So Real it Hurts: Building a New Republic


Warning: Illegal string offset 'single_featured_image' in /home/oocupied/public_html/site/wp-content/themes/confidence/content-single.php on line 71

Illustration: Beth Whitney

On a Thursday night when I showed up at Occupy Wall Street from a community meeting with some South Asian friends, we were handed a sheet of paper with a working draft of the Declaration of the Occupation.

The night before, I’d heard the Declaration read aloud at the General Assembly and turned to my friend, Sonny, after noting the line that hit me in the stomach: “As one people, formerly divided by the color of our skin, gender, sexual orientation, religion, or lack thereof, political party and cultural background…” Initially we’d shrugged it off as a rhetorical flourish. Then we realized this was about to become the Declaration of the movement, sent out to the world as a defining document of the occupation. The proposed text ignored people from countries that have been colonized and communities right here where democratic participation is anything but a given. It was not something I could get behind. But I couldn’t walk away from the document, or from this movement, either.

So our radical South Asian contingent stood up. My friend Hena addressed the crowd of hundreds with our concern, and we were told to send an email that could deal with it later. Hena persisted, and again the facilitators at the General Assembly tried to bypass our grievance and push it off until later. They warned us that to “block” the Declaration was a serious act. We knew it was a serious act. And that is why we did it.

It is intimidating to speak in front of hundreds of people, but it is even more intense to speak in front of hundreds of people with whom you feel aligned—and to whom you are saying something that they don’t necessarily want to hear. We told the General Assembly that we wanted a small change made to the language, but that this change represented a larger ethical concern. To erase a history of oppression in this founding document, we said, was not something that we could allow to happen. We proposed that they cut out the line, and after minutes of debate they accepted our change. We withdrew our block. My friend Sonny looked me in the eye and said, “You did good.” I had never needed to hear those words as much as I needed to hear them then.

After the assembly concluded, I spoke with some of the men who had written the document. Let me tell you what it feels like as a woman of color to stand in front of a white man and explain privilege to him. It hurts. It makes you tired. Sometimes it makes you want to cry. Sometimes it is exhilarating. Every single time it is hard. Every single time, I get angry that I have to do this; that this is my job, that it shouldn’t be my job. Every single time, I am proud of myself that I’ve been able to say these things because I used to not be able to, and because some days I just don’t want to.

A General Assembly in Liberty Square, October, 2011.

In that small circle following the assembly we did a crash course on white privilege, structural racism and oppression. We did a course on history and the Declaration of Independence and colonialism and slavery. It was real. It was hard. It hurt. But people listened. Sitting there on a street corner in the Financial District at 11:30 p.m., talking with 20 mostly white men, it all felt worth it. Explaining the way that women of color like me experience the world — and the power relations, inequalities and oppressions that govern that world — felt for me like a victory.

A victory not only for myself and others who feel the way I do, but a victory for the movement. As I biked home that night over the Brooklyn Bridge, the world seemed somehow, just a little bit more, in that moment, to be mine. It seemed somehow like the world that could be all of ours.


This article, an adaptation of a Facebook note by the author, was first published in our third print issue on October 11, 2011.

This post is also available in: Spanish, Greek, Portuguese (Brazil), Turkish


Warning: Illegal string offset 'author_box' in /home/oocupied/public_html/site/wp-content/themes/confidence/content-single.php on line 95
  • VChange

    I love it, you document honest input in the Declaration’s history, and you did it vividly and without recriminations. I remember those debates well, as they’ve been ongoing for at least several decades of my own life. It takes a lot out of you to confront well-meaning but counterproductive ideas/declarations that ignore or gloss over the ongoing impact of institutionalized isms. It’s important to keep a historical perspective, not to berate people, but to minimize the likelihood of replicating the same wrongs of the past.

    It is precisely because of a lack of education about historical colonialism and modern neocolonialism that many of us have uninformed opinions on foreign policy. Too many fail to see the characteristics of an empire in the U.S., because of the thin veneer of “democracy”, focused on multibillion dollar elections every four years. Yet, the 1% OF the 1% have as much influence on policies overseas as they do right here.

    I’ve seen more real democracy in the hours of GA meetings I’ve watched/read online than in decades of following American politics. Thank you for making sure that we of the colonized lands – including the Native people of this continent and U.S. “territories” – are known and included as more than tokens. I know it’s hard but also worth it, precisely because you’ve taken the torch and represent. Replenish, then do it again. Teaching is a way of life, a never-ending goal, just as learning is a lifetime process.

