With the Wikileaks-style disclosure of emails from the Occupy Wall Street movement’s private listserv, observers and critics of the movement got their first look at the movement’s early internal history — including a previously unseen draft manifesto.
The collection of emails emerged Monday morning, apparently collected and placed in the public domain by a movement insider.
The manifesto, written by Micah White of the Canadian Adbusters Media Foundation, betrayed the beginnings of a more ambitious social agenda than one merely concerned with banking and Wall Street regulation.
Included among its first demands was the forgiveness of all student loan debt. But even among the 18- to 25-year-old set that populates much of the “Occupy” movement, not everyone could agree.
In a followup email, an activist named Gail Zawacki wrote that while “student loans are outrageous,” a culture clash inside the movement would ultimately preclude homeless protesters from identifying with college graduates.
“I’m not sure,” she wrote, that “university students unhappy with tuition will look anything other than elitist to squatters in tents.”
Read the early Occupy Wall Street manifesto:
A MESSAGE TO AMERICA FROM THE PEOPLE’S ASSEMBLY IN ZUCOTTI PARK
Dear fellow Americans,
We are assembled in Zucotti Park — which we’ve renamed Liberty Plaza — in the financial district of New York, because we believe that the American economy is heading in the wrong direction and we have a few ideas for what to do about it.
There is a feeling shared by a growing number of people on the streets of the world that the global economy has become a kind of Ponzi scheme, a global casino, run by and for the benefit of the 1 percent.
We believe that it is possible to inject justice into the global economy. We have come up with the following list of things that can be done right now to rejuvenate democracy and economic justice in our country:
• Halt foreclosures for the unemployed, sick and elderly
• Increase funding to public services by taxing the richest 1 percent
• Forgive all student loan debt
• Reinstate the Glass-Steagall Act in order to control speculation
• Work with the other G20 nations to implement a 1% “Robin Hood” tax on all financial transactions and currency trades
• Ban high-frequency ‘flash’ trading and bring sanity to the markets
• Break up the “too big to fail” banks that threaten our future
• Arrest the financial fraudsters responsible for the 2008 meltdown and bring them to justice
• Ordain a Presidential Commission tasked with ending the influence corporate money has on our elected representatives in Washington
If you agree with any of these demands, then join us! We will stay here in our encampment in Liberty Plaza until President Obama responds to each of these demands. This is just the beginning, there is more to come as we work together to reshape America.
— The People’s Assembly of New York City
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