"Demands are disempowering since they require someone else to respond"

Mr. Redden and other demonstrators formed the Demands Working Group about a week and a half ago, hoping to identify specific actions they would formally ask local and federal governments to adopt. But the very nature of Occupy Wall Street has made that task difficult, in New York and elsewhere.

Although Occupy Seattle has a running tally of votes on its Web site — 395 votes to “nationalize the Federal Reserve,” 138 for “universal education” and 245 to “end corporate personhood,” for example — Mike Hines, a member of the group, said the list would soon be removed because the provisions had not been clearly explained and because some people were not capable of voting online…

“Let’s give ourselves two weeks,” Ms. McMillan said about presenting provisions to the General Assembly. Ms. McMillan, 23, a New School graduate student, feels such dedication to the cause that she has contemplated taking a sabbatical from her studies — but she has begun to worry that the movement could become “a joke” without specific goals. Still, with the right demands, she said, more union members and diverse contingencies could join.