The OccupyWallSt.Org Founder Wants to Replace Government with the Tech Industry

According to the petition, Google's Eric Schmidt would become CEO of the nation.

Mar 20 2014, 4:55pm
Image: Flickr

Occupy Wall Street mainstay Justine Tunney has drafted a White House petition to "Transfer all federal administrative authority to the tech industry."

The three-step plan implores the Obama administration to do the following:

1. Retire all government employees with full pensions.

2. Transfer administrative authority to the tech industry.

3. Appoint Eric Schmidt CEO of America.

"The Washington regime has become incompetent over the years. It is no longer able to face the difficult challenges that lay ahead," she writes. "I think it's time for a peaceful change." The petition currently has two signatures. 

Tunney, who describes herself as "a geeky coder girl who occasionally tries to overthrow governments and corporations," also stakes a claim as a founder of the Occupy movement. She founded and the corresponding Twitter handle, which remain two of the largest organs providing information for and about the movement today. She drew the ire of some of her fellow activists last month when she reclaimed control of @OccupyWallSt for a series of first-person tweets. Subsequently, she drew criticism for her employment at Google, where she works as a software engineer. 

This latest provocation, which seems destined to outrage many of her erstwhile compatriots, appears to be a response to those complaints. She waves them off. 

"It saved my life," she said of her job at Google yesterday, and she means it literally. The healthcare that came with the position was instrumental in treating her cancer, she said. Tunney had traveled to Philadelphia from New York for the infamous troll weev's appeals hearing, and a group had gathered for lunch afterward. She showed me the petition on her smartphone, then shared it with table, eliciting a loud round of laughter from another activist.

"It's time for the U.S. Regime to politely take its exit from history and do what's best for America. The tech industry can offer us good governance and prevent further American decline," the petition read. 

She's certainly trolling; she's playing to the newfangled reputation as a Google apologist a number of disgruntled peers have appointed her. Tunney also told me that she felt victimized and hurt by the backlash, at least at first. But she insists she supports the idea, that it would be beneficial to the nation. The next day, I asked her further comment, and she explained her reasoning in an email:

"Many people in this country are afraid of corporations, and for good reason! But what many loyalists fail to realize is that the US Regime is just another corporation," she wrote. But Google could do it better, she writes, while elaborating on the rest of the scheme:

  • Google workers get better treatment than any other workers in history. But many who are struggling, feel this is unfair and get angry at us. Some even throw bricks at our buses! But I don't think attacking Googlers is productive. If workers in this country want better treatment, then maybe they should do the opposite. Perhaps they should ask Google to run their government.
  • As an anarchist, I spent several years of my life fighting capitalism and the U.S. Regime. I was so successful that I even helped start an international grassroots social movement (Occupy). But sadly, my efforts ultimately failed. So I figure if we can't overthrow corporate governance, we might as well settle for the next best thing, which is finding a better corporation to run our government.
  • The Marxist professor David Harvey once said, there's only been one centrally planned economy that actually worked. It wasn't in a communist state, but rather in America during WW2. FDR basically gathered up all the best and brightest CEOs and told them, "You guys know what you're doing! Run this thing!"

Tunney's taking some of her cues from weev mode here; she even saluted him on Twitter.

The topical nature of the stunt—the tech industry is currently under scrutiny for exacerbating inequality and its lack of empathy for the poor—pretty much guarantees Tunney will take some serious heat. She'll be prepared for it, I imagine: crazy ideas, the pursuit of virality, and even trolling are no doubt to be encouraged in the Republic of Google.