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Open Letter to the Democratic Party from a NYC OWS'er

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joshguitar Donating Member (138 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Nov-29-11 11:51 AM
Original message
Open Letter to the Democratic Party from a NYC OWS'er

Dear Democratic Party,

I will try above all to be honest.

I fell in love with you as I fell in love with this great nation. I fell in love with the struggles of the labor movement, civil rights and FDR. My family were all Union electricians; my grandfather bled for you when company strikebreakers attacked union pickets in the 1940's. He smiles now when he speaks of how the working class stood together then. I tear up still thinking of the bravery of the Pullman railroad strike, and the violent aftermath as the federal government struck them down with terrible vengeance. I fell in love with your grand ideals of social justice, public education and the New Deal. I forgave your foibles and hiccups because I knew that you had the best interests of the world in mind. Like me you were not perfect. Like me you were weak at times, but watching you strive to transcend inspired me. It made me want to overcome my own weaknesses and hypocrisy. And I believed that the alternative was far worse.

It is true that I flirted with Nader in 2001. I was young. It was my first election and he seemed even more idealistic than you. But I still voted the party line on rest of the ballot (except for the judges, I always try to vote the judges out). But my heart was broken. The chads and SCOTUS went the wrong way and I watched my country become something run by fear and violence. That was a sad time for many reasons. I did not vote third party again. I volunteered and canvassed for you here in New York city and even in New Jersey. I took a job fighting for your ideals, going door to door in blighted neighborhoods. Sometimes I got yelled at, but I learned much talking to all those people. I learned much about what you mean to them, too.

And then I helped elect the first African-American President under your banner. I rode a raucous train from a jubilant Harlem to Times Square that night because I wanted to share the victory speech with my fellow man. Tens of thousands of us closed down the streets before helpless Police. They were thwarted by our joy and enthusiasm. We flooded into the square together and watched that beautiful speech beamed to us from a packed Hyde Park. I wept. I wept in relief and pride and joy. I wept because I had demonstrated against a war you promised to end, canvassed to change election processes you swore to make transparent and railed passionately about the horrible tortures and detentions you swore to strike down. I wept because perhaps my girlfriend with her chronic health problems would be able to get the medical attention she deserves in this the wealthiest nation on the planet. Mostly though, I wept from pride of your and our achievement. It was a culmination of the youth vote and the rise again of the left. Idealism had trumped violence and greed. The massive bank monopolies and Wall Street excesses that had just destroyed the economy were to be ended.

But as time went on I began to suspect that my love was unrequited. You did not seem to be espousing all of the ideals that made me love you in my youth. I rationalized. Denial is the first step in a fraying relationship. I defended you for a long time, too. I defended you when you passed a second round of stimulus that rewarded the corrupt banksters that had made millions destroying the economy. When you failed to pass a Health Bill that affected me at all, passing a massive giveaway to big Health and big Pharm. I defended you at first for not leaving Iraq by the promised deadline, though Guantanamo troubled me greatly. But I began to read about economics and what I learned troubled me greatly. You not only gave trillions of dollars to the corporate interests that funded both parties, you caved on the Bush tax cuts. I read Adam Smith say "When Industry and the State conspire against the consumer, capitalism fails." And that was exactly what had happened! I was sucker punched. Industry seemed to have bought my government! What had those union strikers bled for? Where was the party of FDR then? The party of trust busting? Seemed much more like trust building.

Then came Citizens United. Suddenly the 14th amendment, tacked on to the Bill of Rights to protect former slaves, was being twisted to declare that corporations were people and money was free speech. Suddenly it was legal to do what put Abramoff in jail. Really? The civil war was fought so that British Petroleum could contribute unlimited amounts to a PAC deregulating protections on the gulf of Mexico? I think not. I began to suspect something then. And what of the revolving door as career politicians became lobbyists. Do they not have the real power? Is this the platform of change you ran on? Change for some corporate masters. "One person, one vote" had just become "one dollar, one vote."

But the Arab Spring came! I am a sucker for people reminding their governments who is actually in charge. Obama spoke so eloquently of those Universal Rights I believe so much in. But then you attacked Libya in the name of freedom but not Bahrain, Pakistani holdouts but not Syria, and American citizens abroad but not Yemen. Why allow oppression in so many other countries? Surely not because Libya supplies Europe with a very large percentage of its Oil, right?

