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At last! Occupy affiliated groups that call out the enemy by name! Good for them! This demonstration is at 6:00 pm, today. Fromthis article at Black Agenda Report:

Oppose Obama’s NDAA Police State & Resource Wars to Pillage the World
THE 99% Must Hold Obama Accountable! If WE Don’t, Who Will?
On December 31, 2011 President Barack Obama signed into law the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) for Fiscal Year 2012 The Act authorizes $662 billion in funding for “the defense of the United States and its interests abroad". The bill grants power to the military to arrest U.S. citizens on American soil and detain them in military prisons indefinitely without right to legal counsel or even a trial. NDAA, a sweeping expansion of executive powers that goes far beyond the Bush administration. This law poses the greatest threat to "principles" of US democracy. Die heart Obama supporters bully, threaten and berate those who hold the President accountable for ANYTHING most of all his lies to and betrayal of the 99%! The military industrial complex and Wall Street oligarchy owns lock, stock and barrel the US Presidency, Congress and both political parties, Democrat and Republican!  It’s not about the “lesser of two evils” but who is the more effective of the two evils! We have to ask ourselves, how do we hold any elected official accountable, most of all a President who has insisted the people hold him accountable!  Occupy Movements across the country are hitting the streets every day to confront and end the deadly reign of the 1%. Let's us do our job on January 19th. History will absolve us!!
 (emphasis mine)

The groups calling for this demonstration are:

Endorsers: Occupy Harlem, Harlem FightBack Against War at Home and Abroad, Black is Back Coalition, Occupy Wall Street Trade Justice, TradeJustice New York Metro, Occupy4Jobs, & Global Justice for Animals and the Environment.

They also mention a website (which they mispelled), viz., http://tradejustice.net/

I SINCERELY HOPE THAT ONE OF THEIR DEMANDS IS TO DEMAND THAT BOTH THE DEMOCRATS AND THE REPUBLICANS APOLOGIZE FOR THEIR PARTS IN BRINGING US GRAMM, LEACH, BLILEY, WHICH DID AWAY WITH GLASS STEAGALL.

I never heard of a single member of Congress, of either party, apologizing for this monstrosity. Did you?

Just yesterday I posted this comment at FDL:

Is not the lack of organized response to Obama’s perfidy at least as depressing as Obama’s perfidy, itself?

How many of your neighbors know about Obama’s backstabbing wrt ACA?

Should we wait upon the Veal Pen to lead the charge in educating the unwashed masses about the corruption of the Democrats?

Meanwhile, Occupy Wall Street had months to issue a condemnation of both the Democratic and Republican parties for their roles in doing away with Glass Steagall, via Gramm Leach Bliley. But this no-brainer was beyond their capacity, apparently.

Let’s review the options for exposing the unwashed, unblogged masses to the fuller extent of White House duplicity:

Obama .. Nope
Congress .. Nope*
Veal Pen … Nope
Occupy WS … Nope

OK, here’s the 64 dollar question: Who does that leave?

* the Republicans’ criticism of ACA cannot offend their corporate/healthcare sponsors; hence, the talk of socialism, death panels, etc.

I'd like to thank the endorsing organizations behind the mobilization in Harlem: Occupy Harlem, Harlem FightBack Against War at Home and Abroad, Black is Back Coalition, Occupy Wall Street Trade Justice, TradeJustice New York Metro, Occupy4Jobs, & Global Justice for Animals and the Environment for making a liar out of me!

Woo, hoo!

Poll

To the best of your knowledge, how many current or former members of Congress, either D or R, ever apologized for Gramm, Leach, Bliley?

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The reason it's the best article, yet, is because Sirota went into an analysis of what a Ron Paul presidency would likely be able to achieve, given the very real constraints of Congress. And constraints that are not just dictated as such, theoretically, by the Constitution, but as actually practiced.

