense that, while it was the right protest, it’s not the right example. We were not the victims back then, the draftees were and they, due to political hype, were also our enemy in terms of being part of the war—misguided as that was. The crowd control and intervention strategies are very timely and correct. But here’s the real deal. It’s not about the victims!!!! In a normal case, the victim complains and the situation is settled personally or through the legal (read legislative) system. This is as it should be. But we are all focused on the victim rather than the perp. Why are you unemployed? Was your skirt too short? Why couldn’t you become rich? What’s wrong with you? Why isn’t the perpetrator part of this scenario? Because the MSM has created the wrong message, but MOST IMPORTANTLY, the OWS isn’t putting it out there.

      If you are abused, you accuse and bring to trial your abuser. The abuser is on trial, not the victim. If children are starved, you bring the complaint forward. The children aren’t blamed, the parents or institution are blamed. But the MSM now has us looking at the victim rather than the perp. And the 99% are stuck looking at their process rather than laying the actionable strategies where they truly belong.

      Make no mistake: this OWS cannot be about victims and their process. It MUST be about Congress as they hold they only ability that we have to change this. Our dynamic of worrying about police brutality, about drugs, about permits, about injuries only keeps the focus on the weak and unempowered. We must shift this to the elected officials. IT IS THEIR JOB. There is a reason the weak stay weak. Let us not do that again ever.

      • MurphTheSurf3 says:

        I hear you. As one of those in the crowds in the 1960’s we were focused on the Military Industrial Complex, American Imperialism, Warmongering, AS LONG AS our own asses were on the line. The most brilliant move by the MIC, Big Government and American Jingoism was to end the draft and then make voluntary enlistment very tempting to the poor and almost poor. We fight our wars with those who are willing to take the risks associated with being in uniform in exchange for the promised payoffs. The Other Side is clever.

        What you point to in your comment seems strangely familiar. Turn the focus on the protestors and not what is at the heart of the protest. The trick is how to keep the focus on those who put us in this mess while still taking care of the protestors to assure their effectiveness. One very much affects the other.

        SO how to do both….that’s the challenge.

    • Emerald1943 says:

      Murph, I like the ideas. This was something I was thinking about the other night when we were discussing how to protect protesters in Oakland…forming a circle around the offenders. It might be dangerous if they are violent though.

      • MurphTheSurf3 says:

        There are a number of initiatives that are now being circulated in regard to this and other long term efforts to keep control of the crowds.

  6. bito says:

    Break-Out Group Discussions for Sunday 11/6 General Assembly: Demands.

    We demand a massive, democratically-controlled public works and public service program, with direct government employment, to create 25 million new jobs at good union wages. This is to be paid for by new taxes on the wealth and income of the rich, on financial transactions, and on corporate profits, by reinstatement of the Glass-Steagall Act, as well as by ending all U.S. wars, disbanding mercenaries, ending aid to authoritarian regimes, and closing overseas military bases. The new jobs will aim to radically expand access to education, healthcare, housing, mass transit, and clean energy – and are to be open to all, regardless of immigration status or criminal record.


    • KQuark says:

      IDK some of this sounds like the liberal overreach that happened in Greece and Spain that ultimately led to unemployment close to 20% and financial ruin.

      • MurphTheSurf3 says:

        I spent an hour today at another blog arguing with a person who argued that Universal Health Care should have been the litmus test for the Obama Presidency. Better to have no Health Care Act than to have one that was limited. I pointed out that six presidents have wanted to address this and could never get it off the ground. I point out that there are a dozen very significant reforms at work in the ACA. I pointed out that given the makeup of the Senate, it was as good as we could get. NOPE. Did not matter.

        Liberal Overreach.

      • Emerald1943 says:

        KQ, I would agree. This is just too scattered and vague. But as Bito pointed out, these are issues for discussion groups. “Disbanding mercenaries” and closing foreign military bases ain’t gonna’ happen without some significant changes to the DOD, but they may be fun topics to discuss. Gives people a chance to vent! :-)

        • KQuark says:

          You are right about being vague. I should not be so negative because I think setting goals is a great sign.

          • Emerald1943 says:

            KQ, I also don’t want to be viewed as negative or critical of the ideas or the energy of the movement. I simply do not want to see that immense energy wasted on pie-in-the-sky ideals that cannot be accomplished. I want to see something substantive come from this.

