Salt Lake City and County Building circa 1923
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This morning, the #OccupyOakland encampment is being shut down.

Oakland police have arrested about 25 protesters at the sprawling Occupy Oakland encampment outside City Hall while hundreds of law-enforcement officers square off against demonstrators downtown in the second such raid of the tent city.

Law-enforcement officers from numerous Bay Area agencies began arriving in force at 5 a.m. as a police helicopter flew overhead. Clad in armor and riot helmets, they stood in lines and surrounded the camp near the corner of 14th Street and Broadway adjacent to Frank Ogawa Plaza, where dozens of demonstrators have been camping to protest economic inequity and corporate greed.

And over the weekend, Occupiers were forcibly removed from encampments in Portland, OR, Salt Lake City, Denver, and elsewhere. There’s still a whole lot of drama surrounding #Occupy, but it looks like its moment in the national spotlight is winding down as reports of violence (by anarchists camping there, as well as by police), homicide investigations at Occupy encampments, internal organizational strife, and just plain winter weather are taking their toll on the movement. So is “The 99% Movement” over?

Not quite. Look at what they have accomplished in less than two months. And look at how the national conversation on the economy is changing.

And look at how far the previously unchallenged dogma of inequality and austerity has fallen. Even in Politico’s newest poll, there was strong support for progressive tax reform and strong opposition to gutting the social safety net! Obviously, progress is being made.

However, I am concerned about The 99% Movement going forward. Is apathy laced diaspora the best approach to this next election? An election that can take this country in a radically different direction? An election that will again prominently feature the Supreme Court? An election that may feature this guy or this guy, both of whom holding nothing but contempt for the 99%, as the Republicans’ Presidential Nominee? An election that will either get Congress working for the 99%, or result in a Congress that’s even more hostile to the 99%? When much is at stake here, I don’t see the use in progressives sitting out this election to engage in street theater… While “Tea Party, Inc.”, is set to spend however much it takes to take full control of the government.

If one wants to change the system, one can’t just sit back as a bystander. One must work to create that change. And while protests are fine and dandy and a great way to express one’s right to free speech, protests alone will not solve our problems. We have to remember to vote, too.

I know there’s been plenty of disappointment to go around on the left side of the aisle… But come on, we can’t ignore the facts. Who delivered for us the first big leap to universal health care, more opportunities for returning military veterans, financial reform, student aid, and more? And who doesn’t care about smart foreign policy, ending the foreclosure crisis for good, or doing what’s really needed to restore our economy?

Oh yes, and there’s more at stake than just The White House. Again, if we want change, we can’t keep filling Congress with the same extreme “tea partyideologues. And we can’t keep letting these extremists wreck our state houses. And we can’t keep letting these extremists push more initiatives to hurt the working class and roll back our civil rights.

Long story short, we need to occupy the voting booths… And we need to be relentless in urging others to join us! That’s the only way this 99% Movement can ultimately succeed. And yes, I want to see it succeed. I just don’t see how endless conflicts with local governments over actual space to occupy will help the movement. Registering more voters, on the other hand, most definitely will.

(And remember, if you like my hackery here, you’ll love what you can find daily at Nevada Progressive!)

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jjgravitaschoiceladybitoagrippaEmerald1943 Recent comment authors
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It had been said many times that the administration that followed the Bush administration would spend most of its energy cleaning up the damage caused by the Bush administration: the war, the economic slide, the astronomical government debt, etc. Far too many problems than could be solved in just four years. The foregone conclusion was that if a democrat was elected and did his best to make things right, it would be enough to convince the American people to elect him for a second term, and would instead elect a republican, and the same destructive policies that were were employed during the Bush administration would start up all over again (starting wars that only benefit contractors, short-lived bubble economies created by reducing or eliminating regulations and by funky bank loans). All the republicans would need to do is sit back and watch the next administration play out while being as unhelpful as possible. What they didn’t count on was that the next president – President Obama – would actually finish up his first four years with a multitude of accomplishments (the first move toward universal health care, the death of Al Qaeda’s leaders including Osama Bin Laden and the winding down of the wars). And the Occupy movement surprised everyone. It is a breath of fresh air to see the public rise up to protest against the economic injustice that we have been living with all this time.


