My one demand

by Jinger Dixon, global trends analyst and contributor at Trends Research Reloaded

I was recently asked what I thought the “one demand” should be for the OWS protest. That’s a tough question. I’ve seen many lists of the things people are suggesting. Most seem well intended. However, no one demand alone even begins to scratch the surface of what‘s wrong here. In fact, in a way, it points out how far we really are, from seeing where we really are. To sum it all up in one demand seemed impossible, so I decided to try. After much thought, I constructed the following analogy to describe my take on this whole One Demand issue.

Take a map and draw a circle, then say, everyone outside the circle is to have their labor and resources exploited for the benefit of those inside the circle. If you live outside the circle you say, “this system is completely fucked up.” If you live inside the circle you say, “this is capitalism and it’s the best system on earth you should try it it’s awesome. Sure, people outside are suffering, but who gives a fuck about them?” Now as the circle shrinks, as it is designed to do, concentrating accumulated wealth, people begin finding themselves suddenly outside of the circle. They jump up and down and cry foul, but the ones still in the circle say, “tough shit, you were too slow, shoulda run faster to stay inside the circle“. But then, they soon realize that they too are too slow to keep up with the rapidly shrinking circle, and quickly they find themselves left out, so they cry foul. “The system is broken!!!” they decry! But is it? Isn’t this the way the system has always functioned? Why is it now broken just because they, we, no longer reside within the bounds of its benefits? We stand outside the ever shrinking circle, yelling fixes, throwing band-aids, making demands that the ever shrinking circle expand! at least big enough to include us so that we can go back to not giving a fuck about the people outside, but alas, it will not. The circle does not expand, it does not know how. It only knows how to contract, concentrate, condense, like a dark star collapsing in on itself. There is no “demand” that will drag the borders of the circle back around us. And even if you could, would you? Would you go back to fucking the rest of the world to have your cable TV and your steel belted radials? I hope not. I hope the world is ready to say no more. No more. Therefore, since it is my sincere belief that the circle is/was and always will be fucked up, I say, surround them and demand that they collapse in on themselves and disappear into their own black hole.

That is my One Demand.

Comments 90

  • I like the circle idea. Very good analysis.

    OWS will not make just one demand. Apparently, they will use this next year to arrive at a list of demands. Here seems to be OWS is headed in all this (From Business Insider):

    Discussions on how to proceed will begin tomorrow at a massive General Assembly at 7 PM. Here’s how they describe what they’re about to do:

    ….the election of delegates and holding of a national general assembly or convention on July 4, 2012 must be organized. No calls for violence. No calls for the violent overthrow of the government.

    …Once organized and the delegates have been elected by direct ballot in all 435 districts. They must demand that our elected leaders take action. If they do not take action within one year of the demand, we will demand their mass resignations and that new elections be held so we can take back our democracy from the corporations and those who BUY power and influence with MONEY. Yes this includes unions and lobbyists.

    The Citizens United case must be reversed…

    More concrete, long-term measures can also be found on their website in a document called The Steps to Non-Violent Revolution and the Convening of a National General Assembly. There are ten of them, and the most amazing thing about them, is that they outline a democratic plan to decide on a platform of reforms supported by occupations across the entire country leading right up to the 2012 election.

    Perhaps Occupy Wall Street only thought of doing this now, but I sincerely doubt it.

    Basically, if this is carried out, Occupy Wall Street could shift the course of American politics at its highest levels.

    Here are the steps:

    1. The Occupy Wall Street movement, through the local general assembly, should elect an executive committee comprised of 11 people or some other odd number of people that is manageable for meetings. Ideally this committee should represent each city in the U.S. that is being occupied.

    2. The executive committee will then attend to local issues such as obtaining permits, paying for public sanitation and dealing with the media. More important, the executive committee shall plan and organize the election of the 870 delegates to a National General Assembly between now and July 4, 2012.

    3. As stated in the 99% declaration, each of the 435 congressional districts will form an election committee to prepare ballots and invite citizens in those districts to run as delegates to a National General Assembly in Philadelphia beginning on July 4, 2012 and convening until October 2012.

    4. Each of the 435 congressional districts will elect one man and one woman to attend the National General Assembly. The vote will be by direct democratic ballot regardless of voter registration status as long as the voter has reached the age of 18 and is a US citizen. This is not a sexist provision. Women are dramatically under-represented in politics even though they comprise more than 50% of the U.S. population.

    5. The executive committee will act as a central point to solve problems, raise money to pay for the expenses of the election of the National General Assembly and make sure all 870 delegates are elected prior to the meeting on July 4th.

    6. The executive committee would also arrange a venue in Philadelphia to accommodate the delegates attending the National General Assembly where the declaration of values, petition of grievances and platform would be proposed, debated, voted on and approved. The delegates would also elect a chair from their own ranks to run the meetings of the congress and break any tie votes. We will also need the expertise of a gifted parliamentarian to keep the meetings moving smoothly and efficiently.

    7. The final declaration, platform and petition of grievances, after being voted upon by the 870 delegates to the National General Assembly would be formally presented by the 870 delegates to all three branches of government and all candidates running for federal public office in November 2012. Thus, the delegates would meet from July 4, 2012 to sometime in early to late October 2012.

    8. The delegates to the National General Assembly would then vote on a time period, presently suggested as one year, to give the newly elected government in November an opportunity to redress the petition of grievances. This is our right as a People under the First Amendment.

    9. If the government fails to redress the petition of grievances and drastically change the path this country is on, the delegates will demand the resignation and recall of all members of congress, the president and even the Supreme Court and call for new elections by, of and for the PEOPLE with 99 days of the resignation demand.

    10. There will NEVER be any call for violence by the delegates even if the government refuses to redress the grievances and new elections are called for by the delegates. Nor will any delegate agree to take any money, job promise, or gifts from corporations, unions or any other private source. Any money donated or raised by the executive committee may only be used for publicizing the vote, the National General Assembly, and for travel expenses and accommodation at the National General Assembly ONLY. All books and records will be published openly online so that everyone may see how much money is raised and how the money is spent each month. There will be no money allowed to “purchase” delegate votes as we have in the current government. No corporate “sponsorship”.

