Jim’s Summary of Breakout groups discussing Goals and Visions Blueprint.

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Summary of Breakout groups discussing Goals and Visions Blueprint

GA 10/23/2011,


Language Comments: Too lofty. Too wordy. Language too high level, suggested 4th grade level. Should be more readable. Then it will be easier to translate into other languages. Orderly academic language can marginalize large portions of the 99%. Overall the group agreed with the points but had issues with the language.


General Comments: Unclear who the audience is. What is the relationship between this and other documents? Confused about the vision vs. demands.  Ignores the hierarchical nature of problem solving. Too many separate points, redundant. Start with idea of personal responsibility. Can technology solve our problems? Divorced from actions and specific visions, this can feel empty.  Capitalism, market, the economy, we imagine these to be the focus of our movement because in the past they have been the barriers to other movements (civil rights, labor, women’s etc). Need ways to better develop the consensus based process. We need to return land to wronged indigenous communities. Have as few points as possible, comes down to income inequality. Define the movement. Show the legitimacy of the group.


Points not covered: Electoral reform should be an additional point. Feminism, Representation in the political system. Democracy.


  1. Effectively connect our occupation with the Global Movement

Clarify democracy vs consensus based.  The world is looking to OSW as a president. A nation wide gathering of bodies. Online forum like a wiki. More pragmatic. This contradicts our movement to decentralize power. Some acknowledged the symbolism of NYC as the center of corporate greed.   Skip. Why should NYC be the focal point? Having it centralized reinforces the same model we are trying to dismantle. No hierarchy of OWS. This need to be special is part of the problem. Internet based communication is unreliable and privileged. Encourage autonomy and solidarity.

  1. Create an economy in harmony with nature

Too close to 1. Consolidate 2 and 5. Add studying current and historical context to this point. Beautiful. Yes. Bartering notion is important. We like harmony, but we don’t understand it (x2). Does nature mean a lack of industrialization and technology? How to balance progress with responsible practices? We loved point 2. More specificity. Resource based economy. Focus on “impact” instead of “harmony”  Human rights based on economics not exploiting each other. Preserving and protecting the ecosystem and the environment should be in the wording. Consider the Judeo-Christian concept of humans at the top of the food chain.

  1. Emancipate the world’s communities from centralized financial systems

Too similar to 1 and 2. We agreed …also look to new forms of exchange. Promote the value of economic equality. Mixed. Global redistribution of wealth, centralized system. Get rid of centralized government. Ending systematic exploitation. State power through revolution. Promote the value of economic equality. Contradicts 1. No centralized financial system. One collapse leads to infinite others. Extension of the global insurrection against the banks and corporations.

  1. Create paradigm-shifting education….

Need to foster digital relationships. Separate emotional spaces to be above everything. Utilize public spaces. For all FLO: these are redundant and need more workshoping. Teach direct democracy. Not mixed. Less jargon. Too long. Free quality education empowering critical thinking. ??Consumer culture?? Add the word free. Student loans are small compared to bailout money. Eliminating education debt. Challenge the psychology of selfishness and promote selflessness. Teach peace, green economics and direct democracy. Can’t disagree with concept of consumer culture. Oragnize a mass boycott

  1. Re-appropriate our business structures

We liked, it ties into the democratic process.  People and profit. People and Earth. Consolidate 2 and 5. General support. Living in poverty takes away humanity which should be a human right. What does Re-appropriate mean? Eliminate profit, we need a barter system. Cooperative not a corporate system. Move towards a local economy not national chains. “Re-appropriate” is wrong, sounds like “take”; Go beyond that model to new one;  bottom line: people and planet. People and nature before profit.  Decentralize it.

  1. Re-appropriate our media culture

Decentralize control of media. Local ownership of media but not at expense of global connection.  We liked. Some were concerned with the word “truth”, media should represent a diversity of interpretations and we should have more media accountability. Is the focus on “culture” important here? Don’t buy cable. The idea of truth is naïve. Give people access to knowledge instead. Transparency in media. Media should be independent of business. Decentralize it.

  1. Define and defend humanity’s inalienable liberties

need definition. Real vague. Does it call for subsidies on food and shelter? Defending Civil rights? Prefer a system to call attention to inequities. Call for civil re-education. Who defined human rights? Should indigenous people be a priority?  “Bottom up” too jargony. “Bottom up” is a conflicting term. Define bottom at poverty line? Bottom is the 99%,the 54%? Which of our freedoms are most valuable? “Re-establish” instead of define and defend.

