Proposed modified vision statement (Group document, as of 11/30/11) -WITH UPDATES AS OF 12/2/11 – Please do not edit this version.

Posted by & filed under .

NOTE: THIS VERSION HAS BEEN CHANGED SINCE THE LAST GROUP MEETING. THIS IS A TEMPORARY MEASURE THAT IS BEING TAKEN BECAUSE THE EDITABLE VERSION IS CURRENTLY LOCKED.  THERE ARE SOME CHANGES THAT GROUP MEMBERS HAVE MADE – OR SUGGESTED – THAT ARE IMPORTANT FOR EVERYONE TO SEE.

What follows is a living document that will be revised through the democratic process of the General Assembly.

From the General Assembly of the Occupy Wall Street movement, to the People of the World, we offer a Declaration of our Vision.

 

Mic Check: We are the 99 percent.

For generations, we have stood silent while corporate elites turned our country into a plutocracy.
We will be silent no longer.

System Check: The system is broken.

Fact Check: The environment is collapsing.

Reality Check: There will be change.

We envision a truly free, democratic, and just society, built on the following principles:

Liberty: whereby we secure the civil and human rights of all against violation or infringement, particularly by unchecked corporate power and unjust governments;

People Power: whereby governments, in any form, at every level, derive their just powers from the consent of the governed, not from the wealth of private treasuries;

Solidarity: whereby all people come together to make decisions through a process by which everyone’s voice is heard, and no one is marginalized.

Responsibility: whereby all who reap society’s benefits accept a fair share of its responsibilities;

Fairness: whereby political and economic institutions work to benefit all, not just a privileged few;

Peace: whereby we learn to live in harmony and embrace principles of tolerance and respect for diversity and the differing views of others;

Equality: whereby institutionalized racism, sexism, and all other forms of discrimination based on socially constructed labels are rejected by all;

Non – Violence: whereby non-violence is embraced as a way of life, and we resolve to always carry a good message as we work out our differences.

People Before Profit: whereby we value human dignity and needs over monetary gain, because when people lack security or a standard of living adequate for their well – being, effective democracy is impossible; 

Meeting Human Needs: whereby human needs are elevated to a place of primary importance; among these are the right to meaningful work, decent housing, comprehensive healthcare, and a full education;

Environmental Stewardship: whereby we work together to protect the global environment and preserve all species to ensure that life is sustainable, and that future generations will have safe and clean air, water, and food supplies.

Mic Check:  We are the 99 percent.

Our occupation will continue.

We will make this vision a reality.

The Working Group on Vision and Goals continues to work toward a more comprehensive statement of visions and goals to be incorporated as soon as possible into this living document.
This is an official document crafted by the Working Group on Vision and Goals. The New York City General Assembly came to consensus on ______________ to accept this working draft and make it accessible to the public by posting it online.

19 Responses to “Proposed modified vision statement (Group document, as of 11/30/11) -WITH UPDATES AS OF 12/2/11 – Please do not edit this version.”

  1. Michael Korn

    Hey Rich,

    This document is as clear and definitive as one could hope. Titling each section is a great insight because it lets folks know what the following section lays out and will give some folks pause regarding duplicative efforts, unless they have something to offer that hasn’t been covered already. We now have to shop it (sorry Rev. Billy) around the community ASAP. I’ll expand on how in a followup email. Thank You! (I’m starting to salivate!)

  2. Rich Woytowich

    Michael,
    Thanks! And my thanks to all who helped us get to this point! I edited the document here to match the version in the forum. I’ll try to keep this version as a point of reference, incorporating changes only if they seem to meet with the approval of the whole group.

  3. Michael Korn

    Hey Rich & Everyone,

    And a couple of more little things….of course! After taking another look at what we have at this point…I have a few alterations to the text. Of course, everything is up for discussion. That said, here goes. We had a submission via the internet, by Julianne Lutz Warren and I think it deserves our attention. First I will cut and paste what we have so far and then her suggestion.

    (So Far) Environmental Stewardship: “whereby we work together to protect the global environment and all species to ensure that life is sustainable, and that future generations will have safe and clean air, water, and food supplies.”

    Change To: “Where we work together to align with Earth’s health–it’s capacity for self-renewal–upon which we and all life now and in the future mutually depend.”

