Joyce L. Arnold, Liberally Independent, Queer Talk, equality activist, writer.
July 4 is one month away. Two groups associated with the Occupy / 99% movements have been planning for months, and both will gather in Philadelphia. Via The Daily Pennsylvanian : Occupy movement and 99% Declaration group plan summer conventions …The two groups have differing ideology.” The Occupy National Gathering has, at this point, 54 Occupations “standing in solidarity” with the assembly and events. The 99% Declaration has, to this point, 632 delegate candidates from 50 states. The 99% Declaration group (read the Declaration here ) plans a “Continental Congress 2.0.”
I wrote about this last year, in an October 19 post, The 99 Percent Declaration from An OWS Working Group, concluding: “The Declaration efforts might be seen as one piece of the very much evolving process. Will it be helpful, divisive, irrelevant, a catalyst … or what?” At this point, it seems the question remains to be answered, at least in terms of long-term consequences.
Check out each site for in-depth information. In the Daily Pennsylvanian piece mentioned above, Sarah Smith provides some background on both groups, and offers a comparison of “differing ideology.”
The 99% Declaration “Continental Congress 2.0” elected, through an online ballot, 878 representatives who will submit a “list of grievances.”
‘The idea is to get the list down to about ten key grievances and give it to Congress, the president and the Supreme Court,’ founder of 99D Michael Pollock said.
‘We’re kind of like an offshoot of the Occupy movement,’ said Robert Manning, 99D member and convention co-organizer. ‘We’re not representing ourselves as the Occupy movement.’
So here’s a question: Related to challenging the Two Party Front for the Oligarchy, is it more helpful to have the challenges coming from different directions, or coming from a position of solidarity? Or, is that the kind of question that simply reflects the way we’re supposed to think about things: with either/ or options that keep us forever divided and distracted?
From Smith’s piece:
‘Our movement thrives on transparency and horizontalism, and [99D’s] meetings take place in a hierarchical structure behind closed doors,’ Occupy member and organizer Larry Swetman said.
One question, Smith writes, is in regard to representative democracy (the 99 Declaration approach) and direct democracy (the Occupy approach).
‘We’re trying to include the 99 percent and they’re trying to include a few hundred people,’ (Occupy member and organizer Larry) Swetman said.
Meanwhile, 99D finds issue with Occupy’s philosophy of governance by direct democracy ineffective and unfair. …
Direct democracy works on a local level but not on a national level, Pollock added. …
‘[Occupy] thinks we’re just part of a broken system,’ he said.
Are they? Maybe. Or, could the 99D be a part of a helpful challenge from within that “broken system,” as Occupy is part of the challenge from without?
I’ve been very open about my position: I’m in the “without” crowd. But I’ve also been clear that I think “within” challenges can be helpful.
Differing ideas, break-away groups – that’s normal. Whatever you think of either of these groups, they’re making attempts – if from different approaches – to challenge the comfortable status quo. At this point in our election / governing systems, just the willingness to step out of the imposed framing from above is a good thing. Maybe especially in a presidential election year, it’s a good thing, because now is the time of the predictable marketing that we’re all supposed to pretend provides the information the electorate needs to make informed votes.