The Language Of Revolution: How Movements Effect Change

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If you have been following the blog for the past couple of months, are friends with us on FB, or maybe have just come within earshot of us for more than a few minutes, then chances are you already know that Tree and I support Occupy Wall Street.

OWS began on September 17th, but we didn’t catch wind of it until the beginning of October. When we finally learned that a massive band was mobilizing across the nation to protest the collusion between big business and politics, we were instantly smitten….

 …And, quite frankly, ASTONISHED.

Who were these anachronistic Americans that were willing to pitch a tent in a public park to start a civic discourse about taking back their democracy? I thought that fight-for-justice, dare-to-dream, imagine-all-the-people breed died out with the inauguration of Ronald Reagan, with its colossal naïveté and faint scent of patchouli remembered with a warm chuckle and a certain, slow shake of the head–as if to say, we won’t be making that mistake again.

But what was the mistake? Believing that we can co-create a better world?  Or that we can make any difference at all? 

Tree and I are impressed by how much the Occupy Wall Street movement has grown, but still, we are sadly disappointed by how little it is actually understood or supported.  Most Americans have at least heard of the movement by now, but many folks, including some of our own family and friends, still say that 1) they are unclear about what exactly the Occupiers want, or 2) they don’t understand why the Occupiers choose to be a “public nuisance” by protesting in public parks and blocking busy intersections and city bridges…

…or 3) the most bewildering and insensitive thing we’ve heard, why don’t the Occupiers just get a job? Frankly, that one deserves a simple mathematical answer right now:

The current number of unemployed persons is at 13.3 million, while the number of payroll employment rose by only 120,000 in November. 
-U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, December 2, 2011

In other words, there are far more unemployed people than jobs available!

When I hear these kinds of comments, I want to call bullshit.  You know, I know, we all know that there is a HUGE ELEPHANT IN THE ROOM.  If you are part of the 99%, meaning you’re not one of the four hundred Americans in the  1% who own more than the bottom 150 million Americans combined, then you too are affected by the systemic problems in our nation causing outrageous levels of joblessness, sick people who can’t afford healthcare, a failing economy, stalled wages, crowded classrooms, a growing disparity between the rich and the poor, the outright abuse of our civil liberties, and the willful dismantling of our social safety net.

The real issue is that we don’t even know how to wrap our heads around such a mammoth-size problem. Nor do we have any idea how to articulate its web of intricacies, let alone how to take action against such an overwhelmingly complex and hefty foe.  So, naturally, we are inclined to just pretend like it’s not there. We the people have lost the Language of Revolution.

But, let me tell you friends, the elephant is here, and closing our eyes won’t make it disappear.

So, I decided to sit down and write a post that talks about the elephant, describes its features, and attempts to give us back the Language Of Revolution, along with the tools necessary to take our power back and get that elephant out.  Before any real change can happen, the first thing we need to do is educate ourselves.  Knowledge is the greatest weapon at our disposal, and I aim to smarten’ up instead of dumb down.

What do Occupiers want?

I could wax poetic here about how we want to live in a world that values people over profit, honors community over corporations, and protects our health and the health of the planet instead of the 1%’s right to be greedy bastards, but instead I’m going to keep it clear with tidy bullet points to hopefully avert any possible confusion. Here is exactly, as I see it, what OWS wants:

1)   Get the money and corruption out of politics

So long as big business continues to finance political campaigns and pay lobbyists to do their bidding on Capitol Hill, our democracy is a travesty–a corporatocracy that represents a very small, elite class.

What to do?

  1. Overturn Citizens United and ban the ability of corporations to use their profits to influence our elections.  Make clear that corporations, as well as entities formed to represent corporations — are not real, living people with rights protected by our Constitution. They are entities established under our laws and thus subject to our laws.
  2. Pass the Fair Elections Now Act (S. 750 and H.R. 1404). A 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.
  3. Limit campaign contributions and expenditures by individuals, candidates, and all types of private entities.
  4. Pass legislation to severely restrict lobbyist influence on elections, such as requiring total transparency between lobbyists and politicians to curb the widespread venality of congress
  5. End the “revolving door” of politicians and their staffs from ever 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.

What to read?

  1. http://www.getmoneyout.com/
  2. http://fairelectionsnow.org/
  3. http://www.rawstory.com/rs/2011/12/08/sen-sanders-files-amendment-to-end-corporate-personhood/
  4. http://www.theoccupiedamendment.org/
  5.  http://www.truth-out.org/corporations-are-not-people-activists-push-amendment-revoke-corporate-personhood/1320939027

 

2)   Redistribution of Wealth

Nobel Prize winning economist, Joseph Stiglitz, reported that 1% of Americans owns 40% of the nation’s wealth, 50% of its stocks, bonds and mutual funds, but only 5% of its debt—and the gap is widening.  I realize that a large portion of the population does not believe in wealth redistribution (a consequence of 1% generated propaganda, I believe), but this disparity MUST be addressed. How do we fix the increasing gap between the MEGA RICH and THE REST OF US?

What to do?

  1. Create A Fair Federal Tax-Code; End Bush-Tax Cuts
  2. Eliminate corporate loopholes, unfair tax breaks, exemptions and deductions, subsidies, end offshore tax haven abuse. Expatriation of capital should be subject to a maximum tax-rate penalty with violation considered a felony act.
  3. Create Jobs here in America (i.e. End NAFTA, Fix the Tax Code, and Reform Banking)
  4. Create an affordable, universal healthcare system
  5. Invest in Education, from kindergarten to the grave

What to read?

