I’ll admit to my own ignorance, I knew very little about the whole Occupy movement. So I did a little research on their website (http://occupywallst.org/) They describe themselves as:
Occupy Wall Street is [a] leaderless resistance movement with people of many colors, genders and political persuasions. The one thing we all have in common is that We Are The 99% that will no longer tolerate the greed and corruption of the 1%. We are using the revolutionary Arab Spring tactic to achieve our ends and encourage the use of nonviolence to maximize the safety of all participants.
Their main target is the corporate and political greed that has taken over. That’s a good point and a valid fight. However I think there’s a break down from ideology to the action. Having a “leaderless resistance movement” leaves a lot of doors open for interpretation. Ever movement needs a figure head to help guide the way. Martin Luther King, Gandhi, Harvey Milk were leaders of their communities who furthered a social cause. I get the ‘hippy earthy crunchy coombyah’ idealism that their movement is about the people and a leader is the antithesis of that. But that idea has created a situation where any dreadlocked crazy can speak on camera for the whole Occupy movement. And as TMZ and The Soup has taught us, not everyone is always camera ready.
The other problem seems to be a focused message. I agree with what they ideologically stand for and it’s true that the richest 1% in our country own 99% of the wealth. But as Occupy groups sprout up around the country the message is getting fragmented and localized. For example, was an Occupy Hartford group really needed? We’re the wealthiest state in the country, by definition we are ‘the man.’
So to all my Occupiers out there, here’s a little advice:
Clean it up. You may not like it, but our culture responds much better to a polite and polished presentation. It’s sad but true. It’s not always what you say, but how you say it.
Get Focused. Pick a topic and stick to it. I sat at dinner last night asking friends, “What the hell are they protesting anyway?” The answers were mixed and vague. Injustice, Greed, and Equality are too broad for the average person to grab on to. Get some talking points. Increased regulation on lobbyists and restructuring corporate tax laws are two points that are clear and direct.
Best of luck. It will be an interesting election next year with the Occupiers up against the Tea Partiers.