Declaration from Occupy NYC


I’ve been watching the Occupy Events grow across the country and waiting to find out what it’s all about. As with so many left-leaning political efforts, there’s an air of everything-but-the-kitchen-sink to the issues raised. When I attended the protests against invading Iraq, I saw “Free Mumia”, “Keep Abortion Legal”, “End the Death Penalty”, and other activists out there piggy-backing on the message of the march.

When Occupy Wall Street began, I wondered if the same approach would occur. As of now, it’s uncertain. The movement is new, and as more people come to it, the purpose and message will adapt to meet their agendas. At some point, it’ll either boil down to something actionable (a la “Taxed Enough Already”) or it’ll peter out. Regardless of the outcome, the fact that lots of people are spontaneously coming together under interesting methods of self-governance to address local, national, and international issues is newsworthy.

In the interest of furthering the conversation about Occupy, I’m posting the “Declaration of the Occupation of New York City“. Click below the fold to read.

Declaration of the ?Occupation of New York City

Posted on Sept 30, 2011 by NYCGA #OccupyWall Street New York City General Assembly

As we gather together in solidarity to express a feeling of mass injustice, we must not lose sight of what brought us together. We write so that all people who feel wronged by the corporate forces of the world can know that we are your allies.

As one people, united, we acknowledge the reality:

that the future of the human race requires the cooperation of its members;

that our system must protect our rights, and upon corruption of that system, it is up to the individuals to protect their own rights, and those of their neighbors;

that a democratic government derives its just power from the people, but corporations do not seek consent to extract wealth from the people and the Earth;

and that no true democracy is attainable when the process is determined by economic power.

We come to you at a time when corporations, which place profit over people, self-interest over justice, and oppression over equality, run our governments.

We have peaceably assembled here, as is our right, to let these facts be known:
• They have taken our houses through an illegal foreclosure process, despite not having the original mortgage.
• They have taken bailouts from taxpayers with impunity, and continue to give Executives exorbitant bonuses.
• They have perpetuated inequality and discrimination in the workplace based on age, the color of one’s skin,
sex, gender identity and sexual orientation.
• They have poisoned the food supply through negligence, and undermined the farming system through monopolization.
• They have profited off of the torture, confinement, and cruel treatment of countless nonhuman animals, and actively hide these practices.
They have continuously sought to strip employees of the right to negotiate for better pay and safer working conditions.
• They have held students hostage with tens of thousands of dollars of debt on education, which is itself a human right.
• They have consistently outsourced labor and used that outsourcing as leverage to cut workers’ healthcare and pay.
• They have influenced the courts to achieve the same rights as people, with none of the culpability or responsibility.
• They have spent millions of dollars on legal teams that look for ways to get them out of contracts in regards to health insurance.
• They have sold our privacy as a commodity.
• They have used the military and police force to prevent freedom of the press. 
• They have deliberately declined to recall faulty products endangering lives in pursuit of profit.
• They determine economic policy, despite the catastrophic failures their policies have produced and continue to produce.
• They have donated large sums of money to politicians supposed to be regulating them. 
They continue to block alternate forms of energy to keep us dependent on oil.
• They continue to block generic forms of medicine that could save people’s lives in order to
protect investments that have already turned a substantive profit.
• They have purposely covered up oil spills, accidents, faulty bookkeeping, and inactive ingredients in pursuit of profit.
• They purposefully keep people misinformed and fearful through their control of the media.
• They have accepted private contracts to murder prisoners even when presented with serious doubts about their guilt.
• They have perpetuated colonialism at home and abroad. 
They have participated in the torture and murder of innocent civilians overseas.
• They continue to create weapons of mass destruction in order to receive government contracts.

To the people of the world,

We, the New York City General Assembly occupying Wall Street in Liberty Square, urge you to assert your power. Exercise your right to peaceably assemble;

occupy public space;

create a process to address the problems we face, and generate solutions accessible to everyone.

To all communities that take action and form groups in the spirit of direct democracy, we offer support, documentation, and all of the resources at our disposal.

Join us and make your voices heard!

*These grievances are not all-inclusive.


