A Discussion with Occupiers about Representative vs. Direct Democracy

I started a topic on an OWS forum and am copying it below:




Forum Post: Occupy San Diego Abandons Direct Democracy

Posted 4 days ago on Nov. 30, 2011, 7:39 a.m. EST by mymarkx (San Diego, CA) | edit | delete 
This content is user submitted and not an official statement

Occupy San Diego has abandoned the OWS model of direct democracy and is registering voters without seeking consensus.

After we were evicted, no tents or tables were allowed. Yesterday an Occupier who is a Democratic Party organizer and former Congressional candidate, set up a table to register voters and was arrested for the table, not for registering voters. Democrats claimed he was arrested for registering voters.

Canvass for a Cause came to GA and said they'll set up a table to register voters tomorrow and urged everyone to register to vote. It was announced on Facebook by another SD Occupier, Mike Garcia, as an official Occupy San Diego action, but consensus had neither been sought nor achieved. Mike says he supports "representative self-governance" and doesn't see any contradiction in that phrase.

I don't do Facebook. I'm @fubarista on Twitter. I do see a difference between representative government and self-governance. To me it is the difference between tyranny and




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[-] michealoneputt 5 points 3 days ago

Good day fellow occupiers, I am Mike Garcia, the Mike mentioned the the post above. The direct action had nothing whatever to do with any political party or organisation. The building management placed a "citizens arrest" on Mr Lutz, an active member of Occupy San Diego.

The following direct action taken by me and some other members of OSD was a result of information found last night including: A; The building is 91% leased by the City of S,D. and is in the "Civic Center". B; The building is managed by CBRE who's chairman is Richard Blum a 1% member. Richard Blum is the husband of our own U.S. Sen. Dianne Feinstein. Diann Feinstein gave a "sweetheart" 25 billion dollar deal to her husbands company 

(http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2009/apr/21/senate-husbands-firm-cas...). "Sen. Dianne Feinstein introduced legislation to route $25 billion in taxpayer money to a government agency that had just awarded her husband’s real estate firm a lucrative contract to sell foreclosed properties at compensation rates higher than the industry norms."

I am not a Democrat. This action had nothing to do with registering voters for any purpose other than to protest the obvious corporate corruption of our government and returning control of the civic center back to the people it belongs to."WE THE PEOPLE!

Best Wishes Always,

Mike Garcia .

[-] aahpat 1 points 1 day ago

Three cheers to you Mike for committing yourself to an effective action.

Exercising American democracy is the greatest threat today to the Wall Street corruption and their two party hegemony.

[-] mymarkx (San Diego, CA) 0 points 2 days ago

Ray Lutz, the Democratic Party operative who was arrested for registering voters, is very clever. He knew that if Occupy San Diego did anything to challenge, oppose, or try to change the system, the system would penalize them. So he decided that if OSD did something to support the system, like registering voters, he could win his case in court by showing that he was only supporting the system. And he will. But he will be reprimanded for not supporting the system in the precise and exact ways that the system wants him to. This is a fascist tyranny and the nature of a fascist tyranny is that it does not allow people to deviate from the rules, even if they're doing it to support fascism and tyranny.

Whether you are a Democrat, a Libertarian, an independent, or any other voter, Mike, your vote is your civic duty to the system, your support of the system, and your consent to be governed by the system. Your vote demonstrates your faith in the system and legitimizes the system. It proves that while you might wish to tweak or reform the system in some minor ways, you have enough faith in the system not to want to change it.

[-] GypsyKing 3 points 1 day ago

These are terribly important and nuanced questions. What I would ask you, mymarkx, is this - how do we go about actually achieveing what you advocate? Here is one, and perhaps the only way, that I can think of. We build our numbers until we can actually get not hundreds, or thousands, but millions of people to converge on Washington, and literally take the halls of power. In the process we might see ten thousand people killed, maybe more. Than what? Who would actually govern. If at that point we had no leader to rally around the military would take over, by necessity, really. Otherwise the state of anarchy would leave us open to foreign attack and possible Civil War. Those are just facts. I am pointing this out simply so that those who would like to see a complete change of regime know what they are faced with.

As far as our institution of democratic government is concerned, I don't think we need to change it, so much as overhaul it, to prevent these same abuses of power from ever occurring again. That is possible to do. I think in fact that is our only option without dissolution into civil war, given the political polarization of the country and the inherent complexities of trying immediately to create a new system out of whole cloth. Once again, I point this out as a simple matter of existing fact, rather than as criticism of the larger goal of systemic reform. It is merely food for thought.

[-] mymarkx (San Diego, CA) 1 points 1 day ago

I would suggest a nonviolent revolution before resorting to violence. I'm not sure what I'd suggest if it failed, but I'd certainly want to try nonviolence before attempting violence, as violence against a military superpower is a risky proposition.

I suggest, as do many others, that we attempt all possible forms of nonviolent noncompliance, such as building alternative systems, boycotting big banks and big corporations, finding legal ways not to pay taxes (such as simplifying one's life so as to be able to live on less money than the minimum required to file a tax return), and withholding our consent of the governed from the system by not voting in its elections. These nonviolent actions can draw energy and support from the system to weaken it while creating a better system.

I believe in direct democracy, that is, self-governance. I believe, as do most voters, that people chosen at random from the phone book could do a better job than the elected officials in Congress. Since people listed in the phone book have had to pay their phone bills, they have demonstrated a fiscal competence that Congress has not. I don't think the average person is so incompetent that they have to appoint a guardian or guardians to manage their affairs for them, in the form of elected officials. And I think that the danger of a foreign attack on the US or a Civil War is much less than the danger of our empire falling, as all empires eventually do, by overextending itself militarily.

Our present system of government is a plutocracy, a system designed by the 39 wealthy slaveholders who wrote and signed the Constitution to ensure that those who owned the country, the 1%, would always run the country. In order to prevent abuses by the 1% from recurring, we'd have to take the power away from the government and vest it in the hands of the people, which happens to be the dictionary definition of democracy, supreme power over government vested in the hands of the people. As long as power remains vested in the hands of the government, the way our Constitution requires, the government will continue to be vulnerable to being corrupted by that power.

Much of what you see as facts, I see as myths.

[-] GypsyKing 2 points 1 day ago

I actually agree with at least 80% of what you say here. My concern lies mostly in how to actually implement such changes. As everyone knows, and as is currently being demonstrated in Egypt, it is easier to revolt that to replace what you have with something better - and it's perfectly possible to end up with something even far worse.

[-] mymarkx (San Diego, CA) 0 points 1 day ago

The more intelligent people in Egypt fully understood that the election would be divisive and would only result in the military junta remaining in power by controlling Parliament while being able to claim the legitimacy of being a democratically elected government. They tried to organize an election boycott, but failed.

I don't know that we could do any better at organizing an election boycott because the big corporations spend billions of dollars getting out the vote. Egypt ended up in the same position we're in. Our government also claims to be democratically elected with civilian control over the military. But it is really a military junta because the Joint Chiefs limit access to information by classifying documents and briefing the President, so that elected officials only know what the military chooses to allow them to know, and the Pentagon has been known to lie to both the President and Congress,

Since our empire is going to fall anyway, I fail to see why a controlled demolition to bring it down is "worse" than just letting it collapse however and whenever its own hubris dictates. The exercise of control, I think, is less likely to lead to a foreign invasion or civil war than a collapse which is obviously due to a total lack of control.

I don't worry about the absence of government any more than I worry about the absence of private corporate ownership and management. I've seen many successful worker-owned cooperatives. Predictions that such enterprises would collapse if not for capitalist exploitation were not just greatly exaggerated, but have been proven false. I do all my food shopping at a worker/member-owned cooperative organic grocery, and not only can I feel secure about what I'm eating, but I know that the workers are well paid with full benefits and that my money stays in the community. It is better run than the big chain supermarkets, but it is all done by the workers themselves. Since businesses can be more productive and profitable when they are run by the people for the people, I believe that governments would be also.

[-] GypsyKing 2 points 1 day ago

I don't think the model of a cooperatively run natural foods market is a model on which I would base the tactics of trying to reform the government of the most powerful and complex nation on earth, or for a means by which we might go about achieveing it.

[-] mymarkx (San Diego, CA) 1 points 23 hours ago

No, it is not a model for reform. It is a model for change. It is a model of running things in a democratic way.

For some reason this country's founders envisioned that it could work, but the Framers of the Constitution betrayed them.

In establishing a centralized plutocracy instead of a democracy or republic, the Framers claimed that it was necessary because of the fact that this was such a large country and it took long journeys by wagon train to get from one place to another. Despite communicating instantly with people thousands of miles away, some people online still seem to feel that we're back in horse-and-buggy days and use the same reasoning.

[-] GypsyKing 1 points 18 hours ago

I do not mean to be flippant here. I will tey to make my point as clearly as possible, and let you know that it is simply my oppinion, which you can of course accept, or reject. First one must hsve their hands upon power before they can reform it in one way or another. So the question of exactly how to reform it should be sidelined for the time being and superceded by the question of how do we get our hands on enough power to actually reform it at all. Thanks for your ideas, which I do respect - I just think these diiscussions, while important are tactically premature - unless you have some actual strategy for implementing your goals.

[-] mymarkx (San Diego, CA) 1 points 18 hours ago

Since you asked, GypsyKing, I think that the first step to getting our hands on power is to stop giving it away.

I don't mean to be flippant either, although it might look like it at first glance. But I do believe that as long as we continue to delegate our power, we cannot retain it. When people vote in our system, they are delegating their power to others. I consider that to be gross negligence and irresponsibility.

As long as we continue to consent to delegate our power to others, we will remain powerless:

Consensual Political Intercourse http://fubarandgrill.org/node/1035#comment-3158

One of the many reasons that I don't vote is because I want the right to have a voice in decisions and policies myself, instead of delegating that power to others. I don't consider a system in which people delegate their power to others, to be a system in which power resides in the hands of the people.

[-] GypsyKing 1 points 18 hours ago

I agree completely about the current state of affairs. My question is, if you could get everyone to vote directly, which is of course now technically quite feasible, how would we get those in power to accept the outcome of such a vote?

[-] mymarkx (San Diego, CA) 1 points 15 hours ago

The only way that it would be possible for everyone to have a direct vote on issues and policies, would be if power were no longer vested in the hands of government and was vested instead in the hands of the people.

When the people are in power, there is nobody who can accept or reject the will of the people because the will of the people is the final say.

Before a direct vote could be meaningful, that is, more than just a nonbinding referendum that government could accept or reject, the people have to choose to take power and stop delegating their power to government. Once people stop voting in government elections, it becomes clear that a government no longer has the consent of the governed. It can then attempt to rule by force of violence alone, but it can no longer claim the consent of the governed. Then the people can hold elections and make decisions that do have the consent of the governed. The old, delegitimized government can choose either to step down, or to try to rule solely by force, but it cannot claim to be the sole judge of elections because it is no longer elected to have that power.

Did you know that there are some countries in which the popular vote must be counted, must be verifiable, and cannot be overridden by elections officials, the media, political party superdelegates, an Electoral College, Congress, or a Supreme Court? It seemed like a fantasy to me also when friends who live abroad told me how things are done in their countries, but I checked to see if they were just having some fun with me, and it turned out that they were telling the truth.

[-] GypsyKing 1 points 13 hours ago

Probably as long as just the two corporate pre-selected cantidates themselves showed up and voted it would still be a certified election. Having people not vote, particularly in the upcoming election, with no further plan to ratify a seperate election would be a disaster. Before we go talking about third parties, separate elections and social reforms we must figure out how we will achieve the actual power through these means, or how we will gain power in order to achieve them. Having people not vote to gain power is such a piss-poor plan that to see it coming from someone as capable of framing ideas as you are; it strikes mes as outright weird.

[-] mymarkx (San Diego, CA) 1 points 11 hours ago

It would be a certified election, but it would not be sufficient consent of the governed to grant legitimacy. I talk about a couple of examples here:


Legitimacy is conferred on a government when the governed vote to grant it their consent. The government may or may not be powerful, but if a lot of people vote for it, it can claim legitimacy. If it cannot get out the vote, it cannot claim the legitimacy that solely derives from the consent of the governed. It can certify an election and swear the winners into office, as South Africa did, but nobody would give them the respect that is granted to people who can muster a substantial number of votes. Foreign countries and foreign creditors, for example, will give more respect and credit to governments that can claim to have been democratically elected, than to governments which cannot due to a large majority boycotting an election.