  1. http://thinkprogress.org/economy/2011/10/03/334156/top-five-wealthiest-one-percent/
  2. http://www.rollingstone.com/politics/news/how-the-gop-became-the-party-of-the-rich-20111109
  3. http://www.dylanratigan.com/2011/08/08/jobs-wanted-a-special-report-on-trade-taxes-and-banking/

 

3)   Financial Reform

 We currently have a banking system that uses capital for speculation and debt creation, rather than productive investment.  Today Wall Street is nothing more than a casino.

 What to do?

  1. Repeal Gramm-Leach-Bliley(1999) and Reinstate the Glass-Steagall act.  We need to return to a time (1933-1999) when banks were separated into 3 functions (Investment, Savings and Loans, Insurance Company) and could not merge into mega-banks that are “too big to fail”. Without it, the conflicts of interest within these mega-banks have caused 1 depression and 1 near-depression. These banks have used taxpayer bailout money to lobby congress to resist any meaningful change that will prevent a financial crisis in the future and that must change.
  2. Break up the biggest banks; Augment and Enforce Anti-Trust laws
  3. Abolish credit default swaps. Derivatives must be traded on transparent exchanges. Ban “flash” trading.
  4. Tax all Wall St. financial transactions at 1%. Damp down speculation and raise $400 billion a year.
  5. Investigate the crash of 2008 and hold guilty parties responsible
What to read?
  1. http://www.forbes.com/sites/stevedenning/2011/11/22/5086/
  2. http://www.dylanratigan.com/2011/12/06/video-why-greedy-bastards-love-swaps-with-bill-fleckenstein-and-dan-gross/
  3. http://shadowpress.org/wall_street_mess_fix.54.htm
  4. http://www.dylanratigan.com/2011/08/08/jobs-wanted-a-special-report-on-trade-taxes-and-banking/

 

Of course this is just the beginning of a long-overdue discussion, and these aren’t the only demands or possible solutions. The movement is still evolving. 

And yet, even though these demands are just the tip of the iceberg, without them, specifically the first one of “Getting the Money Out of Politics,” no other demand is likely to be met.

For instance, how can we expect our government to stop subsidizing big oil and create jobs by investing in renewable energy when the 1% owns our representatives?

We must first get the money out of politics so that we then have a chance at a more equitable distribution of wealth, protecting and expanding our social safety net (tell me again why you don’t want a healthcare system that is at the very least as good as the ones modeled in other industrialized nations around the world…really, I want to know), and restoring our democracy—i.e. giving power back to us, the real living people of the United States of America.

Now that we clearly understand what the Occupiers want, let’s address the other really big issue: APATHY.  We can articulate the problems and potential solutions all day long, but it makes no difference until we put our thoughts into action.  What can we do?

Well, we can “Occupy.” But, WHY be a nuisance?

Why does the OWS movement OCCUPY our parks, ports and bridges? Why do they infiltrate public and private meetings to Mic’ check our corrupt politicians? Why do they shut down city streets and march en masse to protest?

In short, because civil disobedience is the most effective means of changing laws and protecting liberties. It embodies an important moral concept that there are times when law and justice do not coincide and that to obey the law at such times can be an abdication of ethical responsibility.  Although it usually uses tactics of nonviolence, it is more than mere passive resistance since it often takes active forms such as illegal street demonstrations or peaceful occupations of premises.

The classic treatise on this topic is Henry David Thoreau’s “On the Duty of Civil Disobedience,” which states that when a person’s conscience and the laws clash, that person must follow his or her conscience. The stress on personal conscience and on the need to act now rather than to wait for legal change are recurring elements in civil disobedience movements.

“Civil disobedience becomes a sacred duty when the State becomes lawless, corrupt.” – Ghandi

Throughout the history of the U.S., civil disobedience has played a significant role in many of the social reforms that we all take for granted today. Some of the most well known of these are:  The Boston Tea Party, Anti-war movements, Women’s Suffrage, Abolition of Slavery, Introduction of Labor Laws and Unions, and Civil Rights.

In each of these movements, the protesters were compelled by deep moral convictions. Their distress was strong enough to motivate them to go against the grain, to sacrifice personal comfort, to face unknown danger, to give up their freedom and risk going to jail. Their love of truth and justice drove them to action.

The people who are currently occupying our parks, ports, subways, bridges, city halls, and Capitol Hill are compelled by the same deep moral conviction, and rightly so.  We should all feel wildly impassioned about taking back our democracy, fixing our broken economy, and protecting our social safety nets, our health, and the environment.  We should all feel deeply offended by the corruption on Wall Street, on K street, and in our own Congress, and be fighting with all our might to reform our corrupt institutions–the enemy at home–before the venality within them utterly destroys our way of life.

It’s for this reason that my head POPS OFF when I hear people say that they are annoyed by the kids littering in the parks and blocking the bridges and making people late for work. I equate it with someone saying to Rosa Parks, “Hey lady, I don’t understand what your problem is, but you’re holding up the bus.”

In all of the struggles mentioned above, including OWS, the citizens had reached the conclusion that the legal means for addressing their concerns had not worked. They had tried petitioning, lobbying, writing letters, going to court, voting for candidates that represented their interests, legal protest, and still their views were ignored.  Doing it the ‘quiet way’ wasn’t working. That is why they chose to take to the streets and take action, LOUD ACTION.

