The Vision & Goals group’s much-vaunted Blueprint: An annotated guide to the half-literate blob assembled by the self-appointed anarchoid vanguard of OWS (an annotated guide)

Interior blueprint to the 1936 Volkshalle (People's Hall), the brainchild of Albert Speer: A monument to the eternal imbecility of grassroots populism

OVERVIEW: So again, here is a very funny excerpt from a public e-mail thread regarding the Vision & Goals Liberty Plaza Blueprint, from the noted activist and commentator Doug Henwood:

lbo-talk at lbo-talk.orgSubject: Re: [lbo-talk] The “Liberty Square Blueprint”

On Oct 21, 2011, at 10:49 AM, Chris Maisano wrote:

So the anarchist types who have been running the show behind the scenes and actively disrupting the meetings of the working group crafting the jobs for all demand (so much for leaderlessness and self-organization) have finally unveiled their Liberty Square Blueprint — and it is utter rubbish. Not a single word about the tens of millions of unemployed and underemployed, the tens of millions without health insurance, and the tens of millions in poverty. Instead, we read about bartering, urban farming, and charities. Amazing.

The only good thing about this is that its obvious limitations could create an opening for socialists to contend for a greater degree of political and ideological influence within the movement and raise demands that might actually resonate with a broadly-based constituency.

Holy shit, that’s awful. Among many things, they seem poisoned by the belief that open source software can save the world. (Apparently their open-source software doesn’t have a spell checker, unless they think there’s something revolutionary about spelling it “Correlary”).

The wish list  which they weirdly refer to as bullet-point visions  is incredibly vague. How do we “Empower marginalized people to express themselves, build community, and engage systemic/cultural discrimination”? Who are the “we” that grant “them” this power?

The economic planks:

• Create an economy in harmony with nature — by
• Researching, developing and implementing economic models that pursue thriving, abundant and prosperous outcomes for humanity and life — growing beyond the dichotomy of unsustainable and sustainable development. These economic models must be based on sound ethical assumptions and observed individual and market behavior through behavioral economics and econometrics
• Implementing and improving community currencies, barter, sharing, and trade systems
• Building the support and precedence for local and large scale production of renewable energy and food resources
• Eliminating financial/resource speculation that supports the current economy at the expense of future generations
• Learning from and empowering indigenous people in the transition to an economy in harmony with nature — as we
• Make NYC a pioneer of urban farming, renewable energy, grass roots urban/rural exchange, quantitative economic policy and indigenous leadership

are close to meaningless. Who are the “we” that would eliminate speculation, and how? Presumably not state bodies, so who then? What the fuck kind of econometrics do they have in mind? Vector autoregressions will set us free? Community currencies and barter are ludicrous — evidently they never consulted [renowned anarchist anthropologist David] Graeber on the nonexistence of barter societies.

Did “Ketchup” have anything to do with this?

— Doug

Though I would probably not be as insulting as Doug Henwood, he is right about the economic “planks.” As someone who is thoroughly versed in economic theory (from classical liberal-bourgeois to Keynesian to Marxist), I can safely say that the vast majority of the proposals about urban agriculture and so on are half-baked to ludicrous.

All of this is external to the actual contents of the Blueprint, however. I almost feel that I can’t begin addressing its problems. I don’t mean to demean the contributions of anyone who has helped to compose it; there are doubtless some valuable points and ideas in there, though they are few and far between. But even these tend to get lost amidst the general gobbledygook and feel-good nonsense that constitutes most of the document (e.g. “Facilitate the peaceful harmony of humanity’s religious, spiritual and existential traditions” — I can almost guarantee whoever wrote that doesn’t know what “existential” means).

I don’t know how to characterize the Blueprint other than as a shapeless blob. It’s unwieldy and hopelessly confused. Even within the space of a single sentence the thoughts utterly lose their coherence.  Contradictions, incompatible propositions, and baffling non sequiturs abound throughout the text.  Reading through it is like a ticking cognitive dissonance time-bomb.

At any moment the text threatens to unravel of its own entropy.

Rather than establish solid, universal, and overarching first principles from which they could rigorously derive a coherent argument, they just hastily stitched together a bunch of single-issue positions disconnected from one another or any broader vision of social emancipation.  This mindless process of aggregation ends up just producing a haphazard, convoluted hodgepodge of random ideas with no apparent relation to one another.  Undiluted duncery and numbskullery, all of it.

It truly is a miserable text.  Eidetic diarrhea, nothing more.

In my mind, the whole document is so fundamentally misconceived, poorly written, and riddled with politically-correct clichés that I dare say it is unsalvageable (if not unforgivable).  To even try to “process,” to attempt to make any sort of sense out of the accumulated nonsense that constitutes this Blueprint, is an exercise in mind-numbing futility.

I’ve read Nijinsky’s diary — the mad scribblings of a schizophrenic — and even that possessed more logic and coherence.

I almost lost count of how many times I read the words “paradigm-shift” and “empowering” (popular postmodern tropes long since rendered banal and meaningless, like “sustainability”).

In truth — and these are just my own suspicions — I doubt that this text was “worked on by over 200 people,” despite repeated reassurances that is was.  If it truly was, I would like to know who these people are, because they are very confused.  My guess, however, is that the document was mostly written up by Ted, Abe, Luke, Ketchup, and that guy Tim who compose part of the unofficial anarchist hierarchy at OWS.  Of course, they will insist that the document was assembled according to their dogmatic program of “horizontality.”  Just from having engaged in (more like “endured”) conversation with them, it reads like all the general pseudo-radical nonsense that they tend to subscribe to.  I’d characterize its position (which is, incidentally, identical to their own position) as the old ideology of “anti-ideology,” the oldest ideology in the books.  “We’re neither Right nor Left, anarchist nor Marxist, etc. nor etc.”  It’s all too predictable.

Seeing as they unveiled this document as soon as they officially announced the group’s existence, with decision already made that this was going to be the only document they would work with, it seems highly fishy.  So far every attempt to offer (better) alternative documents for consideration has been ignored or shoved aside in order to keep the Blueprint monstrosity front-and-center.  They stress the fact that it alone has received the feedback of the GA, or that by sheer dint of its priority (and hence its “venerable” status) it deserves honor above all others.

The most they (the anarchoid vanguard) will ever entertain is to include new contributions according to their usual logic: just indiscriminately tacking them onto the ever-growing mass of the Blueprint.  Only “fusion,” “melding,” or “integration” is possible.  Even if objectively better texts emerge (better written, better argued, better etc.), they will never be taken as a real alternative to the almighty Blueprint.