Having people not vote to delegate or give away their power, in order to retain their power, is a much better plan than having people vote to give away their power and then wondering why they don't have any power.

Should a majority of US citizens decide that they don't like what our government is doing, and only those who approve of what our government is doing vote in 2012, there would be a 9% turnout, with more than 90% of the electoral choosing not to vote to show that they do not consent to what the government is doing.

The government would certify the election and seat the winners, but nobody would grant them the respect that is given to officials who are elected by a substantial vote.

If the people then held a people's election and 90% of the electorate cast ballots approving such measures as ending bank bailouts, ending wars, and requiring that all future decisions regarding tax expenditures be submitted to a vote by the general electorate, the government could reject the results, but it would obviously be unable to demonstrate the consent of the governed and would have no legitimacy that anyone, here or abroad, would be bound to respect. It would be clear to everyone that such a government was not a democracy or a republic because it wasn't representing the will of the people, and was a simple tyranny that disregarded the will of the people.

If the government tried to punish everyone who had refused to vote, it would have to bring in foreign mercenaries, as most US law enforcement officers and military troops would not arrest their neighbors for failing to vote. Even if the government made voting mandatory, it would have difficulty sending armed agents door to door to force people to vote against their will.

If the legitimacy of power doesn't derive from the consent of the governed, from where does it derive? Brute force may prevail, but it cannot claim legitimacy unless it can demonstrate the consent of the governed.

If elections don't matter, the 1% wouldn't spend billions of dollars on them. If they do matter, then whether or not people vote matters. The 1% could install their puppets in government without bothering to hold elections or spend billions of dollars getting out the vote. It isn't the power they're after, as they already have power, but the ability to claim that their power is legitimate and has the consent of the governed.

If you and your neighbors vote to chip in and build a civic center, you are exercising your power. If instead, you vote to elect an official who will have the power to tax you and to decide whether or not to use that money to build a civic center, a sports stadium, or a gold-plated statue of their late grandparent, you no longer have the power to decide how your money is spent because you gave it away by delegating it to somebody you cannot necessarily influence or control. You can try to talk that official out of erecting the statue, but the final decision is theirs, not yours, because you gave them that power instead of keeping it yourself.

I have the power to decide what to buy for dinner. If I thought I was incompetent to make that decision, I might select a guardian to make that decision for me and assign them full power of attorney over my affairs. They might ask me what I want for dinner or they might be busy and just order whatever they think would suffice to keep me fed. Or they might take all my money and run off to a tropical island. The only way I could get back the power to decide for myself what to buy for dinner would be if I revoked their power of attorney and took charge of my own affairs again.

Most people in this country apparently do not feel competent to manage their own affairs. As badly as government is managing things, and at present government has a historically low approval rating, most people seem to prefer that government make their decisions, than to take back their power and make their own decisions.

If I have the power to do something, that power is mine. If I vote to delegate that power to somebody else, I no longer have that power. If I want my power back, I have to stop giving it away and take it back.

Exactly what part of that sounds weird to you, Gypsy?

If the question of power is primary, then the question of separate elections and social reforms are secondary. I've answered the question of power. I have not answered the secondary questions because I don't think that a new and better system would necessarily have to be modeled after the old corrupt system.

But there should be no confusion with regard to the question of power. If we want to have power, we have to stop giving it away.

This is all purely theoretical, of course, as I see no indication that the people here want power. Most seem content to allow the government to remain in power. They may gripe about the government's abuse of power, but they do not wish to take power away from government.

[-] mymarkx (San Diego, CA) 1 points 8 hours ago

Responding to the comment by GypsyKing just below this (can't figure out how to put my reply in the proper place), although Congressional approval is low, 40% to 50% of the electorate still votes. It is the election turnout that grants legitimacy. If half the country is happy enough with the government to continue to vote and grant its consent to be governed, the 1% get a huge return on the billions they spend funding election campaigns.

Did you check out the link I posted? http://fubarandgrill.org/node/1172

Once they had their successful election boycott, nobody was able to continue to claim that the Apartheid regime was the legitimate government of South Africa. When only 10% of Cubans voted, Batista left the island. And nobody thought that the US-imposed government of Haiti was legitimate with only a 3% voter turnout.

Of course I couldn't convince people here in the US not to vote. The approximately 50% who already don't vote are those who understand that millionaires won't represent their interests, and who not only disapprove of what our government does, but care enough not to put their imprimatur on it. The approximately 50% who vote are those who can't understand the difference between an uncounted vote and a voice in government, and fully believe that we have a democratic system of government, even if it never takes public opinion into account when making policy decisions and sends out the riot squads if they protest.

As the activist I wrote that article for responded, those who vote are those who are not amenable to reason, they are people who believe what they desperately need to believe and it is impossible to argue with beliefs no matter how irrational they may be.

I didn't stop voting and become an election boycott advocate until I'd spent many years in the election integrity movement trying to figure out how we could ensure that our votes were counted, break the lock that the two-party system has on US electoral politics, and be able to exercise our will through our elected representatives instead of having them continue to represent the 1% who own them.

I eventually learned that the courts are useless, even in the rare cases where they have jurisdiction, because the law is whatever the judge says it is and judges themselves are elected. I learned that legislation won't solve the problem because the Supreme Court has the power to strike down legislation as unconstitutional , whether it is or not, and there is no appeal from a Supreme Court decision. I learned that at least fifty, and prossibly closer to a hundred Constitutional amendments would be needed to reform our electoral system so that our votes would be a real voice in government, and that it is impossible to get that many amendments passed and ratified without first reforming the electoral system--a real paradox. And when I finally began to understand that we couldn't accomplish anything by voting, I learned that some countries had ousted corrupt governments by boycotting elections.

So it is ridiculous of me to expect others to learn quickly what took me many years, even if they're smarter than I am. They might ascend the learning curve more quickly, but it can't be entirely avoided.

As for those who have too much vested in this system to want real change, or who fear real change, they aren't going to attempt the climb.

[-] GypsyKing 1 points 9 hours ago

I would assert that with Congressional approval being where it now stands our government is already illegitimate in the sense you describe, and yet it is still recognized as legitimate because it still controls the halls of power and the financial institutions. Nobody (and by this I mean no foreign governments or international financial institutions have declaired this govenment illlegitimate. Therefore, it appears to me that those who control those mechanisms of authority hold the power. Period. That leaves us right where we began, no matter the outcome of such a boycott, even if you could convinve 90% of the people to go along with such a boycott, which I doubt. I am not trying merely to be devissive with you, I am simply stating the case as I see it.

[-] mymarkx (San Diego, CA) 1 points 10 hours ago

This is what I see in San Diego. I'm extremely nearsighted, so I may not be seeing the true picture.

The peace activists are annoyed that the government doesn't respond to their wishes for peace, but they do not wish to deny government the power to declare war.

The feminists are concerned about threats to reproductive rights, but they do not wish to deny the Supreme Court the power to take away their rights.

The gays are disturbed at the difficulties they're having in gaining marriage equality, but they do not wish to take away government's power to decide whether or not they should have it.

The civil libertarians are deeply concerned that government has been eroding and denying our civil rights, but they do not wish to take away government's power to do so.

The human rights activists are worried about our government's war crimes, knowing torture of innocents, indefinite dentention without trial, and assassination without due process, but they do not wish to deny government the power to make and carry out such policies.

The anti-poverty activists are worried about the government's threats to Social Security and Medicare, but do not want to take away government's power to decide such things.

The advocates for social justice are concerned about the deregulation of banks and the bailouts, but do not want to deny government the power to deregulate and to use tax money for bailouts.

The environmental activists are gravely concerned about global warming and the planetary pollution that threatens the survival of life on earth, such as the inevitability of incidents like Chernobyl and Fukushima happening here in the US if nuclear power plants continue to be run solely for profit without regard to safety, but they do not wish to take away government's power to make decisions regarding the environment.

And it seems, at least from my jaundiced viewpoint, to be the same with every other group. They are concerned about what the government is doing, and would like very much to be able to influence government decisions, but they do not wish to take away the government's ultimate power to make those decisions.

So my pleas to stop voting as a way to disempower government and restore power to the hands of the people, fall on deaf ears. Worse, I'm considered a fool and a lunatic, if not a traitor, for even suggesting that we the people might be better qualified to exercise power in our own best interests than the government is.

You may think that what I'm saying is weird, Gypsy, but that's nothing with how weird the situation here appears to my admittedly myopic eyes. As you can guess, I think that all these people are much better qualified than their elected representatives to make decisions that would benefit me, them, society in general, and the planet. However I have to admit that people know themselves much better than I could possibly know them, so if they think that government is more competent than they are, there's no way that I could possibly convince them otherwise. And, in truth, they may be right--I have no way to judge.

[-] number2 3 points 3 days ago

if the politicians saw OWS registering people to vote like mad they would be scared

[-] mymarkx (San Diego, CA) 0 points 3 days ago

Politicians who saw OWS registering people to vote would only be scared if the votes actually counted and if they didn't have the five Supreme Court votes needed to select a President.

[-] number2 4 points 3 days ago

you're too cynical. I have removed a US senator and congressman in my state by working with others. I have seen it with my own eyes. The reason America is so screwed right now is not for any other reason than the American people's ignorance, complacency and laziness.

[-] mymarkx (San Diego, CA) -1 points 3 days ago

Congratulations on the Senate vote to eliminate habeus corpus and hold US citizens indefinitely without charge and without trial. I'm sure you're very proud of your vote and what you elected officials have done for you.

[-] number2 4 points 3 days ago

i'm proud of what i have done in removing them. But there is more removing to do. The point is it can be done.

[-] mymarkx (San Diego, CA) -1 points 2 days ago

It can only be done when the 1% allow it to be done. Otherwise they program the central tabulators to flip the votes, or have the Supreme Court step in and nullify the popular vote. Constitutionally the popular votes doesn't even have to be counted.

[-] jartjart 3 points 3 days ago

i think every occupy city, world wide, should decide to do whatever the hell they want- remember ows has no leaders. its a parallel structure. occupy new york city has set the vision- a beautiful vision of freedom- and the world will follow that vision- forever. training web page http://tinyurl.com/7rvpv43

[-] mymarkx (San Diego, CA) -1 points 3 days ago

Sure. Some will register voters to petition the keepers of the status quo to change, some will register voters for Ron Lawl, some will register voters for Obama, and all will register voters to give their consent of the governmed to the government to bash the heads in of every other Occupier.

Everyone doing their own thing within a framework of direct democracy and doing no harm to others would be fine. Doing their own thing within the current system, a framework of capitalism, military empire, and a police state, will not further the vision of freedom.

[-] aahpat 2 points 1 day ago

Cynical complicity

The Wall Street 1% do NOT own the vote. they own the winning margin. A very small mass of blind fools who vote whatever their party tells them to vote.

Wall Street depends on the disaffection and defeatism of a large enough portion of the population to have their winning margin be effective. But it is only effective if enough Americans give up on American democracy. Become cynical and stay home rather than vote against the 1%.

Cynicism, disaffection and defeatism among Americans who oppose the subversive corruption of American politics by Wall Street are the success of Wall Street and the 1%. When you don't vote they win. They know this. while you refuse to acknowledge your own inaction amounts to complicity in keeping the 1% in power.

[-] mymarkx (San Diego, CA) 1 points 19 hours ago

There is no way to vote against the 1%. In 2008 the 1% split their donations almost equally between McCain and Obama to ensure that whoever won, the 1% would still control the government.

The 1% do own the vote. In 2000 Al Gore won the popular vote and in 2004 John Kerry won the popular vote. In neither case did the person who won the popular vote take office. As the Supreme Court announced in Bush v. Gore 2000, the Constitution does not include any right for the popular vote to be counted--whether or not to count it is entirely up to the Supreme Court, an unelected body appointed by Presidents who are representatives of the 1%--who gained office because their multi-million and multi-billion dollar election campaigns were funded by the 1%.

There are two ways the 1% can remain in power, that is legitimately with the consent of the governed, or illegitimately by force without the consent of the governed. Voting is the consent of the governed. No matter who people vote for or against, and whether or not their votes are counted, if there is a substantial turnout at elections, the 1% can claim the consent of the governed. If there is not a substantial turnout at elections, the 1% can only rule by force of violence, because they would lack the consent of the governmed from which all governments derive their just powers.

