Twilight of the Party Idols: How the Real World Became a Fable

Over the weekend, an acquaintance was telling me about a conversation he had with a friend of his, a Czech immigrant, over the Thanksgiving holiday.  My acquaintance told me he's not really a political person, but the two, both in their mid-twenties, somehow ended up talking about politics at length and the discussion eventually turned to what life was like in Czechoslovakia before the fall of the Berlin Wall.  I asked him what stuck out in his mind from the conversation, and he said it was an anecdote about how, when his friend was still in grade school, she told a fairly harmless joke about a government official to some schoolmates.  But when the joke reached the ears of teachers and administrators, they determined that she was the first one to tell it, and she was summarily sent to the principal's office, her parents were called, she was subjected to disciplinary measures and so on.  "Isn't that fucked up?!" asked my acquaintance, rhetorically.  "Yeah," I said, "but what's even more fucked up is that the same thing happened in Kansas last week."

Perhaps you've already heard the story.  A Kansas high school student tweeted that the state's governor, Sam Brownback, "sucked" to her 61 followers on Twitter.  When the governor's staff discovered the remark, they contacted the youth program the girl was involved with, and she was soon called to the principal's office of her school and told to write a letter of apology to the governor.  To her credit, she refused, and eventually the governor was forced to issue an apology to her, saying that his staff had "overreacted."  

This small episode demonstrates depths of the contempt for basic rights and liberties guaranteed by the Constitution among the ruling political class in the United States.  Such "overreaction" is the primary mode of action for the petty tyrants and professional hysterics in the Republican and Democratic parties and for the legions of deluded citizens who support them throughout the country.  

Recent legislative activity in the Congress aptly demonstrates the severity of the threat posed to constitutional government in the United States by the Democratic and Republican parties.  Bipartisan alliances of Republicans and Democrats stand in stark opposition to the open internet and the freedom of speech online.  Bipartisan alliances of Democrats and Republicans in the Congress believe the US military should be allowed to  indefinitely detain US citizens apprehended on US soil without any form of due process.  This extreme measure is even opposed by the Obama administration, which already claims it has the authority to execute American citizens at will as part of the war on terror.  Further examples could be supplied ad infinitum.  

Of course, without their deluded supporters, the Democrat-Republican political class wouldn't have a leg to stand on.  But who are these people?  And why do they continue to support the dictatorship of the two-party state?  Consider the following lines from a letter to the editor of the Vindy news in Youngstown, Ohio.  Excerpt:
The younger generation who want to succeed in life are fleeing the area in ever larger numbers to see what life is like in the real world where the two party system keeps elected officials from being bought and paid for by the party and unions they must negotiate with.  [Emphasis added.]
Are you done laughing yet?  The world where the two-party system keeps elected officials from being bought and paid for is the imaginary fantasy world constructed and inhabited by Republicans and Democrats alike.  How did the "real world" become a fable?  It is a difficult question.  Perhaps we should consult a philosopher.  Friedrich Nietzsche supplied one possible explanation in his Twilight of the Idols:

1. The true world — attainable for the sage, the pious, the virtuous man; he lives in it, he is it.

(The oldest form of the idea, relatively sensible, simple, and persuasive. A circumlocution for the sentence, "I, Plato, am the truth.")

2. The true world — unattainable for now, but promised for the sage, the pious, the virtuous man ("for the sinner who repents").

(Progress of the idea: it becomes more subtle, insidious, incomprehensible — it becomes female, it becomes Christian. )

3. The true world — unattainable, indemonstrable, unpromisable; but the very thought of it — a consolation, an obligation, an imperative.

(At bottom, the old sun, but seen through mist and skepticism. The idea has become elusive, pale, Nordic, Königsbergian.)

4. The true world — unattainable? At any rate, unattained. And being unattained, also unknown. Consequently, not consoling, redeeming, or obligating: how could something unknown obligate us?

(Gray morning. The first yawn of reason. The cockcrow of positivism.)

5. The "true" world — an idea which is no longer good for anything, not even obligating — an idea which has become useless and superfluous — consequently, a refuted idea: let us abolish it!

(Bright day; breakfast; return of bon sens and cheerfulness; Plato's embarrassed blush; pandemonium of all free spirits.)

6. The true world — we have abolished. What world has remained? The apparent one perhaps? But no! With the true world we have also abolished the apparent one.

The Republican Presidential Primary and Its Discontents

As the corporate-sponsored clown and puppet show known as the Republican presidential primary race lumbers forward, perhaps we can take comfort in the fact that we will not be subjected to a comparable spectacle by the Democrats.  Moreover, the exclusionary character of the contest may well produce a number of worthwhile third party and independent candidates for the presidency.  The Daily Caller reports that Gary Johnson may seek the Libertarian Party's nomination for president and Buddy Roemer may go Independent or seek the nomination in the Americans Elect online primary.  On Gary Johnson:
Long excluded from the Republican presidential debates, former New Mexico Governor Gary Johnson is now seriously considering a third party run for president in 2012. . . . 
Faced with either continuing his quixotic run for the Republican nomination, launching a third party effort, or just giving up, Johnson now says he has been receiving overtures from the Libertarian Party, which will be on the ballot in all 50 states next year.
“One thing I would make clear is that, if I did decide [to seek the Libertarian nomination], that’s nothing that’s pre-ordained,” Johnson told TheDC. “That’s something that I would have to go out and work for. And I would do just that, I would go out and work for that.”
On Buddy Roemer:
In an ideal world, Republican presidential candidate and former Louisiana Gov. Buddy Roemer would like Senator Joe Lieberman as his running mate, but the Connecticut senator is not necessarily on the same page.

“Senator Joe Lieberman’s reputation as a reformer and a man of integrity is unrivaled in American politics. He is unequivocally my first choice for a Vice Presidential running mate,” said Roemer in the statement.

