From:   gail zawacki <>
Sent time:   Friday, September 23, 2011 8:06:07 AM
Subject:   Re: [september17discuss] Five demands from the NYCGA: how to link the struggle for democracy to the struggle for social and economic justice

Michael Moore, when the revolution starts they'll say:  "that's where it began".

KISS - Keep It Simple Sweetheart!

On Fri, Sep 23, 2011 at 9:59 AM, grimwomyn <> wrote:


On Sep 23, 2011 9:58 AM, "Willie Osterweil" <> wrote:
> I think if we use demands at all we need to be focused on simple, clear
> demands that will enlarge our ranks.
> The house/senate wont pass anything even remotely looking like a change in
> wealth distribution, the Obama administration bends over backwards to
> appease the bi-partisan banks, the Supreme Court declares that proof of
> innocence is insufficient cause for a stay of execution, and the media will
> always distort and misrepresent, either through malice or incompetence.
> Thus, any sort of wonky policy demand that speaks only to the already
> politically active is unproductive and serves to marginalize and entrench
> the protest into a pre-exiting middle-class protest community. The
> government will give us nothing, we need to build the numbers to take...
> The only positive function of demands is solidarity and recruitment: the
> simpler, broader and more universal, the better.
> On Fri, Sep 23, 2011 at 9:32 AM, Winter Siroco <>wrote:
>> ...true,, what would be your positive contribution or
>> rearangement of priorities?
>> be constructive.
>> Cesar
>> On Fri, Sep 23, 2011 at 9:24 AM, Willie Osterweil <>wrote:
>>> And nothing gets the blood of the people stirring like a call to reinstate
>>> Glass-Steagall. Yup, I can see it now, the media suddenly exploding with
>>> coverage, the ramparts filling with the oppressed and underrepresented:
>>> "They've called for the reinstatement of Glass-Steagall! Quickly, comrades,
>>> to arms! To arms! For Glass Steagall!"
>>> On Fri, Sep 23, 2011 at 8:58 AM, diane sare <> wrote:
>>>> Glass-Steagall would bust up the "too big to fail" banks, let the
>>>> speculators rot, as they should, and protect the small savings and loan
>>>> banks, which means people's savings, mortgages, there would be hope for
>>>> pension funds, etc. In other words, Glass-Steagall would bankrupt Wall
>>>> Street -- it's not the whole recovery, but it IS the first step to
>>>> protecting the PEOPLE, and making it possible to think long-term about
>>>> radical things we used to do, like water management, rail building etc.
>>>> On Tue, Sep 20, 2011 at 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."–Steagall_Act
>>>>> 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 bracket
>>>>> your 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
>>>> --
>>>> Diane Sare
>>>> cell: 201-220-7731