The most persistent criticism of the Occupy Wall Street protest is that it lacks clearly defined goals (also, that it’s just flagrant hippie bullshit).
The most persistent criticism of the Occupy Wall Street protest is that it lacks clearly defined goals (also, that it’s just flagrant hippie bullshit). But a group of Occupiers known as The Charter Collaborative have come together to draft what they call “The American People’s New Economic Charter,” a document that seeks to address the grievances listed in the “Declaration of the Occupation of New York City.”
A disclaimer in “The American People’s New Economic Charter” explains that the Google Docs file is a draft created through crowd-sourcing, thus it will inevitably contain internal contradictions and typical instances of democratic, free-for-all idiocy. The idea is to include as many contributors as possible, collaboratively refine that output, then ratify the final document through either the General Assembly or some other method online. From there the demands will have been listed and… uhhh… we’ll figure it out from there.
Anyway, apparently open editing of the charter has been suspended due to repeated attempts at sabotage. You can still view the document, and if you feel inspired to contribute or comment, you can contact Ralph or another member of the Charter Collaborative for access.
Like I mentioned, the charter is meant to provide possible solutions to the grievances listed by the “Declaration of the Occupation of New York City,” which was ratified by General Assembly (a leaderless conference that is the demonstration’s primary method of decision making), making it one of Occupy Wall Street’s only “official” communiqués. It’s an interesting tactic, using a foundation of consensus in objections to build a consensus in solutions. Unfortunately, the charter is 65 fucking pages long.
Here are some of the Charter Collaborative’s proposed solutions to a few of the problems cited by the General Assembly. I chose to quote these because of their reasonableness, innovation or stupidity.
GRIEVANCE: #2 THE 1% TAKES BAILOUTS FROM TAXPAYERS WITH IMPUNITY AND CONTINUES TO GIVE EXECUTIVES EXORBITANT BONUSES.
Proposed Solution: “New legislation to prevent the bailout of commercial enterprise by action of Congress, the Federal Reserve or Executive Branch.”
GRIEVANCE: #3 THE 1% PERPETUATES INEQUALITY AND DISCRIMINATION IN THE WORKPLACE BASED ON AGE, THE COLOR OF ONE’S SKIN, SEX, GENDER IDENTITY AND SEXUAL ORIENTATION.
Proposed Solution: “Strengthen anti-discrimination laws. Get media to scrutinize companies that discriminate; many large firms actually tout their diversity and GLBT acceptance. (I don’t think our charter will include media demands.) This, of course, implies that the government would be in charge of all media, which should help with distributing such propaganda. (I don’t think this is possible.)”
GRIEVANCE: #5 THE 1% STRIPS EMPLOYEES OF THE RIGHT TO NEGOTIATE FOR BETTER PAY AND SAFER WORKING CONDITIONS.
Proposed Solution: “Employers must not be allowed to require employment contracts or policies which penalize employees for lawfully exercising constitutional rights or require unilateral invasion of employee privacy. This includes the employee’s right to protect themselves on company property per applicable state laws (right to bear arms).”
GRIEVANCE: #6 THE 1% HOLDS STUDENTS AND OUR CHILDREN HOSTAGE WITH TENS OF THOUSANDS OF DOLLARS OF DEBT IN STUDENT LOANS. THE RIGHT TO EDUCATION IS FUNDAMENTAL TO BOTH FREEDOM AND PROGRESS.
Proposed Solution: “Teach character building classes from grade one, measure success based on drive / cooperation / interactions with others, not only final outcome. Impose universal morality for parents who do not participate in raising their children. Remove children from households with parents who refuse to educate them properly.”
GRIEVANCE: #11 THE 1% SELLS OUR PRIVACY AS A COMMODITY.
Proposed Solution: “Eliminate all gun registration lists so they cannot be published in newspapers for criminals to choose their victims (either for gun burglaries or home invasions of the defenseless). Do the same with all medical marijuana lists. (There are those lists too? Burn them all!)”
GRIEVANCE: #13 THE 1% DETERMINES ECONOMIC POLICY, DESPITE THE CATASTROPHIC FAILURES THEIR POLICIES HAVE PRODUCED AND CONTINUE TO PRODUCE.
Proposed Solution: “… tax lobbyist contributions at 50% or more [and use the tax] for publicly funding elections, with the lobbyist contribution also counting against the receiver so they can’t receive federal money in addition to lobbyist money…”
GRIEVANCE: #14 THE 1% BLOCKS ALTERNATE FORMS OF ENERGY TO KEEP US DEPENDENT ON OIL.
Proposed Solution: “Ban hydraulic fracking permanently and close all existing plants. Replace with geothermal, hydroelectric (including tidal), wind, solar and fusion. (If fusion is nuclear, I disagree.)”
Well, there’s a taste of the charter. Keep in mind that none of the above solutions have been agreed upon and there’s a pretty robust debate happening on the document itself, with people being called out for bullshit and near insanity. If you have your own ideas about how these issues can be handled (who doesn’t?), get involved in the discussion on the Google doc.