In conversation with Zocera, a member of the People of Color caucus and Vision & Goals, she revealed to me that they repeatedly emphasized that the Blueprint represented “a draft of a document that has been worked on for almost a month, contributed to by over 200 people.” She said that from what she could gather, that was their way of pre-ratifying the basic form and muddled content of the document before anyone could vote on it. Zocera continued to explain that they only seemed interested in gathering the additional input of marginalized persons (women and people of color) as a way of adding “multicultural cred” to the document, in what struck her (as a person of color) as rather shameless tokenism and toadying to political correctness.

So without further ado, here it is:

[My own notes will appear in brackets and in gold, aside from the headings]

Vision & Goals’ Liberty Square Blueprint

Full version on an editable (wiki) website. Please note that this is a starting point document and this is a living breathing document!: http://freenetworkmovement.org/commons/index.php?title=Liberty_Square_Blueprint

BRIEF VERSION OF VISION AND GOALS DOCUMENT PRESENTED TO THE NYCGA ON SUNDAY OCTOBER 23, 2011 [SEE BREAKOUT SESSION NOTES]

Visions and Goals

Purpose of Blueprint

Through this document we explain our visions, goals to manifest those visions, and leave room for the corresponding concrete action to achieve those goals for ourselves and humanity.  We hope other regional people’s assemblies can create their own blueprints, centered on the future they envision, and structured around the most effective actions to achieve these visions.

Vision Blueprint — note (this is a work in progress that excludes certain details such as goals and actions, so you can focus on the basic visions we have amassed thus far)

1. Effectively connect our occupation with the Global Movement — by
2. Facilitating the growth of local movements for direct, organic [once a central concept of Romantic philosophy, now a meaningless buzzword], participatory consensus-based [perish the thought] democracy [James Madison on this nonsense: “In all very numerous assemblies, of whatever characters composed, passion never fails to wrest the sceptre from reason. Had every Athenian citizen been a Socrates, every Athenian assembly would still have been a mob.”]
3. Studying ourselves and other local occupations to find more ideal models of consensus building, decision making and coordination through transparent, iterative design
4. Finding points of harmony of visions/goals/actions across local and regional people’s assemblies for deeper impact.
5. Creating the emotional and actual physical spaces for this process for the organic discussion of the future to unfold
6. Encouraging each occupation to focus on their local economic, cultural and political assets as a specialization of the movement [the primitive division of labor] (our specialization is the following) — as we
1. Make NYC a functioning focal point for other people’s assemblies to dissolve and overcome the unaccountable private entities rooted in Manhattan, our specialization
1. Implement non-proprietary (FLO) solutions for everything [PLEASE NOTE THAT THERE WAS A FORMATTING ERROR IN THE ORIGINAL PRINTOUT ON THIS LINE.]
2. Create an economy in harmony with nature [whatever the fuck this means — NOTE: Nature is not some sort of self-harmonious, delicate equilibrium with negative feedback loops and all that Romantic nonsense; it is incredibly cruel, catastrophic, continuously destroying and reconstituting itself]
3. Emancipate the world’s communities from centralized financial systems [again the misrecognition of finance capital as the root of society’s woes; finance capital is merely the logical extension of industrial capital]
4. Create paradigm-shifting [ugh…Kuhn is rolling in his grave] education that emancipates global citizens from exploitative, community-destroying consumer culture and empowers [there has to be a less obnoxious word for this] all people with their own voice
5. Re-appropriate our business structures and culture, putting people and our Earth before profit [the latest cliché in pseudo-Left activism]
6. Re-appropriate our media culture, putting truth and dialogue over advertising and sensationalism
7. Define and defend humanity’s inalienable liberties from the bottom up
8. ​Create peace on Earth [uh-huh] with total dedication to non-violencee [sic — NOTE: to what extent can one “defend humanity’s inalienable liberties” “with total dedication to non-violence]
9. Eliminate all discrimination, prejudice, and judgments based on socially constructed group labels in the past
10. Facilitate the peaceful harmony of humanity’s religious, spiritual and existential [I can almost guarantee that whoever wrote this has no idea what “existential” actually means] traditions

Issues — nothing about governance Algonquin principles of peace [what??] — Basis of American Constitution

1. How can we build an empowered global society based on direct democracy?
1. Fix local governing body and empower decentralized people’s assemblies to coordinate actions and goals
2. How will we emancipate ourselves from centralized financial systems?
3. How will we create an economy in harmony with nature? What will it look like?
4. How will we create free paradigm-shifting education the whole human family?
5. How will we change our business structures and culture to place people and our Earth before profit?
6. How will we free our media to place truth before advertising?
7. How will we eliminate all discrimination and prejudice?
8. How will we define the human family’s liberties from the grass roots up?
9. How will we harmonize the human family’s religious and existential traditions?
10. How can we answer these questions with solutions owned by all?

1. What future could we make with a global, decentralized, and self-organized movement governed through direct democracy?
2. What could we build if freed from the banks that own us?
3. What dignity could we enjoy if we placed people before profit?
4. What could an economy in harmony with nature produce?
5. What ills could we cure by caring for our whole human family?
6. What could free and universal education teach our children?
7. What dialogue could we foster if our media placed truth before advertising?
8. What communities could we build if we freed ourselves from discrimination and prejudice?
9. What freedom could we discover if we established liberties from the bottom up?
10. What depth of understanding could we share by harmonizing our spiritual traditions [why not overcoming/superseding our spiritual traditions altogether]?
11. What could heal if we ended all war?
12. How can we answer these questions with solutions owned by all?

Adbusters idea — “McSmoothy” “McSmoothy made of McFlurry, McPepperming Mocha and McRib” mmmmm delicious [this is the requisite pithy commentary on consumer culture]

Dialogue and Collection Process

Spend 5 minutes discussion to invent an ideal forums for input on the Visions and Goals Blueprint.  This presentation at the GA is one (with Facilitation).  Another is to create an online forum with a reddit-like set up (with the Open Source Working Group) [here begins the Vision & Goals group’s weird fetishization of open-source technology].  Another is to speak directly to the Occupiers themselves that are often too busy running day to day kitchen, medical, security, and sanitation duties to have their voices heard in the very movement they are building (with the Think Tank working group).

FLO means Free Libre Open-Source, as one term that describes the non-proprietary practice for developing various technologies and methods as broad as computer operating systems to tractor design.