The two men’s differing party affiliations — Roemer is a Republican, Lieberman is an independent and formerly a Democrat, seems to actually be something Roemer sees as a plus. For one thing, he touted their shared history of switching parties — Roemer served as a Democratic congressman, and then switched to the Republican Party midway through his gubernatorial reign . . .
If Roemer did decide to go after the Americans Elect nomination, he could continue to run in the Republican primary, which Roemer would certainly do at least through New Hampshire, where, in Sierra’s words, the campaign is “going all out.”  Roemer has actually moved to New Hampshire for the election, and as soon as his campaign qualifies for matching funds, they will make ad buys in the first-in-the-nation primary state. “I think they kind of compliment each other,” said Sierra of the Americans Elect nomination and the Republican nomination.
Like the Democrats, the Republican Party is fundamentally opposed to constitutional government and the basic rights and liberties it is meant to protect, as evidenced by their full-throated support for the global warfare and corporate welfare state.  Johnson's libertarianism and Roemer's moderatism have no place in either of the major parties. 

CA: Top Two Lawsuit Reveals Glaring Ignorance of the Law in the Mainstream Press

A new lawsuit is challenging the constitutionality of the top two open primary system in California.  From today's column at CAIVN:
On November 21st, the Libertarian Party of California, the Peace and Freedom Party of California, and the Green Party of Alameda County joined a handful of voters and third party candidates for elected office to file a lawsuit alleging that California’s top-two open primary system is unconstitutional.  The suit argues that the top-two primary system disenfranchises minor parties as well as their voters and candidates for elected office by precluding them from participation in California’s general elections. . . .

Implicit in the suit is the presupposition that since the Democratic and Republican parties and their candidates for office are better funded and more widely known than their minor party competitors, the top two system is likely to result in the exclusion of third party candidates from the general election ballot.  The complaint  thus argues that the top-two open primary system is unconstitutional because it precludes third party voters from casting a ballot for their candidates of choice at the general election, prevents third party candidates from communicating their message to general election voters via the ballot, and denies third parties in general the ability to reach general election voters.

“Because Prop. 14 effectively denies voters their fundamental right of choice by precluding small party candidates from the general election ballot, the Act violates the rights of voters under the First and Fourteenth Amendments of the U.S. Constitution and should be overturned,” reads the complaint.
It continues: “By limiting access to the general election ballot, Prop. 14 effectively bars small political parties, their candidates and their members from effective political association, precisely at the moment when the highest number of voters are engaged in the electoral process.”

The issue of ballot access at the general election is especially important for third parties in California.  One of the primary means by which third parties obtain the official recognition of the state is by receiving a certain percentage of votes (at least 2%) in California’s gubernatorial elections.  Needless to say, if a party’s candidate is precluded from appearing on the general election ballot because he or she was not among the top two vote-getters in the primary, that party cannot qualify for future ballots via the gubernatorial vote.

The Secretary of State has thirty days to respond to the suit at which point the plaintiffs will ask the court for a preliminary injunction preventing the implementation of the system in next year’s elections.
See Ballot Access News for a copy of the complaint.  There are now three lawsuits against the top two system pending in California.  The other two take issue with smaller aspects of the law that instituted the new system, specifically, the ban on write-in candidates at the general election, the ban on the counting of write-in votes at the general election, and the prohibition against identifying oneself as an Independent or as a member of a political party not officially recognized by the state on the ballot.

Covering these lawsuits for IVN has been an eye-opening experience.  Having read through significant portions of California's Elections Code, as well as the complaints and court rulings against top two, the ignorance of even the most basic aspects of the new system among journalists and editors at California's mainstream and corporate news outlets is immediately apparent in their coverage of the legal challenges to the system.  Take, for example, a San Francisco Chronicle report on the most recent lawsuit from November 23rd.  The article frames the challenge against the law as if it is part of some grand third party strategy to prevent top-two from being utilized in next year's presidential elections.  Excerpt:
California Secretary of State Debra Bowen was served with the lawsuit Tuesday and has 30 days to respond. The plaintiffs will then ask the court to issue a preliminary injunction in hopes of preventing the new system from being used during next year's presidential contest.  [Emphasis added.]
Given the cult of the executive and the corporate media's mind numbing focus on the tactics and strategy of the presidential race to the exclusion of basically everything else, it is only to be expected that reporters and editors would place the challenge against the law in the context of the presidential contest.  Indeed, from the beginning of the article, the reporter frames her narrative in precisely these terms.  She begins:
Voters representing the Green, Libertarian, and Peace and Freedom parties sued Tuesday over the state's new open primary system, saying change will deny voters the right to support third-party candidates in general elections.

Under Proposition 14, approved by voters in 2010, all statewide and presidential candidates will run in a single primary that is open to all registered voters regardless of their political party. The top two vote-getters will then move on to the general election.  [Emphasis added.]
The problem though is that Proposition 14 specifically excludes the presidential race from the top two primary system!  This is one of the most basic facts about the law, as is amply documented at both Wikipedia and Ballotpedia, where we read: "Elections for presidential candidates, and for members of political party committees and party central steering committees do not fall under the "top two" system."  Moreover, the reporter's claim that top two applies to "all statewide" candidates is true at face value, but false by omission.  All candidates for all congressional and state elective offices, ex. state legislature and US House – which are not "statewide" –, will be elected under the top two system. 

This is, of course, but one example.  Many more could be supplied.  Such ignorance of the most basic facts about the new system among those tasked with covering it demonstrates, yet again, the degeneracy of the mainstream news media and political press.

24% Would Vote for Third Party Candidate for President

From UPI:
Almost one-quarter of U.S. voters say they might vote for a third-party presidential candidate, with young voters and independents more likely.  More than four in 10 of voters between the ages of 18 and 29, and 36 percent of those who identify themselves as independents told the Zogby Poll they might for an alternative to Republicans and Democrats. Twenty-four percent of all voters said they might vote for a third party.  Men at 31 percent were almost twice as likely as women at 16 percent to say they would consider a third-party candidate.
It is fairly clear why younger people and Independents would be more likely to consider voting for an Independent or third party candidate for president.  But how can we account for the disparity between men and women?  Why are so few women willing to declare their Independence from the Republican and Democratic parties? 

The Presidential Debate Fraud: Nader Calls for "Grand Series" of Debates in 2012

From last week's column at the Independent Voter Network:

Ralph Nader has put out a call for a “grand series” of twenty-one nationwide presidential debates in 2012, arguing that control over topics and format should be wrested from the bipartisan Commission on Presidential Debates and placed in the hands of local communities all over the country.

