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.

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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 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 to dwell 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.

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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 is'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 case they were worried we the 99% really areon to what is going on.

          I wrote to moveon about it and it worries 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

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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."

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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 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.

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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.

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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.

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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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    Nov 1 2011: Yes, It is helpful to look back at the start of the April 6th movement, the movements in Tunisia and other places in the Mid East to ask if the recent Occupations are representations of global unity. The message to stand together in these cases stemmed from the proliferation of information, and the blogosphere was the great organizer demonstrating against the dictators.

    In the USA, Occupation manifested similarly to these earlier movements, however the space filled by the populist media forms (personal blogs, websites, as well as their corporate cousins Twitter and FB) as a means of staying informed was quickly ousted by more traditional media. April 6th maintain*ed the public image of being truly pop., while Occupy was quickly labeled by news discourses as having political or social connotations.

    Interestingly there has been a lot of communication between the April 6th and the Occupy organizers that would seem to demonstrate a sort of push towards a global "branding." Unfortunately, hardly any mention of the cooperation seeps through the cracks of the mass media.

    One of the worst effects of the depiction of the Occupation by USA media is the attempt to split it down party lines. In a recent interview, Noam Chomsky discusses an article in BusinessWeek, "Wall St Vs America," where he states that both sides of the spectrum are angry at the same things, and points out that they need only to unify in order to have a chance at making a difference. I think this point clearly illuminates the issue that Occupiers face regarding media and it is the same issue that plagued the Tea Party movements early on too. The politicizing of genuine populist movements doesn’t help inform discourses, they alter or bastardize them.

    The presence of so many pop. movements around the world does demonstrate a push toward global unity, however in order to maintain the unity, public discourse on national and global levels need to be informed by equally pop. media.
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      Nov 1 2011: well said and great analysis , Chris..

      The politicizing of this movement is defiintely a major hazard .especially with US elections ahead in 2012. They have to forge and insis on an identity as "the 99%" or they will have no long term effect at all. They will just be used by the left to win back Congress and keep the white house and all will continue as it has..getting us nowhere.
  • Oct 31 2011: As a participant in Occupy Calgary (Canada) I'm not sure global unity is exactly the goal. All of us are part of the movement for diverse reasons and over here at least accepting that diversity is paramount. We debate and frequently disagree but we know that we are all seeing different sides of the same problems. In Canada we are attempting to create open networks of communication between the various Occupy groups to share ideas, raise awareness and provide support, but there is no talk of uniting in the sense of becoming an organization. Not unity, but solidarity.
    It thrills us to see people all over the world standing up to reject the idea that debt is a fact of life and that it is acceptable for there to be a massive gap between the earnings of the people on the shop floor and the CEO of the company. It is encouraging for me to watch the different aspects of human greed and avarice rearing their ugly heads in response to the movement as well, whether it be the repeated attacks in the mainstream media of the Occupy Calgary campers or the apparent hypocrisy of the Church of England hiding behind their insurance claim to get them out of St Paul's. You'd think of anyone would be behind this it would be followers of Jesus, a radical who challenged the system and scourged the moneylenders on the temple steps and practiced and encouraged peaceful defiance.
    The movement is holding a mirror up to our culture and revealing the very ugly reasons why we must do so now. I think that people discovering their ability to bait aspects of our culture until they come out of hiding is very empowering. The constant interest and attention paid to the issues is starting to unite the world in a conversation where we are deciding humanity's future, whether you are pro or against the movement, the dialogue and the interest of the majority in that dialogue is a good thing.
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    Nov 3 2011: Tiffany & all fellow Tedsters here

    Here is a lovely essay by avenging angel of the ordinary folk, Ralph Nader, who also sees subtleties in how this unification of values wil ocurr, how the change will come, is coming:

    He is basically saying the change is simulataneous with the visible arm of the occupation contin uing to point to the injust income division ( I miss Ralph Nader.. a personal hero to me all my yaers in comsumer advocacy)

