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The #occupywallstreet Report Card

By   Follow Me on Twitter     Message Dr Stuart Jeanne Bramhall       (Page 2 of 3 pages) Become a premium member to see this article and all articles as one long page.     Permalink

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4. Introducing a whole new generation to the joys of civic engagement and the phenomenal high that comes from organizing collectively for the common good -- A+

5. The acquisition (by tens of thousands of us) of invaluable skills in non-hierarchical decision making and governance -- A+

6. The formation of new, long term connections and networks -- A+.

7. The re-introduction of mutual welfare thinking into the movement for change -- A+

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8. The systematic empowerment of women OWS members -- A+


Here are my reasons for pinpointing each of these achievements:

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1. Defining what we're about without resorting to policy demands or settling for short term legislative fixes -- A+

In my view the most impressive accomplishment of the #OccupyWallStreet and Occupy Together movement is the speed with which we have found a collective voice -- without resorting to cookie cutter slogans or short term policy demands. This hasn't been easy. Coming from the perspective that nearly everything in the system is broken, where exactly do you start? Yet the coherence of the OWS vision is obvious from the speed with which it has spread to 1,000 Occupy Together occupations around the world.

2. Attracting media attention without letting the corporate media define us -- A+

Our second most important accomplishment is our refusal to allow the mainstream media to box us into a corner by pressuring us to advocate for narrow policy fixes. There appears to be broad consensus that legislation alone can't begin to address the serious economic, political and environmental mess the corporate elite have created. Moreover the corporate-controlled media already know what we want. After a valiant attempt to ignore the occupation in Zuccotti Square, the major networks and big city dailies pretended not to understand why the American people might be unhappy with the corporate takeover of government. It's an extremely flimsy facade. Witness the abrupt turnabout by the New York Times in their October 9 editorial, under the headline "It's obvious what they want. What took so long, and where are the nation's leaders?" (http://www.nytimes.com/2011/10/09/opinion/sunday/protesters-against-wall-street.html)

The editorial speaks of "income inequality grinding down the middle class, increasing the ranks of the poor, and threatening to create a permanent underclass of able, willing but jobless people." It concludes with the highly insightful paragraph:

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"It is not the job of the protesters to draft legislation. That's the job of the nation's leaders, and if they had been doing it all along there might not be a need for these marches and rallies. Because they have not, the public airing of grievances is a legitimate and important end in itself. It is also the first line of defense against a return to the Wall Street ways that plunged the nation into an economic crisis from which it has yet to emerge."

3. Demolishing the pretense that Everything is Fine -- A+

To a major extent, OWS has wrested control of the public narrative from the mainstream media, which constantly minimizes the severity of the economic, political, social and environmental crises that confront the industrialized world. Instead they exert continual psychological pressure for us to distract ourselves (through consumption, alcohol and sex), rather than trying to find real solutions.

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I am a 63 year old American child and adolescent psychiatrist and political refugee in New Zealand. I have just published a young adult novel THE BATTLE FOR TOMORROW (which won a NABE Pinnacle Achievement Award) about a 16 year old girl who (more...)

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