1. Determine NEAR TERM practical demands to be addressed to the U.S. Congress:
These should be goals that are meaningful and can be realistically achieved as enacted legislation before the Nov2012 election. Goals should be both widely acceptable in terms of public/electoral appeal and should also advance the cause of our movement. We are challenging our representatives to represent us by introducing and passing legislation before the next election. THEY SHOULD BE WORKABLE, NOT UTOPIAN.
Here are my suggestions, mainly as examples:
(a) Democracy is priceless: A constitutional amendment to overturn Citizens United ruling, specifying that the right to campaign and support campaigns is a right of human individuals and does not extend to for-profit corporations, and limiting the total spending by any person.
(b) Restore the Fairness Doctrine in FCC licensed broadcast media, as a requirement for licensure for stewardship of the public airwaves.
(c) Reinstate Glass-Steagall banking regulations (so basic, yet the financial industry has successfully fought this.) Require that any failed financial institutions be nationalized and executive bonuses and compensation clawed-back.
(d) Require that states and local governments receiving federal funds respect the right to protest including by means of encampments, or be subject to withholding of funds. (This should be so basic as to be unnecesary, only we've seen that it isn't in a number of places....)
(e) New-Deal style infrastructure-building employment programs. (Our infrastructure is decrepit, and this worked during the last depression.)
The goals selected should be reduced to proposed legislation, which is kept as SIMPLE AND CONCISE as possible, and should be crafted by people with legal/legislative experience. We challenge the U.S. Congress to vote on this legislation, with the "encouragement" outlined in (2) below. These are NOT LONG-TERM OVERARCHING GOALS, but will enable us to focus our energies on working towards our ultimate goals in the longer time-frame.
2. Run Occupy Movement supported candidates in the primaries of BOTH parties for U.S. Congress.
Candidates should be people who have been registered with these parties before OWS came about. These will NOT become our leaders but WILL represent the movement's message in the election and challenge leading candidates (e.g. in debates) to take specific positions on issues of concern to the movement and ideally make or decline to make specific commitments to introduce and support the legislation arrived at in (1) above. The objective is not to necessarily win congressional seats (it would be a mistake to become another Tea-Party), but to challenge candidates to address our concerns, shift the debate and also to either shift the positions of the candidates or to force them to show their constituents very explicitly where their loyalties lie at the time it most matters.
In California, time remains but is limited to file for candidacy. Occupies in every state should be checking on their filing deadlines and requirements (e.g. their Secretary of State website.)
A few comments:
It is not being suggested that this is the only thing that Occupy focuses on, but rather one avenue that is available to us. The Reform versus Revolution debate is a false dichotomy.
Read the Declaration of Independence...that listed a litany of efforts that were made to obtain redress of basic injustices over the preceding years, and that none of the available channels proved adequate; that was the groundwork. Right now, it's 1765 or 1773, not 1776, if anything like a revolution is the only solution. The case for revolution becomes stronger when reform has been shown to be futile, and the case for established power to admit reforms becomes more compelling when faced with that alternative.
At other points in history, (esp. e.g. the Civil Rights movement) it was the interplay of both reform and radical movements the led to what was achieved: it became clear that the alternatives were not reform or no-reform, but reform or serious civil conflict. Without either one, it's unlikely that the established structures of power would have responded at all. Of course, the limits and insufficiency of what was achieved in Civil Rights reforms suggests that while reform is likely necessary, it's also likely insufficient, so even though it's something we likely have to do, we also need to maintain and build a movement that aims and goes beyond simple reforms.
Pursued correctly, we can build a better, stronger movement this way, that will be seen as directly and effectively pursuing clearly articulated goals, and therefore can gain the support and involvement of those waiting on the sidelines to see if we're more than spectacle.