As the Occupation movement expands to new cities and gains membership, the debate over the principles that should be included in a defining statement of the purpose and objectives of the organization has also expanded. Unfortunately, the growing pains that occur when any such organizational structure is formed become part of the public perception of what the organization is, who its members are, why it exists, and what it wants to accomplish in practical terms. This debate amongst those that have shown support has been useful, at times chaotic, but part of a process that is necessary for this definition to occur. What all occupation movements tend to have in common by nature is the General Assembly, a decision-making body based on consensus and direct democracy. All who choose to participate in this process are welcome.
It should be noted that many organizations have shown support in different ways for the principles as defined by the Occupy Wall Street protesters. Theoretically, as the parent organization, Occupy Wall Street, and those that identify themselves with that name, should determine the principles and agenda of the spin-off groups that have formed based on the activism of those protesters. But something else has occurred. Each sub-group has established its own committees and organizational structures based on the involvement of the various groups and individuals who have chosen to participate in the local protests. There is nothing wrong with this process, yet it should be stated that the existing organizations that have chosen to support Occupy Los Angeles and the other sub-groups that formed after the Occupy Wall Street do not represent the local organizations who are still in the process of defining themselves and their relationship with the Occupy Wall Street organization.
One example is moveon.org's strong association with the movement, declaring it a part of their "American Dream" movement, which will all-too-predictably become a plug for some 2012 presidential candidate that has nothing to do with the movement (and in no way will be elected by consensus).
Another example is the participation of the various union members and representatives who have chosen to participate in local events and committee meetings. The principles of 99% are inclusive, not exclusive. While the participation of union members is welcome, the percentage of union members in the work force is relatively small, less than 20% of the population. For better or for worse, the number of unionized workers has declined over the years to the point of becoming what could be clearly defined as a "special interest" group that does not share the objectives or interests of the general population. The same goes for any pre-existing group that has already formulated its principles, its goals, its founding principles and its legislative agenda.
While the organizational structure of Occupy Los Angeles continues to crystalize, we ask that those groups refrain from misstatements or mischaracterizations regarding their relationship with Occupy Los Angeles or the parent organization.
The term "99%" is a means of isolating that one percent who have demonstrated irresponsible conduct, especially banking officials, that caused the various financial calamities that have plagued the nation since in the form of capital losses, foreclosures, and shrinking budgets for safety-net programs, education, and other essential servies. These are issues issues that effect all of us, so the process of arriving at an organizational structure will necessarily be a work in progress that may appear to be messy and disorganized. That is as it should be, at least for the period of time that is required for the process to occur; but in the meantime, no other organization or group has the authority to speak on behalf of Occupy Los Angeles. Thanks for your participation and your support.