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Tiffany Naylor

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Do you think this year’s 99percent movements push towards global unity?

In campaigning against 'the man', many countries are carrying out similar movements and are joining together under one cause.
Do you agree or disagree? Why?
I'm writing a feature on this, leave your email address if you're happy to be contacted to discuss this further.

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    Nov 1 2011: Tiffany,

    I think 99% movements are pushing towards global "populist" unity. Whether they can achieve 100% unity across the continuum of power structures is a bigger challenge.

    I do think a quickening contagion effect is unifying the "average" global citizens' sense of empowerment.

    Though I have a friend who is skeptical these movements can add up to sustained unity. He's an actuarial statistician who has lived and worked worldwide. The statistical probability algorithms he encounters in his work looking at governments and corporate behemoths don't give him as much hope. He consistently finds overwhelmingly problematic practices. In fact, findings like his inform groups like Occupy Wall Street.

    My work, however, looks less at mathematical probabilities and more at the effects of things like disruptive innovations.

    Which, in many ways, is exactly what groups like these are achieving. Basically, solutions created out desperation. Things get so bad for people, they begin to "wake up" out of denial, fear or complacency and, having little more to lose, take risks to address problems they otherwise wouldn't.

    These largely unplanned reactions can catalyze very powerful solutions. Because, instead of creating a want as many innovations do, they answer an unmet, and urgent need. Pent-up anxiety and fear combust passions and fuel change.

    But there are three key challenges to unifying these efforts.

    First is converting passions from anger to impassioned, constructive action. A tricky balance, as tensions are high. If anger isn't kept in check, it can lead to histrionics, which leave movement unity vulnerable, and, violence which can undermine prospects for all. The second is navigating the "whack-a-mole" terrain of counteractions, serendipity and unexpected consequences.

    Arab Spring was a great example of success handling these two challenges.

    Third -- hardest is sustaining focus. Much redundancy,communication and regular "wins" help.

    Andrea
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      Nov 1 2011: a wise analysis..I totally agree.

      Interesting historical note though..I hapened to watch the PBS series "Greece the Cradle of Civilization" just as occupy Wall St was beginning, Democracy was born out of just such an uprising against inequality and injustice..complete domination by the few who owned and controlled everything.. that one involved a lot of looting and burning..but no demands..no plans no "transituion council" writing a consitution and forming a new government.Pericles just said "right I hear you, I get i..hadn't thought of it that way" and they all sat down toegther and created democracy. ( The bed time story very abbreviated history of democracy)

      Tom Atlee (at his posterous blog) has been writing alot about the movement and in one essay her considered what "occupy" means...it means to dwell within..to be steward and custodian over the long haul..

      I agree with the many who say the jury is out on whether the transformation to true "occupiers" is happening and will happen.
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        Nov 1 2011: Lindsay,

        I, too, have been reflecting on the term Occupy. It is a powerful identifier from numerous fronts. From the internal (self) to communal (public space) to cognitive ("mind share") to strategic (ala military occupations) to work (occupation as ones job).

        What is critical is the persistence of this "Occupation," as you and Atlee put it, to be a steward and custodian of 99%ers concerns. If it can pervade many venues, perspectives and realities and create ever more stewards, their (all of our) goals can be achieved.

        While policy and issues are important to address, I wouldn't over-invest in these venues. Addressing corrupt corporations in language the understand, namely money, would be the most powerful tactic of all. Regulations can do some, but certainly not all of this "hit 'em where it hurts" work. Indeed, the time and costs of investigating cases like ML Global (today's latest problem corporation) and its unaccounted for $600 million can be quite high.

        My feeling is if all the Occupy movement did was incite a comprehensive worldwide boycott on a few of the most corrupt banks, this, combined with adjudication and regulatory measures might be all it takes.