Today, it’s time to ask yourself, at what point would YOU decide to disobey the law if the laws and the government enforcing them depart from your beliefs in regard to morality? For example, would you have been willing to trespass on that British ship and toss their cargo (the infamous tea) overboard? Would you have had the courage to hide Jews in Germany in the late ’30s? Or perhaps to help runaway Southern slaves during the 1850′s and early 1860′s? Or, at the very least, would you have stood up and offered Rosa Parks your seat at the front of the bus?

That being said, civil disobedience isn’t for everyone, nor does it have to be.

OWS is so much more than just pitching a tent in a park. More than anything, it’s a dangerous idea that’s catching fire, an idea that says: We are the 99% and WE CAN MAKE A DIFFERENCE IN OUR WORLD.  And, fortunately, there are many ways to support the movement that don’t involve sleeping outside in big groups, getting pepper sprayed in the face, beaten by batons, or even arrested.

But, please, let’s not forget our gratitude to those who do our civil disobedient bidding for us.  Collectively, they are the vehicle that has carried our voice around the world. They are the reason these issues are being talked about on a serious level by everyday people like you and me.  And, it’s loud and unruly them, not quiet and obedient us, who are the establishment’s worst nightmare. It’s because of their heroic actions that the elite and their henchman are panicking, behaving badly, and doing everything they can to violently squash and misrepresent this Movement.  They are the ones doing the heavy lifting. The least we can do is pull our own weight.

 Ways to Occupy our Democracy

1)   Educate ourself.  Today’s problems are more complex than ever before. It’s not as simple as chanting a slogan like, Give Women the Vote or End Segregation now! But, still, it is not okay for us to say that we don’t support OWS because we don’t understand what they want. They are US—you and me—we are all the 99%!!!  And the burden of not being a dumbass falls on us.  We the people need to take responsibility and participate in our democracy.  Corporations and the 1% have hijacked it, and it’s time to take it back.  Read about the issues, think critically; study history, literature, science, civics, and philosophy; and be sure to choose trusted and diverse news sources (click here for more on news)

2)   Educate others. It’s the most powerful thing we can do to better the world, and besides, getting together with your friends to have intelligent conversation is just fun. I love sharing a bottle of wine, a sumptuous dinner, and dangerous ideas with my friends.  Informed and united, we have far more power than we think we do. Host a salon at your house and discuss one topic that you are passionate about.  For example, if you’re concerned about GMO’s or antibiotics in your food, get your friends and your friends’ friends on board with your cause, start a coalition with likeminded groups, and then SUE THE FDA TO STOP BIG AGRO from poisoning our food!! These people did: http://www.grist.org/industrial-agriculture/2011-05-25-groups-sue-fda-to-stop-big-ag-antibiotic-abuse-just-might-work , and they are not only making a difference in this one case, they are setting a precedent for changes to come. 

3)   Be more annoying than Congress. Find out whom your representatives are, where they stand on key issues, and then blast them with emails and phone calls so that they know you are watching them closely.

4)   Participate in our democracy- VOTE!! A democracy isn’t really a democracy if we don’t participate in it.  The United States has nearly the lowest voter turnout compared to other democratic nations, averaging 63% during presidential election years. That is just embarrassing.

5)   Get Political- It’s not enough to simply shop organic and carpool. I know how tempting it is to think that we can change the world with our small everyday choices, and even though making conscious decisions is very good, the truth is that we need BIG change now, not in a bazillion years, and that’s how long it’s going to take Monsanto or Exxon to notice that you stopped buying their goods.  It would be like saying in 1850, well I only buy slave-free cotton, isn’t that enough? Umm… NO!! We need to abolish slavery on the principle that it is very, VERY wrong!!! We need to start thinking about and taking action to EFFECT REAL SYSTEMIC CHANGE.  And that means, we need to push beyond our private choices and OCCUPY OUR DEMOCRACY.

6)   Participate in an OWS General Assembly nearest you.  We have both a moral and a civic responsibility to get involved politically on a grassroots level. Why not go visit the OWS camp nearest you, and find out what they are doing to educate your community, get the money out of politics, or represent the oppressed and disenfranchised in your area. If you feel inspired, join a committee. Pitch in. Be part of a team.  And if you don’t like what your local movement is doing, do something about it!! Voices of dissent are welcome.  Solutions are welcome. Smart, active, creative, inquisitive, artistic, compassionate, articulate, passionate, clever, hardworking, honest people are welcome!!  And that means YOU. xo.

And if you don’t think your local OWS can make a difference, read the next section and get ready to be inspired.

A SUPER AMAZING FANTASTIC EXAMPLE OF OWS BEING EFFECTIVE

Being from Los Angeles, I’ve been keeping up with that branch of OWS a little more than the others. I’m very, very proud of Occupy LA for putting forth a resolution declaring that CORPORATIONS ARE NOT PEOPLE, AND MONEY IS NOT SPEECH.  The LA City Council voted on it a couple days ago, and the 11-0 vote in favor of the resolution drew a standing ovation from a packed chamber of Occupy LA members and other activists. I wish I could have been there to celebrate with my fellow Angelenos!

Read about this groundbreaking victory here:

http://losangeles.cbslocal.com/2011/12/06/occupied-city-council-corporations-are-not-people-money-not-a-form-of-speech/

Watch the video here: http://youtu.be/-M54Z-Bzgcw

This is a direct example of the people of Los Angeles Occupying their democracy!! Imagine if every city across the United States did this. Now let’s make it happen.

