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Forum Post: THOUGHT EXPERIMENT: Assume for a moment you are running for state office in 2014 & you view the world through Occupy lens. . .

Posted 5 years ago on Jan. 12, 2013, 1:41 a.m. EST by therising (6643)
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I find it very interesting to imagine what it would be like to be a candidate for the state legislature (say as an independent) in 2014.

How would a person who sees the world through the "occupy lens" translate that into a political platform / 5 point plan as a candidate for state representative?

Assume for a moment it's 2014 and MS. SMITH (who sees the world through the occupy lens) has decided, for whatever reason, to run for seat in state legislature. Assume it's a race in a state that's a dead heat for D's and R's and that it is a given that this person is going to run. What would MS. SMITH say to a surprised public that would be useful to Occupy and the citizens of that district, that state and the nation? (Assume MS. SMITH didn't care whether she won or lost).

And what would MS. SMITH do during a two year term as a state legislator if she actually somehow got elected and wanted to further the cause of Occupy and benefit all citizens. (Assume she had decided at the outset that she was only going for one term and would not need to worry about reelection).



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[-] 4 points by frovikleka (2563) from Island Heights, NJ 5 years ago

My home state (now) of New Jersey as many of you know is one of the most corrupt states in the country. State politics is the breeding ground for those who pursue careers in Washington. No real change can take place until corruption is weeded out. So right at the top of my list of things to do would be to clean this state up, and make it more responsive to the people's needs. Human nature is flawed so it would be my goal to have the most transparent, accountable system of goverance as possible. To do this, i would consult with good governement groups like Common Cause, and Public Citizen both of which i have been a member of in the past.

-1. First I would support legislation to depoliticize the state attorney general's office, and push to set up a special investigative division in that office that had free reign to investigate white collar crime including that of politicians. This unit would have to have the power to subpoena, and enforce those crimes as well. And for those that betrayed the public trust, there would be severe consequences.

-2. Next I would push for legislation to limit campaign contributions to say $100. Once again, I would consult with good governemnt groups on this.

-3. I would do away with 'pay to play' altogether, and have all contracts awarded by the state done on a competitive bid process where the only thing taken into consideration is competence, and price. All bidders would have to pay a living wage, and the workers would have the the right to form unions. I would do away with nepotism, and political patronage jobs, and I woud aim to have the most qualified people in state jobs.

-4. I would encourage all the citizens of the state to get involved in local politics, and push for exploratory ways that governement can become more responsive to the people. Herein more of the ideas of the Occupy movement could be instituted.

-5. Lastly, i would encourage everyone who ran for office to fill out the non-partisan group Project Vote Smart's questionaire so that the electorate could make an informed decision on who to vote for. And I would push for term limits.

'Accountability' and 'transparency' are not words that you here on this forum much, but they are two of the most important concepts needed in making our government more responsive to the people.


[-] 1 points by therising (6643) 5 years ago

Wow. Great response. You've given us a lot to think about! :)

[-] 1 points by frovikleka (2563) from Island Heights, NJ 5 years ago

Thanks, I used to follow state politics more than i have recently. That's the one down-side to not renewing my subscription to my local corporate owned newspaper that trashed Occupy in an editorial.


[-] 2 points by therising (6643) 5 years ago

Ha! :). That trashing was hard to watch media-wide. I couldn't believe what a hack job even NPR and New York Times did. A real eye opener.

[-] 2 points by frovikleka (2563) from Island Heights, NJ 5 years ago

I've lost a lot of respect for NPR. It seemed odd to me that the editor of my local paper, in his criticism of OWS said something to the effect that the people do not need this kind of "disruptive" behavior while disparaging Occupy. I thought that was kind of ironic since he is a black man. Had he forgotten how "disruptive' the Civil Rights movement was? I sent him an email telling him that too.


[-] 2 points by therising (6643) 5 years ago

Glad you did. "The presence of order does not imply the presence of justice." MLK Jr.

