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    A VISION FOR A DEMOCRATIC FUTURE: Work in progress, Occupy National Gathering Visioning Group

    This document comes from the National Gathering Visioning Group.
    For more about where it came from, see the section, “How We Got Here.”

    AN OCCUPY VISION

    When the powers and practices of the prevailing society fail to support our fulfillment as equal participants in life, we the People need to proclaim our shared vision of the world yet to be and reaffirm the values that inform us.

    We affirm the inherent worth, dignity, and potential of all existence and our profound connection to the web of all existence of which we are a part. Therefore, we are guided by a vision that includes:

    • A world where the water, air, and food are clean so that both our planet and its people may be healthy.
    • Free education for all, so that information can be shared and used to benefit and enrich our society.
    • A world without war, so that people of every culture and nation may be free to develop and learn from one another without the distortion and exclusion that results from seeing one another as enemies.
    • A sustainable human society, where people are respected, valued, encouraged, and recognized as our first priority.
    • A culture of direct democracy and universal participation, where political and social decisions are made in a transparent manner for the common good.
    • Free universal physical and psychological healthcare, so that all people may be able to use their abilities and enjoy their lives as fully as possible.
    • Economic equality, so that all people may have the opportunity to have sufficient material resources for their needs, free from exploitation by others.
    • Freedom, so that all people may be empowered and included in the future we envision.

    We recognize that each person is endowed with a unique perspective and potential that adds to the sum total of our world, and that by working together we achieve our vision.

    We invite all to join us, contribute to it, and participate in it as we and it change and grow.

    HOW WE GOT HERE

    Since OWS began one year ago, many individual Occupy groups around the country have developed various statements or declarations of goals, issues, and actions. Some Occupy groups developed vision statements.

    Recognizing the importance of an overall vision, the organizers of the Occupy National Gathering in Philadelphia in July of 2012 included a visioning process. Three days of teach-ins, workshops, and speak-outs on many topics vital to Occupy led up to Independence Day, when about 250 persons at the National Gathering participated in a group vision exercise that resulted in a 7 page list of vision elements.

    Subsequent to the National Gathering, those interested in vision follow-up formed a work group. This group has developed the draft material being shared in hopes of engaging more persons in developing an Occupy Vision, obtaining valuable feedback, and moving forward towards a draft Vision Statement that can be shared broadly for Occupy consideration.

    We welcome you to join the Occupy visioning experiment!

    ILLUSTRATIVE CATEGORY LIST

    Illustrative Vision Categories that were derived from the National Gathering Visioning List. For the complete list, see the National Gathering Vision Hub Wiki at http://interoccupy.net/vision.

    CLEAN AIR, WATER, FOOD: ENVIRONMENTAL

    • Local food production, community gardens, permaculture agriculture
    • access to real nourishing, non-chemical, non-GMO food
    • food supply that is humane and natural
    • environmental justice
    • environmental awareness and respect
    • healthier diets and lifestyles
    • affordable healthy food
    • clean water as a right
    • end hunger
    • connection to earth

    FREE EDUCATION FOR ALL: CULTURAL

    • all airwaves public
    • end to intellectual property, such that there is free and open sharing of information
    • free and open communications
    • real education, free and equal, democratized
    • universal access to data

    NO WAR: PEACE AND SECURITY/POLITICAL

    • peace, nonviolence, no war or death machines
    • no military
    • no need for violent conflict or guns
    • no global us vs them
    • nonviolence
    • friendship, rather than strangership, as the default relationship among people
    • mutual respect between cultures or trading nations
    • nonviolent interpersonal and international conflict resolution
    • world peace

    SUSTAINABLE HUMAN SOCIETY: CULTURAL/ENVIRONMENTAL

    • a world where basic needs are met
    • all cultures respected equally
    • people feel empowered, free, and unafraid
    • a strong sense of community
    • safety for everyone from domestic violence and fear
    • all human life valued equally
    • all decisions considered for seven generations in the future
    • more humanity, compassion, kindness, and selflessness
    • mutually beneficial relationship between humans, the earth, and its inhabitants
    • acting with consideration for the community, world, and everything else

