Vision Statement

Occupy Wellington Vision Statement

Please note that this is intended to be a working draft or a “living document”. Anyone can contribute to shaping this document and our shared vision – you just need to Get Involved!

Who are we?
We are you, we are the people of the world: all ethnicities, backgrounds, genders, generations, sexualities, dis/abilities and faiths. We stand together in solidarity with pro-democracy movements around the world: the Arab Spring, the Spanish Indignados, popular uprisings in Greece and Iceland, and most recently the global Occupy movement in over 2,500 cities.

Why are we speaking out?
Each of us can identify different problems with the current system, but we are unified in our desire for a move towards social, political and economic systems that benefit all.

Globally, we face increasingly widespread environmental destruction, economic exploitation and disregard for human rights. The institutions perpetrating these abuses against our people and our planet are bigger and more powerful than any government.

How does this apply to New Zealand?
While we recognise that the situation in New Zealand is not identical to that in other countries, we are subject to, and contribute to, many of the same global problems.

  • We are internationally recognised as the third most unequal society in the OECD, with an ever-widening gap between rich and poor. This year foreign-owned banks posted billion dollar profits and 151 individuals increased their wealth by $7 billion, while 200,000 children live in poverty.
  • In the past 3 years, an unprecedented number of bills have passed under urgency, eliminating the opportunity for public debate while rushing through damaging changes in education, taxation, policing, copyright, and employment relations, to name a few.
  • Deaf to the global call for climate action and blind to ongoing environmental catastrophes, our government seeks to open up our fossil fuel reserves to commercial speculation, mine our National Parks and drill for deep-sea oil.
  • The cost of education continues to increase, while cuts in funding and resources further compromise its quality.
  • Wages are not consistent with the increasing cost of living, meaning more people find it harder to make ends meet.
  • This year five homes a day have been foreclosed because the owners can’t keep up with mortgage payments. The possibility of owning a home is getting further out of reach.

We are speaking out now in the hope of prompting positive change before things deteriorate further.

What is causing these problems?
The local and global problems currently facing us are the result of hierarchical economic and political institutions with the wrong priorities: the pursuit of power and profit is currently placed above the needs of people.

How do we find solutions?
We cannot expect the solutions to these problems to come from within the institutions that created them. Solutions must come from the people, united. A change is required, locally and globally, which can only be achieved with the collaboration, cooperation and creativity of all the world’s people.

We need real democracy
Real democracy is not attainable when the political process is influenced by economic power and institutional self-interest.

Decision-making processes involving more voices will generate solutions that benefit all of us.

Right now, the principles of consensus-based decision making, in which all people have an equal say, are being adopted in thousands of cities around the world. This process can be applied on local, national and global scales.

A question of priorities
We believe that society should prioritise universal values of peace, justice, equality, freedom, solidarity, collaboration, sustainability, companionship, respect, and wellbeing.

These rights should be fundamental: health, nutritious food, safe water, housing, education, self-determination, culture, political participation, freedom of movement and peaceful association.

Our vision
Our vision is a genuinely sustainable system based on human values and the principles of real democracy, in which all planetary resources are treated as the common heritage of all the earth’s inhabitants.

In New Zealand, we are fortunate enough to possess the resources needed to realise this transition. We feel it would be irresponsible not to.

The time is now. Have your say. Shape your future.

28 thoughts on “Vision Statement

  1. […] HomeABOUTGet InvolvedKaupapaLocationOfficial StatementSafer Spaces AgreementVisionCalendarCommentsCONTACTDONATEGENERAL ASSEMBLIESminutesDay 2 – OccupationDay 3 […]

  2. mmmm says:

    The problem with proposing idealistic human systems is that human nature is not ideal.
    A successful economic model must be capable of allowing the whole range of human motivations, abilities, strengths and weaknesses, to contribute or not contribute to the whole – and yet for the majority of individuals within that system still to feel that their particular values are being largely satisfied.
    Capitalism is a very flawed system that has succeeded in encompassing the wide range of very flawed human natures to produce a society whose average wealth and satisfaction far exceeds any other system that has ever existed.
    I appreciate the sincere idealism of the Occupy movement, but if you genuinely wish to produce change in the current system, you do need to propose a detailed viable alternative system that the majority of ‘the people’ can accept as a credible and potentially more successful option than the status quo…..rhetoric alone is not enough.

    • baxter73 says:

      Simple… Resource Based Economy – (See You Tube Zeitgeist Moving Forward)

      • mmmm says:

        Seen that, and while it sounds ideal in theory, it has the flaw I point out above. It does not allow for Human nature. There will still be people, and lots of them, who are more interested in their own situation than the social good, and they will work to manipulate the system in their own favour. All systems that fail to accommodate the range of human natures will not succeed.