    Read more:

  • The “circle” is the domain of claims to values in the primary  (natural resources) and secondary (usable items) economies. Despoilation of the primary economy occurs through consumption at rates vastly in excess of regeneration, and the situation is worsened by the linear flow from resources to items of use to unrecycled (and unrecyclable) wastes that accumulate to pollute the environment with all its consequences, including climate change  This is in contrast to natural flows, which follow cycles, the wastes from one phase being the resources of the next. 

    The situation faces an imminent exacerbation  from contraction of energy streams consequent to fossil-fuel depletion: energy is a key factor in the conversion of resources into usable items. The resulting forced and sudden transition from profligacy to frugality in the management and use of resources will of necessity be disruptive. But adjusting to that transition will need more than the dissolution of that circle of exclusive claims. Those claims are based on possession of symbols (green pictures of dead presidents, magnetized particles on hard disks, etc.) that have no intrinsic value (except perhaps as kindling or toilet paper). 

    The expectation is that by dissolution of the circle of privilege, we all will be somehow be transported back to the  time (or to the state that once obtained) of restored abundance, allowing for continuation  of the profligacy. 

    This is not likely to happen. A more productive way would be to re-learn the ways of our ancestors, adept at shepherding resources, acknowledging one’s identity with Nature in recycling resource streams, being on Nature’s team when Nature Bats. 

  • Dear Kathy C,

    My response to your question follows.

    1. Immediate, universal, free, easily accessible and humane contraception is required;

    2. Open access to family and health planning education is made available to everyone;

    3. The time for the economic and social empowerment of women is now.

    4. As a means of accelerating the present downward movement in birth rates (TRFs) in some countries, a VOLUNTARY policy of one child per family would be initiated worldwide.

    5. The many human beings who are suffering the unhealthy effects of obesity will share their over-abundant resources with many too many people who are hungry and starving.

    6. Every effort to conserve energy and scarce material resources will be implemented with all deliberate speed.

    7. Substanitial economic incentives are necessary for the development of energy resources as alternatives to fossil fuels.

    8. Overhaul national tax systems so that conspicuous per human over- consumption of limited resources is meaningfully put at a disadvantage.

    9. Humanity needs a new economic system, one that is subordinated to democratic principles and more adequately meets the basic needs of a majority of humanity who could choose to live better lives with lesser amounts of energy and natural resources.

    10. Overall, what is to be accomplished is a fair, more equitable and evolutionarily sustainable distribution of the world’s tangible (e.g., food) and intangible (e.g., education) resources, as soon as possible.

    What do you think?



  • Steve/Kathy

    Wouldn’t it be quicker to have a nice quick nuclear exchange?… :-)

  • The missive above was posted in the wrong the thread. It belongs on the thread just prior to this one. Thanks.

  • Steve I only one problem with your list of things to do and that is that in no way will your plan accomplish what needs to be accomplished. You live in ideals and ignore numbers. To reduce the population even 200 million deaths with NO births will not get us where we need to be. I would say at the very least we should be at 3 billion yesterday.

  • The problem with the circle idea is that the middle class in America thinks that they are exploited by the rich, the lower class in American thinks thinks they are exploited by the middle class and the rich. The poor in South America think they are exploited by all of America, and the children on the trash heaps of the world think they are exploited by everyone. If they had their one demand it would be that everyone but themselves go into the black hole. Its a problem of perspective.

    The OWS protest folks have NO idea… I’m glad for them, but they have NO idea what lives half of the humans on this planet live.

    It is difficult to be sat on all day, every day, by some other creature, without forming an opinion about them.

    On the other hand, it is perfectly possible to sit all day, every day, on top of another creature and not have the slightest thought about them whatsoever.

    Douglas Adams
    Dirk Gently’s Holistic Detective Agency

  • Way too honest and direct to be a political “leader”, Kathy C!

  • Dear Kathy,

    What I find so frustrating is how much we have known about the human overpopulation problem during my lifetime and how little has actually been done to even acknowledge it. There were less than 3 billion people on the planet when I was born. The denial of science by professional researchers with appropriate expertise in population matters in a few generations over the course of my life cycle is outrageous. Even in 2011 a deafening silence prevails over science.

    I do not think it is realistic to plan on the leap you are proposing, given where we are now as well as what has NOT happened to even acknowledge the problem in the past three-score and ten years. I doubt so giant a leap can be made. Why not try a more measured approach, such as I suggest, with the hope of people seeing whatsoever is necessary as we go forward?



  • Steve, we could try a measured approach, I suppose we should, but the planet cannot support 7 billion, 6 billion, perhaps even 3 billion when fossil fuel derived or mined fertilizers are removed and thus the measured approach will save a few unborn from being born and dying. That I think is a good thing and I applaud any plans to keep more people from being born – not because it will save the planet from catastrophe but because it will prevent a few people from having to die in the catastrophe that is coming.

    Sell your programs to me as a way to reduce the dieoff by a few and I applaud your proposals. Sell them as a solution, a prevention of the coming dieoff and I say hogwash.

  • Ed

    It’s going to look that way in many cities over the globe before this is over, I fear.

  • Josh and I have been following the “Occupy” protests going on – there are now several scheduled for here in Arkansas, remarkably. He and I both agree that whatever their demands or hopes, ultimately none of it really matters. It’s similar to the “Arab Spring”. Those folks have protested themselves out of the frying pan into the fire. There is no solution for an overshot population on a finite world other than drastic reduction of the number of people. Problem is, nobody wants to be part of THAT solution – me included.

    If anything comes out of these protests I suspect that it will be a continuing escalation of the situation until the U.S. goes from being a covert police state to one in name as well.

  • So Dr. House,
    Are you suggesting they go home so that a police state won’t come about?

    You understand, of course, that the police state is coming anyway? So why not have a little fun first?… :-)

  • You understand, of course, that the police state is coming anyway? So why not have a little fun first?…

    Good point. And then there are some, like yourself, who might prefer to direct their energies to more fruitful directions.

  • And then there are some, like yourself, who might prefer to direct their energies to more fruitful directions.

