While an estimated 15,000 to 20,000 Occupy Wall Street protesters flooded into Times Square on Saturday, there was still a regular New York general assembly at 7 p.m. During that meeting, according to sources who contacted The Huffington Post, the Zuccotti Park General Assembly — though at a reduced presence due to the Times Square march — approved the formation of a new working group.
This “Demands Working Group” then immediately “established a website and fairly educated/articulated list of solutions.” A separate group out of Zuccotti Park has also been working on a list of possible proposals, but a member of the Education and Empowerment Working Group said he suspects the Demands Working Group’s list will become the national platform.
They’ve posted the list online but they’ve also made this announcement under the radar — a national convention to be held July 4, 2012:
WE, THE NINETY-NINE PERCENT OF THE PEOPLE of the UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, in order to form a more perfect Union, by, for and of the PEOPLE, shall elect and convene a NATIONAL GENERAL ASSEMBLY beginning on July 4, 2012 in the City Of Philadelphia.
They plan to elect delegates by direct vote, one male and one female per each of the 435 Congressional Districts. The office would be open to any United States citizen over the age of 18. The 870 delegates would then compose a petition of grievances that would be non-partisan.
The posted “demands” are only a working list of “suggestions,” however. Number one and two are a ban on private contributions to politicians seeking or holding federal office and instead public financing for campaigns, and a constitutional amendment to reverse the Citizens United decision by the Supreme Court.
The list then goes on to suggest single-payer national health care, immediate passage of the DREAM Act, a jobs plan, a deficit reduction plan and recalling military personnel at all non-essential bases.
The movement would also reinstate the Glass-Steagall Act, increase regulation and increase taxes by way of eliminating corporate tax loopholes.
The idea of coming up with a list of demands has been controversial among protesters.
David Sauvage, who directs videos for the Occupy Wall Street protests and supports the movement, said he viewed demands as being too similar to talking points.
But Daniel Lerner, a physicist and member of the Demands Working Group, argued to Mother Jones that their demands would have wide appeal.
In their list, however, they close with one last warning: if Congress, the President and the Supreme Court do not act on the settled grievances the movement eventually comes up with, its members are prepared to form a third, independent political party to run in every Congressional seat in 2014 and 2016.