Government of, by, and for the 1% would become illegitimate and be exposed as unjust if people didn't vote.

Election boycotts are the only known and proven nonviolent way to delegitimize a government. Anyone interested can read about it here:


As for not voting being "inaction" or the equivalent of doing nothing, if you're doing something wrong, or something that is self-destructive or hurting others, stopping might be a good idea. If delegating your power to people you can't hold accountable has resulted in the devastation of your economy, do you really want to keep doing it? If granting your authority to people you can't hold accountable has resulted in wars based on lies that have killed over a million innocent people, do you really want to keep doing it? If granting your consent of the governed to people you can't hold accountable has resulted in government operating on behalf of big corporations and the wealthy instead of on behalf of the people, do you really want to keep doing it?

It is voting that keeps the 1% in power and is inaction and doing nothing to bring about change or improve the status quo.

[-] FrogWithWings 1 points 19 hours ago

Well, not entirely true. One can object to the implied consent, in writing, and declare themselves Sovereign and only subject to common law and our First Constitution.

[-] mymarkx (San Diego, CA) 1 points 18 hours ago

Would a person who considered themself sovereign, vote in the elections of another sovereign entity or subject themself to the governance of another sovereign entity's laws and Constitution?

The consent of the governed that is demonstrated by voting in elections is not merely implied, it is formally declared:

Consensual Political Intercourse http://fubarandgrill.org/node/1035#comment-3158

[-] FrogWithWings 1 points 18 hours ago

Actually, registering to vote in the Incorporated Government's Election is yet one more way of which you give further consent. The first consent you give is by not objecting to UCC, and all it implies. From there, it only gets worse.

In a more ideal America, if it's simply not possible to abolish the Corporate Government, perhaps by allowing it to default, as The People have disconnected from it, at least the non-fraudulent system could possibly by put in place, without any illusions or miles of written legal battles to distinguish which is which and who a person truly is, right up front and parallel to it with it's own system of legislation, executive branch and justice systems.

I have no idea how to bring this about or if the Corporate system can simply be abolished by the people in any other way.


You may find other interesting tidbits in this thread.

[-] LoveAndRespect 1 points 18 hours ago

Occupy isn't any single group or initiative...if there is a divide in tactics then there can be more than one group (and hopefully they can respect each other). If you don't like these tactics, find the others that agree with you and form your own Occupy group that has a different focus. We aren't all going to have the same approach, but we all need to support each other and work together.

[-] mymarkx (San Diego, CA) 1 points 15 hours ago

I don't think there are enough people here to form another group. The only differences I see among the majority of people here are whether to support the system in authorized or in unauthorized ways. Opposing the system is just downright unpatriotic and an insult to the flag, to the 99% for which it stands, and to the 1% who sell that myth.

Since my personal focus is to oppose the system, and I'm not in a position to move to another city, all I can do is throw my support to individuals and groups elsewhere who also oppose imperialism, capitalism, and the sham elections that legitimize their atrocities and crimes against humanity.

It isn't merely a divide in tactics, it is a divide in objectives. I want government of the people, by the people, and for the people, i.e., direct democracy, and although there are some anarchists who don't want any government whatsoever, everyone else besides me seems to be perfectly happy with our present form or government and just wants it to be a bit more benevolent and to make a few temporary concessions.

I'm the one who is out of step with the movement here (but perhaps not everywhere) and I've had to step back because I won't keep beating my head against a wall.

I've seen others sell out also. One activist I've admired for years, and who recently wrote that unless we change the system, the new boss will turn out to be just like the old boss, sent out an email asking people to support a political candidate. Since he knows that changing the players won't help unless we change the system, I can only assume that the candidate is a personal friend, somebody who has done favors for him in the past, or a member of some group he also belongs to. For most people, principles seem to vanish when personal friendships are at stake.

I've been a lone voice in the wilderness for many years and I shouldn't have allowed Occupy San Diego to get my hopes up. Change will only come when people are ready for it, and San Diego isn't ready. They'll take part in actions against the banks, but they'll continue to vote for the politicians who deregulated and bailed out the banks. They're reformists, and I'm a radical. We don't just have different tactics, we have totally different goals. They want to treat the symptoms, I want to cure the disease.

[-] mouse9 1 points 19 hours ago

They did pass the controversial bill to indefinitely detain any American viewed to be a threat.http://www.freerepublic.com/focus/f-chat/2815716/posts

[-] mouse9 1 points 20 hours ago

Well there you go then, a failed attempt by a few that participated in the Occupy Movement trying to selfishly further their own agenda.

[-] mymarkx (San Diego, CA) 1 points 19 hours ago

In San Diego, the selfish ones who participated in the Occupy movement to try to further their own agenda, that is, to register voters in hopes that many would vote and thereby support and preserve the status quo rather than trying to bring about change, succeeded totally.

[-] FrogWithWings 1 points 20 hours ago

So am now learning that OWS supports true democracy?

[-] mymarkx (San Diego, CA) 1 points 19 hours ago

Some OWS cities may still support true democracy, at least according to the dictionary definition of democracy.

Occupy San Diego does not support democracy, it supports plutocracy, government by the rich who spend billions of dollars getting their political puppets elected. Occupy San Diego is helping the 1% register voters, because merely spending billions of dollars might not be enough to get people to do their civic duty to the police state and consent to the status quo this time.

[-] aahpat 1 points 1 day ago

Actually exercising America's Wall Street subverted democracy is the most dissident thing that Americans can do in the eyes of the Democrats and republicans.

Re-invigorating American democracy is the greatest threat that OWS can pose to Wall Street's control over the Democrats and Republicans.

They've got the guns but we've got the numbers.

[-] aahpat 1 points 1 day ago

American democracy has been subverted by the two parties and Wall Street. the most revolutionary non-violent and realistic thing that OWS can do to combat the subversion is to exercise the democracy the way that Mike Garcia is doing.

Direct democracy has not been agreed to by a majority of Americans and so it is being imposed by a small elitist group that fancies itself the will of the people by virtue only of its assertion of that will.

Exercising American democracy, as it exists but in new and creative ways, is the fastest and most direct way to undermine Wall Street's subversion of our democracy and government.

[-] mymarkx (San Diego, CA) 1 points 22 hours ago

Wall Street did not subvert democracy. We never had a democracy. We never had a republic. We have had what the Constitution established, a plutocracy where those who own the country have always ruled it and continue to do so.

In a plutocracy, where ordinary people have no power, they can find new and creative ways to try to petition or influence the rich and powerful, but they can't exercise a power they don't have. You can hope that your votes will be counted, but you don't have the power to ensure that your votes are counted. You can petition those in power, but they don't have to allow public opinion to influence their policy decisions.

In a democracy, the President can't start wars that most citizens disapprove of. In a democracy, the government can't bail out the banks without the consent of the citizens. In a democracy, the people have a voice in government, not just uncounted votes to be ignored.

Direct democracy has not been attempted in US politics outside of the the old New England Town Hall meetings, a few small towns like Arcata, and the Occupy movement GAs, and there are people like you and Mike Garcia who consider that to be subversion, who don't want ordinary people to have a real voice in decisions, but prefer to have politicians funded and beholden to the 1% make their decisions for them.

Why am I wasting my words on people who are so apathetic that they've never even looked up the word democracy in the dictionary to find out what it means, because they think it means what the educational system and the mass media taught them it means--rule by the rich and powerful in which the people can cast uncounted votes to decide which rich and powerful officials they would prefer make their decisions for them without consulting them or listening to them.

[-] FrogWithWings 1 points 18 hours ago

Only partially true.

This nation has TWO Constitutions and TWO different governments which have co-existed for years.

Down the left side is what most unenlightened people of ideals would like to BELIEVE we have, it's there, but not easy to access.


Down the right side is reality for all unless they've claimed their rights as a person and live as shown down the right side.

[-] aahpat 1 points 21 hours ago

What a freakin load of drivel. Its no wonder people are laughing at you fool.

America is and always has been a democratically constituted republic.

Your myopic self delusions between what is and what you prefer to be are universes apart. You are so dangerously ignorant that you drag down the entire OWS movement with your self imposed stupidity.

[-] mymarkx (San Diego, CA) 1 points 20 hours ago

A democratic form of government is one in which power is vested in the people, not in the government.

There are two basic types, a direct democracy where the people exercise their power directly by voting directly on issues and policies, and a republic where people exercise their power through their elected representatives. Not petition them, not make demands on them which go ignored, but exercise power through them.

In order for the people to exercise power through their elected representatives, there are two necessary conditions:

  1. That supreme power over goveernment be vested in the hands of the people (the dictionary definition of democracy), rather than in the hands of a supreme deity, supreme monarch, supreme dictator, supreme parliament or Congress, or supreme court.

  2. That the people are able to exercise their power through their elected representatives during the time those representatives are supposed to represent their constituents, that is, during their terms of office which is the only time that they are in power and the only time that they are supposed to represent the people. Waiting until their terms of office are over and then trying to elect different officials is not a way to exercise power through officials during the times they are supposed to represent their constituents. Allowing them to kill innocent children in foreign countries who cannot be brought back to life by electing someone different later on because voters didn't approve of it in the first place, or allowing them to indebt our grandchildren who cannot be relieved of those debts by electing someone different later on because voters didn't approve of that policy in the first place, isn't exercising the will of the people through their representatives, it is allowing representatives to do whatever they want, and then, if the people don't like it, the people can cast uncounted votes to try to elect different officials who can't be made to represent them either.

Are you capable of posting a single comment which doesn't contain a personal attack? Are you capable of rational arguments and of treating others with respect? Can you discuss the issues instead of just smearing anyone you disagree with?

[-] FrogWithWings 1 points 18 hours ago

IT is not capable of such as you ask.


[-] FrogWithWings 0 points 18 hours ago

You are living the illusion of what you believe, regardless if obvious facts and real circumstances, all around you and every day, prove contrary.

[-] mymarkx (San Diego, CA) 1 points 1 day ago

Occupy San Diego apparently got consensus and is now officially registering voters and proud of it.

From their latest email blast for 12/3/11

Tables Return to Freedom Plaza The day after Raymond Lutz is arrested while registering voters Occupiers return with tables and voter registration cards to engage in peaceful political activity as is their Constitutional right SDPD tell Occupiers while voter registration is allowed putting tables down is not and threaten to arrest anyone who does so. Occupiers were still registering voters at a table throughout the day and night at Civic Center

Raymond Lutz arrested! Lutz arrested while engaging in the peaceful political activity of voter registration at Civic Center Plaza. Owner/Operators of Civic Center Office Building include Goldman Sachs, hedge funds and Wall St. Banks -- a who's who of the criminal banking industry 0.1% Ray Lutz has filed a lawsuit against the owners and operators of the Civic Center Plaza building, that invoked the citizens arrest. Press conference held Nov 30 at 5pm to announce the lawsuit. Attorney Michael Aguirre will handle the case on contingency basis, but we still will need to fund-raise for court costs and fees, for war chest and defense fund. Fundraising will be set up shortly separate from OSD funds. I daresay they will be very sorry they stepped over this line. Read the text of the complaint by Lutz against CBRE The ACLU is considering taking up a case to test Pruneyard for the case like what we have in San Diego: The public square where part of it is owned by a private party, and the fact that voters who were registering were not allowed to complete their registrations.

They are oblivious to the fact that they are not acting in accordance with the direct democracy objectives of the Occupy Wall Street movement, but are merely engaging in politics as usual by registering voters.

They believe that the system might need some reforms, but is basically a good system that doesn't need to be radically changed.

I wonder how much of the Occupy movement has also been co-opted into politics as usual, believes in working within the system instead of trying to change the system, and is no longer a movement for change but a traditional movement for reform.

[-] aahpat 1 points 1 day ago


You are quite the rigid authoritarian.

[-] mymarkx (San Diego, CA) 1 points 23 hours ago

aahpat, can you point to one single statement of mine that you consider to be authoritarian?

Am I authoritarian because I don't vote for a government that suppresses civil dissent with riot squads, tear gas, and mass arrests?

Instead of pure ad hominem name-calling, perhaps you'd care to modify it and state a rational reason for your personal attack? What exactly is it that causes you to believe that by not supporting an imperialist police state, I'm more authoritarian than the system and those who support it?

