Yes, But What Do They Want?

2011 October 14
by Roman Stoad

As we look around the country at the different “Occupy Your City Here” movements and hear the snickers of the too-often condescending news coverage that attends them, one thing we notice is the common criticism of a “lack of specific demands.” From city to city, reporters seem to agree that there is no single set of demands–largely an illusion, but utterly perplexing to news media. “Well, these weirdos do not seem to be about anything. What do they want?” asks one. “They seem to want everything and nothing,” says another. Others say that the Occupiers are mostly “against” and not “for” anything. Well, to be against an unjust practice is to be for justice, isn’t it?

It irks Roman to keep hearing, “What is it that they want?” as if the occupiers are a kind of naive mass of political and social nincompoops. That such a complaint is the best that the commentators can come up with seems odd because it is pretty obvious what the protestors want—they want a fair shake. They want accountability at the top. In fact, it is obvious that what the Occupiers want is what a large number of Americans also want. They want justice, equality, accountability. The same buzzwords you hear on the tongues of politicians, but the occupiers want these in the real world, and they want them for all members of society.

To dismiss the Occupiers with the simple question “What do they want?” is ridiculous. None of the reporters who take this tack make any effort whatsoever to formulate the complaints in their own words, perhaps because to do so might implicate them in the forbidden knowledge. Well if a “Fool” like Roman Stoad can figure it out, any reporter should be able to, and the fact that they can’t, or rather don’t, seems to me to be a kind of dismissal by denial. After all if you simply claim that the movement is inchoate it is easy to dismiss them as kooks. (Remember that the corporate media is part of the problem here.)

Maybe they need an “OWS Demands App” on their iPhones and then they could refer to it when they find themselves tongue-tied in their newscasts. They could use the app to remind them of how fucked up the country is, and how many things need to be fixed. So many things, in fact, need to be fixed that to point to one, two, or three of them would be to deny the depth and breadth of the problems we are facing, problems that have been building up for decades, problems that are integral to our political and social “systems.”

Then there is simply the reality that if and when the Occupiers come up with a formal list of demands, who is going to be willing to hear them out and act upon them. Maybe Obama will have a meeting to consider the list and take action on it. Maybe the banks’ boards will also call emergency meetings to revamp their policies as a nod to the Occupiers. Who’s kidding who?

Here are a few demands that Roman has heard in his rambles amongst the crowds, and so I will call them Roman’s List and add to this as the hours pass:

(1) End all forms of private money in public elections.  Private money corrupts elections. Elections should be publically funded and all parties should receive equal media time.

(2) End all lobbying by corporate interests in Washington—make any lobbying practice or other form of influence illegal.

(3) Prosecute bankers and politicians who are complicit in the deceptive practices that have brought down the economy.

(4) Reconfigure the election system so that prior to the final election we have one or more run-off elections that give smaller less funded parties an equal chance. The two party system is not working.

(5) End the process of trickle up wealth and trickle down blame in which the wealth of the country flows up the economic ladder and the blame for economic failure flows down to the common man.

(6) Break up the large corporations and banks so that they can no longer dominate policy, so that true competition would have to occur between them. Too big to fail is to big.

(7) Change the culture of consumption that dominates American life. The economy is based on hyper-consumption, which is not only financially detrimental to most people but it is also environmentally detrimental.

(8) End the Enforced Credit Economy. People should not have to borrow money to live a decent life.  Credit is slavery.

(9)  Provide National Health Care, or at least Affordable Health Care.

(10) End the War Machine.

(11) Take religion out of politics.  Public policy should not be founded on the dictates of invisible sky-daddies.  Public policy should be founded on reason.  America is, after all, supposedly based on the principles of the Enlightenment, not the middle ages.

This is an open list: feel free to add items. And if you are going down to OWS. Make a sign with one or two specific demands on it. Then maybe the press will get the hint. That what is needed may well be bigger and more complex than their small minds can take in.

I am Roman Stoad—Anarchist, Atheist, Atomist

My credit rating is AAA.

Come to my booth at the Occupation, Say Hello to Roman

Vote for me, in the next election

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