From Who’s a real progressive? Obama and Paul both hold positions anathema to liberals. Voters need to choose which ones to overlook

Hence, we reach one of those impossible questions: From a progressive perspective, which is a more legitimate camp to be in? In terms of ideological allegiance to the larger progressive agenda, I don’t really think there’s a right or wrong answer. But in terms of realpolitik, there’s a strong case to be made that Paul’s progressive-minded supporters understand something that Obama’s supporters either can’t or don’t want to: namely, that a presidential election is a vote for president, not a vote to elect the entire federal government. As such, when faced with candidates whom you agree with on some issues and totally disagree with on other issues, it’s perfectly rational — and wholly pragmatic — to consider one’s own multifaceted policy preferences in the context of what a prospective president will have the most unilateral power to actually enact.

With Paul, it just so happens that most of the ultra-progressive parts of his platform (and legislative career) correspond to the presidential powers that are most unilateral in nature. As President Obama so aptly proved when he ignored the War Powers Act during the Libya conflict and started drone wars in various other countries, a president can start and end military conflicts with the stroke of a pen — and without any congressional check on power. Likewise, as President Obama showed when he assassinated American citizen Anwar al-Awlaki and then his family without so much as a single criminal charge, a president can now trample or expand civil liberties with the stroke of the same pen. The president also appoints the chairman of the Federal Reserve bank, which now unilaterally grants trillions of dollars in bailouts without intervention from Congress. And, as President Obama proved with his administration’s crackdown on California’s marijuana laws, a president has far more operational control over the drug war than the congressional committees charged with oversight.

By contrast, the policy areas where Paul is most at odds with progressives are the areas Congress has far more control over — specifically, budgets and regulatory statutes.

N.B.: Other articles or presentations by prominent progressives that sought to rationally evaluate, from a progressive perspective, Paul's candidacy vs. Obama's, include those by authors Glen Greenwald*, Matt Stoller, and Cenk Uyghur.

N.B. #2: My own diary on this sort of analysis is What horrors, from a progressive POV, would a President Ron Paul ACTUALLY be able to achieve?

* Greenwald's wikipedia page says that he's not liberal or conservative, but takes a bit of both sides' positions. He seems more progressive than most.

Poll

Is Sirota's attempt to evaluate what a Paul Presidency would entail a rational APPROACH?

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Wed Dec 21, 2011 at 06:47 PM PST

OWS for "old farts"

by metamars

Full Title:

Must Listen Podcast: Call for ubiquitous "99% Clubs" (OWS for "old farts")

Sorry, I don't want to take the time to explain this one. This was an important interview, IMO. If somebody want to write a full diary on it, feel free.

I suggest all OWS fans listen to today's (12/21/2011) Occupied Territory show on the Progressive Radio Network. The interviewee related our challenges to that of the Populists, and argued for "99% clubs". These loosely-affiliated clubs would exploit public spaces for teaching and creating a sense of  group identity. Think of something OWS-like, but for "old farts" (i.e, more timid, employed and not willing to become unemployed, etc.) In fact, surveys shows that sympathy for OWS' message far exceeds sympathy with their tactics. That suggests that OWSFOF - OWS for old farts - could be far bigger than OWS, proper.)

Of secondary importance is this podcast,  the Dec. 19 "Occupy Wall Street Radio" on WBAI which shows the extent to which NYC (probably presaging other cities) is going to suppress media coverage of OWS actions. IMO, it's foolish to rely on the media. Better to consider MSM a "nice to have".

Poll

Would you participate in an

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Apologies for the brevity, and wish it was easier for me to research this(1), but here goes....

Perhaps it's because of my personal cognitive style, but I'm often guided in my political judgements by what is NOT happening, and what is NOTsaid. And I do wish that more people would compare current events, as well as the common parameters of debate, with the absence of speech, actions, and activity which one could reasonably expect if the system weren't so corrupted. In fact, to encourage such a mental habit in others is one of the reasons for posting this diary. Feed a man fish, teach a man to fish, all of that.

Now, to the specific case of President Obama. But first, a definition, from dictionary.com:

Omerta:  A rule or code that prohibits speaking or divulging information about certain activities, especially the activities of a criminal organization.

#1  ALEC Omerta

AFAIK, Obama has never even mentioned ALEC. This should particularly outrage Democrats, as state-level, 99%-oriented Dems are fighting against ALEC. Not surprising, as most (~90%) of the state legislators who we know are affiliated with ALEC ("smart-ALECs", you might call them!) are Republicans.

