Friday, 2 December 2011

Occupy DC Declaration Is Released As Protest Enters 3rd Month

Occupy DC protesters are becoming increasingly distrustful of labor unions and advocacy groups like MoveOn.org, who, they say, are trying to co-opt their movement to push political agendas of their own.


Labor unions, in particular, have been supportive of the Occupy movement nationwide. In the District, where there are two Occupy protest camps, unions have provided supplies and allowed protesters to use their facilities, including showers, since they arrived two months ago. But tensions have started to mount.


To emphasize its political independence, Occupy DC on Thursday marched on a Democratic fundraising dinner hosted by party leaders like Nancy Pelosi at which participants were paying $5,000 to $75,000 for a seat, and later blocked the entrance of the W Hotel where another Democratic fundraiser was being held. That followed a similar protest at a GOP event last month.


The crowd of about 60 protesters shouted slogans and waved signs, but did nothing to provoke the 25 police officers keeping order. Democratic Rep. Steve Cohen of Tennessee said he agrees with many of the goals of the Occupiers but said, "the system has outlets that are effective."


The unions are planning a five-day "Take Back the Capitol" protest on Capitol Hill next week that will bear a striking resemblance to the Occupy movement, from claims of representing the "99 percent" to the tent city the unions plan to erect. But Occupy protesters say they won't back the union protest because labor and other groups like MoveOn support Democrats and Occupy doesn't support either major political party.


The list of grievances are almost identical as well, except for two changes.


The final version of the declaration has one new grievance listed in it from the draft version:


The 1 percent benefits from economic, political, and legal structures that oppress communities long targeted by displacement, denial of sovereignty, slavery, and other injustices. These persecuted but resilient communities continue to suffer through generations of disproportionately higher rates of unemployment, poverty, criminalization, and homelessness. Facets of the 1 percent campaign to blame these groups for these problems while obstructing healing and restoration.
The foreign policy paragraph has been changed a bit as well.


Here's the draft version:


"The U.S. government engages in drawn-out, costly conflicts abroad. These operations are often pursued to control resources, needlessly overthrow foreign governments, and install friendly regimes. These wars destroy the lives of American soldiers and innocent civilians and are a blank check to divert money from domestic priorities."
And here's the finalized declaration's slightly different version of that paragraph:


"The U.S. government engages in drawn-out, costly conflicts abroad. Numerous acts of conquest have been, and continue to be, pursued to control resources, overthrow foreign governments, and install subservient regimes. These wars destroy the lives of innocent civilians and American soldiers, many of whom suffer adverse effects throughout life. These operations are a blank check to divert money from domestic priorities."
Perhaps the most significant change from the draft declaration comes right at the end. The draft version of the declaration ended with this: "To all who value democracy, we encourage you to collaborate, and share available resources. We stand with you in solidarity."


The finalized version, by contrast, contains what seems to be the declaration's only real call to action:


"To all who value democracy, we encourage you to collaborate and share available resources.
Join your voice with ours and let it amplify until the heart of the movement booms with our chorus of solidarity."

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