"Nonviolent direct action seeks to create such a crisis and foster such a tension that a community which has constantly refused to negotiate is forced to confront the issue. It seeks to so dramatize the issue that it can no longer be ignored. My citing the creation of tension as part of the work of the nonviolent-resister may sound rather shocking. But I must confess that I am not afraid of the word "tension." I have earnestly opposed violent tension, but there is a type of constructive, nonviolent tension which is necessary for growth. . . The purpose of our direct-action program is to create a situation so crisis-packed that it will inevitably open the door to negotiation.” - MLK, Jr. in his "Letter from the Birmingham Jail".

Here's the entire "Letter from the Birmingham Jail": http://abacus.bates.edu/admin/offices/dos/mlk/letter.html . It's a treasure and is as timely as ever. In it, King goes after "the appalling silence of the good people." Remarkable essay/letter from a jailhouse. King sure was disruptive! :)

[-] 1 points by frovikleka (2563) from Island Heights, NJ 5 years ago

Thanks for bringing King's letter from the Birmingham Jail back to my memory. I have sent a couple more well worded polite but very critical emails to the editor of that paper, with copies going to several other people at that Ganette paper. In one letter I sent a link on how young people are turning away from the MSM, and for good reason.


[-] 2 points by therising (6643) 5 years ago

Damn right. Part of the reason those papers are going out of business. What gives me real hope is the power of nonviolent direct action to raise awareness is stronger than ever and when you match that with the multiplying factor of the Internet and you have real solid tools on our side to get this job done!

[-] 1 points by frovikleka (2563) from Island Heights, NJ 5 years ago

Even if it is one person at a time....... who araises the awareness of a couple of more people..... who talk and educate a few more people. Exponential growth, courage begetting courage, and perseverance will get us there.


[-] 4 points by TrevorMnemonic (5827) 5 years ago

in 2 years

First thing I would like to do is borrow these ideas from Alan Grayson and enact them on a state level and level the playing field.

  • Implement a 500% excise tax on corporate contributions to political committees, and on corporate expenditures on political advocacy campaigns.

  • Prevent for-profit corporations that receive money from the government from making political contributions, and limit the amount that employees of those companies can contribute.

  • Apply antitrust laws to industry political action committees.

  • Require the approval of a majority of a public company’s shareholders for any expenditure by that company to influence public opinion on matters not related to the company’s products or services.

  • Ban all political contributions from domestic companies with any foreign owners.

2 additions I'd add to Grayson's list -

  • Implement a 500% tax on campaign contributions over 1,000 dollars.

  • Implement a 1000% tax on tv ads paid for by political action committees that accepted corporate contributions or contributions from individuals over 1,000 dollars.

Contribution based politics need to end.

Tax revenue from that listed above would go to ensure that all viable candidates have free and equal radio and television time and print press coverage.

[-] 3 points by KofA (495) from Muenster, TX 5 years ago

*Ending Corporate personhood...FIRST.

*Closing tax havens and loopholes...Second.

*Providing bigger Pell Grants to more people...Third.

[-] 3 points by OTP (-203) from Tampa, FL 5 years ago

Expose corruption. Like all the pork in this debt deal. 41 millino for Gitmo (when they claim they couldnt get the money to close it).

Expose Corruption. Dont shut up about it. Get a few friends in there to do the same. Not politicians, but normal people, occupiers. People who dont care if they get arrested. People who are down.

Expose the corruption. And dont shut up about it.

85 Billion a month stolen from us would be a place to start.

[-] 1 points by therising (6643) 5 years ago

Beautiful. Seriously. I'm not kidding. "Don't shut up about it" accurately describes exactly what needs to be done.

[-] 3 points by TrevorMnemonic (5827) 5 years ago

Good question. Most people are blinded by political allegiance. They won't listen to Ms. Smith.

Ms. Smith has been speaking for a long time.

How do we make these peaceful movements grow? Good question. I've been trying to figure that one out.

[-] 2 points by therising (6643) 5 years ago

Let 's figure it out. Let us, we on this forum who are interested, figure it out together right here right now. :). Let's have the audacity to try. I'm in if you are. Let's hammer it out on this thread. So here's the question you posed:

"How do we make these peaceful movements grow? You or anyone else out there want to take a crack at that one?

