Forum Post: A NEW PERSPECTIVE ON the OCCUPY MOVEMENT and the American Public: Here's how Occupy can grow and win. . .
Posted 11 months ago on Jan. 6, 2013, 11:46 a.m. EST by therising
This content is user submitted and not an official statement
Polls from major news outlets during the fall of 2011 showed that 40-50% of Americans supported Occupy Wall Street. A silent majority already feels the way we do. The trick isn't to convince them. The trick is to do whatever we can to make them feel comfortable saying things out loud.
Once we the 99% discover that we have more in common than we have separating us, we will be able to make decisions from a position of unified strength rather than demands from a position of divided weakness. This is powerful and a real nonviolent threat to the power structure, hence the tanks in Tiannamen and the riot police violently evicting peaceful citizens from parks and public spaces in the U.S.. Hence the pepper spray and the massive propaganda.
But how do we grow the movement and embolden more people to speak up? I think we need to get strategic and better understand who we are and who our audience is:
Speaking in very simple terms, it appears to me that Occupy supporters tend to fall into 2 different categories when it comes to their approach to today's challenges:
Reform / restore the system and the rule of law by unseating the corporatists who have hijacked our republic
Form a new system since the old one is so prone to corruption and so infested with it currently
Three important notes that may highlight a way FORWARD:
a) There is some overlap between the two approaches above. For example, the NYCGA's supporters would seem to fall into category 2, but the NYCGA supports the elimination of corporate personhood. That overlap would seem to present some real potential for unification.
b) Many in category 1 are focused on things like eliminating corporation personhood, overturning Citizens United, campaign finance reform and things of this type: http://occupywallst.org/forum/we-could-do-this-the-easy-way-or-the-hard-way/ . Eventually those in category 1 may see more of these as useful, not because they are a comprehensive solution but because they ameliorate the suffering of real people on the ground AND they actually buy time and pave the way for the more fundamental and comprehensive solutions preferred by "group 2". If you're all about fundamental shift, then you recognize that it will only happen when people unite and see the seriousness of today's challenges. Group 2 folks benefit when those in group 1 shout the news of the present dysfunction far and wide. Dismissing group 1 folks or even "regular Americans" for not getting it or not being engaged enough is actually counterproductive. A "yes. . . and" approach is much more likely to achieve the group 2 objectives than a "yes. . . but" approach. The choir isn't going to get this job done.
c) Those whose thinking falls into group 1 might do well to realize that theirs are interim solutions that are a bridge rather than a final destination. There is a need for fundamental change as prescribed by group 2, but this does not diminish the importance of group 1 goals.
The thinking of the general public in U.S., tends to fall into one of these 5 categories when it comes to our current major challenges:
V - Occupy supporters and participants
W - People who are NOT involved in Occupy but are active and working on all sorts of things that fit right in with Occupy. They might be pushing for civil rights, environmental regulation, tolerance, economic justice, etc. Or they're helping the homeless, working in a rape crisis center or doing performance art. They might be buddhist monks, christian ministers or devout muslims. They might be musicians, doctors, home makers, poor, well off, elderly or young, but they share a desire to help others and / or bring joy, openness and fairness. Either in their spare time or in their job, they are directly or indirectly helping the cause. I don't think we occupy supporters have reached out to them enough with solutions and a positive vision of where those solutions might lead.
X - People who SEE DYSFUNCTION BUT DRAW WRONG CONCLUSIONS. These folks don't see any hope or solutions so they're just INACTIVE & holed up. Category X Americans might be progressives shouting at the TV while watching MSNBC or they might be right wing Glen Beck watchers who react to their fear by prepping food, water and ammo. Or maybe they are among the Ron Paul crowd who see the dysfunction and draw the conclusion that withdrawing from others and the world is their only choice. In any case, they've given up hope and are doing nothing to change things in any meaningful way because they FEEL POWERLESS. They're just bitching and fearful. IMAGINE if they realized their power. . . I think Occupy supporters and participants (group 1 and 2) need to realize that this "X group" is a HUGE swath of America and their discontentment could be channeled into productive action if we help them realize that the source of their problems isn't each other but something else entirely.