What city do you live in? What can you do to make sure that your city passes a similar resolution?

IN CONCLUSION….

I want to leave you with a couple of quotes that we were spoken directly to Occupy Wall Street from two highly respected individuals from two very different backgrounds.

The first is from Slovenian philosopher and critical theorist Slavoj Zizek , who on Oct.9th, 2011, told an old communist joke to a budding NY General Assembly in Zucotti park.  It went like this:

A guy was sent from East Germany to work in Siberia. He knew that his mail would be read by censors so, he told his friends, let’s establish a code. If the letter you get from me is written in blue ink, it is true what I said. If it is written in red ink, it is false. After a month his friends get a first letter. Everything is in blue. It says: everything is wonderful here. Stores are full of good food. Movie theaters show good films from the West. Apartments are large and luxurious. The only thing you cannot buy is red ink.

This is how we live. We have all the freedoms we want. But what we are missing is red ink: The language to articulate our non-freedom. The way we are taught to speak about freedom, war, and terrorism and so on falsifies freedom. And this is what you are doing here: You are giving all of us red ink.

A couple days later, Deepak Chopra stopped by Zuccotti to share these peaceful words:

“I just want to do a two minute meditation, or even less. Put your hand on your heart and just ask yourself internally what kind of world do I want to live in? And listen. Do it now. And now ask yourself how can I make that happen? How can I make that happen from a place of love, compassion, joy and equanimity? Simple anger will only perpetuate what already is out there. It was created by greed and fear. We have to go beyond that, and come from a place of compassion, centered equanimity and creativity. Once again, ask yourself, how can I be the change that I want to see in the world? Thank you.”

PAINT THE TOWN RED.

BE THE CHANGE YOU WANT TO SEE. 

 Further Reading:

“Pre-Occupied”  A well-written, interesting article in the New Yorker about the origins and the future of Occupy Wall Street

Occupied Media- This is the Occupied Wall Street Journal. Plenty of insightful articles and videos on this site.  Two examples:

1)  Why We Fight- A succinct article about why we should demonstrate, namely because we were robbed, and our government helped finish the job

2)  A Love Supreme- Dr. Cornel West waxing poetic about a democratic revolution–rings of MLK in vision, wisdom, and inspiration.

Occupy Wall Street- The original website of OWS

The 99% Deficit Proposal: How to create jobs, reduce the wealth divide, and control spending-  A plan proposed by Occupy Washington, D.C, just another example of a local branch taking action to Occupy Our Democracy.

Sprinter Life Posts:

Who do you trust for news – Learn about the take over of our media and get suggestions on trusted news sources

We are the 99% – Occupy Everywhere

Occupy Peru – Sprinter Life protest in Chicama

 

 

 

Comments

  1. What about what’s happening in Peru regarding Newmont Mining Corp, Conga mine and the protests there and “state of emergency” and repression of the protester and people who live in that region?

    • Hey Tom, thanks so much for asking these questions. We have been following the protests but have not been to Cajamarca ourselves. We have a couple friends who just got back from there today, though, and we plant to get the scoop. Furthermore, Tree and I are going on a road trip through northern Peru starting next week. We’ll be spending some time in Cajamarca and the surrounding area, so we will DEFINITELY be reporting back with live info. Stay tuned!!

  2. Well, if we weren’t on a government watch list before, we are now.

    great post. I love you babe!
    TREE

  3. Man i love sprinter life. you guys are fab!

    It is well enough that people of the nation do not understand our banking and monetary system, for if they did, I believe there would be a revolution before tomorrow morning.
    -Henry Ford

  4. “But what do we mean by the American Revolution? Do we mean the American war? The Revolution was effected before the war commenced. The Revolution was in the minds and hearts of the people; a change in their religious sentiments, of their duties and obligations…This radical change in the principles, opinions, sentiments, and affections of the people was the real American Revolution.” JOHN ADAMS

  5. “Revolution means democracy in today’s world, not the enslavement of peoples to the corrupt and degrading horrors of totalitarianism”
    Ronald Reagan

    A very good read Stevie. Thank you for sharing. I truly hope that the rest of the people, our people, wake up before it’s too late. We are living in an extraordinary time and we must seize the moment. Take care down there. C

  6. EXCELLENT, EXCELLENT!! Very true, it’s easy to support Rosa Parks and others now we’ve been shown the light, but how many of us are brave enough to go that same route with our present day issues? Well written and thought out post, thank you. Consider it shared.

    • Thanks so much for commenting Lorraine, and also for sharing on FB! I believe that if we spread the word, educate ourselves and each other, then we stand a good chance of taking right action. If only we could leave it to Kiki, Dog, and Bruiser…I wouldn’t worry about a thing. xo.

  7. Kris and Ken says:

    Yay, yay, and yay! We couldn’t agree more and we, too, are proud of Occupy LA and the other California groups leading the way. My FB Occupy and political posts probably make some people shake their heads…but I have to get the information out there!! Wake up, friends and family, wake up USA!
    Gracias y abrazos, Kris

    • Hey guys, hate to go off topic, but the little alarm clock you gave me is dying. I’ve used it every day for the last year. :(

    • Whoopeeee!!! It’s so great hearing from you guys!! This morning at around 6:15 our KenandKris went off for no reason, so at around 7am when we actually got up, we both said that we think the ‘false’ alarm was a reminder to send you guys an email! You’ve been on our mind, remembering good times around this time last year. Thank you so much for commenting, and more importantly for speaking your mind, spreading the truth, and educating those around you with your wonderful humor, wit, patience, and compassion. We miss you both!!!