“What is to be done?”:
That is a hard question. My first premiss is is that capitalism will continue; the issue is to regulate it so as to minimize its’ main failing: the primacy of fear and greed. That is not easy to do, as it requires regulations and regulations requre compliance and enforcement.
You, then, come to the question of detail in those regualtions. They will be written by mortal men who have serious interests. They will not be written by disinterested parties with no stake in the game.

Regulations have be enforced. The enforcement mechanism gas to be funded.


This is a long haul enterprise. I understand that some people want to get to policy: “What is to be done?” I think that there will be time for that. Right now, it is a matter of organization, discipline and endurance. And, building mass.

If you start talking policy now, you create infighting, factionalizing, attention seeking and power grabbing. Marxist organizations had that problem, and radical movements largely split into factions; and forgot the adversary. That does not mean that the question, “What is to be done?”, should not be posed. Just be aware of the risks.

OWS is nowhere near a critical mass that cannot be ignored.


Hi agrippa! Your point about making policy is well put and well taken. Perhaps you are right. Perhaps I am personally too impatient to see action on the pressing problems facing the unemployed, the homeowners losing their homes, and all the other inequities that caused the protests to begin with.

Atdnext suggests Occupy the voting booth. That’s a great idea! We have just a little less than one year, not very long in electoral politics with the repub primaries in only six weeks. The election will be here before we know it!

Several have compared OWS with the civil rights movement movement and the fact that it took ten years to actually get legislation passed. I believe that ten years is way too long for OWS. I believe that we simply don’t have that kind of time to make some serious changes in the way our government runs. How many millions more will be thrown into poverty in ten years? How many more jobs will be lost to corporations’ outsourcing? How many more students will be forced to drop out because of staggering debt for college? How many more foreclosures? All these issues are so pressing, and time is of the essence for millions of people. So, if not now, when?

Momentum is very hard to re-gain when it has been lost. There is something to the old adage about striking while the iron is hot.

I’m just sayin’…. 🙂


Emerald, if you go to the #OWS GA site , on the right hand side you will see any number of activities and actions scheduled for today. They don’t seem to be slowing in any way, just a bump in the road. There had already been some discussion of leaving the park. partially, and moving indoors for the winter, what the Mayor did may have energized them more than damaged them.


Thanks, Bito! I hope it’s only a “bump”!

I did hear about their voluntary plans to ring the bell and close up. I think the Mayor jumped the gun big time. He should have given them the chance to do so.

I just saw a rather disturbing clip on MSNBC a few minutes ago showing live shots of protesters being arrested. Police are surrounding the park and not letting them in, at least until this court hearing is done.


Hi agrippa – well no, policy will continue as it did before and after OWS. The issue is understanding that many of us have been fighting these battles via policy changes for YEARS. I don’t care if the OWS people do or do not get involved since it’s pretty clear they don’t care, but the rest of us do. Nothing new under the sun has come from OWS other than heightened awareness that some things such as a Constitutional Amendment to challenge Citizens United is imperative. At minimum we need to fight for more teeth in Dodd-Frank. We who DO policy always did – and now whether or not the OWS people like it or not, that IS where it must go.

The right to organize HAD to culminate in the Wagner Act or union rights and protections would still be idiosyncratic and not guaranteed.

Women’s suffrage HAD to end in the 19th Amendment or we’d still have some states denying us the right to vote.

The Civil Rights movement had to lead to the Civil Rights Act and Voting Rights Act or we’d still be marching over the bridge in Selma.

Women’s reproductive rights had to end in Roe v Wade or you’d never have a consistent set of rights for women nationally. Then the murders had to end in FACE laws that protected physicians and others from being shot to death.

As a long-time veteran of street action everything you think you won with protests, encampments, marches, demonstrations – all of it can be gone with the stroke of a pen if you do NOT pin it down in law.

There is no need for there to be ONE policy issue. But there is a need for there to be core values – those started out great with the “We are the 99%” theme. It collapsed under the weight of focus on the encampments and their right to do what the homeless cannot – sleep outside in a public area. That made them the 1% of the 99%. And at least in two cities around here, the homeless got the boot from OWS – their rights mattered not at all to those who had homes of their own but chose to sleep rough and to defy the police.