  • Engineering4Peace

    I understand the need to reflect on the past to prevent repeating mistakes but I feel you were wrong to remove the line. If we remain rooted in the past we cannot advance forward. All moves towards progress should be based on economic disparity, not racial, religious, or any sort of other disparity. Yes these things exist but by focusing on them you perpetuate them. To declare that the occupation is no longer acknowledging seperation of race or creed is a good thing. It says we will no longer pander to the false issues created by the government to divide us. I know its difficult to forgive but that is what is needed, even forgiveness to the bankers.

    • Stanton

      “by focusing on them you perpetuate them.” Completely disagree. When there is a significant problem, you focus on the problem and highlight it in an effort to increase consciousness of said problem, you don’t sweep it under the rug. Look forward not backward is the motto of false heroes like Obama. Pervasive racism is and will remain a problem unless it is genuinely dealt with alongside economic disparities. They are separate but related issues, and neither should be ignored in the name of superficial unity.

  • GreenIguana

    This was originally published on Racialicious, am I wrong?

  • BizinuezNC

    As a white man who does his best to recognize his privilege, let me just say, “You did good.”

    We cannot pretend these issues do not exist. We must continue to right as many of these wrongs as we can. Together.

  • Zach

    I’m a little confused as to your objection. Was it because you feel as though the unity implied by the statement isn’t fully realized, or the lack of explicit mention of colonial and other forms of oppression? Certainly, the legacy of colonialism is alive and well, and there is a profound lack of real democracy in almost all of our communities, cultures, and societies; this much is a given. But isn’t the intent of the document to outline the world we would like to live in? Acknowledging the injustices of the past is important, but it appears to me that the document does that. Again, I’m unclear as to what is either incorrect or lacking.

    • Patrick

      I, too, was unclear on what the author’s specific objection to that line was. A follow-up would be nice.

  • Anonymous

    This is exactly the kind of silly nitpicking that will sink this movement. What do you mean by oppressed South Asian “woman of color”? And ideas such as “white privilege, structural racism and oppression”? There are many successful South Asian women in the United States, including the CEO of Pepsi, and there are many poor white homeless men. These blanket categories are useless.
    If the writers of the original Declaration of Independence had nitpicked like this, there would be no United States today!!!

    • Stanton

      you think they didn’t nitpick like this?

  • http://twitter.com/LittleBiggyGirl LittleBiggyGirl

    what has the Occupy movement done most to hurt itself?
    http://littlebiggy.org/4660547

  • http://twitter.com/beyondpartisan beyond partisan

    Gee, it never occurred to you, in writing about how “intimidating” it was to stand up publicly in front of a large assembly, how completely flawed this “general assembly” construction is? The general assembly is mob rule – it is public vote under peer pressure. It is oppressive. Shy people need not apply. Do you honestly think that general assemblies will be an improvement upon our current representative government?

    Many of us Americans do NOT want a “new Republic.” We simply want to reform the existing republic. Your movement does not represent us.

    • Brockway

      apparently you are not at all familiar or educated in the processes that go on in the general assemblies. It is most times the very antithesis of mob rule. The consensus process has earned the description of “tyranny of the minority” due to its commitment to consensus. also, the term “new republic” can, could, does mean reforming the old one. after a reformation, it is called a NEW one. anything might also be an improvement on our electoral college and politicians that are financed by wall street and large corporate interests. Sir, how did you get to be so willfully ignorant? you certainly are not beyond partisanship.

      • http://twitter.com/beyondpartisan beyond partisan

        You only need to watch that video of John Lewis being chased away from talking at Occupy Atlanta to see how completely flawed and undemocratic the “general assembly” process truly is. The “facilitator” literally shouts down a guy who is trying to speak out and apologize to John Lewis (the facilitator, with the megaphone, starts yelling MIC CHECK over and over and silences the guy). The only people who have a voice in that environment are the ones who aren’t afraid to stand up and try to yell over the crowd. How can you say that’s more “democratic” than a private vote? Moreover, the crowd dynamic is one that becomes oppressive…the atmosphere is very cult-like and supports group-think.

        • Stanton

          …a guy trying to apologize *on behalf* of the whole group. And if you watch the other video, you will see that Lewis understood and sympathized with the consensus process, one he had participated in back in the 60s. In that video, the question was whether his talk should be able to jump ahead of the agenda because he was special, and someone opposed that on principle. I think he could have spoken without harm, but I understand the commitment to that process, and so did Lewis. It’s worth noting that the people who posted that video failed to let Lewis’ words in the video while criticizing the “censorship of John Lewis”.