    Dear me….why break old habits?

  • Another perspective on the topic, from George Mobus’ blog, Question Everything:
    Occupy Home Street

  • What a brilliant analogy, so typical of the insightful way you have with teaching. This is truly becoming a transformative teaching moment, as even many of my right-of-center friends are recognizing how screwed up the system is.

  • Victor, I’m not suggesting they go home at all. In fact I’m hoping the movement keeps right on growing and things get crazy! Frankly I’m tired of this merry-go-round we call the industrial economy.

    Since my last post we went out to eat downtown. We passed by a group of “Occupy Jonesboro” protestors. I think this was their first day. We stopped and got out and hung out with them for a little bit. All together there were about 15 people. Then we ran out to the mall to pick up something. There must have been thousands there. There were more people in the line at the bookstore coffee shop than there were at the occupy protest.

    Things here have to get a whole lot worse before people take to the streets. Like the essay above states, there are too many people still inside the circle for very many here to care much.

  • BTW, I’m aware of the dichotomy expressed/displayed in my previous post, re: ending the industrial economy while tooling about town on a Saturday evening. I don’t have an answer nor explanation – but I just didn’t want anyone to think I wasn’t aware of it :-)

  • “5. The many human beings who are suffering the unhealthy effects of obesity will share their over-abundant resources with many too many people who are hungry and starving.”

    I got news for you: the fat people are starving too. Just because we get an abundance of calories does NOT mean we are properly nourished. One word I wish people would stop using is “overnourished.” There’s no such thing. Either you are nourished or you are not. If you’re fat, by definition you are not nourished, or else your endocrine system would be functioning correctly (assuming no damage from injury or infection or pollution). Obesity is a problem of chronic insulin overdose; insulin is secreted by an endocrine gland.

    There are fat people in developing countries too. They’re the ones living off the U.S.’s grain and bean surpluses. And it’s worth noting that the fattest people in the U.S. are also the poorest ones, more often than not. None of this particularly screams “more than enough” to me.

    Read Lierre Keith’s The Vegetarian Myth if you have any questions. It’s a good start.

  • Dana
    “Obesity is a problem of chronic insulin overdose;”

    That certainly rang a bell here. To treat epileptic seizures, started Ketogenic diet 4 months ago. Blood sugar the first two days fell to worrying levels, two days later popped up to 70/80 and remained there ever since, whenever measured. The spikes “we” usually have in bloodsugar and therefore Insulin levels are far higher. Maybe for that reason, the person on diet never feels hungry, eating just became a necessary habit.
    Bloodtests a month ago showed the best results ever. Diet went out “of order” somehow over the past month (autumn fruits and one occasion of bread), since a couple of days diet strictly back and even ratio turned up to 3:1. Improvement since June – seizures only out of sleep – injury risks gone, no medication (except vitamins), faster recovery, hoping for 3:1 now.

  • Dana

    A site that makes a lot of sense to me:

  • Dana, the reason so many people now have endocrine problems and insulin imbalance is overeating and bad diets. However when I was in Haiti I never saw a fat person who didn’t have jewelry or good clothes. In Haiti the lack of food has gotten so bad that sometimes to fill the stomach they eat cakes made of clay a bit of oil and salt. NO ONE gets fat on that diet.
    So yes I agree that some poor people get fat on poor nutrition with excess cheap calories, but many poorer people the world over are getting excruciatingly thin and even starving to death on poor nutrition and not enough calories. Per WHO 6 million children die every year from starvation.

  • Bernhard, thanks for the update on how the diet is going for your wife. Just to have the seizures confined to sleep where the danger of falling is not there is a big improvement I know. I hope that over time the improvement extends to the whole day….

  • Dr. House we all have dichotomies. :)

  • When We the Consumers STRIKE the balance of power will shift into our hands. Good to stock up first so as not to hurt retail too much. Use the pre-christmas weeks to buy nothing or As Little As Possible for about a month. Then review to see the results on the existing systems.

  • On a population basis, when the limiting factor in population growth is availability of food, traits that conserve calories are selected for. Where other factors such as tropical disease play a large role, the selection is not quite so pronounced. While one may see obese southeast Asians in the uS, the general impression one gets is not of obesity. 

  • Walking Away from Empire

    madeline schreiber

    I just received Guy’s book–highly recommended !! In it Guy specifically talks about Christmas.Not to put words in his mouth
    so just go to page 28 and read the truth about this stupid and
    insipid holiday.

    No one is perfect–Christmas carols are mushy,maudlin,feel-good paps.
    But I’m a sentimental slob and like them.A few years ago I criticized
    Our Guy for complaining about his relatives playing Chritmas Carols at
    the Holidays.Must have put myself in their shoes.

    So– Bah Humbug.

    Double D

  • Weak World GDP Growth & “Peak Oil”
    Posted By Dr Robert Hirsch • on October 10, 2011
    As we previously forecast, the decline in world oil production is likely to occur in the next 1-4 years, a year having passed since we forecast 2-5 years. Some believe that weak worldwide economic conditions will significantly extend the onset of decline. We believe that the delay will be essentially negligible
    Full article at

  • OWS and Consumer Strikes etc all feel good but don’t matter. Maybe they would have mattered some years back. But hey then the middle class was riding high and didn’t care about those who weren’t. Now its hitting them and they are hitting back. Fun to watch, but meanwhile the planet is overheating, the oil is running out and these days will look like the good days….

  • Re Christmas – think of the kids in tent cities that once lived in houses. What will their Christmas be like – the memory of Christmas past will haunt them. What of the kids who have never gotten much if anything while seeing classmates with lots of loot.

    Myself, as a kid Christmas always ended in tears – my mother was exhausted from wrapping perfect packages etc and we were never ever grateful enough to suit her.

    Christmas with my own kids I think went fairly well (I haven’t heard otherwise from them) although I often tired myself with shopping and Christmas cards and baking. But oh the joy now to not celebrate at all. No agonizing over what to get this or that one, no cards to send, no special baking. I get such joy watching others work themselves into a frenzy while I give myself the gift of just another calm day:)

  • I liked the circle analogy.