[-] 2 points by Kavatz (464) from Edmonton, AB 5 years ago


  1. Promote the 99% Conglomerate and draft legislation to protect it from any evil by any means.

  2. Link government to the Conglomerate's website with an integrated portal so that through it users (citizens) can be tied into the political system and necessities like health care and social services.

  3. Evolve by transitioning to Departmental Governance. Along with this comes programs like guaranteed employment, holistic national infrastructure redesign, real education, floating ocean cities with geothermal/solar energy, floating and desert solar power maximization, and obviously a ton of shit to fix nature. It also means the end of political parties and elections in order to secure a truer democracy.

  4. Oversee the nationalization of certain industries, such as resource extraction, healthcare and pharmaceuticals, law enforcement and imprisonment, education and more.

  5. Follow up by putting the Conglomerate and corporate personhood to death after planning and implementing a transition away from this money-based economy. The end goal would be to give everyone the opportunity to do anything and have anything at their disposal (I'm willing to debate anyone endlessly). This can be done when money is no longer the primary motivator and has no value... a resource-based economy.

  6. Retire.

[-] 1 points by therising (6643) 5 years ago

Compelling list!

[-] 2 points by FawkesNews (1290) 5 years ago

State legislature. A rather benign position but, not exactly powerless. Interesting proposition.

[-] 2 points by JenLynn (692) 5 years ago

I'm not sure I understand your hypothesis. I don't want a rep that doesn't care if she wins or looses. I'd like one that has convictions he or she will stick with and isn't afraid to state clearly to the public. There will never be a candidate that has ideals and convictions identical to mine, but I'll support whoever shares some of my beliefs.

Occupy could probably make use of any statement that matched it's beliefs, I wouldn't want a candidate to be concerned about that and end up pandering to an group no matter how good it's intentions.

If she won election, I'd expect her to work toward her stated goals and not cave on those things she said she was opposed to. I don't see a lone voice as actually accomplishing much legislation. I see her more as a base from which to start building a more responsive government.

[-] 0 points by Paleocon (10) from Richmond, VA 5 years ago

I'd welcome a candidate "who didn't care whether she won or lost". For me, the election should be about giving power TO the people, not about winning power OVER the people.

We put our faith in elections, because we see no alternative. But two of the greatest political thinkers of all time, Aristotle and Montsquieu, warn us that elections lead to oligarchy, not to democracy. Instead of "rule by the people", we end up with rule by the demagogic forces that are best able to manipulate the people.

Elections are divisive, demoralizing, corrupting and disempowering, as we well know. We need to explore election alternatives: referenda, sortition (aleatory democracy), a hierarchy of councils (Cuba, Libya under Gaddafi).

"Winning the election" means that we get to be part of the system. But the system is the problem! The solution comes from the people, not from the politicians.

[-] 1 points by JenLynn (692) 5 years ago

You can't give power to anyone if you loose and not caring one way or the other doesn't say too much about your commitment or your desire to effect change.

The system isn't likely to be changed from the outside. If you can convince a majority to work at it, then it can be changed. If you do get a change it's not likely to matter if a majority don't care enough to stay involved and stay informed.

[-] 1 points by shoozTroll (17632) 5 years ago

The system is being changed from the outside more than at any other time in our history.


That's what Citizen's United hath wrought.

[-] 2 points by DKAtoday (33486) from Coon Rapids, MN 5 years ago

Down with corporate personhood!!!!!!!!!!!!

Support - Move to Amend = Power to the People!!!!!!!!!

[-] 2 points by shoozTroll (17632) 5 years ago

The corporate person attempting to purchase the change doesn't even have to be in the US.

Just has to spend at least some of the money here.

How come that sounds like treason to me?

[-] 2 points by DKAtoday (33486) from Coon Rapids, MN 5 years ago

Sounds like a foreign enemy ( corpoRAT ) related to Domestic enemy actions ( corpoRAT ). Constitution says something about defending against such.......hmmm........is anyone aware???

