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And, yes, I DO take it personally: Don't co-opt OWS and the case for a Constitutional Convention
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Saturday, November 19, 2011

Don't co-opt OWS and the case for a Constitutional Convention

from macleod cartoons...


i just came back from a journey of the heart where i visited with a very good friend whom i have not visited for way too many years... he is a man i would unabashedly describe as "great," a man who thinks, reads, comes to his own conclusions, and, now in his early 70s, is always unfailingly out ahead of not only his peers but also those of every age group... while the basis of our friendship is clearly based on our intellectual compatibility, his greatness is considerably enhanced by the fact that he chose to spend his working life as an aircraft mechanic and devoted his spare time to raising children, building houses and collectible race cars, and crafting a relationship with a fine and strong woman which will culminate next month in a 50-year wedding anniversary celebration...

in the extended conversations i was privileged to have with him over the few days we spent together, conversations that, as you might expect, ranged all over the map, we honed in on most of the salient political and social issues of the day... i shared with him my somewhat peripheral involvement with the occupy movement and my experiences working, traveling and living in many foreign countries, and we ended up mutually reaching for some sort of macro solution to the problems that are dogging our country...

interestingly enough, the solution he has in mind and one that i would be at great pains to disagree with, is convening a constitutional convention... he is a student of howard zinn and agrees with zinn that our system has been seriously flawed from the beginning... while my gut reaction was to immediately want to defend the u.s. constitution as the unimpeachable product of the founders, it didn't take me but a few moments of reflection to follow his reasoning...

here's glenn struggling with the current state of the occupy movement and expressing his profound hope that it doesn't get pulled in to the political/electoral morass...

I disagree with the prevailing wisdom that OWS should begin formulating specific legislative demands and working to elect specific candidates. I have no doubt that many OWS protesters will ultimately vote and even work for certain candidates — and that makes sense — but the U.S. desperately needs a citizen movement devoted to working outside of political and legal institutions and that is designed to be a place of dissent against it. Integrating it into that system is a way of narrowing its appeal and, worse, sapping it of its unique attributes and fear-generating potency. Even if you believe the U.S. has some sort of vibrant democracy — rather than a democracy-immune oligarchy — not all change needs to come exclusively from voting and electoral politics. Citizen movements can change the political culture in ways other than working within that pre-established electoral system; indeed, when that system becomes fundamentally corrupted, working outside of it is the only means of effectuating real change.


I hope OWS, at least for now, remains a movement that refuses to reduce itself into garden-variety electoral politics. What is missing from America is a healthy fear in the hearts and minds of the most powerful political and financial factions of the consequences of their continued pilfering, corporatism, and corrupt crony capitalism, and only this sort of movement — untethered from the pacifying rules of our political and media institutions — can re-impose that healthy fear.

inspiring "a healthy fear in the hearts and minds of the most powerful political and financial factions," as laudable as that goal is at this moment in time, doesn't get us to where we so desperately need to go - a re-imagined, workable, transparent, equitable system that works for all of us... to me, THAT is the desired end state and absolutely nothing else will do... now, how do we get there...?

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