ORIGINAL: (please note that this version of the document does not have ideal formatting.  The corrected original document and a link will be added ASAP)

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Contents

1 Hello World!
2 Purpose of Blueprint
3 Vision Blueprint
4 List of Goals and Correlary [sic, “corollary”] Actions
5 Amendment Process
6 Archiving Process
7 Further Reading

1.) Hello World!

Hello world! — We of Liberty Plaza would like to thank the global population for the amazing outpouring of support and inspiration. Our original demand [wait…what demand?] has been already met beyond our greatest hopes. We occupied Wall Street with the intent of bringing attention to an economic system that is detached from real human needs. In less than one month global solidarity and a global dialog has emerged — never in the history of the world [wait, what about 1917? 1968?] have all of the worlds [sic, world’s] citizations [sic, civilizations?] and cultures come together in an unidealogial [sic, non-ideological — you know a movement can’t be ideological if it can’t even spell the word; pre-ideological is more accurate] movement like this.

We present the following living vision of our movement. It is one document among many that work together in focusing our occupation for the public and ourselves. The vision has ten focii with practical goals for New York City. Our goals are aimed to effectively dissolve the shadow government [this is where #OWS converges with popular conspiracy theories, from the New World Order to the Illuminati to International Jewry; what’s more interesting is the “shadow government” within #OWS, i.e. the invisible anarchoid hierarchy] of corporations and banks, literally surrounding Liberty Plaza, that are destroying the American dream, and our planet Earth. We will not fight the shadow government [again]. We will invent new ways of living — that will overcome our constructed dependence upon the shadow government [again]. We will invent the new economy, culture, and technology fitting of the Information Age. We will make New York City a metropolis built for the future.

A few things must be said. Corporations do not make jobs — people make jobs [what does this even mean? have you ever studied economics of any kind, or are you just sloganeering?]. Money does not support livelihood — our Earth supports livelihood [Marx’s basic value/wealth distinction; this is schoolboy shit, really]. The proprietary technology used to hijack and manipulate the human spirit into thinking otherwise no longer belongs to the shadow government — the technology belongs to us. Thus the following ten visions are more than feasible. Only one question remains: When will each goal be achieved? The answer to that depends depends [sic] on YOU [cue Smoky the Bear].

2.) Purpose of Blueprint

Through this document we will explain our vision and corresponding concrete action for ourselves and for humanity.  We hope other regional people’s assemblies can create their own blueprints, centered around the future they envision, and structured around the most effective actions to achieve these visions.

3.) Vision Blueprint

Coordinate our occupation with the global movement — by

Facilitating the growth of local movements for direct, organic, participatory consensus-based democracy through transparent, iterative design.

Studying ourselves [γνῶθι σεαυτόν] and other local occupations to find more ideal models of consensus building, decision making and coordinating

Coordinating across local and regional people’s assemblies for deeper impact [in the same sense that the Chicxulub asteroid made a “deep impact”].

Encouraging each occupation to focus on their local economic, cultural and political assets — as we

Make NYC a functioning focal point for other people’s assemblies to dissolve and overcome the shadow government*** rooted in Manhattan

Implement FLO (free libre open-source) solutions for everything [yes, boys and girls, the road to paradise and the solution of all humanity’s problems comes by way of open-source technology] — by

Every bullet point vision described herein shall be supported and implemented through non proprietary technology and methods

Expand people’s knowledge of open-source beyond computers to all technology from tractors to currencies — as we

Make NYC the Open Source Silicon Alley [sic, valley? unless they are trying to be clever]

Create an economy in harmony with nature [again meaningless] — by

Researching, developing and implementing economic models that pursue thriving, abundant and prosperous outcomes for humanity and life — growing beyond the dichotomy of unsustainable and sustainable development [I can guarantee that Ted wrote this little bit; it’s one of his favorite talking-points].  These economic models must be based on sound ethical assumptions and observed  individual and market behavior [isn’t rational choice theory what led to the 2008-2011 economic collapse in the first place?] through behavioral economics and econometrics

Implementing and improving community currencies, barter, sharing, and trade systems [I defer to Doug Henwood’s appropriately scathing remarks: “What the fuck kind of econometrics do they have in mind? Vector autoregressions will set us free? Community currencies and barter are ludicrous — evidently they never consulted [renowned anarchist anthropologist David] Graeber on the nonexistence of barter societies. Did “Ketchup” have anything to do with this?]

Building the support and precedence for local and large scale production [industrialized agriculture isn’t going away anytime soon, nor should it] of renewable energy and food resources

Eliminating financial/resource speculation that supports the current economy at the expense of future generations [again, vague sentiments back by virtually no understanding of finance capital; let Hilferding enlighten them: “The specific activity of the stock exchange is really speculation. At first sight, speculation looks like any other purchase and sale. What is purchased, however, is not commodities but titles to interest. A productive capitalist must convert his commodity capital into money — that is, sell it — before he can realize a profit. If another capitalist assumes the task of selling, the industrialist must assign him part of the profit.”]

Learning from and empowering [ugh] indigenous people [I respect Native American and other “indigenous” cultures well enough, but the obsequious obsession of modern white culture with their “ancient, homespun wisdom” is frankly insulting, almost neo-colonialist in its perverse fascination] in the transition to an economy in harmony with nature — as we

Make NYC a pioneer of urban farming [one of the most elitist, inefficient agricultural practices to date], renewable energy, grass roots urban/rural exchange [grassroots populist horseshit], quantitative economic policy [for a pseudo-Keynesian administrative society] and indigenous leadership [with all due respect, why should indigenous people be the leaders? why should any particular people, outside of qualification?]

Create paradigm-shifting [again, poor Kuhn] education (emancipating global citizens from exploitative, community-destroying consumer culture) — by

Empowering [refusal to reflect on their own impotence] community values, engagement, and critical autonomous thought [all this means is being able to recite all the “counterintuitive” anti-consumerist observations, rather than develop a critical and dialectical understanding of the world]

Empowering [whoever wrote this should really be ashamed of him/herself] our local people’s assemblies working groups with free educational materials for apprenticeship and skill-sharing — as we

Make NYC a top supporter of public space for community action.

