Occupy Wall Street has been taking flak for being vague about its mission and not having a concrete platform. But the growing protest in New York is currently working on a document that will outline the organization's demands. Because the movement is democratic, with no specific leader, the list is a collective work and has not been finalized for release -- the document is being contributed to and voted on nationally. But from the rough draft, it's clear that specific demands are being crafted, with plans to present them to Congress. So if you've been wondering what Occupy Denver wants, read on:
The working list of demands, developed in New York, is now posted on occupydenver.org. It's preceded by a lengthy statement of purpose and a proposed approach for the coming weeks:
It is in the spirit of 'taking many 'bites at the apple' that we submit the initial list of demands for reform below. They would, of course, need to be followed by additional demands for reform, one after the other, relentlessly, like waves rolling in from the sea. This initial list focuses on demanding that Congress use its powers to prevent further abuses by Wall Street and large corporations. These abuses have cost millions of Americans their jobs, their savings, their homes and their pride. Untold damage has been done to communities across the country. It's impossible to have a great nation where only the few are benefiting and the great many are hurting. So let's roll up our sleeves, get to work and take our first bite at the apple."
"It is a living document to be updated and discussed, and possibly revised over time by everyone involved across the nation," explains Brett Starr of Occupy Denver, who's slated to appear on Peter Boyles's KHOW talk show after 8 a.m. this morning. "OWS is facilitating that process and the rest of the occupations have announced themselves in solidarity to OWS, thereby supporting their facilitation of the demands. Definitely in the case of Denver, and probably with the other sixty cities occupied, the event is for the purpose of gaining awareness with a set of demands of this nature."
The Declaration of Occupation, which is basically a mission statement, was released this past weekend at Occupy Wall Street in New York, where protesters first converged last month. But the movement refuses to be rushed. "A lot of the media has been trying to extract more specific demands from the movement," Starr says, "but those demands are not going to be provided prematurely.
"Someone said an analogy the other day at one of the general assemblies: 'People looking for demands are looking for the shoot of the tree while the movement is still trying to grow roots,'" Starr says. "That statement makes a lot of sense, because the roots are in the establishment of the occupation. Just staying where we're at is important right now, and just making sure we don't have to be moved. We need to make sure our roots are intact to make our structure solid."
Members of the movement believe everything needs to be done one step at a time: First the campers need to get the support, and then they will hash out the details. "We need as many people to occupy as possible," Starr says. "There will be rallies and marches every Saturday at noon."
In the meantime, Occupy Denver is taking donations to sustain the occupation -- but only supplies, not money. "Money is the problem in the first place -- how it was used and abused," Starr says. "What we need most is ice, produce" -- click here to read more about the on-site kitchen, aka the Thunderdome -- plus "access to wi-fi hot spots, and electricity in order to keep media aware of what's happening on the ground."
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And what is happening on the ground? The protesters are discussing their demands; a current version is posted at occupydenver.org. All of these ideas are still under discussion, and therefore not yet official. Eight are listed under "Proposed Demands for Congress," and many more are being considered on the site, including a repeal of the Patriot Act, equal pay for women, an end to the drug war and more.
Below are the "Proposed Demands for Congress," which you can also vote on here:
CONGRESS PASS HR 1489 ("RETURN TO PRUDENT BANKING ACT" THIS REINSTATES MANY PROVISIONS OF THE GLASS-STEAGALL ACT. Wiki entry summary: The repeal of provisions of the Glass-Steagall Act of 1933 by the Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act in 1999 effectively removed the separation that previously existed between investment banking which issued securities and commercial banks which accepted deposits. The deregulation also removed conflict of interest prohibitions between investment bankers serving as officers of commercial banks. Most economists believe this repeal directly contributed to the severity of the Financial crisis of 2007-2011 by allowing Wall Street investment banking firms to gamble with their depositors' money that was held in commercial banks owned or created by the investment firms. Here's detail on repeal in 1999 and how it happened: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Glass-Steagall_Act#Repeal .