        Andrea
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          Nov 1 2011: Andrea,

          All it takes for what outcome? Can you visualize how this might manifest in the future? Can anyone? I'm very curious what people think about these 'transitions'? Can it be done peacefully or will violence be the measure? Your thoughts?
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          Nov 1 2011: Thank you for these very insightful and fructifying further thoughts

          ..on the bank protest though which moveone.org is pushing..it's laughable.

          Banls haven't needed or cared about consumer deposits for more than 15 years. A consumer boycott with our piddly little savings and checking accounts is totally a joke. I am sure it will cause the big banks to breathe a huge sign of relief..in case they were worried we the 99% really areon to what is going on.

          I wrote to moveon about it and it worries me..no one else is as powerful a consumer lobby as they are and to see them get something in banking so wrong is a bit scary. Whence cometh the hope then?

          Occupy Definancialization ( iei reharnessing banks to jobs and the economy away from pure speculation ) away from earning huge fees pushing derivatives to dumb money..i.e. your pension..everyone's pension, everyone's mom and dad's pension.)
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        Nov 1 2011: Craig --

        A global boycott on a few worst offenders, wherein loans, money, investments and, even, people themselves pull out of companies would send a strong message to that corruption and/or greed will be their undoing.

        Certainly consumers can take a lead here. Though as Lindsey points out, banks don't really care about small customers. But the message of their withdrawals, alone, could help a few strategic players do the same. There is growing interest (if for PR sake, only) in consorting with known good-guy organizations. And, guilt by association, where apropos can help. Note that US Congresspeople are beginning to more deeply question the bedfellows with whom they play, in no small part due to the actions of groups like Occupy.

        I personally think violent uprisings are not only anathema to the Occupy effort, but ineffective. Far too many examples of this, from Tibet to Somalia in recent years to Cuba not long ago and the Roman Empire, back then.

        This is a big reason I was stunned by the savvy of Arab Spring. The activists pulled it off without aggression.

        I'm of the "Ghandi-school" here. Organize, occupy, communicate and change self behaviors as much as seeking others change. This change-self behavior that i think is relevant to Occupy is boycotting the banks to light the many small candles that, together, can shine enough light that compels others to do more or risk being perceived as still in the dark, if not one of the "dark siders."

        I have great faith in the effect of social contagions. And, as my skeptical friend concedes, I think we are as much at the cusp of a global Renaissance of democratization informed by hard learned realities as a global Revolution.

        The latter term shouldn't be abandoned. It implies strength and surety of mission. Concepts of Reformation should also be in mind. Again, not only of consumer and corporate cultures, but of self, too.

        So, I see Occupy as: nonviolent Revolution, Renaissance, Reform

        Andrea
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          Nov 1 2011: Andrea I feel that is time to read again "Walden" from H:D: Thoreau, and lear or relearn the same than Ghandi learn from "Civil Dissobedience" or "Life without principle"
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          Nov 2 2011: Andrea,
          I agree.

          However the captains of greed may require other means before it is over. I wish and prefer non-violence, but as Gandhi said, 'Poverty is the worse form of violence'. And there seems little effort to redistribute the wealth.
          However the internet gives a new tool that perhaps will help make a non violent transition possible. Time will tell.
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        Nov 2 2011: Jaime,

        I agree.

        And, inspired by you and Thoreau, a recent literary "companion," posted this to my Twitter:

        "Consumer disobedience calls for civil resistance of our individual shop-til-drop habit & our gov't's buy-more-votes via uncivil behavior."

        Andrea
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          Nov 2 2011: Exactly what I was going to reply, but I started reading the thread and found your post :-)

          We don't need to go to any big city to Occupy, we have the power in our wallets.

          Christmas is around the corner. This is the biggest indicator of the state of the economy in our country, and the hope of greedy megacompanies.

          This year purchase NOTHING.

          No, don't buy ahead to give later. Just DO NOT BUY.
          Give from the heart, from the kitchen, from your hands, form crayons and paper, sticks and stones. No Barbies, no bikes, no i-anything, no nth play station, no new decorations, no nothing.

