“Demands are disempowering since they require someone else to respond”

White House Draws Closer To Occupy Wall Street, Says Obama Is Fighting For The Interests Of The 99%

The White House continued its embrace of the Occupy Wall Street protests on Sunday, using the strongest terms yet to identify President Barack Obama with the growing movement.

I didn’t know Glenn Beck wrote for Business Insider.

But wait! There’s more:

Protesters Debate What Demands, if Any, to Make

In a quiet corner across the street from Zuccotti Park, a cluster of 25 solemn-faced protesters struggled one night to give Occupy Wall Street what critics have found to be most lacking.

“We absolutely need demands,” said Shawn Redden, 35, an earnest history teacher in the group. “Like Frederick Douglass said, ‘Power concedes nothing without a demand.’ ”

The influence and staying power of Occupy Wall Street are undeniable: similar movements have sprouted around the world, as the original group enters its fifth week in the financial district. Yet a frequent criticism of the protesters has been the absence of specific policy demands.

Mr. Redden and other demonstrators formed the Demands Working Group about a week and a half ago, hoping to identify specific actions they would formally ask local and federal governments to adopt. But the very nature of Occupy Wall Street has made that task difficult, in New York and elsewhere.


In New York, the demands committee held a two-hour open forum last Monday, coming up with two major categories: jobs for all and civil rights. The team will continue to meet twice a week to develop a list of specific proposals, which it will then discuss with protesters and eventually take to the General Assembly, a nightly gathering of the hundreds of protesters in the park.

A two-thirds majority would have to approve each proposal, and any passionate opponent could call for the entire vote to be delayed.

The General Assembly has already adopted a “Declaration of the Occupation of New York City,” which includes a list of grievances against corporations and a call for others to join the group in peaceful assembly. To many protesters, that general statement is enough, and the open democracy of Zuccotti Park is the point of the movement.

“Demands are disempowering since they require someone else to respond,” said Gabriel Willow, a protester strolling past a sleeping-bag pod of young adults in the park last Monday. “It’s not like we couldn’t come up with any, but I don’t think people would vote for them.”

Okay then. Good luck with that. Hope it works out for you.

(Somebody’s been shooting pot)

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34 Responses to “Demands are disempowering since they require someone else to respond”

  1. OldCoastie says:

    “meet twice a week…”


    somehow I don’t think that’s going to get the job done…

  2. WMCB says:

    All of this “we are non-political” is just self-indulgent bullcrap. You can be independent of either party and particular politicians if you want, but trying to be entirely non-political is asinine.

    To change anything, you either have to apply pressure ON THE POLITICAL SYSTEM WE HAVE, or you have to tear it down and install a new one. Those are your two choices: interaction, or revolution. If OWS is in favor of Revolution, then come out and say so. Otherwise, you are just pissing around.

    You know what else is laughable? They demonstrate the very gridlock that they find so reprehensible when Congress does it. If Congress (or any national assembly) operated by the “consensus” method that they are swooning over, and are so sure is the answer to all our problems, then even less would get done than now.

    Clue: Your “inclusive, hear everyone, let’s all agree” method doesn’t even work among your own largely like-minded group! If you tried to apply it out in the real world where there are people who STRONGLY disagree with you, it would be a disaster.

    I mean, I’m glad you are feeling all empowered playing Sim Government there in the park with your friends and all. But you aren’t changing squat, except the odds of Obama getting re-elected.

    • DandyTiger says:

      I think the “we are non-political” theme dictated from above is the most important and most obvious tell to who the are and what they’re about.

  3. The influence and staying power of Occupy Wall Street are undeniable: similar movements have sprouted around the world, as the original group enters its fifth week in the financial district.

    Hmmm. Is there a subtle shift going on here? I thought this “movement” started overseas and came HERE not the other way around. It was my impression that OWS built off the Days of Rage thing. Arab Spring?American Fall.

    The riots and violence of the Arab Spring, Greece, England- those things imo are NOT what the average American wants to see here. But portray this as homegrown American ‘democracy’ to make it slightly more palatable?

    • murphy says:

      ITA Mom. Excellent point. At the beginning the OWSers were crowing about how Zuccotti Park is their Tahrir Square. Yeah? Like the place Lara Logan was gang raped by a buncha protesting dudes? It’s Boy Scout Camp for grown men, many of whom have violent streaks and ugly attitudes about women.

    • WMCB says:

      Every time I hear the dudebros boast of OWS as “their own Tahrir Square”, I think of this:

      A demonstration commemorating International Women’s Day was attacked on Tuesday afternoon in Cairo’s Tahrir Square. More than 200 men charged on the women – forcing some to the ground, dragging others out of the crowd, groping and sexually harassing them as police and military figures stood by and failed to act.

