How Occupy Can Survive the 2012 Elections

Occupy Wall Street has been criticized from many angles. Some call it the ‘Left-Wing Tea Party’, while others say without defined goals, objectives, and leaders the movement has no chance of making a difference in politics today.

One take on Occupy Wall Street is that it must operate as a digital startup, quickly pivoting to adjust to their user base, while sustaining their core theme. What is Occupy Wall Street’s core theme? What can Occupy Wall Street pivot towards in order to survive as a political force into the 2012 elections and beyond?

Occupy Wall Street’s core theme is the belief the government must answer to the people. It sounds simple, but the reality is that the government pays much more attention to corporations, unions, special interests, and lobbyists than the people they claim to represent. Money plays a big role in this. The Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission Supreme Court case in 2010 paved the way for corporate and union money to play an even bigger role in the 2012 elections and beyond.

So how can Occupy Wall Street, which has very little money, change the system in such a way that will force government to answer to the people?

Through technology, especially social media, Occupy Wall Street is slowly creating a digital platform in which the people can become active in the political process. Just like a digital startup, Occupy Wall Street is creating a way for the people to have an impact in the political world by giving the people a voice. They have to be careful to make sure they continue to pivot and change to meet the needs of the people behind the movement, but if they play their cards right and pivot when needed, they will become a strong political force and be able to compete not with money, but with ideas.

Since the majority of the Occupy Wall Street movement is comprised of Millennials, who are more adept at using technology in their everyday lives, the movement is using technology in ways that many older generations do not understand. It is starting to have a major impact.

Gerald Celente, publisher of Trends Journal, which forecasts and analyzes business, socioeconomic, and political trends, believes the answer is in Direct Democracy. The core concept behind Direct Democracy is simple, “If we can bank online, we can vote online.” Celente wants to change the system to allow the people to have the final say in what their representatives do in Washington. He proposes to do this by changing the system to allow for online voting for every political decision made in Washington, truly making the system work for the people, by the people.

However, I do think Celente takes his idea one step too far by wanting to change our form of government from a democratic republic, but he hits the nail on the head when he says “If we can bank online, we can vote online.”

If Occupy Wall Street took this idea and ran with it, it could change the political system we have today and give the people more of a say.

In our current system, a voter has two choices. They can either apply for an absentee ballot, which allows remote voting via a mail ballot, or they can vote at an assigned polling office. Voting at the polls takes place in the middle of a workweek on a Tuesday. That means the typical person who works from 9 a.m.-6 p.m. has to rush to the polling office after work to cast their vote while fighting lines and weather. Now imagine adding an online voting option to the system.

Instead of rushing to the polling place after work, you could login to your local ballot just like you login to a bank account. You could do this with your iPhone while on your lunch break or you could casually do it once you get home from work. No rush, no line, no weather to contend with. Enabling such a system would bring our elections to the 21st Century and increase voter turnout, giving the people a louder voice.

This is the exact sort of idea that Occupy Wall Street could employ and make a difference in the political environment while keeping with their core theme, which is that the government must answer to the people. Now that they have been evicted from Zuccotti Park, Occupy Wall Street must pivot to a new focus if they want to survive into the 2012 elections.

Pivoting to a movement for online voting in elections could be the focus that keeps Occupy on the political map and forces change in Washington, giving the people a louder voice and forcing the government to answer to the people.

What do you think? Should Occupy Wall Street pivot to focus on an online voting movement for elections?

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Ashlynn Arias

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