From:   Alexandre Machado De Sant'Anna Carvalho <>
Sent time:   Friday, October 21, 2011 3:24:14 PM
Subject:   [september17discuss] To Adbusters and others - The People Won't be Co-opted (even by "allies")

Fellow occupiers:
I am reading everywhere a move towards demands being pushed virtually and in the larger media. What was disturbing for me was a piece claiming a RobinHood Tax part of OWS.
Even though i appreciate the role Adbusters and others have played in launching the meme of #occupywallst out there, i would like to remind them that this movement does not belong to them, does not belong to the NYCGA : this movement belongs to the people. And this means that ANY attempt to speak for the people is pernicious - no matter if you threw the meme out there or just joined. It is a matter of legitimacy. Each occupation, through its collective voice, speak (in theory) for its members. In parenthesis because we don't even have yet the capacity to make sure this happens in the first place. We are vulnerable as a political body and to use that vulnerability to push for your agenda is a fatal flaw that goes against everything we are doing.   
We are still building capacity to make sure all voices are heard and participate, and disturbs me to see some groups either infiltrating the NYCGA or virtually producing a list of rushed demands without any critical thinking about what this entails, saying "fuck you" to the people who are holding ground on this cold weather. Unacceptable.  
What destroys a leaderless movement is ego, either individual or organizational egos; so far a lot of ego's out there, either virtually or on the ground. Trying to mass maneuver people is NOT ok. If you insist on this, you are no better than the forces we are fighting against.
The people won't be mass maneuvered to push your demands before we build a space where we can legitimately, discuss, deliberate, zero-in, build solidarity, and then march together at specific tactical positions to clog the machine and make power bend. We are building a broad-based movement here. In case you haven't noticed. Demands, as everything else in this movement, comes from the bottom-up, from the occupations up, where voices can be heard virtually and geographically, if you care to participate in the process.  
If other occupations have demands, good for them. But i sincerely doubt that we are ready as of yet to have a global demand such as a RobinHoodTax, for the mere fact we aren't even in full connection with all other sites, and for sure are not having a global conversation on this proposal.  
Co-option can come from the outside and from within, but the worst ones come from "allies" - from within. Speak WITH the people, and not FOR the people.

Alexandre M.S. Carvalho, M.D., MPH
2009 Reynolds Fellow   
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