Journey As Destination: Occupy Wall Street Practices Democracy

Protesters Practice Democracy

Famed political trend forecaster Gerald Celente believes that direct democracy – where people cut out the corrupt “middle man” and vote on issues themselves – is the only way to save America.

In response, David DeGraw – one of the primary Wall Street protest organizers – told me that the protesters are practicing direct democracy.

Another organizer amplified on this in an interview in the Nation:

What are the demands of the protesters?

Ugh—the zillion-dollar question. Again, the original Adbusters call asked, “What is our one demand?” Technically, there isn’t one yet. In the weeks leading up to September 17, the NYC General Assembly seemed to be veering away from the language of “demands” in the first place, largely because government institutions are already so shot through with corporate money that making specific demands would be pointless until the movement grew stronger politically. Instead, to begin with, they opted to make their demand the occupation itself—and the direct democracy taking place there—which in turn may or may not come up with some specific demand. When you think about it, this act is actually a pretty powerful statement against the corruption that Wall Street has come to represent. But since thinking is often too much to ask of the American mass media, the question of demands has turned into a massive PR challenge.

The General Assembly is currently in the midst of determining how it will come to consensus about unifying demands. It’s a really messy and interesting discussion. But don’t hold your breath.

Indeed, the use of direct democracy by the protesters is being widely discussed (Google returns move than 50,000 hits for “Occupy Wall Street” and “direct democracy”).

Yves Smith has also says the direct democracy-like process involved in the Wall Street protests is one of its greatest strengths.

And conservative Karl Denninger writes today that the direct democracy of the protesters is filling the void left by the wholly bought-and-paid-for Congress:

The people are organizing a Congress – a real one – in the public square.

They’re passing around ideas.

They’re debating.

They’re arguing.

And then they’re VOTING.

It’s self-organized. It’s real. And while the crooners in the mainstream media are trying to ignore what’s actually happening, they’re not stopping it – and in fact, they probably can’t stop it at this point.


The people have, for four years, demanded that the foundational principle of representative government be followed: One citizen, one vote.

They didn’t get that.


Since our bought and paid-for politicians won’t lock up the fraudsters and do what has to be done to dismantle the looting of the American citizen they’re being literally replaced wholesale.

Yes, right now this is “local government” with a small “l” and a small “g”. But make no mistake, this is representative government. It is people hashing out what they want and how to obtain it from a process of debate and discussion. Ideas are being circulated, argued, discussed and then voted upon.

That’s government folks. You’re seeing it.

And commenting on this essay, conservative writer Michael Rivero notes:

Celente is correct. In 1776, direct participation in the governing process was impossible and thus a system of representation was needed. But that system is no longer needed and serves only to provide a focus for the corrupting influence of the money-junkies.

While a cadre of minor bureaucrats can be trusted with the day-to-day running of the nation, laying roads, building bridges, and so forth, the major policy decisions of whether to go to wars, whether to spend $40 trillion of the taxpayers’ money to save Wall Street from prison for the mortgage-backed securities fraud, these can be and should have been decided by direct vote of the entire population.

The reason for this conclusion is obvious. The so-called House of Representatives, a quaint relic left over from Colonial times, totally defied the will of the people when it voted through TARP and started the tsunami of bailouts that have crippled this nation.

The House of Representatives is supposed to represent the will of all the people (not just those with huge campaign donation checks in hand). They are supposed to Civil SERVANTS, not Civil masters. Their Constitutional function is to obey orders from the people, not issue them to the people.

Of course, the current occupants of that chamber seems to have a different and very Unconstitutional view of the people’s role in the process!

“We can’t allow that to happen?” Representative King, the rules say that allowing the people to influence policy is what is supposed to happen! That is why there is a House of Representatives!

Congress voted through a war with Iraq based on lies about Saddam’s nuclear weapons, just as they are now preparing to go to war with Iran on the basis of a man from Texas who suddenly turned into Iran’s star assassin after 25 years of kicking tires on his used car lot!

At the very best a Congress that votes wars on such obviously bogus information must be assumed a collection of incompetent boobs who should be removed from the process of major decision making in favor of a direct system of popular vote. At worst, and I think the evidence bears me out, the Federal government has repeatedly made the cold-blooded and ruthless decision to sell your children as mercenaries to Israel, to wage war on Israel’s enemies, to be blown to bloody bits on foreign soil, and knowingly and with malice aforethought lied to you to trick you into allowing your children to be sold as such slaves to Israel. (The situation is even worse with this un-Constitutional Super Committee.) [Note: Neither Rivero or Washington’s Blog are anti-semitic or anti-Israel. Rivero, an American, simply believes America should put its own interests before any other country’s interests. To understand what Rivero is referring to, read this, and watch this short interview.] Again, such abuse of the public trust is not what was intended by the founders of this nation. And for that reason again, it is time to remove these Representatives who do not represent us, in favor of a direct participatory democracy.