    Then I thought about it a bit more.

    Am I still in the circle? I assume I am.

    How do I know when I’m not? How do any of us really know until its too late?

    How about if we want to leave the circle, but circumstances (like marriage, the need to eat, and so on) won’t let me leave the circle?


    Seems like I go just go in circles myself the more I learn, but I suppose life is a bit like perpetual triage – you prepare, get a few laughs in, and when stuff happens you’ll find out if you’re up to the dirty work.

    to Robin Datta (2nd comment) – best summary of a complex situation I’ve come across – actually printed it out. thx

  • The first post by victor should be viewed from a different perspective. The occupy movement has not adopted that model at all as far as I can tell. It is not posted on their website only on the article posted. My guess is that there are a ton of liberal organizations trying to frame-bridge, frame-extend and/or co-opt the OWS movement. OWS is a leaderless movement that is forcing the issues right now and while some demands are being made from various groups, the fact of the matter is that group consensus takes time and effort. The OWS blueprint is simply trying to get communities active again. I would much rather live in a community of people who are cooperating and trying to move forward in a crisis vs a group of competitive individuals…even if they “have no clue” as Kathy seems to think, which I do not.

  • The chickens might demand that the foxes stop running the chicken house by methinks that will not happen till the chickens enlist a few eagles.

  • Andy if the “got” it they would be trying to find a going community that needed a few more strong backs to grow food. If the “got” it they would instead be attending rallies and attempt to get Bill McKibben to change the name to See my post above about the date the decline of oil is expected to start (October 16th, 2011 at 10:33 am). Think about the implications that will have for society, a relentless decline in the lifeblood of industrial civilization. See this post by Guy If you think they “get” it you don’t get it. Life as we knew it is about to end no matter how many protests we have.

  • to Robin Datta (2nd comment) – best summary of a complex situation I’ve come across – actually printed it out. thx

    It is an old refrain to the rest of the NBL choir.

    OWS is a leaderless movement that is forcing the issues right

    The issues of power & privilege are at the focus of the “OWS” movement. Those are the deck chairs on the Titanic, which has hit the iceberg of limits.

    The chickens might demand that the foxes stop running the chicken house by methinks that will not happen till the chickens enlist a few eagles.

    Most perceptive. The reason the chickens are roiled is not the foxes, but the paucity of chicken feed. Getting rid of the foxes will result in barely perceptible and very transient improvement of the situation: it will not address the systemic forces that compel change.

    Andy if the “got” it they would be trying to find a going community that needed a few more strong backs to grow food.

    Quite right! A community of squatters ain’t gonna cut the mustard.

  • Andy
    You are correct. I should have done my homework. The link to this document was posted on the OWS Forum. It links to a site called ‘The 99PercentDeclaration’, which claims to be a site created by an OWS working group composed of pro bono lawyers and others. The link to this site was posted on the OWS site in the OWS Forum section which appears to be an area that most anyone can post most anything. When you go to the in turn appears to have been created by an organisation apparently in sympathy with OWS called Lobby Democracy about which I know nothing – and don’t care to…. ;-)

    So was the document really an OWS working group document approved by the National Assembly? I do not know, but it seems, as you say, there is nothing on the OWS site to suggest that it was.

    Good catch.

  • We believe that the delay will be essentially negligible


    This is a good point to be made, and it is backed up by the 2008 crash where oil production dropped as people cut back on consumption in all areas, including oil usage. Oil dropped in price, but what people did not notice was that the percentage drop in production was well less than 5%. This shows conclusively in my mind that we are so tied to oil that just to carry on in a recession we must still consume some 95%+ of our normal production.

    This is also an indicator that has enormous implications when we finally enter the cliff event in the next few years. This event will have immediate and severe effects throughout the world.

  • This event will have immediate and severe effects throughout the world.
    We’re effed!

  • When my sister and I were young we liked to play monopoly. We didn’t like the game to end early and so we invented “Big Daddy”. This imaginary identity would loan us money any time we wanted. I don’t remember that we kept track or ever paid back. The point for us was to keep the game going. I think we must have had some foreknowledge.

    It would seem the whole world has been playing the game in a similar way – see
    43,454,601,693,238 Reasons Why The World Is Broke – Presenting The Interactive
    Global Debt Clock\

    The point seems to be the same – KEEP THE GAME GOING. Unfortunately while kids can fold up the board and forget the game, folding up the world is a whole different proposition.

  • Kathy,
    Look, I know Guy and I am familiar with his work and one of the key foundations to his post industrial thought is community. Community is not stochastic, it takes time. These people are camping and living together. They are actively feeding, caring for and cleaning up after each other. From my perspective that is the start of community but using a rapid mobilization tactic. If a fast crash scenario were to hit, these people would be more apt for rapid change then they were the week before. Have you been to an occupy encampment or a general assembly? Have you thought about the anarchistic underpinnings of their model? There are occupy movements that are very close to growing food imo. Sustainability is integral to their model. There are many people including Chris Hedges who feel this type of movement is the last chance to get anything ready at all. I for one applaud the people with the courage to think outside the box and act on it with conviction in the times we live in.

  • I for one applaud the people with the courage to think outside the box and act on it with conviction in the times we live in.~/i>

    Rightly said. A substantial number of them believe that disruption and disintegration of the circle of power and privilege is the solution to our problems. They are right, within the domain of another box, the paradigm of abundant, cheap resources forever, Amen.  But very few if any  have the insight of thinking outside the “eternally cheap and abundant resources” box, although that is where our  predicament lies. 

    It is a game of musical chairs, only in this case it is conventional (industrial economy) resources that get scarcer with time. The point is taken (and fully supported!) that the remaining resources should be distributed in a more rational manner than on the basis of power and privilege. But it also needs to be acknowledged that even with their most equitable didtribution, the progressive drawdown of resources will mandate parsimony rather than profligacy. 

  • @Robin Datta: But it also needs to be acknowledged that even with their most equitable didtribution, the progressive drawdown of resources will mandate parsimony rather than profligacy.