        Unless you have a way of modifying human nature? Any suggestions for turning all people into model socially inspired citizens?

  3. baxter73 says:

    Still solves many of the problems we have now under capitalism including the worst issues – e.g. sex slave trade.
    Good that you have seen it. The key is if we were starting from scratch what system would you put in place.. how would things work. It certainly wouldn’t be capitalism simply based on excessive wastage of resources not to mention other problems it creates.
    I had never understood the leaving the decisions to computers part of it but I guess on reflection on your comments, this is probably why, because they have taken into account human nature.

    • mmmm says:

      After 40 years of interest in economics and social politics i do have some ideas of my own, but i don’t think they are the point here. It is not me that is asking ‘the people’ to embrace a completely new system.
      I am just trying to offer Occupy some feedback on why the vast majority of ‘the people’ have not come out in support of ‘the revolution’. Put it this way perhaps – if i was asking you to burn down your house and leave your occupation, would you not want to know first how i was proposing that you would be clothed and fed?
      That is the ongoing challenge for Occupy – to formulate a convincing alternative, and advocate it in a way that brings the majority of citizens on board. If you can’t do that you will produce very little change. Good thinking, and good luck!

  4. These are good comments above. I think the point is to begin discussing these things. We may not have all the answers yet, but we have to start somewhere.

  5. Marvin says:

    I think a good idea is maybe make a constitution. Get some “rules” written down. Then New Zealanders and the NZ Government can abide by them. And then everybody may know where they stand.

  6. Does it have to be an “alternative ” .Could we be a little more “biological” and using the principals of evolution choose the parts of the current system that has worked and eliminate the parts that cause problems (if they cannot be modified to function correctly) ?

    The “humanness” that has got to be “modified ” is greed and if morals won’t work legislation will have to .

    We need a massive reorganization of our Government ,our Media ,our policing of Corporate entities .We must impartially look at and for the root cause of our current problems and go where ever the “truth” takes us.We have the intellect ,we have the numbers .

    Like a “biological system” our society must be fluid to allow change and the ability to respond to as yet unknown crisis’s and opportunities that lay in our collective futures.

    • mmmm says:

      “choose the parts of the current system that has worked and eliminate the parts that cause problems (if they cannot be modified to function correctly) ?”

      I agree completely Mick. Unfortunately, there seems to be a dogma among many Occupy people that absolutely everything in the current system is ‘bad’, and the only possibility is a complete ‘start from scratch’. I suspect agreeing or disagreeing with this dogma will be one of the causes of splintering within the movement as the debate progresses. (Beware – Dogma is always the enemy of freedom. The thing that cannot be discussed always ends up as the basis for repression)

      Even Margaret Thatcher once said – “there is nothing wrong with Capitalism that a 10% of redistribution of wealth wouldn’t cure”.

      • The beauty with the “Occupy” movement is that all voices are considered . Evolution is ingrained in humans more than revolution.
        People as a whole prefer accommodation rather than confrontation.
        I renovate my house when it no longer fits my needs ,I don’t knock it down and start again every time .

    • John James says:

      The “greed” is only a small part of the “humanness”. The other massive problem that you won’t be able to solve is that there are a lot of jobs and occupations that require a great deal of skill, hard work, and time investment to do – e.g. farming and food production.

      In a society where everything is “fair and equal”, who would want to do the hard jobs when you can get the same income from packing shelves at a supermarket or mowing someones lawns? Everything would fall over in the end unless you get the state to intervene and force people to farm and produce food etc – and then you suddenly have something that is looking like communism.

  7. baxter73 says:

    Thats all good so long as the tweaks to the current system fix the problems don’t just postphone the impacts.
    One of the big ones is how do we solve that Capitalism results in excessive waste as products are designed with a short lifetime in order to drive consumption and through that profit when the logic of living in a world with finite resources should dictate that you should design things to last and have parts that can be replaced when they do break rather than needing to buy a whole new product.
    How do you stop the evil side of capitalism such as child labour and the sex slave trade the latter of which is illegal sure. Unfortunately the fact that their is demand and someone will get paid (significant amounts beacuse it is illegal) if they are prepared to fulfill the demand.
    How do you solve the fact that the people are lied to in order to go to wars which once started are kept going for as long as possible because companies profit exhorbitently from the war itself through creation and supply of weapons and then from the rebuilding that’s required.
    Nobody is stuck with Dogma as you put it but looking at all the problems and asking the question how do we solve this in the current system and not end up back here one day. Many can’t see how. If you have any suggestions then feel free to give them.