“True debates, rather than parallel interviews of the CPD [i.e. Commission on Presidential Debates] model, would offer depth, variety, and unpredictability to counter the scripted nature of the candidates’ political consultants,” writes the long-time consumer advocate and former Independent candidate for president in an article published on his website this month.  Nader envisions presidential debates as a means of enlivening the civic impulse of voters and invigorating the democratic process.

“Instead of the present, stifling, programmed three debates by the CPD,” he states, “these twenty one debates would throw aside many of the taboos, bring the people into the process, address regional needs, excite larger voter turnout and compel the candidates to be better, more forthright candidates.”
He also argues that presidential debates should be opened up to candidates outside the two-party system.

“Fresh agendas and personas will be allowed in these debates including third-party candidates who meet reasonable criteria of ballot presence and public support.”

So what’s the problem with the Commission on Presidential Debates?  It may well be that many Americans don’t know a great deal about the organization that controls the presidential debate process.  The very term “Commission on Presidential Debates” has an official air about it.  It might evoke the idea that it is an agency of the state or a governmental authority.  It might also be associated with the so-called “blue ribbon” type commission, such as a special task force convened by executive order or legislative directive.

Yet, the Commission on Presidential Debates is nothing of the sort.  It is a 501(c)(3) corporation founded in 1987 which is entirely controlled by the Republican and Democratic Parties.  Its first two co-chairs were former Democratic Party National Chairman Paul G. Kirk Jr. and former Republican Party National Chairman Frank J. Fahrenkopf Jr.  Kirk has since been replaced by Michael D. McCurry, a Democratic National Committee insider and former press secretary for President Bill Clinton.

Until 1988, the League of Women Voters had been organizing presidential debates since at least 1976.  The well-respected group withdrew its sponsorship of any and all presidential debates when the process was hijacked by the party committees.

“The League of Women Voters is withdrawing its sponsorship of the presidential debate scheduled for mid-October because the demands of the two campaign organizations would perpetrate a fraud on the American voter,” League President Nancy M. Neuman said in a press release from October 3, 1988.
“Neuman called “outrageous” the campaigns’ demands that they control the selection of questioners, the composition of the audience, hall access for the press and other issues,” the release continued.

At the time, The New York Times reported that, at its founding, the co-chairs of the commission more or less intended it to exclude third party and independent alternatives to the Democratic and Republican parties, which is not surprising given that those -chairs were the sitting chairs of the Democratic and Republican National Committees.

“Mr. Fahrenkopf indicated that the new Commission on Presidential Debates, a nonprofit group made up of representatives from each party, was not likely to look with favor on including third-party candidates in the debates,” reported The Times in an article from February 18, 1987.
It continued: “Mr. Kirk was less equivocal, saying he personally believed the panel should exclude third-party candidates from the debates.”

At present, the Commission requires that, to be included in any of the debates, a third party or Independent candidate must poll at least 15% support across a series of national polls.  It is noteworthy that even this seemingly low bar is almost double the approval rating of the entire Congress, according to some polls.  Moreover, it is highly problematic that polling organizations rarely if ever include third party or Independent candidates by name in any of their surveys.  How can a candidate demonstrate any level of support in the polls if he or she is not even included in surveys?
Nader suggests taking up a proposal of the Appleseed Citizens’ Task Force on Fair Debates, which would invite all candidates who have obtained ballot access in enough states to achieve a majority in the electoral college, if they also demonstrate at least 5% support in national polls.

Given the current contempt in which the American people hold the Democratic and Republican parties, it is arguably long past time to take control of the presidential debate process from the Republican and Democratic National Committees, and open the system to “fresh agendas and personas,” as Mr. Nader writes.

An Alliance Between the Tea Party and #Occupy Movements is the Beginning of the End of the Ruling Political Establishment

Arguably, Tea Party and #Occupy activists have much more in common than either side would like to admit.  Whatever the differences between the two may be, the Tea Party's opposition to big government and the Occupy movement's opposition to big business are complimentary grievances.  Big business is among the biggest supports for big government and big government is among the biggest supports for big business.  In a number of posts here at Politea, I have urged Tea Party activists to become involved in the Occupy protest movement, but it is also necessary for Occupy activists to engage their counterparts in the Tea Party movement.  The AP recently reported on a meeting between Occupy and Tea Party activists in Memphis Tennessee:
Occupy Memphis member Mallory Pope had just finished telling a group of about 75 tea party followers Thursday night that politicians should not allow themselves to be influenced by lobbyists and unions when she received an unexpected invitation.

"It sounds to me that y'all ought to be joining us," said Jerry Rains, a 64-year-old computer programmer and tea party member. "You have a lot of the same goals we have, which is to take our country back."
Pope and fellow Occupy Memphis protester Tristan Tran had a lively, sometimes strained and confrontational, but mostly civil discussion with members of the Mid-South Tea Party at a municipal meeting hall outside Memphis . . .
Intrigued by this assembly, Liberal Arts Dude began looking into the matter and has published two articles at Third Party Independent exploring the question of whether the Tea Party and #Occupy can work together.  From Part 1:

On November 18, an article caught my eye in Yahoo News via the Associated Press:  Occupy Memphis, tea party members meet. An actual, real-life meeting between members of the two groups! I was very excited to read about this. So excited, in fact, that I decided to do something which I thought was a bit crazy – I identified the key contacts in the article for both #OccupyMemphis and the Mid South Tea Party. Whenever I was able to obtain an email address to an actual person I sent an email. Otherwise, I relied on the respective websites, Facebook Pages, Twitter accounts and Google searches for information on how I can get in touch with the folks involved to submit a few questions I was dying to ask both groups.

Chief in my mind was getting an idea about my burning question: can Tea Party and #Occupy members actually work together towards common political goals? What happens when real-life #Occupiers and Tea Partiers meet and try to have a civil discussion? . . . . I wrote both the #OccupyMemphis and the Mid South Tea Party members nearly identical questionnaires . . .
LAD then goes on to provide the questions he sent along to both the local Tea Party and #Occupy groups, as well as their responses.  Read the whole thing.  In Part II of the article, LAD sums up his findings and argues that there is good reason to foster outreach between #Occupy and Tea Party groups across the country.  Excerpt:
I don’t claim the respondents to my questionnaire to be a representative sample of all #Occupy and Tea Party membership, nor do I claim that they represent a comprehensive microcosm of the two movements’ memberships. What I am exploring is the question of whether or not the results of the questionnaire and content research of their web presence indicate good enough information to justify more efforts at experimental outreach between the two groups.