[-] aahpat 1 points 21 hours ago

First your criticisms of Garcia. followed by your criticisms of the SD OWS for supporting Garcia are all childish authoritarian bullshit.

They are making a difference. You are masturbating.

[-] mymarkx (San Diego, CA) 1 points 20 hours ago

Well, they're not making a difference yet. In fact 214 years of voting hasn't made a difference yet--the rich still rule this country. But maybe if you try it for another century you might make a difference. Heck, give it a chance and try two more centuries. If you think we'll still be around. Tear gassing and arresting people for civil dissent is authoritarian. Refusing to vote for a government that does such things is anti-authoritarian.

Are you capable of posting a single comment that doesn't contain a personal attack?

Personal attacks and unfounded allegations repeated over and over are no substitute for rational arguments, but indicate a lack of rational arguments.

[-] mymarkx (San Diego, CA) 1 points 3 days ago

Occupy San Diego says they're registering voters so that they can petition the government for redress of grievances. They say they are opposed to the recent Senate vote to declare the US a battlefield and arrest US citizens and hold them indefinitely without charge and without trial.

I asked one Occupier, "If I petition you to buy me a beer (theoretical only--I don't drink), does that mean I'm opposing you?"

There was an OWS NYC tweet that said that people who are fed up with politics as usual should join them. I said that if people prefer politics as usual, they should join Occupy San Diego which is registering voters.

[-] ramous (Wabash, IN) 1 points 3 days ago

Sooner or later, all of Occupy will come back to the system. Because while the system might have its problems and need some housecleaning, it does work better than any paper alternative when it comes to in practice.

[-] mymarkx (San Diego, CA) 2 points 2 days ago

You may be correct, ramous. Not that the system is working or could work, but that all of Occupy will eventually be co-opted.

The little "problems" that you admit might need some "housecleaning," involve the murder of millions of innocent civilians in wars of aggression based on lies, which is, according to the Nuremberg Principles, the worst crime against humanity there is, torture of known innocents, the elimination of habeus corpous, the renunciation of the Magna Carta, and shipping 21 tons of CS gas to Egypt last week to suppress the protesters in Tahrir Square so that the US could impose an election in which the Egyptian military junta, a wholly-owned puppet of the US, would retain more than 60% of the seats in the Egyptian parliament and most of the other seats would be held by Islamists loyal to the military junta.

You may be happy with that state of affairs, but I am not.

The US is supporting the military junta in Egypt because the US is also run by a military junta which controls Congress and the President by limiting their access to information. Only a few Members of Congress have the clearances to read what classified documents the Pentagon releases to them, and they are forbidden to tell their colleagues, no less their constituents, what they learned. And there are many cases of the Pentagon lying to the President and Congress, as in the way the strength of the Soviet Union was deliberately exaggerated, the Bay of Pigs, and Iran/Contra.

The "practice" of drone-bombing innocent children in their beds is not something I can condone. If you think it is working (which it isn't--all it does is cause more people to hate us for killing their children), you're Constitutionally entitled to your belief. You're also Constitutionally entitled to believe that the world is flat, that there is a Santa Claus, and that this is the best of all possible worlds.

[-] ramous (Wabash, IN) 1 points 1 day ago

You sir, while I disagree with some of your points, have made very sound and excellent arguments. Some of it pissed me off, as you're too smart to have missed my point and pretend I said something else. You should be an official spokesperson, far better than the angry children who listen only to their anger. War kills. Its bloody and it kills innocents as well as enemies. but that's war. I detest war and I don't like that we're in any wars. But I do sadly understand that countries make bargains with each other to support each other's war actions and we're going to be the go-to guy for that.

To be, in the 20th century, still engaging in wars, for anybody, is disgusting. (that same is the reason we closed our own Occupy camp after 5 weeks when Occupy began to show too many signs of violence.) Its not that this world is the best of all possible worlds; its not, it could be better. And its not that this country is the best of all possible countries, its not. It too, could be made better. But it is the best of all possible countries that exist right now. Sadly, not one, not one, of any nation, or people on this planet, have not engaged in war (or other term for killing other humans), so that, very unfortunately, can not be the sole measuring stick of a nation.

[-] mymarkx (San Diego, CA) 1 points 1 day ago

Uh, what is it that makes us the best of all possible countries that exist right now, ramous?

That we have more prisoners than any other country?

That we spend more on wars than any other country?

That we're the world's number one arms dealer?

That we train more foreign military and law enforcement agents in the arts of torture and suppressing civil dissent than any other country?

That we use more of the world's resources than any other country?

If I'm so smart, why don't I know what makes us better than everyone else?

[-] ramous (Wabash, IN) 1 points 1 day ago

If you were as well travelled as I am you'd know. But 'What can he know of England, who only England knows?' US citizens think they have it so bad, only because they don't know what bad is. Im a naturalized US citizen. I could have chosen anywhere in the world. It becomes an easy choice.

For just your first example, in many countries there are smaller percentage of prisoners because if you break the law, you are likely to be shot, not put in a prison. Hell you can be disappeared in my home country, with never a trace, only if someone on the police force does not like you. US is more humane than most other countries in dealing with its lawbreakers. That just the first one.

If you're so smart, why don't you know that millions and millions of people from many other countries, will do anything to come here to the US? I can live with the politics of the US. The ones who can't go to Canada or Australia. If other people didn't love the US so much, you wouldn't have all these colors and religions and languages. But we know the extremely good thing you got here, even if you don't.

[-] mymarkx (San Diego, CA) 1 points 1 day ago

I lived for approximately five years each in Mexico, Honduras, and Afghanistan, about six months in India, and smaller amounts of time in other countries in Asia and Central America. I haven't spent much time in many other developed countries besides the US because I couldn't afford to, but I'm not exactly provincial.

Many of the people who are desperate to come to the US are fleeing US death squads or brutal dictatorships installed and supported by the US. In some cases US military interventions or trade deals have caused such dire poverty that people will gladly go anywhere, including the country that caused their problems, in hopes of surviving.

In case you hadn't heard, our Senate just passed a bill that would allow US citizens to be disappeared without a trace, snatched off the streets and held indefinitely in secret prisons here or abroad, without being charged with any crime and without the right to ever go to trial. Unless Obama, who already has asserted the right to assassinate US citizens without due process, chooses to veto it, the US will have no advantage over any other country with regard to personal safety and security. If a police officer doesn't like you, they could simply concoct a story that you're a terrorism suspect, and you'll never have the opportunity to try to prove that you're not. I just now saw a news item that the White House intends to veto the bill, so instead of being disappeared, we can now only legally be assassinated. I'm not sure that's such a good thing.

A friend of mine is an immigrant who only became a US citizen last year. This friend came here believing a lot of the myths about the US, but upon arrival took a bus from the airport and looking out the bus window saw so many boarded up stores and homeless people that she began to worry that her plane had landed in the wrong country by mistake.

Do you know of any other developed country that still has both capital punishment and slavery as legal punishment for a crime? While such extreme penalties are usually meted out primarily to low income blacks and other people of color, I happen to consider such people to also be human and as much entitled to human and civil rights as wealthy whites. In fact I hold that truth to be self-evident. ;)

[-] ramous (Wabash, IN) 1 points 1 day ago

S.1867. Yeah, heard about it. And I read the bill after seeing the 'sky is falling' panic posts. But I dont take propaganda, I find out.
You'll find nothing in there like that either. Its worthy of snopes.com


58 countries still have capital punishment. All countries require their prisoners to work in some form. Sweden pays them 10 kronor an hour.

Tell your friend not to worry. this isn't our worst recession, or our highest unemployment rate or our highest inflation rate. BTW Im fascinated I didn't know that the early 1980s recession happened for all the same reason that the 2008 recession did, including having such major global impact and collapsing foreign markets. She should feel better that we've gone through this before. Im not going to link, you can find it if you want to, and won't look for it if you don't.

[-] mymarkx (San Diego, CA) 1 points 1 day ago

58 countries still have capital punishment, but we're the only developed country that does. Putting us in a class with Uganda and Somalia doesn't make us the best of all possible countries that currently exist.

We pay our prisoners an average of a dollar a day for their work, and they perform work for our military-industrial complex and for big multinational corporations that can't find such cheap labor anywhere else in the world.

[-] ZenDog 1 points 4 days ago

It is interesting. This movement has been modeled in the shape of successful public campaigns that were nurtured in Eastern Europe, funded by

Freedom House (Mowat, op. cit.)

International Republican Institute (IRI) (Mowat, op. cit.)

National Endowment for Democracy

Open Society Institute

USAID – Financed T-shirts, stickers, etc

United States Institute of Peace (Dobbs, op. cit.)

SourceWatch - Otpor

The Occupy Movement has all of the same stated elements in terms of demographic appeal, ideology, tactics, and


  • college
  • kids
  • direct democracy
  • non-violence

It uses these things because they are effective, and appealing. Once a population has a sense of distrust for the power structure, something like direct democracy is the only solution for their distrust. It's only a short term solution. In the end, people still have to eat, which means they have to work, which means they can't keep up with every single thing happening on a socio-political level.

I'm not sure if blaming all parties is something from other movements or not - but it does have a benefit to the repelicans at this point in the election cycle. Since they are the most corrupt within the system, I would toss that bit of ideology.

People have to vote. If they don't, the whole system of corruption will remain largely unaffected.

If they do vote - no repelican is going to keep their seat very long.

Repelicans do not like direct democracy - they are control freaks. They do not like the opinion of the masses, because they want to fleece us, and we don't like it.

Example - budget debate: over 70 % of the public wanted compromise.

Repelicans said NO. They said ending the Bushite Tax Cut was a new tax

It was a LIE, and not only that, it ran contrary to the will of the people who were overwhelmingly in favor of revenue generation -

even members of the One Percent say they can afford it - and the bastards refuse to consider it!

Failure to address these kinds of lies ensures more lies.

We must vote.

We must confront repelican lies.

[-] mymarkx (San Diego, CA) 2 points 3 days ago

Last I heard, Obama was still a Democrat.

He started more wars than Republican Bush.

He gave banks bigger bailouts than Republican Bush.

He asserted the right to assassinate US citizens without due process, repudiating the Magna Carta of the 13th Century.

Confronting Republican lies with bigger Democratic lies doesn't seem like progress to me.

During the '08 Presidential campaign, most people opposed the bailouts. Obama and McCain took time out from campaigning to issue a joint statement supporting the bailouts, to tell voters that no matter who they voted for, they were voting for bailouts.

But voters are too apathetic to care.

[-] ZenDog 1 points 3 days ago

you are just a bit loose in terms of how you define more wars - and no matter how you slice it our venture into Iraq was Bushite - based on a huge lie - the likes of which no dem would attempt.

Bailouts? The bailouts themselves aren't the problem - though repelicans insist it is. They scream over GM - not ever considering that if GM had failed there would be one million more people out of work - and many would now be protesting. They also scream over GM because the government actually took possession of a portion of the company, and forced the CEO to resign.

Repelicans find such behavior abhorrent. Reprehensible.


Bank bailouts are a problem only because the banks have not reciprocated by easing the housing crises by ending foreclosures - instead they reacted angrily to new regulations with new fees - which they then ditched in part because of US, this movement.

as far as killing U.S. citizens without due process - I confess, on the face of it it seems extreme - and yet I can't help, in my darker moments, the urge to do just that - some people just plain need killing.

You go ahead and vote for who you like.

I know I will.

[-] mymarkx (San Diego, CA) 0 points 3 days ago

I don't vote, ZenDog. You can vote, whether or not you realize that by voting you are granting your consent of the governed to allow the US police state to bash my head in, but I will never vote to consent to empower them to bash your head in. Not even if it needs bashing.

[-] ZenDog 0 points 3 days ago

It is your right not to vote, if that is what you want, and believe is in the interest of the country.

If enough people were fed up with the system, because the system had clearly heard them and responded inappropriately, then such action can be effective at signaling a universal rejection of the government.

We are no where near that point.

Not voting, not participating, not paying attention to what's happening in DC - that is exactly what therepelicans want you to do.

[-] mymarkx (San Diego, CA) 1 points 3 days ago

I not only pay attention, which most voters don't do, but I disapprove of what is going on. Strangely, most voters also disapprove of what is going on, but they keep voting to consent to it. I don't and I won't.

If everyone waits until enough people are fed up before joining Occupy because they personally are fed up, Occupy couldnt happen.