    What is now a breeze can become a wgirlwind if the visible arm of occupy hold their course of non violent civil protest and stays focused on the big issue..the income inequality between the 1% and the 99%.
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    Nov 3 2011: Yes, I think that they help us to realize that we are more alike than dissimilar and that the problems are not just limited to our corner of the world. Awareness must preceed massive change.
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    Nov 2 2011: I'm not so sure that the 99% movement is pushing towards a global unity as much as it is acknowledging the diminishing boundaries of nations. It the first social statement from a generation that always had the internet available to them, and therefore had access to much of the world without map lines. In many ways I see this as as a generation trying to define themselves, and using economics and politics as a tool to meet those ends.
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    Nov 2 2011: Thanks so much for your reponses so far everyone. It seems there are a couple of questions running throughout this conversation that I feel can be summed up as this - how productive are the building occupations and are there clear aims for outcome?I'd rather not give my opinion on this as I need to remain unbias but I'd like to know what you think.
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    Nov 2 2011: As long as the 1% have found ways to create illusions through financial bubbles, wars or rumors of wars, most people have been content to struggle toward the mirage watching those who fall by the wayside with disdain. The last bust was so global that it added fuel to a sub culture of discontent that has always existed. We have economic expansion that does not require the efforts of ordinary people except with respect to their ability to consume. When you weigh the relative level of consumption globally then you can see that with 75% of the world's population consuming far below the west, there are many years of growth for the 1% reflected in simply getting the n billion people on the planet to a modicum of subsistence. It is a cold calculus but nonetheless, that's business.

    There are indeed a large percentage of people in the developed world that are disenfranchised. They vote for people who are not accountable past their election. They can not even punish non accountability by voting them out in the next election because as long as the politicians do the bidding of their real constituents (the large donors), they will have a hefty job waiting for them when the leave helping to influence the next occupant of that office.

    The occupy movements are a reflection of the new "misery index" for the mega consumers. Huge masses in developing countries are seeing this as an opportunity to improve their lot in life. Western culture has long been the magician, holding up illusions to the fascination of the rest of the world. The world is tired of watching and while we occupy Wall Street in a pathetic spirit of Auld Lang Syne, the developing world is moving up the ladder.

    If you are a westerner, find your way into he 1%. If the global 99% lives on $2 per day (admittedly and exaggeration) then the 1% will live well getting them to $4 per day. This is the cold calculus of global business and rapidly becoming an ugly reality.
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      Nov 2 2011: Hi Terry, thanks for your response. Would you be happy to answer a few questions via email? Please feel free to email if you don't want to make yours public.
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    Nov 2 2011: Hi Tiffany,

    In my opinion the answer to your question is yes, the 99percent and OWS movements push towards global unity, even if that may be just a side effect.

    Whether someone agrees or disagrees with the protests, one of the beauties of OWS is that it has opened a space where people can begin to focus on what they have in common, as opposed to what makes them different. We all know that "divide and conquer" is a as old and as effective as war itself, and it is used over and over to keep groups of people focused on specific targets: Republicans on Democrats, Liberals on Conservatives, etc.

    I find one example of that commonality looking at the many people who have called for a very specific action: end the Federal Reserve. Liberals and anarchists and libertarians have spoken in favor of that proposal. Somebody with a "divide and conquer" attitude would try to portray this as a black and white issue and try to align half of the population completely in favor and the other half completely against, ensuring that the two forces would cancel each other.

    In the spirit of many OWS protesters that i have heard in interviews through their live channels, somebody with a "unity" attitude would try to disregard these extremes, and would look for the few things that the majority may have in common, for example: if not end the Fed, could there a way for people to have real control on how the Fed creates money? could a plan be devised and legislation passed to increase gradually the percentage that banks must have in reserves to make loans until that percentage is 100%?

    These may be just made up examples, but my point is that by focusing on what is common rather than what makes us different, OWS has somehow resonated loudly with people in every corner of this planet
  • Nov 1 2011: Yes I do Tiffany. I am a Historian and Cultural Evolutionist, and if you are interested I have a very simple framework that explains all this quite nicely. Been predicting it (and anonymous) for a while. Fact is we are living through the single most incredible period of human history and barely anyone knows. Would be happy to explain the quantitative difference between Occupy and movements of the past (Antonio Negri comes close when talking about the Zapatistas as being the first networked revolution). It also helps explain the generational disconnect (the greatest disconnect between living generations ever)... well, I could go on. Would love to chat about it with you though. My email is Grimeandreason at gmail.