Re-appropriate our business structures and culture, putting people and our Earth before profit [“people before profit,” blah blah] — by

Supporting and organizing with entities [assorted cosmic entia working for the public good, i.e. Nyarlathotep, Cthulhu; some unexpected OWS metaphysics] that serve community

Coordinating demands of local, national and global people’s asseblies to eliminate outdated corporate systems that are out of line with people and nature — the most egregious exploiters of human and natural capitol [most people these days don’t understand what “capital” really is, but at least they can spell it correctly] — as we

Make NYC the mecca [require that every citizen pray five times a day in its direction] for innovative community based organizational entities like L3C, not-for profit, NGO, charities etc. [charities? really?]

Re-appropriate our media culture, putting truth over advertizing [sic, advertising] and sensation — by

Ensure diversity of perspectives and entertainment through promoting diverse community media [celebrate diversity, kids! facile multiculturalism] as an alternative to conglomerate-corporate media — as we

Make NYC a thriving ecosystem of community news [NYC a “thriving ecosystem”?] and entertainment supported by the people [das Volk]

Define and defend humanity’s inalienable rights from the bottom up

Defending the commonly discussed rights to clean water, healthy food, safe shelter, health care

Pioneering the emerging right to free network communication technology (the People’s Internets) [Народный комиссариат интернета: the People’s Commissariat of the Internet]

Make NYC the most progressive city for the chronically homeless.

Make NYC a leader of the People’s Internets** [again]

​End all war — by

Stopping the false War on Terror at home and abroad, used to support the military industrial complex [this old rag] and citizen surveillance/control

Stopping the false War on Drugs, used to support the prison/pharmaceutical industrial complex

Stopping the age of oil, which is really a disguised War on Life [wow, I had no idea…I wonder what they made of the Age of Coal and Whale Oil] that toxifies our land, water and bodies — as we

Make NYC a stronghold of peace [yes, a “stronghold”… a veritable Fortress of Pacifism]

Eliminate all discrimination and prejudice — by

Empowering [god damn it all] marginalized people to express themselves, build community, and engage systemic/cultural discrimination

Educating people with privilege about how they can overcome overt and unconscious discrimination/prejudice.

4.) Balancing

Protect the human rights of anyone living or working in America, independent of their legal status — as we

Make NYC a more celebrated place of diversity [in practice, this amounts to little more than tokenism] that lives up to its Melting Pot reputation [tepid, condescending inclusionism]

Harmonize humanity’s religious, spiritual and existential traditions [whatever that means] — by

Creating the space for all people to respectfully and collaboratively worship, discuss, and explore religious and nonreligious topics [what happened to “freedom from religion”?] — as we

Make NYC a hub for harmonious religious, spiritual and non-religious practice [ok we get it]

Emancipate the world’s communities from centralized banking systems

Transitioning the IMF and World Bank into transparent, publically [sic, publicly] owned and operated entities [yes, this will solve the problem of capitalism *crickets*]

Ending the Federal Reserve Bank and replacing it with an accountable, decentralized, transparent and publically [sic, again it’s “publicly”] owned financial system

Freezing all home forclosures until new financial systems are established and operating

Cop brutality, women’s issues, accountability [three separate issues without any apparent unifying theme]

5.) List of Goals and Correlary Actions

Make NYC a functioning focal point for other people’s assemblies to dissolve and overcome the shadow government [conspiracy theory bullshit] of big banks and corporations that is embedded here

Develop an open source DIY Occupation kit [be sure to include nitroglycerine] for other occupations to reference and build upon.

Build the independent communications technology to coordinate occupations throughout the US and globe

Make NYC the Open Source Silicon Alley

Host an open source developers hackathon in a secret location to find the most intelligent and driven technologists most capable of dissolving the shadow govt and building the new community development structures.  [wow, I had no idea just how delusional this document really was until reading this line]

Make NYC a pioneer of urban farming, renewable energy, grass roots urban/rural exchange, ethical and evidenced-based economics and indigenous leadership

Develop strong resource flows between upstate farms and the occupation [the age-old nostalgia for the good, honest local farming family, replete with a bucolic setting and all their quaint rural idiosyncrasies/idiocies]

Use Occupy Wall Street as a platform to launch community-based green economy solutions [ah yes, the ideology of “green”] that lift people out of poverty and restore our Earth

Pilot community currencies, barter, sharing, and local trade systems [again, this is total nonsense to anyone who knows economics]

Make Liberty Square carbon neutral [fashionable eco-friendliness]

Make NYC a thriving ecosystem of community news, entertainment, and information-sharing supported by the people [das Volk]

Broadcast the first Occupy Wall Street TV channel with news, live stream, shows, Q&A and entertainment [I motion that the first livestreaming entertainment piece be footage of the ongoing guillotining that has been going on at Zuccotti park]

Make NYC a leader of the People’s Internets

Make NYC a top supporter of public space for community action

Support the independent occupations of every borough in NYC.

Expand the occupation beyond outdoor spaces to indoor ones.

Make NYC the mecca for innovative community based organizational entities like L3C, not-for profit, NGO, charities etc

Make NYC the most progressive city for the chronically homeless

Make NYC a stronghold of pacifism

Support neighborhood peace and safe community initiatives

Make NYC a place that celebrates and respects diversity and lives up to its Melting Pot reputation

Make NYC a hub for harmonious religious, spiritual and non-religious practice [ok so all this is literally copied word-for-word from before]

6.) Amendment Process

We will create a reddit-based forum online to elicit ideas for amendments and to vote on those ideas for adoption.  In order to propose an amendment, a forum user must first vote on at least one popular and two random ideas from the forum. Users may post and vote with a public identity, masked identity, or anonymously.  A small fraction of the most popular posts, based on votes, will be presented to the General Assembly, where they will be officially considered as amendments or edits to the current version [my own friendly edit or amendment would be to throw this garbage onto the trash-heap of history, where it belongs, and start anew].

7. Archiving Process

The Blueprint will live [??] in two online version [sic, versions].  The first is the Official Non-Editable Wiki, which will have previous versions archived for the public.  The second is an Unofficial Sandbox Wiki for the public to freely engage, edit, and experiment with.  We predict that the Unofficial Sandbox version will yield very interesting [missing noun] and possibly sourced for amendments.

Further Reading

Origins of the Blueprint for Liberty Square

The Vision & Goals working group from #Occupy Wall Street: Its wretched prehistory, followed by an insider’s harrowing account

Photo taken during a meeting of the #OWS Vision & Goals working group

This is a continuation of an earlier post on some of the internal divisions within OWS.