Can #Occupy and Tea Party members work with one another towards common political goals? The Memphis meeting showed that there are #Occupy and Tea Party members eager for some sort of outreach between the two groups and when such a meeting did happen, had overwhelmingly positive and respectful things to say about and one another. Moreover, there seems to be a desire and a willingness to continue the conversation beyond the initial meeting and answers in the affirmative when directly asked if they were willing to work together on specific projects.  I would have to say that the results of my unscientific mini-study gave good enough reasons to justify further experimentation along these lines.

Free and Fair Elections and Their Discontents

Fundamentally, the Democrat-Republican political class and ruling establishment are opposed to free, fair and competitive elections in the United States.  The reason is simple: free, fair and competitive elections would threaten their monopoly on elected office at all levels of government.  Consider the response to the San Francisco mayoral election, which took place earlier this month.  San Francisco voters adopted ranked choice voting via referendum in 2002.  This year's election was the first in which the ranked choice system "came into play."  From the San Francisco Examiner in June: 
This way of voting for San Francisco’s mayor has yet to be tested in a citywide race — this is the first time what is known as ranked-choice voting will come into play in the race for The City’s top post.
There’s a lot of guesswork being done by candidates in the crowded field and by political insiders on how it will impact the results.  It was voters themselves who decided to use this system of voting when they approved Proposition A in March 2002.  [Emphasis added.]
Ultimately, the election was won by incumbent Democrat Ed Lee, who came out on top in a field of at least fifteen candidates.  Already, however, the city's political establishment have already launched an all out assault against the alternative voting method.  From KQED News last week:
Now critics are zeroing in on the ranked-choice system, hoping to repeal it before another city election rolls around. The proposal is being fronted by city Supervisors Sean Elsbernd and Mark Farrell, who calls the system a “failed experiment.” They hope to put the issue to voters next year.  Opponents have a good shot, said Charles Marsteller, former head of Common Cause in San Francisco.
“Regardless of its merits, ranked-choice voting will probably be repealed,” he said in an interview. Ordinary voters struggle with the system because “it’s complicated,” he said. And politicians and political professionals quickly grew to dislike it because its results were so unpredictable.  “It’s hard to estimate outcomes with ranked-choice voting,” Marsteller said. “You don’t know if the polls are right. The political consultants don’t like it.” [Emphasis added.]
Ranked choice voting is not complicated at all.  Rank your top three candidates in order of preference.  How complicated is that?  Of course, those who feel threatened by any such reform have an immediate interest in making it appear to be more complicated than it is in fact.  The more telling argument against the alternative system is the fact that political strategists, consultants and pundits don't like it because it makes the outcome of an election unpredictable!

The complaint that the alternative voting method makes elections unpredictable is highly revealing.  These strategists, consultants and pundits make a mockery of free and fair elections.  The implicit assumption of their argument should be held in the highest contempt by supporters of free elections, namely, that elections should be predictable.  For these individuals, elections are nothing more than a formality, a sham, a choreographed charade meant to provide a veneer of legitimacy to the rule of an entrenched faction.  Perhaps they would have been more comfortable in Saddam Hussein's Iraq or Stalin's Russia, where the outcome of elections were always known well in advance of election day.

Occupy Wall Street Demonstrates on Two Month Anniversary of Protest Movement

It's been a crazy week at Occupy Wall Street in New York City.  Indeed, it seems to have been a crazy week at Occupy protests across the country.  A number of people have written to me asking whether I'm okay, as there hasn't been a new post here for a couple of days.  Thank you, I'm fine, and avoided both injury and arrest in all the chaos, though it's been exhausting commuting back and forth between home, work and all the protests.

Thursday, the two month anniversary of the Occupy Wall Street protest, was a massive day of action in New York City.  People began gathering at 7am across from Zuccotti Park to march on Wall Street.  NYPD had set up barricades at all intersections immediately surrounding the New York Stock Exchange refusing passage to everyone but those who either lived or worked within the perimeter they had set up.  Innumerable riot police amassed at various locations throughout the financial district.  By around 8am, well over 1000 protesters stepped off for a march toward the Stock Exchange.  They walked west on Cedar, then right onto Nassau and came to the first police barricade at Nassau and Pine St.  At that point, contingents of 100 to 200 people then began splitting off from the group and marched to the other barricades police had set up.  Once there, they took up positions in intersections and sidewalks blocking vehicular and pedestrian traffic in all directions.

I witnessed such protest blockades at five or six of these locations.  There were numerous arrests and confrontations as riot police were ordered to push through the crowds and break their lines.  When the protesters' lines were broken, they regrouped and formed new lines either further down the block or behind the police charging down the streets and sidewalks.  By 10am, the police perimeter had expanded from a one block radius surrounding the NYSE to a four block radius surrounding the NYSE, and dozens of people had been arrested.

In the evening, a massive rally took place in Foley Square.  Protesters began gathering there at about 5pm for a planned march across the pedestrian walkway of the Brooklyn Bridge, which is two blocks south of the square.  Tens of thousands of people, easily, came out to the rally in support of the Occupy Wall Street protest.  There was word circulating among the crowd that police scanners and radios were reporting that over 30,000 people had assembled for the demonstration.  I would not be surprised if it was 50,000.  By the time the last speakers took the stage at the rally, thousands upon thousands had already flooded the streets marching toward the Brooklyn Bridge, and the park was still packed.  On the other side of the bridge, a general assembly was held following the march.  Exhausted from the long day and the lengthy march, I headed home. 

Police Defecate on Constitution, Urinate on Rights and Liberties

As you've probably heard, the Occupy Wall Street encampment in downtown Manhattan was raided by  NYPD riot police wielding truncheons and armed with chemical agents at 1am the other night.  The police raid was apparently part of a coordinated attack against the protest movement in at least eighteen other cities, mediated with the help of the FBI and Department of Homeland Security.

