I am 99% sure that asking the 99% to replace the US Constitution with direct democracy will doom us to failure. For example polls show that people hate the congressmen, but like the institution of congress. Let's get millions on the street demanding change first and see where it takes them. Republics have their shortcomings but direct democracies do also. (California is going broke because direct democracy referendums keep voting for both more spending and tax cuts.) If we are not on the same wavelength as the American public than all of this talk of the 99% means nothing. The GAs are a powerful organizing tool but will be soundly rejected if they aspire to taking over governance. (Let it happen organically if that is their destiny.)
Let's ask for the people to take back their government, and for policies that would improve their situation, but not ask for replacing the United States of America, because their is no appetite for such a thing.
Yes, but we should be clear as to our ultimate objective. Are we trying to pull of a May '68 style revolt that is spectacular, inspiring but ephemeral? Or, are we trying to propose a new form of democracy based on people's assemblies that topples the existing corporate-state power structures?
Last night, I was thinking how beautiful it would be if the city councils of every town were replaced with people's assemblies. If all questions about local governance were decided using the techniques of group decision making that is being worked out in the GA. For that to happen, then we need to adapt our model such that we can both put forward a vision and lay out the steps to get there.
Can a people's assembly be a model for running a society? Let's prove that it can be.
Maybe it helps to think that there can be two kinds of demands: a) long-term visions for society (equality for all, end the wars, end of capitalism) and b) short-term immediate demands that are small steps towards the long-term vision.
The left is generally very good at the long-term visions, but lately we've been not so good at the latter. Let's learn together how to do both.
On Tue, Sep 27, 2011 at 8:25 AM, J.A. Myerson <email@example.com>
I just pitched an article to In These Times in defense of demandlessness.
In May of '68, students (assisted later by workers) captured and held the city of Paris for a while, occupying the Sorbonne, renaming the Latin Quarter the Heroic Vietnam Quarter and erecting barricades against government backlash. Nowhere was a common manifesto decided or published (then, too, the protesters relied on General Assemblies to organize the participants politically), but that is not the reason for the eventual failure of les soixante huitards. Does anyone think that, had the students only prepared a 5 point program, de Gaulle's tanks would have shown them mercy? Nonsense.
The fact that there is no manifesto allows that a right-winger could show up at a general assemble, get on a stack, and rail about the desirable effects of abolishing the IRS or the Dept. of Education or whatever, because the real doctrinaire aspect of the protest is in its very perpetuation: the protest itself, as a place where people live and eat and occupy their time, serves as a model of a society so democratic that it is completely liberated from the constraints of capital. Anyone should be able to deduce a demand from that.
On Tue, Sep 27, 2011 at 11:22 AM, Justine <firstname.lastname@example.org>
:sigh: I just added another notice to the top (in addition to the on the bottom) that this is not an official list of demands. I'm honestly starting to think that there's a coordinated media effort to discredit us on the demand nonsense.