            There is a unique opportunity here with OWS! This may be our best hope to bring about fairness again for working people in this country.

    • MurphTheSurf3 says:

      It’s too big, too broad, too easily picked apart. Lots here I agree with but it is buckshot.

      • bito says:

        Too soft, too hard, too cold, too hard and Goldilocks ran back into the woods. It’s a discussion group with given subjects not any conclusions/declarations or a manifestos.

        • MurphTheSurf3 says:

          But if the movement is not seen as real, realistic practical, forward moving, it will have little impact and be easily dismissed as packs of unformed thinkers complaining without purpose. Time is passing very quickly. The attention they now have could fade as quickly as it came sharply into focus.

        • Emerald1943 says:

          Bito, you are right. It is a discussion, not anything carved in stone. But I am beginning to believe that unless the movement adopts some kind of political agenda, it will fade. What, after all, are they accomplishing besides p*ssing off the mayor and the police? They have done nothing to stop the evil Wall Street crooks, stop the foreclosures, or get people back to work.

          Imploding the entire system of government and finance is not going to happen, not with the current atmosphere in Washington. The next election is going to determine which way this country goes to correct its problems. I hate to see the immense power of the movement wasted on idealism that cannot translate into real changes. I would be the first to put my ideals out there…but it’s time to be realistic and practical.

          • MurphTheSurf3 says:

            He Emerald,

            Your most recent comments.
            a) The tents will be welcome, now if we can keep them up and get power for them.
            b)I buy your freedom vs. license argument (my words,not yours) but there is a deep philosophical divide in the movement on this.
            c) So many of the assemblies work by a consensus model that getting to “yes” is really hard to do.

            Keep your thoughts flowing…they spur me on.

            • Emerald1943 says:

              Murph, nothing is flowing right now! I’m pooped and will have to sleep on this!

              Hope to see you tomorrow when we can take it up again! Have a great night! :-)

          • MurphTheSurf3 says:


            In another conversation I am having with my veteran group, two issues seem paramount. 1) How can the group be organic and young moving with care through a process of discovery, and at the same time,produce a timely blueprint for change. 2) How can the group be all for freedom and impose rules on its members?

            Note: The Occupy New York Movement is setting up military type tents which are both winterized and more secure.

            • Emerald1943 says:

              Murph, I’m glad to hear that there are some good tents going up in New York. The weather there can really be bitter and I worry about people suffering from hypothermia. Mayor Bloomberg’s taking away the generators was deplorable!

              As to your questions, there will be some people who, through a sense of their own personal freedom, will resist any rules. They must realize that all functioning “groups” or societies must have rules and regulations in order to be productive. This is not my idea but is basic sociology. It would be a pity for the OWS movement to flounder in its own disorganization because of a few who cannot see the need for rules for the entire group. Take the prohibition on drugs, for example. This is for the good of the movement as well as for the individual members of the group. There is a time and place for personal freedom, but this isn’t it! This is a time when the goals of the group should take precedence. The issues are too important.

              Discussions should definitely be held and all voices heard. But there comes a time when a decision has to be made. There is something to be said for voting and the rule of the majority in deciding issues. Perhaps the group could agree on a time-line to make those decisions on the goals and demands. Then stick to it. Otherwise, you have people who would hold up the progress of the movement for their own personal issues, whatever they may be.

              I would be the first to espouse personal freedom. It’s ingrained in all of us, I believe. But with a large disparate group, those individual freedoms must not be allowed to derail the goals of the movement or to hold up its progress. That progress is, after all, what we all want.

              Sorry for these random thoughts. Hope this can help. :-)

          • bito says:

            Em, Isn’t that exactly the purpose of the ‘breakout’ discussion groups, to refine, define and hone their message? I’m a bit confused, people want a unified message, but it can’t be discussed? Saying it has to be a political message and not a policy message seems to me exactly what the MSM demands and it is a bit constraining. I agree a message needs to be pared down to some unifying message, but we need to remember this is quite an organic movement.

