This is such an important issue. I tend to agree with Micah and Harrison at the same time (can you please become friends again? lol). On Micah's point, there is a considerable risk of co-opt when corporate money starts to sustain our movement - there is a subtle tendency to lose autonomy and a desire to please patrons, making the radicalized aspect of what we are doing lose taste and become, as all things that corporate ideology touches, insipid and dehumanized. On the other hand, i also agree with Harrison, that it is beautiful to go Robin Hood, and steal from the rich and use their game to fund its own subversion. Specially in a world where corporations feed us, clothe us, oversee our communications, build the chairs we are sitting, etc...
I have been approached by many people that said, "You are a hypocrite. Why then are you using Facebook, Twitter to spread the word? why your pizza is Papa John's? Why do you make use of an iPad or iPhone then?", which is a good point but ultimately a false misconception. I believe none of us is lunatic enough to deny the good services and products that made us stand where we are. From vaccines to laser registers, iPhones and iPads, even the thyroid medication i am forced to take and on which my life depends - dude, i don't think we deny the benefits of technological advance. We appreciate them. Thanks. But this does not mean that we are unaware of how the world works.
Cannot speak for everyone else, but i think people on this movement envision different ways to arrive at certain products; i.e., how to organize labor, how to make products, distribute them, research them, and specially FUND them... we believe that the end is not the problem, but the MEANS. The process by which we arrive at iPads or iPhone's is fucked up, not the freaking telephones per se. Maybe an exception can be made to death machines such as A-bombs and the like...
Don't feel guilty of making the revolution with the weapons at your reach. All of what we are doing is a direct challenge to the PROCESSES of mainstream society. That's why many voices on the ground keep repeating that the GA and the occupation is much more about process than a single demand or goal. Which does not exclude demands or goals of course! :-)
(1) We are creating bottom-up participatory democracy as a direct challenge to the failed representative democracy in America and in the world, and are inviting people to rekindle their political agency and make it a way of life. We created an open society in an otherwise dehumanized zone where business as usual is the law.
(2) We are building a space where individual and collective autonomy is exercised, and transforming our territoriality while doing it: Liberty Square became a place for social experimentation and the vision of what our society could be. Therefore, it is paramount that we start experimenting with new food alternatives, renewable electricity generation, aesthetic approaches, sexual ethics, political-economic alternatives, etc.
(3) We are leveraging people power to clog the machine, everyday; by swarming the Financial District with our marches and continuing with our non-violent, creative civil disobedient acts, we are throwing a pillow on the clockwork, jamming it. This is the way we will pressure for our demands and objectives once we zero-in on them. And they do not need to be one, but can be many; and they can be addressed to local administration (municipality), state, or federal level. We even got our lovely UN bearby to pressure for global actions.
(4) It must be decentralized. One overarching demand for the whole global revolution is dangerous. Let the many occupations that are popping up in America and elsewhere fight for improvements on their communities and let's coordinate with those different autonomous zones for the things that we all care about on a global scale.
All of this to say that we are in the right track, but should remain vigilant and self-critical to see if we are selling out our movement, and the extent that we may go before we can say that the line has being crossed.
All the best,
Alexandre M.S. Carvalho, M.D., MPH