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Occupy COMO adopts an official statement

Tuesday, October 18, 2011 | 10:34 p.m. CDT; updated 10:35 a.m. CDT, Friday, October 21, 2011

COLUMBIA — Occupy COMO protesters passed around cups of hot cider and lit one another's cigarettes Tuesday night as they waited for their general assembly to start. By 8 p.m., the scattered few had become an enclosed circle.

The meeting is a direct democracy, as is the group. There were two elected moderators, but their only role was to keep the general assembly focused on the suggested proposals.

On the docket Tuesday was a proposal to adopt an official Occupy COMO statement. It was based on similar proposals adopted by the St. Louis and Wall Street occupations. At only half a page in length, the document delved briefly into the beliefs and mission of the group. It also stressed individual protestors' autonomy and codified their leaderless model.

"We are leaderless," the statement read. "We come as individuals, autonomous, with distinct concerns about a variety of issues. We stand as one people, united, against a system, which allows for the domination of the vast majority of the population by a wealthy few."

"The proposal is just stating that the group is leaderless, but not disorganized," said Cameron Jackson.

Jackson has been occupying outside the Daniel Boone Building off and on for three weeks. He started out as an "occupation observer," but after talking to the protestors, he was eventually drawn into the group as a more active participant. "I got sucked into it," he said.

Jackson was among the 19 people that assembled together Tuesday night. By the end of the meeting, discussion was focused on the impending winter. Many of the occupiers were already bundled in layers as they gripped their cider.

Before getting into Tuesday's proposals, two moderators reviewed the list of hand signals: wave when you agree with a proposal; make a proposal by forming your hands into a steeple; wave your hand upside down if you disagree; if someone is getting too long-winded, rotate your hand as if motioning them to wrap it up.

There were only two hours designated each week to the general assemblies. Without the signals, discussion can very quickly turn to ideological debate, which, once it starts, can be hard to stifle among a group of individuals who have made this occupation their mission. At the conclusion of the general assembly, open forum began.

The number of people occupying overnight is already dwindling, and Jackson said if more people don't participate, the occupation could be in danger of falling apart.

"It's not an occupation without at least one person here," he said. "Usually the ones staying out here at night are the least fortunate, which isn't right. They shouldn't be the ones carrying the majority of the burden."

During the General Assembly, a proposal to craft a volunteer-based schedule was brought up. At the next General Assembly at 8 p.m. Saturday, the discussion will be continued. The group also continues to utilize the online forum and the groups Facebook page, which at the time of publication had more than 2,700 likes.


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Comments

Ellis Smith October 19, 2011 | 4:34 a.m.

"Usually the ones staying out here at night are the least fortunate, which isn't right. They shouldn't be the ones carrying out the majority of the burden."

Management skills might be helpful, but then it might appear there was a leader in the group. Can't have that! Does the term "duty roster" suggest anything useful?

"...two moderators reviewed a list of hand signals:"

Fascinating!

(Report Comment)
mike mentor October 19, 2011 | 8:51 a.m.

You better not cut me off on the way home tonight or else I will wave my upsidown hand at you !

(Report Comment)
Cecil Murphy October 19, 2011 | 10:19 a.m.

Gosh, you know, we really considered that we might look like a kindergarten class using hand signals at the GA's (which, we do at times, because the GA's are open to children and their voices) and briefly considered operating like the current state, but we thought we might actually want to accomplish something outside of ordering lunch and coming to an indecision each day on someone else's hard-earned dollar.
Seriously, I realize it is hard to believe, but we're a very diverse group of individuals. Some of us are houseless, some are highly educated, some are children, some are parents, some just came to take someone home. We stay because we care. We care about you. We excercize our freedom of speech consistently, so that you can excercize yours to make fun of us for doing so. Vicious cycle, but we're lovers (or I am.)
If you want to more directly mock us, we're at Liberty Plaza @ 8th and Broadway 24/7. Sometimes there are refreshments. There is always an abundance of wit and sarcasm, though, and that seems to be something you'd both enjoy.
<3 loveyouuuuuuu~ bigsisteranon

(Report Comment)
Richard Saunders October 19, 2011 | 1:33 p.m.

Funny, how ALL of these "leaderless" groups all over the world, have been led to label themselves as a "direct democracy." To believe that there aren't leaders disseminating memes (such as the "leaderless" one) is to deny the reality that surrounds us.