    • mmmm says:

      Waste is a very easy and productive area in which to produce positive change. It would be a great area for Occupy to start to gain some actual traction beyond theater and rhetoric. Obviously, current structures have already proved capable of grasping and beginning work in this area – but so much more could be done. Tariffs and tax breaks for companies minimising waste / investing in green technologies / recycling their own products.
      How about a law banning excessive over packaging?
      I like the idea that a Company producing a product that was intended to last well beyond the current ‘out-mode asap’ cycle might get an immediate financial
      incentive for doing so – and then if the product reached a certain life span, both the consumer and the company would get a further incentive for producing / caring for the product.
      Organised consumer power could be huge also – Occupy could work towards taking a a central role in co-ordinating consumer resistance / preference trends?
      All in all – plenty of ‘evolutionary’ progress possible here within current structures.

      Baxter – Wars, Child labour, and sex slavery are products of human nature, and have existed since the dawn of human civilisation, long before Capitalism. Getting rid of Capitalism will not solve those issues, because Capitalism has not created
      them. No system that has ever existed has prevented those issues, and any system that evolves or is created will have to deal with them.

  8. Matt says:

    About time you lot returned this public space to the people of Wellington – you have had your say and your chance to peacefully protest, if you continue with your refusal to move from this area you are all nothing short of hypocrites for what you stand for.

    If this continued selfishness continues, I already have over 100 volunteers who on behalf of the people of Wellington, will remove you by any means necessary, making it unnecessary for the Police to have to do so.

    Do what is right for the people of Wellington and move on. Your movement has enough power and strength behind it now to continue in Halls, Lounges or other areas that do not interfere with the public enjoyment of this part of Wellington.

    • Have you always been a fascist or is it something you studied ?

      Just wondering in the five years before the Occupy Wellington encampment was created just how many times had you “used” the space that you and your “100 volunteers” are prepared to use “any means necessary” ?

      Will you and your “any means necessary 100 volunteers” be wearing “Brown Shirts” or just carrying a burning cross ?

  9. Strypey says:

    A patch-work of opposition policies or community-based solutions is not enough. We have had these since the 60s at least. What we need is an integrated framework for understanding how things came to be as they are, and how each of these opposition politices and community-based solutions contribute to a united collective push in a different direction. There’s a good article on this by James Keye here:

    http://dissidentvoice.org/2011/10/to-the-occupy-movement/

  10. emily says:

    Hi All,

    There is a leap to make – from agreeing world-wide that something is wrong, to start making it right (no-one else is going to fix it!). The framework is in place, the technology works, the people are ready. Use the system to change the system – in a positive & non-confrontational way that is the obvious next step by consensus.

    The democratic system of political parties and elections is well understood and the system is in place.
    1. Lets start a political party (eg. NZ ref: http://www.elections.org.nz/rules/parties/registration/)
    2. Let all members of the public be eligible for membership (eg. use IRD No. as identifier)
    3. Let all aspects of decision making be accessible online to all members – each person need only engage in areas that interest them
    4. Let people chosen by the political party represent them in parliament and act in accord with the party’s decisions (get well known people of integrity that are good public speakers!)
    5. Over a few election cycles the party will naturally win the election at which point the country is effectively run by the people for the people.

    There is the technology available to handle the massive data accessibility and feedback process required – eg. facebook. The trick will be to manage the decision making process to acheive effective consensus at each scale of decision within appropriate timeframes.

    There is indepth expertise in all areas already available in the general population. How awesome will it be for us all to have access to what ever area we are inspired to engage in. Small input by lots of people adds up. In the future small groups of ministers and consultants won’t need to make decisions to hand down to the people – the people will have already decided what is best for them.
    It won’t be perfect for everyone, but it will be better for most and everyone will have the ability to be involved.

    Where to from here? Research, experiment, make it happen – people are using government by consensus already, for football teams and small towns. Lets try a country!

  11. mick says:

    Who sent this …
    “Hi All, There is a leap to make – from agreeing world-wide that something is wrong, to start making it right (no-one else is going to fix it!). The framework is in place, the technology works, the people are ready. Use the system to change the system – in a positive & non-confrontational way that is the obvious next step by consensus. The democratic system of political parties and elections is well understood and the system is in place. 1. Lets start a political party (eg. NZ ref: http://www.elections.org.nz/rules/parties/registration/) 2. Let all members of the public be eligible for membership (eg. use IRD No. as identifier) 3. Let all aspects of decision making be accessible online to all members – each person need only engage in areas that interest them 4. Let people chosen by the political party represent them in parliament and act in accord with the party’s decisions (get well known people of integrity that are good public speakers!) 5. Over a few election cycles the party will naturally win the election at which point the country is effectively run by the people for the people. There is the technology available to handle the massive data accessibility and feedback process required – eg. facebook. The trick will be to manage the decision making process to acheive effective consensus at each scale of decision within appropriate timeframes. There is indepth expertise in all areas already available in the general population. How awesome will it be for us all to have access to what ever area we are inspired to engage in. Small input by lots of people adds up. In the future small groups of ministers and consultants won’t need to make decisions to hand down to the people – the people will have already decided what is best for them. It won’t be perfect for everyone, but it will be better for most and everyone will have the ability to be involved. Where to from here? Research, experiment, make it happen – people are using government by consensus already, for football teams and small towns. Lets try a country!”

