Mixed Feelings About Democratic Club’s OCCUPY Endorsement

… mostly positive, but with reservations. This afternoon I received the following in an email from the Democratic club in which I was an active participant in my days as a Democrat (and with which I still have friendly relations):

Announcement to our members —
At the October 23 Meeting the (Nearby) Democrats voted unanimously to endorse the principles of the Occupy Houston/Occupy Wall Street movement.

(Nearby) Democrats joins Democracy For Houston and stands in solidarity with Occupy Houston and the 99% in their struggle for fairness, justice, jobs and the restoration of power to the people:

• The 1% who benefited the most must accept their responsibility and contribute their fair share.
• The financial barons who abused the law to enrich themselves at our expense should be held accountable at the bar of justice.
• Our elected representatives must work to protect and create American jobs, not work to protect the wealth of the richest 1%.
• There must be an end to the corruption of  “corporate democracy”  and we must return government power to “We the People!”
Firstname Lastname
President, (Nearby) Democrats

I certainly can’t fault the content of the quote; it is an unreservedly supportive statement. My own reservation is this: is the OCCUPY movement more effective or less effective with the public support of one major political party but not the other? Certainly OCCUPY itself, as at least the NYC group has clearly demonstrated it understands, must not have any direct involvement with party politics. But this is a little different.

Personally I think Occupy Houston should simply politely not respond at all to any such statements of support, or at most politely acknowledge all support without naming any of it. What do you think?


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  • upyernoz  On Monday October 24, 2011 at 9:45 am

    i have the opposite opinion about these things. ultimately i hope that the occupy movement is absorbed into the democratic party, not because i want the occupiers to become good democrats, but rather because i want to democrats to get an injection of progressive politics.

    one very frustrating phenomenon about american politics is how the republican party is always catering to its right wing whereas the democratic party regularly ignores (or sometimes attacks) its left wing. that phenomenon is what has made the right such a successful political force. rightwing ideas get advocated by a major party in a way that leftwing ideas generally don’t. and rightwing ideas have seeped into the supposedly leftwing party because that party is obsessed with “centrism” even if the definition of “contrist” itself is drifting further and further to the right.

    the only way to break this cycle is if democratic politicians start kowtowing to the left like republican politicians regularly kowtow to the right. so having dems jockey for support from the occupy movement is a good thing not a bad thing. people keep wondering whether the occupiers are the “tea party of the left”. i would love it if they were in the sense of eventually coming to dominate and define the democratic party in the way that the tea party has the GOP. if that happened, we would actually have a liberal major party in our 2-party system.

    the occupy movement should embrace any mainstream democratic support. tell the politicians it will support them if they support the occupier’s ideals (and won’t if they don’t). occupying a park in a city is one thing, but the ultimate goal is actual change. and they won’t get that without getting some politicians who either share their ideology or are so afraid of a grassroots backlash they are willing to pretend to share the ideology and vote accordingly.

    • Steve  On Monday October 24, 2011 at 10:09 am

      Well, ‘noz, mindful of probable GOPer opinion, I did consciously insert the OCCUPY banner on the Left and made it a bit Red… 🙂

      The good thing about the Occupy movement is that it is nearly impossible to pin down. Maybe someday the movement will cease being a place people can bring whatever virtuous hopes they may have, but for now, Occupy enjoys a delicious ambiguity that vexes pundits (who are frequently right-wing nutjobs these days) and encourages participation by a lot of people who are electorally and/or economically disenfranchised… including the newly impoverished middle class. That is, IMHO, its primary virtue.

      The Democratic Party, on the other hand, for perhaps the past 12 years or so, has carried a lot of baggage. They have learned to fund-raise Republican fashion. They have significant ties, sometimes industry-wide, with corporations, to which they have developed, intentionally or otherwise, obligations. And parts of the party… the Blue Dogs, Rahm Emanuel, Joe LIEberman (He’s Not a Real Democrat™), Obama himself, etc. … have kicked progressives, with premeditation, directly in the teeth. That is why, though I still usually vote straight Democratic (and never, ever intentionally for a Republican), I have left the party that thinks it no longer needs me.

      Obama proclaims this the era of postpartisanship. Well and good: reluctantly, I too am now a postpartisan. But I need some org or movement to have any leverage in the political sphere. I think it is possible that Occupy could become that movement. Now if only I could walk more than 10 steps… being a cripple is a real PITA for a would-be political activist.

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