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Preoccupied with nothing

Occupy Orlando needs to adopt goals, or else it will self-destruct

Photo: Richard Buchanan, License: N/A

Richard Buchanan

This inward focus may be the result of an ideology that actually discourages the adoption of shared goals – that is, until some way, somehow, they are arrived upon “organically” from all of the movement’s participants acting in consensus. Otherwise, the model’s proponents argue, the person who forces his or her idea upon the group will inevitably wield power over other people. To combat this tendency toward hierarchy, decisions at Occupy Orlando are made only with a 90-percent majority vote of those present at their general assemblies – and I am told that more enduring social good can come from these long, thoughtful deliberations. But what point is there in deliberating if the matter at hand is pointless? Does the proposal for lighting a park with solar panels (Nov. 5) really make a difference if a group cannot give a compelling reason for why it must occupy the park in the first place?

It’s little surprise that without direction, Occupy Orlando has become a labor pool for more established left-wing causes with direction. On Oct. 25, for example, 15 members of Occupy Orlando were present at the labor negotiations between LYNX and Amalgamated Transit Union Local 1596. The occupiers were not present because LYNX CEO John Lewis is considered part of the 1 percent, but rather, because supporting the union was an existing campaign of the group Jobs With Justice.

Occupy Orlando recognizes a serious problem – that people with lots of money can, and do, subvert the democratic process to further their aims. With that in mind, the group should propose specific reforms to the policies (or perhaps the lack of policies) that enable the wealthy to buy political office. In striving toward this goal, the group would find excellent guidance on the website of the Florida Initiative for Electoral Reform (floridaelectoral reform.org). There, spelled out in plain detail, are steps that can be taken locally that can at least begin to wrest undue power out of the hands of moneyed interests. We are a nation of laws – why not work to change them?

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