            • Emerald1943 says:

              Bito, yes, it is a discussion. But this is kinda’ like marching…you can do it all day long and it won’t get you “jack”. As Murph has said, we are one year out from this election and at some point, the movement will need to firm up its demands. IMO, the sooner the better. There comes a time when talking is no more good…time for some action on the issues. That is the only way that Congress will take any notice.

              I did not, in any way, mean to imply that the issues should not be discussed…but for how long? When is the message honed? We all, I think, know what the problems are.

              I am not being critical at all of the “organic” style, but it looks to me that the style has overshadowed the message. There has been plenty of criticism from MSM about the lack of message. Even today, MSNBC did a broadcast from there with thinly veiled criticism of the “hippie element”. After two months of protests, it’s time to begin to form one. I don’t want both the politicians and the MSM to ignore the movement. As things stand now, they can just sit back and ride it out without making commitments on any subject.

              Political goals, policy statements, manifesto…I really don’t care what they call it. It just needs to be, and soon.

              I think you and I are on the same page…just not sure how this should proceed!

              Thanks for your reply…you make me think!! :-)

            • MurphTheSurf3 says:

              Don’t know if we have the time for what this organic approach requires. The movement is calling for change without defining its nature. It makes it easy to dismiss the movement. I understand the problem and agree that the breakouts are important -- even essential -- but they are at odds with developing a cohesive and coherent message.

              Winter camps have begun which means the assemblies will be few and smaller.

              We are one year from the election that I am beginning to think will make or break the hope for a peaceful return to fairness.

            • bito says:

              How do you arrive at a “cohesive and coherent message” without discussion on what the message should be? Are you suggesting that it should somehow be handed down from on high and exactly who would that be? Absolutely there needs to some focus but the movement doesn’t have structure and many voices want to plea their case until they can arrive at the “cohesive and coherent message.”

              Winter camps? Are you saying that the movement is so weak that it can’t stay alive during adverse weather? Don’t tell that to the people in Wisconsin.

          • MurphTheSurf3 says:

            Among the topics that play into this are those that look for the formation of an alternative political party……all that this will do is guarantee that the plutocrats and oligarchs get their way with greater ease.

            • Emerald1943 says:

              Murph, I have to agree with you on this point. That would be a huge mistake, done with too much emotion and not enough critical thinking. I’m disgusted with both parties too, but bringing in a third party will only hurt those who DO support OWS.

              I also agree about the “organic” approach. Tree-huggers are fine, but at some point, they will need to get real.

      • Emerald1943 says:

        Murph, I was going to say that, but I didn’t want to appear to be critical of the ideas. I think it would be better to pare it down to two to four main issues.

        For example, regulation of the finance/banking industry, overturn Citizens United, initiate the infrastructure bank, ban lobbying money from Congress.

        These are “actionable” issues that get to some of the major problems that we are facing. Regulation of finance/banking could include Glass-Steagall as well as a financial transaction tax that is being discussed. Overturning Citizens United goes to campaign finance reform. The infrastructure bank provides jobs, and getting lobbying money out of Congress will insure fair legislation for the people.

        These are just my suggestions…for what it’s worth.

        IMO, demanding the closure of foreign military bases might be a good way to save money, but it ain’t gonna’ happen right now. We still have to be a little practical.

        • MurphTheSurf3 says:

          Solid, workable, and effective thinking on your part. Well done. I am taking notes.

          SMART Goals. 1 Specific; 2 Measurable; 3 Attainable; 4 Relevant; 5 Time-Bound.

          A business and education model that applies.

          • Emerald1943 says:

            Murph, my point exactly. I just hope they will try to incorporate these ideas.

            • SallyT says:

              I don’t know if this is of any value but I have noticed that many area/states have their own pressing issues to address. Perhaps each state should focus on an issue that has priorty to them and by doing it under Occupy they get attention on a cause and maybe fast results. Putting them together covers a lot because they will be addressing several issues but focus on the whole. A movement that can point to an accomplishment carries a lot of weight. Like Maine overturning the Republ changing voting from same day registering. It was overturned. One state focus on voting rights. One area of the Occupy’s issue. It takes many paint strokes to get the house done.

    • kesmarn says:

      They are really largely on the same page as our president, b’ito. Now if only they can persuade some Republicans to get on board, or else to join the ranks of the unemployed.

