Thursday, Dec. 8, 2011

Analysis of Occupy L.A. work

By Dave

Occupy Wall Street [OWS] that morphed into the national [indeed: international Occupy Movement!] has succeeded at capturing the interest and imagination of the American working class as a class on the move for the first time since the Congress of Industrial Organization [CIO] strike waves in response to the collapse of the market economy [the so-called Great Depression] engendered labor defensive and offensive activities in the formation and fight for recognition of industrial mass unions and the Unemployed Labor League which fought foreclosures and evictions of workers from their homes. Similar conditions exist today - the so-called "Great Recession" and labor unions have been responding as in Wisconsin's mass protests and demonstrations against government attacks on unions, and similarly in Ohio where unions took to the Initiative process to repeal such attacks while the 0ccupy Movement is encouraging and actively putting people back into their foreclosed upon homes.

Working class youth, whether 'college students' or not, unemployed or not, have been inspired by the Wisconsin mass movement, occupations, if you will. But, that is not all. The Wisconsin union uprising itself occured and its methods inspired by the occupation of Tahrir Square demonstrations and labor union general strikes in Egypt, and these part and parcel of general strike waves in Italy, Greece and Spain.

The Occupy Movement in the U.S. has been based on working class interests, notwithstanding the ambigous formulation of working class interests in American cultural lingo as the interests of the 'Ninety-nine percent'. Their statement of grievences included critiques of the capitalist class government of the Democrats and Republicans and especially noted that (OWS that is):

"They [capitalists and their political lackeys] have continuously sought to strip employees of the right to negotiate for better pay and safer working conditions."

"They [capitalists and their political lackeys] determine economic policy..."

The folks at 0LA, the young people especially, would be asking questions, listening, debating important issues out, especially economic issues, discussing differing visions and which way to go.


Perhaps, in retrospect, too many committees made for a dilution of the collective vision and strength. Anyone could form a committee with General Assembly approval.

Within the Demands /0jectives committee anyone could form whatever sub-committee. Notwithstanding the appearance of pragmatic i.e. none ideological 'practical demands', this committee was attended by political sophisticates the objectives of which was to articulate ideological laden 'demands' that would determine the political character of the Occupation itself.

Listening to and discussing issues among young folks in the General Assembly was productive. The young people (people of all genders and color) are open to discussing and analysing economics, socialism, capitalism, communism, economic systems, modes of production in general, etc. These are generally the people on the ground camping.

Another group of folks, prominant within the encampment area, was the political sophisticates who notwithstanding lip service to the occupation being 'leaderless' and 'consensus driven', were the behind the scenes manipulators who, generally, grabbed the reins of power of 0ccupy L.A. before the tents ever went up at City Hall.

Included in this group are those who were exposed as having been secretly negotiating with the police and city officials on behalf of 0LA to make a deal to move the encampment behind the backs of 0LA participants.

Based upon the proposals or demands they supported, as these insiders never gave their political (or class for that matter) affiliations, these folks were Democrats or perhaps Libertarians. This conclusion is also based, in part, on the fact of the speakers that were brought in including Cornel West, Jesse Jackson, Robert Reich and SEIU labor officials to give analysis and pep talks to the people assembled. That this group is for the most part made up of Democrats was indicated by their parade on the stage of Democrats who are now parading on television pundit programs as spokespersons of the '99%', promoting Obama's re-election campaign speeches as representative of the 'sentiment' of the occupy protests.

As time and experience rolled on, I began to recognise that the "transparency" "participitory democracy" "consensus" talk was just that, talk, at least as it pertains to the Demands/ 0bjectives committee meetings and the General Assemblies.

Process was not unbiased. e.g., Julia's proposal to exclude participation by those political parties getting multi-million dollar contributions from banks and/or corporations was voted on several times by the General Assembly and failed to be consensed upon each time.

A block= willing to walk away from movement if proposal is approved.

Pressure was brought to bear upon those bold enough to oppose (by "blocking") a proposal favored by the behind-the-scenes manipulators or proposals not favored by the insiders couldn't pass.