Well perhaps you just need to be reminded. We are all weak after all. I heard about a protest about to take shape here in New York. some friends were chatting about it. I learned Adbusters had contributed design work. I love their work. I went to check it out. It was a typical leftist economic gathering. But there was something different about it. People seemed determined, they were camping. They were resolute. They were hopeful. I had seen nothing like this. Ever. Then the now famous Tony Baloney case came and went. The next day I stood at the Brooklyn Bridge as thousands of police deployed as a small army and arrested 700. I knew something was different then. I volunteered for a working group. The movement grew. The message spread. The day after the bridge it was the top story on google! What beauty! I talked with the ladies from Code Pink, and the activist Carol who sells newspapers on my block. I marched. I marched hard and often. The early marches were tense, the police disliked us. They disliked us a lot.

Media coverage was horrible and slanted. OWS was not to me a leftist tea-party. I think many would agree. We decided early at the General Assemblies that we would be co-opted by no one. I talked to Ron Paul supporters, reformists, anti-war demonstrators, socialists, libertarians and social Anarchists (along the lines of Emerson rather than Sid Vicious) I watched a society spring from the concrete over a month. It was messy but it was working!!! The national dialog was changing! The pols didn't come around. I talked to hundreds of people. We disagreed over much, but we all knew the system was broken and we all believed a huge part of that break came from Industry having more power over government than any time since the 19th century. Not since Big Steele and the Railroad Barons had American Politicians from both parties been so in the pocket of the 1%. You have become what you strive against for so long. I am saddened at the loss.

Then came a national crackdown on the protest camps. I have seen young girls beaten, pepper sprayed and groped by the NYPD. I have been kettled for disobeying no laws. I have seen illegal search and seizure. I have seen voices silenced. I have seen press arrested and corralled. I have seen American citizens denied access to Broadway in New York City at 10 am unless they have a bank ID. I have been cuffed for basically standing too near an angry riot cop. I have seen the NYPD disobey court injunctions and try to intimidate lawyers. I have seen all of this with my own eyes. Through thousands of electronic devices I have seen far worse documented in other cities.

We must demand more. We must demand accountability from our government. OWS is not your lap-dog. Nor are not done with this conversation. We have changed the national dialog, and we continue to do so. It has grown far beyond our tiny and sometimes dysfunctional NY group. This is not attack politics, this is peaceful demonstration. This is a committed and radicalized youth who KNOW that a better world IS indeed possible. We aren't even three months old and look what has happened already. Beware Wall Street. Beware K Street. Beware corrupt Democrats. THIS IS NOT YOUR MOVEMENT!!!! We agree with your ideals and demand that you live up to them. We will NOT be silenced. We will NOT be co-opted. We will NOT be intimidated.

We are here. We will enact change. We would much prefer that you live up to your promises and stand by our side, but if you continue to allow us to beaten in silent complacency we will hold a mirror up to you as you do it. I know that you still have all the beauty in you. I can see it in your eyes when the light is just right. I know the fire is still in there. I know the party I love resides somewhere. Stand up. Speak in Solidarity. You need not join us, just demand that your members be true. Demand accountability. Demand justice. Demand the ideals that you have stood up for so bravely in the past.

We are not your foot-soldiers,

but I think we could stay friends.

With deepest regards,

Your dear friend.



*Disclaimer* I speak for myself not the entire OWS movement. I do not claim to a leader, unless we are all leaders just by being a participant.

I know you have it in you.

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joshguitar Donating Member (138 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Nov-29-11 11:52 AM
Response to Original message
1. I am sorry in advance
to anyone I offend. But I am trying very hard to be completely honest about the process I witnessed. Much was left out for Brevity.


Namaste'
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stevenleser Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Nov-29-11 11:59 AM
Response to Reply #1
2. Way too much is made of the whole 'co-opted' idea. Its a movement made to be joined.
As soon as someone new joins, their own uniqueness becomes a part of a movement that is run like OWS is run. The joiner partly co-opts and is co-opted.

I think too many people are bringing their partisan baggage with them into their experience with OWS. OWS isnt about being disappointed with Democrats or angry with Republicans either for that matter. It's about advocating for the 99% and opposing measures which benefit the 1% at the expense of the 99%. Those ideas naturally overlap or bring one into opposition with certain policies from the existing parties, but that interrelationship is not the focus of OWS.

I am naturally hyper-partisan and do not apologize for that. But I keep that out of my dealings with OWS and how I talk about them.