    I agree completely. The best way to bring down the corporate power structure/international banking cartel is to stop using it. I think Guy and multiple others on this site have been advocating something similar for quite a while. To bring about an end to the industrial economy’s influence in our lives, we have to kill the beast. There is only one way for consumers to do that: stop consuming.

    The OWS protests are doing exactly the opposite. In fact, I suspect the corporate fat cats are laughing their way all the way to the bank while they watch these protests with people using their camcorders, their laptops, their cell phones, their “Guy Fawkes” masks, etc.

    Even those of us here on NBL, while we are working to change the way we live, are also still supporting the industrial economy by posting on this website, owning computers, and having internet access.

    There is no easy solution, but I say again, the only way to bring the power structure down is to stop using it. Of course, even if we don’t, the system is on its way down anyway.

  • @ Andy: There are occupy movements that are very close to growing food imo. Sustainability is integral to their model.

    I haven’t seen anything to support your statement. There is nothing similar between camping in an urban park with fast food restaurants and grocery stores on every corner and growing your own food. It’s one thing to have an organic garden on your balcony or backyard, but quite another to grow all the food you eat with no calories coming in from outside. There is a reason why our ancestors didn’t have a problem with obesity: growing your own food is hard work and isn’t guaranteed to work.

    Perhaps you’re referring to their mindset, and I guess a weak case could be made for that. But as I’ve learned over the last few years, all the good intentions in the world don’t grow a garden sufficiently to feed a person. It requires planning, seeds, adequate land, hard work, patience, water, livable temperatures, faith, and a damn good bit of luck. Those things don’t come about overnight.

    If the OWS protesters figure this out and begin to occupy large corporate farms, at that point, I might say we have a chance.

  • Andy, I have worked in Haiti at Mother Theresa’s Children’s home. I have held starving babies. Community won’t restore the waters of the depleted aquifers, the fertility of the depleted soils. The planet cannot feed all the people on it when the oil gives out and the climate changes. Die off is inevitable. I am glad for the excitement of community, the excitement of standing up to the powers that be, but frankly if I wanted help on our place I would take a peasant farmer from Mexico any day over one of these protesters. It takes hard work, knowledge, an affinity with nature and an understanding of growing things to feed oneself. The peasants of this world are far far more oppressed than anyone on OWS and yet they feed their own families by the work of their own hands.

  • Andy, my husband was part of the anti-war protests in the Vietnam era. He tells of the excitement of it, the community feelings, he even gets a bit choked up if I find a youtube clip of Pete Seeger singing songs of protest or recently watching a film about Phil Ochs. When the bulk of the anti-war protestors got what they really wanted, the end to the draft, few like my husband carried on with protesting against the government for various other injustices, while most, now freed from fear of death in South East Asia, dropped out of the movement and back into the mainstream attending only to their own interests. Now he just wants to raise chickens and I just want to grow my garden. We are enjoying the protests but if TPTB could make it all well, then the protesters would rejoin the mainstream and forget that mainstream US feeds off of the resources and poverty of the rest of the world.

    I haven’t yet seen a protest sign that says “IMF out of South America”, “leave Bolivia alone”, “stop the embargo on Cuba”, “Bill Clinton out of Haiti”, “stop dumping wastes of the shores of Somalia”
    “restore the democratically elected President of Honduras”

    No the main impetus behind the OWS protests is self interest. Nice to see people wake up to their own self interest. But the poor of Haiti would like them to wake up to the fact that the first world is rich off of the backs of the countries they have impoverished.

  • Kathy C. :

    i would like to copy your comment from 7:43 a.m. above and drop it on another site i visit a lot and which is closely following this OWS movement. i totally agree with your statement and i hope, along with becoming total stewards to the environment of our planet, they all totally “get it” and push for justice, equality and a livable planet – no exceptions. With 7 billion people on the planet, we’re running out of time to “do it right” and in fact the bottleneck is underway as we speak – if Texas, all the spring flooding in the midwest and the damaging tornadoes this year are any indication it better start becoming LOCAL for everyone. Food and water are becoming scarce.

    When i hear back from you i’ll come by and copy your comment. If i don’t hear back, i’ll deliver the Cliff Notes version to your Shakespeare.

    Feel free to make any demands you’d like and i’ll tell you or link to the site i’d like to place it if you wish.

    All the best:

  • Tom, feel free to copy the comment you refer to or any comment I make. I would enjoy knowing where you post it just to see what comments it evokes. I feel complimented, but more importantly I would like to see people wake up, really wake up, however late in the game it is.

    I was remembering today the protests against the School of the Americas in Columbus GA at Fort Benning. This school (recently renamed) trained countless recruits from South American on how to go back to their country and torture,oppress and kill their own citizens. Why, so our companies could have free reign in making profits, and also so the middle class of America could have cheap fruit etc.

    Per wiki “School of the Americas Watch is an advocacy organization founded by Maryknoll Father Roy Bourgeois and a small group of supporters in 1990 to protest the training of mainly Latin American military officers, by the United States Department of Defense, at the School of the Americas (SOA). Most notably, SOA Watch conducts a vigil each November at the site of the academy, located on the grounds of Fort Benning, a US Army military base near Columbus, Georgia, in protest over human rights abuses committed by some graduates of the academy or under their leadership, including murders, rapes and torture and contraventions of the Geneva Accord.[1] ”

    In 20 years they have gone from a small group to 20,000 protesters. My husband used to go and his ex wife still goes. I hear reports of fantastic community feelings among those who make the annual pilgrimage – not to make their lives better, but to prevent others in the world from suffering on our account. Pass the word to all the Occupy Wall Street folks, there’s is not the only cause in need of a protest.

    BTW the locals have come to look forward to the protests – not because they agree with the protesters – but rather because it swells the local economy :) Nothing like self interest to change attitudes.

    Me, I volunteered in homeless shelters for years. I felt a lot of good vibes there – would have been nice to have someone stand up for them protesting their homelessness, but they were usually lower class or the refuse from Vietnam and not people anyone worried much about.

  • I would take a peasant farmer from Mexico any day over one of these protesters.

    An indication of an advanced spiritual state, not referring to the previously-avowed liquors.