  8. Let the revolution begin!!!@

  9. GREAT post Stevie….you provide more truth and information than all the news and networks put together.
    Sr

  10. Arlene Burns says:

    you go girl!! awesome post!

  11. Steeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeevie… you rock amiga…. awasome post… thanks for all the info

  12. loving the quotes people. keep them coming. Here is a good one…

    The sin of silence when they should protest makes cowards of men.
    -Abraham Lincoln

  13. hey tree, here is a better Abraham Lincoln quote… i think…

    “This country, with its institutions, belongs to the people who inhabit it. Whenever they shall grow weary of the existing government, they can exercise their constitutional right of amending it, or their revolutionary right to dismember or overthrow it.”

  14. I’m sending this article on to every single person I know. Apathy and Misinformation are our greatest problems in this effort to turn things around. WE have been insidiously conditioned to live in fear and distraction, so that we don’t question the inequality that is crushing our basic human rights, economically and politically. People need information, and yours is excellent.

    Thank you Stevie, for your passion and work. Thank you both.

  15. Booyahhh! Nailed it….

    “The most sensible and jealous people are so little attentive to government that there are no instances of resistance until repeated, multiplied oppressions have placed it beyond a doubt that their rulers had formed settled plans to deprive them of their liberties; not to oppress an individual or a few, but to break down the fences of a free constitution, and deprive the people at large of all share in the government, and all the checks by which it is limited.”
    John Adams

  16. Karen Guancione says:

    Bravo! Thanks for sending out these posts and keeping the spirit alive. The world needs it more than ever.

    Viva la causa!

    Suerte,

    Karen

  17. Great rundown of a lot of the information that’s out there right now! Completely unrelated, first time I’ve stumbled upon your blog and I love it! What a great idea… and a great way of life!

  18. Occupy Supporter says:

    One of the chief symptoms of every revolution is the sharp and sudden increase in the number of ordinary people who take an active, independent and forceful interest in politics. – Nikolai Lenin

    GREAT BLOG. Thanks for sharing

  19. Cheryll Anglin says:

    That’s my girl! You are awesome!

  20. Teri Hogan says:

    Fantastic post Stevie, very educational for some people who are not paying attention to what is going on with OWS! Quite a number of ports were closed today. I read it in email awhile ago was waiting for it to show up here so I can share.

  21. Gibran Garcia says:

    great post stevie, it gives me chills to think of drastic change….it must happen

  22. Our country’s founders cherished liberty, not democracy.
    Ron Paul

    Great post Stevie…..

    Occupy Wall Street is a great idea that has been poorly executed. They should occupy the White House and Congress.

    • Thank you kindly Simko. I miss you guys!! Question though…what exactly do you mean by “a great idea that has been poorly executed.” I think I know what you mean, but I don’t want assume anything. I eagerly await your reply!! Much love to you and your brood of beautiful girls.

  23. Love it Tree:

    Here is my motto:”Try not to become a man of success, but rather to become a man of value. ”
    Albert Einstein

    • Thank you Sean!! Great Einstein quote. It makes me happy that you recognize the importance of this movement and bring such great energy to it. Keep on keepin’ on!

  24. Great article Stevie. I like that you are encouraging people to go participate in a OWS General Assembly. Stop listening to what the media is telling you god or bad about OWS. Go experience what a Direct Democracy works like in all of its time consuming messy total representative glory (no one said democracy was easy or pretty). And make your own conclusion and feel what it is like to not be a puppet of the mainstream media.

    • Thanks so much Mark. I really do hope people start participating more with one another, and that’s really what the OWS General Assemblies are about–the 99% getting together to talk about the issues, educating each other, and then taking their grassroots demands to their representatives and insisting that they are heard. We, the people, have fallen under a cloak of ignorance and apathy. It’s time to shake it off. Our willful blindness is as much to blame as the evil and greed we rage against. Thanks for participating in Occupy LA, and thank you for sharing your insights with me!

  25. Thank you Stevie Trujillo…you are a constant inspiration

  26. here is one I like.

    “Disobedience in the eyes of any one who has read history is man’s original virtue. It is through disobedience that progress has been made, through disobedience and through rebellion.”

    Oscar Wilde

  27. Great article! I have to disagree with a few points, however. The first one – overturn Citizens United. I’m no fan of the decision, but throughout history, the Supreme Court has often been the first governmental body to rule on controversial issues that were unpopular at a time when Congress would not act (Brown v. Board of Education, Roe v. Wade, a number of voting rights cases). I just don’t think it’s worth giving any other governmental body the power to overrule the Supreme Court just for Citizens United. Congress must come up with a law that does not violate free speech (and should really just do away with the political action committees – in my mind, the real issue). And the second is taxation – we have to come up with a system to tax wealth, not earnings. None of the points under #2 would increase taxes for Warren Buffet (someone who has said he wouldn’t mind paying more taxes!). Not only are there too many corporate loopholes, there’s too many for rich individuals as well. Trusts are a great example – tax them. And tax them as they pass from generation to generation. Increase estate taxes to 50%. “The parent who leaves his son enormous wealth generally deadens the talents and energies of the son, and leads him to lead a less useful and less worthy life than he otherwise would.” — Andrew Carnegie (someone who clearly benefited from the system in place today, but believed that wealth should be redistributed by death).