          Do we have the courage to be the change? It is much easier to ask, demand and impose , but can we do it?
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          Nov 2 2011: Andrea& Karina,

          Your emphasis on the changes which we the 99% must commit to is key.

          Adding to and elaborating on Karina's eloquent list becoming the change we want to see.

          .A debt strike by us the 99% would be effective...not using our credit cards for any purchases or payments for a whole month..that would also show us that we have contributed to what has become; over 12 months paying down debt with payments at 125% tp 150% of mininum.

          .We can .allocate what would have been spent on shopping to food banks and homeless shelters, meals on wheels or soup kitchens in our own communities and commit to working two hours a week, or as many hours as we can in shelters, food banks, soup kitchens , head start, big sister/brother .We can Occupy Living that serves life

          .We can form and participate in civic groups in our communities that transcend party..like your "We the People" group,Andrea.

          We can radically change what we buy starting with bottled water and all plastics. We can choose to buy only fair trade and eat only locally grown.If we really want change we need to be the change we seek

          .What we become, our world will become.
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          Nov 2 2011: Andrea, Karina and Lindsay,
          If you believe a solution is to be more proactive through not Christmas shopping or using credit cards and help out in shelters etc., then how do you think this is supported by the camp-out occupations?
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          Nov 2 2011: Tiffany,

          I don't think the movement has alined yet or is representing this idea that we the 99% co-created the ruins we now stand in..nor do I think we are looking to them for leadership on policy, programs, initiatives, demands. They are holding the light on the key problem..the 99% is totally disnefranchised by the 1% and we now get that and want to change that, want to take back governance and redicrect our course. Their job is to tbe the physical presence ( hopefully credible, honorable presence )of protest on behalf of all of us.

          Their very presence and their contiuing identy as "the 99%" are encouraging others to speak and act "the 99%"

          When enough people start acting from dining rooms up to the global level there will be a de facto consensus. We will have gotten there without anyone writing it down or gathering petitions or anything. It will just be. .
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        Nov 2 2011: Tiffany,

        This is a parallel adjunct to the Occupiers who are occupying in person, in public places. One thought, to build on Lindsay's idea, is to take some unspent funds and invest them in communications efforts that can support the Occupiers.

        Another, more practical one is to invest them in supporting the homeless people who are encamping with Occupiers.

        Lift them up, so they have more resources to support the movement, which of course, affects them, too.

        Andrea
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        Nov 2 2011: Karina -

        Excellent. A boycott on consumer spending and consumer debt.

        The key economic driver of GDP is consumer spending, not banks or investments.

        Important to keep in mind this model can feel very uncomfortable to people who are part of the 99%ers but for fear of social isolation do not want to self-identify to the movement.

        They needn't carry placards or defend their spending cessation, or encamp anywhere it they don't wish to. If money is an issue in their family, as it is in the majority of even middle-class families, it is enough for them to simply say, "We've cut back on spending" and/or "we wish to partake the more authentic meanings of Christmas, Hanukkah, Kwanza, etc."

        A quiet revolution against spending can in this way help the more visible movement. An adjunct Occupiers could consider is occupying shopping mall banks. A warmer place for them to winter-over to effort.

        Andrea
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          Nov 3 2011: Absolutely. To me is simple. In the process we will learn to save, and to actually live within our means. We will also have more time that we ever had this time of the year, and regain integrity, I think.

