Putting Pieces Together – A Possible Next Step

Posted by & filed under .

As the group considers our preliminary vision statement, it might be useful to see how that statement MIGHT fit into a more complete statement of Visions and Goals. This longer document is NOT something that I would want to propose now. I’m only posting it to show how we might move forward to address those issues which, for one reason or another, might not fit into a short vision statement. The current preliminary vision statement is in boldface. My only edits were to remove the numbers; to remove one semicolon, after the words “free, democratic, and just society”; and to reformat the vision statement so that each point has a paragraph of its own.

(With any luck, by the time we’re ready to consider a document like this, the word “preliminary” won’t be needed any more, but for now, I left it in.)

QUOTE

A short time ago, the General Assembly of the Occupy Wall Street movement issued a Declaration of the Occupation of New York City. Now, it is time to move forward, from a statement of what we see around us today to a statement of what we envision for tomorrow.

Therefore:

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

We envision a truly free, democratic, and just society

where we, the people, come together and solve our problems by consensus;

where all are encouraged to participate in decision making for their community;

where all who reap society’s benefits accept their fair share of its responsibilities;

where all of our institutions work to benefit all, not just a privileged few;

where we provide full and free education to everyone, not merely to be productive members of society, but to grow and flourish as human beings;

where we value meeting human needs over monetary gain, and ensure decent standards of living, without which effective democracy is impossible;

where we learn to live in harmony and embrace principles of toleration and respect for diversity and the differing views of others;

where we work together to ensure that life on earth is sustainable, and that future generations will have safe and clean air, water, and food supplies.

In order to make this vision a reality,

the inalienable civil and human rights of all must be secure from violation or infringement by tyrannical forces, specifically unchecked corporate power and unjust government;

institutionalized racism, sexism, and other forms of discrimination based on socially constructed labels must be wiped out;

non – violence must be embraced in all aspects of daily life;

the global environment must be protected against disastrous climate change, and all species must be protected against extinction.

We are not the first people to have this vision. We have drawn heavily on the United States Declaration of Independence. But our vision is not limited by national borders. The United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights establishes a global foundation on which we can build a better world.

We are also guided by the Peace Principles of the Iroquois Nations. We seek a peace that is more than just the absence of war. We seek unity through our consensus – building process. And we seek to always carry a good message, so that the society we build will truly be different from the society we see around us today. We are aware that those who followed these principles have suffered greatly at the hands of those who did not. But it is our task to deal with wealth and power without being co – opted or corrupted by them. We rely on these principles to guide us in this endeavor.
We propose the following preliminary list of Goals in furtherance of our vision for society:

1. DEFINE AND DEFEND HUMANITY’S INALIENABLE RIGHTS FROM THE BOTTOM UP.

In 1776, the authors of the Declaration of Independence asserted that each of us has certain inalienable rights. Among these are the right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. But new technologies have provided new ways to infringe on individual rights. So we, the people, will work to establish – from the bottom up, not from the top down – a new list of rights which we will hold to be inalienable, and then work to ensure that we will have a government that defends them against infringement.

2. RE-APPROPRIATE OUR BUSINESS STRUCTURES AND CULTURE, PUTTING PEOPLE BEFORE PROFIT.

We will work to build a world where all can be productive members of society, and where economic institutions work for the benefit of all, not just a privileged few.

People who have no source of income cannot buy products or services, no matter how low the price. We also hold that it is immoral to reduce prices by moving jobs to countries where wages are meager and working conditions are brutal. The rights of all workers, everywhere, to fair wages and good working conditions, must take priority over profit.

3. CREATE AN ECONOMY IN HARMONY WITH NATURE

We all share this single planet – pollution anywhere eventually becomes pollution everywhere. So we will work together across national borders to protect our environment. And we will work to take the actions that are needed today to ensure that the ecosystem which we depend on for life will be properly maintained for future generations.

4. EMANCIPATE THE WORLD’S COMMUNITIES FROM CENTRALIZED FINANCIAL SYSTEMS

We will work to make the transition to a financial system that is wholly transparent and is accountable to the citizens of the respective nations in which it operates. And we will work to ensure that wealth cannot buy political power.

5. CREATE PARADIGM-SHIFTING EDUCATION THAT EMANCIPATES GLOBAL CITIZENS FROM EXPLOITATIVE, COMMUNITY-DESTROYING CONSUMER CULTURE AND EMPOWERS ALL PEOPLE WITH THEIR OWN VOICE.