  1. Tim Peck says:

    The Cause of the Crisis [video]

  2. Bishop Andrew Gentry says:

    I fully support the “Wall Street Movement” as it is increasing designated. It has been ignored by the mainstream press until recently and vilified by the right wing propaganda machine and now it is finally beginning to have the trappings of recognition. These people like many here are completely disgusted with government and the politics thereto whether that is the national, international or local government. We the people simply have been ignored.
    The City of Asheville recently had the opportunity to create a mechanism by which the various communities that make Asheville, Asheville, could and would have their concerns and voices heard but as you well know Gordon instead the City Council chose to endorse the facade of
    “commitment” made by a Community Relations Council that has been non functioning for almost over a year now, had two executive directors, has a continued IRS tax liability, and has no way of guaranteeing to the citizens of these communities that their suddenly new found commitments will be implemented! This was certainly not what you had indicated to me was the outcome that you and Brownie were looking for.
    Like the frustration of the people who occupy Wall Street the people of Asheville are seeing a continually selective non responsive city council which seems only to eager to accommodate “developers” at everyone’s expense while issues of social justice are ground up in the so called political process!
    It is a sad state of affairs when some of your fellow city council members refused to even show the courtesy of a response to repeated emails on matters of social justice and issues of advocacy until it was made known that media folke were being sent copies of these emails and the lack of response from Council members.
    This may seem like a small matter to you but it betokens the refusal of government to hear and act on the part of the people who it purportedly represents. Why the City Council took the easy way out is open to discussion but it ,like the state and Federal government, is being served notice by the Manifesto above and the movement it reflects that if we have anything to do with the exercise of governing business as usual will be a thing of the past.

  3. Tim, are you even remotely capable of synthesizing information and presenting it to people or are you just so incredibly incapable that you must continue to spam discussion boards with nothing more than empty slogans and links?

  4. ivanrich says:

    “So far, this is more a movement for dreamers than for middle-class Americans trying to make ends meet.” – the closing line from the Mother Jones piece, which in a way is saying “Yeah, we’ve seen it before and we’ll stand on the sidelines until we think we approve of who is involved, what it can do for me, or my situation becomes so bad I have less to lose.” Certainly a fair option for all of us, even if a pretty self-interested one. That Mother Jones article from Sept. 27, however, is already woefully out of date (things move fast these days) – the NY movement is growing daily, attracting the support of labor unions, students and sprawling out across the country, even to places like right here in Asheville. Sounds more and more like a “Tahrir Square” moment in the making. Time will tell, but thank god for Dreamers, huh?
    The main criticism I hear in the mainstream and liberal reviews of these events is that old jewel, “They’re not FOCUSED.” (“They”, not “we” as if any of us here are in that 1%). All the voices playing armchair quarterback know that having one (or a few) clear demands helps a movement crystallize in structure and impact quickly. To my mind, though, there actually IS one clear demand in all the myriad voices of this movement, and it is a plea for ECONOMIC JUSTICE — a pipe dream perhaps, but economic justice throughout the American system with regard to the legal structure, wealth accumulation, job creation, government’s role, the way we address social ills and provide for the common good, and on and on…. the very basic principles of fair participation in a true democratic process. Yes, it is a huge, many-faceted windmill to select as a foe, but the over-arching focus of this movement seems to stand out pretty clearly – even if it yet has a “Top Ten List of Demands” to write.
    Perhaps this will all falter and splinter – or perhaps it will blaze away toward some significant change. Either way, history’s respect will be for the dreamers and risk-takers, not those who choose to protect their little slice of the pie. For every one of us who is not out there on the front line… we’re the pie patrol, guarding crumbs.

  5. Gordon Smith says:

    Thanks, Ivan. I’m hoping the focus ends up being economic justice, and I think it’ll take as long as it takes to crystallize. As someone who’s in the trenches fighting for affordable housing, alternative transportation, sustainability, and equal rights, I’d be more than happy to have a broad social movement transform the playing field.

  6. ivanrich says:

    Cool! We’re all out here in the trenches – 99% of us at least. I’m hopeful events will, in time, merit the support of skeptics.

  7. TJ says:

    “So far, this is more a movement for dreamers than for middle-class Americans trying to make ends meet”

    Ha! I guess Lennon(John, that is) was right… I’m not the only one.

