American People's New Economic Charter The American People’s New Economic Charter
Details of the Proposal

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The Charter’s Purpose


One day after the Occupy Wall Street group issued its “Declaration of the Occupation of New York City” on September 29, 2011, we set up a Google document and invited everyone to write down what they thought about the Declaration’s economic grievances, and to suggest actions that could address them, like changes in laws, new business models, and individual actions. (The grievances that are directly or indirectly economic are listed below.)


For 3 1/2 days, scores of anonymous people from all over the US wrote in the document, growing it rapidly from several pages to nearly 50. You could watch it grow before your eyes – with dozens of cursors jumping across the pages, and text emerging seemingly from nowhere. During this period of unrestricted access, all of the Charter’s writers were constructive, and even though the material they added ranged from the serious to the whimsical, from the practical to the utopian, and across other dimensions, together they build a lengthy and complex document.


On Tuesday morning, October 4th, we closed off unrestricted editing access to the document because saboteurs suddenly started defacing and deleting it. By then, dozens of people had joined the Charter Collaborative under their own identities. That group is now 130+ in size, and growing daily.


The American People’s New Economic Charter is an attempt to enlist a large number of ordinary American citizens in charting our economic future, in articulating an economic response to the Occupy Wall Street movement, and in developing broad-based citizen leadership and education on economic matters. As a nation, we are learning through bitter experience that economic policy matters, that it cannot be left to corrupt or ignorant officials in government and the financial sector, and that any realistic solution will involve an array of instruments and strategies applied cautiously and in moderation. There is no simple escape from our nation’s predicament. Less government is not the solution, by itself. Lower taxes are not the solution, by themselves. A larger, more intrusive government is not the solution, either. Neither is abolishing capitalism, the flat tax, “9-9-9″ taxation, or any other cure-all proposal. Together, we need to build an economic future that addresses present problems while strengthening our ability to deal fairly and equitably with emerging challenges, such as climate change, fossil fuel scarcity, global competition, and human migration. To do this, we demand competent, honest, informed leadership. To achieve this, the American people need to be better informed and united in our exercise of democracy. We need to Occupy our Economy. Look what happened when we didn’t.


The 19 Essentially Economic Grievances of the NYCGA’s 9/29/2011 “Declaration of the Occupation of New York City”:


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 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 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, who are responsible for 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 or provide relief in order to protect investments that have already turned a substantial 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 perpetuated colonialism at home and abroad.

They continue to create weapons of mass destruction in order to receive government contracts.




The contents of this document, “The American People’s New Economic Charter” (hereinafter referred to as APNEC) and the statements, positions, arguments, etc. contained herein do not represent the views of any legal entity or registered organization, nor do they represent the views or will of any specific occupation general assembly.


At present, due to the crowd-sourcing nature of the drafting process so far, the contents of the APNEC reflect the direct input of a wide variety and large number of individuals, and can therefore be expected to be contradictory, of uneven editorial quality, ideologically diverse, academically more or less qualified, and of varying degrees of seriousness and commitment. Such characteristics are inherent to the process of crowd-sourcing at this stage.


In the spirit of democracy, inclusiveness, respect for our diversity, and our patriotic duty as Americans to advocate for what we individually believe will serve the common good of our nation, we will continue for a time to welcome input to the APNEC in the crowd-sourcing method described above, and will in a subsequent phase endeavor to collaboratively edit it so that a practical, responsible action plan emerges that fairly and reasonably reflects the hopes and needs of the 99%, responds to the Declaration of the Occupation of New York City, and charts a course for our nation away from its current crises and toward a better future.






Proposals and abstracts



America finds itself at a cross-roads. Do we follow the path that every man, woman, and child was born with, the rights to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness, or are we born and do we die under the privilege of hoarded wealth and ignorance of our unequal share of the burden that our fellow man has endured to bring about that wealth?


The economic crisis brings into sharp relief the economic inequalities that exist in this world. For 99%, it is no longer a safe, productive, and opportunity filled place to live. While concentrated wealth increases its hold on all of our hearts, dreams, and futures, the vast majority stagnate or fall, in comparison to a choice group of people. Countries borrow money and protect an ever-shrinking group of elites, while funneling money from the workers through inflation, creating intolerable conditions. The financial crimes of the 1% go unreported, unprosecuted, and unpunished, until instead, they are enshrined in law and given protection under the guise of free market capitalism. Those who perpetrate these impositions on human dignity and law give themselves opportunity to advance themselves beyond basic human needs or wants.