      • MurphTheSurf3 says:

        Some in the movement certainly have many elements of the Obama agenda, but does the President have their confidence? Seems not in many cases. In trying to stay apolitical, the group may make themselves ineffective and unaffecting.

  7. agrippa says:

    Murph, that is a very good article.

    So far, I do not have a good reading on where OWS is going. I suppose that I will find out.

    • MurphTheSurf3 says:

      This document is meant to provide one vision in re. to where they might be going. We will see if it serves some real purpose. Thanks for the kudo.

  8. SueInCa says:


    I really only have one question. Why allow alcohol at all? It just seems to me to be a recipe for disaster as much as drugs. While alcohol is legal, there is no denying it alters your thinking and actions. If I were making the decisions, it would also be excluded. Go ahead and drink in the appropriate situation, I just don’t see a protest as being that situation.

    Thanks for the mentions of PP, we certainly have a good community here.

    • MurphTheSurf3 says:

      I am with you but I was outvoted. The arguments: its legal for adults in moderation warming the body and the spirit. I did not agree but I was one of several. So….

      • Actually Murph, alcohol LOWERS you body temp. It gives a warm feeling while actually swallowing it, but this is a deceptive feeling.
        I don’t think there is any practical way to stop people from carrying hip flasks and such, but drinking should be frowned upon. Too much chance of violent responses to police.

        • MurphTheSurf3 says:

          Yes. I agree and made the argument but was voted down. The group endorsed the standard of “moderate and legal age” alcohol consumption. This may well be because of the practical issues you list. They were very much in favor of not making any policy suggestion that was a unenforceable.

      • SueInCa says:

        Murph reason I bring it up is because like drugs it could be another thing for the rightwing or the media to play up as well. Oh well, I just hope they don’t latch onto to it like the vultures they all are.

        • MurphTheSurf3 says:

          I completely agree. I fought the battle for all of the reasons you and emerald have raised, but the “freedom” and “need to unwind” and “perfectly legal in moderation” folks won out. So…..

      • Emerald1943 says:

        Murph, I’m with you on this subject. People think that it “warms” the body, but it does NOT. In fact, it can cause the body to lose heat faster by causing the blood vessels to dilate. This lets heat dissipate faster. That’s the reason that winos sometimes freeze to death in the winter when they drink and pass out on the street, even in moderately cool weather. I used to work as an RN in a big city emergency room. Almost every night in cold weather, we would see a case like this. Sad but true!

  9. Emerald1943 says:

    Murph, I got so excited about your statement and goals for the movement that I completely forgot to say a big thank you for acknowledgement of PPOV! That was so nice of you to do. We really have some SUPER folks here who totally support the OWS!

  10. Sabreen60 says:

    Murph, I agree with much of your article. Another person posted this at the Obama Diary and I happen to agree with parts of it, especially about giving credit to OWS for changing the subject to jobs. It’s another Point of View:

    November 7, 2011 at 2:33 pm

    Thank you – giving credit to OWS for the change in media coverage is just one more way people can deprive the President from any credit after he’s launched a non-stop, aggressive onslaught on the media and the Republicans with the American Jobs Act. Not a day has gone by that he hasn’t been speaking about the AJA, including when he’s at an international conference. Every single speech or statement he’s done, including the announcement of the end of the Iraq war, has included a mention of building this country and creating jobs.

    To credit the OWS movement, who are occupying WALL STREET, (with only one faction occupying Congress – who are actually holding up jobs creation) – is illogical. The OWS people have done nothing constructive to move the attention to jobs. They’ve not talked about the jobs bill. They’ve not called out GOP obstruction. They’ve not asked the unemployed and 99ers to come and join them in their movement. They’ve occupied a port, risking many jobs. They’ve convinced a million people to take their money out of the big banks – which also risks the jobs of the lower level bank workers – but it doesn’t do one thing to create a single new job. They would have deserved some credit if they’d called on Congress to pass the jobs act. Maybe we’d be seeing some construction jobs and re-employed teachers right now. Forget about jobs – they haven’t even said a word about Mr. Cordray needing to be approved by the Senate so he can head the CFPA, and start implementing regulations to reign in Wall Street. They haven’t said a word about Republican obstruction to taxing the rich so that the AJA can be enacted.

