From:   Charlie Grapski <>
Sent time:   Saturday, October 29, 2011 12:25:30 PM
Subject:   SPAM-MED: Re: [september17discuss] Principles of Solidarity of the Wall Street Occupation

Actually the noton of a public sphere as defined by Habermas is NOT bourgeois - but there is/was a bourgeois VARIANT thereof.  The book in which he develops that notion is the Structural Transformaton of the Public Sphere.  It describes how late capitalism undermined the liberating and democratic aspects of the bourgeois public sphere - which can also be transformed into a fully democratic public sphere (a public sphere - is simply a public "space" (not limited to actual physical space - which is why I put it in quotes).

A public sphere is essential for democracy.  In Habermas there are also two key public spheres of a political nature - the formal political public sphere (the institutions and processes of government) and the informal political public sphere (the informal society level - where democratic DISCOURSE occurs).  Later in Between Facts and Norms Habermas talks about the Transmission Belt concept - basically the interaction and intercourse between these two political public spheres.

All three elements must be considered - and re-formed (perhaps putting the hyphen in can stress the distinction between "mere reform" (vs. revolutionary change) - and focus on the fact that it is a forming AGAIN) - so as to function in a true democracy - which is centered on critical rational public discourse.

The KEY to Habermas's critique in the Transformation of the Public Sphere - is that PUBLICNESS (offentichkeit - it does not properly translate into English - and thus the translation of that book doesn't do full justice to the point Habermas is making - you have to read it understanding the several meanings of that word) was transformed (in/by late capitalism - which is that corporate/government propped up form of capitalism - rather than merchants (mom and pop shops, craftsmen, etc.) into PUBLICITY.

The latter being the business of "PR" and "Marketing" folks - who try and sell a passive "public" (and thus serve to manipulate that public - much of what Chomsky talks about as "Manufacturing Consent").

Publicness - by the way - is the concept associated with the strong sense of "citizenship" which I referred to before.  Which should be understood as the ROLE OF THE INDIVIDUAL in a democracy to PARTICIPATE as a political actor (not a partisan actor - but political in the full sense of the term - as a member of the "polis") rather than the definition of who is a foreigner and who is not.

On Sat, Oct 29, 2011 at 1:36 PM, Marisa Holmes <> wrote:
I would block this document. 

Engaging as citizens in direct and transparent participatory democracy
We should engage people or human beings not "citizens."
Think of all the non-citizens living in this country. 
We should not exclude them in this document.

Reforming our social and political institutions and processes to achieve true democracy in practice
True democracy will never come with reforms. 
Many of us on this list and in the greater occupy movement are in it for revolution!

Re-establishing a viable political public sphere; 
The notion of a public sphere as defined by Habermas is bourgeois.
We should seek to liberate space. 

Exercising personal and collective responsibility
Ok. This is general enough that I can't be opposed to it. 

Recognizing the inherent rights of individuals and the influence these have on social interactions
Liberty goes beyond the framework of rights. 
We should assume freedom not ask for it or seek to own it. 

Empowering one another against all forms of oppression
I'm all for taking on oppression, but the wording of this awkward, 
and I'd run it by the POC Caucus.

Redefining and revaluing labor
This is unclear, but I'm intrigued.

Respecting the sanctity of individual privacy.
There is too much emphasis here on the individual and not the collective. 
It's unclear.

Establishing the principle that education is a human right and a societal responsibility;
What kind of education? Who is doing the educating?

Endeavoring to practice and support the wide application of open source principles and concepts.

Ok. I'm down with open source

Let's not loose sight of our utopian visions in favor of familiar frameworks. 

In solidarity, 

On Fri, Oct 28, 2011 at 4:13 PM, Charlie Grapski <> wrote:
I have signed up.  Here is a PDF with the revisions clearly marked with strikeout and amend.

On Fri, Oct 28, 2011 at 8:59 AM, Winter Siroco <> wrote:
Charlie, It is hard to find where the differences are, it may be better if you send your comments to and/or if you join the working group that will consolidate the thoughts and comments of everybody else.