[-] gawdoftruth (Santa Barbara, CA) 0 points 3 days ago

in short, as could have been predicted, the dems are in this to co-opt it.

which is why we need to form a new third party and flush all the bums out,

and why every moment you people don't bother to help me and listen to me is another moment you are wasting time... they are already ready with their co-opting plans and their standard tactics...

and we don't have a meaningful alternative YET, because all anybodies done is protest in the streets.. not work on the wiki, not do the homework.



I have been active here since the very beginning, and since the very beginning I have been trying to make some core points. These points clearly have not been digested or fully understood by the mob, and so I'm going to try to make a further attempt here again. 1. Merely protesting in the streets will not bring change. In fact merely protesting in the streets is in fact a means to the end of avoiding the real work of a revolution, which consists of the evolutionary solutions, answers, problem solving process, and new political alignment we create. 2. This forum is absolutely disorganized. It won't be read by most people and it won't and can't function as a core organizational system. 3. Back at the very start of this, I petitioned the admin to add multiple sub forums and a wiki. Multiple sub forums were promised but have never arrived. I think that this tells us that the intention actually of this forum is message control and containment. The entire purpose really of this forum has always been to keep us spinning in disorganization. We are hanging out on a forum that expressly exists to actually keep us confused and disorganized. 4. The real work of a revolution isn't going to happen on forums, it needs to happen in a much more organized fashion using collaborative software. 5. The assorted other details about how to collaborate, how to work open source direct democracy, how to focus in on science instead of isms, how to become hyper rational about this, are details which are essential and crucial, without which we can predict the movement to fail. 6. Technically speaking we are not 99 percent, we are one tenth of one percent attempting to represent the 99 percent. Our core mission must be to communicate to and with the 99 percent, and get them to join us. This forum will not accomplish that and neither will any of the other main websites. 7. You can follow other people out to other wikis and other websites, where they will try to get you to get involved with what they want and their program, but frankly speaking, there is no other website and no other operation out there which understands the complexities involved with meaningful organization. In short, everyones being led to get involved here there and everywhere else, scattering the movement in directions which ultimately do not gain us critical mass, criticial momentum, or critical systemic lucidity. 8. I have managed to get a wiki put up and have already put on that wiki evolutionary details which make it more organized than anything else. I can't do this alone. There are 10 or so wikis now out there, most of which were created in response to my pleas for a wiki, and several of which are in domains owned and operated by some corporation, (wikia, etc) And which we can thus assume will simply be closed, shut down, or deleted if they become useful to the movement. 9. Probably at least half of the invites you have to go participate at some other site are people who are scamming everyone to waste time and energy, distort the movement, co opt it, and etc. When you walk off into a closet ask yourself how you know that the closet isn't created by some fed, or by some republican, or by some democrat, in order to sway things in their direction. 10. The only meaningful strategic option we have for real change in this country is to create a new third party, and take every political office in this country. 11. Once that is done, we can have an article 5 convention. If we have an article 5 convention before getting rid of the oligachs, that just opens the genie from the bottle for them to abuse that process with their corruption and evil.

For these reasons, I beg of you to please immediately join me on the wiki. We need to have all of these details and all of these ideas put together in an organized fashion, rather than posted in a long scrawl which will never be read.








[-] mymarkx (San Diego, CA) 0 points 3 days ago

The problem, gawdoftruth, is that in order to take every political office in this country for your third party, you'd first have to have a Constitutional Convention to pass at least 50 Amendments to ensure that voters had to be counted, gerrymandered districts were eliminated, the electoral process was transparent and verifiable, corporate money was removed from politics and elections were publicly funded, the Electoral College was abolished, the Supreme Court would not be able to intervene in elections, etc., etc.

And in order to have a Constitutional Convention to pass all those Amendments, you'd first have to take every political office in this country.

And in order to take every political....., etc., etc.

But you'd still be stuck with a plutocracy instead of a direct democracy, because you're trying to reform the old system instead of trying to create a new and better one.

[-] gawdoftruth (Santa Barbara, CA) 1 points 2 days ago

you don't see the systems theory or game theory there. In fact with a 70 percent coalition they can't feasibly rig the elections, and if they did they'd be caught doing it - it would be transparent to everyone. In fact the new third party is crucial because the article 5 convention opens the Genies bottle and they could play that their own way. Only doing both simultaneously both puts the pressure on and the fire underneath their feet AND opens the door for drastic sudden but well thought out and lucid meaningful positive social and economic change.

Seriously, i get sick and tired of having people tell me "the problem" when i am the game theorist and what i JUST said is Actually the FORMULA level solution to the problem.

I'm right, i know i am right, i am dead right, i am absolutely, lucidly, overwhelmingly right, and i shouldn't have to dither with you in a conversation about how to get it done.

And "build a new thing"? your false dillemma is all the more pathetically mind trapped because thats exactly what i propose even as you play smoke and mirrors and try to claim some kind of lucidity high ground.

Built a new thing means creating the platform items, which means doing all the work to work the problems, find real science centered solutions, and have a paradigm shift.

Building the third party IS WORK but if that WORK IS DONE then WINNING EVERY OFFICE is in fact INEVITABLE.

Quit stalling out on the path of right action dithering and chit chatting and philosophizing and spewing ignorant opinions not based in truth or science fact or game theory, and bother to listen as i tell you all HOW it is done.

Either you humans want change or you want stuckness. Heres the rub. Your civilization is on fire and the longer you don't listen the more the shit hits the fan.

Sooner or later people will be in line to actually listen to me because i DO have the answers.

The only question is how much it has to hurt for them to learn the hard way.

You know i am getting tired of being able to say "i told you so". Its not as gratifying as one might think.


[-] mymarkx (San Diego, CA) 1 points 1 day ago

They can rig the elections even with a 90 percent coalition, simply by programming the central tabulators to apportion the votes the way they wish, not as cast. They would indeed be caught, but they would simply say that it was a "computer glitch," as they usually do when caught. Since the unelected candidates would already have been sworn in by the time that the authorities were forced to admit that there had been a computer glitch, Constitutionally, even though everyone knew the election was stolen, they could only be removed by impeachment, which Congress rarely does--in the case of sitting Members of Congress, "rarely" means NEVER.

As for the Article 5 Convention, we'd need to have that first to get corporate money out of politics, and in order for it to pass and be ratified, we'd first need to elect people who weren't beholden to the corporations. In order to elect such people, we'd first need the Constitutional Amendments to make it possible, so we'd need the Article 5 Convention first, but we couldn't get such Amendments passed and ratified unless we first elected people who weren't beholden to corporate money. In order to elect such people, we'd need the Amendment to remove corporate money from politics first. But to get the Amendment passed and ratified, we'd need to elect honest politicians first.

You seem to think that we can elect honest politicians without first getting the money out of politics, or that we can pass Constitutional amendments to get the money out of politics without first electing honest politicians. Neither is possible without the other happening first.

If you know game theory, you should be able to figure that out.

[-] gawdoftruth (Santa Barbara, CA) 1 points 19 hours ago

you seem to think that i haven't already run all that three times. Heres the problem with all of your reasoning. Since EVERY aspect of this game is as corrupt as you say it is, the only sane position to take is that the changes put on the table have to be fundamental, sound, lucid, and clear headed, so that what we are fighting FOR is evolutionary. WHEN the elites then have their con scam and are caught, that propels the game to escalate. Since its all rigged and con scam med through and corrupt, our best bets are to escalate as far as we can on each front and do all of the work that is possible on each front.

What you are in essence arguing against is not operating on the only front that actually matters, given that the only chance we have really of beating that problem ahead of it is to actually have a paradigm shift which convinces the one percent to actually stop being evil and join us. All it takes is a significant fraction of them to do that, and the power of the rest of the them is screwed like that.

I'm getting sick and tired of this. I hav put all of the real solutions on the table and if you all didn;t have your heads up your asses you'd be back at the wiki doing work. Instead, somebody whos got a tiny fraction of the understanding that i do is trying to tell me what i SEEM to think according to them as they spin in strategic confusion.

The real solution is, we don't do one thing and then the other next; we do it ALL simultaneously.

anything less will fail for precisely the kinds of reasons you seem to enjoy pointing out and then failing to see the real game consequences of.

We must come out with evolutionary solutions to 1001 very different high order problems, or this isn't going to fly.

We must implement all of those solutions AT THE SAME TIME, and even then, the monster of corporate oligarchy may not go down any way other than kicking or and screaming and fighting tooth and nail for 2 or 3 election years.

But probably, we can win this all in under 4 months, all you have to do is stop pontificating and chit chatting and BSing me and actually bother to go READ the plan and then be a part of a paradigm shift.

What people arguing from your position clearly manage to miss is the evolutionary energy which exists which has been held in check for 200 years by the DAM of the oligarchies lies and propaganda and culture wars.

We have yet to even imagine en masse tapping that energy and so everything feels stuck. The opposite is true. if you all stop kidding yourself that you can chit chat your way through it and BS each other and BS me, and actually go to the wiki, and read, and then get busy implementing what i have put before us all as work, the energy potential of assorted sciences that have been swept under the carpet, the evolutionary energy of the internet, and the evolutionary energy potentials of society towards evolution in general can be tidal waves that blow all of the old structures out and wash them away.

OR, we can ignore me as usual, and 30 years later i get to say i told you so again to a bunch of ghosts that don;t even know or remember back when i was telling everyone so.

You know i predicted all of this 20 years ago and had the solutions then. Civilization has been 4 months away from fixing it for that fucking long; all you people would have to do is actually LISTEN.

[-] mymarkx (San Diego, CA) 1 points 19 hours ago

If Constitutional amendments didn't have to be approved and ratified, they would be something that we could do. And they are certainly necessary if people wish to elect the sort of honest politicians that would approve and ratify such amendments. But electing such politicians cannot be done simultaneously with passing and ratifying Constitutional amendments that would remove corporate money from politics and make it possible to elect such politicians--the Constitutional Amendments have to be passed first, before it would be possible to get the corporate money out of politics so that we could elect honest politicians. And in order to get honest politicians elected, we'd first have to get those Constitutional amendments passed and ratified. Both cannot be done simultaneously.

As for convincing a substantial number the 1% to be less evil and join us, I wish you the best of luck. People who have trillions of dollars don't consider themselves evil, they consider themselves to be better than everyone else, which is why most of them won't listen to anyone else.

If you were suggesting something that didn't involve elections and Constitutional amendments, that could be done without trying to work within a totally corrupt system designed to keep the 1% in power, you'd probably get more people interested.

The elites have been caught and their con scams exposed. But they hold the power and they won't penalize themselves for their own corruption. And rather than opposing them, many people admire them, respect them, and wish to emulate them. This is a very materialistic culture where almost everyone wants to be a millionaire and about half of the electorate are happy to vote for millionaires, even while knowing that millionaires are more likely to represent their own class than to represent us.

Look, gawdoftruth, if my friends and I wish to start an organic garden and to start a website, we can do both things simultaneously, as they do not require us to get the consent of elected officials or try to get Constitutional amendments passed and ratified. We can start gardens and websites ourselves, so we can do them sequentially or simultaneously as we choose. But things that require the consent of Congress can not be done by us alone, and it is Congress alone that can decide whether or not do to such things. In order to get a Congress that would consent to getting corporate money out of politics, we'd have to first elect politicians who weren't dependent on and beholden to corporate money. Only then would they approve and ratify an amendment to get corporate money out of politics. But we can't elect such politicians until we first get corporate money out of politics.

Working within a corrupt system involves appeals to corrupt people to be less corrupt. Since it was their corruption that gave them the wealth and power they enjoy, most are not going to be amenable to such appeals, seeing them as nothing but attempts to take away their wealth and power.

[-] gawdoftruth (Santa Barbara, CA) 1 points 18 hours ago

I'm all for getting money out of politics.

You seem to think, again, that it is one thing and then the other when the real game is ALL of that at the same time.

Working within the corrupt system increasingly proves its corruption to more and more people, and is a part of the game which must be played while also working outside of the system.

Again, its not one or another, its both.

I AM suggesting something that does not involve elections and constitutional amendments, a paradigm shift. That happens and goes over even without those things, so you are really now just focusing on two details which you want to trip over.