    • http://www.facebook.com/people/Adam-William-Majkowski/1507188872 Adam William Majkowski

      Internet/radio debates and local private voting after the wealth is shared with everyone.

    • Taylor.L

      well i thought it was beautiful and it made me cry. you are incredibly brave and anyone who has anything negative or hateful to say can go ramble on facebook and reserve this space for people who believe in a PEACEFUL protest.

  • Guest

    An investigation into the world of greed and recklessness that led to the collapse. Worth to watch the 4 episodes.

    http://english.aljazeera.net/programmes/meltdown/

  • Ilene Flannery Wells

    This was my immediate reaction to the “Occupy” movement. I plan to “Occupy” the “Occupy” movement, because I take this as an opportunity to be heard. I wrote this in my twin brother’s voice because he is not with us to speak for himself, nor could he when he was alive due to his psychiatric disabilities.

    My name is Paul Flannery, and I was one of the 4% of US adults with severe mental illness. We do not seem to have a voice in this whole “Occupy” movement. The call to save Medicaid funding once again leaves my fellow 4% out in the cold. For some, that is a literal statement.

    You see, Medicaid funding for long-term, in-patient treatments is denied to Medicaid eligible adults who are unlucky enough, like I was, to have an illness in their brain, instead of their heart, or lung or some other organ in their body. There is even a law against us, it is called the Medicaid Institutes for Mental Diseases (IMD) Exclusion.

    Because people with severe brain disorders, like schizophrenia and bipolar disorder, are denied access to appropriate long-term, in-patient treatments, 200,000 of us are homeless, 500,000 of us are in prison, we cycle in and out of the local emergency rooms, psych wards, and jails by the millions, and we die, on average, 25 years sooner than you, the other 96%, due to medical neglect. You traded state hospitals for homelessness, incarceration, and death. This is not protecting our civil liberties.

    I died three years ago; I was only 48 years old. You could be my voice, and the voice of the 4%. Please tell Congress to repeal the discriminatory Medicaid law that puts long-term, in-patient treatments out of our reach. It is literally killing us.

    Repeal the Medicaid Institutes for Mental Diseases (IMD) Exclusion because…

    Mental Illness is a Medical Illness

    • LOOK AT BIG PICTURE, OWS!!!

      Lots to say. Thanks for speaking up. There are a panoply of issues festering and needing to be dealt with. I think this movement will be swamped, though, as other groups I have belonged to, with individual concerns and the multitude of undealt with issues in our corporate shipwreck of a state. A women at the first meeting I attended made this very point, about an unending list of individual issues: propaganda about nuclear power, 9/11, womens’ difficult economic straits, ocean pollution, sugar as 35-45% of american’s calories, the revolving poor door, minorities lack of opportunity in a ‘land of opportunity’, lack of a real health care system but a highly-profitable and horrendously ineffective sickness caredisease management/pharmaceutical distribution system instead; lack of respectable treatment of our seniors, etc. etc.

      We talked with others about this–how if this movement tries to embrace each and every injustice or individual, regional, non-corporate, albeit very worthy cause–it will fade into the dust and mud so soon you wont’ see nuthin’ but disparate disjointed and dysfunctional (or functional) little groups all over the country and world.

      What is it that brought us here in the first place? Question…………………………if we can rally around our individual issues, then more power to us. We should be building consensus on what we stand for most fundamentally===and how to express & work for that. I am willing to lay down my most vehement issues is I see we could move forward.

      Runaway corporate power and a banking/financial system that sees protesters as frustrated, immature youth who are just a transitory movement is something that needs to be focused on.

      We should acknowledge peoples’ issues, not disrespect ANYONE, but expecting an incipient movement to 1) know about 2) have similar interest in and 3) want to be engaged in each of our passionate, vital, but ‘regional issues’ is naive and will wind down this movement quickly if people don’t know how to deal with the need for focus, purpose, unity, savvy w/ group dynamics, how a group can move forward, & how a basic sense of united purpose is needed for most any progress and long-term effectiveness.

      Wall Street is a cesspool as far as I see it.

      Perhaps the issues plaguing Wall Street–obscene executive compensation, corporate raiding, lack of even basic morality, export of manufacturing jobs to slave states, buying out Congress, a lapdog SEC, ignorance and arrogance of Wall Street employees toward many of us: liberals, Obama, and progressives plus a lack of any sort of an economic plan to revitalize this country are perhaps issues we could coalesce toward & focus on.