At birth, we did not have any bonds on our lives except those of family and love, yet somewhere along the way we became the slave of the corporations and governments that, in trust, we asked to be our protectors and our families. Those same corporations and governments that put our loved ones in harms way in the name of protecting our hopes and dreams have simultaneously impressed their version of reality onto our futures with disregard to our lives, our goals, our futures. We are not human trash to be discarded by the side of the road; our goal is their goal - acquisition of a livable fulfilling lifestyle through the pursuit of happiness at the end of a day of and an honest day's work.


In the spirit of rule by the people, of the people, for the people, we believe in a decent quality of life for all citizens from birth to the death end of our days. Therefore we must issue a list of grievances; for the situation is oppressive. Thus w We devise a new economic charter to be enacted by the governments we support. We require corporations must to be upstanding, compassionate, and honorable participants in this way of life. We also must be accountable to each other. We declare our Independence from corruption and selfishness, with the hope of dignity,equality, and respect, mindful of tangible opportunity for all.


The time has come for us to restore our basic human rights to ourselves. Over our 235-year history, we have come to realize that all of our citizens must now, and forever, have fair and equal access to the basic essentials of life and all that the individual requires to flourish in a free society, including the prospect, the real access to real economic opportunity.


Corporations no longer serve the common good in their actions when they enter into politics and policy making. It is a corporation that produces a product or service, it is the people within that organization that comprise a corporation. Without people, a corporation cannot exist. Allowing a corporation to influence politics and social policy is the equivalent of allowing someone to vote twice in an election.


By rewarding increased wealth, centralization and power with increased control of the people's collective decision-making process, we enable a positive and effective feedback loop of incredible force. While power will always seek greater concentration, it is up to the people and their institutions to prevent it from taking control of the people's collective decision-making process. (see OWS: a demand without a divide)


Corruption of our democracy by self-serving politicians, campaign contributors, lobbyists, and biased "media" entities, religious groups and fundamentalists or other factions, all complicit in forwarding narrow political and social agendas, including, but not limited to results in tyranny of the few. This runs counter to the spirit, intent, and philosophy upon which this country, this government, was founded and prevents our realization of our own pursuits of happiness. Factions have a voice; they do not have the voice. A religion has no borders, therefore no country owns a particular religion and/or belief in religion-based laws, traditions, or edicts. We hold in recognition recognize that this country’s principles are based on reason, compassion, and fairness.


With the above in mind, We, the participating 99% of the American people represented on the streets to democratically undertake the task to craft and present this Economic Charter.




This dynamic collaborative document originated in the September 29th “[[ the Occupation of New York City/|Declarationof the Occupation of New York City]]” and has crowd-sourced contributions from 120+ participants. The document includes Declarations which identify problems to be solved, Demands which propose policy directions to address the the problems identified in the Declaration, links to data regarding the issues, and polling data on the issues. As proposed solutions evolve, and as more voices join our cause, new ideas are presented, considered, and fine-tuned, as the means of providing workable, tangible, and salient resolutions to new and evolving economic conditions in the rapidly changing economic environment. This dynamic document allows the necessary flexibility to adapt to these changes.


One of the principal failures of the current American political system is deadlock between two parties, each irrevocably shackled to particular outcomes -- based on the wishes or power attainment agendas of the special interests influencing and financing their campaign, party lines, other personal gain, porkbelly attachments to needed legislation, etc.-- none of which are in the best interests of their collective constituents.


Some declarations are answered with varied, sometimes conflicting, and evolving demands and proposed solutions; others are answered with demands which attract a high degree of consensus and which stand unchanged through multiple editing cycles. A sincere effort has been made to include a representative sample of the varied and conflicting demands and solutions. Those demands with a high degree of consensus have been highlighted in cyan.




To restore this American republic to control by its full electorate; to free its markets for the employment and enjoyment of all citizens; to transfer control of money to its public and to establish responsible banking; to secure homes from seizure; to assure education and medical care for all; to refresh America's soil, water and air for the health of endless generations; and to rebuild its cities toward balance with nature, Occupy America offers the following proposals to our fellow citizens. []


The 1% Deprives People of their Human Rights at Work


True political democracy requires economic democracy. Like political democracy, which can be summed up with “One person one vote,” economic democracy is also “One person one vote.” The current system is more like an economic aristrocracy


We occupy because the global economy only serves the interests of the richest 1%, when we know a different world is possible. We know the kind of economy we have now is not inevitable, it is the product of conscious human choices. We offer the following ideas, which we have developed collectively, to help transform the global economy so that it begins to serve the 99%.


The United States, which holds itself out as the world’s chief proponent of human rights, has instead led the developed nations in establishing a global governance system premised on violations of economic human rights law, both abroad and at home. These abuses are committed with the complicity of international financial institutions to facilitate the pursuit of profit by a tiny handful of transnational corporations. They are rationalized, often in good faith, by the ideology of “neoliberalism.” Neoliberalism is a philosophy premised on a nearly religious belief in the “invisible hand” of the “free” market as a panacea for all economic ills. It is a resurrection of the laissez faire ideology of the Industrial Revolution, which was broadly discredited during and after the Great Depression.