In short, today i have given myself permission not to play. I see transparent cognitive dissonance here despite what is an attempt on your part to communicate whats really going on is you are trying to promote your solution ahead of my solution, instead of seeing that in fact my solution encompasses your solution ,and i am right. You continue to make an argument which you think sounds absolutely reasonable but which i can analyze as programmed meme talking points coming from a propaganda zombot. Just stop. Who do you all think you are kidding on the other side? Some part of you must know better, you can't be assembling these things without some part of your mind seeing the smoke and mirror hocus pocus thats being done mentally. Stop with the mental gymnastics, stop arguing against me, stop making your case for your pet solution, and LISTEN.

Stop with the straw man argument, stop telling me my solution is systemically dependent on two cards which its just carrying as aces amongst 1001 others, and start looking at the WHOLE game outside of your tiny little pet issue.

campaign finance reform and etc lobbying reform is important. But its not going to happen without a paradigm shift, so STOP RESISTING the ONLY path of right action.

[-] Glaucon 0 points 4 days ago

Finally, some occupiers are waking up. Way to go San-Diego!

[-] mymarkx (San Diego, CA) 0 points 3 days ago

Abandoning direct democracy and going back to politics as usual is not waking up. It is giving up and going back to sleep.


Arrghh...now Michael Moore is weighing in.


And he does carry a lot of weight.

Next week, according to his email today, he is going to tell us how to "Occupy the electoral process."

Sure he is. He can't ensure that our votes are counted because the Supreme Court ruled that the Constitution doesn't guarantee us the right to have our votes counted.

He can't ensure that the results are the same as the ballots cast, as more than 92% of US votes are completely unverifiable.


Why doesn't he suggest that we Occupy the prisons?

We could start by getting as many people as possible into local jails, and then aim for supermax prisons, and eventually Occupy Guantanamo and the CIA's secret prisons.

If we could get millions and millions of people inside the prison system, we could work from within to change it.

(PLEASE! That is intended as sarcasm. If you take me seriously I'll never speak to you again.)


Sometimes, I just really wonder how I ended up on this planet by mistake.....

Occupy prisons...

WOW...that just made the case right there.

Thanks, turtle.


That's so obvious a non-solution that I wonder why people can't see it.

Voting is the consent of the governed. In our system it delegates many powers to government including the sole legal use of violence. People who vote to consent to allow the government to use violence against them, and then complain that the government has used violence against them, aren't very bright. That's like what I wrote in Consensual Political Intercourse--if you consent to allow the government to screw you, don't come crying to me that the government has screwed you. If you won't withhold your consent, then I can't sympathize when the government does to you everything you, consciously or unconsciously, gave it your personal consent to do. Stop consenting, and then I'll listen.

Until then, anything the government does to people is done with their personal consent and is none of my business. I won't intervene in anything done between consenting adults. ;)


I'm not impressed

and I smell a nest of left gatekeepers. Surely we also have a lot of people ernestly trying to change things any way they can...from within the system using the tools the system once had and should theoretically still have ....perhaps on display in a museum.

Me? I'm set to watch the collapse from a safe distance and I don't much give a rats ass what happens after that before the world isn't going to be a pretty place the day that does come.

Democracy? Is a short lived state that follows anarchy. At best.


holy fuck, wadda lengthy fred

careful now, china factory........

".....living in some alternate reality.

People who propose working within the system are people who have faith in the system because they don't understand how corrupt our system is and has always been.

Or because they're part of the system themselves and therefore, no matter what good things they may do or say, just as corrupt as the system they're part of is."

There's nothing wrong with living in any alternate reality. In fact, it's probably the better way through it all. It's better not to know the truth behind it all.

And it is mainstream nowadays to be part of the very evil and fucked up system without knowing it. We all do our duties. We do what we have to do to get along. And in affect, we're (almost) all of us ...........

little Eichmänner. And that's the part that sucks. My guess is that less than 1% know how fucked up and corrupt the system (we belong to) is. The rest is healthy fantasy land. Far from reality, but healthy. The truth hurts real bad.


Truth really does hurt.

The Occupy movement is living in a fantasy land where they have Constitutional rights to freedom of speech.

Every time they exercise their rights, the riot squads come in and the cops pepper-spray, brutally bash their heads in, and arrest them. That hurts.

But they keep coming back and the cycle repeats.

Each time the movement gains adherents, but loses the ability to organize. No encampments, no food tables, etc.

So they stop fighting for their Constitutional rights and begin fighting for the right to have encampments, or at least tables.

Occupy San Diego now has one (1) table, a voter registration table.

It is the only table the cops would allow (although the cops did make arrests and continue to hassle people, they didn't destroy the table the way they did with the medical, food, library, information, and other tables). And nobody seems to wonder why that is. I know. They didn't destroy the voter registration table because they'd have to remove the voter registration forms first, and voter registration forms are government property, numbered and issued to people and groups that register voters. The cops happily destroy personal property, but they know better than to destroy government property.

The cops will violently wreck any other tables, but a table that is holding even one voter registration form cannot be touched because doing so might cause the voter registration form to be torn, defaced, or harmed in some way, and because it is government property, that would be a federal felony. The cops can arrest the people at the table, and can wait until there are no voter registration forms on the table or there is a way to ensure their safety, such as cops nonviolently and safely removing the voter registration forms from the table before attacking the table, but as long as that table is holding government property, it is safe from the cops.




Keisers interview with Gravel

I saw this too, as I am an ardent watcher of his website.  I am completely hooked on Keiser and his partner Herbert.  Completely.  Now, if he could take on the voting issues, if he could bring light to the absurdity of voting for politicians that can not be held accountable...well....wonder how the tide might swell?

the alternative

There is an alternative that institutionalizes the power of the people: The National Initiative for Democracy. It is largely the work of former Alaska Senator Mike Gravel (famous for reading the Pentagon Papers into the public record) - http://ni4d.us/en/national_initiative. If you've got 13 minutes, Max Keiser did a good interview of Mike recently - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sddgNfGWVTU&feature=youtube_gdata.

You're smarter than that, Ann. So are Gravel and Keiser.

Federal legislation and a Constitutional Amendment would have to be passed by Congress (the Amendment would have to be ratified by the states).

The corporations that fund Members of Congress would defund them, and can now spend unlimited amounts of money funding more obedient puppets, if the ones in office tried anything like that.

But Congressional incumbents wouldn't pass anything like that, because they're beholden to the corporate money that put them in office.

The problem with a Constitutional Amendment to reverse corporate personhood and/or get corporate money out of politics is that it would take a majority of Congress that wasn't beholden to the corporations to pass it (and then the states would have to ratify it). I see no such majority at either the federal or state level. And with Citizens United, I see no possibility of electing such a majority.

We have an initiative process in California, but whoever has the most money usually wins, so initiatives that favor people fail and initiatives that favor corporations pass.

In order to enact reforms, we first have to elect politicians who aren't beholden to corporate money.

to elect a majority of politicians who aren't beholden to corporate money, we'd first have to get corporate money out of politics.

To get corporate money out of politics, we'd first have to elect a majority of politicians who aren't beholden to corporate money.

To elect a majority of politicians who aren't beholden to corporate money, we'd first have to get corporate money out of politics.

A troll on Occupy Cafe insisted that we could do both simultaneously. He really thinks we could get a majority of Members of Congress to sacrifice the corporate campaign donations that put them in office so that they could represent the will of their constituents. He's living in some alternate reality.

People who propose working within the system are people who have faith in the system because they don't understand how corrupt our system is and has always been.

Or because they're part of the system themselves and therefore, no matter what good things they may do or say, just as corrupt as the system they're part of is.

Last night on Twitter I had a woman who claims to be a Buddhist tell me that people should be wise and compassionate and should vote for the US government even though it is engaging in crimes against humanity, because it doesn't matter what sort of government we have, just be wise, compassionate, and vote. What kind of wise, compassionate person says that genocide and war crimes don't matter? Despite the continuous engagement of the US government, its proxies, and its mercenaries in multiple genocides in Africa and Asia, it isn't even an issue for the 2012 election. Voters are concerned about the economy and about civil rights at home, but couldn't care less if the US, which has already killed millions of innocent people on behalf of corporate profits, kills a few million more.

Do a search on Fubar for harmon and you'll find essays and videos by keith harmon snow, an anti-genocide activist and former genocide investigator for the UN. What we have done in Yemen, Somalia, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Libya, Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan, and other countries, is real. It is ongoing. Millions of real people have been killed and more are being killed as I write.

Asking Congress to enact legislation which would give US citizens a voice in whether or not those genocides continue, would devastate the military-industrial complex and they'd sooner blow up Congress and blame it on "terrorists" than allow that to happen. Yes, people who are in the business of killing people, really will kill people. That's what they do. It's their thing. It's how they make a living and in some cases make huge fortunes. But the really funny thing is that if US voters had a say in whether or not our government continued to kill millions of innocent people, they'd probably vote in favor or it, as they're so apathetic that they don't give a fuck.








false premise

Folkie, you didn't read the info about the NI4D. Your premise, "Federal legislation and a Constitutional Amendment would have to be passed by Congress (the Amendment would have to be ratified by the states)", is false. As you have stated so many times and in so many ways, governments derive their power from the people. As you have also correctly stated, if the people don't delegate their power to representatives, they reserve it to themselves. The National Initiative takes this seriously but goes much further with it, and proposes that the people conduct their own voting, independently of the government's electoral system, to amend the constitution with the Democracy Amendment and to add the Democracy Act to federal law. What both of these do is thoroughly described at the NI4D site. The justification for this independent action by the people, legally speaking, is precisely what you've always maintained, that the people are the ultimate source of all political power and authority. America's best Constitutional expert agrees. As Yale's Akil Reed Amar says in Popular Sovereignty and Constitutional Amendment "We the People of the United States have a legal right to alter our government--to amend our Constitution--via a majoritarian and populist mechanism akin to a national referendum, even though that mechanism is not explicitly specified in Article V." In short, the government does not have exclusive power to amend the constitution. If the government seeks to amend the constitution, or if the people attempt to amend the constitution through the government, then all those conditions that you listed apply and the process is almost prohibitively difficult. But the National Initiative does an end run around government: We begin and end by asserting the primacy of the People's political sovereignty. Amar's article makes a solid case for this, and I highly recommend reading it.

There are several things particularly beautiful about the proposal. One of them is that not only does it not ask people to disengage from political activity, as in boycotting the government's elections and "doing nothing", it asks them to engage at a much more serious and responsible level; it asks them to take possession, as it were, of their political authority and participate in creating a government that serves them and is accountable to them.

Interesting, Ann.

So if the people held a referendum and, using powers assumed not delegated to Congress under Article 5, adopted a Constitutional amendment, how would it be added to the Constitution?

Is there some way that it can be added to the Constitution without involving Congress?

Is there some way to avoid having the Supreme Court then strike it down as unconstitutional, even if it isn't?

Assuming that we have power that we don't have is, as rossi says, theoretically a great idea. In reality that assumption is false.

The Constitution vested power in government, not in the people. As long as people recognize and vote for that government, they have delegated their power to that government.

If people stopped voting for Congress (theoretically not impossible as Congress has only a 9% approval rating, but in reality completely impossible as US voters cannot understand that uncounted votes for people they can't hold accountable aren't a precious right their ancestors fought and died for), and Congress no longer had the consent of the governed, the governed could then act independently of Congress.

As long as Congress retains the consent of the governed, most of whom disapprove of it but won't stop voting for it, Congress can claim the legitimate power conferred on it by voters, and actions outside of Congress can legitimately be ignored or countered with force.

If I appoint a guardian to manage my affairs and give them my full power of attorney, I cannot then manage my own affairs without their permission. First I'd have to revoke their power of attorney. Voting is the act of designating the government to manage our affairs. Until we revoke that "power of attorney" and take power back into our own hands, the two competing systems would clash and only one of them, the one previously established by the Constitution and consented to by voters, would retain legitimate authority. 

Federal legislation and a Constitutional amendment that was passed by the people while Congress retained legitimate power through the vote (consent) of the people, would be ignored by Congress, the President, and Homeland Security, and those who tried to enforce it would be, even if they were 90% of the US electorate, considered to be enemies of the state and subject to indefinite detention without due process, or subject to assassination. Our government wouldn't mind killing 90% of us. It began by eradicating more than 90% of Native Americans. It has murdered millions of innocents in other countries so that big private corporations could have their resources, none of which resources or the profits therefrom went to the taxpayers who funded those genocides. It has already constructed camps that are capable of holding millions of US dissidents and purchased billions (if not trillions) of dollars worth of crowd control weapons and training. It is ready to use the military against US citizens. 