The purpose of education should not be to prepare each new generation to be exploited. We will work to create an educational system from cradle to grave that emancipates all global citizens, gives everyone an opportunity to acquire the knowledge they need to share in the decision making progress, and make available resources and free time to develop their full potential as human beings.

6. RE-APPROPRIATE OUR MEDIA CULTURE PUTTING TRUTH AND DIALOGUE OVER ADVERTISING AND SENSATIONALISM.

Media resources should be a balance of publicly owned media outlets alongside those based on private principles as long as each has unfettered access to portray ”reality” in their own way. This ’check and balance’ will keep the media from becoming completely corporatist or totalitarian.

7. CREATE PEACE ON EARTH WITH TOTAL DEDICATION TO NON-VIOLENCE.

Non – violence is not just a means to an end; non – violence itself is an end. We recognize that until non – violence becomes a way of life, the Second Amendment will remain in force, and we will still need to keep working for peaceful solutions to economic, social, and political problems.

8. ELIMINATE ALL DISCRIMINATION, PREJUDICE, AND JUDGMENTS BASED ON SOCIALLY CONSTRUCTED GROUP LABELS

We will strive to eliminate, now and into the future, all discrimination, prejudice and judgements based on socially constructed group labels that are leftovers from the past.

9. FACILITATE THE PEACEFUL HARMONY OF HUMANITY’S RELIGIOUS, SPIRITUAL AND EXISTENTIAL TRADITIONS.

We will work to facilitate the peaceful harmony of humanity’s religious, spiritual, humanistic, agnostic and atheistic belief/non-belief systems so as to tolerate differences without prejudice.

In addition to these goals for society as a whole, we propose specific goals for our movement.

WE WILL SEEK TO EFFECTIVELY CONNECT OUR OCCUPATION WITH THE GLOBAL MOVEMENT, BY:

A. FACILITATING THE GROWTH OF LOCAL MOVEMENTS FOR DIRECT, ORGANIC, PARTICIPATORY CONSENSUS-BASED DEMOCRACY.

B. STUDYING OURSELVES AND OTHER LOCAL OCCUPATIONS TO FIND MORE IDEAL MODELS OF CONSENSUS BUILDING, DECISION MAKING AND COORDINATION THROUGH, TRANSPARENT, ITERATIVE DESIGN.

C. FINDING POINTS OF HARMONY OF VISIONS/GOALS/ACTIONS ACROSS LOCAL AND REGIONAL PEOPLE’S ASSEMBLIES, SO THAT OUR MOVEMENT CAN HAVE DEEPER IMPACT.

D. CREATING THE EMOTIONAL AND ACTUAL PHYSICAL SPACES (INDOOR AS WELL AS OUTDOOR) FOR THIS PROCESS FOR THE ORGANIC DISCUSSION OF THE FUTURE TO UNFOLD.

E. ENCOURAGING EACH OCCUPATION TO FOCUS ON THEIR LOCAL ECONOMIC, CULTURAL AND POLITICAL ASSETS AS A SPECIALIZATION OF THE MOVEMENT.

AS THE FINANCIAL CAPITAL OF THE UNITED STATES, NEW YORK CITY CAN SERVE AS A FUNCTIONING FOCAL POINT FOR OTHER PEOPLE’S ASSEMBLIES IN OUR EFFORTS TO MAKE THE FINANCIAL POWERS THAT BE ADHERE TO THE WILL OF THE CITIZENRY.

F. IMPLEMENTING NON-PROPRIETARY (FREE – LIBRE – OPEN SOURCE) SOLUTIONS FOR EVERYTHING THAT WE DO.

We recognize that this statement is just a first step. We invite participants in the Occupy Wall Street movement to join in reshaping  this statement as our movement and our society evolve. And we invite all citizens of the world to join us in working toward a day when we will be able to gather in Liberty Plaza to celebrate the realization of this vision.

UNQUOTE

6 Responses to “Putting Pieces Together – A Possible Next Step”

  1. Michael Korn

    Hi Rich & All,

    After reviewing your latest editiorial efforts, I’ve noticed a couple of omissions that were previously included. The following edition is my re-iterations of what was the last iteration. (in caps)

    [3] where the people are encouraged to take personal AND COLLECTIVE responsibility and participate in decision making for their community.

    Reason to re-insert it: There is nothing wrong with personal responsibility though it is sometimes associated with conservative ideology. That notion needs to be wrested away from that camp. But for those who do appreciate balance and to allay anyone’s suspicions, we should put “and collective” back in the document because it smoothes out the perceived differences but more importantly we DO INDEED (in my humble opinion) need to take group responsibility as well as personal responsibility for the way we treat the planet, the people, etc.