Proposals railroaded through: Police, city hall liason committee proposal. "Second Bill of Rights" proposal.
The Demands/0bjectives committee t
reats issues/demands hodge-podge not even venturing to say who the demands are addressing. Coming at issues from a thousand different directions, "Abolish the FED, "End Corporatism", "Seperate Wealth and State", (demands Democrats or Libertarians will support) etc, apparently, without realising that all these issues/ grievances/demands were connected to a common cause. A more radical or openly revolutionary analysis/approach is not taken seriously. Even Martin Luther King Jr. (e.g. guaranteed income, question of distribution) was too radical.

Ideally, all these issues, demands, grievences, objectives should be discussed as issues in relation to class, from a class perspective, but they weren't and they need to be.

All the demands "consensed" upon by the Demands/0bjectives committee and sent along to the "Research Committee" were reformist 'demands' (see below) acceptable to the Democratic Party behind the scene manipulators as is consistent with the occupation speeches of Reich, Jackson and West, and the campaign speeches of Barak Obama.

The process for demands that were approved by the demands committee, is to pass these to the "Research Committee" for its inspection then returned to the Demands/ 0bjectives committee for re-vote and if approved brought before the GA as a proposal. The thing though was was that no demands that were sent to the research committee by the demands committee ever came back!

Expecting frank open discussions in committee meetings but they weren't, but were, on the ground, at occupiers tents.


[by the Demands Committee that never came back]

1.Investigate and prosecute the banks and bankers for fraud and securities fraud

2.Constitutional amendment to ensure that entities and corporations are not regarded as persons (more here) special note on the term "persons" to be researched, also concern for how this affects small businesses and the fair use of the 14th amendment such as due process of law

3.Repeal the Federal Reserve Act of 1913 and prevent any private bank from taking it over(leaves room open for what exactly to do with the printing of money for another proposal) and audit the Fed

4.Reinstate Glass-Stegall Act (HR-1489), note for research to check to make sure legislation achieves original intentions and has current and effective language

5.Stop the wars

6.Divert military spending to social programs (education, health care, etc)

7.Start a State Bank in CA. Already on Gov. Brown's desk. Return money the State instead of paying interest rates to private banks.

8.Moratorium on foreclosures and re-negotiation of mortgages

9.LA County to not assist in evictions

10.Campaign Finance Reform-Compare Fair Elections Now Act (S 750 and HR 1404); All private money out- federal funding only for all elections; publicly funded elections only-no corporate money; "Get Money Out" Dylan Ratigan Amendment; OWS version $100 personal limit, limits to PACs and super-PACs

11.Congress pass specific and effective laws limiting the influence of lobbyists* (esp. practice of PACs and SuperPACs ability to launder money through 501c4 entities without having to disclose donors or amounts) and eliminate the practice of lobbyists writing legislation that ends up on the floor of congress. Also review practice of "revolving door" policy for lobbyists

12.Animal Rights, need full wording

13.Eliminate the use of voting machines and ballad counting machines, use of paper ballads and hand counting only.

14.Eliminate the electoral collage, replacing it with preferential voting

15.Institute preferential voting (IRV voting) in all local, state, and federal elections

16.Repeal the National Security Act

17.Repeal Patriot Act

18.Occupy LA demands that the Mayor, individually, and each Council Member, individually, and then as a collective body, make public announcements that they will* fully support Occupy LA's First Amendment Rights with a specific commitment to ensure there is no abridging our freedom of speech, no interference with our right to peacefully assemble, and most importantly, no prohibition on our right to petition for a governmental redress of grievances.

19.Occupy LA demands access to the publicly paid-for amphitheater and lecture hall located across from City Hall in front of the Police Headquarters for meetings that require such a facility. This access will be free of charge and managed through a public online reservation system visable to all citizens of LA.

20. Occupy LA demands access to meeting rooms and cubicles in City buildings for meetings of persons 30 or less* in locations such as City Hall and Police Headquarters subject to the rules of conduct with similar reasonable restrictions as the other citizens of LA who work in these buildings may have. The purposes of use can include educational activities, lectures, training, committee meetings, job resource center and other similar peaceful uses that office space is traditionally designed for. We demand the access be granted forthwith and supported by the mayor.

21.Illegalize for profit detention centers and prisons through legislation and divestment. DEMANDS to research.docx

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