We need to get back the “We are the 99%” mentality. We need that core value – laws and policies have to help the majority – but the specifics of whether you fight for affordable housing, lowering tuition at public universities, ending predatory lending, developing community and worker ownership of business – that can and must be diverse. You do NOT NEED NOR SHOULD YOU PURSUE consensus because among diverse people who do not know one another, consensus turns over power again to the 1% even if technically they are the 99%. No minority must ever again be able to thwart the majority. Not EVER.

Let people pursue what drives and motivates them so long as it has a broad based benefit. Worrying about consensus is the death knell to the creation of a movement. Trusting others to pursue their goals and ideas well is the lifeblood of commitment. That is all that is needed


Hi Atdnext! Thanks for this. I have many of the same questions that you have asked here, mainly where to go from here?

When Murph wrote asking us for ideas for OWS, many of us here chipped in our ideas for what we thought might enhance the movement to give them the opportunity to leverage all that power for change. I really did give this a lot of thought and wrote what I believed would help the movement survive the hard winter and keep it alive. My points, in general, were that protests were just fine and dandy…marches, drums, signs and chants were most effective in getting MSM coverage, but in the long run, some kind of agenda would be necessary. IMO, this agenda would need to be “in the face” of Washington where, if there is to be any change, it can only happen.

It really matters not to me whether the OWS decides to concentrate on voting, as you suggest, or on direct lobbying of Congress for any other issues. I think a combination of both would be a good thing. But I maintain that without a clear collective statement of goals/demands, no politician will take a firm stand with the movement nor will any of them voluntarily sponsor legislation to “fix” the problems that the country faces. They will simply ignore the movement until it fades from view, something that we can already see happening. National MSM coverage of OWS has been exclusively on “problems” with it, violent clashes with police, drugs and health issues in the camps, and complaints from business owners in proximity to the encampments. There has been virtually NO coverage of the purposes of OWS for quite some time. This is not the fault of OWS but of the MSM and their incessant need to broadcast drama, but nevertheless, there is very little about income inequality and the other issues that first brought the protesters into the streets.

In my humble opinion, OWS is wasting the most incredible opportunity to bring actual change to this country. They have immense power in their hands, but I don’t believe that they know how to use it. A concentrated and concerted effort by ALL the OWS groups together will be necessary to make Washington sit up and take notice. This is my opinion and I stand by it. A few hundred protesters in separate locations scattered around the country will not have enough leverage to force the changes from our lawmakers.

There have been several rather heated and lengthy discussions about these views here in the past few days. Some of us feel that the movement is doing just fine without any agenda…some of us do not. I happen to subscribe to that latter group. Without legislative change, NOTHING is going to happen. Whether that change ultimately comes from voting or comes from facing down Congress with a huge march on Washington and a presentation of demands, I believe that it is time for OWS to start making plans. I hope with all my heart that OWS will use its power. These young people are our best hope to make those changes that we so badly need. I applaud them for their courage and determination but I believe that the process of maintaining encampments in the face of police crackdowns has now taken precedence over the reasons for the movement in the first place.

Breaking news this morning…Zuccotti Park has been cleared! I’m really sorry to hear this, but I believe we could have predicted it. NYC will only tolerate the problems with the camp for just so long. It remains to be seen whether protesters will again be allowed to camp there.

Thanks for continuing your diary. I’ve enjoyed reading it! I do hope you will write more to keep us informed! 🙂


This has prolly been discussed ad nauseam already, and I haven’t had the time to read all of the discussions on the matter, so if I’m repeating something take it that many people are thinking the same independently.

I support these occupations. Okay. There. Now…

But just for fun, what set of demands or criteria would have to be met before they end? Quite frankly they seem to be so macro I doubt they could ever be.

In the Civil Rights movement it was pretty clear what would make them stop marching. In Tahrir, they wanted Mubarak to go. Pretty simple. We protest, you know what you have to do to make us go home.

So, I imagine I’m an authority figure right now. You’ve got my attention. Now what do you want me to do about it? Like, help me to help you.

I feel like the 99% has already won in a way but doesn’t know how to use that leverage to extract concessions or “cash in” on policy changes, as it were. And if they want Congress to do something, that’s I dare say hopeless with Boehner & Co.

We may know what we want, but do we know how to get it?

I guess I echo Murph here a little. Now what?


Well, Khirad, since it was just for fun, right now I would like a cup of coffee.

But, seriously, watch Rachel Maddow tonight and hear Dan Siegel.