    The difference in emphasis and tone might have to do with the use of the term “sustainable” which could be interpreted as allowing for excessive economic growth as opposed to her phrasing, which might lead to something resembling a steady-state economy. But if you want it from the ‘horse’s mouth’ shoot her an email!

    A second concern is in the use of the word “unity” as a heading instead of “inclusiveness.” Frankly, I’m overly concerned that too much unity stifles dissent and leads to totalitarian thinking. I’m for ‘inclusiveness’ which allows those who want in, get in without reigning in any differences of opinion. Also, whichever way you go, Unity or Inclusiveness, please insert “is” after “voice,” it’s a glitch.

    Finally, in the “Peace” clause, I would suggest that the word “cultural” be included before “diversity” because it would add to the clarity of the section. All cultures need to be respected and preserved; no more raping and pillaging of indigenous cultures for the sake of profit and exploitation.

    That’s it for now. Have a happy evening…see ya’ tomorrow. Thanks for keeping everything focused…it’s a (ahem) blessing.

  4. Rich Woytowich

    OK – I fixed the “is” omission. I made a few other edits to (in my opinion, at least) improve readability, comprehension, and coherence.
    I tried to make the meaning of “carry a good message” clearer. I went back to one of Bill’s earlier documents to see how “carrying a good message” is used. I think the new text shows more clearly why carrying a good message is linked to non – violence.
    Under environmental stewardship, I inserted “preserve” before “all species”. Extinction is a major issue. We may, for all we know, have already wiped out a species of rainforest creature whose blood contains a cure for cancer. So I think most people would agree that all species need to be preserved. I’m not sure everyone would agree to a more vague term like “protect” all species.
    The last change I made was in the last line. I was a bit bothered by using the verb “occupy” without saying what we’re going to occupy. So I reworded that a bit. Notice that “Our occupation will continue” and “We will make this vision a reality” are separate sentences. I’m NOT saying that we will continue our occupation UNTIL we make this vision a reality.
    If anyone objects to any of the changes I made, please let me know.

    Some of the changes I DIDN’T make:
    I have no personal objection to “Inclusiveness” instead of “Unity”, but unity is one of the Native American peace principles. If we want to include those principles in our statement, we would need to find a home for “unity” somewhere (not necessarily as a key word).
    I didn’t insert “cultural” before “diversity” because there are other kinds of diversity. Also, I didn’t include Julianne’s suggestion in this edit – it would take a couple of paragraphs to explain. We can talk about these things, and about the many other suggestions we’re getting. I think that with each round of edits, we get closer to having a statement that we can take to the GA.

    I’m only doing this editing because I posted the doc. I think other group members can edit. If you do, all I would ask is that you post a message or find some other way to describe whatever changes you make.

    -Rich

    • Michael Korn

      Hi Rich,

      I’ll keep it short and sweet. How about using “community” as opposed to “unity.” I feel less squeezed, so to speak, by this term. I’m good with the rest. No blo**s from me! See you later! Peace.

  5. Bill Record

    LOOKIN GOOD,

    Seems like we are converging on a great document. I am still in support of the word Unity. I feel having the original words from the Peace Principles in this document give it additional strength. Seems like the differences in meaning of other words are minimal. Is Unity somewhere in the above document? I don’t see it. Solidarity is similar to Unity so we have the same meanings if that is the way it unfolds.

    The version I have up on the other post has alot more punch. I think the second sentence in each of the first four bullets adds more power to the document.

    “System broken and abusive” ??????

    The other changes I made are very similar in tone to the above document and I am OK with either version.

    I am in Unity with the group’s decisions.

    Bill

  6. Bill Record

    Here are the first 4 bullets with an extra sentence:

    Liberty: whereby we secure the civil and human rights of all against violation or infringement, particularly by unchecked corporate power and unjust governments. No longer will the few dominate the many.

    People Power: whereby governments, in any form, at every level, derive their just powers from the consent of the governed, not from the wealth of private treasuries. No longer will money dominate politics.

    Solidarity: whereby all people come together to make decisions through a process by which everyone’s voice is heard, and no one is marginalized. No longer will we be divided by the rhetoric of a two party system controlled by the 1 percent.

