My friend in the RCP shared this commentary. There are lists of demands circulating and rumors of lists. Folks are gonna discuss demands. Occupy Chicago already has a short list of demands. However, this commentary makes some compelling points regarding the lack of demands: it’s not such a bad thing!
I thought the following from Revolution’s coverage was helpful on this question of demands:
The demand to formulate demands is wrong—other than the demand for the POLICE TO BACK THE HELL OFF. ……
Occupy Wall Street: Showdown and Victory – This Is So Not Over!
EXCERPT…..What has happened in this last week underscores two fundamental points: 1) Occupy Wall Street has sparked the imagination of so many and become a vehicle for expressing outrage at the deeply unjust impact of the economic crisis because the occupations have stepped out of the bounds of “politics and protest as usual” and the occupiers have put themselves on the line, coming back after each and every attack by the police and the media. 2) The ruling class finds this intolerable and is prepared to use its repressive force to attempt to crush this. The occupiers must remain vigilant and determined, while constantly reaching out to bring more people into the protest.
At the same time as Occupy Wall Street faces attempts to shut it down, enormous pressure mounts for the occupation to come up with “demands.” Sections of the Democratic Party are seeking to get in front of this movement, to lasso it into their suffocating ruling class embrace. And pressure is being exerted from different quarters, including bourgeois commentators, some union leaders, various liberal advocacy groups, and politicians, to come up with realistic “demands.” And within the Occupy Wall Street movement itself, there is debate over this.
It must be said: The basic demand to “Occupy Wall Street” is righteous and important—to seize public space to make known that people are suffering needlessly and unjustly and that we are refusing to put up with it; to have a liberated space to explore alternatives to the way things are. This must continue to be the focus of OWS and not be diluted or diverted. It is this character and thrust of Occupy Wall Street that has powerfully tapped into and is now a vehicle for expressing the widespread discontent of millions, with international impact. Further, this movement has shaken things up, brought something new to the political and ideological terrain, and has the potential to uncork even greater opposition and resistance to the way things are.
The Occupy Wall Street encampment has not only been a site of resistance—but also a place where people are forging and experimenting with new forms of community and cooperation in opposition to the dominant and suffocating values of this society. People are working together to clean up the park; holding mass discussions and cultural activity; reaching out and seeking to work with people and businesses in the neighborhood.
The Occupy Wall Street movement is presenting a challenge to the ruling class. In this context, it needs to be recognized that some who raise this “demand for demands” are expressing their desire for OWS to end—for some small concession to be “negotiated,” in order to put a stop to this growing movement. The demand to formulate demands is wrong—other than the demand for the POLICE TO BACK THE HELL OFF.
Conscious political operatives of the Democratic Party are aiming to bring this vibrant political opposition back under the wing of sections of the ruling class. There are efforts to channel the righteous outrage of people into a program of reform, like more regulations on banks and changes in tax policy. A big ace in the hole for them here is to appeal to progressive-minded people to support them to prevent the return of the Republican Party—the likes of fascistic forces such as Rick Perry—to the White House. This is a killing and paralyzing choice for the people. The workings of capitalism—however it is “regulated”—continue to grind up humanity. What is really required is for this movement to get broader and deeper, to continue to link up with other streams of resistance in society and make common cause with people around the world—and to more clearly target the capitalist system.