Even funnier is that the owners of Zuccotti Park are very secure in their status as the 1% (they own 78M sq ft of office space in premiere skyscrapers around the world, including the WTC). Now, just why would they lend their park to this cause, if it isn't meant to be an ideological trap of some sorts?

While I fully support the idea of ending corruption, I do not see this movement enabling it, as most within it seek to further empower the apparatus of corruption itself, the government.

(Report Comment)
Corey Parks October 19, 2011 | 3:17 p.m.

Murphy: With the hand signals aside, have you guys considered what bad press your getting due to the fact that you are allowing extremely well off people (celebrities, GE, President, etc to come down or speak out publicly for you while you cheer and support them. Might be some hypocrisy there somewhere don't you think?
You can not have standing next to you the head of GE and a job czar who runs a company that received more money from the govt last year then all 99% combined yet paid 0% in taxes. The guy himself earns 21 million a year. You have Soros providing funding and printing Occupied Wall Street Journal and you cheer forgetting the fact that he destroys economies for a living and earns 2.1 billion last year.
You gathering might have started out with good intentions but remember your part of a larger group. Even though the rich hypocrites do not come down to City Hall with you you are still associated with them. Your "ideas" have been hijacked by others and many of you did not even realize it.

(Report Comment)
Mark Foecking October 19, 2011 | 3:35 p.m.

Corey, could you provide a link or something I could search for the speech/cheering you're mentioning? I'd just like to see for myself what's going on.

DK

(Report Comment)
Corey Parks October 19, 2011 | 4:30 p.m.

I forgot you do not have cable or high speed internet DK. As you know the news does not allow videos to be posted on you tube.

Simmons and Kanya http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9y768coPo...

A List http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fC_0IA99i...

Jeff Immelt http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/ezra...

Micheal Moore on why the media is not coving the movement. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KrFQs5X-I...

and just for fun http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dClqEQ-Lz...

(Report Comment)
Michael Williams October 19, 2011 | 4:49 p.m.

Corey:

Yep. Good rich. Bad rich.

The recipe for turning the latter into the former is a simple 1/4th cup of hollow lip-service.

Intellectual honesty among the protestors would seem to dictate a "Get the hell outa here" type of response.

(Report Comment)
Mark Foecking October 19, 2011 | 6:46 p.m.

Corey Parks wrote:

"I forgot you do not have cable or high speed internet DK"

Actually I have DSL these days. Back when I started posting I didn't. Thanks!!

DK

(Report Comment)
Abigail Williams October 20, 2011 | 6:50 p.m.

"Your "ideas" have been hijacked by others and many of you did not even realize it."

I believe that they can hijack all the "ideas" they want. Not a bad thing.

(Report Comment)
Corey Parks October 20, 2011 | 8:46 p.m.

Let me rephrase that. The reason people are out there is not the reason they believe they are out there. They are sheep. Look what happen to the tea party movement. 6 months after it started you had Republicans jumping on board and acting as if they were one of them. Now only a month and a half later you have the Democrats in office speaking out for them. Never mind it is the policy's implemented by the politicians that has caused all of this to begin with.
These 6000 OWS folks are being led around by the normal 3.

(Report Comment)
David Sautner October 20, 2011 | 10:34 p.m.

This movement is, in part, about the control of the monetary system being in the hands of 7 financial institutions. In 1913 Woodrow Wilson signed into law the Federal Reserve Act and thereby creating the Federal Reserve Bank. This effectively took the private banking industry out of the control of democratic private banks and put it in the control of one central bank. Once this was done the nation's money supply became monopolized and under the control of a czar of Big Banks whose interest is driven entirely by profit without regard to the collateral damage brought about through the use of financial instruments that are designed to make money out of thin air. This is primarily what brought about the collapse of the stock market in 1929 and the Great Depression. In response to this FDR had signed into law various acts (most notably the Glass-Steagall Act) meant to vigorously restrict and regulate the Fed. However, from 1980 to 1999 all of those acts were repealed thus effectively creating financial institutions similar to the ones that existed from 1913 to 1929. This brought the rise of the financial crisis of 2008-09.

(Report Comment)
Mark Foecking October 21, 2011 | 6:18 a.m.

David Sautner wrote:

"driven entirely by profit without regard to the collateral damage brought about through the use of financial instruments that are designed to make money out of thin air."