    When the bulk of the anti-war protestors got what they really wanted, the end to the draft . . . . now freed from fear of death in South East Asia, dropped out of the movement and back into the mainstream attending only to their own interests. 

    An eloquent case for a perpetual draft!

  • Victor, I am relieved that the document is not from the OWSers. It stinks of bureaucratitis. It’s amazing that some people still think you can fix the world by delegations, meetings and paperwork. Heh.

  • larouchepac dot com —- can save you time.

  • Attaching oneself to these causes is good – good for the individual, good for society. If you are going down anyway, why not do so fighting? For which cause? Pick one. It doesn’t really matter.

    But will they succeed? In no way. Humanity is faced with a world of population overshoot (the emphasis here on overshoot – not undershoot), depleting resources as a result, a globalised, highly interdependent economy based upon infinite growth, and a waste system that is polluting the environment, causing global warming (and thus, abrupt climate change), acidification of the seas, destruction of habitats, deforestation, extreme droughts, extreme flooding, and a host of other natural ills from which we will not recover.

    In ‘overshoot’ nothing can be done to fix the problem except to de-populate. But de-population would not only cause the death of billions, but would also destroy the hugely complex technological infrastructure upon which modern civilisation is founded and send any survivors back to the Stone Age (and perhaps beyond).

    But if something is not done (nuclear/biological wars), the population problem will result in a depletion of natural resources that will not be replaced or can not be replaced quickly enough, at which time the edifice falls anyway.

    And if the natural resources are not depleted quickly enough, then global warming and the human waste system will result in the likely destruction of most life on earth.

    Pick your poison. There are no cures. There are no quick fixes. There are no long-term solutions that will ease our way out of the quagmire we find ourselves in. You can’t avoid it. You can ignore it. You can’t kick the can down the road forever. There are no exits and no back doors you can slink out of. In an overshoot situation the only out is ….well….there is no out – all exits have been removed.

  • It’s amazing that some people still think you can fix the world by delegations, meetings and paperwork.


    So true. But I would go further – you can’t fix the world at all. Some say if Collapse happened quickly and soon, then perhaps the survivors could make it. This might well be true, but I am no longer convinced of that – see previous discussions on the state of climate change – positive feedbacks likely already triggered, taking the solution out of our hands.

  • larouchepac dot com —- can save you time.

    Art Judd,

    Could you be a bit more specific please? Is there a particular link on that site that you are referring to, or must we explore the whole thing?… :-)

  • Just to be clear on this OWS thingy. Standing up to TPTB has a certain wildly attractive scent about it. Takes me back to the Vietnam War protests. So from that perspective I can certainly sympathise and encourage.

    But one must consider at some point – what happens in the extremely remote likelihood that these folks are successful all across the US as well as the world? The common theme seems to be “The banks got bailed out. We got sold out.” So the desired result these folks seem to be asking for is perhaps a more egalitarian world where wealth is shared more equally among the classes. Again, an attractive ideal.

    But what happens if they succeed? We are then faced with a world where consumption rises even more as more people have more wealth to expend on goods manufactured all over the world. More consumption means more food, more natural resources consumed, more damaging technology and more human waste. I have already addressed the implications of this!

  • I have been supporting a small group in New Plymouth since Sunday. Not surprisingly the local ‘newspaper’ chose to downplay the number of people involved and portray them as ‘no-hopers’. Today’s editorial was truly awful. No surprises there.

    In practice they are some of the most aware young people (mostly around 20 years old) I have come across; needless to say, they are now a lot more aware after a series of discussions with me.

    This morning a council officer attempted to apply a heavy hand: I think I have successfully deflected that ‘attack’, since at a meeting today the council officer could not actually identify any regulation the group had (or might) breach in their ‘occupation of the Huatoki Plaza.

    I have been trying to get the group to present themselves as an awareness group, raising awareness of crucial issues that affect everyone, as opposed to protesting.

    No one is sure how long they will keep up the ‘occupation’. At the moment they say ‘as long as it takes’. But the practicality of an extended vigil is another matter.

    Nevertheless, this acticvism is unprecendented and is a sign that things are finally starting to change.

    To my knowledge there are six active occupation groups in NZ at the moment.

  • Victor I once did a back of the envelope calculation on an egalitarian world. Came out to be about $8 a day per person or about $3000 a year. Some time later I saw some official figures that indicated that would be about right. What a big step up for the 3 billion that live on $2 a day or less. What a big step down for most of the protesters. What a giant step down for Wall Street Bankers – but of course that is now when we are on the oil plateau.

    But for all my bitching I am glad to see some folks begin to stand up and say “no more” to the fat cats. But more than that I am glad because it is a sign civilization is coming down and THAT is the one chance to save the planet from more than the usual 100 or species that go extinct every day and perhaps prevent homo sapiens from being one of those species.

  • Kathy C.:

    Your comment will appear at the site, since they (and i) have been going on and on for years about what to do about the corporate take-over of our government. We’ve slowly come to the conclusion that the only thing that would work is mass protest and – voila, here it is! i’ve since given up on politics as a solution to anything but encourage the OWS movement wholeheartedly. However, as you point out, there’s so much injustice in the world (almost all of it due to the gross imbalance in “sharing the Earth’s bounty”) that this protest could easily be about many issues: from climate change to resource depletion (including water and topsoil), wealth distribution, political ineffectiveness, etc.

    Here’s the link:

  • If you are going down anyway, why not do so fighting? For which cause?

    I’d say, lunch.

    In ‘overshoot’ nothing can be done to fix the problem except to de-populate.

    Pick your poison. There are no cures.

    But I would go further – you can’t fix the world at all.

    How about the title of Victor Cassandros – Victor C for short?

  • It seems like most of the people here need to read a few books on capitalism. Then, you will realize that we are not living in a true capitalistic society.

    The government has created their own form of capitalism, where they take our money and decide which corporations are to win, and which are to fail. The government is responsible for the class warfare being fought right now.

    The problem with the OWS protesters is that they don’t realize this. Most of them don’t even know what capitalism truly is, and are pretty ignorant of what our government has done to destroy the middle class and lower class. There was a guy on TV last night, from, who, when asked about Solyndra, declined to comment because he was not familiar with that “case study.” If that is true, then that is sad and the protesters really need to figure out what they are doing.