The shenanigans in Wisconsin were definitely related to ALEC. Obama couldn't find his "walking shoes" to help out WI Dems, but think what might have happened if Obama had used his bully pulpit to the max, and gone on a 20 stop speaking tour throughout Wisconsin, educating WI voters, primarily, about ALEC. Of course, this would have made the news outside of WI, and thus helped spark voter engagement, nationwide. This increased voter engagement would have helped the Democrats far more than the Republicans. In WI, this could easily have translated to the Dems flipping 3 seats during the recall elections, instead of just 2. (3 was the critical number needed to regain control.)

Furthermore, Obama could have called on his enthusiastic 2008 supporters - those that he hasn't lost, entirely - to do anti-ALEC teachins, pamphleting, etc. That would have provided a good warmup for his own re-election campaign.(2)

But rolling back the ALEC agenda is at cross-purposes with privatizing education, which Obama is all hunky dory with. AFAICT, Obama's own re-election is also secondary to his main purposes, which involve the further economic marginalization of Americans, the further erosion of their civil rights, and of course maintaining America's unacknowledged empire.

Oh, yeah. Wanna know who else practices ALEC omerta? Rush Limbaugh, Michelle Malkin, and Sean Hannity, that's who.

#2  Citizens United vs. FEC Omerta

OK, I'm aware that Obama did adress this court decision, shortly after it was made.

Since then, beside not using the bully pulpit to even talk about it (AFAIK), Obama has not used this plutocracy-enhancing, democracy-destroying decision to stir the citizens into organizing against it. A constitutional amendment is probably necessary. Certainly, constitutional scholar Obama knows all about constitutional amendments, doesn't he?

Obama, alone, could have guaranteed that Americans would know that they're playing with fire to allow CU to stand, and that they need to organize to effect a constitutional remedy. Instead, his omerta is making all too easy for Americans not to think about CU.

(1) A reference librarian should be able to help folks search for any statement by Obama on Citizens United, and ALEC. If you are so inclined, please have at it.

(2) Well, the trick for both Dems and Repubs is to fire up their respective bases enough to keep voting for them, but not to fight for their demands in a serious way. From the diary Indispensable Enemies (after the book of the same name, by Walter Karp).

The parties and the pros work for themselves first, last and always, and a party's ruling group would always rather maintain control of a losing party than win and lose control. Parties do not depend on elected officials for funding. Quite the opposite: elected officials who don't have their own organizations and who can't self-finance are pretty much dependent on the party. (This is especially true of low-seniority members of the House, who are little more than but peons.)  The party gets its funding from donors, and donors give money as often to prevent action asthey do to get action: sometimes all they want is nothing.

By and large party leaders do not want reform, progress, or change, since anything new makes  their job harder and threatens to bring in new and competing leaders. The two party oligarchies support one another against the dissident forces in either party, and often their disputes are choreographed dog-and-pony shows leading, like pro wrestling, to foreordained conclusions -- as we have seen with free trade, tax reduction, and deregulation, often the two parties are in agreement on the issues.
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E. Neglect or sabotage outreach. The party pros do not want enthusiastic new supporters if the new supporters seem likely to make new, inconvenient demands. What they want is predictable, tried-and-true party regulars making specific, limited demands. Voter enthusiasm is not a good thing, but rather a problem to be solved: often the party must figure out how to fail in a non-obvious way, without angering its voters.


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Do you agree that President Obama DELIBERATELY practices ALEC omerta and Citizens' United vs. FEC omerta?

| 0 votes | Vote | Results

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From Ron Paul calls for criminal charges against Eric Holder.

Gun rights advocates have been asking why Republicans aren't calling for criminal charges against Eric Holder. Many have criticized FOX News for giving the story little coverage. CBS national news has been breaking most of the new details related to Fast & Furious. Recently Eric Holder yelled at a reporter at an event in DC. He blamed the media for public outrage over Fast & Furious, and told a reporter "you guys need to stop it."

Today, Texas Congressman Ron Paul became the first GOP president candidate to call for criminal charges against Eric Holder.