Everyone and everything that had been set up in the space over the last two months was cleared out by police and sanitation workers.  By morning the park was completely empty, except for riot police and security officers who occupied the park for much of the day.  Hundreds of tents were destroyed and personal property was seized, but perhaps the greatest loss were those things that benefited the whole community.  There was a kitchen that had been serving three meals a day to hundreds of hungry protesters, homeless and even locals.  There were bicycle powered generators that provided electricity for the media center and anyone in the park who needed to charge a computer or phone.  There was a 5,000 volume lending library, amassed through donations, which was open to anyone who desired to borrow a book.  One woman broke down in tears as she described to me how the books were seized, loaded into dump trucks and carted away. 

When the riot police moved in, they set up a two block perimeter around the park in all directions, and arrested or ejected media and reporters from the area, effectively refusing to allow any objective reporting of the action.  By 8am, the park was completely cleared and remained occupied by riot police and security officers, who had surrounded the park with barricades and refused entrance to everyone but police for much of the day.  It was a surreal scene.  For the previous two months, protesters who occupied the park were surrounded by barricades and hundreds of police.  On Tuesday, police occupied the park, surrounded by barricades and hundreds of protesters. 

The occupation of the park by protesters led, of course, to scrutiny of the culture that had developed inside the encampment.  In New York City, the propaganda war against the protest was led by Rupert Murdoch's New York Post.  There were reports of sexual assault and rape, drug dealing and illegal drug use, racism, defecation and urination in public and so on.  Now that police have occupied the park, it is only fair to put the NYPD under the microscope.  So, what's been going on at the NYPD?  Here are just a few of the incidents that have made headlines in recent months:

• In May, two NYC police officers were convicted of official misconduct for entering a drunken woman's home in the middle of the night while on duty.  Though accused of rape, they were acquitted of that charge because it came down to their word against hers. 

• In August, an off-duty NYC police officer was arrested for raping a woman at gunpoint in upper Manhattan. 

• In October, NYC police murdered a woman outside a shelter for women suffering from mental illness or addictions.  The victim was allegedly holding two knives and refused to drop them when told to do so.

• In October, sixteen NYC police officers were arrested and charged with a long list of misdemeanors and felonies in a massive "ticket fixing" scheme, in which they helped make tickets issued to friends and family disappear.  Demonstrating the systemic character of this corruption, hundreds of off-duty police officers rallied outside the courthouse during the arraignment, holding signs supporting the institutional corruption of police!  "It's part of our culture!" cops could be heard saying in local news coverage at the time.

• In October, a former NYPD detective testified in the trial of eight police officer charged with official corruption.  He stated on the record that NYC police routinely plant drugs on innocent people to meet drug arrest quotas.

• In the same trial, another witness, a prostitute, testified that police officers routinely offered her crack cocaine in exchange for sex

• In the last two months, tens of thousands of innocent New Yorkers were stopped and frisked by NYC police, a routine violation of the Fourth Amendment.  The racist character of this practice is clearly apparent in the fact that nearly 90% of those who are stopped and frisked are black or Latino.

• In October, five NYC police officers were arrested for trafficking $1 million worth of illegal guns, cigarettes and slot machines into the city.

So what have NYC police officers been up to in recent months?  Murder, rape, theft, gun smuggling, trading drugs for sex, planting evidence, engaging in official corruption, violating rights and liberties . . . and these are just the most prominent cases that have made the news in the last two months.  They are shitting on the constitution and pissing on rights and liberties. 

Political Science and the Myth of the Independent Voter

Judging from their commentaries and quotes in the corporate media, American political scientists are among the most reactionary supporters of the Republican-Democrat two-party state and duopoly system of government.  Yet, despite their decades long advocacy for the dictatorship of the Republican and Democratic parties – as evidenced by the many studies that followed from the American Political Science Association's influential document, "Toward a More Responsible Two-Party System" in the early 1950's –, American political scientists do not even have a satisfactory working definition of what a political party is, as I demonstrated in a post on stasiology this past summer.  Interestingly, it appears that some political scientists are beginning to question what passes for conventional wisdom among their peers.

One long standing point of consensus among political scientists is that Independent voters do not exist.  For some background on this issue, see any number of past posts here at Politea:

Dispel the Myth of the Myth of the Independent Voter from August 2009
On the Myth of the Myth of the Independent Voter from December 2009
Debunking the Myth of the Independent Voter from November 2010
An Anatomy of an Anti-Independent Hit Piece from April 2011
A Conscientious Objection to Political "Science" from August 2011

In a new post at The FreeStater Blog, Todd Eberly, an assistant professor of political science at St. Mary's College of Maryland, makes a point that should be very familiar to regular readers here at Politea in a post entitled, "The "Myth" of the Myth of the Independent Voter."  Excerpt:
much of the research on independent voters considers partisanship in a single election and rarely follows the same voters across multiple elections. When voters are followed across elections, the focus tends to be on presidential elections . . .

Are Independents independent in name only? No, not really . . .  In a 2009 article in Electoral Studies, political scientist John Petrocick argued, “Leaners are partisans. Characterizing them as independents underestimates the partisanship of Americans…” Indeed, Petrocik penned the foundational research on leaners in 1974 and his conclusions that leaners were every bit as partisan as their more partisan counterparts has influence much scholarship since. But a recent conference paper by Drew Kurlowski identified significan flaws in Petrocik initial work. Research that I have been conducting suggests independent partisans are far more independent than Abramowitz, Mellman or others realize.

Most studies of partisanship often consider the views of leaners at a given point in time or their votes in a specific election or examine the stability of partisan identification by merging all partisans – Strong, Weak, or Leaning – together and measure macro-level party identification. These measure do not take into consideration the temporal nature of partisan attachment and the propensity to change party affiliation over time . . .

But the larger question really pertains to the size and stability of a governing coalition over time. For a President or a political party to succeed they must have a stable electoral coalition. If independent voters are the fastest growing segment of the electorate and if they are truly independent, then Democrats and Republicans need to worry about the rising number of independent partisans. But if folks like Mark Mellman are correct, then the parties can ignore the threat of the independent voter.

A review of ANES data from a panel survey that included 2000, 2002, and 2004, shows that independent Democrats and independent Republicans (roughly a third of each party) are much less attached to their party than either Weak or Strong partisans over time . . . 

Mellman and others are correct - independent Partisans do vote much like their Strong Partisan counterparts in a given election, but the ANES panel data suggests that a significant share of independent Partisans (between a quarter and a third) may well have a different partisan stripe by the next election cycle.