    Tell me how the OWS people have changed the topic to jobs, when they’ve spent most of the time complaining about police action? Or calling on people to not vote. Or had 100 different messages. Or spent more time applauding the likes of Dylan Ratigan or Michael Moore.

    President Obama deserves all the credit for changing the topic of conversation. Period.

    • MurphTheSurf3 says:

      Hey Sabreen….although I think the poster of this comment may have missed a lot about the movement (its focus, energy, rawness, sharpness, authenticity, true grass rootedness) but the person is right that the movement is very focused on the negative, tends to abhor institutionalism as represented by the President and legislative action as ineffective and a front, and believes that the best solution is to implode the whole system…..which is why folks like myself and many here are calling for a more realistic and more widely appealing approach. We will see if it gains any momentum.

    • Emerald1943 says:

      Hi Sabreen! I’m a little confused. Since when did the media coverage “change”? I’m not so sure that it has. In fact, there has been a scarcity of information about the OWS in the past week or so since the demonstrations at Oakland. It’s been pretty quiet.

      The person who wrote this comment obviously has an axe to grind, and not without some reason. I personally agree that President Obama has not gotten any credit for ANYTHING he’s been trying to do, including pushing the AJA. It has been pretty appalling IMO. The repubs have always been great at controlling the message, one of my pet peeves. The Dems…not so much. The repugs are really quick to come out and put the President’s ideas down, refusing to even debate the plan. In the end, the President takes nothing but criticism from them AND the professional left!

      The case can be made for OWS pushing the jobs issue from the outset. Many of the first protesters held signs about jobs, among other things. But the issue of jobs is only a part of the entire picture. The current situation is due to the policies that have left the 99% in the dust over the past 15 years, including tax breaks for companies that outsource jobs, the closing of manufacturing plants, the tightening of credit for small businesses, the foreclosure crisis, etc. It all fits together and no one issue can be divorced from all the others. It’s the big picture that counts, and that picture is all about the systematic impoverishment of the American middle class!

      I do agree with the writer that Michael Moore and Dylan Ratigan should be taken to task for encouraging people NOT to vote! That is despicable! Only by voting can we expect any changes to happen. Unfortunately, that is the system that we have…and we have to deal with the problems using that system. It’s all we’ve got. I don’t think OWS really applauds them…maybe they’re just a little star-struck when they show up to do their schtick!

      There are lots of folks involved in the OWS movement that have completely given up on politics and a political solution to the problems. IMO, this is limiting the power of the movement. Only by getting involved in the political process can any goals, for jobs or anything else, be achieved.

      Murph, in his statement for OWS, is correct. Candidates who back the aims and goals of the movement should be supported. The power of the movement will only really be felt at the voting booth. Like I said, it is the system that we have…no changing that now.

      In my humble opinion, we don’t need to criticize President Obama, nor do we need to criticize the OWS movement. We, the 99%, MUST continue to work together to make the changes so badly needed. I will be the first one on the band-wagon to protect and give credit to President Obama. It is my opinion that he is our only hope to listen to the 99% and to try to help cure what ails us.

      I’m just sayin’… :-)

      • MurphTheSurf3 says:

        Take a look at my response to Sabreen’s interesting post.

        • Emerald1943 says:

          Murph, I did look at it. You said it better than I could. There is this general disgust with the institutions of government, and I don’t blame them for the feelings. But as I’ve been saying, we have to work within the system to change the system. Just marching around with signs and slogans is not going to do anything. There must be a purpose and a way of accomplishing something. I think you are definitely on the right track to write this piece. I hope that it will be widely read and considered.

      • Sabreen60 says:

        Em, I think you missed the point. The media coverage has changed from “deficits” to “jobs”. This poster takes issue with those who say “OWS” caused the media to change focus and NOT “President Obama”.

        • Emerald1943 says:

          Sabreen, so sorry! I guess I had a little knee-jerk there! I’ve been thinking and writing so much about OWS lately and the lack of media coverage of the movement itself. It has been almost comical to see the MSM change its tune, but I don’t know who is saying the OWS caused the shift. I wasn’t aware of that particular criticism.