On Fri, Oct 28, 2011 at 8:05 AM, Charlie Grapski <> wrote:
I have made, offered, and sent the following revisions.  Please comment:

On September 17, 2011, people from across the United States of America and the world joined together to protest the injustices blatant in our times that are being perpetuated by economic and political elites within a corrupted social, political, and economic system.  


As individuals we rose up against systematic political disenfranchisement and widespread social and economic injustice.  We spoke out, resisted, and successfully occupied Wall Street.  


Today, we proudly remain in Liberty Square constituting ourselves as a community of autonomous political beings engaged in non-violent civil disobedience and building solidarity based on mutual respect, acceptance, and love.  


We have been joined in these efforts by Occupations across the Nation and the globe in a Movement that continues to grow.


It is from these reclaimed grounds that we say to all Americans and to the world:


Enough!  How many crises does it take?  The time has come for action.  We are the 99% and we are acting to reclaim our mortgaged future. Through direct democratic process we have come together as individuals and crafted the following principles of solidarity.  These points of unity include but are not limited to:

  • Engaging as citizens in direct and transparent participatory democracy;
  • Reforming our social and political institutions and processes to achieve true democracy in practice;
  • Re-establishing a viable political public sphere;
  • Exercising personal and collective responsibility;
  • Recognizing the inherent rights of individuals and the influence these have on social interactions;
  • Empowering one another against all forms of oppression;
  • Redefining and revaluing labor;
  • Respecting the sanctity of individual privacy;
  • Establishing the principle that education is a human right and a societal responsibility; and
  • Endeavoring to practice and support the wide application of open source principles and concepts.

We dare to imagine an alternative social, political, and economic system that offers and ensures greater possibilities of equality and justice.  

We will continue to formulate and consolidate the principles of solidarity which unite us and will seek in due time to translate these into viable and practical solutions to the current ills of society in the United States and the wider world.


On Fri, Oct 28, 2011 at 5:45 AM, Winter Siroco <> wrote:
There is a new working group for the consolidation of the Principles of Solidarity of the Wall Street Occupation

We are synthesizing and consolidating the Principles of Solidarity of the Wall Street Occupation. These principles were drafted in the General Assembly break out groups during the first days and weeks of the occupation. There have been three drafts of this document thus far; each consolidated draft was returned to the General Assembly and again edited by GA break out groups. The last draft (#3) passed with consensus on September 23. It, along with the Declaration, are the only documents with GA consensus. This (working) draft is online at: We will be posting it here as well. This working draft, however, is not complete (it passed with consensus as a working draft), we are moving the fourth draft along and we aim for consensus as soon as possible (keeping in mind that Principles of Solidarity is a living document).

The principles document aims to be as inclusive as possible and keeps in mind the realistic parameters, i.,e. principles of solidarity originated here in the square and was drafted by using the direct democratic process of the GA. It is important for this document to remain true to the process in which it was created. To be clear, the Consolidation group does not write the principles of the occupation, we only figure out how to structure a bullet point or sentence that includes everyone’s input abut the same principle.

The members of this group have been busy with other tasks recently, but we are giving our best efforts to move this document along. We are still working on the fourth (and complete) draft. This is the first time we are putting working drafts online that have yet to gain GA consensus. We welcome your edits, suggestions, and thoughts. It would especially be helpful to include what you are responding to directly (one idea would be to copy and paste the line or principle you are editing). We will be synthesizing these principles next week (possibly after another GA break out group) and will hopefully bring it to the GA for consensus on the full draft in the next week or two (this may be an unrealistic goal…). The documents are also here for transparency, accessibility, and to familiarize new comers to the principles document.


1. Make edits!

2. Leave Comments and/or suggestions about the document (including structure, voice, tone, etc.)

2. If you’re interested in synthesizing the principles please send an email We are trying to arrange a meeting for next week. Unfortunately, due to the nature of the task, consolidation operates best with just a handful of people (we are looking for available people!), however, our meetings will discuss other structural approaches to the document, the future of solidarity and like documents, forums, etc.