  1. Create peace on Earth with total dedication to non-violence

Focus on nonviolence was better and clearer. Peace spread outward from the individual. We wondered about self-defense? How do we address violence from the state? Very much on point. Peace on Earth too lofty. Should focus on government action. Historically blind. Sounds violent. Holocaust example. Need violence to end violence. Defend space or loose it. Second amendment, giving up arms and you are defenseless against the police. Violence against non-humans. Protecting children. Non-violence as a tactic vs. philosophy. Extent of violence: self defense, sweatshop labor, Property destruction.

  1. Eliminate all discrimination, prejudice, and judgments

additional vision to add… end to patriarchal racist classism. some is human nature and may not be eliminated. Force should be on eliminating it from government. Non-negative language better. Add the idea of celebrating. Replace “past” with “past, present and future.” Good intention, socially constructed.

  1. Facilitate the peaceful harmony of humanity’s religious… traditions

Similar to 9, respect for differences is useful. Are we hoping to promote harmony between existing value system or supersede them? This document does not address the problem of representation. Potentially alienating, not the focus of the movement. What do you mean by facilitate? Some thought “Promote harmony (or dialogue) between different faiths” Some thought “Cultivation of tolerance between value systems”.


One Response to “Jim’s Summary of Breakout groups discussing Goals and Visions Blueprint.”

  1. Ross Wolfe

    I have just now added myself to the Vision & Goals group on the NYC GA site, but have been interested in attending and contributing for some time now. I found it very difficult finding information about the group’s schedule and general purpose. The Info station’s directory didn’t have anything on record. Now that Vision & Goals has an online presence, however, I should be able to make it to participate.

    Just from reading the minutes recorded here, I can safely say that I will take issue with some of the suggestions that have already been advanced. It may seem rather presumptuous of me to throw my opinion into the ring from a distance, because I haven’t attended any meetings to this point. At the moment, however, I am visiting family in Los Angeles and cannot be there in person. I will be back this weekend for Halloween (I plan to go as Jean-Paul Marat, having just been stabbed by Charlotte Corday) and so on.

    Perhaps by writing down some of the concerns I have at this early point, the rest of the Vision & Goals group can prepare to address them for when I actually join them in person. Particularly, I was troubled by the following sentiments:

    Revolution by reform. Take baby steps of reform until, over time, it has been a revolution.

    Though I know this is a perennial issue on the Left, I still sometimes hold out hope that the great Rosa Luxemburg finally laid this matter to rest over a century ago, in her immortal Reform or Revolution? True institutional reform becomes possible only after a revolution has transformed the basis of society. Anything less becomes harmlessly assimilated to the capitalist totality.

    Still, I am glad to see that the notion of “resistance” or “resisting” came up only once. The Platypus Affiliated Society has often covered this topic as part of their discussion of “The Three Rs: Reform, Revolution, and ‘Resistance’.” As Chris Cutrone has pointed out:

    The Left today almost never speaks of freedom or emancipation, but only of ‘resistance’ to the dynamics of change associated with capital and its transformations.

    He continues to point out:

    the current self-understanding of the Left as “resistance” to express despair not only at prospects for revolutionary transformation, but also for substantial institutional reforms.

    Another point that I find somewhat symptomatic of the syncretistic hodgepodge of “politically correct” single-issue ideas at OWS is the integration of certain regressive proposals stemming from the deep green environmentalist movement. Especially with the ideas of asceticism and conditions of eco-scarcity, and the logistical nightmare of urban agriculture, I cannot endorse their inclusion in this document. The reason that the countryside has been so massively depopulated during the last few centuries of urbanization is that the industrialization of agriculture makes it such that the yield of crops and other foodstuffs from farmlands has increased exponentially, while at the same time requiring less human labor. We should not long for a return to some sort of imaginary bucolic paradise of “organically” living off the land, fetishizing the image of the small family farmer, and so on. These are all signs of a romantic anti-capitalism. I outline many of these problems here in an essay: ”Man and Nature.”

    All in all, I find many of the formulations of the Vision & Goals working group to be extremely problematic. Without attempting to be too much of a rabble-rouser, I can say that I intend to work toward something like a Critique of the Gotha Program with respect to the “Document” as it currently stands.

    Two things I would ask sincerely of the Vision & Goals working group would be for them to A) define capital (as distinct from its subsidiary forms of money or commodities); B) define corporation (as distinct from other forms of businesses); and C) define commodities (as distinct from other products or goods).