Other forms of noncompliance are essential, worthwhile, and important, such as building alternative systems, taking alternative actions, etc., but as long as the current government can claim the consent of the governed, it does not have to and will not tolerate outside actions. Many people have declared themselves sovereign, under a theory that says they no longer have to pay taxes. The theory may be correct, but in reality the government still puts them in jail whenever it can. 

It isn't the politicians or the laws that have to be changed, or the Constitution that has to be amended. It is the system that has to be changed. As long as our capitalist, imperialist system, a system established by the rich to ensure that the rich would always run things, remains in place with the consent of the governed, we cannot establish a better system. It's like trying to put a new engine in a car without first removing the old one. 

Encouraging people to think that they could legally act outside the system while still voting for a system that alone has the power to decide what is legal and what isn't, is just a way to make people think that it is possible for them to act democratically while voting to be governed tyrannically. 

Get that referendum passed and then what? Congress ignores it and doesn't enact the legislation or add the amendment to the Constitution. The FBI starts pursuing every name that signed. Defendants (if they're even given a trial, which is extremely doubtful right now) claim that they weren't opposing the system, they were acting within their rights and had supported the system by voting for it. The courts say they were acting against the state in a subversive way and imprison them. Remember, this country is no longer important to the 1% for purposes of labor and consumption. The only thing the 1% needs from us is our consent of the governed so that it can continue to impoverish us and wage genocidal wars elsewhere while claiming to be a democratically elected government. Holding separate elections and referendums are like a child playing at cooking and serving dinner, and cannot take the place of the actual family meal. It's just pretend. The child doesn't have real food and a real stove, only the parents do. We do not have real power at present, the government does. It does because enough people voted to consent to the government having that power for the government to claim that power. If only 50% of the electorate voted in government elections, but 90% voted for the independent referendum, the government would still retain the power to ignore it or strike it down. If I give someone my power of attorney within the legal system, I can only revoke it by revoking it within the legal system. I cannot get a bunch of my friends together and say that we have independently revoked it. 

If we want to change the system, first we have to stop consenting to the system. Only then can we retain the power we had previously delegated to a system that doesn't represent us or act in our best interests. Those who believe that the system is basically good and only needs a few reforms, are the problem, not the solution.


I wish you'd read it

The NI4D pages answer all of your questions. Ironic that the one proposal that I have found merits serious attention, you won't make even exploratory readings into. But it really seems to me to be the necessary addition to your own elections boycott advocacy, which doesn't offer anything positive beyond urging people to realize that they are the source of political power and authority and that they shouldn't give it away recklessly. It is something to vote for, which entails the creation of permanent institutions to retain that power of self-determination. And to counter rossini's glib cliche that it's just theory and not reality, I'll toss out another cliche: Reality is what you make it. Rossini's correct that the theory is all there. It's correct and it's done. So you're content to just ignore or abandon it? But then what's the point of any advocacy? You argue vehemently for elections boycotts but have nothing to say in terms of the creation of new political institutions. I show you a complete plan and you scoff at it? That's not right.

Anyway, here's a summary from Gravel's original website (2005):

The Concept of The National Initiative

An overview of the concept of a national initiative by Senator Mike Gravel, May 2005.

The central power of government in a democracy is lawmaking –– not voting. He who makes the rules controls the game. Laws determine if, when, how and which citizens can vote. Governments throughout history have been tools of oppression; they need not be. Ordinary American citizens can gain control of their government by becoming lawmakers, stemming government growth and turning it to public benefit.

Are the people qualified to be lawmakers? Well, they’re qualified enough to give their power away on Election Day to manipulating politicians who say almost anything to get elected. It’s easier to make decisions affecting one’s self-interests (after consulting with knowledgeable sources, if one chooses) than it is to select representatives (agents) bent on power. One hopes these representatives have knowledge of the issues and the integrity to place their constituents’ interests above their own. That’s a tall order for human nature.

The problem: How do Americans become lawmakers? Voting on bond issues is lawmaking. Twenty-four states already let people make laws at the state and local levels, but, unfortunately, under the control of representative government. Congress is not about to really empower the people. The result: the government continues to grow, and democracy slouches toward one-party tyranny and the loss of freedom.

The answer: the National Initiative for Democracy, a legislative package sponsored by The Democracy Foundation (www.ni4d.us), a non-profit IRS 501 C (3) corporation, that includes an Amendment to the Constitution and a Federal Law. The Democracy Amendment 1) amends the Constitution asserting the legislative powers of the people, 2) outlaws the use of monies not from natural persons in initiative elections, 3) creates an Electoral Trust (vital to maintain citizen lawmaking independent of representative government) and defines the role of its trustees, and 4) legitimizes the national election conducted by Philadelphia II, a non-profit IRS 501 C (4) corporation, giving Americans the opportunity to vote on the National Initiative.

The Democracy Act is a proposed federal law that 1) sets out deliberative legislative procedures (copied from Congress and vital for intelligent lawmaking) to be used for initiative lawmaking by citizens, 2) defines the limited powers of the Electoral Trust that administers the legislative procedures on behalf of the people, and 3) defines the electoral threshold that must be reached for the National Initiative to become the law of the land. It is important to understand that the National Initiative does not alter the existing structure or powers of representative governments. Rather, it adds an additional check –– the people –– to our system of Checks and Balances, while setting up a working partnership between the people and their elected representatives. Once the people become lawmakers, they will be able to reform many of the dysfunctional practices of representative government by initiative laws enacted by a majority of voting citizens.

How can the National Initiative become law if it’s not enacted by the Congress? There are only two venues within our government structure where constitutions, constitutional amendments, and laws can be enacted into law: the people or their elected representatives. For those who insist on retaining representative government’s legislative monopoly, they'll forever remain stuck in a system that either refuses to or is incapable of reforming itself. Those who are prepared to turn to the people for much needed changes in government must first appreciate that the Framers in 1787 did not provide specific procedures in the Constitution for the people to amend the Constitution or make laws. The Framers did provide amending procedures for themselves in Article V of the Constitution, perpetuating their control of government. Naturally, conventional wisdom now holds that Article V is the only way to amend the Constitution.

Article V is how the government amends the Constitution, not how the people would do it. If the people had to use Article V to amend the Constitution they would need permission from two-thirds of the Congress and three-fourths of the state legislatures. This would mean that the creator of our government, the people, would have to get permission from their elected representatives, the createes of the people, to amend the Constitution. This logic is ludicrous. The constituent power of the people –– the source of all political power –– cannot be subject to the power of its creation. James Madison had it right when he said that the people could just do it. The people can amend and legislate as long as the process they employ is fair, transparent and reasonable. Today’s technology permits us to ask all American citizens if they wish to be empowered as lawmakers by enacting the National Initiative in a process that is fair, transparent and reasonable.

We, the People must support, fund and vote for the National Initiative if we are ever to have a government "by the people.”


A detail.


Amendment IX: The enumeration in the Constitution, of certain rights shall not be construed to deny or disparage others retained by the people.

Amendment X: The powers not delegated to the United States by the constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people.

Article III, Section 1: The judicial Power of the United States, shall be vested in one supreme Court....

Article III, Section 2: The judicial Power shall extend to all Cases, in Law and Equity, arising under this Constitution, the Laws of the United States....

So the power to interpret the Constitution and to decide whether or not a law or any case arising under the Constitution, such as whether or not an Amendment adopted outside of Article V is valid, is NOT one of the powers or rights not otherwise enumerated by the Constitution and thus retained by the people.

That power was specifically granted to the Supreme Court.

How could a Constitutional scholar have missed that little detail?


astonishing obstinacy

You know, folkie, Gravel was a senator for 12 years; he's been working on the NI4D for at least 8. You think your objections and rebuttals have not been already considered? That's pretty fucking arrogant of you. You allege that Amar has not addressed certain constitutional questions but you have clearly not read his article, because your imagined "fatal flaws" have in fact been addressed. You obstinately refuse to read anything and imagine you already know everything. Your attitude sucks and I'm not sure I want to spend my time trying to spoon feed you something you've decided in advance is wrong or meaningless, regardless of its merits.

Yes, Gravel has as astonishing record of failure.


As do all Members of Congress who attempt to work within the system. That's why Congress has a 9% approval rating. Saying that somebody is a member of the Mafia, the KKK, or Congress doesn't recommend them to me.

I did read Amar's summary, which you linked. It did not address the problem. If you have a link to the full version, I'll read that too. All Amar says is that there can be an alterative interpretation of the Constitution that allows a Constitutional amendment without going through the Article 5 process. He does not address the problem of the Supreme Court having the sole power to interpret the Constitution.

Point me to the place in NI4D where it deals with what to do when the Supreme Court interprets the Constitution to say that any Amendments adopted outside of the Article V process are invalid. You posted a summary and various links to discussions, but if you posted a link to the whole thing, I missed it.

The Supreme Court has the sole power to interpret the Constitution, not Congressmembers or their advisors, and certainly not Constitutional scholars who should know that.

Point me to the whole thing, the entire NI4D, and I'll read that carefully also to see if it addresses the problem of the Supreme Court, not the people, having the sole power to interpret the Constitution and to decide cases arising out of the Constitution, such as whether an Amendment has to be Article V or not. I promise.

If it has addressed that problem, I'd like to know how. It wasn't addressed in the summary you linked, which I did read.

I've wasted so many hours reading similar proposals for Constitutional Amendments that I'm really sick of it, but I'll do it again just for you.

If it really had addressed that problem, I think you'd have simply stated how it had addressed that problem, instead of telling me to go read it.

I don't think it has addressed that problem, I think you're assuming that in stating that the people can reserve to themselves a right, i.e., the right to interpret the Constitution, which the Constitution has specifically enumerated and granted to the Supreme Court, the people can override both the Constitution and the will of the Supreme Court. But I'm willing to read each and every word of it to see if it is more than just a daydream. 

The usual answer is that if the Supreme Court doesn't allow the Amendment to stand, we'll go to violent revolution.

Since so many people believe that there is a way to work within our capitalist imperialist system that they continue to vote, it would be a violent revolution against a legitimate government with the consent of the governed that also happens to be the world's biggest military superpower, and it would fail.


Don't feed the animals

er, or do as you please but don't say nobody ever warned you.

I think it's all very impressive, a very good cause and all. And I'm glad to see people like you and endorsers of NI4D doing something constructive instead of just grumbling about how bad things are. But....I hope you can understand that in my position and geographical situation....well, that really has little to do with my convictions, it's hard to put to words so I'll quote a very good friend;

Oh dear...

...so many smart people here who think the "political process" is real???  Gawd... this IS serious.


Don't give up hope, keep plugging away and watch out for your fingers while feeding the animals.


I still have questions, Ann.


If the people vote for independent actions, but continue to vote to keep elected representatives in power, what do the people really want, their own actions or those of their elected representatives?

If people first withheld their vote from the current government, this proposal would still stink, as it does not abolish tyranny and replace it with democracy, it merely attempts to moderate and place some checks on tyranny by allowing the people more of a voice. It would fail because it does not allow people the final say, the Supreme Court would still have that. 

The National Initiative, should it pass, could still be struck down by the Supreme Court as unconstitutional, even if it clearly wasn't. Since Supreme Court decisions do not need to follow precedent or to be logical, sane, or credible, and cannot be appealed, what happens if the people vote for the National Initiative and the Supreme Court strikes it down as unconstitutional?

Without altering "the existing structure or powers of representative government," all that could be accomplished is having the people try to work within structures that were designed to allow only the rich to rule. 

The system of checks and balances has never worked and adding an additional check won't work either. Rather than granting power to institutions and then having them try to check each other's power, power should reside in the people, and for that to happen the institutions that concentrate power have to be abolished so that power can be decentralized.

The alternative interpretation of the Constitution may be very appealing to some, but since the Supreme Court still has sole Constitutional power to interpret the Constitution, the Supreme Court is not likely to agree to forfeit its Constitutional power and allow others to do what they alone are empowered to do now.

How about adding a clause to the Amendment that would Abolish the Supreme Court or at least limit its supreme power so that it is no longer supreme? But you can't do that without altering the existing structure and power of government.










yawn, more failure to read...