          I went over to the Obama Diary and did not find the original post. But thanks for posting it. It was interesting and refreshing to see someone actually defend the President for a change! :-)

    • Sabreen, I think the movement is not about any one particular issue. The president is working hard to get congress to cooperate with him on the jobs issue. They refuse. They will continue to refuse because they DO NOT want Obama to get ANY credit AT ALL for making changes that benefit the American people. They despise OWS and everybody in it. They are a big part of the problem, not the solution.
      I do think that calling on people NOT to vote is a very stupid thing to do. I’m not sure that this is a genuine part of the movement as a whole. OWS is still in it’s nascent stages and getting things more organized and succinct is going take a little time. We DO have to make an appeal to the police to knock off the violence and suppression tactics that have been used in some cities. Violent confrontation does not help the movement OR the police. The police have to be made aware that they too are part of the 99%. It’s their jobs that are also at risk. I think the concerns within the movement go way beyond job creation only. The movement has to point out just how corrupt and nonfunctional our system of government has become. Opposition to Obama’s job’s bill is a perfect example of just how nonfunctional and self serving a large part of our government has become. This is about the slow, continuing downfall of democracy itself. We the people, are not being respected or represented as the founders intended in The Bill of Rights and the US Constitution. People want more than just jobs.

      • Sabreen60 says:

        KT, I agree with you especially about the police. I guess what I was hoping from OWS was to really push for jobs. Malcohm X said “butter or bullets”. You can’t get more basic than people being able to feed themselves. I wanted to see OWS push for policy that is on the table NOW. WallStreet is not going to do anything to put people back to work -- but Congress can. They probably won’t, but they certainly have the power by passing jobs bills. If thousands marched on the Congress maybe it would have an impact. I’m not saying I disagree with OWS drawing attention to the disparity of incomes in this country. Hell, we’ve been saying that for the last 30 years as we watched it get worst over the years. I am thankful that OWS are making people understand that Wall Street robbed us. They want to see folks behind bars, but some don’t seem to understand that because of deregulation much of what Wall Street did was legal. I hope they will push for even stronger regulations for Wall Street. I don’t know, I guess I had the wrong expectations.

        • Sabreen, I would push for the reinstatement of Glass/Steagal. It worked for decades and there was no good reason to ever have repealed it.
          I would caution against any signs or sloganeering that would suggest violence. This would help reduce the overall nervousness and paranoia on the side of the cops. If they think people are carrying guns, or planning to commit violence against them, they will be that much quicker to use more heavy handed methods of crowd control. I don’t think you were suggesting violence or threats, but your quote by Malcolm X made me consider the aspect of violence regarding the movement and those who seek to quell the movement.

          • Emerald1943 says:

            Hi KT! I trust you are well! :-)

            I agree with you about the Glass-Steagall bill. I don’t think I’ll ever understand why Clinton did that…and also NAFTA! Two HUGE mistakes on his part, IMO. It allowed the banksters to gamble with OUR money, and NAFTA allowed the corporations to move overseas for cheap labor. I don’t understand why we can’t fix these problems! Oh…I forgot! The teabaggers!

            • Just fine Em. Hope the same for you.

            • Emerald1943 says:

              Sue, thanks so much for the information. I didn’t follow politics much at that time…busy working to make my business successful. It’s always been a mystery to me how they could do something so transparently bad! But they did set it up beautifully. I still believe that Hank Paulson did much the same thing when the TARP bailout was demanded. You know that he must have made out really well with kick-backs from his buddies at G-S! One of my pet peeves!

            • SueInCa says:

              He did it for Citibank. They had already purchased Travelers and Robert Rubin was Sec Treasury. Rubin later went to work for Citi. I think he was setting himself up to do exactly what happened in the CDO era. He had already seen how the US would pay for a company not to go down because of it. Think Long Term Capital Management and what happened there. Here is the link to The Warning http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/pages/frontline/warning/

              From WIKI
              “In 1997, Rubin and Federal Reserve chairman Alan Greenspan strongly opposed giving the Commodity Futures Trading Commission oversight of over-the-counter credit derivatives when this was proposed by Brooksley Born, the head of the CFTC. Rubin’s role was highlighted in a Public Broadcasting Service Frontline report, “The Warning”.[10] Over-the-counter credit derivatives were eventually excluded from regulation by the CFTC by the Commodity Futures Modernization Act of 2000. According to the Frontline documentary, they played a key role in the 2008 financial crisis”

          • Sabreen60 says:

            No I was not suggesting violence. It is hard for people to be rational when they are hungry -- when their kids are hungry. I just meant that JOBS, IMO, is what people need RIGHT NOW. All the policy questions, the retooling of the government, throwing banksters in jail is all well and good. But ask one of 15 million unemployed what’s most important to them. Ask the underemployed. People want to be able to take care of themselves and their families FIRST. If we can put people back to work, then the ranks of OWS may swell.