    Perhaps, when one becomes too “comfortable,” it becomes harder to be a dreamer. Too man demands dictating the use of time and energy. I’m glad there are other dreamers out there…

    And for the religious folks : “When there is no vision, the people perish.”

  8. TJ says:


    You’re starting to remind me of a parrot. I guess you don’t care if everyone can access your link. Try owning your own words and making it your own.

    I usually am suspicious of anything that starts off with “THE” – as if any singular thing can be blamed for the “reason” for anything.

  9. Blind Faithiness says:

    We are in DC preparing for the “Stop the Machine” rally which starts at noon. There will be a livestream and thousands are expected to attend.

    Also, NYPD beats peaceful protesters again last night. Check the videos. Time to see how DC metro handles our peaceful protest.

  10. Bishop Andrew Gentry says:

    Yea the local trenches are so full of people storming the ramparts of indifference that it is uplifting to see how the latest culinary treats and designer beers are freely dropped as the troops swarm over the top! I mean how inspiring to see rent control, living wage, environmental protections, labor union friendly industries, and health care for all on the forefront of council member’s agendas! It is touching to see the business suits filling the ranks of protests here and elsewhere but especially here in progressive Asheville! The openness and ease of availability of city government will readily take your breath away. It really makes one wonder Why would anyone need to be in the trenches in the first place when we have so much energy devoted to receptive and forward looking causes in city hall!

  11. I’m guessing you wrote that at home then?

  12. TJ says:

    Went to see what’s up last night(Occupy Asheville, that is). It is still morphing, and it’s interesting. It was orderly and my daughter had the opportunity to see other kids being listened to in an adult venue. It is interesting seeing how this evolves. I don’t know if this will fizzle out, but at least people are trying to do SOMETHING, rather than apatheticaly complaining that nothing will ever change. I am really glad there are still “dreamers” around. I guess I’ll die an idealist.

  13. Josh B says:

    “What do they want?” is the wrong question to be asking. Very few are catching onto the fact that the lack of a specific list of demands is because this is not the same old lefty protest march. What we’re seeing is folks being an example of how human communities should and will work in the future. This is a demonstration to the people of this country and the world that we do have the choice to simply not participate in the governmental and commercial infrastructures that we’ve suffered under for so long. We can help each other out as communities, and leave the media and the government and the chamber of commerce types wondering what happened after they’ve become irrelevant and powerless relics of the past. We’re waking up from this prolonged bad dream and realizing choices we’ve had all along but were either ignorant of or too afraid to make. This is a movement for anyone, regardless of politics, with no set agenda except to live a better life and help others do the same.

    I sincerely hope that what comes out of this movement are strong community-based structures capable of helping those who need it without relying on government or business interests. We did the same thing to the British 235 years ago when they refused to stop exploiting our labor and resources. We created our own councils, our own governments, and figured out ways to manage our own economy. This is what I see occurring in the occupation movements, and it has the potential to be the most powerful force for change we have ever seen in our country. Establishment types beware, you have made yourselves vestigial organs of a dying machine by ignoring the plight of the less-fortunate, or resorting to ineffective means to alleviate their troubles.

  14. Gordon Smith says:


    Thanks for chiming in. It’s my understanding that the “meaning” or purpose of Occupy is being decided by General Assemblies at each location. If 90% of the people at any GA agree, then that’s the purpose of that Occupation. Do I have this right? Your individual goals are clearly stated in your comment, but if the movement truly hopes to include the 99%, then that will mean including people who are of very different perspectives. What will happen if 90% of any given GA decide that all we need is to make sure that the people who caused the financial collapse receive consequences for those actions? Does that mean you will/won’t participate?

    It all seems very fluid. I remain curious to see what will happen and whether it will truly be inclusive.

  15. Unaffiliated Voter says:

    Duh, YOU were deemed a corporation by the GOVERNMENT the moment your Social Insecurity NUMBER was forcibly issued at the hospital within 24 hours of your BIRTH ! ! ! Freedom would be NOT having one…but
    shhh, dont tell that to the ‘occupiers’ or democrats, they might
    go all postal on ya…