    [5] where we secure the civil and human rights of all from violation by tyrannical forces, SPECIFICALLY UNCHECKED CORPORATE POWER and unjust government.

    Reason to re-insert it: We specify ‘unjust government’ and that is a pretty clear statement of a conceivable ‘tyrannical force’ but the other elephant in the room, is the growth, power and unaccountability of corporations, therefore I believe this additional clause has earned it’s rightful place in our vision statement.

    [9] where we work together to protect the global environment AND ALL SPECIES to ensure that life on earth IS SUSTAINABLE and that future generations will have safe and clean air, water and food supplies.

    Reason to re-insert it: This was an addition from a person who attended the meeting last week and argued that we didn’t include ‘all species’ and the need for “sustainability” in this section of the document. I believe this is valid since the world is entwined in all of it’s biological interactions and we should realize this fact because when we refuse to take these “lesser” creatures into consideration the negative result of species destruction could potentially cause irreversible harm to our ecosystem. On the other hand, I’m not an absolutist. Cockroaches and bedbugs, etc. need to go NOW, entomologically speaking.

    Happy Turkey Day To All!!

  2. Rich Woytowich

    Michael,

    My apologies – I didn’t update this document to match my other post. I just edited it to remove a reference to “their Creator” in the Goals section, in response to a discussion on our email listserv.
    To keep confusion to a minimum, I’ve updated the “vision statement” portion of this document to agree with my other post. I’ll try, from now on, to keep the two documents synchronized. The version re – inserts two of the deletions you mentioned. I didn’t put in the line about personal and collective responsibility because I’m trying to incorporate responsibility in a different way – one which at least partially addresses a friendly amendment made at GA. My rewritten item advocates getting everyone who benefits from our society to bear a fair share of the responsibility. (Some people would prefer a “proportionate” share – we can talk about that.)
    I never really liked the old item about responsibility because it didn’t say what we would be taking responsibility for. I think my proposed new item does that – the responsibilities are those which go along with being a member of society. I’d like to think Elizabeth Warren would approve.
    I also thought it might be too much to have two items on responsibility. But if the group wants to keep the old item, it can easily be put back in – either in addition to or in place of my proposed new item.
    Also, the line about the environment is split into two parts in this version. Please look at both.
    I’m working on a more strongly worded version, but I won’t post it online just yet. I’ve caused enough confusion already. I’ll bring my “get tough” version on paper to the next meeting.

    • jack siler

      Rich,
      Please bring on the “stronger” version. Post it. I’d love to see it before Sunday if possible.
      Jack Siler (jack.siler@gmail.com)

  3. jack siler

    Would it be simpler, more direct to slightly revise 5:

    …specifically unchecked, unjust power whether private, corporate or governmental. ?

    In the long run, isn’t OWS about stopping the very rise of corporations AND governments from even acquiring the kind of power that can be excercised as unchecked and unjust? By adding private I’m thinking of those incredible fortunes of individuals who can take 5 or 50 billion out of their private pocket and say, “Do this!” There are a certain number of them doing just that here and in other countries.
    _____________________________________________________________________________________________
    I can’t be there again until Sunday night, but there’s one thing that has struck me for a while. I’ve lived in Africa and worked with Caucasian nomadic tribes. As Americans we picked up the terrible English habit of colonialism/evangelism. #9 above seems to be about respecting religious variations which is appropriate, but personally I’d like to see something added about allowing and respecting both variations of cultures and life styles of simpler societies. I’ve seen American Indians and whole tribes in Africa destroyed by the imposition of good, but foreign systems. The proposals above are great for any modern society, but since we urbanites associate simple with poverty…..

  4. Rich Woytowich

    Jack,
    I agree that in our ideal future society, corporations and governments would be unable to get the kind of power that could be called tyrannical.
    Before we went to the GA, our document had almost exclusively positive statements about the kind of society we want to build. But the feedback we got at the GA called for us to talk about things we want to end – racism was singled out. So in this draft (note that the doc has been edited since Michael made his comment), I separated our items into two groups – first, the positive things we want to do, but then, the things we have to straighten out before we begin to build. I put the statement about protecting our rights in the second part, because that’s something that we have to address now, but that should never become an issue in our ideal future.
    I’ll post the stronger document separately.
    -Rich