      There’s too much money in far too few hands. The dysfunctional gap and unseemly power and wealth of the superrich. How our economic system does not serve the original purpose of such a system–to effectively, freely, and basically fairly frame work activities and faciltate exchange of goods and services needed by people to conduct our lives, hopefully healthfully and with aplomb.

      technology has become a religion and presents many obstacles to progress–since the ‘faith’ says that hi-tech is the future, but we know that those in power are not paying attention to environmental factors that will sweep away the chaff of broken cell phone pieces littered on the ground & we need to learn so we can help instruct the hungry people who don’t know how to grow things as we all learn some hard lessons from Mother Nature.

      There’s so much wrong. Are we a protest movement or a conversation about a multitude of things? Both are needed. ONE is a movement and the other is revolving conversations…but to be effective, the power in Wash, D.C. needs to affected, altered, weakened, highlighted, exposed, drained and/or rebuilt, or transformed somehow. I dont know how to do it because it’s a dynamic that millions and millions of us must do.

      I wouldn’t dare to say where a raging bull would take me if I got on its back in open farm land (analogy to Wall Street!). I also don’t know where this conversation is headed, exactly or generally. It IS about trying to create a better, more just economy for those of us in the 99% . All these other issues are like symptoms to a parent illness.

      Unregulated greed and immorality (in the Bible’s words, ‘unjust gain’). I have ignored these small words in the Bible before and it has hurt me. The contrary voice to the ‘social ethic.’ I need to live a more spiritual life–stock buying and selling is part of my problem.

      We must invest in ourselves and our communities. Real security and wealth will come as we develop ways to sustain community and nourish each other…and to respectfully and responsibly utilize and give back to the living EARTH. It is our larger mission.

      Thank you for speaking up about your concerns and Occupying Part of Wall Street!

      Personally, I work with people with body-brain issues using a nutritional approach. It is generally far more effective that the medical/psychiatric one. We focus on rebuilding a person’s well-functioning body and brain to give them back the opportunity to give back as well. Nutrition is the big missing need in ‘wealth snare’. A car that doesn’t have enough transmission fluid or lubricant will not run well or at all.

      Our body and brain need sufficient levels of a variety of essential nutrients to work minimally or well. That’s the biggest, most obvious ‘reason’ so many people are chronically ill. So, don’t forget to eat your vegetables/quality protein/healthy saturated, mono-unsaturated, and Omega-3 fats!

      Stress wears down our nutrient body so as ‘effective occupiers’ we need to resupply it with nutrition–good food and nutrients in low supply. Vitamin C, D3 and A, E, B-vitamins, especially B-3, B-6, and B-12 need boosting for most of us with histories of metabolic brain disorders. Magnesium, calcium, iodine, selenium, Zinc, and possibly others. I like butter and honey. I’m Gluten-Free. How about you? Support and love your friends and neighbors. bye for now!

      Chris Foulke, ‘Nutrition for Bio-Behavioral HEALTH!’

      • Anonymous

        Thanks for the reply. One of the reasons I am doing this is that people are listening, and very few people know about this discriminatory Medicaid law. So, if nothing else, I am,, hopefully, educating people that want to know more about the issues.

        In regards to nutrition. I agree, for the most part, but just like other illnesses, nutrition alone cannot always be used as a treatment or as a preventive measure.

        Please go to my website: http://www.paulslegacyproject.org

  • Anonymous

    Thank, you, thank you for your courage, & sharing your experience!! After taking part in 2 good, but slowwwww, long Occupy Eugene OR meetings tonight, I really needed to be reminded of the value of the process we’ve chosen. This piece about standing up w/ a strong concern from a minority position during consensus process is deeply touching, brave & real. In many ways, I’m very lucky- a home, plenty to eat, family, friends, & in spite of some struggles & worries, a little bit for extras sometimes.
    But as a woman, a Jew, & a long-practicing Wiccan, I know what it’s like to have to constantly explain a POV that’s coming from a different place; how vulnerable & exhausting it can feel, especially within a group where we share so many affinities. Impatient as I can get about some aspects of consensus, this article is a humbling, beautiful reminder of how important it is for everyone to have a chance to be heard & considered. Shalom, y’all- I love our movement, warts n’ all.