    P.S I'm happily taking part in Occupy Norwich, UK... 17 days and counting, though overnight time is limited with a baby!
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    Nov 1 2011: I think it depends on what you mean by 'global unity'...
    I tend to agree with Krisztián's comment below. We're seeing a lot of protesting, but no ideas or real demands (in detail, I mean) coming forth from these protests for change. I think there's a general shared spirit, and a shared acknowledgement that something is very broken with the systems of the world, more broken in some parts than others, but this will likely fizzle if real change isn't made as a result.
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      Nov 1 2011: Really? What demands other than "stop being a bunch of unethical, corrupt sh*theads" would you like?

      Seriously, the array of people participating is so large that any one person co-opting the energy of the others would be much more disgusting to me than not "unifying" under one banner- thereby losing a segment (of who-knows-what-size depending on the banner raised) .

      I suspect a certain contingent wants to hear demands simply so they can dismiss them.
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        Nov 1 2011: Ok, walk into a congressional or senatorial meeting and tell them "stop being a bunch of unethical, corrupt sh*theads", and see what you get. Then mail that message to all the corporate leaders, bankers, and Wall Street biggies and see what you get in response, because right now, that's essentially what's happening, and it's just a matter of which side will wait out the other. Unless those waiting out in the cold are willing to die as martyrs, en masse, of starvation and exposure, those waiting in their comfy easy chairs will most certainly win, because they're warm, well sheltered, well fed, and really don't give a damn.

        Doesn't matter how large it is, if there's no real action or even idea for reform.

        Whether you agree with me or not, I do not think reality agrees with you, or others who throw your same response in the faces of those of us who realize you will likely not bring about change simply by showing the world how disgruntled you are. You, me, we, are going to need to outline the WHAT, specifically, has led to all of this and detail HOW we are going to fix it or how we want it fixed. The reason for this is that it will ultimately come down to new or reformed policies as a result of such. Otherwise, simply camping out, while great for calling attention to how pissed off you are (at least until people are finally tired of doing it), for all intents and purposes is pissing in the wind. OR, you can switch from peaceful protest and try to pull off a French Revolution. In any case, some sort of real, detailed action is required and I believe the informal cliche, "sh*t or get off the pot", applies here.

        I think it's easier to protest and simply demand change, than to do the actual thinking and work, and endure the discomfort of that work, which is required to bring about change. Few seem willing to do the latter.

        Not to be misunderstood- I think Occupy is great and long overdue, but it needs more than just anger.
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          Nov 1 2011: The issue is, there is no ONE VOICE. It's lots of voices with lots of specific reasons why they think the system is ass-broken. To pick one would rule the others out - or co-opt their voice for your issue.

          I have to run out now for a bit, will post again likely in the AM.
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          Nov 3 2011: Dude, a few things you should know

          -Most of the problems are not actually that complex, if you address the root cause
          -Those who took advantage of the system for profit knew what they were doing and know what the problems were, if you tell them, they will not change.
          -The governments also know what the problems are, but are scared by the mix of media, financial, political consequences and connections (as well as other issues)

          A lot of the answers are obvious, so obvious it makes people angry.

          The financial collapse was predicted by economists YEARS before it happend, even in the main stream news (granted they had been laughed at) . History has taught us these lessons, those in power just keep living for their term, waiting to get rich and get out.

          One thing that needs to happen is more and more people get behind the cause, people moving money out of corrupt banking organisations, not going quiet, not walking away etc

          Any honest professional in any given area - be it banks, corporations or government know the issues. Its why they are so dismissive and arrogant, they try to cover it up, pretend that its ok.

          I know or have known people in these professions personally.

          Oh also I've been to some talks by supporters of the cause or people who are there, they know some solutions too, but the media isnt interested in reporting answers.
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        Nov 1 2011: it is not a demand. for a political movement, we need a something that can be done, a demand for an action or nonaction. you can want to raise taxes, you can want to legalize drugs, you can want to reduce the rights of police officers, etc. these are actual demands. it is not a demand that i want the world to be a nice place. it is a dream.

