From:   Richard S. <chardsinger@yahoo.com>
Sent time:   Tuesday, October 04, 2011 3:19:25 PM
To:   september17 <september17@googlegroups.com>
Subject:   SPAM-MED: [september17discuss] Re: Direct Participatory Democratic Network - Where Revolution Streches in the Horizon
 

Although I am not an active participant or Liberty Plaza Park camper

right now, I cannot resist answering some of the messages/ideas

expressed on this e-mail list. If people feel I shouldn't be doing

so, just let me know...

 

Ale, I have two concerns when I read your description/message below.

One is that in your idea about why we are marching (and I still can

include myself in that "we" because I have been marching with many of

you a lot of the time), you seem to have forgotten about the very

crushing, real, concrete economic hardship that is being inflicted on

so many of us, about the crisis of unemployment in a society in which

employment is required - at least at some point - for survival (and is

also used by many as a measure of one's worthiness to participate in

society), and about the absurd inequality of our economic system. I

thought inequality was one of the main reasons that we are marching.

So, I am always baffled by your repeated insistence on dropping

"egalite" from the "song" that you think we should chant.

 

Secondly, I love the idea of general assemblies spreading throughout

the world to practice and create direct participatory democracy.

However, I hope that the concept of direct, participatory democracy

being pursued does not have to include all the features of consensus

process (or a particular kind of consensus process) that have been

popular with activist groups for a while. (People who don't know say

this is all new, but I know it isn't. When I first joined the GA, I

was surprised at how many details and gimmicks in the process were

identical to what I'd seen in Direct Action Network a dozen years

ago.) My biggest fear in this area is with regard to the danger that

consensus process has begun to be seen as a necessary ingredient in

direct democracy (which it most certainly is not). I have heard that

the GAs are really falling back on a form of majority voting pretty

often anyway (is this true?), but I think that the emphasis on

consensus, and the equation of many people (especially the newer

activists) between consensus and "real democracy" would be a drag on

the effectiveness and popularity of general assemblies in general. I

am also concerned that the movement for democratic assemblies might be

dragged down by the numerous gimmicks that are peculiar to this trend

in process, but which I don't see as necessary - e.g., everything from

"vibes watching" to certain identity-based concepts of the progressive

stack to the twinkling of fingers (I don't mind "twinkling," I do it

myself :) - but a lot of people don't see that as necessary at all).

 

Because of time limits, I can't really comment adequately re. other

thoughts that have occurred to me. However, I will add that I don't

see all concerns related to all different "dissent social

movements" (which is a broad enough category to be very changeable and

debatable) as being "points" from which the social struggle and

eventual revolution (I hope) to oppose and replace the present social-

economic system can be waged with equal significance or

effectiveness. (Hoping that sentence is not too convoluted, but

again, my eloquence in this matter is limited by time, as I am a very

slow writer.) And while I know this is a terrible heresy here and

now, I do think that one "concern" and source of struggle that can

unite the broadest range of people in a struggle against the root of

our problems is class. I would say, "class" as a concept that can be

debated, studied, updated beyond the usual stereotypical assumptions,

but class nonetheless, based on people's economic role in the

society. (Call me a dated old Marxist, if you like - though I was an

anarchist activist first, well acquainted with these many supposedly

"new" approaches a good number of years ago.)

 

And, on a related point - or back to the first point - I also kind of

thought we were marching to address issues of economic power and

control that have been neglected by fashionable activist movements in

our area for decades, which is one major reason we find ourselves in

the present social disaster.

 

Anyway, I hope this message has not been too cumbersome, and once

again, if I am too detached from the group (at least in physical

presence) to be offering such lengthy and somewhat dissenting

opinions, you (all) should just tell me, and I will take that into

major consideration. :)

 

Richard

 

On Oct 4, 3:36 pm, "Alexandre Machado De Sant'Anna Carvalho"

<ac3...@nyu.edu> wrote:

> Dear all;

>

> Talking to other people at Liberty Square, there is strong reason to

> believe that a good picture of what this occupation is all about has been

> conceptualized. This is something that maybe everyone already recognized,

> intuitively or not. We are marching not necessarily for demands, but for

> value systems. We are marching for values. Values such as solidarity,

> emancipation, social justice, humanization, human rights, etc.

> In these values, that's where goals and demands fit, but above all - *THIS

> IS WHY WE MARCH!*

>

> I'd like to share this vision of the movement with the broader collective.

> In the process, will attempt to

>

> (1) ditch the "one line demand meme", hopefully for good;

> (2) talk about what we are organically  building - a Direct Participatory

> Democratic Network  and

> (3) subvert-appropriate the "one line demand" meme to a *"one line purpose"

> meme.* Bear strong with me. It is a fun ride.

>

> For all those who have been following the developments in Liberty Square, we

> can observe that the General Assembly became a convergence

> point for dissent social movements. Here we have feminists, queer groups,

> environmental groups, anti-war groups, permaculture/foodies, anti-racism,

> anti-police brutality, pro-immigrants, human right activists, disabled body

> people, labor unions, animal rights and even animals themselves (dogs and

> cats so far, :-). Not to mention a broad set of political orientations, such

> as marxists, anarchists, liberals, etc etc.