    Responsibility: whereby all who reap society’s benefits accept a fair share of its responsibilities. We commit to personal involvement in this process of occupation, transparency and change.

  7. Julianne Lutz Warren

    It is looking good. I still think the following should be considered in relation to what is presently stated as “Environmental Stewardship” why not think about human relationship with nature in terms of health–Earth is not healthy because of human activities, particularly since we began burning fossil fuels without abandon (coal in England in the 1700s picking up across Europe and in the US throughout the 1800s and Asia in the mid 1900s with oil becoming commercial in the 1860s and growing in use through today…though having peaked in accessibility/availability about 40-50 years ago). This helped allowed our species to burgeon quickly to 7 billion today looking to continue feeding, sheltering, clothing ourselves on a planet greatly comprimised by our activities. Reversing the planet’s >4 billion year trends–Currently soils and their fertility are eroding faster than they are building up; biodiversity is being extinguished faster than new species are evolving for a net loss perhaps greater than any the planet has experienced; because of what we have done to soils and the life they support and burning ancient life contained in fossil fuels, the atmosphere has more carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases in it than at any time in our species history and beyond warming the globe creating increasingly intense droughts and rainstorms, drying up some streams and flooding others; creating conditions to which many species can not adapt quickly enough and so on…What we are concerned about is not only the environment but our place–our relationships– as interdependent members within a community of life that includes not only humans, but all species and the other physical things upon which we all depend. The health of the whole Earth community–consisting of all our nested, unique local communities–is inseparable from human health and prosperity that includes much more than money. We need to bring our human economy in line with nature’s economy, in other words–the economy of life. In the words of the great conservation thinker Aldo Leopold–this is Earth’s capacity for self-renewal in other words. To promote it, he understood, was an ethical obligation as well as a prudential necessity. Why not try to think and speak in these terms–health and the community of life, in particular. A land ethic, Leopold believe, is grounded in intellectual understandings about nature and love for it. Based on knowledge and emotion, then, how we relate to Earth in every place and as a whole needs constantly to evolve in the “minds of a thinking community.” OWS is such a “thinking community” in a fresh and amazing form and the perfect context to work out through ongoing consensual processes the vision of humans living in harmony or, in other words, alignment with nature’s economy–its health, its capacity for self-renewal. These concepts take us beyond “environment” and “sustainability” to ground us in the real, beautiful world of which we are all a part and which the 1% (and all of us trapped in the present system) are destroying–cutting out opportunities of 99%…more than that if you include all life as members of our community whose voices ought to be heard. Respectfully yours, Julianne

  8. Julianne Lutz Warren

    My own edited version of my previous post: The document is looking good. I still think that the following should be considered in relation to what is presently stated as “Environmental Stewardship,” though, and perhaps elsewhere in the document. Why not think about human relationship with nature in terms of health? Earth is not healthy because of human activities, particularly since we began burning fossil fuels with abandon (coal in England in the 1700s picking up across Europe and in the US throughout the 1800s and Asia in the mid 1900s with oil becoming commercial in the 1860s and growing in use through today…though having peaked in accessibility/availability about 40-50 years ago). This helped allow our species to burgeon quickly to 7 billion today. All of us are looking to continue feeding, sheltering, clothing ourselves on a planet greatly comprimised by the activities of a relative few of us. Human activities have reversed the planet’s >4 billion year trends–Largely because of the way we do agriculture soils and their fertility are eroding faster than they are building up; because of human activities diminishing habitats, biodiversity is being extinguished faster than new species are evolving for a net loss at a rate and scale likely greater than any the planet has experienced; because of what we have done to soils and the life they support and because we have been burning ancient life contained in fossil fuels, the atmosphere has more carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases in it than at any time in our species history and beyond. All of this has warmed the globe creating increasingly intense droughts in dry places and rainstorms in wet places, the drying up of some streams and flooding of others–all of this creating conditions to which many species can not adapt quickly enough to thrive or survive and so on…What we are concerned about then is not only the environment. That is our concern is not only about something outside us or surrounding us but is about who we are as a part of Earth. What are our proper relationship attitudes as interdependent members within a community of life that includes not only humans, but all species and the other physical things upon which we all depend. The health of the whole Earth community–consisting of all our nested, unique local communities–is inseparable from human health and prosperity that includes much more than money. We need to bring our human economy in line with nature’s economy, in other words–the economy of life. In other words, those of the great conservation thinker Aldo Leopold–this is Earth’s capacity for self-renewal. To promote this–the Earth’s ancient, proven capacity to build up and support life over time–he understood, was an ethical obligation as well as a prudential necessity. Why not try to think and speak in these terms–health and the community of life, in particular? A land ethic, Leopold believe, is grounded in intellectual understandings about nature and our dependent love for it. It is a mode of guidance to help direct us through complicated situations. It is right to promote the health of Earth it is wrong not to. It is also imprudent not to. Based on knowledge and emotion, then, how we relate to Earth in every place and as a whole will need constantly to evolve in the “minds of a thinking community” as we decide how to meet our needs–physical, emotional, spiritual. OWS is such a “thinking community” in a fresh and amazing form. It is the perfect context to work out through ongoing consensual processes vision for humans living in harmony or, in other words, alignment with nature’s economy–its health, its capacity for self-renewal. I believe we need to move beyond “environment” and “sustainability” to community and health, which ground us in the real, beautiful world of which we are all members. The 1% (and all of us trapped in the present system) are destroying this fundamentally–cutting out opportunities of the 99%…more than that if you include all life as members of our community whose voices ought to be heard. Respectfully yours, Julianne