Speaking to syndicated radio talk show host Alex Jones, Paul called for Holder to be "immediately fired." Paul went on to say "I think it was criminal," and called the operation a "false flag." He said that there needs to be an immediate investigation into Holder himself, and said Holder "deserves charges."

N.B.: This article" Ignore the national polls: the Republican race will be decided in Iowa’s three-way showdown, suggests that a Ron Paul victory in Iowa, and beyond, is plausible.

Poll

Should Eric Holder be fired, and investigated for criminal charges related to Fast and Furious?

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I have a simple idea that I would like to hear feedback on. Let me admit, right off, that I haven't studied the nuclear reactor geometry in any detail, and this idea depends on such geometric (or layout) conditions.

As some of you may know, Fukushima is threatening (or has already begun), to go China Syndrome.

The simple idea is this: Build a wall around the Fukushima reactors, and start dumping in tin ball bearings. Very tiny ones, so that they are more space-filling, and can pour through smaller openings. If you need to, drill some holes through floors, tops of containments, etc.

If the nuclear materials are hot enough to melt concrete, then they are hot enough to melt the ball bearings. Concrete becomes "crumbly" at around 1000 C, and it's constituent stone and sand don't melt until 2600 C, according to this. The melting point of tin is 231.9 C.

Meanwhile, the thermal conductivity of tin is 67 W/(m.K), vs. .1- 1.8 W/(m.K) for concrete. (Ref).

Consequently, provided that you can get the tin ball bearings close enough to the bottom of the reactor where the nuclear materials are eating through the concrete, they should both melt faster than the concrete, and furthermore conduct the vast majority of heat upwards, through the mass of tin, rather than downwards.

Should the tin that's enclosed become completely melted, you build a second wall, knock a hole in your first wall, to let the liquid tin pour through, and dump fresh tin ball bearings on the top of the reactor, within the circumference of the first wall. Repeat, as necessary. (I.e., as many additional walls as you need.

If you want to conserve energy, and the tin is not too radioactive, you can create a tin can factory, right there! :-) (I don't think tin cans have tin, anymore. Just kidding, in this last paragraph.)

Poll

Is this crazy idea worth investigating

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There was an article by Al Giordano on his narconews.com that was so good, and so relevant, to OWS and the limitations of consensus models of governance, that I thought I should post an excerpt, and invite everybody to read the entire article. If you're excited by OWS, I'm sure you'll get a lot out of his article.

From Traité du Savoir-Vivre for the Occupy Wall Street Generations

Thankfully, the most extreme grouposcules of that nature have not – yet – latched themselves onto the Wall Street occupation. Still, the protests have been marked by a lack of discipline. A September 23 report by Nathan Schneider in Waging Nonviolence, four days into the protest, illuminated this dynamic:
“A terrific storm gathers around the phalanx of police, who shove protesters with hands and sticks, then grab one or two out of the crowd, throw them to the ground, bind their hands in plastic cuffs, and take them away. You can tell who has had nonviolence training before—they go limp, they make no sign of resistance. But others, especially the youngest, will squirm and cry out in pain, inviting the police to push more, hit harder, drag more ruthlessly. There’s the feeling—surely intentional—that anyone could be next. This escalation only reinforces what the police seem to have been told: that what they’re seeing is the beginnings of a riot.”

Almost two weeks later, on October 5, it was evident that the protest’s “general assembly” decision-making body hasn’t seen this as a problem or priority. After the largest march to date – 15,000 union members joined the protest for a day – a white-shirted member of the NYPD brass was captured on video maliciously swinging his nightstick at defenseless protesters. For some reason many of the protesters seem to think that a video of police violence automatically brings public support to a cause. At least one leader of the post-Seattle genre of protests has written so much in a NY Times column: “when police attack peaceful occupiers (and the protesters catch it on camera), it generates tremendous sympathy for the cause.”
That is truly awful advice. It would doom any movement that followed it to abject failure. Entire swathes of the American (and New York) public in fact are prone to cheering the police when they beat up on certain kinds of protesters. Hey, everyone knows that America is a violence-loving society. Why is it such a stretch to understand that much of “the 99 percent” that many protesters claim to speak for actually like to see the cops bust the heads of people they see as different from them? Anybody who has knocked on doors and gotten to know the public beyond their own demographic niches understands that very well already.

