Why the #Occupy Movement Will Fail — Part 2

October 19, 2011

Part 2 –  “Vague and Overbroad”

From our fellow true liberal, Fionnchu, the twelve demands made by the #Occupy Chicago group:

  1. Reinstate Glass-Steagall
  2. Repeal Bush-era tax cuts
  3. Prosecute “the Wall Street criminals” who caused the 2008 financial crisis.
  4. Overturn Citizens United v. United States
  5. Pass the “Buffett Rule”; Close Corporate Tax loopholes
  6. Strengthen SEC, Consumer Protection Board Regulatory Powers
  7. Limit the influence of lobbyists on legislation
  8. Prohibit ex-government regulators from working in the industries they once regulated
  9. Eliminate Corporate Personhood
  10. Give Equal Time for Free to all political candidates
  11. Pass the Fair Elections Now Act
  12. Forgive Student Debt

The old copy-editor in me couldn’t resist tidying up that list a bit. For the full, wordy wording of the list, see here.

Marketing 101

Lack of focus and muddled messaging is one of the primary reasons the #Occupy movement will ultimately fail.  The mental laziness evidenced in OWS Chicago’s rambling, stream-of-conscienceness demands is appalling.  The average person’s grocery list jotted on the back of an envelope — 1. Produce; 2. Dairy; 3. Meat; 4. Dry Goods; etc. —  is better thought-out.

Horrors, people, I used to work for “The Man”, but he taught me how to influence behavior through effective messaging.  I now pass those teachings on to you so you can bring down The Man with his own weaponry.  So stop the chanting and drumming for a moment, and listen up.

For better impact & clarity, these twelve points can be grouped under three broad, catchy headings:

  1. Put Muzzles &  Choke Collars on the Rabid Dogs of Wall Street   (1, 3, 6)
  2. End the Corporate Whoredom of Politicians  (4, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11)
  3. Stop the Ultra-Rich From Pillaging, & Turning the Rest of Us Into Peasants  (2, 5, 12)

That’s all for today’s marketing lesson.  Class dismissed.  You may now rejoin the tie-dye or pumpkin-painting committees.

Vague and Overbroad

Unless not bathing for several months, crapping in public, and having anonymous sex in tents is all the Occupyers ever had in mind, nothing will come of this movement without a bit of planning.

“The Chicago protesters have vowed to stay in the streets until their demands are met”, but living outdoors in the Windy City will soon be a frakking freezing prospect.  So unless they are down with frostbite in delicate places, the Occupyers would be wise to establish some specific steps toward achieving their demands, along with concrete milestones.

So, ignoring for the moment the worthiness of these twelve demands, let’s examine just how clear, and how practicable they are.

1. Reinstate Glass-Steagal

Clarity:  Very Specific

Feasibility: High

SitRep: From 1933 to 1999, Glass-Steagal regulated banks, speculation, and established the FDIC.  For 66 years, it deterred the reckless financial practices that had brought on the Great Depression.  In 1999, Congress freed investment banks from the regulations of Glass-Steagal, which led to rampant & reckless speculations, the collapse of banks like CitiGroup, the TARP bailout, and the eventual onset of the Great Recession.  Bipartisan attempts to reinstate Glass-Steagal have gotten nowhere. President obama has occasionally called for minor tweaks to investment regulations.

Concrete Steps:

a) Demand that the president commit to a firm date when he will introduce legislation to Congress for a full reinstatement of Glass-Steagal;

b) Demand a pledge to vote to reinstate Glass-Steagal from every member of Congress;

c) Issue a pledge to refuse to vote for anyone running for federal office in 2012 who does not make this commitment;

d) Issue a pledge to refuse to vote for president obama if he does not give and then meet a deadline to introduce legislation to reinstate Glass-Steagal.