I circulated the following e-mail concerning some of the internal divisions that have taken place primarily between the “Facilitators” (who for all intents and purposes run the General Assembly) and members of the Demands working group, one of the largest and most serious working groups out there.  I admit that it was based mostly on rumors and hearsay about what was going on at the time, which was incredibly confusing:

There is some major shit going down behind the scenes at OWS.  It’s become a gigantic fucking mess…though they vigorously deny that there is any sort of vertical structure of authority within the General Assembly, this weird unspoken hierarchy exists within the GA and has been systematically obstructing a bunch of the different working groups.

The Demands working group, which consists mostly of (sectarian) Marxists, has been pretty much bullied and marginalized completely by the anarchist clique that controls the General Assembly.

Some of the more militant within the Demands group (mostly Trotskyists of various groups; ISO, DSA, Sparts, IMT, ILN, and others) who have gotten sick of the anarchists rejecting every proposal for demands or vision are planning to basically stage a coup by having all their major union contacts get their members to march on Liberty Plaza.

As things stand right now, the club of anarchists who run the General Assembly and have been stifling every sort of attempt at structured organizations have (paradoxically) established a bizarre authoritarian regime under the banner of anti-authoritarianism.  The anarchists who control the GA have been going around to every single working group, in numbers.  And because there are fewer people in any given working group, it becomes basically impossible for the working groups to get “modified consensus” (9/10ths) if the Facilitators from the GA all “block” any proposal at the committee level.

Things have just gotten incredibly tense and fucked up these last few days.  The anarchists in the GA and the sectarian Marxists in the “Demands” group have been going at each other’s throats.

Here’s some of the actual documentation of the strife that went on during two of the Demands working group’s meetings.  These are excerpts from the minutes of the meetings in question.  First, from 10/16/11:

16 October 2011
Demands Working Group meeting minutes
Moderators: Cecily & Chris

Ketchup then opened by telling our working group that we shouldn’t exist and that it is doing something awful to this movement by trying to inject demands.

[…]

Then Tim took the floor. He said that there were other working groups doing essentially the same thing as this working group, that demands had been voted down at GA “over and over again”, that they allow “appeasement”, and that they will push people away from the movement.

Laura stated that the corporate media was untrustworthy and that we shoudn’t go to the media. We ought not succomb to he media’s “demand for demands”.

[…]

The vote was held to move on, which produced blocks from Tim, Ketchup, James, and Walter, put passed with a vote of 23/6. The photographer had took the picture of the working group from a distance, and the material reason to continue with the discussion was gone. Those who blocked the vote protested the abuse of the process. Ketchup stormed away and Tim began filming all of us in as overtly as he could as a means to intimidate the group.

Once the commotion ended (other than Tim’s recording, which continued for more than 10 minutes with him getting up in people’s faces with his camera), Chris moved to move on to the agenda.

[…]

"Ketchup" & "Sprite" - Two of the fearless leaders (and yes, they are leaders) of OWS and its offshoots

“Ketchup” is actually the (puerile) nom de guerre of Grayson Vreeland, a student at Northwestern University in Chicago.

And then there was the next Demands meeting, from October 18th, when members from Facilitation (basically the same ones who wrote the Blueprint) again began to intervene:

18 October 2011
Demands Working Group meeting minutes
Moderators: Cecily & Lily
Stack: Andrew
Minutes: Shawn

Meeting opens: Nicole from ‘Facilitation’ goes over the “feeling good”, “feeling bad” hand signals.

Ketchup asks Cecily where the Demands group voting procedures and protocols. A man calling himself ‘A’ [I suspect this might have been Abe from Vision & Goals, but I’m not 100% sure] stated that the DWG cannot rule out or challenge the current rules of the GA.

Erik says that we’ve always used 75% modified consensus, but that it hasn’t been necessary since all votes have been unanimous. [RW: The Demands working group had also unanimously consented at the outset that their own internal standard for modified consensus would be 75%, rather than the standard 90% used by the GA]

[Cecily and Lily call for Announcements]

Ketchup says there is a group called ‘Visions and Goals’ that addresses the best approach for the movement’s vision and goals in an open and unilateral way. That group feels that demands are not productive.

[…]

‘A’ [possibly Abe from Vision & Goals, unclear]: Speakers before the GA on Sunday (16 October) and Monday (17 October) re-affirmed that the GA has not come to any consensus on any demands that have gone out to media on behalf of the GA of any kind.

[…]

Ketchup: Should have been a 90% threshold (rather than the 80% it received)

Stephanie: It’s important to have credibility in the process.

Nicole: We can’t compromise on 90% because we want 100%, and 75% gets us dangerously close to 50% [SR: wow!].

[Facilitators put it to a vote, using the 75% threshold: 33-8 (80.5%)]

[…]

Dave says we need 90% consensus and no demands.

[…]

Luke: Combine the Demands group with others and scrap this agenda.

Cecily: This, making Demands, is our focus. If you don’t like it, there are many other groups.

Tim (with the camera): This (point of process hand signal) is not a vagina in sign language.

[SR: This was actually said. Loudly. With accompanying hand gestures.]

[…]

Shawn: Saboteurs abound at this meeting ensuring that we don’t get through a relatively simple, basic agenda to anyone who has done political work before. None of this matters, anyway, since the wreckers here are the same people who determine the agenda at GA. The Leaders are the facilitators, and the facilitators are wreckers. But they can’t control the agenda forever. With patient explanation, the Demand for Demands will override the hypnotic stranglehold they have over GA when it consists of people like our union brothers and sisters and members of the poor and oppressed communities who NEED demands desperately. 2 weeks is fine for a timeline.  [Though it is somewhat amusing to see the Stalinist language of “saboteurs” and “wreckers” and recognize their problematic origin, the description really isn’t all that far off]

Nicole: Speaking as a facilitator, we’re not wreckers. And this is dangerous, divisive language. It doesn’t respect the process or the GA and reflects poorly on this group to be saying such things. Moreover, the threat of stacking the GA with union workers is anathema to the purpose of OWS.

[…]

Tim: How do you join the demands group if you have your own demands to propose and they’re not considered?

Lili: Our group has been made ‘invisible’, which is part of the reason that so few people knows we exist. We’re doing everything by the book and being smashed down at every step.

[…]

Craig: These demands are too aggressive.

Matt [technical/open source/internet]: Chants about bailouts are popular; jobs, not so much. People don’t like demands. Demands = Obama.

Ketchup: Demands make us fight rather than work with. This “scary scary dialogue” about modifying consensus and going over the GA with working people is bad.