  9. Daryl Atamanyk

    Second sentence should read, “We have stood negligently silent….”: and the rest of the document amended accordingly. Are we going to issue a vision reflective of our noble nature. Or are we going to release a statement of “de facto claimed victimization,” this latter to relieve us of frustration we feel, by venting that frustration via our implying that “it was their fault!”

    Because the writing of the document is based on a FIRST PREMISE that does not make perfectly clear that we the “99%”, along with the 1%, are responsible for having created the situation in which we find ourselves, the remainder of the document is tainted with repeated unconscious attributions of blame directed at those “other than those who support the document.”

    The document as written above is reflective of its supporters attempt to isolate outside of themselves the responsibility that is of their very own.

    The following was posted elsewhere last night. I’ll re-post it here because of its pertinence. It reads as follows:

    In order to “develop a vision” reflective of humane realities one must first do a root cause analysis of “the problems” with which one is faced. Funny thing about problems: those responsible for the problems tend to blame others for the problems having arisen. No one likes to feel at fault.

    Take us for example: blaming the bankers and politicians et al when we the electorate provided implied consent for them to do whatever they decided in terms of legislation. We the electorate did not BLOCK their actions. Not BLOCKING, we de facto CONSENTED. Now we have chosen to BLOCK them. But let us not blame them for our having facilitated that which they did. Yes they too are responsible: but too are we responsible for not attending in a responsible way to our half of the checks and balances that restrain our pesky human nature, a nature that exists in politicians as much as in you and me. And until we take responsibility for our past behavior and accept that you and I are responsible for the situation in which we find ourselves… until we do that… until we arrive at that particular root cause… no vision that we come up with will accurately and effectively address the problems. On the other hand, if we take responsibility for our role in the mess that America has become, any visions that emerge will have enormously greater chances of actually giving birth to goals that address the root cause. We must not forget that the root cause is that which impelled us jointly to behave in those manners that gave rise to the present situation. If we don’t accept joint responsibility for having created the problem, then any visions that issue forth from us, and goals that are based on those visions, will reflect not our addressing the root cause. Those “visions” and “goals” will reflect our effort to hide from ourselves our own culpability more so than reflect an addressing of the true problem. We will then feel “we did something,” when in fact we did nothing but mask the symptoms. The root cause unaddressed will then see the symptoms re-erupt in a future generation.

    I have a solution for the root cause, if not in its entirety, at least in its being of significant diagnostic value: not to mention, so to speak, the powerful prescription my solution suggests.

    Might I suggest a stepping back for perspective before you proceed with your endeavor to define a vision statement prematurely?

    If anyone is interested in more information regarding elementary materials that facilitate “having a vision” email me at darylatamanyk@gmail.com and I’ll send them to you. It’s forefront stuff: and elegantly simple.

    That’s what was posted last night.

