Break-Out Group Discussions for Sunday 11/6 General Assembly: Demands

Posted by & filed under Assemblies, Past Proposals.

We demand a massive, democratically-controlled public works and public service program, with direct government employment, to create 25 million new jobs at good union wages. This is to be paid for by new taxes on the wealth and income of the rich, on financial transactions, and on corporate profits, by reinstatement of the Glass-Steagall Act, as well as by ending all U.S. wars, disbanding mercenaries, ending aid to authoritarian regimes, and closing overseas military bases. The new jobs will aim to radically expand access to education, healthcare, housing, mass transit, and clean energy – and are to be open to all, regardless of immigration status or criminal record.

16 Responses to “Break-Out Group Discussions for Sunday 11/6 General Assembly: Demands”

  1. David Gilbert

    Make Campaign Finance Reform the dominant political issue in 2012. Get the Fair Elections Now Act passed into law where political candidates for federal office would raise a large number of small contributions from their communities in order to qualify for Fair Elections funding. Contributions are limited to $100.00. Strictly voluntary by the candidate to avoid legal issues.

    Require new FCC regulations granting 100% FREE air time to all federal candidates who obtain sufficient petition signatures and/or votes to get on the ballot and participate in the primaries and/or electoral process.

    Once you start electing people that have voluntarily taken a maximum donation of $100.00 and are not tied to special interests, you will begin to get a more responsive federal government that will actually carry out the will of the people.

    You can begin to solve big problems in an open and rational way. Problems like…

    End the “revolving door” of politicians and their staffs from ever becoming becoming lobbyists and prohibit all federal public employees, officers, officials from ever being employed by any corporation, individual or business that they specifically regulated while in office.

    Create a fair federal tax code. The marginal tax rate ought to be raised to 50 percent on income between $500,000 and $5 million, 60 percent on income between $5 million and $15 million, and 70 percent on income over $15 million. There should be a 2 percent annual surtax on all fortunes over $7 million. The estate tax should be 55 percent and kicks in after $2 million. Capital gains should be taxed at 35 percent. End the home mortgage deduction on all homes over $750,000. Corporations should be taxed by a variable amount based on the percentage of payroll going to US workers. A small business employing 100% US workers should be taxed somewhere between 15-20% while a company that has completely shifted its production overseas should be in the 50% range. Eliminate corporate loopholes, unfair tax breaks, exemptions and deductions, subsidies and end offshore tax haven abuse.

    Break up the biggest banks. Reenact Glass-Steagall. Abolish credit default swaps. Derivatives must be traded on transparent exchanges. Tax all Wall St. financial transactions at 1%. Damp down speculation and raise $400 billion a year.

    End the wars. Reduce the military budget by half ($275 billion).

    Address the housing crisis where one in four mortgages are underwater in America. The Congress should give bankruptcy judges the right to amend mortgages in order to pressure lenders to reduce principle owed.

    Medicare For All. Allow Medicare to purchase drugs directly. Give MEDPAC more authority to drive down medical costs.

    A ten-year federal program that involves a New Works Progress Administration (WPA) and Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) to create millions of jobs rebuilding America that includes infrastructure banks run by engineers, not politicians to extricate ourselves from the Great Recession now and increase productivity later.

    To increase upward mobility in an increasingly stratified society, the federal government should pay tuition and fees for all students, part and full time, who are enrolled in two- and four-year public institutions in the United States. (Eighty-three percent of undergraduates now attend public institutions).

    • Robert Gabrielsky

      Campaign finance reform is one of the most pernicious imaginable demands, because it looks, on the surface to liberals to be a good, reasonable thing to do, whereas, in point of fact, there is not only nothing progressive about it but it is in fact quite reactionary.

      The United States already has the most complicated set of election laws of any industrialized democracy in the world. Likewise it has the most complicated set of labor laws and these two phenomena are not unrelated. In both instances they are designed to hamstring and inhibit the development of popular organizations, their independence and their democratic control. All campaign finance reform will do is give the corporate state still more power over the electoral process and popular efforts to build independent organizations. If we start an organization I don’t think it is any of the state’s business where we get our money, how much of it we get or from whom. That’s our business, not the states. The corporate United States government already has the temerity to tell us what a political party is and what a labor union is. These should be our organizations. No piece of legislation or regulation should define them or tell us how to fund them. That is our business and not the state’s. No thank you very much.