[-] 1 points by shoozTroll (17632) 5 years ago

Or economic/political piracy.

All perfectly legal of course.

SCOTUS endorsed (bought and paid for).

[-] 1 points by DKAtoday (33486) from Coon Rapids, MN 5 years ago

Still a domestic as well as foreign threat to anyone who will look and then be honest about it.

[-] 1 points by JenLynn (692) 5 years ago

That may or may not be true, but it's a different proposition from the question asked in the original post. Personally I don't see significant change, maybe you do, but there is no reason why our economic problems can't be worked on from different directions at the same time. Following the example of the Civil Rights movement, demonstration to raise awareness through civil action outside the system and finding good candidates to run for office to change things from within at the same time.

[-] 0 points by shoozTroll (17632) 5 years ago

You don't find tyranny to be a change?

I find that strange.

If I were running for office, THAT would be the first thing I would want to do away with.

[-] 1 points by JenLynn (692) 5 years ago

By definition if it's a move from what we have now to something different then it would be a change. I'm simply seeking to add change through the system to what's being attempted now, not drop one approach, keep it and add to it.

I don't recall mentioning tyranny, the word can be so subjective (the gun nuts think it's tyranny if they can't have the biggest weapons available). I simply said I personally haven't noticed the system having been changed very much. Certainly not since Citizen's United. I've noticed a change in the attitude of people, unfortunately not enough people, but not the system.

[-] 0 points by shoozTroll (17632) 5 years ago

Usurping duly elected officials, is by definition tyranny.

Indeed, a rather large change.

So you endorse that sort of thing?

[-] 1 points by JenLynn (692) 5 years ago

I don't endorse tyranny. I didn't even bring the idea up and I'm not quite sure how you've interpreted my words to think I did. I certainly see tyranny as what you're likely to get after a long period of popular indifference.

I simply disagree with the notion that the only valid approach to change is from outside the system. Also I don't personally see that things have been significantly changed yet by that approach.

[-] 0 points by shoozTroll (17632) 5 years ago

You stated emphatically that you didn't see any change.

Tyranny, is a change.

So I differed with that statement.

[-] 0 points by JenLynn (692) 5 years ago

Everything changes, if it's slow and we're part of it we often don't see it. In response to your opening statement to me, haven't noticed any major political change that has resulted from Citizen's United. If anything it undid the attempt to regulate corporate contributions.

The decision has certainly upset a lot of people, but so far that hasn't translated into much action beyond emotion, that I have noticed.

[-] 0 points by shoozTroll (17632) 5 years ago

That's why it's been called "dark money", you don't get to know what effect it has, nor where it came from, not even what or who it's supporting.

Fun, huh?

Did you miss that part?

[-] 0 points by DKAtoday (33486) from Coon Rapids, MN 5 years ago

Coincidence? : ( in that this showed up in my e-mail today )

The campaign urging the Securities and Exchange Commission to bring corporate dark money into the light is making news across the nation.

“Advocates Cheer SEC Consideration of Corporate Disclosure Rule,” reads the title of The Los Angeles Times' story*.

In Bloomberg News, the title of the article* reads, “Political-Disclosure Rule Seekers See Hopeful Sign on SEC Agenda.”

“Backers of Corporate Political Disclosure Cheered by SEC Notice,” reads the Thomson Reuters story’s* title.

The campaign is receiving this attention thanks to activists like you.

That’s because more than 320,000 activists like you made it impossible for both the media and the SEC to ignore the public’s demand for transparency of corporate money in politics.

But, in order to make sure the SEC will take action this year, we must keep up the pressure.

Join the campaign! Send a message urging the SEC to mandate transparency of corporate money in politics and to move the rule-making process forward this year.

Public Citizen’s Lisa Gilbert told Bloomberg News, “We can see that the SEC has now committed to consider the rule-making petition.”

Let’s make sure the SEC follows through on that commitment.

There’s more information about our campaign in my previous email, copied below in case you missed it.



*Follow this link for these and more than a dozen stories about our progress on the proposed rule requiring disclosure of corporate political spending.