The technology of the modern world supports it. and if we are willing to enforce both open-source voting systems and a mandatory death penalty for election fraud, we can indeed make it work.

Because what we have now is clearly neither a Republic, nor is it Democratic, not when the so-called Representatives in Congress can vote themselves endless riches and wars against the will of the people.

Note: While some claim that direct democracy was created by Gaddafi or that it is a type of communism, Karl Denninger and Michael Rivero are conservatives, and certainly no fan of either Arab dictators or communism.

And Gerald Celente – who is non-partisan and has said that he will probably vote for Ron Paul – and economist Thomas Naylor have shown that Switzerland has used direct democracy for hundreds of years.

Celente told me the following in response to the criticisms of direct democracy:

The question is simple: Do you want the Gang of 535 [Congress] to run your life, or do you want to run it yourself?

This is the current irrational stupidity: Yes, you can vote for a politician who will tell you what is best for you, but no, you are not allowed to vote for what you think is best for yourself.

Why? Because you are too fucking stupid to tie your shoes. They know better than you!

How about just bringing back slavery and do away with the facade of freedom.

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  • Jeff

    Direct democracy would be nice, but how can this be done in a nation of over 300 million people? Who exactly decides what measures make the ballots? If we don’t have direct democracy for that process, then, we don’t have direct democracy at all. And we have to face it. Control of the ballot is everything. I wish direct democracy could be practiced, but it cannot be. In the end, the people are just going to have to grow some bigger balls in demanding change. They will not get it democratically.

  • Wooten Berston

    “How about bringing back slavery and do away with the facade of freedom.”

    Well, hell.. that’s EXACTLY what the damn bankers want! They want a return to that little fantasy world of kings and princes and princesses.. and hordes of compliant serfs to serve them.. that they learned at their nanny’s knee.

    Gerald, I suppose, thinks he’s being ironic there but no, in fact, there’s no irony at all. The oligarchs are turning citizens into slaves. On purpose. Now, in real time.

    Financierism.. rentierism.. is NOT capitalism. Capitalism is production. No production, no capitalism. Finance produces nothing but extracted, unearned profit for a tiny clique that has, through clever manipulation of a flawed system, inserted itself into the process and siphoned off all of the liquidity for irrational purposes (ie engrandizing themselves). FIRE is not capitalism. It is exactly the death of capitalism. Big business is not capitalism. It’s productive phase was limited and has died a brutal death. What’s left is pure neofeudalism.

    The answer is Mom’n’Pop capitalism.. grassroots capitalism. This is what ordinary people think of when they think they are supporting capitalism.. but Mom’n’Pop capitalism has been raped, strangled, and thrown in the ditch by the financiers.

    Job-creators? Ha ha ha! Goddamn bandits is what they are.

    • Jeff

      Wooten, you obviously get it. “The answer is Mom’n’Pop capitalism.. grassroots capitalism. This is what ordinary people think of when they think they are supporting capitalism.”

      Now, if the people look back and actually STUDY the events that comprised the founding of our nation, what they will learn is that our American Revolution was really not the least bit different in substance than what the communists and socialists had been doing. Our revered founders conducted a reverse-plunder after they had had enough of the aristocracy. Most people “think” Jefferson, but somehow “hear” Reaganite bullshit. A real study on Jefferson and the other founders will show them for who they really were…. the mob.

      I like this blog and wish I could contribute to it. History is merely repeating itself, as it always does. Our founding was not based on superior reason and an appeal to Natural Law to which the British aristocracy finally acceded. It was founded on brute force, violence, dispossession of the elite’s holding and redistribution of it. The landed gentry were forced out, and they wound up going to Canada, the West Indies, etc.

      We are now pretty far along the timeline continuum, where the influence of the aristocracy has risen to such an extent to drive the people to start to amass against it. The fact is that, unless some miracle bubble comes along to ward off the mob, our days under the current aristocratic regime are likely fairly limited. Of course, what I am saying is things will have to become worse for the mob before it revolts, but barring a bubble, it likely will. The ruling class has never in history let go of its control for the sake of democracy.

  • Christina Soucy – Ruef

    I believe we finally found those weapons of mass destruction “Our” military were looking for – Wall street, and our corrupt politicians. Everyone, who had a hand in this should be tried for Treason.
    Congress ( Republicans) is now trying to pass a law to make abortion illegal – even if the Mother of the child is in danger. This is their agenda, Slavery . Meanwhile, millions are watching are jobs go over seas. and their stripping us of everything we worked for ( and there isn’t much left)

    Treson- Noun- Treachery towards one’s country

  • Mark

    What makes you believe you are not already a slave on many levels?