From:   Winter Siroco <>
Sent time:   Thursday, September 22, 2011 8:59:25 PM
To:   september17 <>
Subject:   SPAM-MED: [september17discuss] Re: Five demands from the NYCGA: how to link the struggle for democracy to the struggle for social and economic justice

This sounds great!! and is suitable for immediate implementation. It

would solve the problems of a lot of people. Of course, this is not

exclusive of longer-term and deeper social and economical

transformations that we should start first in our hearts and minds.



On Sep 20, 7:52 pm, Snafu <> wrote:

> Hi all,


> I apologize for being off-list and off-the-streets for a few days, but I

> was lucky enough to become a father on September 17!


> I personally believe that the obstination of some members of the NYCGA

> on not having demands has proved disastrous and resulted in a PR

> debacle. Invariably, almost all mainstream media accounts of the

> protests note that the demonstrators have confused ideas and are

> probably motivated by merely ideological motives.


> Further, this refusal of having demands has nothing to do with the

> current movements in the Middle East, Spain and Greece all of which have

> clear and loud demands. In the case of Arab countries and Middle Eastern

> autocracies the demand cannot be but one (remove the dictator). In

> Greece and Spain the situation is more complex but the movements there

> have been able to develop specific analyses and requests. In particular

> the Joint Economics Working Group of Syntagma Square and Puerta del Sol

> have drafted a document ( that lists a specific set

> of demands, such as the request of nationalizing the banks, withdrawing

> the EU/IMF Memorandum imposed on Greece, make the accounting records

> transparent, and so forth.


> As I have previously suggested, the three simple demands that the NYCGA

> should have raised in the call to Occupy Wall Street should have been:


> 1) Reintroduction of the Glass-Steagall Act, a law regulating the bank

> system that separated investment banks from commercial banks. This law,

> originally approved in 1933 and signed into law by FDR has been repealed

> in 1999. As Wikipedia simply states it, "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."


> 2) *Immediate introduction of a Tobin Tax or Robin Hood Tax*on all

> financial transactions both at a national and international level. On a

> national level, it would be sufficient for Congress to pass it. On an

> international level, the IMF could subordinate loans to countries in

> debt to the introduction of a Tobin Tax instead of requiring massive

> privatizations as it ordinarily does through the notorious structural

> adjustment programs. In Europe, Angela Merkel and Nicholas Sarkozy have

> officialized their support to the introduction of such tax in the EU

> about three weeks ago. Last June over 1,000 economist submitted a letter

> by 1,000 economists to the G20 last April that explains why the idea of

> a global Robin Hood Tax has "come of age."

> (

>, a web site run by a British NGO that explains in very

> simple terms how it works and how much revenue it could generate. The

> NGO also has a Facebook page.


> 3) *Raise taxes on qualified dividends and long-term capital gains *by

> pairing the long-term capital gains tax rate (which applies to financial

> assets held for more than a year) to the ordinary income tax rates. At

> the moment, thanks to the Tax Reconciliation Act signed by Bush into law

> in 2006 and extended by the Obama administration to 2012 and beyond,

> capital gains cannot be taxed more than 20% whereas income tax is taxed

> up to 35%. This means that if your wage falls for example in the

> $35,000-83,000 bracketyour income tax is 25% whereas if you make 1, 10,

> or 100 million dollars on the stock market your pay 20% only. Even

> Warren Buffett says that this system is openly unjust and that the

> current taxation system is profoundly unbalanced and skewed towards

> financial profit.

> (


> These three proposals are far from revolutionary yet they could begin

> raising specific questions and help bring a variety of subjects into the

> conversation. The notion that a movement is defined by its demands is

> ridiculous. A social movement is much more than a set of demands yet

> demands help those who are not on your side understand who you are and

> where you come from.


> Two other critical points that should be discussed in the GA are the

> public funding of political campaigns and the two-party system. A

> paramount political objective should be to get corporations to stop

> funding political candidates. You cannot have real democracy with the

> current system of fundraising. A truly democratic system would give each

> citizen a tax bonus of the SAME AMOUNT and enable each one of us to

> decide how to allocate such money. A truly democratic society should

> also not rely on forms of political representation based on a

> majoritarian (first-past-the-post) electoral system. If we are the 99%

> of the country, then we ought to be able to convince the rest of the

> nation that the 99% counts in fact nothing. And corporate funding and

> the two-party system should be the two main targets of a campaign for

> real democracy.


> To sum up, the question of the redistribution of wealth and democratic

> control over the financial system cannot be disconnected from the

> question of political representation. Organizing a movement that fights

> "against representative politics" does not mean in my opinion to fight

> against *any* form of representation, but certainly against the current

> system of representation. We are over 6 billions on this planet.

> Thinking that each individual should have the right to decide on every

> issue in every part of the world at all times may sound fascinating but

> it is simply unrealistic and unrealizable. Whether we like it or not, we

> constantly delegate to others the understanding of issues and execution

> of tasks we simply do not have the time to understand and care about.

> (The worldwide professionalization of national armies and the advanced

> specialization of knowledge in scientific and academic research are just

> two notable cases in point).


> Thus the question is not how to abolish authority and representation per

> se but how to produce forms of representation that are truly

> representative, renewable and non-ossified. The NYCGA could be such a

> body, once we live behind the rather childish notion that demands define

> us and by defining us trap us in some blind alley from which we'll be

> unable to move forward.


> Cheers,

> Snafu