    It “linked” to this page ?

  12. mick says:

    “The framework is in place, the technology works, the people are ready. Use the system to change the system – in a positive & non-confrontational way that is the obvious next step by consensus.”

    What “framework ” ?
    What “technology works” ?
    etc. etc..

    • emily says:

      Hi Mick,
      I think one of the biggest challenges is getting past the ‘trying to find a solution before we start’ mode, to the ‘lets get into a position to make changes and find a solution while we go’ mode…
      NZ has an electoral party system = framework, and most of us are communicating quite nicely & openly through the internet = technology works. Neither are perfect but they’re in place and familiar.
      If the occupy movement can gently move in to occupying the system then there will be no need to be in ‘opposition’.
      Publicising a manifesto might be advantageous now – the media seems to be focussed on how the occupy movement has become static!

  13. mick says:

    Sorry emily whilst I love your involvement (and everybody involved in the world wide Occupy movement ) I do have issue with your idealism …the “framework” had such a low turn out in the last election that we again have a Prime Minister that is a former Bankster and in 2 years and 9 months will probably be again. Bare in mind that OWS and your own group are philosophically antithetical to this outcome. Q.E.D. “What “framework ” ?”

    “most of us are communicating quite nicely & openly through the internet = technology works. ” ,really 2094 members of the facebook “Occupy Wellington Nz” .I mean no disrespect but seriously 2094 ! that is a long way from “most of us are communicating” .In all honesty we need 200,000 ,no 2,000,000 involved before I would be prepared to say “most of us are communicating quite nicely & openly through the internet “.
    Here is a bench mark that works for me ,if more people watched “X factor Australia” than watched the News we are stuffed !

    John Key will sell NZ from beneath our feet before we know it ,Goldman Sachs , Bank of America will benefit more than the average Kiwi as long as John Key and his ilk govern us.

    Some how politics must be made sexy ,if “the people” don’t get involved psychopaths will take control (as we now have ) and government will become the servant of the Corporations .”
    It’s called Fascism.

    http://aotearoaawiderperspective.wordpress.com/2008/12/14/would-you-have-voted-for-john-key-if-you-had-known/

    http://www.stuff.co.nz/dominion-post/news/politics/election-2011/6044562/Turnout-abysmal-for-this-years-vote

    • emily says:

      But isn’t the problem that people don’t see there being any point getting involved as it currently doesn’t make any difference anyway?

      If we make a ‘political party’ where the ‘voters’ can actually be members and only have to deal with the stuff they’re interested in, then people can actually directly work on the stuff that matters to them.
      i.e. if I’m in the coromandel and mining really annoys me, I will write some party policy specifically on mining in the coromandel that I know heaps about because it is important to me. Only other people in the party who care about it will spend time discussing and refining policy with me – but the party as a whole will stand for this policy in parliament.
      People will get involved if it doesn’t take too much time or effort – and if they only have to deal with stuff that matters to them.

      If 10% of this country spent 10 minutes a week working on policy that interests and affects them, the party would have a far more robust and indepth and involving platform than any – and with no wasted time putting people randomly in charge of portfolios.

      People would vote, because they would be voting for themselves, and at the heart of it, we’re all pretty self-interested – “getting people “engaged” will always be the problem…until it effects you personally you just cruise along”

      • mick says:

        Short on time at the moment but short reply is ,what if another person is more “motivated” than you (for personal profit say) submits a more passionate policy and gets a little money behind their “passion” …your not of luck and they roll in the trucks and diggers !
        Kinda like what we have now “Government of the Government, for the Government, by the Government.”

  14. Sarah says:

    Great rhetoric. But it reads like a politician’s speech. Lots of words, no real substance. How do you know what “we the people” want? Have you been door knocking and canvassed Wellingtonians to gauge support? Have you surveyed a decent cross section of our city?

    Or… is this based on what you believe a decent human being would want? Are the 99% of us all as interested in sharing as you are?

    • emily says:

      Finding out what the people want isn’t the problem – getting a system in place where people can take it where they wish would be awesome.

      • mick says:

        getting people “engaged” will always be the problem…until it effects you personally you just cruise along …

  15. mick says:

    Luke 6:31 Do to others as you would have them do to you.

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