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Forum Post: Occupy should "occupy" LOCAL political seats (strategy)...

Posted 2 years ago on Nov. 20, 2012, 10:54 p.m. EST by Grey5Fox (9)
This content is user submitted and not an official statement

I know one of the biggest turn offs (besides ideological reasons) of trying to mount political power via voting is the big machine a movement would be up against in order to get national exposure. But I was taking a look at local power (city and local state seats). Local state and city governments have more power over people's lives. Minimum wage is different in various states for example. Private power works extra hard to control state and city governments just as much as they work to control the national government, yet winning state government seats requires a lot less votes, and it would be easier to organize since the geographical area is A LOT smaller, and it would be easier to engage the populations of these smaller geographical areas. Big changes can be gained by winning seats in local governments.

And for those who doubt it can be done, I beg you to look at New York City as an example. Occupy was able to get thousands of people in the streets. With just that same amount of energy and people voting for a local state senate or assembly seat, you could get a non-corporate (non-democrat-republican) candidate in a local office. And if you don't think getting one person in doesn't make a difference, look at the NY Senate. 32 seats belong to Democrats, 28 to Republicans. That number usually fluctuates 50-50 back and forth. Having one or two people that represent us (the 99%) who won't compromise would prevent many sneaky bills that the state senate (and assembly) pass (fracking for example). It could also be used to push demands which would make a bigger impact to the population in NY compared to a change in national government. If our vote is the deciding vote (which looking at the make up of the NY State Senate for example, it could be), then we can demand certain major changes, and begin a push. It can begin a national trend. Plus if anyone knows ANYTHING about local NY politics, these guys are the most corrupt in the entire country. Also most of them are pretty mediocre, so defeating some of them wouldn't be that crazy of an idea. Look how local governments in the country have been trying to attack librarians, firefighters, and teachers. All those things are local governments. If we started trying to take seats, we can stop private power, and it can be the beginning of a big push back. I beg you all to think it through.

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9 Comments


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[-] 2 points by omnigorn (2) from Cambridge, ON 2 years ago

In Canada, municipal elections are not party-based at all. In Cambridge ON some of us are fleshing out this very strategy. We would appreciate some support, due to recent events here an Occupy supporter currently is in a position to do possibly exactly that, occupy city hall as an elected Councillor.

[-] 1 points by Grey5Fox (9) 2 years ago

Please tell us more. I would love to hear such a success story. Also in the Cambridge situation, what is the ratio of Democrats-to-Republicans???? Could this "Occupy candidate" make a difference voting power wise?????

Also I would love it if more people in Cambridge ON do their best to help out.

[-] 1 points by VQkag2 (16478) 2 years ago

Local elections ARE an important avenue for people to create change. Good idea. OWS probably won't get involved but many Occupy supporters in a given area might.

Good luck

[-] 1 points by Grey5Fox (9) 2 years ago

But I think it should be an organized effort ala the same effort made to make protest last year in NY. I take the example of the NY State Senate because the situation there is delicate and it is one of the more corrupt political environments in the country. A few "occupy" candidates that we get find from below could easily shift the balance of power in New York State. We could push a 10 dollar minimum wage for example. And if anyone knows the local politicians in New York State (even more New York City), you know that they're pretty mediocre, and many of them make George Bush look like a rocket scientist. They can be beaten. Local office has more effect on everyday people's lives that national office. It's something to consider. Right now according to polls, Occupy isn't seen in the most favorable way by the general population, seeing us as just annoying protestors. Well if we actually tried doing something, that could change easily. We should consider it.

[-] 0 points by VQkag2 (16478) 2 years ago

Yeah man! Take back our govt!

You don't think Occupy hasn't tried (& succeeded) at doing something?

[-] 1 points by Grey5Fox (9) 2 years ago

I have no doubt that offshoots of Occupy have achieved plenty. I know Occupy indirectly may have saved Social Security in late 2011 when Obama and company were trying to cut it.

It's just that in the polls at the moment, Occupy isn't seen as the positive force that it was back in late 2011. The majority just sees us an annoying protesters. I know there are plenty of people who have ideological issues with taking local offices, or who want to avoid the occupy movement becoming too narrow, I think we can make QUICK changes if we think in local government takeovers. I point to NY because it is actually a very delicate situation where one or two seats in certain areas can make a huge difference. In case most people here didn't know, private power actually spends more resources in controlling local governments in comparison to controlling the U.S. congress or the U.S. Senate. It's something to ponder. I would love to hear some success stories from other states. But from my analysis, New York State is ripe for the taking.

[-] 1 points by VQkag2 (16478) 2 years ago

I like the goals of taking local (any govts) govt. I can't say I agree entirely on the lack of Occupy success, but couldn't argue against you're suggestion that public opinion needs improvement.

I think OWS is still committed to remaining uninvolved in 'the corrupt system'. I disagree somewhat. I support working outside the system and think Occupy must further organize and focus on this thrust.

I also think occupy can support groups that are working inside the system. No need for OWS to compromise it's position by working inside, the corrupt system or spreading itself ever thinner.

It is better for Occupy to continue coalition building and lending support to existing groups that might even have experience working inside the system.

Growing the movement through coalition building can help the public opinion weakness you suggest, and allow the movement to share in necessary successes.

So let's take NY! Right now we can pressure Gov Cuomo to fight to keep the State Senate out of conservative hands.

http://politicker.com/2012/11/chris-hayes-declares-war-on-governor-cuomo/

We should also be working to nurture all NYS pols who support OWS progressive goals.

Otherwise there is always 2 years from now.

Solidarity.

[-] 0 points by GirlFriday (17435) 2 years ago

There are many important items that are in your post. There does need to be a focus on local issues and local governments. It DOES matter if your state is decentralized or centralized because you need to understand what type of power struggles are occurring and where. What I am not seeing is comprehension of those issues or comprehension of how local governments work. I am not seeing any comprehension or, even attempts to look at librarians, firefighters, teachers and cops.

I brought this up before. If your local county or city is considering privatizing the jail, what kind of information do you have available to combat this? You are going to bring studies and you are going to acknowledge the opposition's points before hand and you are going to answer them, initially, in a non-confrontational manner.You are not going to bring articles or short little sound-bytes for an emotional appeal. Not a time to pontificate either. This is how the vast majority of things are done.

Now, this is where it gets ugly.

There seems to be an attempt to turn OWS into 1) a product akin to Pepsi and 2) a party platform. What I am hearing is that there are those that want to take old marketing tools and use them in the same old ways to achieve the same old results. I am also hearing that there are those that are looking at OWS as cattle rather than as individuals and that one can force cooperation it will lesson the burden on those that wish to do the corralling. I mean what could be better? Free resource and the least amount of thought. To that I say, drop everything that you think that you know about marketing.

This is a political stance in the form of elected officials. If OWS is questioning those in power now, then why should OWS make that same questioning easy for anyone else? Why should OWS go along with tried and busted marketing tools or memes when the propensity for hijacking is obvious?

Asking someone to look at particular proposal or amendment to support is vastly different than asking someone to drop everything and work towards a product.

[-] -1 points by freakyfriday (179) 2 years ago

Yes, like the state of Texas telling the Divider-in-Chief to shove his indefinite detention. Local elections ARE important.....probably more so than the national left/right really no choice vote.