I've been saying this is a problem also. However, it's not just the banks fault - there has to bo someone to loan the money to, and they're just as complicit in this whole process.

In the past, loaned moneys have been used to extract wealth from the earth and use that to make all manner of real goods. But with a static supply of extractable wealth, expanding the money supply increasingly bases the money on debt, and decreases its real value. Hence the term "hallucinated wealth".

@Corey

About Kanye and other celebs that have supported this:

I've seen it written by several here that they do not begruddge the high earning of performers and athletes - they have unique talents that people will pay big bucks to see. But what's the differencce bewtween them and some CEO that has responsibility for billion dollar decisions?

If the market works for actors and athletes, it works for CEO's. No one I know (that's not self-emnployed) sets their own salary. Someone thinks they're worth it.

Scapegoats are politically useful things, and the 1% is being set up as scapegoats for things that everybody is complicit in. i hope occupiers are aware of how easily their movement could be hijacked and used for political purposes. Several are working on it, in fact.

DK

(Report Comment)
Jimmy Bearfield October 21, 2011 | 7:09 a.m.

"I've seen it written by several here that they do not begruddge the high earning of performers and athletes - they have unique talents that people will pay big bucks to see. But what's the differencce bewtween them and some CEO that has responsibility for billion dollar decisions?"

As it happens, Walter Williams discussed that in yesterday's column: www.columbiatribune.com/news/2011/oct/20...

(Report Comment)
Jack Hamm October 21, 2011 | 8:38 a.m.

"I've seen it written by several here that they do not begruddge the high earning of performers and athletes - they have unique talents that people will pay big bucks to see. But what's the differencce bewtween them and some CEO that has responsibility for billion dollar decisions?"

Actors and athletes so not take multi-billion dollar tax payer funded bailouts. CEOs want their huge salaries and think they are worth it? Fine, but when they make bad bets they don't get a bailout, they go out of business and lose everything. Until that day we have every right to hold them to a different standard.

(Report Comment)
Jimmy Bearfield October 21, 2011 | 8:49 a.m.

"Actors and athletes so not take multi-billion dollar tax payer funded bailouts. CEOs want their huge salaries and think they are worth it? Fine, but when they make bad bets they don't get a bailout, they go out of business and lose everything."

I agree that failing businesses should be allowed to fail, just as people who bought more house than they could afford or who didn't save for a rainy day shouldn't be bailed out.

As for athletes, taxpayers often are forced -- by state legislators, city councils or fellow taxpayers who vote stupidly -- to fund their pay. When owners of pro franchises argue that taxpayers need to subsidize their new facilities, they frequently say that the new facilities are necessary to increase revenue so they can afford better players.

(Report Comment)
Abigail Williams October 21, 2011 | 10:04 a.m.

"They are sheep."
"Now only a month and a half later you have the Democrats in office speaking out for them."

It doesn't sound like they have a choice.

Either they are getting "hijacked" or ignored.

Fly baby, fly.

(Report Comment)
Gregg Bush October 21, 2011 | 10:34 a.m.

The myth: C.E.O.'s
Create value. In truth, they're
The parasite class.

(Report Comment)
Gregg Bush October 21, 2011 | 10:38 a.m.

Personality
Cults mimic value at the
Expense of labor.

(Report Comment)
Gregg Bush October 21, 2011 | 10:41 a.m.

It's not the market
That sets exec's pay. It's their
Country Club buddies.

(Report Comment)
Gregg Bush October 21, 2011 | 10:47 a.m.

The ringers and the
Pocketed politicians
Defend perversion.

(Report Comment)
Gregg Bush October 21, 2011 | 1:53 p.m.

Wal-Mart profits up
More than five percent all while
They cut benefits.

http://www.forbes.com/2011/08/16/walmart...

http://www.nytimes.com/2011/10/21/busine...

Did management cut
Their own benefits, too? Nope.
Just the exploited.

(Report Comment)
Michael Williams October 21, 2011 | 2:29 p.m.

Yeah, that damned Oprah and Teressa Heinz.

Parasites all.

(Either that, or "good rich" and "bad rich")

(Report Comment)
Gregg Bush October 21, 2011 | 5:02 p.m.

The vulnerable
Are exploited by actions
Not by lip-service.

http://www.harpocareers.com/Internships....
http://sh.webhire.com/public/296/interns...

Imagination
Is not required, nor is too
Much sleuthing, frankly.

(Report Comment)

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