          Let's pass the word to our contacts, face and facebook friends. Let's blog and chat about it.
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          Nov 4 2011: Andrea rally I don't understand about monetary economy, but I can tell you some about the mith of Moneta....really everything that is done against the Moneta Godess provoque a reaction. The mith is like the seed of almost all that we know today, and all the economic theories and schools are just a liturgy and ceremony in the realm of Moneta. She rules the destiny of everyday things by sacrifice in their shrine (today is a bank or ATM) when you use your money in any form Moneta knows...if your sacrifice was a heavy journal maybe your wags are full of money but if you dont, then your pocket is empty. The sacrifice is a sistem of simbols, no more...the clerk people in the bank could explain all fairy tales to keep your money in their hands, they are the priests of Moneta...all this is connected with the lust of money...the other side of Moneta. The sacrificial sistemhas a triangle, 1 Stragos or pain....2 Epidemos or all people sorrow and 3 Pharmakos the sacrificial victim that has to be killed in the holy table to reject the worst for all. We all are sacificial victims in our own rites to honor Moneta.
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        Nov 3 2011: All --

        Wall Street is hearing consumers.

        From the front page of Wall Street Journal business section today: "Debit Card Retreat:"

        "The banking industry's brief experiment with charging their customer's debit card fees appears to be over. The about-face came Tuesday. Bank America was the last major bank to back away from the fees, representing a swift retreat in an industry that is at time known for its lumbering decision making (...)

        "The plan kindled a political dust-up when U.S. Senator Richard Durbin (D-Ill) called on customers to vote with their feet." (...)

        "The Charlotte, N.C. lender was imposing the fees in an attempt to recover some of the nearly $2 billion that it expects to lose each year from new federal restrictions on debit fees." (...)

        The reason? "Uproar"

        Timeline, excerpted from WSJ sidebar:

        "Revolt, ridicule over proposed new fees"

        Sep.29 --- Bank of America memo reveals plans for $5-a-month debit-card fee.
        Oct. 3 --- Durbin denounces fee on Senate floor: "Get the heck out of that bank."
        Oct. 3 --- President Obama says fee is "exactly why we need somebody whose sole job it is to prevent this kind of stuff from happening."

        All of this relates to the Dodd/Frank consumer protections bill, which was signed into law by Obama in July 2010. Which incited the ire of conservatives groups, some got quite ugly.

        OWS and consumers themselves get a share of the credit for this swift-turnaround. Didn't hurt when Jay Leno mentioned to audacity of the banks on consumer T.V.

        All good signs of how common culture can powerfully inform positive change.

        But, make no mistake. More fees will emerge from banks like these. Why Credit Unions are becoming popular for many these days.

        Might not hurt to burn debit cards, too.

        Andrea
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          Nov 3 2011: Shhhhh! Been there, done that, not used one in 2 years. Really, there is nothing to it.

          Like the add says, just do it!
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          Nov 3 2011: No question that Bank of America ( and others) backed off ther fees because of the pressure of public opinion..but they will collect that somewhere else in costs that will be passed on to consumers. They are eager to get rid of all customers who do not maintain an average daily balance of $5,000 in their checking accounts.

          So their retreat from the debit card fee does show the power of public opinion..that they don't want any more bad press..but they are interested in serving only the top end of we the 99%.We should be demanding disaggregation of these too big to fail banks. Bank of America and CitiCorp Chase grew by gobbling up many. many very nice regional and community banks who were meeting the credit needs and convenience of their customers at the community level Many of these takeovers were agressive amd opposed by the bank being taken over. It happened very fast in a big surge at that time centered on getting hold of the deposit base ( this was before the finacialization of our economy and the creation of derivatives but all the while planning that ,moving toward that, lobbying for that ( I was on the NYS Banking Board during that decade)No one is talking about disaggregation..but before Bank of America fails some viable puece of it should be used to create and spin off an independently owned retail bank and all the consumer deposits stripped out and moved to the new retail bank..maybe the bew bank should be called "Occupy America" or "Build America" or "Peoples Bank". It shold be mandated that peoples bank have access to all ATMS nationwide on a no fee basis and have lending officers specializing in community and regional credit needs, all federally chartered banks should be mandated ( required) to accept deposits for People Banks at any branch in America These days we could have a cyber bank..Banks no longer need real estate to serv elocal comunities.

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