[-] 1 points by shoozTroll (17632) 5 years ago


Thanks for that.........:)

[-] 1 points by DKAtoday (33486) from Coon Rapids, MN 5 years ago

Like I say synchronicity or something.

[-] 0 points by OTP (-203) from Tampa, FL 5 years ago

TPTB are very patient in their moves. Maintaining power is probably priority number one, and then grabbing more is a bonus.

[-] -1 points by shoozTroll (17632) 5 years ago

So just let WallStreet run it for profit?

We're already doing that and it isn't working out so well.

Regulations across the board are what insures it runs somewhere around properly.

[-] 2 points by Paleocon (10) from Richmond, VA 5 years ago

Ms. Smith should make a pact with Mr. Jones. One would run as D and the other as an R. Whichever one got elected would then serve together with the other under the Mainstreet Party.

The platform would be "Unity" -- an end to D-and-R, an end to Left-and-Right, an end to the divisive one-dimensional "Spectrum", a return to the three-dimensional universe where the operative dimension is Top-and-Bottom.

Was George Washington Left or Right? He was neither, and that is why he succeeded while we One-Dimensionalists invariably fail.

[-] 1 points by therising (6643) 5 years ago

Cool concept :)

[-] 0 points by VQkag2 (16478) 5 years ago

Excellent! Are you interested in any issues that affect the day to day lives of the 99%.

[-] 1 points by bensdad (8977) 5 years ago

I have been so involved in the anti-citizens united & anti-corporate personhood action at the federal level, I have been out of touch with state issues.
I would strongly work to halt any of the Rs anti-voter, anti-woman, anti- health, anti-abortion moves that have occurred in dozens of states
I would raise taxes on the corporations & the 1% to create FDR type WPA infrastructure jobs.

[-] 1 points by therising (6643) 5 years ago

Sounds good to me --

[-] 1 points by FawkesNews (1290) 5 years ago

Ms. Smith goes to Washington. Great concept.

Writing a bill is pretty much the limits of influence available to someone in that position. What becomes of those bills is another matter entirely.

When the population can become educated enough there will be dozens of incumbents, as well as new candidates, ready and willing to present facts OWS has presented. The population needs to be an informed one, for representatives to act informed.

[-] 1 points by struggleforfreedom80 (6584) 5 years ago

I think that if there is a party etc that's dedicated to working for economic justice, workers' rights, protecting the environment, less concentrated power and wealth etc, then it could play a role in the struggle for freedom – at least in the beginning. However, I think it’s important to point out that there’s more to democracy and fighting for a more just society than just party politics. Organizing outside party politics is especially important in the United States, since the political system suffers from such an enormous democratic deficit. As the Occupy Movement correctly has understood, there are many things that can be done outside of party politics (I have given some examples of what I think are most important here.

I think politicians who insist on operating in a framework of American party politics should advocate whatever they believe in, and then the population should focus mainly on the things I mentioned in the article.

Getting reactionary and right-wing politicians replaced by more left leaning ones such as Kucinich, Stein etc would be very good, but I’m skeptical to people getting too involved in party politics, especially running for office etc. I think building an organized movement with strong unions etc based on solidarity and other libertarian left values should be the main focus, so that, as it grows, it can push politicians more and more to undo some of the right wing policies.

[-] 1 points by therising (6643) 5 years ago

Very interesting approach. I need to think more about this. Thanks for making me think :)

[-] 1 points by struggleforfreedom80 (6584) 5 years ago

Glad you found it interesting :)

If you haven't already, please check out this video on Libertarian Socialism:


[-] 1 points by therising (6643) 5 years ago

Here's 2 minute preview of film that might provoke some thought: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_RWPSAd3XpE&feature=youtube_gdata_player

[-] 2 points by therising (6643) 5 years ago

Great film.