  • Adrep Müller

    To ‘Engineering for Peace’… first I find the idea of engineering peace a problem but one I could get over I suppose. My true objection to what you’ve written is the appeal to Manissa that she ought move towards forgiveness. When forgiveness is stripped of its heart, justice, it risks becoming an anemic ‘don’t look – the bully is coming’ kind of slithering out of the courage and guts it takes to stand up and be counted. One author has gone so far as to say that the act of forgiveness without its counterpart justice may be in fact an embrace of evil.

    I might or might not agree with the result of Manissa and her friends’ intervention. Yet the fact that one has the courage to speak one’s heart in the midst of a gathering is all we dare ask of one another. Truth is not a fact, it is an act, and a collective one at that. Until each of us lives the kind of courage Manissa lived – and live it from the heart – we can not hope to be able to create the just world we dream of. The courage to live the listening to one another openly and to build a thriving world with and within such complexity is the task of a lifetime, and yes it is life. Anything less and we can stick with what we have.

  • http://www.facebook.com/steven.leone Steven Leone

    The American Dream. That statement has a much different meaning than it did originally. It used to stand for prosperity, for the belief that many people had as they left their homes and brought their families to a distant and unknown future. Just because they believed that their families would have it better, not just financially, but intellectually, and because of our freedoms. Now, corporate greed has turned it from a positive figurative term, to a literal dream. The banks, financial institutions, and our corporate masters have fleeced trillions of dollars from allowing faulty investments to be made that benefited a select few. From corrupt business actions that they protected themselves from by injecting themselves into our government. For injecting themselves into a quickly decaying form of representative government that no longer stands for the masses, but against them. Lobbyists and special interest groups, hired by this oligarchy to line the pockets of our “leaders”. The ones we, the 99% voted into power because of the fact that we thought that they, would stand for our interests. America has now become a dream, but it is not a dormant one. The United States of America is a real dream for the 99%, the occupiers, the protesters, and even the ones who still haven’t stepped forward. It is the same dream that our ancestors had, the same dream our Founding Father fought and died for. This American Dream is one of Hope, one of Strength, one of Freedom once more. Because this America, that we live in today … Is not that America they dreamt about. Thomas Jefferson himself gave us the power as a people, as the 99% to change or abolish the government when it could no longer provide us with the safety and happiness given to us as rights by our Creator. This time, however, we are not facing a King blocking our ships, or taxing our tea, but we are fighting a many-headed oligarch who devours our economy, our government, and our rights into its ever-expanding waistline. This new Declaration of Independence breaks us free not from a king on a throne overseas. It dissolves our ties to a corporate, elitist machine that destroys us from our own shores. Because like before, We do hold these truths to be self-evident. All people, are created equal and we are all given unalienable rights that include, but do not end with the Rights to Life, Liberty and The pursuit of Happiness. Our current government, that was instituted and derived the power from the People, has become destructive of these rights. Therefore, we are calling upon our Right to alter or abolish this current government in favor of one that will allow us the Rights precluded, but not ending with, within. This change is necessary because for too long our voices haven’t been heard, for too long the voices of the powerful elite few have outweighed the voices of the numerous many. Our society has suffered under the shadowy rule of this oligarchical machine. For they have made sure that their rights were secured, their interests were procured before those of the masses. That they have blocked legislation favorable to the many, as well as passed legislation for the benefit of the few. That our right of representation has all but been corrupted by lobbyists and special interest groups that benefit them only. The hand picking of the ones who benefit them and throwing the money behind them flies directly in the face of our right as a people to proper representation. They have combined their idealistic behavior into one that subjects the 99 percent to a jurisdiction that is foreign to our written laws.
    Their unconstitutional acts include, but do not end with:
    Protecting their interest by deception of the masses
    For imposing unjust taxes on the people, without themselves being taxed equally
    For taking away our Charters, abolishing our most valuable and protective laws and altering fundamentally the forms of
    our Government
    For infiltrating the media, spinning it so the masses fight against each other blindly
    And suspending our own Legislature, and silently declaring themselves invested with the power to legislate for us.
    They have abdicated government in the United States of America and wage war against the middle and lower classes of
    its population
    They have ravaged our coasts, plundered our savings and burnt our hope to the ground
    They have incited and excited insurrections between us as a smoke screen from seeing them as the enemy

    We, therefore, the Representatives of the United States of America, stand together as the strong 99%, appealing to the Supreme Judge of the world, for the rectitude of our intentions, do in the Name and by authority of the good People of the 99 percent, solemnly publish and declare, that these United States are, and of Right ought to be free and independent States, that we are Absolved from all Allegiance to the Tyrannical Oligarchy that has destroyed our once free land. Because we will stand strong, we will stand free, and we will stand proudly against the sham of a ruling elite class. And for the support of this Declaration, with a firm reliance of protection of divine Providence, we mutually pledge to each other our Lives, our Fortunes, and our sacred Honor. For we are the 99%, and we will never fail.