The consensus decision-making process used by the protest’s governing body, a “general assembly” that meets for hours each day, into which anybody can walk in or out at any time at will, may seem like a cute and harmless form of peaceful action. But it actually contributes greatly to the lack of discipline of the revolt. Consensus process is by definition exclusionary to most of “the 99 percent” of the public in whose name these protests are held. That’s because most people are working at jobs or taking care of children all day and don’t have the time, or the interest, in trying to write a declaration by committee-of-hundreds.
Those who romanticize “general assemblies” often site their use among many indigenous communities. And there is truth to that: In 35 years of participating and reporting on social movements, the only places I’ve seen it work effectively have been in rural indigenous communities where all the participants share the same language, culture, socio-economic level and line of work, typically, subsistence level farming. (For similar reasons it might also function in a workplace, where everyone is paid for the time and labor spent in meetings.) Among homogeneous groups, it can work. The inverse observation to be made about Occupy Wall Street is that the consensus process has survived for three weeks now only because it maintains and encourages the demographic homogeneity of the core participants: college educated Americans. Its use may in fact reflect a subconscious desire by many participants that the protest remain homogeneous and narrow, a kind of defense mechanism against having to open the cause up to the real 99 percent.
Discuss

I had a pleasant conversations with a Progressive Radio Network (PRN) host, Bill Thompson, who used to do their Tea Party show, some weeks ago. (PRN hosts a wide spectrum of political viewpoints, including Green and progressive Democrats.) I gave Bill a call today, to pitch the idea of mobilizing PRN's audience to form an immediate, boots on the ground, electoral threats at the ready, response to Protect IP. PRN was started by uber-activist Gary Null, but for some reason Null seems perpetually unwilling to challenge the PRN audience to manifest full-on, organized activism. (I note some exceptions in my piece.) What follows is a copy of my email to Bill.

Poll

Does progressive media do enough to push citizens to organize for progressive causes, utilizing "Boots on the Ground"?

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Occupy Newark got started last week, and Mayor Cory Booker has since showed up and extensively engaged the occupiers. See this link for a livestream replay, which should be showing for a few days, yet (as Occupy Newark only schedules a few days per week). He comes across as completely empathetic, and hard-working for the good of Newark. He's not allowing tents (which I don't have a problem with), but he's given orders to support Occupy Newark (basically, non-harassment by police; I think they also lifted the pre-existing curfew).

I'm posting this mostly out of gratitude and admiration for what Booker seems to be about. (I don't follow local and state politics, much, so I'm judging based on my impression of what he said, and how he said it.) However, as it seems to me that Booker is thinking about how Occupy Newark and city-connected efforts that he's pushing might be synergistic, there's another reason for posting a diary. If he's successful in facilitating synergy, Booker + Newark + Occupy Newark could serve as a model for other occupations and cities. E.g., he's put his finger on a fundamental problem, that cuts across much of our predicament, and that is for people to get worked up by seeing something on TV, shake their fists, get angry, and then do exactly nothing. (Reminiscent of "blogging to the choir", no?) He contrasted this phenomenon with statistics that show how helpful it is for young people to have mentors, but that Newark's TV-agitated residents don't, by and large, step up and become mentors.

Occupy Newark, by encouraging civic involvement, can help solve the lack-of-engagement-problem, which has EVERYTHING to do with how successful Newark is in dealing with it's problem.

God bless Cory Booker. Occupy X, keep your eyes on Newark.

Poll

Should Occupy X movements be proactively seeking out non-Wall Street issue related synergies with local governments, and vice versa? (In addition to agitating for economic justice vis-a-vis Wall Street, of course. )

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From Protesters stage march to Obama's Des Moines office

Nearly 100 people marched Saturday to President Barack Obama’s 2012 campaign headquarters in downtown Des Moines.

One by one, members of Occupy Iowa denounced the president for what they called his failure to protect the vast majority of Americans from home foreclosures, rising health care costs and student loan debt.

Others faulted Obama for deporting more than 1 million immigrants, and extending the nation’s military presence to countries such as Somalia and Yemen.