    • Hey Anonymous. Thank you so much for commenting. For the sake of brevity, I didn’t detail the tax reforms, but I completely agree with increasing the estate tax. Thanks for specifically mentioning it. I’m a little confused, though, about your concern of overruling Citizens United. As far as I understand it, there are two ways to overrule the Supreme Court: 1) The Supreme Court can overrule itself, –and interestingly, it should be noted that Citizens United is itself an overruling of Austin v. Michigan State Chamber of Commerce in 1990, since which we have seen an increase in corruption induced by corporations funding politicians favorable to their interests– or 2) States can amend the constitution with a 3/4 approval of the state legislatures. Are you saying that you don’t agree with the latter method of overturning a Supreme Court ruling? If so, why not? It seems to me that if the people, 80% of which do not support Citizens United, push our state legislature to pass an amendment that says Money is NOT Speech and Corporations do not have the same right to free speech as people do, that would be a good thing, right?

      In case you’re interested, here’s a couple articles on the effect Citizens United and recent previous Supreme Court rulings to the same effect has had so far on our democracy:
      http://www.commondreams.org/view/2011/01/21-2
      http://www.slate.com/articles/news_and_politics/jurisprudence/2011/10/oscotus_what_ows_protesters_should_focus_on_at_the_supreme_court.2.html

      I think the reasons are compelling enough to for the state legislature to try and overrule the Supreme Court, as I think the Supreme Court clearly erred in its ruling.

      That being said, maybe I’m missing something? Do you have a better solution to overturn it? I’m all ears!! Thanks for joining the dialogue. It thrills me that you care and are willing to speak up!

      • You are so much more optimistic than I am about overruling Citizens United. You’re absolutely correct that the Supreme Court can overrule itself; it just needs another similar case to do so. Given today’s climate, I don’t think it will take another 20 years to get a similar case before the Court, but even 10 years seems way too long. And as for the states, it’s great in theory. But given that states are hurting financially these days, I just don’t think they’d want to piss off their representatives in Washington (who send federal funds their way) by restricting any of the campaign contributions received. That’s certainly what OWS needs – optimism – and I’m glad you have it!

        • It is a bit of a Catch-22, isn’t it? That’s why I think the only way to convince the State to really push for an amendment is for a massive grassroots uprising, a.k.a. OWS, to force it into the political sphere. Of course, we need more people to support said movement, more people to understand the demand, and the media to report accurately, with the intention of educating its viewers, and without corporate bias. Yeah…..I can see why you’re not so optimistic, but we have to fight the good fight, regardless, right?

          Thanks again for commenting :)

  28. Todd Moone says:

    Keep it up Steve. Thanks.

  29. Jock Bradley says:

    Stevie – you finally have offered many solutions that the OWS camp has been unable to. Yours is a voice that offers direction to a ship without a captain. Bravo!

  30. Atta Girl..Keeping it simple to be understood & understand….. and yes Tree if you two were not on a watch list ..you are now.
    Stevie’s Mom

  31. Mike Johnson says:

    A democracy as opposed to a plutocracy , support of “The Bill of Rights” as opposed to it”s demolition for two.

  32. Great Post Stevie. We had talked a while ago about this idea that people lacked the ability to express the Language of Revolution, that it was the effect of the efficient and deliberate execution of Orwellian newspeak. To me the primary problem has always been and always will be chiefly spiritual in nature. This has been the case since the project of civilization was carried out by guardians of spiritual truths under the influence of Maya. Those who learned HOW to learn kept for themselves this knowledge by reinforcing the master slave dynamic that we still allow our ego to manifest, we began to believe the narrative that was passed onto us. We didn’t ask for this world but we were born into and conditioned for it anyway. It is easier to perpetuate the karmic circle by following in the footsteps of those before you hence the situation we have ourselves in.

    You have very thoroughly laid out some important concerns about the conflict within our society. However, in my experience the problem can never be solved at the level of the problem. A higher frequency must be introduced to mitigate the “flow of the psyche” so that true healing can take place. You know what I am talking about here, beyond visualization- transformative spiritual power doesn’t happen in the realm of the 5 senses, yet it is the foundation on which this world is built. It can be very overwhelming to not know the consequences of the changes we desire. We stay trapped. So even if we articulate the problem and how to fix it, we must also be able to IMAGINE with precision, living in a world governed by an elevated consciousness. This is easier said than done. Then we must do it, with deliberate care and discipline like the energy of undiluted intention. The Israeli Kibbutzim are a good sustained example of such a society. Founded on socialistic libertarian ideas and agrarianism, this was the closest thing to true anarchy which is the political equivalent to an open and balanced spirit.

    To me it really doesn’t matter anymore to try to change the minds of those in power, they can and WILL continue to go in the ecologically/ spiritually destructive way they are going. It is only a matter of individual choice on me to decide how much I want to remove myself in a fiscal way from this world. I can and will fight and use the power of healing in proportion to how much energy I take in. If I go off the grid- a plan I have always entertained it will be because my spirit can no longer endure the damage that’s being done. It’s not a matter of time, but a matter of transformation on a mass scale- that will translate into substantial change. I truly believe the OWS movement symbolizes something big happening, I just don’t know what it is. It has the hallmarks of revolution but not the kind of revolution we have seen in the past, this is different, this is an evolutionary change that’s much bigger and penetrates much deeper.