    A CULTURE OF DIRECT DEMOCRACY: DEMOCRACY AND SOCIAL JUSTICE/POLITICAL

    • no money in politics
    • end two-party system
    • local community control
    • consensus based democracy
    • just and fair legal system
    • truth in journalism/illegal to lie
    • minorities have power and voice (rule by diversity)
    • no tax without representation
    • a fair electoral system
    • accountable government
    • democratic process that works for all

    FREE UNIVERSAL HEALTHCARE: CULTURAL/ECONOMIC

    • healthcare emphasizes preventative and alternative measures
    • free healthcare (accessible and state of the art)
    • full control of our own bodies, including shared ownership of the means of preventative healthcare
    • free therapy and emotional/mental healthcare

    ECONOMIC EQUALITY: VIBRANT AND SOUND ECONOMY/PROSPERITY

    • localized economies
    • no corporate personhood
    • fairness and equality for all beings (including ecosystems, resources)
    • banks and corporations required to act responsibly, answering to many, not few
    • radicalized labor unions
    • international corporate accountability
    • fair trade and fair working conditions

    FREEDOM: POLITICAL/CULTURAL

    • freedom to live anywhere: no borders, no nations
    • freedom of knowledge and press
    • freedom of religion
    • freedom of expression protected
    • free equal access to opportunity

    derived from the Visioning Activities at the OCCUPY NATIONAL GATHERING Philadelphia, PA – July 2012

    This is what Democracy Looks Like?!?

    During the last few weeks, there’s been a lot of talk about the presidential debates. Some people bemoan one candidate or the other. Some bemoan both candidates. A few held drinking contests during the debates. After each debate, the media is full of analysis, pundits, and commentators to dissect the dialog, and to help people figure out what it all meant.

    The second presidential debate was especially noteworthy, for something that happened outside the debate hall (and something that many media outlets aren’t reporting).

    Green party presidential candidate Jill Stein and vice presidential candidate Cheri Honkala tried to enter the debate hall, and were blocked by police officers. After being denied entrance, Stein and Honkala sat down in the street, and were subsequently arrested for obstructing traffic.

    I’d love to present a long list of citations about this event, but there aren’t many to give. I first heard about it from Twitter, then read articles from the Huffington Post and the student-run Long Island Report.

    This is outrageous. Stein and Honkala will be on the ballot in 38 states, and most Americans will have the opportunity to vote for them. People deserve to hear their positions, as well as the positions of other third party candidates, such as Justice Party candidate Rocky Anderson, Libertarian Party candidate Gary Johnson, Constitution Party Candidate Virgil Goode, and Socialist Party USA candidate Stewart Alexander. And these aren’t the only third-party candidates running. Instead of being given options, we are being handed a charade, based on the notion that there are only two choices for president.

    We have always talked about our first amendment rights. Perhaps it is time to start talking about our first amendment caveats.

    • You have the right to freedom of speech. Unless you’re a third-party candidate.
    • You have the right to freedom of religion. Unless you’re a Muslim
    • You have the right to freedom of the press. Unless you’re a whistleblower.

    Perhaps Stein and Honkala should incorporate. I’m sure they’d get more freedom of speech that way.

    One Year Later: Four Quick Reminders from CASEJ

    Four reminders from some of the organizers in the Occupy Boston CASEJ (Climate Action, Sustainability and Environmental Justice) working group:

    1. Research now indicates climate change is the key culprit behind several of the most devastating droughts and heat waves we have already experienced.

      “we can state, with a high degree of confidence, that the extreme anomalies such as those in Texas and Oklahoma in 2011 and Moscow in 2010 were a consequence of global warming…”

      ~ Hansen J., Sato M, Ruedy R. 2012. Perception of Climate Change. Proc Natl Acad Sci USA

    2. We are giving at least $11 BILLION in tax subsidies to fossil fuel companies, some of the wealthiest in the world, as we are simultaneously loosing our own homes.

