The Third Party Threat and the 99 Percent Declaration

As stated here late last week, much of the organizing work being accomplished at Occupy Wall Street is being done within autonomous working groups and caucuses.  There are working groups devoted to everything from media and internet to outreach, direct action and reform.  And there are a number of groups, of which I'm aware, that should be of special interest to independents, third party advocates and opponents of the two-party state.  In the last post, I relayed an excerpt from a proposal for recommendations for electoral reform being developed by the Politics and Electoral Reform working group.  Another working group at #OWS, called The 99% Declaration, should also be of great interest to Independents and third party advocates.  I had been planning on profiling this group today, however, I am no longer certain whether it is still active.  Its page at the NYCGA website is no longer online.  This may just be a temporary glitch or it is possible the group has been disbanded.  Either way, however, we can still take a look at its primary working document, entitled The 99 Percent Declaration

This extremely ambitious proposal calls for a national general assembly to be held in Philadelphia on July 4th, 2012.  According to the plan, one man and one woman from every congressional district in the country would be directly elected to represent that district at the national assembly.  The assembly would deliberate upon and ratify a petition of grievances to be delivered to all US Representatives and Senators, Supreme Court Justices and the White House.  Excerpt:
The People, consisting of all United States citizens who have reached the age of 18, regardless of party affiliation and voter registration status, shall elect Two Delegates, one male and one female, by direct vote, from each of the existing 435 Congressional Districts to represent the People at the NATIONAL GENERAL ASSEMBLY in Philadelphia. Said Assembly shall officially convene on July 4, 2012. The office of Delegate shall be open to all United States citizens who have reached the age of 18. Election Committees, elected or appointed by local General Assemblies or the Working Group on the 99% Declaration, shall organize, coordinate and fund this election by direct democratic voting. The Election Committees, Working Groups and local General Assemblies shall operate as the original Committees of Correspondence once did but today we shall democratically elect, free from the corrupting influences of corporate greed and money, a NATIONAL GENERAL ASSEMBLY for the purpose of peacefully petitioning our government for a redress of grievances.
The 99 Percent Declaration states that those grievances would be developed and worked out by the delegates at the national assembly, but it furthermore suggests twenty different issues and concerns that "may or may not" be included in the final petition.  Here are the headers from all twenty sections:
1) Elimination of the Corporate State, 2) Rejection of the Citizens United Case, 3)  Elimination of Private Contributions of Politicians, 4) Term Limits, 5) A Fair Tax Code, 6) Healthcare for All, 7) Protection of the Planet, 8) Debt Reduction, 9) Jobs for All Americans, 10) Student Loan Forgiveness, 11) Immigration Reform, 12) Ending of Perpetual War for Profit, 13) Reforming Public Education, 14) End Outsourcing, 15) End Currency Manipulation, 16) Banking and Securities Reform, 17) Foreclosure Moratorium, 18) Ending the Fed, 19) Abolish the Electoral College, 20) Ending the War in Afghanistan.
Whatever the individual merit of any of these suggested grievances may be, it is the final clause of the declaration that really caught my eye.  It is a threat that if the petition is not acted upon in a timely manner, an independent third party will be formed to run candidates in every possible congressional election in 2014 and 2016.  Excerpt:
BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that IF the PETITION OF GRIEVANCES approved by the 870 Delegates of the NATIONAL GENERAL ASSEMBLY in consultation with the PEOPLE, is not acted upon within a reasonable time and to the satisfaction of the Delegates of the NATIONAL GENERAL ASSEMBLY, said Delegates shall organize a new INDEPENDENT POLITICAL PARTY to run candidates for every available Congressional seat in the mid-term election of 2014 and again in 2016 until all vestiges of the existing corrupt corporatocracy have been removed by the power of the ballot box.
As stated above, this group may no longer be active.  But this document demonstrates that people involved at OWS are engaged in longer term strategic thinking, and are not afraid to move outside of the two-party box.  The next post will highlight the third party movement that is beginning to take shape within Occupy Wall Street.

1 comment:

Douglas Bienert said...

I too have been very interested in this group. I live on the West Coast, so its hard to follow what is actually going on in New York.

From what little I have heard the guy who drafted this isn't working as "democratically" as the OWS group wanted. They think that he thinks he's too much of a "leader" and they don't want ANY leaders so everything has to go through some sort of process they have set up. Then they shut his working group down and took the info off the site.

Frankly, I think the 99 Declaration is a bold and ambitious proposal. It is also the first CONCRETE plan of action. While this guy moves on to form this movement the others are going to be, literally, left out in the cold obstinately occupying a park. I think that has/had it's place- but things need to get concrete now.

Here in Portland the Occupy camp was co-opted by homeless and criminals. We had THREE heroin overdoses this last week, and last night the city HAD to shut the camp down. It's distracting from the message now. The camp was not helping the cause anymore. People can occupy the streets and public spaces every day without camping and providing a haven for criminal activity.

I hope more people follow this and help spread the information and get the ball rolling in the right direction. Thanks for bringing it to light.