    • My dear Mikey. How prescient our conversation was back in August! There we were talking about the archaic language of revolution on the eve of OWS’ birth. If you had told me then that thousands would be raging against the machine just a couple months later, I never would have believed you. I couldn’t have imagined that the American people had it in them! It’s a good thing I didn’t know what was about to erupt or I may have wanted to extend my stay in the States for a few months.

      YES, I agree that that fundamentally the problems that plague us are spiritual in nature. We, as a society fail to recognize and honor our interconnectivity, interdependence, and innate luminosity. We see difference when we should see self in all, all in self– drops in the ocean, an ocean full of drops. We see a one-dimensional hierarchy rather than a multi-dimensional continuous expansion. I could go on for a long time in this vein…but I’ll save it for the next time.

      As you are well aware, I too believe that anarchy– or, at the very least social libertarianism–is the political equivalent of an open and balanced spirit (GREAT line, btw). BUT, we’d need to evolve our collective consciousness to achieve that true freedom on a grand scale, and I doubt we’ll see that potentiality in our lifetime. (But I do love to philosophize!) That being said, I admire OWS for its horizontal, leaderless approach…it’s messy as hell right now, but, to paraphrase Noam Chomsky, anarchy is a live and learn kind of evolvement. I hope the movement evolves within its free form.

      I, too, feel like something big is happening. The best we’ve seen in our years.

      Much love! Thanks for posting. (And, Happy Birthday)

  33. what a super post. good work. I am sending to my friends

  34. Good article, Stevie.
    Quite the piece on a travel blog – nice to see for a change.
    You two be safe in your travels.
    Cheers,
    John D. Wilson

  35. WakeUpAmerica says:

    We who in engage in nonviolent direct action are not the creators of tension. We merely bring to the surface the hidden tension that is already alive. Martin Luther King Jr.

    found you on facebook, love your blog and have shared it with firends. thank you

  36. Alexander Roberts says:

    RE: Watch List

    Welcome aboard.

    Try not to feel too special, it’s a very large and well appointed data base !

    Alex

  37. I read the above “How Movements Effect Change”. I must admit that most of what I read scares the “H” out of me. From one who has always lived and succeeded with in the system (although not always a perfect system) the only concern I had was that someone would jump out of the alley with a gun and demand all that I had worked so hard for. Now today—-it scares the “H” out of me to think that a bunch of individuals want to get together in something called a “movement” (OWS) and without a gun—-but rather a loud voice—-jump out of the alley and demand half of what I have, just so they can be just like me.

    • Fair enough Anonymous, although I doubt that you’d be affected by points #1-5 under “redistribution of wealth” in the above mentioned post. If I’m wrong, and you are one the the 400 super mega rich people in the US, then I stand corrected.

      What’s most important is that we, the 99%, find some common ground. Can we at least agree on the following points?

      1) Get money out of politics so our elected politicians are serving the people who elect them and not special interests.

      2) Reform the financial system so Wall Street isn’t gambling, but rather investing.

      If we can agree on those two points, then I promise I won’t let anyone jump out of the alley in your neighborhood. :)

      respectfully, Tree and Stevie

      • Stevie, I want you to know that first and foremost I admire you for the work you put in to your piece. In the same breath I want you to know I do not agree with most of your writing, but yes on the above two points, we can agree. You are correct that I like you, am in the 99%. That being said, I also admire the “400 super mega rich”, (they made it and I didn’t) and I do not believe that they should be punished for having done so. They did it within the system (regardless the flaws within). With open minds lets agree to continue looking for more common ground and things we can agree on, but for Gods sake lets not destroy the greatest country on earth. I will sleep better tonight knowing that you have my back. Thanks.

  38. A pair of Wall Streeters recently set up a job fair to offer OWS morons a chance to get hired and they had no takers. Instead they were thoroughly harrassed. I guess they showed their true colors.

    • They are not applying for a wall street job in the first place. Your comment makes no fucking sense. Let me see if I grasp your logic here. Wall street offers protesters a job, they don’t take it because they are protesting wall street, because they don’t accept the job (from whom they are protesting) the validity of the protest is invalid.

      Is that about it? I just want you to know that Sean Hannity is not a good source of information.

      I too take issue with the OWS movement and how it is being applied in this country, but to simplify the issue the way you just did shows who the morons really are.

      • Well Said Simko,
        This guy has his head firmly imbedded in the sand after bouncing off a reef. “take a job from the morons you are calling out” makes sense.
        Do us a favor educate, listen then get involved with the cause you are bashing before you speak!!
        Read your own reply and if you do not see what we do read some more ,,, Then try it again

    • Anonymous Said… “A pair of Wall Streeters recently set up a job fair to offer OWS morons a chance to get hired and they had no takers. Instead they were thoroughly harrassed. I guess they showed their true colors”

      Dear Anonymous,

      Aside from the very clear point that Mr. Simko makes above, I would only add the following…

      1) That was a PR stunt by Wall Street. Please be open to other more reliable news sources…
      http://sprinterlife.com/2011/12/who-do-you-trust-for-news.html

      2) The fact that no OWS protester took them up on the “job fair” offer is a testament to the very cause they are fighting for, NOT SELLING OUT. These protesters don’t want a job on Wall Street making hundreds of thousands of dollars a year. They want their government back. In case you missed it in the post above, they specially want to get money out of politics and to reform Wall Street so that the firms are not allowed to gamble. Quite simple.