      It was a shocking wake-up call. Even in Tahrir Square, the symbol of Egypt’s newfound freedom, it seems that it’s going to take much more than a revolution to overhaul the deep-seated misogyny that some Egyptian men so freely and openly impose on the country’s female population.

      The female demonstrators – myself among them – had been protesting against Egypt’s chronic sexual harassment problem, against the many barriers women face in public life, and against the pervasive conservatism that curtails the freedom of women in society at large. The women chanted slogans that had been used in the revolution itself, calling for freedom, justice and equality. But their demonstration quickly attracted a counter-protest.

      The women’s chants calling for an “Egypt for all Egyptians” were drowned out by retaliations such as “No to freedom!” shouted by the opposing group. The men charged at the female protesters, who had been standing on a raised platform in the middle of Tahrir Square, and shouted: “Get out of here.”


      I am really sick and tired of countries and movements being declared an “example” and a “step forward for democracy” once all the menz get some power and rights, while ignoring the other half of the population.

      So, protestors, when you boast that your movement is “like Tahrir Square”, and “like our Arab Spring”, you are not impressing me. You are making me even more suspicious of you.

  4. votermom says:

    OT: Lola came across child porn on twitter and is trying to get it shut down. Please read:


  5. DeniseVB says:

    Obama’s launching his next bus tour to push his jobs bill and swears it’s not political so we get to pay for it.


    Hope the OWSers are paying attention, It’s really not about them either 😀

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  7. yttik says:

    You know what this movement needs? A community organizer, somebody offering hope and change….

    It’s completely bizarre to me that some people don’t see it. We’re a leaderless, non-partisan movement with no agenda that is deliberately avoiding any criticism of Obama and making sure when he visits cities he is not protested.

    • WMCB says:

      We’re a leaderless, non-partisan movement with no agenda that is deliberately avoiding any criticism of Obama and making sure when he visits cities he is not protested.

      How DARE you suggest that something like that might seem curiously designed to benefit Obama! Hating hater. Get outta here with your Glenn Beck talking points.

      • What are the 99% going to do when Obama embraces them?

        • yttik says:

          They will declare they have won. They will celebrate their success at making change. They will believe they are electing the one guy in the whole world who can save them wall street.

        • WMCB says:

          Close their eyes, stick their fingers in their ears, sing lalalalalalala and say it doesn’t matter.

          Oh, and they are not the 99%. They speak for themselves only. Considering that at a minimum 40 – 50% of the country strongly disagrees with them, it’s a bit of hubris to call themselves that.

        • WMCB says:

          In truth, some of them will say it doesn’t matter, and stick to their cause.

          The rest? Well, Obama will ramp up the speechifying about how he’s on their side, and he’s heard them, and the organizers of the movement will slowly and carefully guide the sentiment around to:

          “YAY! He’s heard us! He saw the light because we made him do it! Look, he’s on our side now! I know he screwed us over for 4 years, but he dug down and found his inner liberal and NOW he’s going to hold those banks accountable and get us some jobs and stuff out of his stash, you wait and see! Look how he is responding to little ol’ us! I feel so empowered! We did this! We got through to him! Go Obama!”

        • DandyTiger says:

          Swoon of course.

    • DeniseVB says:

      I won’t take OWS seriously until they include raging on Dem & GOP politicians who TAKE money from big companies and special interest groups in return for favors. They should also take a hard look at celebrities who support them, mostly 1%-ers who need the PR. And, Obama, King of the “I care about OWS” bullsh*t.

      So roll up your sleeping bags kids, blow off the commies, nazis and crazies and give me something to sink my teeth into 😀

  8. Karma says:

    For some reason Ms Williow’s comments remind me of a song by the band Live.

    And if the decibels of this disenchanting discourse continue to dampen the day

    • Karma says:

      Live’s lyrics.

      I talk of freedom
      You talk of the flag
      I talk of revolution
      You’d much rather brag
      And if the decibels of this disenchanting discourse
      Continue to dampen the day
      The coin flips again and again and again and again
      As our sanity walks away

      All this discussion
      Though politically correct
      Is dead beyond destruction
      Though it leaves me quite erect
      And if the final sunset rolls behind the Earth
      And the clock is finally dead
      I’ll look at me, you’ll look at you, and we’ll cry a lot
      But this will be what we said…
      This will be what we said:

      Look where all this talking got us, baby
      Look where all this talking got us, baby
      Look where all this talking got us, baby
      Look where all this talking got us, baby

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