    The protests need to be redirected to Washington DC. They are the culprits. We need to get the money out of our politicians pockets. The government is happy right now because all of this attention to Wall Street has taken the focus off of their blatant acts of financial terrorism.

  • Juan Bond, with all due respect, I don’t need a book about capitalism, nor do I suspect do any of the other contributors here need such a book. In fact, I think there has been plenty reading – what so many people need is to put down their books and instead walk into the natural world. They need to scoop up some dirt and get their hands dirty. They need to hold a worm and smell the earth after a rain. They need to reconnect with the land from which we all spring and on which we all rely. Perhaps then they will understand what is wrong with our “capitalistic” society.

  • Mike

    Robert Jensen often writes for alternative news media. He is usually quite well-spoken, and a confirmed progressive politically. This article seems borrowed from NBL….though he gives the site no direct credit.

  • Juan Bond, the problem is not capitalism or any other form of government, the problem is civilizations. They grow, they peak, they crash, they fall. If book reading is what you want read Tainter’s Collapse of Complex Societies and then you will understand why protests cannot prevent the events that are unfolding. They are but a symptom of the end of another in a long string of collapsed civilizations. But better yet, forget books, forget government, forget business, do as Dr. House said and get in touch with soil, the lifeblood of the planet.

    Yes Dr House, compost rich wet soil full of worms, that is life, for us mammals at any rate.

  • There will be no justice and fairness for Americans while that country still marches on with illegal, immoral, war-profiteering, privitized no-bid contract hyper-inflated, soul-wrecking, Constitution-wriecking, America-wrecking wars. They sure aren’t a bunch of 60’s-loving hippies because if they were I wouldn’t be thinking I have to write this. The sad truth of it is that Americans have the country they deserve.

  • One way of explaining why protests won’t make any difference is that we as a civilization have both borrowed from the past (fossil fuels, fossil waters, ancient trees, etc.) and stolen from the future as we began to run out of the loot from the past – as the ERoEI of fuels has gone down we have compensated by failing to maintain our infrastructure and by reducing redundancy that provides protection (both in trained workers, spare parts etc.). The huge 250 ton transformers that are essential to our electric grid take 1 to 3 years to replace, we don’t keep spares, and we don’t make them in the US (and they are vulnerable to geomagnetic storms as well as EMP attacks). Essential but no spares? Our bridges are increasingly fragile. I read that some pipes and wiring that run beneath NYC are perhaps 100 years old. We can fix all this because we have used up the cheap energy that built this civilization – we used it to create garbage dumps eh?

  • Kathy.

    The ‘protests’ (I am trying to get well away from that word and encouarge the use of the word ‘awareness’) won’t make much difference to the final result but they could make a considerable difference to the degree of suffering over the coming years. The faster mainstream culture collapses the better off we will all be.

  • One “demand”?!

    End nation states! Remove all of these out-of-date monopoles and all these warmongers, suppressors, slave owners, psychopaths, torturers, egomaniacs lose exactly that what they depend on. Without these monopoles they will have to behave like you and me.

    So, no demands necessary! Ostracize nation states, ostracize these people that mistreat you. Just stop your support and interacting with them, and convince others to do the same. Do it yourself!

  • Kevin, good point. Not one that most of the protesters would get or would sign on to though. I am not sure many of them are out to collapse mainstream culture. Rather they seem to want a bigger piece of the pie of mainstream culture.

  • Kathy C, interesting to see your “back of the envelope calculation on an egalitarian world. Came out to be about $8 a day per person”. My wife and I have been living quite comfortably on slightly less than that for a few years now. I would say there’s no reason for that level of “wealth” to be a hardship at all.

    The key is to be healthy, debt free and inwardly rich (happy, loving).

    Actually, I would like to get to a much simpler and more frugal way of living as time goes on.

  • Juan Bond
    The protests need to be redirected to Washington DC.

    The “Washington DC” should include state legislatures, county, city and other local government seats. But it would still overlook the real issues of resource depletion / contraction,

    The REAL Dr. House
    In fact, I think there has been plenty reading – what so many people need is to put down their books and instead walk into the natural world.

    Kathy C
    If book reading is what you want read Tainter’s Collapse of Complex Societies and then you will understand why protests cannot prevent the events that are unfolding.

    The wisdom of two sages!

    The sad truth of it is that Americans have the country they deserve.

    Amen to that! And the solution:

    End nation states!

    Kathy C
    I am not sure many of them are out to collapse mainstream culture. Rather they seem to want a bigger piece of the pie of mainstream culture.

    Hit the nail on the head!

  • Trixin said:
    “ostracize these people that mistreat you. Just stop your support and interacting with them, and convince others to do the same. Do it yourself!”

    Awesome well put.

  • “ostracize these people that mistreat you. Just stop your support and interacting with them, and convince others to do the same. Do it yourself!”

    Not practical, I’m afraid.

  • FED and BOA vs the FDIC and taxpayers
    I have to keep reminding myself that this type thing brings down the system and therefore it is good in order not to get raving mad.

  • Kathy C:

    I know the feeling. The waiting is difficult. Just be patient and stay calm. It is getting closer. The EU is hanging on with broken fingernails. Our turn will come. Just stay focused on the last of the ninth.

  • “ostracize these people that mistreat you. Just stop your support and interacting with them, and convince others to do the same. Do it yourself!”

    Not practical, I’m afraid.

    Victor, you gotta start at the personal level, then let it grow. Eminently practical.

  • I’ve seen several videos of protestors being arrested and/or run out of banks as they were trying to close out their accounts. Pretty remarkable. So just for fun I set up a website for people to document their bank actions. I thought it might be interesting to see how many people are putting action with their words and cutting their support to the big banks. We’ll see, I guess. Feel free to watch the progress (or lack of it) with me.

  • OT- FREE from Howard Hughes Medical Institute

    2011 Holiday Lectures
    Bones, Stones and Genes:
    The Origin of Modern Humans

    Lecture 1: Human Evolution and the Nature of Science by Tim D. White, Ph.D.