  2. GreatBigBore

    Mr. Gilbert is right: getting the money out of our elections and policymaking is the most important step to take. It will enable all the other steps; without this kind of initial reform, nothing else will be possible.

  3. SherryinPA

    I don’t understand completely how your GA process goes on. I see this is the same Demand paragraph that was posted on October 28th from the Demands working group. The paragraph here is from a break out group of the Demands working group. It looks like the break out group issued the same paragraph.

    I’m not going to retype my concerns about issuing demands, so I’ll just say I still feel the same as I did last week when I posted twice in the Oct 28th thread.

    So, ditto to what I said in the other thread about the same idea of issuing demands.

    Thank you for allowing me to speak up. :)
    Thank you to all occupiers. Stay safe and well and strong.

  4. Michael Goodson

    What’s the (ponzi scheme) inside of Wall-Street that create fraud; due to the corporation tax law of exempt. Bernard Madoff experience was a gain in learning the trading system inside of Wall-Street c/o the human trait of greed.

  5. Realism

    25,000,000 jobs * $50,000/year = 1,250,000,000,000/year. Do you have any comprehension of how much money that is? To put that in perspective, repealing the Bush tax cuts on people making over $250,000 will only bring in $60,000,000,000. That leaves you $1,190,000,000,000 short. I’d love to see a real proposal from someone who understands finance and can explain how you propose to come up with $1.25t/year.

    • JTFaraday

      The banks got bailed out–to the tune of $16 trillion, we got sold out. Where did the government get $16 trillion?


      “The Fed Audit
      July 21, 2011

      The first top-to-bottom audit of the Federal Reserve uncovered eye-popping new details about how the U.S. provided a whopping $16 trillion in secret loans to bail out American and foreign banks and businesses during the worst economic crisis since the Great Depression. An amendment by Sen. Bernie Sanders to the Wall Street reform law passed one year ago this week directed the Government Accountability Office to conduct the study. “As a result of this audit, we now know that the Federal Reserve provided more than $16 trillion in total financial assistance to some of the largest financial institutions and corporations in the United States and throughout the world,” said Sanders. “This is a clear case of socialism for the rich and rugged, you’re-on-your-own individualism for everyone else.”

      Among the investigation’s key findings is that the Fed unilaterally provided trillions of dollars in financial assistance to foreign banks and corporations from South Korea to Scotland, according to the GAO report. “No agency of the United States government should be allowed to bailout a foreign bank or corporation without the direct approval of Congress and the president,” Sanders said.

      The non-partisan, investigative arm of Congress also determined that the Fed lacks a comprehensive system to deal with conflicts of interest, despite the serious potential for abuse. In fact, according to the report, the Fed provided conflict of interest waivers to employees and private contractors so they could keep investments in the same financial institutions and corporations that were given emergency loans.

      For example, the CEO of JP Morgan Chase served on the New York Fed’s board of directors at the same time that his bank received more than $390 billion in financial assistance from the Fed. Moreover, JP Morgan Chase served as one of the clearing banks for the Fed’s emergency lending programs.

      In another disturbing finding, the GAO said that on Sept. 19, 2008, William Dudley, who is now the New York Fed president, was granted a waiver to let him keep investments in AIG and General Electric at the same time AIG and GE were given bailout funds. One reason the Fed did not make Dudley sell his holdings, according to the audit, was that it might have created the appearance of a conflict of interest.

      To Sanders, the conclusion is simple. “No one who works for a firm receiving direct financial assistance from the Fed should be allowed to sit on the Fed’s board of directors or be employed by the Fed,” he said.

      The investigation also revealed that the Fed outsourced most of its emergency lending programs to private contractors, many of which also were recipients of extremely low-interest and then-secret loans.