        ps: i don't know why i wrote that. antonio explained it much better. but since i already sent it, i will keep it here.
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        Nov 3 2011: I agree with you Gisela that the push from the right to have Occupy state demands is exactly as you tear it down. As long as the physical presence of the movement remains peaceful and respctftul and keeps a sea of humanity before the pulbic with placards that say "we are the 99%" what they are saying and what they are doing cannot be picked apart by anyone. It is fact. It is truth.
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          Nov 6 2011: It is not just the right who would like to see organized ideas from the Occupy movement (and I certainly hope you are not making the assumption that all who bring this up are right-wing or even right-leaning, because that would be a very bad assumption, in many cases, I think), and it's not to tear them apart. It is from a great many who want to see REAL change (or, in the very least, a response to the question, "Okay, you've identified the issues, so what do you want to do about them?"), and aside from that, Occupy isn't a political party or organization- it's a series of protests. There's no organization to tear down. You CAN present organized ideas for change, without establishing organizational structures or hierarchies. I think it's also incorrect to assume that can't be done, and is not a good excuse for forgoing action. Maybe this way of thinking is simply another adverse effect of partisan politics...
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        Nov 6 2011: I agree with you Antonio that pressure is coming from many places, not just the right, for #occupy to include leadership and direction on solutions and actions.

        We co-created the ruins we are standing in..we the 99%. We built up those credit card balances..used the equity in our homes to finance unexpected expenses, travel, toys.did our end in this time of consumerism..we accepted disposable non repairable computers and tvs' with a shelf life of two years.We took on huge debt in student loans.

        So unwinding the plutonomy begins with us. We can start being the change we want to see..we can start taking the time to become informed engaged ciitizens again.

        We can stop adding debt to our credit new charges and 125-150% of the minimum when the bill comes..we can transfer that debt to smaller banks on better terms and pay it off. We can stop buying bottled water. Stop buying anything wrapped in or made of plastics or derived from petroleum..that includes polar fleece...We can stop buying toys and gadgets we don't need. We can refuse to buy anything that doesn't have a 5 year useful lifeand isn't locally repairable or repairable at all. We can take buy only food that is local and organic . We can volunteer in soup kitchens ,, meals on wheels, food pantries.

        These are the kinds of things we need to do and be if we are serious about change. We have to change..

        We have to re engage..turns out that's not so hard these days..very easy to track what your elected officials are they voted on bills, what bills they are initiating and it is easier than ever before in history to let them know what you think, what you want.

        I think the change we need to fix this is radical and fundamental. In our own inventoriry of what we need to change in ourselves , our habits, we encounter and discover that.
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    Oct 31 2011: I'm with Debra. I hope as well. Seems that the Arab spring in Egypt, Libya, Syria et al are mostly about corruption and economic opportunity than anything else. From what I read the people in Egypt were fed up with the Mubarek family and their friends controlling everything leaving too little on the plate for everyone else.

    Great question Tiffany!
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    Oct 31 2011: I sure hope so. I hope that these movements are moving average people to realize how much we have in common and how much we have to lose by inaction and through division.
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    Oct 31 2011: Tiffany,

    Thanks so much for bringing this question to TED and for focusing on the "we are the 99%" aspect of the #Occupy movements worldwide.

    There is a global conversation ongoing now at but I must say the software supporting that conversation is not as good as the one here at TED. voices ( voices not part of ur TED Community) doing important work and brainstorming..

    Also lots of great links including to the "whoarethe99%" sites which are very very moving.

    The key to your question, I think is in the "who are the 99%" sites where people are posting just their own image holding handwritten placards about .their story as one of the 99%. What becomes clear is that everyone has the same story..people who did everything right, everything they were expected to do, repsonsibly , with dedication "came up short" and aren't seeing a way out. That gave rise to democracy.

    The 1% have always known and acknolwledged that social backlash could change the game of the 1%, the plutonomy, but have felt and written that as long as the 99% believed they still had a shot at the piece of the pie no such backlash would emerge.Well it has emerged and is continuing to arise inspite of police harassment.At the moment that backlash isn't visibly changing anything that goes on in the world of the 1% and at this moment the plutonomy is still firmly in control in the U.S.. the U.K., Canada, in most "free nations"