I'd like to see Occupy Wall Street denounce both the Democratic and Republican parties for overwhelmingly supporting the roll back of Glass Steagall*; and furthermore, additionally denouncing them for NOT APOLOGIZING to the American public for playing fast and loose with their economic security, by so doing.

*The final vote was near unanimous.

Poll

Would you like to see one of the OccupyX movements denounce both the Democratic and Republican parties for their support in rolling back Glass Steagall?

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So says a post at FormerDittoHead.com.*As for the US losing it's AAA credit rating, this may be a function of our ripoff healthcare costs.

Another thought: the relationship may, in fact, be mostly indirect. Viz., countries with socialized medicine are putting people before profits, and that sort of ethos also gets reflected in the government being financially prudent, and also not allowing corporations to run amok and shirk their fair share of the taxation burden.

A question: How does the extra financing charge related to losing a AAA credit rating relate to the extra hit that a median taxpayer will end up paying? (E.g., if a median taxpayer ends up paying $500/yr in their share of increased national interest on the debt, due to not having socialized medicine, than that $500 could be considered an indirect healthcare cost.)

* I'm not sure that the claim is true - the evidence is just links to wikipedia pages, and not all have them.

Discuss

This is a reply to Look Out, #Occupy: Here Comes the DCCC

While I don't doubt attempts by Democrats to coop #Occupy, I don't see how they can succeed. Not in the near term future, anyway.

Here is the money quote from OWS participant, who commented on the NY Times article: "Protests Offer Help, and Risk, for Democrats", by Tony Buontempo.

In the comments I am about to make, I want to emphasize I have not been giving authority to speak on behalf of Occupy Wall Street NYC. No one has authority unless granted by the General Assembly to speak on behalf of the movement. I speak for myself.

I am at NYC OWS everyday. If the Democratic Party thinks it will coop this movement, they have another thing coming. Individuals members of the party are welcome to participate, as is everyone who clearly sees the failure of corporate capitalist market driven society.

However, when I speak one on one to the vast majority of people at OWS, they, we, see the Democratic Party as just as much to blame as the Republican Party. There are some members of both parties that have support in the movement, Dennis Kucinich, Bernie Sanders, and Ron Paul are a few. But for the most part, the parties and their corporate free market ideology are not supported by the vast majority of us. There are some that do, no doubt, but they are in the minority.

The disparaging comment in the artilce by the unnamed Democratic operative about the Anarchists stands as the best example of why they will never get our support. The Anarchists have been at the forefront of our movement. Though not the majority, they have been here since day one taking the full weight of the pepper spray, beating, and jailing of the capitalist state. They are our Working Class brothers and sisters, and we would never abandon them they way the Democratic Party abandon us.

Given that OWS has started out leaderless, and is therefore amorphous enough so that people don't even know how to think about it, perhaps the best outcome for OWS' future is as a sort of trans-partisan platform, or operating system.

 OpenLeft.com was founded with the idea of it serving as a sort of operating system:

We see the internet and the Open Left as a sort of operating system for a new political system, where groups can plug in and form coalitions more easily and effective on the left, and we see a strong set of dynamics pulling us into this new coalition-focused direction.  We hope to host many of these groups, serving as a forum for strategic discussion of goals and tactics.


Similarly, maybe the greatest good that can come out of OWS is it being a foundational level for political activism, which is transpartisan, targets any and all political parties, and serves as both an open forum and open recruiting base. In return, OWS needs physical support ($$) and their desire not to be coopted has to be respected. (I.e., the $$ can’t come with strings.) Their structure (such as it is) seems to be impervious to cooption, anyway.

An operating system doesn't "endorse" a program, and any program that takes over the operating system is seen as a bad thing - either a trojan or a virus. An operating system protects itself and other programs from 'bad programs', that try to appropriate memory that doesn't belong to it, by killing the run of the offending program.

Likewise, OWS might best fulfill it's place in the democratic ecosystem by not endorsing any party, but by allowing 'good' (reformist) representatives of these parties to share it's civic spaces for bona fide purposes.

Poll

Do you think the Democrats will be able to coop OWS?

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