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joshguitar Donating Member (138 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Nov-29-11 12:03 PM
Response to Reply #2
4. Totally agree that it is a movement to be joined
That is how it has gotten this far. Anyone who acts otherwise is being counter-productive. I have just seen people attempt to twist it to fit their own selfish motives or promote themselves. They are certainly the minority. Perhaps I am overly protective of something I see as beautiful.

:P

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stevenleser Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Nov-29-11 12:16 PM
Response to Reply #4
7. It is beautiful, I agree 100%. It took me about a week of examining to realize that back in Sept.
See, in my not so humble opinion, I think the message to the Democratic Party establishment should be, here is your grass roots backup to be all the things you have always wanted to be. When you advocate for the 99% we will be at your back, when you don't, we won't. And by the way, we are the new face and power of the activist left, so you dont want to be without us at your back.

Boom.
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joshguitar Donating Member (138 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Nov-29-11 12:30 PM
Response to Reply #7
9. I really like that nt
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msongs Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Nov-29-11 12:16 PM
Response to Reply #1
6. you think, feel, and say what democratic candidates used to believe in and actually DID nt
Edited on Tue Nov-29-11 12:16 PM by msongs
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Fantastic Anarchist Donating Member (953 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Nov-29-11 05:53 PM
Response to Reply #1
13. Good letter ... but ...
... I don't know why you still hold out hope for the Democratic Party? The system itself makes it so the Democrats behave precisely the way they do; that is that they will be rewarded if they provide their services to the upper echelon of society. That's it.

There's nothing else to it. The system makes it so.
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joshguitar Donating Member (138 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Nov-30-11 01:50 AM
Response to Reply #13
16. im working on one for the tea party too
I don t think OWS fits into a two party system. I think also that we ve been indoctrinated to hate one another through this political divide. I want to change that. its not gonnna happen overnight, but if all parties view OWS as at standing for populist an popular ideals it will be to the benefit of all. We re gonna need a lot of support to mke some changes: explicit ot tacit.
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FirstLight Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Nov-29-11 12:01 PM
Response to Original message
3. yeah!
we ARE all leaders for just participating...that's the beauty of the circle and the tribe. ;) :grouphug:


This letter speaks volumes for me as well! The silence against police violence is staggering, and is what really tells me this is NOT a partisan movement, but a HUMAN movement. Those in Power are beholden to their corporate masters, and that includes both sides of the aisle and i believe the WH as well. I am disappointed in them, but so very proud of Us!


Solidarity! thanks for sharing...

btw...K&R!!! :bounce:
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joshguitar Donating Member (138 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Nov-29-11 12:04 PM
Response to Reply #3
5. +1000 nt
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Juneboarder Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Nov-29-11 12:30 PM
Response to Original message
8. Great message!
K&R :)
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joshguitar Donating Member (138 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Nov-29-11 12:42 PM
Response to Reply #8
10. Thank you /nt
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bvar22 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Nov-29-11 12:51 PM
Response to Original message
11. K&R
Obama's Army, Jan. 21, 2009

"Oh, What could have been."


Instead, Obama's Army is now marching without him.
How sad is that?
He coulda been a contender.






You will know them by their WORKS,
not by their excuses.
Solidarity99!
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------



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joshguitar Donating Member (138 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Nov-29-11 02:50 PM
Response to Original message
12. :)
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Juneboarder Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Nov-29-11 07:07 PM
Response to Original message
14. K&R to the max
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Paka Donating Member (228 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Nov-29-11 07:10 PM
Response to Original message
15. Beautifully stated. n/t
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joshguitar Donating Member (138 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Nov-30-11 01:53 AM
Response to Reply #15
17. thankz! nt
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Capt. America Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Nov-30-11 06:44 AM
Response to Original message
18. Did you actually send this to the DNC or did you just place it on this message board?
Where, I promise you, no Democratic Party offical is reading.
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joshguitar Donating Member (138 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Nov-30-11 07:39 AM
Response to Reply #18
19. its a rough draft
I want to get some feedback, but I do intend to send a polished version to the dnc and to my reps
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russspeakeasy Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Nov-30-11 09:11 AM
Response to Reply #19
20. Please send it.. Well written and a pleasure to read.
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joshguitar Donating Member (138 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Nov-30-11 11:52 AM
Response to Reply #20
23. thanks! nt
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xchrom Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Nov-30-11 09:29 AM
Response to Original message
21. recommend
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olleander Donating Member (26 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Nov-30-11 10:04 AM
Response to Original message
22. This ain't your father's Democratic Party
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