WARNING: May contain opinions
I think the most urgent issue to discuss is possible strategies to obtain political influence. So far, I have seen people advocating petitions, such as senator Bernie Sanders' "Shared Sacrifice", others suggesting boycotting corporations failing to live up to minimum standards of environmental and economic responsibility, and of course the public demonstrations. I'm sure there are many other great initiatives out there (which we all need to hear about and support).
To me, the way to obtain maximal influence is to use our value as consumers, voters and employees in the most efficient ways, and in as many ways as possible (in the same way that you have to attempt to cure an illness by a combination of all efficient means available). Regarding our power as consumers (or customers), the fact that many people can't afford to buy food of decent quality, or enough food at all, robs citizens of a great deal of power. Although the idea of growing your own food seems attractive, it's hardly going to solve the large scale issue. Changing government subsidizing policies would certainly be the best solution, but again, this would require major influence through the political system. An alternative approach could be to look for ways to enhance the market shares of sustainable companies through alternative funding or campaigns. I'm sure some companies would be willing to participate in campaigns for quality food if they get publicity and branding in return. The size of occupy means a huge potential capital in form of publicity if it's seized at the right moment (now!). Cooperating with multiple smaller companies could add a lot to the cause.
Another idea in the rising is to strengthen the impact, identity and publicity of occupy through benefit concerts and other arts events. As an example of an arts benefit project, New England Conservatory faculty have recently had great success with the "Music for food" concerts in the greater Boston area, providing food for many families in need. Expanding the organization and visibility of high quality art events to support those affected by the crisis will contribute to making the identity of the movement even stronger.
One big question is what occupy's role in the presidential election, and elections in general, will be. Some movements are working to prevent re-election of Obama, but so far I haven't heard them present any better alternatives (and I haven't heard of any serious candidates representing democracy restoration reform). Others claim that influence through the political system to make serious reforms is beyond reach in the present situation, thus leaving civil disobedience as we are seeing it now as the only possible response. In this context, I think it would be relevant to have a discussion of the American two-party system, and whether it, and the consequent lack of flexibility, presents a democratic problem. Coming from a country with multiple parties, the natural way to seek influence in a democratic country to me would be to form a new party that represents strong public concerns. I still remember reading about the three nations constantly in war with each other in Orwell's "1984"..
Traditionally, the unions have been responsible for maintaining a power balance between corporations and the labor force. Therefore, it seems obvious that we should somehow work to strengthen the influence of the unions. Maybe the unions (and responsible companies) could support responsible banking by negotiating favorable agreements for their members, or collaborate in other ways? We need to make efforts to promote greater accessibility of banks employing fair business procedures.
If you happen to have knowledge or ideas on the issues above, please let me know! I'm a New England Conservatory Graduate, about to start my doctoral studies at Stony Brook University.
Occupy a physical place [Washington, DC]
Change does not happen.
Demand the President resign.
Change does not happen.
Critiques? I am only philosophizing ... So ... I am SURE there is a better way to move forward than this ... Seeking other people's thoughts ...
Should this Discussion be merged with the "How are we to proceed?" Discussion?