Fully 11% of the electorate are Pure independents, another 30% are independent Partisans (about 18% Democrats and 12% Republicans) and between 25% and 30% of these independent Partisans switch self-reported party affiliation and 25% to 45% change their party vote from election to election. At the very least, this suggests a 25% voting bloc that is quite volatile, quite independent - in a country where our presidential elections have been decided by margins of 7 percentage points or less since 2000 and the difference between the national two party vote share in House elections has averaged about 5 percentage points since 1990.

Independent voters are no myth, they matter, and (when you include among them independent Partisans) they absolutely sway elections. Indeed, the present and highly competitive political era in which we are living is a direct result of a decrease in partisan attachment among a growing number of voters. 
Read the whole thing.

Buddy Roemer May Launch Independent Bid for Presidency

From Sunshine State News:
Former Gov. Buddy Roemer of Louisiana, currently making a dark-horse bid for the Republican presidential nomination, is looking to reach out to the Occupy Wall Street movement while speculation increases that he will launch a third party bid for the White House.

"Money in politics has created institutional corruption,” Roemer said in a statement released on Thursday. “Both parties are guilty of taking the big check and are bought by Wall Street. My campaign is the only one that speaks out against this and I look forward to the day lobbyists are not allowed to donate to campaigns. Wall Street grew to be a source of capital for growing companies. It has become something else: a facilitator for greed and for the selling of American jobs. Enough already!" . . .

As their candidate’s path to the Republican nomination becomes increasingly difficult, this week the Roemer camp threw out signs that he is considering launching a third party or independent bid for the White House. Carlos Sierra, Roemer’s campaign manager, left the door open to the possibility in an interview with the Daily Caller this week . . .

The Only Wasted Vote is a Vote for a Republican or a Democrat

In a commentary for Associated Content, Floyd Saunders argues that it is time to break the two-party duopoly.  Excerpt:
With the major parties so unpopular, there is a growing interest in having a third-party candidate run for president. Indeed, a group called Americans Elect has made some headway at getting an alternative presidential candidate on the ballot in all states, and a panel of experts at the Institute of Politics believe a third-party candidate would have a better chance of winning than ever before. . . .
It's obvious by the polling data that Americans are largely dissatisfied with the quality of candidates in the two party system. And more importantly, the notion that everyone will find a president they like if only given two choices is absurd. There are usually more than two ways of looking at a issue, and there should be more than two legitimate options when it comes to choosing who will arguably become the most powerful person in the world.

Even so, I don't expect to see two-party dominance end anytime soon. While there have been isolated incidences of third-party success, the odds are just too stacked against them. For instance, it's difficult for candidates outside the major parties to raise money and get media attention . . . However, the biggest challenge for third parties is the idea that voting for them will be a "wasted" vote. This is because candidates who aren't Republicans or Democrats rarely win, so voting for an alternative party often makes it feel like your vote doesn't matter.  The best way to address this flaw would be to install instant runoff voting . . . 
The only wasted vote is a vote for a Republican or a Democrat.  

People Before Parties: Politics and Electoral Reform Group Releases Recommendations for Electoral Reform at #OWS

Two weeks ago, I relayed a number of recommendations for electoral reform being considered by the Politics and Electoral Reform group at Occupy Wall Street in NYC, in which I have been active.  This past Sunday, the group came to full consensus on the proposal, which has now been posted in full on the group forum at  That document is published here in its entirety.  Please distribute widely.

People Before Parties: Recommendations for Electoral Reform
A proposal of the Politics and Electoral Reform group at Occupy Wall Street

Free and fair elections inspire good citizenship and public service.  They engage the intelligence, good will, and real interests of the people.  Free and fair elections ensure that citizens can control their own political destiny, and make genuine contributions to society through sound self-government.  Free and fair elections can remedy myriad ills and counteract the abuses of a government that has come to prey upon the resources and spirit of citizens.

The centralization of political power in the hands of two narrow political factions at all levels of government is neither democratic nor republican. Lawmakers representing these factions have rigged our electoral system to ensure their continued monopoly on public office in the United States.  No party system whatsoever is mandated by the U.S. Constitution.  Government of the people, by the people and for the people has been transformed into government of the people, by the parties, for entrenched interests.

Whatever our political differences may be, surely on this we can agree: our government does not represent the interests or will of the people. It is time to institute free and fair elections in the United States.

A vast majority of Americans are dissatisfied with the way the country is being governed.  Americans are not apathetic.  They have been demoralized by a forced choice between two corrupted political parties. The two-party system is incapable of providing adequate representation for the many diverse interests constitutive of the American electorate. This is a crisis of democracy and representation. It is a crisis of government.

In the federal system, the states are the laboratories of democracy. We urge the people of states, localities, and General Assemblies nationwide to begin a series of bold new experiments in democratic self-government, to open our political system to the millions of people who go unrepresented by the entrenched factions.

We call for experimentation with reforms to create a level playing field for all voters and for all candidates for elected office – whatever their party affiliation may be, or whether they have none at all –, and to curtail the influence of corporations and narrow political factions over our system of government.

We recommend experimentation with (in no particular order):

Alternative voting methods. Our voting systems should promote honest participatory democracy.  There are alternatives to plurality voting, such as ranked choice voting, approval voting and range voting, liquid democracy and so on.

Independent, nonpartisan redistricting. Voters should choose their representatives, lawmakers should not choose their own voters.  A bipartisan commission is not a non-partisan commission.  Independent council and computer drawn districts can remove partisan bias from the redistricting process.

Smaller and more localized districts.  It is time to expand the number of representatives in local and state government and in the House of Representatives. This will ensure a closer relationship between the people and their elected officials, putting the latter on a shorter leash.

Proportional representation. Winner-take-all, single member district plurality voting has allowed narrow political factions to wield disproportionate influence within our system of government.  Proportional representation has been used in the United States in the past to break up party monopolies.  It can be implemented again.

Expansion of franchise.  Laws that restrict the right to vote should be repealed.  Those who are denied the right to vote because they have, for example, served time in prison, should be re-enfranchised. Participation can be encouraged through simple reforms such as election day voter registration.

Term limits. Election to public office is not a lifetime appointment.  Fortunately, the people need not wait for officials to implement laws limiting their own terms.  The people can impose term limits at any election by voting for alternatives to the representatives of the entrenched factions.