    Steven Leone, proud member of he 99%.

  • Lschwank

    I bet you half of the people occupying wall st. Are late on their 9% apr credit cards but decided it would be a nice idea to walk around in a park holding a stick. If you’re so concerned about that 1% then stop acting like them idiots. By standing around on wall st being bums you are only increasing the margin.

  • meguhphone

    “Let me begin by saying this: no revolutionary should fail to understand the underlying significance of the dictum that the success or failure of a revolution can almost always be gauged by the degree to which the status of women is altered in a radical, progressive direction…if it is true the outcome of a revolution will reflect the manner in which it is waged, we must unremittingly challenge anachronistic bourgeois family structures and also the oppressive character of women’s role in American society in general”. -Angela Davis

    It is time to pick up the lost banners of past movements and recognize that there is so much work to be done, on many different fronts. We need everyone, to pick up their sign, to utilize their voice so we are all represented. Occupy and represent yourself, your life, and your voice

  • Cristina Lopez

    Way to go!

  • JOBLESSINUSA

    You did indeed do good. When billions of people do good a few dozens of bad people have to quit.

    Don’t ever stop. Teach it to others.

  • JOBLESSINUSA

    Steven Leone YOU get it. Hang in there. Don’t quit. Look up Abdicated. Try adulterated or undermined or subverted.

  • Bruce A Rohn

    I am proud to be one of the 99% now that we are finally standing up for whats right. I will stay tuned to the progress,and will get prepared to help any way I can should the fight come to IN.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Adam-William-Majkowski/1507188872 Adam William Majkowski

    Rules for the future. I have been thinking about this. Salary caps. Read my blog if you want to read revolutionary stuff.

    http://thesillyparty.blogspot.com/2011/02/federal-government.html

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_67FFN7A4L6ZFTACI53XXH5CTEA David

    Thank you for your courage and integrity and wisdom, both in the action and in the post.

  • http://www.facebook.com/debbie.niemeyer Debbie Niemeyer

    One way to control Greed is to increase Wages. A social movement with out a substantial effort to be politicize necessary resolutions (i.e. higher wages) is a social movement wasting a lot of energy. I get that OWS is acting in such a way to disregard what some deem as an illegitimate poltical process, however, we need a few specifics at least. And the specific goals/objectives have to be discussed during the GA…because even if a lot of young people have vitality and tenacity while hanging out at Zuccotti Park, many will lose focus (even before they tire of the weather) if we aren’t specific and consistent in our demands ….that and we NEED to adopt a more mature leadership in this organization. You want be another Tahrir Square and become more of a social movement, fine, but let’s try to be a little political…and specific…i.e., realize this: one important aspect to greed is an undying love for LOW wages. Sure, the Fed is innately corrupt, Wall Street is an implication of that and political policies and deregulation..etc , etc… but understand people still need jobs and need higher wages to grow and become productive, empowered INDIVIDUALS in society. We need higher wages to get people thinking again. And get this in case you forgot: besides political oppression and swollen wallets, why do you think American music and the rest of media is persistently terrible at the present time? Too many people are too poor and tired to think for themselves, many watch way too much Time Warner or Verizon Cable as a highlight of their live (I know I have as a house keeper with a MA)….while Brittany Spears, Kid Rock, 50 cent, K West, and Kate Perry AND MICHEAL MOORE (you think this guy gives a rat’s ass about low wages…does he even discuss it that much? Check out Debisis Robustus on Youtube if you like )still have a career in show biz. Poverty is a killer in many aspects of life and creativity. WE NEED TO DEMAND HIGHER WAGES…okay, and end the Fed too.