    3. According to Mass DEP: Vehicle emissions account for about 40 percent of the pollutants that produce ground level ozone, a lung irritant and main ingredient in smog. Children are amongst the most vulnerable, with one out of every three school absences now attributed to asthma. Asthma is now the number one reason children are admitted to the hospital.

    4. Several viable and underutilized clean energy alternatives now exist, and in Massachusetts, clean energy sector jobs grew by 11.2 percent between July 2011 and July 2012. (It now generates over 70,000 local jobs.)

    People are asking whether Occupy is “alive” or “dead” or “still happening”. Individuals are still organizing around the clock to strengthen our community. They will continue to no matter the name. The extent to which new people take it upon themselves to do so as well, and the extent to which we can work together, will directly determine wether the most critical issues of our time are dealt with in a prudent manner. Here is to “the radicals”. Happy Birthday Occupy Boston!

    To get on the CASEJ mailing list please go to:
    https://lists.mayfirst.org/mailman/listinfo/climate-action

    Sources:

    1. Hansen J., Sato M, Ruedy R. 2012. Perception of Climate Change. Proc Natl Acad Sci USA
      http://www.pnas.org/content/early/2012/07/30/1205276109.full.pdf+html

    2. Environmental Law Institute:

      http://www.eli.org/Program_Areas/innovation_governance_energy.cfm

    3. Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection:
      http://www.mass.gov/dep/air/community/airhealt.htm

    4. Massachusetts Energy and Environmental Affairs
      http://www.mass.gov/eea/pr-2012/120816-pr-clean-energy-job-growth.html

    Results from Our First Annual DHS Creative Writing Contest

    Earlier this summer we announced our first Department of Homeland Security Creative Writing Contest, and we’re long overdue for publishing the results. They’re finally here! But before showcasing the awesome writing submissions, we should say a few words about the current state of big government surveillance.

    The big news of the day: CISPA is dead! The Cybersecurity Act of 2012 (S.3414; the senate version of CISPA) was defeated by filibuster in the Senate. That’s a big victory over government cyber-surveillance, at least for now.

    On the downside, NSA dragnet surveillance continues under the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA). According to the Office of the Directory of National Intelligence (ODNI, the overseer of intelligence agencies), "it is not reasonably possible to identify the number of people whose communications have been reviewed" by the government. Remember that our writing contest dealt with the DHS — a different agency than the NSA. How many three-letter government agencies does it take to spy on an American?

    Finally, Kudos to twitter for following in Google’s footsteps, and issuing a transparency report. In the first six months of 2012, twitter received 849 government requests for user information. Of those, 80% (679 of 849) came from the united states. Twitter turned over information for 75% of the US requests. Perhaps Google could take a lesson from twitter (Google satisfied 93% of US government information requests, according to their latest transparency report).

    The Contest Submissions

    Time for the good stuff. The challenge was to take the list of keywords from the DHS’s social media monitoring program (see pdf, pages 20–23), then write a short piece that has nothing to do with national security, but uses as many keywords as possible. Here’s what people sent in. Can you pick out the keywords?

    From Jo of Winchester:

    Damn! I am in quarantine because I got infected with norvo virus drinking mudslides in Tijuana

    Southwest Airlines sucks. Stuck in San Diego and all I want is to get to Tucson to see la familia

    I love that I live Salem and we have homegrown pirates. I wonder if they are recruiting!

    Reading an amazing book about public health and multi drug resistant TB in Somalia, so glad we have smart people with the WHO, training homegrown providers to combat this pandemic!

    I wonder if the DHS has informed the CDC about this new infection caused by something called norvo virus

    Jo also quips about the term “norvo virus”, which appears on the DHS keyword list:

    I do love the fact that there is actually no such thing as “norvo virus” there is Norwalk Virus aka norovirus but definitely no norvo virus.