Ballot access reform.  Ballot access laws that favor the major parties and discriminate against independent and third party candidates, which are common in all fifty states, should be repealed and replaced with fair and reasonable alternatives. The default state of the ballot should be open.

Primary election reform. A public election should be open to the public.  If parties desire to hold closed primary elections, they can provide for their own caucuses or conventions.

Initiatives and referenda. The people retain the right to originate ballot initiatives and referenda and to recall any elected official.

Vote counting.  Electronic voting machines are produced, operated and serviced by a small number of corporations with significant ties to powerful political factions.  Unless there are significant controls to protect against the rigging of such machines, hand-counted paper ballots should be re-introduced into our voting systems.

Holiday voting. Voting should be encouraged not discouraged.  Election day should be ruled a holiday to encourage voter turnout.

Fusion voting. Parties should be able to nominate the candidates of their choice across party lines.

Combination and synthesis. A liquid democratic primary with an instant runoff between the top four candidates from the primary in the general election. Countless other possibilities.
This list is not exhaustive.

We urge assemblies across the country to deliberate on reforms that can help break the ruling political monopoly in government through free and fair elections, and put people before parties. We urge the people of states, localities and general assemblies nationwide to demand the implementation of electoral reform and begin a series of bold new experiments in democratic self-government, from the bottom up.
This proposal was developed by the Politics and Electoral Reform group at Occupy Wall Street between September and November 2011. It contains input from well over 100 individuals who attended group meetings in Liberty Plaza as well as many others from across the country who influenced the proposal through online discussions.  The document was produced through a collaborative writing process.  It was approved by the Politics and Electoral Reform group with full consensus support on November 6, 2011.

God and the State: The Unholy Alliance between the Republican and Democratic Parties

It is widely understood that Republicans and Democrats elevate the interests of party above those of the people.  A new documentary by James Jaeger, entitled "SPOILER – How a Third Political Party Could Win,” argues that they also place party before God and country, and makes the Christian case for third party and independent political activism.  From Alex Murashko at The Christian Post:
In the film produced by Matrixx Productions and available on DVD, Jaeger said he explores the underlying causes of the welfare-warfare state ushered in by the Democratic and Republican parties over the past 98 years as a result of both parties failing to follow the moral principles in the Bible.
Jaeger enlisted the expertise of former presidential candidates running as nominees from third political parties, including Pat Buchanan and Chuck Baldwin. Also, seen in the 119-minute film is theologian Peter Lillback.

“We wanted the perspective of a presidential candidate and how tough it is to get in there,” Jaeger told The Christian Post. “The film is about the idea … that the Republicans and the Democrats are just simply not following the Constitution as well as they could be.” . . .

The film is Jaeger’s fifth documentary, much of the content being about the U.S. government’s out of control spending and increasing power over the lives of citizens.

“Both entrenched parties have grown the government way beyond that envisioned by the framers, and worse, they have placed the State in competition with the Church as the ‘author of all charity’ and the ‘source of God-given, inalienable rights,’” Jaeger states.

“Not only that, multinational corporations have hijacked Congress leading to laws that have outsourced American industry, undermined the middle class and eroded the family unit,” he adds. “SPOiLER lays out a strategy whereby a new, or existing, third political party could defeat the DemoPublicans and reinstate Constitutional principles based on traditional Christian values.”

The Political Class War in the United States

There is an ongoing class war in the United States.  But it is not a war of the poor against the rich.  It is the war being waged by the political class against the rest of us.  The unholy alliance between big business and big government represented by the joint misrule of the Republican and Democratic parties is a direct threat to the general welfare of the American people and to constitutional government in the United States.  The Economic Collapse Blog provides "12 statistics about money and Congress that are so outrageous that it is hard to believe that they are actually true."  Excerpt:
#1 The collective net worth of all of the members of Congress increased by 25 percent between 2008 and 2010.
#2 The collective net worth of all of the members of Congress is now slightly over 2 billion dollars.  That is "billion" with a "b".
#3 This happened during a time when the net worth of most American households was declining rapidly.  According to the Federal Reserve, the collective net worth of all American households decreased by 23 percent between 2007 and 2009.
#4 The average net worth for a member of Congress is now approximately 3.8 million dollars.
#5 The net worth of House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi increased by 62 percent from 2009 to 2010.  In 2009 it was reported that she had a net worth of 21.7 million dollars, and in 2010 it was reported that she had a net worth of 35.2 million dollars.
#6 The top Republican in the Senate, Mitch McConnell, saw his wealth grow by 29 percent from 2009 to 2010.  He is now worth approximately 9.8 million dollars.
#7 More than 50 percent of the members of the U.S. Congress are millionaires.
#8 In 2008, the average cost of winning a seat in the House of Representatives was $1.1 million and the average cost of winning a seat in the U.S. Senate was $6.5 million.  Spending on political campaigns has gotten way out of control.
#9 Insider trading is perfectly legal for members of the U.S. Congress - and they refuse to pass a law that would change that.
#10 The percentage of millionaires in Congress is more than 50 times higher than the percentage of millionaires in the general population.
#11 U.S. Representative Darrell Issa is worth approximately 220 million dollars.  His wealth grew by approximately 37 percent from 2009 to 2010.
#12 The wealthiest member of Congress, U.S. Representative Michael McCaul, is worth approximately 294 million dollars.
Shortly after the Occupy Wall Street protests began spreading across the country, an interesting info-graphic depicting wealth distribution in the Congress started circulating around the web.  It speaks for itself:

Occupy Government: Occupy Activsts Form First Local Party Organization

It was only a matter of time before activists engaged in the Occupation protests spreading across the country formed a political party to advocate for their interests and goals.  It appears the first occupation protest party organization in the country has been formed in Ohio as an outgrowth of Occupy Cincinnati.  Organizers with the group have joined Third Party Independent and published their first article there, entitled: "Introducing the Occupation Party."  Excerpt:
What is The Occupation Party?
The Occupation Party represents all Americans who want reform that brings back honesty and transparency into our governmental and political institutions—in short, a return to government that is truly by the people, for the people and that serves the interests of the people first and foremost.

