The theory of non-violence is both an underrated and overrated starting point for protest. Gene Sharp’s “The Politics of Nonviolent Action” provides us with a comprehensive list of methods usable to achieve an ultimate political goal by utilizing a specific model of non-compliance. The effectiveness of the methods being used is not in question; however, the application of methods do need to be reassessed by some of today’s more practical contrarians. *cough* OWS *cough*
Obviously, I’m on an Occupy Wall Street kick this week. I don’t want the movement to fade out; and with the elections nearing, I’d like to see the group itself become a more intrinsic aspect of the debates we’re about to have.
So – here’s the thing OWS; this movement that has been created by your activism is still alive and well. The majority of people in this country would support your effort – IF, you evolve to become a part of society.
There are rules that are broken, and laws that only exist to make rich folks richer. American’s get this. American’s also know that sitting in a park and using a human echo machine to make your points is not getting us any actual change. You’ve had 1 year – this month – to make the case for the direction you’ve chosen, Occupy. That battle is over, and you won. Believe it or not, the protests worked by changing our conversation; the 99% is part of the discussion now. But now the question needs to be: Who is representing the 99% in office.
I’m going to keep making the case that revolution is not in our collective best interest. And because of that reality, an evolution of mindset by the leaders of Occupy must take place. This isn’t a politician pandering for your support in an upcoming election speaking; this is a plea from a supporter asking you to look forward – with Americans – so we can begin to move forward, together. If revolution is not the answer, and that’s my view, and I’m asking leadership to evolve and listen to what the people are saying they want. And if what the people are saying is: “we’re still going to participate in our current system, but we’d love for you to join us in a more formal way” – then the evolution I’m asking from Occupy is to develop a political force that can take on the issues they’ve helped clarify.
The name of the group doesn’t matter, but I’ll call it an OccuParty because that just fits.
Organize – turn the anger of the protest’s core purpose into an engine that builds energy, and then release that energy strategically to push forward. You know what works in America? It’s not continual protest. Protest only helps to make us aware. Peaceful participation in society is what works. And participating in society is still the same act of non-violence but it’s being applied correctly to the source of the problem, rather than the systemic failure caused by it. It’s time to get some volunteers willing to make phone calls and ask for donations to fund the development of a political platform. Make it clear that the investment is not to fund protests, specifically, but to initiate a re-branding of the Occupy movement into something that will become main stream.
Oh, is that term too controversial to sign on with? Main stream occupiers, ha! What a joke. Is that what you’re thinking right now? Sorry to be the one to burst the carefully constructed bubble you’ve created for your thinking, but main stream is where our country lives. You don’t have to like it; it’s not up to you. People have made their decision about what they’re willing to fight for; but more importantly, they’ve decided how they’re willing to fight.
Without getting into a theoretical supposition of herd mentality; I think it’s safe to say that we humans are not exempt from the phenomena of cooperation and group think in society. 9/11 is a perfect example of how herd mentality can be applied to the human condition. People came together after 9/11, and for quite a while we had the support of the world as well. But, we never cultivated that into something bigger than a war on terror. I don’t want this to sound as if I’m comparing or associating 9/11 with Occupy, I’m simply just trying to point out that both 9/11 and Occupy created a wave of opportunity.
We may have failed to cultivate the positivity that came from the horrible events on 9/11 into something more important than war. But, we don’t have to fail with Occupy. War does nothing but beget more war. When you approach violence with violence, escalation is inevitable. At the same time, Occupy’s humanitarian struggle is hardly getting the numbers required to sustain the movement’s momentum; so a new method of non-violence must be implemented if the goal of change is to be reached.
What I’m proposing is not threatening to any hierarchy or leadership. All that I am asking for is to take the next step, and continue to take the following steps until we can finally start to see some action, and give you our support. We’re here; ready, willing, and able to participate. But, you’re going to have to come to our field if you want us to play. Voting is a powerful tool. You can laugh at that assertion all you want, but if Occupy grows into a group that presents electable candidates; people will vote for them. If the group can take over 15 congressional seats in 2 years, and 30 in 4, the movement will have the same legislative power as the Tea Party does today. Continue that trend of exponential growth over 10 years, and you begin to see just how effective the idea can be overall.
Imagine that thought, stopping the abuse taking place in our country by stopping ourselves from being ignorant of the obvious path to victory.
So, OWS – stop ignoring your support. Stop pretending that success can only be achieved through revolution. We, the people you insist you are fighting for, don’t want revolution. We want accountability, and justice. We want our voices to be heard by our representatives, and we want our representatives to be practical, whilst remaining virtuous. The effort Occupy has put in over the last year has not gone unnoticed; but, the group is slowly bleeding support as we get closer to November 6. That should be all the evidence the group needs to prove that the path to victory in America isn’t going to come through an awakening process that ultimately leads to a massive rebellion. Americans like their system of government. Occupy needs to come to an understanding about that fact, and transform the movement into a powerhouse which is capable of tackling the tough issues of our day with policy initiatives.
We’re here, ready to give the support needed – Give us something we can act on.