Y - People who are BUSY with their jobs, their family, their art or just trying to survive. They know things are screwed up but that haven't had or taken the time to understand what's really wrong much less how to fix it. Occupy supporters would do well to pay more attention to offering solutions and a positive vision of where those solutions might lead. Going beyond just describing all the problems and moving towards action steps and where they'll take us is what will capture the attention of this group.
Z - People who are ASLEEP - consuming mindlessly and falling prey to propaganda. Many of them are awakening every day thanks to the efforts of people spreading the word that there's another way.
To achieve our objectives, we're going to have to gather a LOT more support. Here are some things to check out that might help us engage more people within groups W, X, Y and Z:
ARTICLE & short video of interview with someone who knows it can happen: http://sue-adams.hubpages.com/hub/iceland-shows-how-to-solve-economic-crisis
Superb TED speech that sums it up: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=b6rAgHcuYtE
One of our most powerful weapons in this effort: http://occupywallst.org/forum/speaking-up-one-of-our-most-powerful-weapons-say-i/
Book that helps us figure out how to sustain our own energy for the long haul in this struggle: http://books.google.com/books/about/How_can_I_help.html?id=FelGAAAAMAAJ
To help see how activists can connect with would-be activists and the general population, be sure to check out award winning documentaries Why We Fight, Inside Job, The Corporation and Manufacturing Consent.
AMAZING 4 minute TED speech: http://www.ted.com/talks/lang/en/marcin_jakubowski.html Now anyone can start a farm or construction company at low cost.
"We can provide a great life for the entire population of the earth, as soon as we end the rule of the ultra-greedy 1% parasites, and begin to spread peace and not war."(jph).
"The clear path to ending the corporate-state is to stop working FOR it. Remove yourself from the systems that oppress you and your children and then their children. Do not give support to institutions that no longer (if they ever did) work for you and your community. Build alternatives; create new systems of commons, sharing, and working together. Competition only works when there is limited supply, the limitations are illusion, lies,. made up to keep us marching around the chairs, waiting for the music to stop, scrambling Over each other to not be that last one. There is ABUNDANCE on this planet and in this universe, more than enough for ALL LIFE to flourish. We need only stop supporting the 1% that created the imbalance, and now perpetuates fear, and the lies of scarcity, and the ever threatening "other". We are One People! Search; permaculture, slowmoney, relocalize, degrowth, etc. The revolution begins when you make the changes, in your own life, that shift your energy from supporting the old ways, the old systems, the corrupted corporate hegemony, & embrace life affirming, positive growth, of interconnected communities, living simply and within our means. Not taking from, abroad, from distant farmers, from future generations, as the corporatism of the past lead us to do. The currently dominate system is a dead-end & will inevitably fail, badly. This IS a possible path, it only requires that you choose it. Start growing food, and sharing it with your extended family and community. Find ways to work for yourself & your community (voluntary cooperation), that cut out the taxes that are used to prop up the system that is stealing from our mothers,. and destroying our planet, spreading war & hatred. It is a system that has had itstime. They push fear, fear that the big-box stores will stop supplying cheap crap from china. is that so awful? Once we realize that we can work together in even small pockets & provide for our ACTUAL needs, in ways that are life affirming, and community strengthening,. at that point the 1%'s greed/debt &perpetual interest system will finally die." (jph)
CHECK OUT THESE SEARCHES & LINKS:
google permaculture, relocalize, slow money & degrowth
google "alternative systems of exchange", "non-debt based monetary system", or just "monetary system"
And check out these:
Finally, think about these 2 statements from quantumystique: "people have to see it works. they won't buy a thing if they can't see that it works. i believe all the other change we want too see will emanate from it. if you can feed and house people then you can get people to emotionally invest in the good things we want as a society. once people are emotionally invested. . . there is nothing you can't do."