2. Repeal Bush Tax Cuts

Clarity:  Very Specific

Feasibility:  Straightforward, but Unlikely

SitRep:  President obama lied to us.  During his 2008 campaign, he vowed to repeal the Bush tax cuts, then reneged when given the Democratic super-majority to do so.  Now that he’s lost that friendly Congress, he promises to repeal the cuts — if we re-elect him & reward him with another Democratic majority in 2013.  Fool me once ….

Concrete Steps: #Occupy should demand that obama:

a)  Publicly & repeatedly say these words: “I broke my promise. I lied to you. I am sorry. I let John Boehner do me up the ass, and I liked it!  I am easily the most dickless of Dickless Wonders the World has ever seen”;

b)  Within 30 days, introduce to Congress stand-alone legislation repealing the Bush Tax Cuts;

Occupyers should:

c) Sign a pledge to refuse to vote for obama in 2012 if he does not meet these demands.

3. Prosecute Wall Street Criminals

Clarity:  Vague and Overbroad

Feasiblity:  Impossible

SitRep: Those “criminals”, Goldman Sachs, were already investigated, and found to be only slightly guilty.  They made $4 trillion on the scam, paid a $500 billion penalty, which was so surprisingly light that Wall Street reacted by raising GS stock value by $800 billion in one day.  In other words, they made out like bandits.

Just the other day, obama said “it might have been greedy, but it was legal.”

Concrete Steps:  Too late shutting the barn door once the horse has escaped.  Now, all you can do is ask yourself, WWDHD? (What Would Dirty Harry Do?)

4. Overturn Citizens United

Clarity: Very Specific

Feasibility: Hard but Do-able

SitRep:  SCOTUS ruled 5-4 to consider a corporation a person for the purposes of free speech & campaign contributions.   80% of Americans polled oppose the ruling.

Concrete Steps:

Plan A (complicated)  


a) A dead SC justice — Alito, Kennedy, Roberts, Scalia, Thomas (pick one);

c) a POTUS pledged to appointing judges who’ll rule this way;

c) a Senate willing to confirm said appointees:

d) an appeal

Plan B (simple)

Pass a Constitutional Amendment.  (See Article V of your operating manual)

5.  Pass Buffett Rule

Clarity: Very Specific

Feasibility: Straightforward

Concrete Steps:  See procedure for Glass-Steagal above.

6. Strengthen SEC, Consumer Protection Board Powers

Clarity:  Vague and Overbroad

Feasibility: Straightforward — if clarified

Concrete Steps:  Draft specific elements, divided between those that can be enacted by presidential policy, and those that require legislation.  Demand deadlines for appropriate action as per above.

7. Limit Influence of Lobbyists

Clarity:  Ephemeral

Feasibility: if clarified, Achievable in long-term

Concrete Steps:  No means exist to tackle the problem head-on, but would be greatly ameliorated if real campaign finance reform were enacted.  The public should also think twice about voting for a candidate who brags about raising one billion dollars in campaign contributions.

8. Ban Ex-Regulators from Working in Same Industry

Clarity: Very Specific

Feasibility:  Piece of Cake

Concrete Steps:  Simply add a standard non-compete clause to every regulator’s contract.   The inverse, prohibiting industry execs from becoming regulators, is perhaps even more important.

Can be implemented either by:

a) Presidential policy, or;

b) Act of Congress, or;

c) Constitutional Amendment

9. Eliminate Corporate Personhood

Clarity:  Specific, but sweeping

Feasibility: Dangerous and impractical

SitRep: Treating a corporation as an individual person for certain purposes is a sound and well-established tenet of our western legal system.

Entirely eliminating corporate personhood is, in fact, a radical, unprecedented proposal with unforeseen dangers.  Many advantages to the commonweal, such as limited liability for investors, the ability for the government to regulate & tax, or the courts to prosecute, single entities, would be lost.

Concrete Steps:  Stick to a constitutional amendment denying personhood to corporations in the specific instance of free speech & campaign contributions. (see #4 above.)