      3) The corporate media is trying to pigeon hole the movement into a bunch of people who just don’t want to work. I’d encourage you expand your field vision. If you looks at the very wide range of people who are protesting I think you will find that very hard to substantiate. Good luck hammering that message home to the 2 World War II veterans in the photo above. As for those who are truly unemployed, it’s not because they don’t want to work. If basic common sense won’t convince you, there are always facts…

      The current number of unemployed persons is at 13.3 million, while the number of payroll employment rose by only 120,000 in November.
      -U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, December 2, 2011

  39. Worker Bee says:

    I am impressed by what you guys wrote.

    First, I was deeply moved by what you said about protesting in general. I loved the references to past major historical events, but most importantly I never really understood why it was important to protest. I think of myself as a worker bee and I believe I can make change by working harder. When I see people protesting I think of them as not working and that frustrates me because I think its a waste to not work if you want to see change. But, when you brought up Rosa Park and asked the reader – what was she to do, write another letter – I was awoken to the importance of protest. There were other examples that got my attention too. And believe me – that really says a lot to how you presented that argument because I was the commuter in Washington DC that was regularly affected by protesters and I was regularly the girl in heals that yelled, “get a job!” I really will look at protesting and protesters in a new light.

    Second, I am a HUGE supporter of getting money out of politics. In fact, I wish this was OWS’s only goal because I believe this is the route of all evil. If you get rid of the money in politics we will hopefully see not only financial reform, but much more extending far beyond the financial industry. Although the financial bail out was critical to the health of the world, the constant flow of money between DC and Wall Street is what has kept the 5% within Wall Street responsible for the crash from going to jail.

    Third, the wealth gap. I do believe the wealth gap is a horrible and potentially devastating problem. Although I don’t believe the wealth gap can be fixed by an already broken tax system – this doesn’t mean I like the Bush tax cuts – it just means I don’t believe the tax system should ever be asked to fix anything (I was an accounting major with a focus on taxes – I have strong opinions on the issue). I believe the only way to control the wealth gap is by ensuring every single person has the right to a good education, a system that unfortunately has to rely on revenue from taxes.

    I am reposting because you made me think and because you educated me, which is really the first step in this battle and what OWS should be the most proud of. Because of OWS everyone is talking about all this crap – they are reading about it – educating themselves and that is HUGE. In the documentary The Inside Job (which I thought did an outstanding job in showing what happened) they said at the end the wrong-doers were able to get away with what they did because we the people didn’t understand what they were doing. And many of us today are merely choosing to not understand what went wrong – its not rocket science – we can all understand it and honestly, it is our responsibility to understand. Long story short – your posting is a good start to helping people understand.
    Thank you for enlightening me

  40. Time Magazine names “The Protester” the person of the year. Finally some press for the efforts of changing the world… Congrats protesters, you made the cover.

    Quick little blurb on the very start of OWS…

    Since 1989 the earnest, zany little bimonthly Adbusters — “an ad-free international magazine for activists fighting to change the way information flows and meaning is produced in our society” — had been preaching to its choir. In July the editors ran a full-page photo-illustration of a barefoot ballerina posed atop Wall Street’s Charging Bull statue — in the background were gas-masked insurgents in a tear-gas fog — along with four lines of copy: “What is our one demand? #occupywallstreet September 17th. Bring tent.” Adbusters also sent out an e-mail — “America needs its own Tahrir” — and on Independence Day urged on its smallish cadre of Twitter followers: “Dear Americans, this July 4th dream of insurrection against corporate rule.”
    If you tweet it, they will come.

  41. Yay Simko. Well-said.

  42. Zayna Zane says:

    Well Done Stevie you inspire me!

  43. This is a great interview about getting MONEY OUT OF POLITICS. No matter what cause you believe in fighting for, this is the single most important thing we can do right now…

    Watch Part 1: http://www.thedailyshow.com/watch/tue-december-13-2011/exclusive—lawrence-lessig-extended-interview-pt–1

    Watch Part 2: http://www.thedailyshow.com/watch/tue-december-13-2011/exclusive—lawrence-lessig-extended-interview-pt–2

  44. Heck who needs to follow moveon anymore. Heck, who even needs teachers anymore, just more red ink imo. As long as schools keep pumping their agenda, we are going where we are going. This coming from a newly minted Masters degree graduate from an expensive college with no job. lol
    I don’t even read the news anymore. I get the real stuff from you guys. Keep it up.

  45. yeah- would really suck if that was true. not feeling that proud to be an american right now.

  46. Check out Jackson Browne doing his song (Lives in the Balance) long ago with a Peruvian Flute accompaniment!

    In the good old days the protest movements had music and that made a huge difference.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0P-1zknACFU

  47. reagan gagnon says:

    fannnnnnnntastic post! thanks for all the links. i confess, school has occupied my entire brain, so i basically need to be spoon-fed news updates in a very american tradition of 3 minute soundbites. it will help me to have some URL’s where i can get a drive-by spoonful of truth on my way to endless cramming. that said, im on break now (woo hoo!), so catching up with sprinterlife! i love you girl. and of course i fb shared this post. always hoping you acquire an ever-widening audience. muah!

  48. Dan Lang says:

    This is really an awesome summery of a worldwide effort to remove corruption from the current system. Thanks for sharing…I will definitely pass this on!

  49. Woah! I’m really loving the template/theme of this site. It’s simple,
    yet effective. A lot of times it’s challenging to get that “perfect balance” between superb usability and visual appearance. I must say you’ve done a awesome job with this.
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    Excellent Blog!

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