>

> All these individuals, organizations, and social movements recognized the

> legitimacy of the square to voice out their suppressed views to the public

> in hope of building empathy for change; they are all saying enough

> to*representative democracy

> * and are embracing *direct participatory democracy* as a better way to

> share grievances, build solidarity, and solve problems. Doing politics and

> life *with* people and not* for* people or despite people, which is the

> status quo of our politik so far. This is why we cannot, under any

> circumstances, narrow our increasingly broad-based movement (and thus POWER)

> to a one line demand.

>

> It is time to open possibilities, not close them. How can we leverage the

> power rallying at the General Assemblies? How can we make sure that they sew

> together the strenght of scattered social movements into an unstoppable

> force? Through the people's Direct Participatory Democratic Network we are

> building.

>

> *Let's Imagine, as Lennon would put it.* General Assemblies at the

> community level, at the city level, at state and national level, and finally

> at the global level, working with each other, in conversation with each

> other, building solidarity together and coordinating actions. All through

> physical means (offline) and virtual (online) means, maybe both. The

> image of this process is a cluster of non-hierarchical, layer-based, General

> Assemblies, federated and collaborating in the shape of concentric circles.

>

> GA's would have the legitimacy to solve issues pertaining to their

> jurisdiction. So for instance, local level problems such as *public school

> budget cuts* would be resolved at OccupyNYC cluster of General

> Assemblies. National issues such as *renewable energy-based

> economy*discussed and solved by outer rim of General Assemblies:

> OccupyOregon,

> OccupyNorthDakota, OccupyMassachusetts, etc. Global issues such as *Climate

> Change or Neoliberal Capitalism* discussed and fought at the last outer

> layer (OccupyPlanet), in coordination with

> OccupySpain, OccupyGreece, OccupyBrazil, etc.

>

> Maybe we will soon realize that these old nation-state borders aren't even

> necessary anymore. And that is when we really make history. It is about a

> re-definition of borders, my dear friends, drawn by the people *with* the

> people. Again, we are creating a non-hierarchical, layered *Direct

> Participatory Democratic Network.* A framework that even though layered, is

> still horizontal, much like ArcGIS (cartography software)

> maps.

>

> These conversations would need to happen in a transparent,

> collaborative, secure environment through a open-source platform where

> voices on the squares are amplified. Virtual participants must have

> equal voice - some constituents are in hospital beds for example.

>

> However, only the Direct Participatory Democratic Network won't make power

> bend. We need to invite power to change with the will of the people or clog

> the machine to make it bend, with people power, at precise tactical leverage

> points. For instance, and this is just an analogy to help clarify the

> point, (disclaimer for the cops out there hearing this), if we have solid

> internal intel from employees that blood diamonds are being invested and

> traded through Chase bank institutions at the Financial District, we build

> solidarity with social movements that oppose this

> absurdity and #OccupyChase to shut it down. If queer marriage is being

> blocked, we seek solidarity with social movements that are in favour

> and find tactical leverage points to turn the wheel towards legislation,

> policies, or whatever other demands those social movements have.

>

> The drafting of goals, demands or whetever should be primarily made by the

> social movements that are affected by the issue at hand. Who better to draft

> goals than the people directly affected? Who are we to draft demands for

> these social movements? We can though be in solidarity WITH them and not FOR

> them... until power yields. So again, we leverage *in solidarity

> *power converging

> at General Assemblies and march. Whoever is in empathy with a particular

> cause, goal or demand(s) participates in the smart tactical actions

> developed to push for them.

>

> To build this direct participatory democratic network, absolute free speech

> is crucial, where all voices, including right wing voices, are welcome. Will

> this mean co-option? Not necessarily. How?

>

> This movement is not apolitical. It is not a neutral movement, as Brecht

> would agree, there is nothing apolitical in human affairs. This movement

> was clearly born with a leftist revolutionary call. Rather than a single

> demand, we have a "one line purpose", under which all these dissent

> groups including pro-environment and animal rights groups) rally around:

>

> *we are a human **struggle against oppression in all its forms.* Alas, a

> "one line purpose".

>

> Domestic violence or neoliberal capitalism's biases and exclusions; human

> destruction of the biosphere; all forms of personal or impersonal

> oppression perpetrated by individuals, groups, corporations, banks,

> corrupted structures. *we are a human struggle against oppression in all its

> forms.*

>

> This is it seems what we've been doing. The big picture. Where

> is radicalism, revolution? It is on direct, autonomous, inclusive democracy

> where voices are amplified and heard across miles, influencing memes and

> coordinating actions to emancipate the human race and the planet. A way to

> know we are successful? When power recognizes the legitimacy of the

> General Assembly constituency to speak for themselves and self-represent.

>

> *THIS IS WHY WE MARCH*. We march for values. Enough of Liberté, Egalité,

> Fraternité. Rather, let's chant a new song:

> Humanization, Emancipation, Solidarity!

>

> Thoughts?

>

> **

> **

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