10.  Equal Access for Candidates

Clarity:   Vague and Overbroad

Concrete Steps:  Before the feasibility of this can be assessed, the Occupyers need to define exactly what this “equal time for free” entails (debates? media? voters’ guides?), what constitutes “reasonable intervals”, and how the FEC would be empowered to do so.

Overarching campaign finance reform would be a simpler resolution of this issue.

11. Pass Fair Elections Act

Clarity:  Specific

Feasibility:  Difficult

SitRep:  The bill was reintroduced to Congress yet again in April.  It has bipartisan sponsorship, but never gets out of committee. Gets no press coverage whatsoever.

Concrete Steps:  Formal demands for pledges from Congress members to pass, and the president to sign, with pledges to not vote for those who refuse.  Accost candidates in public — including that queen of all contribution whores, barack obama — and ask why they don’t support this.

12. Forgive Student Debt

Clarity:  Specific but sweeping

Feasibility:  Unlikely, but Achievable in long-term

SitRep:  Most of the world’s nations, realizing that a skilled & educated populace yields strength & prosperity, offer free higher education to every citizen.  In the US, the focus is not on that common good, rather on the personal advantage of greater earning power derived from holding a degree.

Unlike other nations, colleges in the US are largely private or state run. There is no federal university system.

Further, the cost of a private college education in the US is grossly over-inflated.  Any federal grant program would in part subsidize these inflated prices.

Concrete Steps:  Draft legislation – with specifics – that: 1) forgives all current outstanding federal student loans; 2) creates a federal college grant program; 3) provides funding, possibly through a tax on the admissions revenue of private colleges & universities.

Before this proposal has any chance of succeeding, the sway over our culture by anti-social memes needs to be broken.  Prepare for a long slog on that one.  And if you’re thinking of joining the Occupyers, pack your long-johns.

(C) 2011 by ‘tamerlane’.  All rights reserved.

Why the #Occupy Movement Will Fail

October 18, 2011

Occupy Wall Street ______ County

Notes/Decisions from the Oct 16th planning Meeting

[Editor’s note:  this is a digest of the actual meeting minutes posted by the local Occupy group in tamerlane’s neck of the woods.]

Hello All, thanks to those who came out to the meeting yesterday.  I made a big mistake in not getting everyone to signup for the mailing list


1) The Next Rally

  • Everyone should be involved with printing and handing out the flyer

  • Rally to be organized organically
  • Peacekeepers Lorianne, Pamela, Guari, Mia, Heather will help move the flow of people
  • The Plaza will have musicians and speakers organized on the fly for those that want to step up. I didnt consense on this but i think Jefferey’s small amp is fine
  • The sign crew should get cardboard, more tables, and sticks (I think it was heather that said she has sticks too)

  • People should organize carpools… then drive one car in.

2) The Rally After That

  • Other than the time and place, no logistics are planned.

3) Continued Movement

  • The group agreed to attempt to keep visibility and movement, nothing has been planned.

4) Working Groups, Roles

  • Outreach to Latinos*: Jeffrey    [* 8% of county population]

  • Music: Jeffrey, Lorianne, Janie

  • Non-Violence Training Coordinators: Joe and Pamela

  • Goals: ??

5) Other Possible Actions to support

  • Possible support of Michael Moore talk
  • Nov 9th, End corporate person hood (talk?) need more info…

  • Halloween OWS themed costumes

  • Oct 28, 29 (Cant remember name now…alternatives to violence?) workshop, Gauri had details

6) Resources to be shared on website

  • Guidelines for dealing with law enforcement
  • Non-Violent theory and guidelines

If you know of a good online source for info on any of these, please send them to me

7) Political Action items brought up

  • we had no consensus

6 ) [again] Next Planning Meeting

  • If it rains we will need to find a new location and leave a sign at the bandshell.  

Also lets have another facilitator other than me.

[Ya think?]