Quote from Senator Bulworth:

"You know the guy in the booth who's talking to you in that tiny little earphone? He's afraid the guys at network are gonna tell him that he's through/ If he lets a guy keep talking like I'm talking to you/ Cause the corporations got the networks and they get to say who gets to talk about the country and who's crazy today/ I would cut to a commercial if you still want this job/ Because you may not be back tomorrow with this cooperate mob/Cut to commercial, cut to commercial, cut to commercial. Ok ok I got a simple question that I'd like to ask of this network/ That pays you for performing this task/

How come they got the airwaves? They're the peoples aren't they? Wouldn't they be worth 70 billion to the public today? If some money-grubbin Congress didn't give them away for big campaign money? It's hopeless you see/ If you're runnin for office with out no TV/If you don't get big money/ You get a defeat/ Corporations and broadcasters make you dead meat/ You been taught in this country there's speech that is free/ But free don't get you no spots on TV/If you want to have senators not on the take/ Then give them free air time/ They won't have to fake/ Telecommunications is the name of the beast/that, that, that, that, that's eating up the world from the west to the east/ The movies, the tabloids, TV and magazines/ they tell us what to think and do/ And all our hopes and dreams/ All this information makes America phat/ But if the company's outta the country/ How American is that? But we got Americans with families that can't even buy a meal/ Ask a brother who's been downsized if he's getting any deal/ Or a white boy bustin ass til they put him in his grave/ He ain't gotta be a black boy to be livin like a slave/

Rich people have always stayed on top by dividing white people from colored people/ but white people got more in common with colored people then they do with rich people"

[-] 0 points by DKAtoday (33486) from Coon Rapids, MN 5 years ago

Challenge opponents ( and current government ) on issues? Real issues.

Provide well thought out remedies for current fuck-ups like corpoRAT personhood?

Show the public the connection to rampant greed and all of societies ills?(see corpoRAT personhood also reference WallStreet - also fossil fuel )

Show the growing industry of white collar crime and how it gets a blind eye from justice or a minor slap on the wrist?

So much to do in an honest campaign - if - you could get coverage - communications out to the public.

[-] 0 points by therising (6643) 5 years ago

Good stuff. Especially the real issues part. Would love to see someone do that!

[-] 0 points by DKAtoday (33486) from Coon Rapids, MN 5 years ago

Would love to see it get full public coverage. Maybe something can be continued if like those Exxon hates your children commercials are successful.

[-] 0 points by therising (6643) 5 years ago

Sounds good to me :)

[-] 0 points by DKAtoday (33486) from Coon Rapids, MN 5 years ago

Lets continue the thought - where appropriate - on other posts/threads - Hey? Promote a new way to think about the possibilities of taking positive action. {:-])

[-] 0 points by VQkag2 (16478) 5 years ago

My focus would be on passing the following:

  • State wide living wage w/ cola,

  • Cut state income tax for lowest income

  • Raise tax on big business, wealthiest through income & property tax.

  • Persuade business to adopt schools in poor performing districts.

  • Incent business to create job training for real jobs.

  • Expand job training for poorest citizens. (related to below areas)

  • Expand public/private partnership to improve infrastructure (roads, water, energy transmission, Alternative energy, coastal protection. communications, environmental cleanup, abandoned housing rehab, etc)

  • Setting up a non profit state public bank targeting the working class.

  • Implementing a public healthcare option based on the ACA (like VT!)

  • Legalizing marijuana, ending the oppressive targeting of young minorities and start real rehab/education/job training for all prisoners (non violent first)

  • Cut state college costs to allow all access (means test)

I suppose there is more I would want to do, And I'm sure the support and success is not assured, but that would be my agenda.

[-] 1 points by therising (6643) 5 years ago

Very well thought out. Great list!

[-] 0 points by beautifulworld (22863) 5 years ago

I would use the exact platform of Jill Stein of the Green Party. Brilliant.


[-] 1 points by therising (6643) 5 years ago

Thanks for the link. I'll check it out.

[-] -1 points by ExGoldmanSachs (-52) 5 years ago

technically its not a "thought experiment"

[-] 2 points by DKAtoday (33486) from Coon Rapids, MN 5 years ago

Fine - thought exercise - OK? ( from your point of view ) From the ask'rs point of view it is still valid ( experiment ) and you just entered your datum.