» Archive for 2011

SIX POINTS ON ECONOMIC DEMOCRACY IN THE OCCUPY MOVEMENT

Tuesday, December 13th, 2011 by Darin Robbins

Economic democracy can be very useful as a starting point and toolbox for the world that the Occupy movement is fighting for.

1. The Occupy movement is unique in that it uses an internal democratic process through the General Assemblies alongside the nonviolent civil disobedience of the occupation sites themselves. This internal democracy is the method used to discover grievances, demands, and solutions which is very vital to the identity of the movement and its subsequent actions. It is a bottom-up process that is shaped by its participants. The internal democracy is also an example of prefiguration which means, in the words of the I.W.W., “creating the new world in the shell of the old”. Prefiguration is distinct from either revolution or reform and that is why it can be difficult for the status quo to pin down and stereotype this movement. Economic democracy can be a potential solution that can be developed through the General Assemblies, and can be quite helpful as a starting point in the overall discussion as to how to deal with the inherent problems of the existing economic order. But economic democracy is also prefiguration in that the participants shape and control the enterprises they are within. It can be very easy for the General Assemblies to transition to democratic forms in an alternative economy since the process is similar and follows parallel principles of organization.

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NATURAL SOLIDARITY

Thursday, November 17th, 2011 by Darin Robbins

As the Occupy movement exists so does the Green Party, sharing an affinity of peace, ecology, justice, and democracy.

For two months, there has been a new expression of the will of the people. Occupy Wall Street, along with hundreds of other occupations across this nation, is vital to the future for two reasons. First, it is important as the articulation of the immense dissatisfaction of those who still find themselves unable to survive in this failing economy. A gigantic income inequality, the inordinate power that corporations have over our democratic process, and the calls for austerity that push more people into poverty with less economic rights all demonstrate that the status quo is untenable. Second, through the direct democracy of the General Assemblies that are practiced at each occupation, we find that new alternative political and economic forms are viable and possible. This new democracy from the streets is how the grievances, demands, and solutions of the protesters are formulated rather than prefabricated by corporate backers such as the Koch brothers. What is being seen is the actualization of ideas from Buckminster Fuller and Mario Savio. Fuller proposed that the best way to convince someone would be to create a working model that makes the old system obsolete. Savio stated that when the machine becomes so odious it becomes necessary to put bodies upon the gears to make it stop. This prefiguration and nonviolent civil disobedience makes this a special moment in American history. The movement is made up of hard working people who played by the rules but the economy failed them. Truly, the U.S. is at a pivot point of change in its history.

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TAHRIR SQUARE COMES TO WALL STREET

Tuesday, October 4th, 2011 by Guest Commentator

By Tom Siracuse:

Stock markets, banks, and governments worldwide are getting more and more rattled as they fail to intimidate the working class into accepting the burden of a financial collapse caused by corrupt governments, greedy speculation, and unregulated bank loans. Despite the Obama administration’s announcements to buy up long term treasuries, a new “stimulus package”, and even a millionaires tax, stocks have suffered one of their biggest monthly losses since the Great Depression. Even if the Republicans went along with more taxes, these “reforms” would not solve the underlying problem; capitalism cannot control UNBRIDLED GREED.

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