While the collective power of organized working people could compose a strong force for a socially aware global economy that serves the 99%, the ascendance of neoliberalism has profoundly impacted the organization of work and the density and power of unions in the U.S. and many other parts of the world. Capital and labor have both become so mobile that national borders seem as meaningful as the moat around a sand castle in the face of a rising tide. Traditional employment is increasingly replaced by “contingent” work or work in “informal” sectors of the economy.


Human Rights Watch has concluded that “workers’ freedom of association is under sustained attack in the United States, and the government is often failing in its responsibility under international human rights standards to deter such attacks and protect workers’ rights.” The U.S. Supreme Court has specifically interpreted the National Labor Relations Act to prevent intervention by unions in decisions, such as whether to close a manufacturing plant and move it to a location with cheaper labor, which go to the “core of entrepreneurial control.”


And this disability is imposed only where workers already have collective bargaining rights. Unorganized workers have no binding means to collectively address their terms and conditions of work. As is well known, the percentage of workers who are unionized in the United States has declined from a high of 35 percent in the 1950s to less than 12 percent today. In the private sector, less than 7 percent of the workforce is unionized.


The situation is even worse for undocumented workers, who the United States Supreme Court has decided are not entitled to reinstatement or back pay if they are fired in retaliation for collective organizing. While many legal protections are available to all workers without regard to their immigration status, such as minimum wage, wage collection and health and safety laws, too often immigrant workers are unaware of these legal rights, underfunded government agencies lack the power or the will to enforce them and unscrupulous employers take advantage of workers’ fear of deportation to evade them.


Every individual in the world has a legal right, under international law, to food, shelter, education, natural opportunities including land, and to work with dignity. The Core Conventions of the International Labor Organization (ILO) provide broad, universally recognized standards for work with dignity in the context of a rapidly integrating global economy. These Conventions are reflected in the 1988 ILO Declaration on Fundamental Principles and Rights at Work. This historic Declaration establishes four key principles as the cornerstones of workers’ human rights throughout the world:


  • Freedom of association and effective recognition of the right to collective bargaining;
  • the elimination of all forms of forced or compulsory labor;
  • the effective abolition of child labor; and
  • the elimination of discrimination in respect of employment and occupation.


The Core Conventions which enact these four principles have been identified by the ILO’s Governing Body as being fundamental to the rights of human beings at work, irrespective of levels of development of individual member States.”


Although it has ratified only one of the eight Core Conventions, as a member of the ILO, the United States has a legal obligation arising from the very fact of membership in the Organization to respect, to promote and to realize, in good faith and in accordance with the ILO Constitution, the principles concerning the fundamental rights which are the subject of those Conventions.


The fact that every individual in the world has a right to work with dignity provides the legal foundation for a global economy that truly serves the 99%. But in all parts of the world, for most people, these legal rights have no substance. We offer these ideas in hope of changing the global balance of economic power so that the global 99% can have the power to make these rights a reality.


The workplace actions we demand are inspired by ideas that people around the world with deep experience addressing the problems we face have dealt with; for example, we have drawn many of these ideas from the Carta SocioLaboral (Social-Labor Charter) that the Association of Latin American Labor Lawyers produced at its Convention in 2009, and applied them where applicable to the situation in the United States. We will improve these ideas by putting them in practice in collaboration with the millions with whom we share common interests.


Table of contents of the Charter

  • Call, Foreword, Preamble
  • Illegal Foreclosure
  • Bailouts
  • Inequality, Discrimination
  • Food Supply
  • Employee Rights
  • Student Loan Debt
  • Labor Outsourcing
  • Corporations as People
  • Evasion of the Law
  • Privacy as a Commodity
  • Faulty Product Recalls
  • Catastrophic Economic Policy
  • Money in Politics
  • Alternative Energy
  • Generic Medicines
  • Environmental Hazards
  • Control of the Media
  • Colonialism
  • Weapons Contracts



  • Distribution of Wealth
  • Education
  • Misc. Unmined Material
  • Political Process
  • Political Corruption
  • Scale of Financial Sector
  • Monetary Policy
  • Debt
  • Health Insurance
  • Justice
  • Debt-Based Currency
  • Equity
  • Happiness
  • Public Spaces
  • Taxes
  • Land Taxation
  • Monetary Monopolies
  • Comprehensive Annual Financial Reports
  • Wars
  • State Banks
  • Right to Employment



Joined documents