Sent time:   Thursday, September 22, 2011 10:41:45 PM
Subject:   SPAM-MED: Re: [september17discuss] Re: Five demands from the NYCGA: how to link the struggle for democracy to the struggle for social and economic justice

the strongest support I seen both online and at the park is to abolish corporate personhood

have we been hijacked?

Quoting Winter Siroco <>:

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 originally approved in 1933 and signed into law by FDR has been repealed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