Khirad, I’m asking the same questions. 🙂


If you really want the Occupy movement to last, instead of all this advice this is what they really need more than all the sagacity, from a Tweet from my local Occupiers:

We need water, paper towles, gloves, HOT FOOD, bowls & cups, almond milk, sanitizer, fruit, and prepackaged foods to keep food tent open.

Advice is fine too; go to a General Assembly meeting and you will be listened to and voted on.


They have even said here in Portland that they will accept loose change or a dollar to put in their account for bail money. Their GA is at Pioneer Square tonight and started at 7:30. You can also tweet suggestion and they read them.


I am all for helping them and am doing so for the two groups I am directly supporting. But they really need to know why they are there, what they hope to accomplish and by what means. The erosion of support would not be an issue if those willing to support them had a much stronger sense of what they were supporting.

As to going to a GA, being listened to is not as simple as you suggest.


They know exactly why they are there and they know what they want to accomplish and so do most of us. Just because they won’t listen to you doesn’t make them stupid. And Murph, that’s all I’m going to discuss with you about OWS. We just disagree on too many aspects of this for a fruitful discussion.


We disagree. About a great deal. Just want to be on the record.


Murph, we started this site as a Think Tank for members to give their ideas and opinions. There will be many times in the future when members will disagree with your pov, this is not a place for group think, and everyone is entitled to their opinions. Don’t expect everyone to agree with ideas and points of view that you put forward, if we all thought the same, we wouldn’t be able to call ourselves a “Think Tank” anymore.

Cher has her opinions and she has been open in sharing how she arrived at her conclusions, there is no need to put it “on the record”, this is a community, and not the “Thunderdome”. Nobody is keeping score here or holding grudges.




I channel that!


Atdnext— My own reflection on these developments….

ONE WEEK LATER…The Movement is Moving but Where?

It’s been a week since “Occupy Wall Street: A Vision for a Movement by and for the 99 Percent” ( 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.


atdnext, I could not agree more strongly about how vital it is to GOTV!!! And I also agree that the OWS movement (or the 99% movement, whichever one prefers) has already made incredible progress on many fronts. However, if I am understanding your post, I feel you set up a somewhat false choice: that the Movement is great, but it will not achieve anything further without voting. That is conflating two separate activities in my view, and they are not mutually exclusive.

The thing is, as I see it, the Occupiers have done as you say–“…look at how far the previously unchallenged dogma of inequality and austerity has fallen.”

They don’t have to explicitly demand that people vote to energize people to vote; their very presence and message makes the urgency of voting all the more apparent. They are the anti-” apathy laced diaspora.” I worry much more about that now than I did before the OWS started. I am not sure that it is necessary for the OWS movement to mobilize to elect the Dems —they already have just through their protests!

Does that mean that each individual Occupier is going to vote? Probably not, but they are doing a tremendous service in getting out the vote nonetheless. They are making the starkest distinction between the two Parties I can imagine, and are more effective at it than politicians, who often have to appeal to a wider electorate. As an example of what I mean, did you watch Nancy Pelosi on Jon Stewart recently? I love her! But she sounded so scripted and impossible to dislodge from her pol-speak. I wanted so much for her to spit out the truth in plain sentences, and with some passion–just the way the protester do. But she can’t; they can. That’s why I see a symbiotic relationship between the Democratic Party and OWS–they both need each other even while at this moment in time, each is understandably wary.

Further, as the article you linked to points out

“If things are going to shift, my take is that sustained organizing around issues and being a squeaky wheel has a shot. Organizing around candidates, parties, elections will not do it,” says Bill Dobbs, a member of Occupy’s press team and a longtime New York activist. “That means not ignoring electoral politics or the people in power but keeping them jumping. Staying at an arm’s length rather than discovering that kiss on the cheek from a politician quickly turns into a suffocating bear hug.”

As much as I want everyone working to re-elect the President and to keep the Senate and take the House, I see some savvy in that remark. OFA has a very good organization; so does the DCCC, and the DSCC. I see them being aided by the 99% movement. The strength of the Movement is not in Party organizing, or even in repeating Party talking points, but they can are complimentary.

I’d probably say more, but we’ve had so many wonderful discussions about this last night and today, that I’m a little spent. More later, if that’s OK. 😀