USE CONGRESSIONAL AUTHORITY AND OVERSIGHT TO ENSURE APPROPRIATE FEDERAL AGENCIES FULLY INVESTIGATE AND PROSECUTE THE WALL STREET CRIMINALS who clearly broke the law and helped cause the 2008 financial crisis in the following notable cases: (insert list of the most clear cut criminal actions). There is a pretty broad consensus that there is a clear group of people who got away with millions / billions illegally and haven't been brought to justice. Boy would this be long overdue and cathartic for millions of Americans. It would also be a shot across the bow for the financial industry. If you watch the solidly researched and awared winning documentary film "Inside Job" that was narrated by Matt Damon (pretty brave Matt!) and do other research, it wouldn't take long to develop the list.
CONGRESS ENACT LEGISLATION TO PROTECT OUR DEMOCRACY BY REVERSING THE EFFECTS OF THE CITIZENS UNITED SUPREME COURT DECISION which essentially said corporations can spend as much as they want on elections. The result is that corporations can pretty much buy elections. Corporations should be highly limited in ability to contribute to political campaigns no matter what the election and no matter what the form of media. This legislation should also RE-ESTABLISH THE PUBLIC AIRWAVES IN THE U.S. SO THAT POLITICAL CANDIDATES ARE GIVEN EQUAL TIME FOR FREE AT REASONABLE INTERVALS IN DAILY PROGRAMMING DURING CAMPAIGN SEASON. The same should extend to other media.
CONGRESS PASS THE BUFFETT RULE ON FAIR TAXATION SO THE RICH AND CORPORATIONS PAY THEIR FAIR SHARE & CLOSE CORPORATE TAX LOOP HOLES AND ENACT A PROHIBITION ON HIDING FUNDS OFF SHORE. No more GE paying zero or negative taxes. Pass the Buffet Rule on fair taxation so the rich pay their fair share. (If we have a really had a good negotiating position and have the place surrounded, we could actually dial up taxes on millionaires, billionaires and corporations even higher...back to what they once were in the 50's and 60's.
CONGRESS COMPLETELY REVAMP THE SECURITIES AND EXCHANGE COMMISSION and staff it at all levels with proven professionals who get the job done protecting the integrity of the marketplace so citizens and investors are both protected. This agency needs a large staff and needs to be well-funded. It's currently has a joke of a budget and is run by Wall St. insiders who often leave for high ticket cushy jobs with the corporations they were just regulating. Hmmm.
CONGRESS PASS SPECIFIC AND EFFECTIVE LAWS LIMITING THE INFLUENCE OF LOBBYISTS AND ELIMINATING THE PRACTICE OF LOBBYISTS WRITING LEGISLATION THAT ENDS UP ON THE FLOOR OF CONGRESS.
CONGRESS PASSING "Revolving Door Legislation" LEGISLATION ELIMINATING THE ABILITY OF FORMER GOVERNMENT REGULATORS GOING TO WORK FOR CORPORATIONS THAT THEY ONCE REGULATED. So, you don't get to work at the FDA for five years playing softball with Pfizer and then go to work for Pfizer making $195,000 a year. While they're at it, Congress should pass specific and effective laws to enforce strict judicial standards of conduct in matters concerning conflicts of interest. So long as judges are culled from the ranks of corporate attorneys the 1% will retain control.
ELIMINATE "PERSONHOOD" LEGAL STATUS FOR CORPORATIONS. The film "The Corporation" has a great section on how corporations won "personhood status". http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8SuUzmqBewg . Fast-forward to 2:20. It'll blow your mind. The 14th amendment was supposed to give equal rights to African Americans. It said you "can't deprive a person of life, liberty or property without due process of law". Corporation lawyers wanted corporations to have more power so they basically said "corporations are people." Amazingly, between 1890 and 1910 there were 307 cases brought before the court under the 14th amendment. 288 of these brought by corporations and only 19 by African Americans. 600,000 people were killed to get rights for people and then judges applied those rights to capital and property while stripping them from people. It's time to set this straight.
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