    The question remains: Do you want to produce a vision statement like that which would have issued forth from Thomas Jefferson’s pen, or a document claiming in large part victimization? The first would aspire to a glorious future: the latter is preoccupied with the past, for which we assess a blame in a manner that disguises the role that we played in it? That is not vision: that is blindness.

    I beg you delay your release of all statements until we adopt as a movement a universal philosophy providing for us a context into which our actions, and visions, can fit. Concentrate your efforts in the meantime on busing to DC and creating there a NATIONAL ASSEMBLY the members of which will come from every corner of America. The decide how the vision statement should. Don’t put the cart before the horse.

    My primary focus is creating widespread solidarity via the co-opting of the public education system [high schools for a start], not just across United States, but throughout the freeworld [and by way of underground methods, to secure the support of citizens of tyrannical regimes].

    Required: one parking spot in Lower Manhattan: in part to accommodate Johnnie Depp it is hoped; and the spirit of Hunter S.Thompson. For more information please review the posts in the Housing Group Forum entitled Long Term Occupation Ideas.

    • Rich Woytowich

      Daryl,
      I’m 61. I saw the protests against the Vietnam War. I didn’t march with them because I naively thought that the system could be changed from within – and because I’d just had a summer job at Grumman, working on the Apollo 11 landing (still the highlight of my engineering career), so I saw the good that the system could do when it wanted to. I watched with dismay as Americans started elevating the Presidency almost to the level of royalty, but there was no protest to join. I did the best I could – I campaigned for Ted Kennedy in the New York primary in 1980. Then came Reagan – Bush – a ray of hope with Clinton, but not much done to reverse the damage – then Bush II. By that time, the people had been CONDITIONED to stand in awe of the Presidency. And after 9/11, all protest was suppressed by blanket accusations that the protesters were “helping the terrorists.” I don’t think it’s coincidence that OWS began just one week after the 10th anniversary of 9/11. Only in Oceania, Eurasia, and Eastasia can hate be kept going – and protests suppressed – indefinitely.
      I’ll admit that my generation was silent – but I don’t think our silence rises to the level of negligence.
      We were silent, but that silence was at least partly the work of the plutocracy.
      We could have done more. Where have I heard that line before?

  10. Daryl Atamanyk

    Rich Woytowich has come up with an excellent draft that addresses many, many objections registered by others with previous versions. It has us take responsibility for the situation we created, and it emphasizes a need to keep this as a “working draft.”

    I would include one last itsy bitsy item on Richard’s version. Add one additional sentence perhaps as a first sentence preamble, reading to the effect: “The following is a vision statement drafted by #OWS: #OWS recommends this statement be adopted by an OCCUPY AMERICA NATIONAL GENERAL ASSEMBLY in DC in the spring of 2012.”

    I would like to subtlety suggest that we together exercise restraint enough to not release further STATEMENTS…VISIONS…DEMANDS… until a NATIONAL GENERAL ASSEMBLY is convened in DC as is outlined in the strategy being developed in the HOUSING GROUPS FORUM entitled LONG-TERM OCCUPATION IDEAS.

    The message we can convey will be far more powerful issuing forth from a NATIONAL GENERAL ASSEMBLY the members of which come from every corner of America. It would be a reflection of our noble nature to leave to such a NATIONAL GENERAL ASSEMBLY in DC the issuance of such a profound statement as yours most definitely is as it has been edited by Rich Woytowich.

    I know that is a great deal to ask of you: you’ve put your heart and soul into this and naturally want to feel the sense of fulfillment that comes with being associated with the great thing you have produced… and what I am asking of you might be impossible for you to do: but I’m going to ask you anyway. Please be selfless enough to let your work from here on in be taken up by the NATIONAL GENERAL ASSEMBLY whether or not you are able to attend that assembly.

    There is a little phrase about which I often remind myself: you can accomplish anything you want as long as you don’t mind who gets the credit.

    If you haven’t yet seen the HOUSING GROUP FORUM entitled LONG-TERM OCCUPATION IDEAS, then definitely go there now to view the #OWS NATIONAL STRATEGY taking root… and read Rich’s latest edited version of your VISION STATEMENT. I frankly think it’s brilliant… and will be more so as issued by a NATIONAL GA in DC.