            • Emerald1943 says:

              Sabreen, I would agree with you about the jobs…that should be the #1 issue.

              One thing that I don’t understand about OWS is the lack of support for the President’s Jobs Act. I would have thought that the movement would have embraced his attempts to push the bill through Congress. Maybe they are supporting it, but I haven’t seen it so far. I know that there is a large number of folks in OWS who don’t want anything to do with politics, but as I’ve said before, that’s the system we have to work with. If OWS would throw its weight behind the President, I believe he could coast to a big win in 2012. IMO, he is still the best hope we have to fix the problems.

            • I agree about the tremendous importance of creating jobs. Unemployment is a part of the grievances that OWS supports. The problem is that the traitors in congress are not going to allow Obama to pass his job’s bill. These traitors to we the people are also a part of the OWS list of grievances. (so far, unofficial) This is what I mean when I say the system is broken and no longer functions as intended. Those who support these naysayers in the GOP are the 1% and definitely want to see the OWS movement fail. Jobs ARE needed now. But the OWS movement is against those who stand in the way of job creation, but as I said, there are other issues as well.

        • Emerald1943 says:

          Sabreen, I have been somewhat disappointed with OWS too. They have tremendous power, but many are completely against getting involved with elections and politics. As I said, this limits the power of the movement! This is a mistake, IMO. I was hoping that by now, they would come up with a list of demands.

          I can understand their disgust with the traditional two-party system. Both are corrupted by big business special interests. I think we all want to see the banksters behind bars, but it has to be proven that they broke the law. Lots of OWS people don’t understand that banking deregulation helped them to rob us legally.

          This is such a huge issue. It’s really no wonder that this disparate group of people have such disparate opinions. I hope they can get it together before November 2012.

      • Emerald1943 says:

        KT, good comment! The police in many cases have really blown it badly. By using unprovoked violence on peaceful demonstrators, they have only strengthened the movement and galvanized the protesters. You’d think they would have learned their lesson by now. Remember when they first pepper-sprayed those women in New York? That was the beginning of regular press coverage for OWS, and it brought many more people into the movement.

        You are absolutely spot on…We The People are not being respected! It is unfortunate that the elections are not going to happen for another year! Let’s hope that OWS gets its arse in gear and starts to get involved in the political process. Whether they like it or not, that’s the way things will change…or not.

  11. Very well done Murph. It’s obvious that you put a lot of work into this and came up with a clear and concise article.
    We really do need a Declaration of Principles and Aims. That should put the lie to those RW talking heads who say the Movement has no clear goals or ideas for change.
    Having a march and occupation in DC is absolutely essential. We should call out the media and dare them to be silent or dismissive about the movement and who is involved in it and why. We really need to drive home the truth about who truly comprises the 99%, which is everybody who does not belong to the “big club.” We need to show people from all walks of life, all ages, races, gender and types of jobs, from construction workers, teachers, firemen, police, doctors, nurses……etc. We need to force the media to report the truth and stop making up lies about who is in this movement IE, hippies, druggies and anarchists trying to relive or imitate actions of the 60s.
    Thanks for all your time and energy you put in to researching and writing this piece, and the shout out to the Planet and it’s members.

  12. Emerald1943 says:

    Murph, WELL DONE! I can see the words of our Planeteers in this statement! I am glad that we were able to help.

    I assume that this document will be published widely within the Movement and that the various general assemblies will consider it.

    I particularly liked the idea of using donated funds to hire security firms. Working WITH the police is a great place to start although I know that is being done in some locations. Even though we have seen some rogue cops in Oakland who have “rioted” against the protesters and caused much harm, I believe that most law enforcement people are basically good and, if truth were to be known, stand with the 99%. Enlisting them to work with private security where possible is a good policy. After all, they are supposed to be about protecting and serving the people, and with good communication between the movement, the police and the security firms, the goal of safety can be easily accomplished.

