Net Net: Promoting innovation and managing change
Net Net: Promoting innovation and managing change

Why Occupy Wall Street Doesn’t Have A List of Demands

OWS Protester
Getty Images | Spencer Platt

It’s a question that everyone asks me about Occupy Wall Street.

“What do they really want?” 

Unlike many protest movements, Occupy Wall Street has refused — so far — to issue a manifesto or a list of demands. This leads many outsiders to wonder whether or not there really is a point to Occupy Wall Street at all.

In some ways the desire by outsiders to see a list of demands is related to another question: “How long will this go on?” A list of concrete demands would provide a starting place for ending Occupy Wall Street. It would be the beginning of a negotiation to end the occupation.

One of the young women who appeared on's Speaker’s Corner livestream today explained why she thinks Occupy Wall Street should never even begin this process of wrapping up.

“I don’t think we should issue a list of demands at all. That’s not what this is about,” said Katherine Hewlitt of Portland, Maine.

So what is it about?

“It’s about creating a new kind of community, of showing people a new way of relating to one another,” she said.

She explained that since she started attending Occupy Maine before coming down to New York City, her way of dealing with others has changed. She’s down here to learn from the original Occupy Wall Street what procedures are working, what’s enabled this protest-turned-campsite village to operate for nearly four weeks.

But if this is about creating a new community, what does that say about the second question? How long will this go on?

“We’re never going away,” she said, smiling.

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