  • http://www.facebook.com/debbie.niemeyer Debbie Niemeyer

    One way to control Greed is to increase Wages. A social movement with out a substantial effort to politicize necessary resolutions (i.e. higher wages) is a social movement wasting a lot of energy. I get that OWS is acting in such a way to disregard what some deem as an illegitimate political process, however, we need a few specifics at least. And the specific goals/objectives have to be discussed during the GA…because even if a lot of young people have vitality and tenacity while hanging out at Zuccotti Park, many will lose focus (even before they tire of the weather) if we aren’t specific and consistent in our demands ….that and we NEED to adopt a more mature leadership in this organization. You want be another Tahrir Square and become more of a social movement, fine, but let’s try to be a little political…and specific…i.e., realize this: one important aspect to greed is an undying love for LOW wages. Sure, the Fed is innately corrupt, Wall Street is an implication of that and political policies and deregulation..etc , etc… but understand people still need jobs and need higher wages to grow and become productive, empowered INDIVIDUALS in society. We need higher wages to get people thinking again. And get this in case you forgot: besides political oppression and swollen wallets, why do you think American music and the rest of media is persistently terrible at the present time? Too many people are too poor and tired to think for themselves, many watch way too much Time Warner or Verizon Cable as a highlight of their live (I know I have as a house keeper with a MA)….while Brittany Spears, Kid Rock, 50 cent, K West, and Kate Perry AND MICHEAL MOORE (you think this guy gives a rat’s ass about low wages…does he even discuss it that much? Check out Debisis Robustus on Youtube if you like )still have a career in show biz. Poverty is a killer in many aspects of life and creativity. WE NEED TO DEMAND HIGHER WAGES…okay, and end the Fed too.

  • maxawesome

    I have literally no idea what the author’s objection was.

    The initial wording said people were getting together despite past divisions.

    How is that bad? Do you want to stay divided?

    How could you talk for so long about your feelings without getting across your meaning even slightly?

    • Stanton

      her objections are quite clear…”The proposed text ignored people from countries that have been colonized and communities right here where democratic participation is anything but a given.”

      • maxawesome

        Well, yes, those are the words she used to describe her objection: I just find them vague and brief, and she skips straight from that summary to describing what it felt like to explain them at length, without actually explaining them at length.

  • http://www.facebook.com/scenkner Stephen Cenkner

    I’m sorry, I just don’t understand the complaint. Maybe it is because I too, am a white man. Obviously, she states her objection thus: “The proposed text ignored people from countries that have been colonized and communities right here where democratic participation is anything but a given.” It seems to me that the declaration attempted to include these people with the specific line she wanted removed! Was this line forgetting some major groups that she felt should be included? If so why not try to amend the line instead of remove it? Perhaps she felt that after including such a broad range of peoples, she felt that the goals expressed later in the document did not represent the goals of all the people mentioned in the beginning? This would explain the removal of the line, but seems to leave the goals of these peoples out of the movement even more. If you understand this better than I, please explain. Thanks!

  • passing through

    this had me in tears.. for all of the reasons there are. I grew up in Apartheid South Africa. I was ‘white’ but I look mixed (or ‘black’ in America). you did good. you did good.

    to others who have written here – yes we do not want to dilute the economic issue, but you do want a document that has been thought-out and argued from as many angles as possible, the simple difference of ‘what words mean or imply’ is the difference between being a well-thought ethical and deep writing of an idea.. and a sloppy and transient one.

    If the movement survives (and it should, because real change needed, things are only likely to get harder financially.. and that will feed this) this declaration may need to be changed and tweaked and polished.. but if it has been well thought and well-debated or argued.. it will be solid, and will not need it.

    Movements take years, sometimes decades to succeed. The successful ones are not started with a ‘great idea’ or a ‘clear agenda’.. they are started with a great problem, terrible need or unreasonable disparity. the commitment to a movement is the commitment to an attempt at solving that problem, at struggling with it until a way through seems possible.

    This one will survive, simply because our need for a solution to the problem will get greater. The way things have been set up, it will get worse before it gets better.

    If nothing else, the issue of ‘not erasing a history of oppression’ will hopefully remind us to not solve our problems at the cost of someone else. We live in a ‘world’ now, not in countries. If nothing else, this ‘problem’ and this movement proves that.

    I say not to sell ourselves off to whoever gives us ease, in our small part of the word.. fight for a real change.. and keep arguing/debating it, what that would be. The distillation of a great idea is in the work of many minds, seeing many angles, and doing the work of trying to find the right exact ‘idea’.

    There is always a way, we just have to keep coming back, whether we do that with our bodies (as the occupiers are doing, and will hopefully continue to do) or with our minds.

  • Anonymous

    please watch this congressional hearing on the FED and distribute this video around. This is the scariest video I have seen and I worked on Wall Street for over 23 years. http://dailybail.com/home/ther
    Edit Reply

  • DC Andrew L

    I think that the entire 1% being “formerly divided” is a worthy aspiration. Is it the expression of it as a present fact (is saying we are “formerly divided” the same as saying we are “presently united?”) what you took issue with? Or do you hold the idea that our demographic/historic divisions are worthy and useful?