      The Fed outsourced virtually all of the operations of their emergency lending programs to private contractors like JP Morgan Chase, Morgan Stanley, and Wells Fargo. The same firms also received trillions of dollars in Fed loans at near-zero interest rates. Altogether some two-thirds of the contracts that the Fed awarded to manage its emergency lending programs were no-bid contracts. Morgan Stanley was given the largest no-bid contract worth $108.4 million to help manage the Fed bailout of AIG.

      A more detailed GAO investigation into potential conflicts of interest at the Fed is due on Oct. 18, but Sanders said one thing already is abundantly clear. “The Federal Reserve must be reformed to serve the needs of working families, not just CEOs on Wall Street.”

      To read the GAO report, click here:

      • Someone with a clue

        That $16 trillion figure is rather misleading. If a bank was lent $1 billion for 30 days, that is counted as $30 billion lent out.

        You still have no idea where that $1.25 trillion is coming from, do you?

        • JTFaraday

          I’m not in favor of the jobs plan right now, so I’m not printing the money.

    • JTFaraday

      By the way, it is not hard to find this stuff out. All I did was google “trillion bailout”

  6. Mark E. Smith

    Of course there are still people trying to make demands. There will always be saboteurs trying to force us to work within the corrupt system instead of building a better system. I think Prof. Robert Jensen responded best in his article, Occupy Demands: Let’s Radicalize Our Analysis of Empire, Economics, Ecology when he says:

    “There is one question that pundits and politicians keep posing to the Occupy gatherings around the country: What are your demands?

    I have a suggestion for a response: We demand that you stop demanding a list of demands.

    The demand for demands is an attempt to shoehorn the Occupy gatherings into conventional politics, to force the energy of these gatherings into a form that people in power recognize, so that they can roll out strategies to divert, co-opt, buy off, or—if those tactics fail—squash any challenge to business as usual.”

    I’m in San Diego, so I can’t stop NYC from making demands that Occupy San Diego and probably other Occupies will blindly follow, but I can hope that people don’t fall into this trap.

    • A. Fleming

      I, for one, am involved with OWS and agree with you. Thank you for sharing the article; I am planning to compose a thorough response to this demands statement and I am grateful for any additional resources.

      • SherryinPA

        Thank you, Mr. Smith, for your post – you said what I tried to say in the Demands Groups thread where their same “demand” paragraph was posted–only you explained it much better.

        Demands fall right into msm and political hands, where they can chew it up and spit it out.

        Thanks for your post. I am Jane Doe American struggling to make ends meet every paycheck, and I fully agree with you, Mr. Smith. I completely support the Occupy movement, and want to see it grow, not be stopped in its tracks before you’ve even gotten a large number of 99% in America behind you. I say large in relevant terms–you do have a large number behind you according to the polls, but in terms of how many it could be, needs to be, in this country alone, then it must be said that it is early in the movement.

        OWS is in fact a young movement that shouldn’t be quashed by playing into the hands of msm and politicians.

        Corporate elite, msm, and politicians would LOVE to hear your demands, goals, whatever you want to call them. Oh, how they would raise their hands and voices in jubilation! And, laugh all the way to the bank. All the while, snickering at your naivete for taking their bait.

        Please don’t walk into that trap.
        Hang tough, be strong, I support you 100% and I hope you all stay safe, well, and warm.

  7. Sean McKeown

    Given that there is a lot of disagreement over whether the NYC OWS GA has already consensed or not about the topic of “will we be issuing any demands,” does it not make sense to bring your proposal for the general case (“will we issue demands?”) rather than the specific case (“will we issue THESE demands?”) and clear the matter entirely up-front?

  8. Nathan Goldschmidt

    If the provisions regarding withdraw of military presence overseas were realized, tax hikes are unnecessary. Jobs program paid for by savings from DOD, etc.

  9. Nathan Goldschmidt

    There is plenty of good that can be done with that tax, revenue though. I’m not arguing against “new taxes on the wealth and income of the rich, on financial transactions, and on corporate profits, by reinstatement of the Glass-Steagall Act.”