Tim (with the camera): There is an open source group and a group devoted to Visions & Goals. You should dissolve yourselves and merge with them.

But here are some more of the important documents pertaining to it.  Beyond the disruption they caused at the Demands group’s meetings, here is their official denunciation of the Demands working group on the www.occupywallst.org website from Friday, October 21, which heaped scorn and calumny upon them: “The so-called Demands working group.”  It reads:

A group claiming to be affiliated with the General Assembly of Liberty Square and #OWS has been speaking to the media on behalf of our movement.

This group is not empowered by the NYC General Assembly.

This group is not open-source and does not act by consensus.

This group only represents themselves.

While we encourage the participation of autonomous working groups, no single person or group has the authority to make demands on behalf of general assemblies around the world.

We are our demands. This #OWS movement is about empowering communities to form their own general assemblies, to fight back against the tyranny of the 1%. Our collective struggles cannot be co-opted.

Having been to several meetings of the Demands working group, I can safely say that these charges are complete bullshit.  Beyond this initial list of accusations, the Demands working group was deleted from the NYC GA’s official site, and many of its members banned.  This decision was never put to a vote, and seems to have been performed unilaterally.  Here was Jay Arena’s testimony of his treatment at the GA that same night, October 21st:

To All Demands Working Group/OWS supporters,

I attended last night’s General Assembly (GA) meeting of Occupy Wall Street (OWS)/Liberty Plaza  that was discussing the new spokespersons council organizational structure that the self-appointed GA leadership was presenting.

I spoke out  against adopting the new organizational structure before the movement addressed the gross violation of democratic norms that have occurred under the present system. I then ATTEMPTED to explain how the treatment of the Demands Working group was a prime example of anti-Democratic behavior meted out by the GA leadership. I was cut off before I could elaborate by the ‘facilitators’, including one, Nicole,  who had been sent to ‘assist’ us at our last Demands Working Group meeting on Tuesday, October 18.

If I had been allowed to express myself, I would have refuted the false statement made against the Demands working group, namely that 1.) We claimed, to the New York Times and other news-outlets that the ‘Jobs for All, through Public Works’ demand was the demand of the entire OWS; and 2.) That we expelled people from a Demands WG meeting.

Based on these false accusations, the self-appointed leadership, without any vote — consensus, majority-based, or otherwise — took coercive actions  against the Demands Working group and its members without giving an opportunity to the Demands working group or individual members to respond to the baseless charges. These sanctions have included: 1.)  A broadside on the front page of the OWS web site repeating lies 1 and 2 above, 2.) eliminating the demands working group discussion forum from the OWS website — which was one of the most popular, 3.)  removing several demands working group members registration accounts from the web site.

I agree with Chavisa that we should use the accountability forum page of OWS to register our opposition to this gross violation of Democratic norms. The Demands Working group will be discussing further on how to respond to these anti-Democratic attacks and violations, ones that present a serious threat to this important movement. I encourage everyone who cares about Democracy and  this movement to attend the next meeting of the Demands Working Group — Sunday, 6 PM, Tompkins Square Park (meet at the circular area, right off E. 7th street, between avenues B and C).

— Jay Arena

The matter became somewhat elucidated by an exchange on the Transparency and Accountability forum on the General Assembly’s main webpage.  The firstsecondthirdfourth, and now fifth page of discussion can be found there.

One of the more interesting exchanges occurred between Chavisa Woods and the website administrator, Drew:

This [whole deletion of the Demands working group from NYC GA’s fora] goes against the process. I joined this group last week, as did hundreds of others, two days ago. This group exists to discuss issues around DEMANDS; the history of demands in revolutionary movements, methods of and approaches to demands; and to collect data on possible demands (a subgroup of this group is trying to form to gear up to begin working with media and conducting outreach; and to formulate demand proposals to be brought before the G.A.

Again, this group has every right to exist. A Demands group does not discourage people from joining other groups.

I am very interested in understanding the COLLECTIVE process that went into deciding this group cannot exist, or be visible. Since it is not on the website, we cannot list the date and time of our meeting, which more than 100 people wanted to know. That is not transparecy.

If you disagree that there should be demands, that’s fine, and it may consistently be voted against in the G.A.

BUT THIS DELETION IS PROBLEMATIC. It points to the possibility that a small number of people have the final and autonomous decision about what sorts of groups get to exist in OWS.  That goes completely against the structure and process of OWS.

— Chavisa Woods

Drew, who is the head of the Internet working group, took responsibility for the action and explained his reasons, though he did end up restoring the Demands working group:

Hello everyone, I understand the concerns about the Demands group disappearing from the site and I apologize for being unable to read through and respond to all the forum posts in detail.

I was the one who removed the Demands Group from the site. I take full responsibility. Before I explain why I would like to note a few things. First off, communication inside (and out) of the park is really hard. Also, getting correct information is difficult and figuring out what is going on at any given time is also a struggle. That’s why we are working so hard on creating the nycga.net site.

A few days ago I was contacted by a number of people saying that there was a demands group that was giving out false information. There was some fuss, and I wasn’t sure how to take it. Information working group did not have any concrete information about the status or contact info for the group. Then on Friday occupywallst.org put out a “burn” notice on a demands group. Editors from that site called me explaining that we have to take the demands group off line.

I am only getting secondhand information. I am a website administrator and I don’t know about the group or about the controversy surrounding it. I did what I was asked.

This brings up the issue: There is currently no official procedure for determining when to add or remove a working group. There is no good definition about what a working group even IS. Perhaps the Accountability and Transparency working group can devise a solution.

Again, I apologize. I will try and make it to the next Demands Working group meeting and discuss this in person.

Solidarity,

— Drew

Drew’s candor and responsibility are refreshing, but some troubling questions remain.  Who were these people that were telling him to take the Demands working group off the website? And why would he listen to them? This needs to be remedied properly.

Anyway, as alluded to in the minutes cited above, the same people from Facilitation who were so disruptive at the meetings of the Demands working group (I think Abe, Ted, Tim, and “Ketchup”) had as their pet project this whole “Vision & Goals” working group.  I think this is attested to by the fact that it came up as a pointless non sequitur in the minutes to their first official meeting, from 10-20-2011:

The demands working group is oppressive to the people who attends their meetings.  They will meet Sunday at 6pm at the Cube.