  • Thomas Arnold

    The concern was about the assertion of being “formerly divided” as presumptuous and minimizing past and present suffering and injustice.

  • Jacob

    Please read my blog. My views on economics do not agree with anybody’s. I have been doing economic theory since 2001 (early Sept., around the 7th or 8th)
    jacksgreatblog.blogspot.com

  • Pingback: TheMillerCircle.org » Blog Archive » A trip to Zucotti Park

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100000386183364 William J McClelland II

    While My experience was not as influential as hers. it was as intense. this happend at my first genaral asembaly. you can read my whole on facebook Some hours later The general assembly was called. On the way over to the ampathiater I was walking with our facilitator. And told him what I thought of this video I had seen on line of a politician being mike checked . He said ‘’You aught to bring it up at the assembly. That’s a valid point. I did not want to. I think I said ‘’You bring it up.’’ He said as facilitator He has no opinion. So I agreed .
    You can watch the video. Some agreed with me. Some did not. This is NOT about the point I was making. I found it very frustrating. I don’t think I will ever like being up there. But I will be up there again.
    As a young boy maybe 10 years old or so I asked Dad if he was going to vote. He said, ‘’No.‘’ I was astonished . I don’t remember most of our conversation. What I do remember is he got a little frustrated. [ I have that affect on people ] and the truth came out. He said ,’’Your vote doesn’t count.’’ He said a few other things I kinda remember to that affect.
    My vote has never counted. My opinion has never mattered in any way that ever meant shit before. But last night I stood there , I made my point, it was considered by my peers. It mattered. Those that disagreed? Their points mattered. And all were heard that needed to be heard.

    #occupy is not going away. We are ONE voice. You don’t like what we are saying? Put your voice with ours . YOU will be heard. YOU matter . You might change what we are saying. Or how we are saying it. Might not. You will be heard . The people will weigh what you got to say on it’s merit. Not By how much money you can put into some politicians campaign.

    I sit here tonight knowing, that for the first time in my life, outside of my small circle of friends. My voice matters. And THAT is the most Incredible feeling This old hippie has ever felt.
    I think it is called ”Playing a part in a true democracy.” Try it. You WILL like it.

    William J Mcclelland II

    SOUPKITCHENSAM@GMAIL ,TWITTER, AND FACEBOOK

  • http://www.facebook.com/GodzillaTheDon Mark Neff

    I’m afraid I don’t understand, however I am trying too. When they said “As one people, formerly divided by the color of our skin, gender, sexual orientation, religion, or lack thereof, political party and cultural background…”, it sounded to me like they were speaking as the occupy movement being a group of people that once were, but no longer are, divided by these prejudices. The key words here are “FORMERLY divided”. From what I am reading in this article, it sounds like a progressive move towards a future that is devoid of inequality.
    Are you saying that they are not recognizing the inequality that has occurred in the past?

  • http://www.facebook.com/GodzillaTheDon Mark Neff

    The prejudice in this country that has affected individuals of foreign ethnicity, which are citizens of this country, should be amongst the agenda we are standing for, as the occupy movement. That’s my interpretation of this post is about. Please correct me if I’m wrong.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Malcolm-D-B-Munro/100001748895873 Malcolm D B Munro

    “My friend Hena addressed the crowd of hundreds with our concern, and we were told to send an email that could deal with it later. Hena persisted, and again the facilitators at the General Assembly tried to bypass our grievance and push it off until later. They warned us that to “block” the Declaration was a serious act.”

    Sounds threatening to me. Sounds like you were shouted down. So much for Occupy’s much vaunted facilitating all voices being heard.

    “… facilitators of the General Assembly …” Power already vested in the hands of a few. Herein lie the seeds of the movements self destruction if not called to account.

    Shades of 1789. Not good.

    Manissa sounds like a brave woman and is to be commended on her courage.

  • Nono

    Barack Obama you are not president you are murderer and criminal and thief
    you are killing – usa – young men and innocents people just for stealing money and oil from arabic countries shame on you

  • Nono

    Barack Obama you are not president you are murderer and criminal and thief
    you are killing – usa – young men and innocents people just for stealing money and oil from arabic countries shame on you

  • truckeramazonwomyn

    IThis renews my hope in this generation

  • http://www.facebook.com/GodzillaTheDon Mark Neff

    lol i smell a troll