    I suppose that’s a DHS oops :)

    From Terra:

    at dress rehearsal at the theater today, the explosion of boos from the audience in the facility was toxic. people running from the theater had to control themselves and be civil as they burst out. in our opinion, the plot is a bomb and mayhem and riots on opening night are expected as audience members scramble to get their money back. we believe that the lead actor will be the latest casualty in this disaster of a performance. due to the expected unrest in the case, we would have thought that the strategy would be to retain more security personnel, in anticipation of the death of the run of this disaster of a theater piece, because we anticipate that people will by dying to leave and would perhaps “kill” for a cab in an attempt to flee. in total, the entire effort is a waste of theater infrastructure. and i recommend greater policing of public arts funding to ensure that we force better quality. use of public funding in this manner is a crime. even though the media came to shoot, that was not an indication that the initiative in this worthless exercise has any value. the entire thing is a threat to our civilization. if we don’t stop this kind of waste, it will breach not only public trust, but will incite civil unrest. i expect that this will blow up into a huge incident, as smaller arts collectives complain of their destruction because of lack of funding. when a small art house can have a huge hit, with home grown resources, and a large funded facility like what i saw today crashed and burned, it makes you wonder why we get any traffic at this huge facility. whether arts authorities are listening or not, they should take this as a warning. arts funding is in crisis. and the emergency is magnified when disasters like this are allowed to open. they should all be blacked out and blow to smithereens.

    From M.L. Browne, Winchester, MA:

    I was riding my bike when a dog came from nowhere on a side street and attacked my right leg. I crashed and he ran off. I felt the burn up my bloodied leg. Since bacteria and infection from bites are so nasty, I called the CDC. They said treat it, wrap it, ice it for relief, and report the incident to the police. I did what they said, but I wish the damned dog had at least barked a warning before he bit me.

    Finally, from Monica (aka femmevox):

    What kind of nutcase names her pet Pekineses Ricin, Sarin, Anthrax and Salmonella? Someone in love with the plague, or with a sick sense of humor. And I had to walk them.

    Teaching The Tempest to my ESL students is a disaster. Or a riot! Google translates it The Storm, half the students mistake Caliban for Taliban, while the smart kids burst out laughing.

    Help! His Trojan burst, this flood might be a disaster! Or a warning. I’ve got to find my power, get out before I’m stranded in some brownout of a life.

    Big twinkles to everyone who sent in submissions.

    WBZ Misrepresents Fare Strike Action

    http://boston.cbslocal.com/2012/07/13/group-protests-mbta-fare-hikes-with-fare-free-fridays/

    This story starts out on point, but rapidly goes downhill. By the end, reporter Jim Armstrong is flat out lying.

    As someone who was witness to this creative and principled action by the Boston Fare Strike Coalition on Friday (7/13/12), I can say that it is absolutely NOT true that all (or even most or many) of T riders “still paid their fares” even though they didn’t have to. And it is also false to assert or to suggest (as Armstrong does) that most T riders were opposed to the Fare Strikers actions. While you can find vocal antagonists to any bold action in a large crowd (and Jim Armstrong clearly did), I witnessed a wide range of responses from fellow T riders, including much support. About a thousand people took leaflets from BFSC explaining the logic behind the day’s action, and most seemed to be reading them with interest. Many were verbally supportive, and some signed up to join with the next action. A large number of people thanked the activists for the free ride home. (After all, since the MBTA jacked up fares by 23%, it’s only fair that people ride one day a week for free….The Banks get a Free Ride–continuing to profit off interest on the MBTA debt–Why can’t We? Public Transit Should be Free!)

    Also, it should be pointed out that the fare strikers, while perhaps mostly under 35, also include many individuals quite a bit older than that. Quite a few appeared to be in their fifties, sixties, or even seventies. It is a multi-generational coalition. Not just a bunch of “kids.”

    Jim Armstrong: putting the BS in CBS.

    Check out the  story in The Boston Occupier for more accurate and informed coverage of the Boston Fare Strike Coalition’s “Free Friday” action::   http://bostonoccupier.com/2012/07/15/boston-fare-strike-coalition-declares-fare-free-friday/

    See footage of the action:  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5JuFCgia3JI

    All are welcome to the next public meeting of the Fare Strike Coalition:  Thursday, July 19 at 6:00 PM,  by the Boston Common gazebo.  (Rain location: City Place food court, off the Alley.)

     

    Submitted by Joseph Ramsay

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