Why Do We Need A Political Party?
Some claim the will of the 99% is adequately represented by the existing political parties. But the evidence says otherwise. Both the Democratic and Republican parties are equally driven by donors’ dollars (corporate and individual), and are taking actions and supporting policies that benefit corporate and wealthy interests over those of the rest of us.  Many of those actions and policies have long-term results that run counter to the best interests of the country as a whole.
That’s why a separate political party is needed to translate the energy and ideas of the Occupy Wall Street movement and the 99% into concrete, actionable solutions to fix our nation’s problems.  Someone needs to act with the needs of the people in mind, not just the privileged elite that funds our elections in order to control our policies.

What Does The Occupation Party Plan to Do?
Our action plan is a work-in-progress, and we encourage members of the public to participate in our forums and discussions about the best responses to the many difficult issues our nation faces.
Currently, our plan includes actions on three fronts . . . 
Read the whole thing.  (While you're at the site, join in the discussion and consider signing up with an account to publish there as well!)  For more about The Occupation Party, follow the link and check out their site.

Go Ahead: Throw Your Vote Away

Among the majority of Americans who are fed up with the Republican-Democrat two-party state, there are many who remain skeptical of Independent and third party alternatives.  Rather than  build political opposition against the major parties outside of the two-party system, they argue that it is more expedient to work within the major parties, and advocate for the infiltration of the Republican and Democratic machines to change them from the inside.  This strategy is doomed to failure.  In essence, rather than confront the problem, it states that we should become part of the problem. 

If your goal is to change the Republican and Democratic parties, arguably it is more effective to work outside of the two-party system in support of third party and Independent alternatives who more closely approximate your own positions.  At Our Dinner Table, Seth makes the case for "throwing your vote away":
Perot’s fiscal responsibility message in the 1992 Presidential election earned him 19% of the vote. That got the attention of the other two parties.  They adopted the fiscal responsibility platform to attract those votes.  Republicans adopted some of Perot’s platform as their own in 1994 to retake control of Congress and even Bill Clinton adopted a more conservative fiscal stance to get re-elected in 1996.
It worked.  Most of the 19% of the people who voted for Perot in 1992 threw back in with one of the major parties in the next Presidential election.

When a third-party or fringe party makes headway and attracts votes, the other two parties respond and try to adopt that stance in some form or fashion. This makes sense.  This is normal feedback at work . . .

So, despite what the guys on the radio say, all those people who threw their votes away on a third-party candidate really made a difference.  It just took a little longer to make that difference.
They sent a message to Democrats and Republicans that fiscal responsibility was important enough to get their votes.  The feedback loop worked because both parties responded.

Let’s say I agree with 20% of the policies of one major party candidate and 65% of the policies of the other. If there’s a third party candidate that I’m in 85% agreement with, the guys on the radio would tell me to vote for the 65% candidate in order to improve my chances of not winding up with the 20% candidate.  But, I think I’m done with that.  Voting for the the 85% candidate is my best chance of moving both parties closer to my ideal.   Over time, if we all do this, perhaps we start moving all the candidate positions closer to our goals. . . .

Maybe the political calculation of the guys on the radio is why we seem to to have politicians that are out of touch with the American people.  Instead of voting for what we really want and moving those agreement percentages closer, we vote for the lesser of two evils and move those percentages away over successive elections . . .
The only wasted vote is a vote for a Republican or a Democrat.

Some Third Party and Independent News and Views Items from Around the Web

Many readers here at Politea check in on a regular basis to click through the headlines in the site's various News Share feeds.  The custom feeds and widgets, created with tools from the Google Reader application, provided a simple and efficient way to share a large number of news and editorial items from across the web.  Unfortunately, in revamping its user interface, Google has now removed much of that functionality from Reader.  This has led to a backlash from many people who relied on Google Reader to share news items in this way, among others.  Hopefully, those tools will soon either be re-integrated into the platform, or a new service will be developed by others that provides the same sorts of functionality.  Until that happens, I'm sorry to say, the Politea News Share feeds will be dormant.  In the meantime, I'll be sharing items that I once would have sent to the feeds in posts here at Politea as well as at Third Party Independent.  So here we go.  Some interesting news and editorial items from around the web:

• From TPI: Jill Stein: a Green Alternative to the Candidates of the Wall Street Parties
Americans Elect Qualifies for Ballot in Ohio
DC Politics is Broken
The Vital Center Occupies Wall Street
US Wants a Third Party Option
New Party on the Horizon
Poll: 61% Want a Third Party
Voters Reject Parties
          • Occupy Wall Street Is the Third Party

The Third Party Option is the Only Option

It appears that the ongoing Occupy Wall Street protests has begun to awaken the spirit of political independence among Tea Party supporters who were uncomfortable with the way in which that movement sold its soul to the Republican party and ruling political establishment.  A disgruntled Tea Party supporter writes to the editor of the Topeka Capital Journal:
I have stated in earlier correspondence my delight in the beginnings and rise of the tea party, but viewed with some disappointment its current state. I was disappointed to watch as it was assimilated within the Republican Party rather than standing on its own merits and ideals. I now watch the Occupy movement with hope, and hope is doesn’t allow itself to suffer the same fate and become the pawn of the Democrats.

What, specifically, the movement’s members propose is still vague and has me holding back. The two movements — the tea party and Occupy — have more in common than either would like to admit but I will pick out the most salient: people who care trying to make a difference.

I am demanding change with my vote. We are in a bad way. Our government is no longer a rational, functional entity. To restore order will take a radical approach. There are different paths a revolution can take. One path is change from without (violent overthrow). This method worked for our ancestors but is not an appealing or workable solution today. Another path for revolution is change from within, through the current framework of Democrat/Republican system.

I propose a third path, a blending of the previous two. I propose change within our framework, but outside the grid-locked duality that we are frustrated with but seem unable to look beyond.

Our lame campaign finance laws have made our leaders the spokespersons of corporations and special interests. The continual musical chair situation of Democrat to Republican to Democrat to Republican is solving nothing. The rise of a third party or third parties would break the stranglehold the big two have on government.

The Internet has opened our world to a greater extent than any other technological advance before it. We now can exchange ideas, shop and trade, and seek information from across the globe from our own homes. Our world is wide open. In such a free and open world it no longer makes sense to limit ourselves from only “column A” or “column B.”
We must make the path by walking it.

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.