    The 99% have the power to take it all back; make our nations our globe serve the 99%..they just haven't figured out yet how to do that.An interesting theme that is emerging at Occupy Cafe that may be become politically significant in 2012 is the notion of "thrivability"..not viability. not survivability, not merely "sustainable" but "thrrivable.". Anther emerging theme is jobs for communities, community itself..rather than centralized control by a few in all sectors.It can happen.
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      Nov 2 2011: Thanks for your comment Lyndsay and for your links. Would you be happy to answer a few questions via email?
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        Nov 2 2011: yes, of course, Tiffany ..Contact me via TED email and I'll send you my email...or we can chat by skype.
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    Oct 31 2011: it is good that many people feel the urge to change things. it is sad that they didn't start to question our knowledge about the world. rather, they reached out for a scapegoat. obviously, it won't help. so after this energy burns out, but results are not coming, lethargy can follow.
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      Nov 1 2011: I'm inclined to agree. No one seems to be making any demands, or laying out, even in rough detail, the solutions to the problems they're pointing out. Sometimes, when asked, I get this speech, sometimes I read it in response to someone else's inquiry, about revolution and being heard, or about how it doesn't need to be organized (which then brings it full-circle to being something about revolution). It's sort of like protesting disease without any demand or recommendation for a treatment or cure. At least here in the US, there ARE things which can be put in place to curtail corruption and corporate influence on government policy making, and they are things people talk about openly, but there doesn't seem to be any real effort to get behind those ideas in an organized way. I would think Occupy to be ideal for such a thing...
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        Nov 3 2011: Well to follow your metaphor a bit I think you are somewhat right in that nobody has cure they are trying to prescribe. At this stage its all about making the body stronger. Its about trying to form create our own rules for how society, politics and economics intermingle. There will always be some who try to only get as much as possible for themselves without regard to the greater good. One way to counteract this would be to proscribe greater regulation, which I would argue for, but it is equally important to for people find way of meeting needs, and applying skills in a more peer to peer way. In many ways I don't see it as a protest, but rather partial start over. As for coming up with a message, there are many, but yes it will take time for them to flesh out a bit. Maybe this will work maybe not, but it is still too new a movement to tell yet.
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      Nov 2 2011: Thanks for your reponse Krisztián and Antonio. I have already emailed Antonion but Krisztián, would you be happy to give me your email address?
  • Oct 31 2011: Yea all the time
  • Oct 31 2011: Feel free to email
  • Oct 30 2011: If you can prove that there is a single "cause" beyond people being angry that life is not fair then you might be able to provide a weak argument for a push towards global unity.

    Interesting analysis and commentary of American 99% / Occupy Wall Street movement.
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      Oct 30 2011: Hi Bob, thanks for your feedback.

      An interesting article yes but perhaps a little extreme? It's great to come across the other point of view though - it seems the media, especially here in the UK, is siding with the protesters.

      I think members/supporters may argue that this is about making life more fair, rather than circumstances being unfair in the first place.

      What do you think of Robin Hood tax?
      • Oct 30 2011: Sometimes the truth is extreme. Often people do not want to hear the truth because of the basic principle that the truth can be extreme. Use of the word "fair" to justify an unfair action seems extreme to me.

        I think the Robin Hood Tax is one of the worst ideas I have ever heard. (Next to the Venus Project)

        The idea is to create a "tiny" tax on banks that will generate "billions of pounds." That does not sound tiny. And just saying "No, the banks will not pass the costs onto us" is not good enough.

        WEBSITE QUOTE: "The Robin Hood Tax is justice. The banks can afford it. The systems are in place to collect it. It won't affect ordinary members of the public, their bank accounts or their savings. It's fair, it's timely, and it's possible."

        -Robin Hood Tax is NOT justice, it is illogical attempted revenge against the "evil rich man."

        -The banks will not have to afford it because the costs will be passed onto the customer. This has happened in the United States. Many transaction fees have been created or have gone up already as a result of legislation like this.

        It is sad and funny at the same time. The more people try to make the world "fair" the more unfair it becomes.
        • Oct 30 2011: No, Bob, it's an attempt to balance the terribly skewed imbalance between rich and poor which Wilkinson demonstrated will be our collective demise. Surely banks will pass this on, and I, for one would welcome a .005% drop on the already tiny interest rate I receive on my savings account. Your reference to the Bank-of-America charging a monthly $5 is certainly contrary to your argument as BofA is one of the worst of greedy offenders.
          A warning to those in favour of a Robin Hood tax: It's spending should NOT be administered by the current crop of politicians who seem to be in thrall to the same greedy banks and corporations as are destroying us.
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      Nov 3 2011: Bob, could not being "angry that life is not fair ," be the source of all social protest since the dawn of man. Yes it is not and if you have the slightest chance of making it better why would you not.