Quoted: Occupy Wall Street (New York, General Assembly) on Intentions

As we gather together in solidarity to express a feeling of mass injustice, we must not lose sight of what brought us together. We write so that all people who feel wronged by the corporate forces of the world can know that we are your allies.

As one people, united, we acknowledge the reality: that the future of the human race requires the cooperation of its members; that our system must protect our rights, and upon corruption of that system, it is up to the individuals to protect their own rights, and those of their neighbors; that a democratic government derives its just power from the people, but corporations do not seek consent to extract wealth from the people and the Earth; and that no true democracy is attainable when the process is determined by economic power. We come to you at a time when corporations, which place profit over people, self-interest over justice, and oppression over equality, run our governments. We have peaceably assembled here, as is our right, to let these facts be known. […]

To the people of the world,

We, the New York City General Assembly occupying Wall Street in Liberty Square, urge you to assert your power.

Exercise your right to peaceably assemble; occupy public space; create a process to address the problems we face, and generate solutions accessible to everyone.

To all communities that take action and form groups in the spirit of direct democracy, we offer support, documentation, and all of the resources at our disposal.

Join us and make your voices heard!

*These grievances are not all-inclusive.

–From Declaration of the Occupation of New York City

Through a direct democratic process, we have come together as individuals and crafted these principles of solidarity, which are points of unity that include but are not limited to:

  • Engaging in direct and transparent participatory democracy;
  • Exercising personal and collective responsibility;
  • Recognizing individuals’ inherent privilege and the influence it has on all interactions;
  • Empowering one another against all forms of oppression;
  • Redefining how labor is valued;
  • The sanctity of individual privacy;
  • The belief that education is human right; and
  • Endeavoring to practice and support wide application of open source.
  • We are daring to imagine a new socio-political and economic alternative that offers greater possibility of equality. We are consolidating the other proposed principles of solidarity, after which demands will follow.

    — From “PRINCIPLES OF SOLIDARITY – working draft

    • Drceuler

      i think unless the people of the United States reclaim their democracy then the US will go on being an exploitive, imperialist, corporate-run entity that seeks to impose economic dominance on the rest of the world through its military. I encourage all occupy actions to recognize the importance of decolonizing the peoples within the US. The rest of the world is having its own occupations, and we are joining together.

    • http://www.examiner.com/family-in-new-york/rahela-choudhury RCHOUDH

      Hopefully this movement will expand to take on all forms of oppression in the world not just economic. I was heartened to find out that OWS has gone on to include an anti-war element within it because right now it needs to be shown that misguided US foreign/military and economic policies are intertwined. 

    • Drhiphop85

      Most social movements don’t move very fast. Especially any that have any type of grassroots origins.

      • Nope

        That’s cool. We’ve got time to start fresh with the same issues that we ignored after 2008 and then until the day after 2010 midterms. So what’s the plan after next year when we get steamrolled while this gets worse and no one is making a plan?

        Nothing about this convinces me that it is any different from the Dem convention but way, way more disorganized and lacking a focus of attack. So why, when I’m figuring out way within the framework that exists and when the Dems are stalling (or stalled), what would I want to spend energy on this “social movement”, that is no different from things I’m already working on. And full of people who can’t handle constructive criticism about basic stuff.

        Occupy, at this point, is a terrible use of my time and talents for similar ends.

    • Anonymous

      Russell Simmons? Really? This is where some of this stuff gets sticky for me. The document repeatedly refers to “they” which, I assume, means corporations and banks. In spirit, I can’t say I disagree with most of it, but it’s problematic. Where is the line between Simmons’ multi-million dollar enterprises and, say Disney? Yeah, one is a lot bigger, but they are both multi-faceted entertainment moguls. Is it just about size? Simmons IS the 1%, not the 99.

      Celebrities stepping in here is weird.

    • http://www.redlightpolitics.info/ Flavia

      As a South American, I am deeply alarmed by that quote urging “People of the World” to assert their power. Because it uncritically glosses over the role of the US and its citizens in the oppression of many “people of the world” and how the US benefited from said oppression. It reeks of more imperialism and it negates centuries of struggles where “People of the World” actually lost their lives fighting against this subjugation.

      If anything, the people occupying Wall Street should interrogate how they have benefited from this through capitalism, US corporations, military interventions, etc, while, at the same time, not erasing the struggles that have already existed for a very long time. Just because the people behind this declaration have woken up to social organization, it does not mean it has not already been happening in other parts of the world. Honestly, it reeks of neo-imperialist “permission to talk” rhetoric.

      • Drhiphop85

        You will have to explain how that came off as neo-imperalism. People of the world=people of the world right? They acknowledge: “Recognizing individuals’ inherent privilege and the influence it has on all interactions;” “Empowering one another against all forms of oppression” and “To all communities that take action and form groups in the spirit of direct democracy, we offer support, documentation, and all of the resources at our disposal.” 

        I’m not even a member of the movement but that almost explicitly acknowledges privilege and even asserts a helping hand to other groups fighting against oppression…

        I guess it is true all movements, no matter how benign will still ruffle feathers and can’t possible cover ever base

        • http://www.redlightpolitics.info/ Flavia

          Funny you mention the part about offering resources about direct democracy when direct democracy has been applied and experimented with for decades in places other than the US. That is the arrogance I am talking about: thinking that because *they* just got on board with something, it hasn’t been done extensively some place else. Actually, it is probably the Wall Street people who could learn from methods and forms of organization that have already happened in other places (and learn from the mistakes made in those places as well), rather than be all arrogant: HERE, WE HAVE RESOURCES! Come get behind us!

          • roguishknight

            I know it doesn’t come across here, but people I’ve met in Boston have been talking a lot about what they’ve learned from Egypt and Portugal in particular.  The Assemblies in both those places have done an amazing job of sharing their experiences and making their resources available for us.  I’m also personally drawing from the work of Augusto Boal from Brazil and his Rainbow Theater; direct democracy is a decades-long world-wide movement.
            So maybe NYC is different, or maybe we’re deluding ourselves. But I know this place would be different if it weren’t for the people of the world standing in solidarity with us and us at least trying to stand in solidarity with them.