When they finally announced the group officially, they almost simultaneously unveiled their Liberty Plaza Blueprint, which they claimed had been amassed from the input of numerous individuals over a long period of time.  (As someone who studies architecture, it’s almost offensive that they would deign to call it a “blueprint”).

Of course, it’s kind of strange that they would only officially announce the group with a document already decided upon. No one ever decided whether we should work within the framework (if one can even say it has a framework) of this document in the first place.  This, in turn, is obviated by an exchange recorded in the minutes from 10-21-2011:

Are there printed documents that we would use to search for the themes?

No, only the document we read yesterday that was compiled by 200 people, that could be a part of it

In conversation with Zocera, a member of the People of Color caucus and Vision & Goals, she revealed to me that they repeatedly emphasized that the Blueprint represented “a draft of a document that has been worked on for almost a month, contributed to by over 200 people.” She said that from what she could gather, that was their way of pre-ratifying the basic form and muddled content of the document before anyone could vote on it. Zocera continued to explain that they only seemed interested in gathering the additional input of marginalized persons (women and people of color) as a way of adding “multicultural cred” to the document, in what struck her (as a person of color) as rather shameless tokenism and toadying to political correctness.

Here is some more of the behind-the-scenes story regarding the document’s background, taken from some public correspondence between noted activist and commentator Doug Henwood and the organizer Chris Maisano, from all the way back on October 21st:

From: Doug Henwood

Sent: Friday, October 21, 2011 11:25 AM

To: lbo-talk at lbo-talk.orgSubject: Re: [lbo-talk] The “Liberty Square Blueprint”

On Oct 21, 2011, at 10:49 AM, Chris Maisano wrote:

So the anarchist types who have been running the show behind the scenes and actively disrupting the meetings of the working group crafting the jobs for all demand (so much for leaderlessness and self-organization) have finally unveiled their Liberty Square Blueprint — and it is utter rubbish. Not a single word about the tens of millions of unemployed and underemployed, the tens of millions without health insurance, and the tens of millions in poverty. Instead, we read about bartering, urban farming, and charities. Amazing.

The only good thing about this is that its obvious limitations could create an opening for socialists to contend for a greater degree of political and ideological influence within the movement and raise demands that might actually resonate with a broadly-based constituency.

Holy shit, that’s awful. Among many things, they seem poisoned by the belief that open source software can save the world. (Apparently their open-source software doesn’t have a spell checker, unless they think there’s something revolutionary about spelling it “Correlary”).

The wish list — which they weirdly refer to as bullet-point visions — is incredibly vague. How do we “Empower marginalized people to express themselves, build community, and engage systemic/cultural discrimination”? Who are the “we” that grant “them” this power?

The economic planks:

• Create an economy in harmony with nature — by
• Researching, developing and implementing economic models that pursue thriving, abundant and prosperous outcomes for humanity and life — growing beyond the dichotomy of unsustainable and sustainable development. These economic models must be based on sound ethical assumptions and observed individual and market behavior through behavioral economics and econometrics
• Implementing and improving community currencies, barter, sharing, and trade systems
• Building the support and precedence for local and large scale production of renewable energy and food resources
• Eliminating financial/resource speculation that supports the current economy at the expense of future generations
• Learning from and empowering indigenous people in the transition to an economy in harmony with nature — as we
• Make NYC a pioneer of urban farming, renewable energy, grass roots urban/rural exchange, quantitative economic policy and indigenous leadership

are close to meaningless. Who are the “we” that would eliminate speculation, and how? Presumably not state bodies, so who then? What the fuck kind of econometrics do they have in mind? Vector autoregressions will set us free? Community currencies and barter are ludicrous — evidently they never consulted Graeber on the nonexistence of barter societies.

Did “Ketchup” have anything to do with this?

— Doug

Though I would probably not be as insulting as Doug Henwood, he is right about the economic “planks.” As someone who is thoroughly versed in economic theory (from classical liberal-bourgeois to Keynesian to Marxist), I can safely say that the vast majority of the proposals about urban agriculture and so on are half-baked to nonsensical.

All of this is external to the actual contents of the document. I almost feel that I can’t begin addressing its problems. I don’t mean to demean the contributions of anyone who has helped to compose it; there are doubtless some valuable points and ideas in there, though they are few and far between. But even these tend to get lost amidst the general gobbledygook and feel-good nonsense that constitutes most of the document (e.g. “Facilitate the peaceful harmony of humanity’s religious, spiritual and existential traditions” — I can almost guarantee whoever wrote that doesn’t know what “existential” means).

I don’t know how to characterize the document other than as a shapeless blob. It’s unwieldy and hopelessly confused. Even within the space of a single sentence the thoughts utterly lose their coherence.  Contradictions, incompatible propositions, and baffling non sequiturs abound throughout the text. Reading through it is like a ticking cognitive dissonance time-bomb.

I’ve read Nijinsky’s diary — the mad scribblings of a schizophrenic — and even that possessed more logic and coherence.

I almost lost count of how many times I read the words “paradigm-shift” and “empowering” (popular postmodern tropes long since rendered banal).

The disorder and dysfunctionality of the Vision & Goals Blueprint is mirrored by the group meetings to this point.  Besides the horror stories I myself could tell, here is the account offered Dustin Brown, a bright activist from Chicago who made the mistake of trying to rationally engage with the Vision & Goals “vanguard” of Ted, Abe, and Ketchup:

Essentially, the two ’leaders’ within the group with whom I was resonating with most in the latter part of that week were Zocera and Ryan. By Saturday, I was feeling resonance with Jayson, Jim (I don’t think you’ve met yet, he was out of town all last week but was relatively prominent the prior week), and multiple other folks who were in attendance at that Saturday meeting but whose names I do not recall in some cases, and in others I never knew. A few approached me introducing themselves, simply saying they appreciated my input to the Group that meeting, but were deciding to likely not return because of the Group dysfunction (i.e. ”Abe”)

Overall, I’d say the Sat. mtg was a relatively constructive one, but for Abe who was/is, as you know, disruptive, dogmatic, socially-/interpersonally-inept, distracting, etc. He also strikes me as having a relatively shallow perspective, while being ’quick-with-the-tongue’ and, obviously, loud/obtrusive, all of which is a precarious combination for constructive group-processing/-development.