  11. Daryl Atamanyk

    Rich: I admire your selfless accepting of responsibility as apparent in your version of the document above. It will be only through such egolessness that you displayed there-in that will allow us to prevail. I too was there in that era: ”Four dead in Ohio.” To all of you I must admit, those four did more than I…

    I guess the point I am making re: the use of the word “negligence” is that we are acting now. We are. And we are going to end up changing things big time now. We could have done it long ago… but didn’t. None of us can say we did not see the country’s ills a long, long time ago.

    Of course, individually, everyone was distracted with their day to day stuff: but as a society we failed to act upon things that were apparent to all. By definition: as a society… we exercised negligence.

    Thanks for helping me clarify that.

    • Rich Woytowich

      Just as I was troubled by the thought of pointing the finger at just the 1 percent, I am also troubled by putting too much of a burden of guilt on the 99 percent. The 1 percent manipulated most of us – they’re still doing it. Yes, a thinking populace would not allow itself to be manipulated – but I’ve learned that “1984″ and “Brave New World” are no longer required reading, at least in some high schools. If people grow up without being given any reason to question what they see around them – if they’re brought up NOT REALIZING that it is the responsibility of every citizen of a democracy to question authority rather than meekly submit to it – how can we say they were negligent?
      Anyway, enough arguing over one word. I’ve already stretched procedure to the limit – maybe even a bit further – by changing what I wrote after having posted it. I’ll let things stand for now – I hope that everyone who comes to our next meeting will have read these posts and will be prepared to make a decision.
      And thanks for getting me to think about a lot of issues that I would never have thought about otherwise!

      • Daryl Atamanyk

        It is important though, Rich.

        Ever heard the phrase, “Ignorance is no excuse in the eyes of the law?”

        In that sense: if a person is driving a car and gets into an accident and by law they are clearly responsible and guilty of an infraction that led to the accident, the person can’t claim, “Well I didn’t know…that that was an infraction.” The person had an individual responsibility to educate themselves with respect to that which the law requires of them when they drive…and act accordingly. Those who fail to do so are that which is referred to as “negligent.”

        In our situation we each have a responsibility to educate ourselves with respect to that which our individual civic responsibility requires of us…and act accordingly. Those who fail to do so are… “negligent”… in the area of “the practice of democracy.”

        I hope this helps people to understand. Thanks again for affording me the opportunity to clarify.

        • Rich Woytowich

          One significant difference. Drivers have to pass a test – the state tries to inform drivers as to what the law is. The plutocracy didn’t let anyone know what they were up to – did everything in their power to pull the wool over people’s eyes. It took deliberate effort, by people who cared, to resist the propaganda and start a movement. I’m thankful for those who did that. As for everyone else who slept through the plutocratization process (now there’s a new word!), I’m willing to cut them a lot of slack. They didn’t just fall asleep. They had a sleeping pill mixed into their drinks.
          I’ll understand if you don’t agree.

          • Daryl Atamanyk

            I really , really do understand what you are saying.

            How’s this for reconciliation for our two not meshing-yet views?

            I think we both can agree that we really did see what they were up to, and we did indeed give them the inch: but problem was, they took the mile.

            Remember the WHO? (how could we forget, eh Rich?): “We won’t get fooled again! No! NO!…”

            Maybe it’s our blessing: maybe we’ll learn something as a civilization that helps us not suffer fascism in the future. Who knows what we’ll learn from this wake-up call. Maybe we are, in the context of history, “nipping something in the bud” here.

            Look forward to dialoguing with you on other matters!

          • Rich Woytowich

            Thanks, Daryl!
            I just hope that the “bud” has not yet grown to the point where it will nip us before we nip it.
            A famous comic strip from 1970 – “Pogo” by Walt Kelly – put it plainly. He was talking about pollution, but it seems to apply more broadly. He said:
            “We have met the enemy and he is us.”

  12. Rich Woytowich

    Daryl,
    Thanks for the positive feedback – but most of the ideas (and words) in the document that has my name on it were contributed by someone else in our group, or online. I’m just trying to stitch the pieces together – if it turns out that I’m doing a better job than a certain fictional mad Transylvanian doctor, I’ll be very happy! My thanks to everyone who has contributed! I hope we will keep the process going until we have a document that represents everyone in our group and says what we want it to say.