    Lecture 2: Genetics of Human Origins and Adaptation by Sarah A. Tishkoff, Ph.D.

    Lecture 3: Stone Tools and the Evolution of Human Behavior by John J. Shea, Ph.D.

    Lecture 4: Hominid Paleobiology by Tim D. White,, Ph.D.

    Evolution: Fossils, Genes, and Mousetraps by Kenneth R. Miller, Ph.D.

    (also many past lectures on other topics – “genes and gender,” “brain chemistry, science of fat, etc, etc

  • Tamnaa, yes I think $8 a day is doable, but certain things make it more difficult here I think than where you are. For instance there is no local store I can walk to, the nearest store is 12 miles. Nor is there any public transport from here to there. So doing without a car becomes more difficult. Still several of us neighbors could have just one car to make that trip to town once a week for all. Interestingly enough my husband’s grandmother once ran a local store just down the street from us. The building still stands but is rotting away because it came to be in the hands of a Realtor who paid too much for it and won’t sell it cheap (yet). Its even on the web at
    Basically American infrastructure is designed to make you have more stuff and spend more money…

  • New TEPCO Photographs Substantiate Significant Damage to Fukushima Unit 3
    6 minute vid by Arnie Gundersen

  • Thailand flooding could affect PC supplies, prices
    SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — The personal computer industry, already reeling from depressed demand, has been dealt another setback: Massive flooding in Thailand has curtailed production of a critical component — computer storage drives.

    Factories producing a third of the country’s hard drives have temporarily closed as flooding has gradually spread since August. Prices have spiked, and Apple warned that its Mac products will likely be affected.

    Computer manufacturers, the companies that supply hard drives and the makers of components for those drives are all bracing for troubles. What’s not yet clear is what extent PC production lines will be affected and whether PC makers will absorb costs or pass them along to consumers.
    full story at

  • GM crops promote superweeds, food insecurity and pesticides, say NGOs

    Report finds genetically modified crops fail to increase yields let alone solve hunger, soil erosion and chemical-use issues

    The article states:
    Genetic engineering has failed to increase the yield of any food crop but has vastly increased the use of chemicals and the growth of “superweeds”, according to a report by 20 Indian, south-east Asian, African and Latin American food and conservation groups representing millions of people.

    And further:
    Most worrisome, say the authors of the Global Citizens’ Report on the State of GMOs, is the greatly increased use of synthetic chemicals, used to control pests despite biotech companies’ justification that GM-engineered crops would reduce insecticide use.

    In China, where insect-resistant Bt cotton is widely planted, populations of pests that previously posed only minor problems have increased 12-fold since 1997. A 2008 study in the International Journal of Biotechnology found that any benefits of planting Bt cotton have been eroded by the increasing use of pesticides needed to combat them.

    And still further:
    The report, which draws on empirical research and companies’ own statements, also says weeds are now developing resistance to the GM firms’ herbicides and pesticides that are designed to be used with their crops, and that this has led to growing infestations of “superweeds”, especially in the US.

    Ten common weeds have now developed resistance in at least 22 US states, with about 6m hectares (15m acres) of soya, cotton and corn now affected.

    Consequently, farmers are being forced to use more herbicides to combat the resistant weeds, says the report. GM companies are paying farmers to use other, stronger, chemicals, they say. “The genetic engineering miracle is quite clearly faltering in farmers’ fields,” add the authors.

    The companies have succeeded in marketing their crops to more than 15 million farmers, largely by heavy lobbying of governments, buying up local seed companies, and withdrawing conventional seeds from the market, the report claims. Monsanto, Dupont and Syngenta, the world’s three largest GM companies, now control nearly 70% of global seed sales. This allows them to “own” and sell GM seeds through patents and intellectual property rights and to charge farmers extra, claims the report.

    The study accuses Monsanto of gaining control of over 95% of the Indian cotton seed market and of massively pushing up prices. High levels of indebtedness among farmers is thought to be behind many of the 250,000 deaths by suicide of Indian farmers over the past 15 years.

  • How can we fail to see something so huge, evident and visible? The human-driven global predicament is in front of all of us. Perhaps we have been fooled by fools.

    For human beings to count human population numbers is simple, really simple. The population dynamics of human beings with feet of clay are obvious and fully comprehensible. We have allowed ourselves to be dazzled by the BS of demographers just the way human beings have been deceived and victimized by the economists on Wall Street. Demographers and economists are not scientists. ‘The brightest and the best’ have sold their souls to greedmongers, duped the rest of us, made it difficult to see what is real, proclaimed what is known to be knowable as unknowable, engaged in the their own brands of alchemy. In their dishonest and duplicitous efforts to please the self-proclaimed masters of the universe, also known as the keepers of the ‘golden calf’ (a symbol now easily visible as the “raging bull” on Wall Street), they perpetrate frauds at everyone else’s expense, threaten the children’s future, put life as we know it at risk, and are consciously, deliberately, actively precipitating the destruction of Earth as a fit place for human habitation. Never in the course of human events have so few taken so much from so many and left so little for others.

    There are many too many overly educated “wise guys” among us who see the blessed world we inhabit through the lens of their own hubris and selfishness, and see themselves somehow as Homo sapiens sapiens and masters of the universe, as corporate kings and emperor’s with clothes. They supposedly are the brightest and best, the smartest guys in the room, like the guy who used to run the global political economy without recognizing that there was an “ideological flaw” in his economic theories and models, the same guy who reported he could not name 5 guys smarter than himself. These are the guys who have sold their souls, denied science, abjectly failed humanity, forsaken life as we know it, the Earth and God. These ideologues rule the world now and can best be characterized by their malignant narcissism, pathological arrogance, risky addictions, extreme foolishness and wanton greed.

  • The problem is not ordinary people with good intentions who happen to be stupid; the problem is ‘the brightest and best’ people with evil intentions playing stupid.

  • I loved “My One Demand” I posted it on my facebook for all my like minded friends. I also want to recant my opinion of Carter.Are there any decent politions out there???? It was great to have you in Marquette, and couch serfing with us (Brooke’s mom).Best Wishes!