Supreme court decisions are only supreme for the government. The very essence of the NI4D is that the authority and rights of the people are prior to and above the government, Supreme Court included. If the people decide via the process which the NI4D creates, that the NI4D itself is valid, the real situation is that the Supreme Court will, as they say, have no standing to overrule. Read the material.

In short, the situation here seems to be analogous to politically engaged people failing to take the sociological perspective on political engagement and understand the realities of consent and legitimacy. In your case, you're failing to rise above the level of conventional constitutional thinking and look, in a meta-legal way, at the process of creation of the constitution itself. Amar's argument is that "the U.S. Constitution is a far more majoritarian and populist document than we have generally thought; and We the People of the United States have a legal right to alter our government--to amend our Constitution--via a majoritarian and populist mechanism akin to a national referendum, even though that mechanism is not explicitly specified in Article V." And those changes would be legal in exactly the same way the original creation of the constitution was legal.

It's entirely up to U2 to work this out but

....Ann, you're entirely right, theoretically. The trouble being, theory is defined by reality. Folkie is reflecting reality while you lay out the correct theoretical version of the possibilities.

It's more than just a police state we live in, Ann. It casts great shadows on Hitler's 3rd.


I'm getting fat.

I'd been spending so much time and money at Occupy San Diego that I'd lost a little weight.

Now I'm getting fat again and I'm not at all concerned about it.

One of my neighbors told me that the Senior Center looks just like Occupy San Diego, with a big US flag and a voter registration table. But the senior center also has bingo and I haven't played bingo there in about two years, so I might go on Tuesday. I used to be a bingo addict because it was the only time that I had a chance of winning. At senior center bingo you don't win money, just little prizes like soap or shampoo, but it is the feeling of winning that makes it fun. I would certainly enjoy winning something right now, even a bingo game. I struck out completely at Occupy San Diego and it made me feel sad. Bingo is just the thing to cheer me up, silly as it may be.

And heck, I've got just as good a chance of finding someone who agrees with me at the senior center as I do at Occupy San Diego. Plus the senior center has chairs so I don't have to sit on the hard concrete steps, and it is indoors and warm. The flag and the voter registration table will make me feel just like I'm back at Occupy San Diego, but without the disappointment and without all the political operatives. The next bingo game is Tuesday morning, and Tuesday afternoon there's a Tai Chi class for beginners followed by a sustainability discussion facilitated by an anti-poverty group at City College, so I might go to that too. And there's still the Occupy Gardens group that also works at City College, so it wouldn't hurt to spend some time there also. When one door closes, others open up. ;)

Now that Bob Jensen has sold out and is supporting a political candidate, the only Occupier left opposed to voting that I know of, is S. Brian Willson. There are probably some others, but I don't know who or where they are. You really have to be opposed to imperialism and capitalism to oppose the US government and refuse to vote for it. Not too many here are.

And voters never learn. The worse things get with each "important" election, the more they look forward to the next one. 214 years of voting and they're still saying that the next time it will be different. 

I'm one of the luckiest people in the world. I have all the comforts, everything I need or want, my health is reasonably good, and I have a basically stress-free life. Why should I make myself miserable trying to edumacate the ineducable? Tomorrow I think I'll go to the co-op for a quart of their organic coconut nog, a non-dairy egg nog without eggs that is undoubtedly as delicious as it sounds. Total decadence. And if people at Occupy San Diego want to get arrested for registering voters, they can ask somebody else to help bail them out--it's not my problem.  ;)

Oh yeah....I'd been donating a small amount of money every month to keith harmon snow because of the excellent work he does to help people in the DRCongo and to oppose genocide. But Occupy San Diego had taken so much money from me last month that I'd written to keith and told him I wouldn't be able to send him any more money. Well, as things worked out, OccupySD isn't going to cost me another dime, so I was able to send keith my regular donation this month. I'm happy to donate to oppose imperialism and genocide, but not to help people who vote for the government responsible for imperialism and genocide. I'm opposed to everything they're voting for, so fuck 'em.




Hilarious and Sounds Delicious

Rossi said...Oh, and there are quite a few operatives about...as can be expected. TruthOut, TruthDigg, Left foot forward, my left wing, DU, DailyKops............

I'll add to the list... Let's eat Left-overs...

And Folkie said...Tomorrow I think I'll go to the co-op for a quart of their organic coconut nog, a non-dairy egg nog without eggs that is undoubtedly as delicious as it sounds. Total decadence

I'll add...well..there's nothing to add to that...thats sounds delicious.

There were some good streams of conversation in that forum.  There were also some scary posturing too.  Yikes.


I estimate there are less than a dozen of us.


That would meet Margaret Mead's definition of "a small group of committed people" who could make a difference, except that I'm not sure how committed everyone is. :)

The Righties and the Left-overs will always be around, but if we had a direct democracy they would find enough things they could reach consensus on to get enough done to convince most that it was a better way to do things. In San Diego, according to a poll I've referred to frequently, the first thing they'd agree on would be to fix the potholes, so while they'd continue to argue about gay rights and other hot-button issues on which they'll never reach consensus, at least something would get done.

Once people had the experience of finding something that everyone could agree on and doing it, I think they'd probably want to do it again.


within which boundaries?

"Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has." - Margaret Mead

Less than a dozen, but within which boundaries?

Occupy San Diego, the USA or what?


(p.s. you can count me out because I'm neither thoughtful nor committed)



Actually, you're both, rossi.

As for boundaries, the digital world I live in doesn't seem to have many.

If you say so

...it's got to be true ;-)


digital world? I feel like Flynn in tron. No, make that a "!" instead of a simple "."

A "user" and sometimes Tron itself. Funny you mentioned Mead, not because of Mead's father's name rather Mead's work(s). 

As Editor in Cultural Patterns and Technical Change (1953) ;


We need new methods of education which will leave the child’s mind open longer, . . .
methods which teach him that safety lies not in knowledge but in knowing what could be but
is not known.
In all technical change, even when it seems to be concerned with tools, machines, and other
impersonal objects, the individual person is both the recipient of change and the mediator or
agent of change. His integrity as a person, his stability as a personality, must be kept ever in
focus as the living concern of all purposive change . (p. 288)

Well, whaddya know!

This is from a different forum, Occupy Cafe: 



The fundamental problem with our government is that it has been co-opted by business interests. Our elected officials work for the 1% instead of for us. Either that changes or at best, we might get piecemeal reforms which will eventually be whittled down more or less the way laws regulating the financial industry were cast aside or watered down.

Move To Amend (and others) are working on a constitutional amendment to get money out of politics (which would include ending corporate personhood), which would target the fundamental problem. It would seem such an amendment would have a lot of popular support.

Now, that raises the question “How on earth do you get politicians to change the laws to favor the 99% when the 1% is pouring money into the political system to get them elected?” Well, we have to remember that politicians use the money they get from corporations to influence the 99% to vote for them.

So far, the Occupy movement has been concentrated on the financial industry. We’ve let Congress alone. If we converge on Congress and demand that they pass a constitutional amendment, will they accede to that demand? I don’t know the answer to that question. I do know that such a strategy has not been tried.

Mark E. Smith pointed out that most people were overwhelmingly against the bailouts and they got passed anyway. The democrats figured the voters had no place to go, and sure enough, folks voted for Obama. Maybe the democrats will figure that they don’t have to pass a constitutional amendment to get money out of politics because the 99% will vote for them anyway as the lesser of two evils. It’s worked for them many times before.

Which brings us to Mark’s perfectly valid observation: ‘In order to make an effective demand, you have to have an "or else."’ What is the “or else” in this situation? We have to be clear that if our elected members of Congress won’t vote for a constitutional amendment to get money out of politics and end corporate personhood, we will withhold our votes. And then we have to make good on that threat, even if we end up with Newt Gingrich as president, or whatever other bogeyman the democrats threaten us with.

You might say, Gingrich would be a disaster. And you would be right. But if you can’t change the fundamental problem, if the members of Congress call our bluff and won’t pass a constitutional amendment the 99% is in favor of, then the only thing to do is to concentrate on hastening our government’s collapse, which will then be inevitable anyway. We can do that by a number of nonviolent means, one of which is boycotting elections in order to delegitimize the government.

Unlike Mark E. Smith, I’m not wild about this idea, but we have to face facts. If we cannot change the fundamental calculus of politics in this country, then I see no reasonable alternative but to take the risk of attempting an orderly collapse, followed by an attempt to install a true democracy.

But let’s at least try to get a constitutional amendment getting money out of politics and ending corporate personhood first.



Well, Mr. Blue, a few hours ago I'd posted on my little website that I didn't know a single Occupier other than S. Brian Willson in DC who understood and agreed with anything I said, you just blew me away, as you obviously understand most of what I wrote and agree at least with part of it.

The strategy of converging on Congress has been tried with regard to other issues, and hasn't worked. At best, as you say, it resulted in some piecemeal reforms which have since been watered down or cast aside. 

While Gingrich would indeed be a disaster, he would be no more of a disaster than Bush or Obama or anyone else who was beholden to the 1% and obedient to their agenda. The players can change, but as long as the 1% fund them, the agenda remains the same.

The problems I see with getting a Constitutional amendment to get money out of politics are multiple:

First of all, it would take more than just reversing corporate personhood and reversing Citizens United. It would also be necessary to abolish the Supreme Court so that they couldn't make similar rulings that served the same purpose in the future. Of course the quickest and easiest way to reverse Citizens United is to simply allow the corportions to spend $15 or $20 billion on the 2012 election and then not vote. If they don't get a return on their investment, their boards of directors won't allow them to do it again. Personally, I always assume that if the big corporations spend a lot of money promoting something, it isn't likely to be anything healthy or good for me.

Secondly, amendments to end corporate personhood and get corporate money out of politics would not be sufficient to enable us to elect a majority to Congress that would be responsive to our objectives. We'd need to reform the entire electoral system to get rid of gerrymandered districts, voting machines and central tabulators that are easily hacked in ways that leave no auditable trace and are therefore completely unverifiable, corrupt elections officials who wait until the results of an election are in and then miraculously "find" enough uncounted ballots to reverse the results, a way to get a recount when election results are flawed but elections officials insist that it was merely a computer glitch that didn't effect the results, the Constitutional power of Congress to reject evidence of stolen elections and seat the "winners" without investigating the fraud, and many more amdnedments that addressed the many other problems with our electoral system, most of which reside in a Constitution that was designed by the 1% to ensure that the popular vote would never be the final say so that the 1% could always rule.

Third, getting Constitutional amendments is a lengthy process that isn't always successful, such as happened with the ERA. The process can continue for twenty or thirty years, all along giving hope to some that it might finally succeed, without ever succeeding in the end.

An essential part of why business interests have co-opted our government is so that private business interests can continue to use the US military, at US taxpayer expense, to pursue and protect their business interests, as Nelson Rockefeller did with United Fruit and Standard Oil, and which still continues today as the US military is sent to control oil and other resource markets on behalf of the private business interests of the 1%. While the government may claim to be doing this for other reasons, those are easily seen for the hypocrisy they are. If we were protecting women's rights in Afghanistan, we'd be doing so in Saudi Arabia also. If we were protecting civilians in Libya, we'd be doing so in Bahrain also. The government only gets self-righteous about something when the 1% stand to make significant profits, otherwise the US doesn't get involved.

Because Constitutional Amendments have to be passed by Congress and ratified by the states, it is necessary to first elect enough politicians at the state and federal level to get that done. And in order to get enough honest politicians elected, we'd first need to get corporate money out of politics. So it is a paradox because we can't do either one until we do the other one first.

Thank you, Mr. Blue. While there may not be enough people in the US who oppose the capitalist and imperialist engine of global genocide and ecocide we call government, to pull off an election boycott, it is heartening to know that my words haven't fallen entirely on deaf ears. Thank you.



hey hey hey

yep...I agree.  Another person who critically thinks has heard you Mark.  Excellent.

Too deep in the woods

Most of these opinionators are too deep in the woods, too far from a clear and open space where things can be seen more objectively. Most have a hobby of ignoring the cold, hard facts. There is no reasoning with such persons. Oh, and there are quite a few operatives about...as can be expected. TruthOut, TruthDigg, Left foot forward, my left wing, DU, DailyKops............

all "liberal" and "progressive". Don't worry about speed or degree.

The goal is to keep the charade going. This is why the 1% hold elections for soooo important.

A grand charade.

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