Does the Occupy Movement need a manifesto?

19th October 2011

But "as long as it takes" to do what?   While it is hard to find someone or some organisation prepared to mount a full-hearted and full-throated defence of the financial status quo – to tell the demonstrators to pack up, go home and apply for internships at Goldman Sachs instead – the most frequent attack from the financial establishment centres on the lack of a list of demands. There is no set agenda for change.

Mindful Money has argued that this is both normal at this stage of an attempt to change an embedded culture that has grown over the decades – and a lack of demands set in stone is desirable.

Pushing the typical and timeworn anti-capitalist agenda to one side is a strength, not a weakness. It allows for new thinking to come forward, ideas that cannot form in the hidebound confines of current thinking, whether for or against the financial system.

Ultimately, a fresh philosophy could emerge – or it could be that nothing happens at all and the prevailing orthodoxy remains supreme. In either case – or anything in-between – ideas will come forward, which may turn out to be good or bad (or anything between).

Mindful Money will be at the centre of the debate. Using the resources of our bloggers and the comments of our readers, we shall create the Mindful Money Manifesto.  We shall also link to other sites and other thoughts.

All this will collate ideas on why the financial system needs to change and eventually what it should look like and how it will get there. But it is also open to those who wish to defend the status quo, those who wish to be anti-change.

One prevailing concept is that society and the financial instruments at its disposal have grown too complicated for our present governmental system.

In the same way that the Athenian democratic ideal of each citizen taking part in decision making in a market place meeting outgrew itself and eventually transformed into representational democracy, it could be that our present system has been overtaken by a technology which enables financial and other decisions that were the province of science fiction a decade or so ago.

The US constitution still largely reflects that country's the rural background of the Founding Fathers while the parliamentary system at the heart of the UK's unwritten constitution would be easily recognisable to someone from the eighteenth century, despite universal franchise and the replacement of hereditary Lords by appointed peers.

Here's some strands and some links to set the debate rolling:

Occupy Wall Street is a good place for both an overview and day to day happenings in the New York financial district.  It sets out some of the reasoning for the protests which started a month ago.

The Guardian suggests that the mainstream opposition has failed to "catch the authentic outrage".

The Portland Daily Sun draws parallels, as Mindful Money has done, with France in May-June  1968.

A Reuters article on "who is behind the protests" assumes that protesters are organised.

The Los Angeles Times wrote in late September on the goals of the protest movement. How accurate was this?

Will the movement hurt liberals? Could it make the financial situation worse?

The Christian Science Monitor looks at the "media-ability" of the protests, asking how televisual is a protest with little movement to attract rolling news.

Rebuilding the American dream has some orthodox views on areas to improve.

The comments from celebrity website XOJane are fascinating – a constituency that many others, with a more financial agenda, fail to capture. This is crossover into a world normally more comfortable with cosmetics and cinema.

There are more, many more. Mindful Money will be adding to the list. But readers can also make their suggestions.

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