    I am especially anxious to know the response to the suggestion for a national strike/march on Washington. I know that this is where the movement needs to go if changes are to be made. I still believe that, with proper planning, we can get a huge turnout there. I want those sniveling Congressmen to look out their windows to see a million people on the front steps of OUR Capitol building! Social networking is wonderful, is it not? It will be easy to get the word out! With adequate notice, people will have time to make plans and get their funds together for the trip. I highly recommend Amtrak! It’s not expensive and can be a nice relaxing ride.

    On this same note, possibly local general assemblies might consider sending delegations to represent those who cannot attend. Perhaps donated funds could be used to help those who otherwise could not come up with the money for a ticket and accommodations. I am not sure of the DC ordinances about camping on the Mall. There could be a problem with that. We will have to do a little research. I do know that public transportation in Washington is good and cheap, both bus and rail, making it very easy to get around. Perhaps a location in the outlying areas for camping could be arranged such as Arlington or other areas outside of the city itself.

    Good on you, Murph! I know that many in the movement will appreciate your concern and your hard work to pull it together. I look forward to seeing more in the coming days! :-)

    Meanwhile, if I can help you in any way, please just say so. I’m sure the others feel the same!

    • MurphTheSurf3 says:


      First responder…and a good one.

      I am going to do the same thing I did with the original responders- take notes and do an “addendum”

      As to what will happen to this document. I do not know. I wrote the final version along with a small group of vets from the protest trail. We are each disseminating the document to the groups with which we have contact. Of note- we all agreed to give credit to PPOV for the writing assist and access to the document will either be through this site or will be sent as a pdf with the PPOV address in the Credit Line.

      As to your ideas: Hope you are right about local law enforcement; the security idea is meeting resistance from the local organizers, DC will require a level of centralized organizing foreign to the movement but the site event is essential. common funding is a great idea for transportation as is off site camping; and the city delegations is a particularly fine idea. So keep your thinking coming.

      Most appreciated.

      • Emerald1943 says:

        Murph, you’re more than welcome. I’m sure there will be “local” problems, different in each city on the security issues. But for the movement to provide night-time security for the camps should only be viewed as a good thing and as an effort by the movement to be good citizens and to abide by the laws. I guess it will boil down to the view by the mayors/city councils as to how they see this.

        As for resistance from local organizers, I don’t understand. The safety and welfare of the protesters should be their first priority. If it cannot be guaranteed by the city police, why would they not want to make sure that security is maintained?

        DC planning will be complicated, but it can be done. Just think of the “Million Man March” or the Civil Rights demonstrations in the 60’s. Perhaps the various general assemblies can appoint someone from each site to help plan and coordinate. Someone, for example, should look into getting the permit necessary for the march. As I understand it, it takes about a week to get one. It may take a sponsor, like a Congressman, to make the request to the city. This was the case two years ago when I was there for the health care thing. Hope you don’t mind my brain storming. Things just keep popping up! :-) Just food for thought at this point.

        • MurphTheSurf3 says:

          I am going to double down on the security issue. Local organizers are very independent, have a deep distrust of money people, and are angry with law enforcement of all kinds. They organizers are dominated by those with very rebellious spirits so this does not surprise me. Still, you are on point- safety, security, key issues.

          There is talk now of a coordinating committee working with two in-place organizations (one a union, the other a progressive special interest crowd) for logistical management. We will see.

          This document and two others seems to be elevating the discussion. Keep those ideas popping.

          • Emerald1943 says:

            Murph, the unions could be an enormous asset in planning large events like a march on DC! After all, they sure have skin in the game too. They also have bucks to help out with any costs involved such as sound systems, porta-potties, etc. Lots to be considered.

            • MurphTheSurf3 says:

              I agree. The relationship between the unions and Occupy however is not stable.Again, the anti-institutional edge that is so pronounced in OWS.

            • bito says:

              But do they support the Unions, Sue? Many Unions have been saying many of the same things as #OWS for years and been ignored. While Unions were being diminished by the same forces that #OWS complains about now, where were they then?

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