That said, I could have actually dealt with all that, because everyone seemed to be on the relatively same page with respect to him, and I felt we all were poised to address the issue, somehow, that could ultimately prove constructive, Group-wise. Several individuals approached me after the meeting to offer their perspective on him, which was unanimously unfavorable. This Leia gal seems to be one in his corner, Patrick’s corner, Ted’s corner, etc., and I honestly don’t even know who she is. She was clearly at meetings I attended but I didn’t begin noticing the name until Saturday night, the night before I ultimately chose to leave

Actually I left Sat.’s meeting planning to extent my stay until mid-November. In the early evening Patrick sent an email to me [i.e. Cc-ing the Group] offering considerably unfavorable feedback to/about me, which I felt was not simply poor taste and counterproductive, but simply off-the-mark in his assertions/characterizations/etc. He and I essentially went back & forth a few times, with everyone else observing from the sidelines.

Incidentally, Patrick did not even attend the Saturday meeting, hwvr, he was at the Friday meeting which I was also at, a mtg in which I decided to walk out on due [what I felt was] obscene dysfunction to the degree of ’comedy’.

In the midst of my email exchange with Patrick which was totally unnecessary, a distraction, a wasteful diversion/allocation of energy, etc., there was a mildly off-putting/off-center exchange with Ed(Ted?) which I felt was also unnecessary, distracting, wasteful, etc. Both he & Patrick are peculiar one’s, in my opinion, and relatively precarious because they’re take-charge types of personalities with, in my opinion, lack of clarity, direction and depth of meaningful understanding. Hence, I often found/find them exerting much energy ’leading’ Group members into aimless, exploratory-terrain in which they, themselves, were choosing to wallow/wander, all-the-while characterizing such wallowing/wandering as ”constructive”, ”progress”, ”momentum”, etc.

As I contemplated extending my stay into the early-hour evening……i.e., the required investment, opportunity costs, the potential [though by no means guaranteed] benefits, I thought to myself…

”how many Patricks/Teds/Abes might there be out there, potentially…?”

”Is the present ’consensus-process’ really the optimal way to go, Group-wise/Movement-wise…?”

”who are the ’leaders’ in this Group/Movement, and what have they demonstrated thus far…?”

”if I stay, what will we likely accomplish over the upcoming week, and upcoming two weeks…?”

There were a few more reflective questions, hwvr, those were the main ones I recall.

Obviously, I decided the optimal decision was to return home, attend to my responsibilities, here [Chicago], which are plentiful, and do my best to continue contributing to the Group/Movement, remotely, as much as Group/Movement members would welcome/receive

Overall, I feel good/clear about my decision given all that was known/experienced at that time, although I am also wiling to come back if/when I feel such an investment makes sense from all angles. I’m not going to drop my life/responsibilities, again, obviously, to come to NY and engage in meetings/exchanges of the nature/lack-of-direction/-substance I did on my last trip. I’d have to sense something very constructive percolating there or, at least the promise of something constructive percolating.

I further received an e-mail from someone (whose name I will omit) who describes him/herself as one of the “high elders” of the Vision & Goals working group.  Apparently s/he had been involved in the group all the way from early October, and confirms my suspicion that the Blueprint was originally the product of one or two individuals and was simply workshopped by several others thereafter.

I still have no idea where the authors got the number of contributors to the Blueprint as “over 200 people,” as there are well fewer than 200 points (the nature of each individual’s “contribution” is unclear — did they just read over it once?) and I’m not sure how they kept count, anyway.  Anyway, here is the e-mail:

Ross,

 I don’t know if we’ve met or not.  I’m terrible with names, and haven’t been to a meeting in around a week.  But I consider myself a dedicated member of the V&G working group, and might be considered a “high elder” (i.e. I’ve been involved since a couple of meetings prior to our move to 60 Wall, way back when we didn’t have meetings in the evenings — the pre-historic times known as early-October).

Firstly, I’m in love with your document.  In one of the first meetings I attended, I talked about wanting to craft some sort of “Declaration of Human Liberation,” and it seems you have done just that.  I’m incredibly excited to start thinking about/editing/adding-to/etc. you’re well-crafted and forward-thinking piece of prose.

[…]

My understanding of The Blueprint‘s history is that it was written before I joined, mostly by one person, and then workshopped by a group[!!] By the time I got involved, the task at hand was to condense the document, so it could be brought to the GA.  That new document was discussed in a break-out session at the GA, and since then, we’ve been incorporating the feedback we got, as well as our own ideas, into the document currently at hand.

[…]

As I mentioned, I haven’t been to a meeting in a while.  But someone told me that we’re [the Vision & Goals working group] getting close to bringing something to the GA.  (I don’t know whether it is a proposal to be consensed upon, or just something to be workshopped.  Ether way, I’m excited).  I assume that document is “the blueprint.”

I don’t know when I’ll next make a meeting, so here’s what I have to say.  For now:

If we’re close to being happy enough with a/any document to bringing it to the GA (for whatever reason), than please god, lets do so.  To have something to show the world on Friday the 11th would be amazing.  Not necessary, but pretty damn cool.

Meanwhile, let’s remember that our WG is pluralized: it’s not Vision and Goal. We can/should/must have multiple documents. We already do (Dec. of Occ. of NYC, Principals of Solidarity, et. al.).  Let this Blueprint be another.

As your doccument is much closer (than the Blueprint) to the types of documents I want to be working on, I see a much more epoch process ahead. A process where, after we compose it, and give it to the GA, and then re-work it, and than give it to the GA again, and then re-work it, and then put it in a Wiki for other occupations to edit, and then re-work it, and then translate it into hundreds of languages and put it in a wiki for the world (!!!) to edit, and then re-work it, maybe then we’ll have the founding document(s) of a global, utopian, brave, new, world.

Of course, in the meantime, Ketchup has appeared on the national comedy show, The Colbert Report.  The irony is that she had been so militant against talking to the media.  This irony was not lost on members of the Demands group:

Jay Arena wrote:

Even Ketchup, who berated us for talking with the press in the past, but who now seems to have become a darling of the mainstream media, would be hard pressed to object to your proposal.

Susan wrote:

Watch both parts one and two of the Colbert piece.  Priceless.  And these idiots think they had a triumph.  Unprecedented levels of cluelessness!

Ketchup, one of the brave protestors behind the Vision & Goals faction

Don’t get me wrong.  It’s not like I am fully supportive of everything the Demands working group suggests.  I think that concrete demands are problematic (this doesn’t mean they shouldn’t be discussed, however).  The legacy of dogmatic, sectarian Marxism is in some sense just as pernicious as the persistence of weirdly authoritarian anarchoid tendencies.  Still, the Demands working group has been treated incredibly unfairly.