It is interesting to see the emerging debate within the OWS movement over whether to formulate demands. Compare the OWS process with the principles of direct action espoused by The Congress of Racial Equality (the people who came up with the Freedom Rides) -- see below.
Protesters Debate What Demands, if Any, to Make
By MEREDITH HOFFMAN
NY TIMES October 16, 2011
“We absolutely need demands,” said Shawn Redden, 35, an earnest history teacher in the group. “Like Frederick Douglass said, ‘Power concedes nothing without a demand.’ ”VERSUS
Mr. Redden and other demonstrators formed the Demands Working Group about a week and a half ago, hoping to identify specific actions they would formally ask local and federal governments to adopt.Although Occupy Seattle has a running tally of votes on its Web site — 395 votes to “nationalize the Federal Reserve,” 138 for “universal education” and 245 to “end corporate personhood,” for example — Mike Hines, a member of the group, said the list would soon be removed because the provisions had not been clearly explained and because some people were not capable of voting online.
“Demands are disempowering since they require someone else to respond,” said Gabriel Willow, a protester strolling past a sleeping-bag pod of young adults in the park last Monday. “It’s not like we couldn’t come up with any, but I don’t think people would vote for them.”
In Boston, Meghann Sheridan wrote on the group’s Facebook page, “The process is the message.” In Baltimore, Cullen Nawalkowsky, a protester, said by phone that the point was a “public sphere not moderated by commodities or mainstream political discourse.” An Occupy Cleveland participant, Harrison Kalodimos, is even writing a statement about why demands are not the answer.
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LIVE: Intro to Direct Democracy & Facilitation TrainingNO TRAINING IN NONVIOLENT DIRECT ACTION?
October 14th, 2011 · Ella · Announcements 26 comments
Today, Friday, October 14th, at 5:45EST there will be an Intro to Direct Democracy & Facilitation Training session streamed on the globalrevolution livestream channel. We encourage you all to tune in.
Q&A followup directly after, provided everything goes as planned. Spread the word!
If for some reason the technology fails, it’s also going to be recorded and uploaded for everyone to reference here: occupytogether.wikispot.org
What Then are the Principles of CORE? [i]
3. CORE believes in direct action . . .
4. In carrying out the action program, CORE first investigates to learn all the facts; second, discusses the grievance with those responsible for the practice in an effort to bring about a change of policy; third, appeal to the wider public for support in the action; fourth, publicizes the unjust racial practice through picketing, leaflets, and press releases; fifth, if all the foregoing fail to end discrimination, uses direct challenge, such as Sit-Ins, Standing Lines, and boycotts.
5. It is the essence of nonviolence that it proceed step-by-step. . . . Although CORE’s distinctive method is direct action, it also employs broad educational techniques, and, occasionally, court procedures.
6. . . . Where CORE members maintain an attitude of persistent goodwill . . . often, not only a change in policy results but also the respect and regard of the opposition is gained. Then a change of policy no longer involves loss of face or a sense of defeat for the opponent.
7. . . . CORE, begun in Chicago as a local group, has functioned as a national organization since l942.
[i] CORE, “What Then are the Principles of CORE,” (New York: Congress on Racial Equality).