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Forum Post: EMERGENCY: We have to expand our demographic base quickly and immediately, or we will fail completely.

Posted 11 years ago on Oct. 3, 2011, 10:53 a.m. EST by dlondon (0)
This content is user submitted and not an official statement

My name is Daniel London. For 4 days I have been marching and working with Occupy Wall Street. It is clear to me, from what I have seen, heard from the broader public, and learned from the history of social movements in this country, that we have to build as broad a base as possible for our movement - far, far broader than the social movements this country has known since the 1960s - if we are to make any kind of change, much less meaningful change, in our country. Our group simply cannot be confined to aging academics, socialists, and young people. Our policies and principles, once acted upon in any way, will concretely and immediately BENEFIT immigrants, religious people, middle-class people, environmentalists, public-housing advocates, etc. WHY ARE THESE GROUPS NOT PART OF OUR MOVEMENT IN FORCE?

It is because we have typecast ourselves already through our demeanor and our demands. It might sound good to raise a sign about Bankers = Hitler, or waving an upside down American flag, or dressing like punks. I'm sure it feels very good to do these things. Guess what? You are going to bring this movement down, like EVERY STUDENT-LED PROTEST MOVEMENT IN THE PAST 40 YEARS. And why? Because those who would overwise join us are turned off by what we say and do, and we don't even care. As a result, as it is right now, within our ranks are represented less demographics than EITHER THE REPUBLICANS OR THE DEMOCRATS.

WE NEED TO LEARN HOW TO COMMUNICATE AND TAILOR OUR MESSAGE to other groups. We need to be reaching out to other groups in civil society, and show them that our fight is their fight. We need to get our Spanish speakers, Chinese speakers, and other language speakers organized and organizing. We need immigrants, religious people, middle-class people, and more attending our meetings and rallies. Will that mean compromising some of our broader goals? Yes. Will it mean difficulties and culture shocks? Yes. But if we do not expand our base, then we will have wasted this opportunity to forge a new Popular Front against greed and corruption. OUR NUMBER ONE PRIORITY IS NOT JUST TO EXPAND OUR NUMBERS, BUT TO EXPAND OUR DIVERSITY. Otherwise WE WILL FAIL.

The other day I was in the subway, and got in a conversation with an individual. He was Christian, homophobic - and hated Wall Street with a passion. Do we ignore people like this? Do we dismiss them because they aren't ideologically pure enough for us? Or do we find a way to get them involved in our cause and expand our numbers? Remember: over the course of the struggle, people like this drop many of their misconceptions about others as they share experiences together. History is clear about this - it happened in the Civil War, it happened during the Civil Rights movement, it happened in the environmental movement, and it needs to happen in our movement. We need to be a fulcrum, a forge, where different groups can come together and UNITE without becoming UNIFORM. To do this, we need to reach out and speak the language, as much as possible, of other groups. If we simply continue to expand our numbers amongst the demographics we already see on the streets, and not expand the diversity of our demographics, we WILL FAIL. Our slogan must be for the COMMON GOOD, above all.

I want to hear your thoughts on my ideas, if you agree with them, and if you do - any strategies and tactics you think will help get us closer to realizing the goal of a more diverse, inclusive movement.



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[-] 1 points by EMR76 (5) 11 years ago

U R A sell out and U prolly suck banker dong for cupcakes

[-] 1 points by revg33k (429) from Woodstock, IL 11 years ago
Awesomely useful and constructive, i wish to subscribe to your newsletter fine sir I am 100% sure it is filled with the same level of intelligent topics.
[-] 1 points by iminxtc (11) from San Francisco, CA 11 years ago

The rest of the country is increasingly writing the movement off as a bunch of neo-hippies - unorganized, vague. Again, sharply and clearly focusing on these 3 things: Wall St's corruption and role in the economic crisis, Mult-National Corporations greedy grip on Washington (and on the job market) and Government ineptness and/or criminal complicity. Sharpen that and simplify the message. Speak for both liberals and conservatives, and don't get doctrinaire. Tax the rich smacks of socialism. Just call for and demand justice.

[-] 1 points by jfunk (1) 11 years ago

Very thoughtful, Daniel. I agree that this is the only course that will make any difference. Keep rising!

[-] 1 points by skizzy (445) 11 years ago

Invite all but DO NOT permitted the Democratic Party Establishment to co-opt this movement

[-] 1 points by RantCasey (782) from Saginaw, MI 11 years ago

Ignore the homophobia, embrace his hate of corruption. If that's how he feels that's how he feels. Embrace his Christianity that is what drives him. Remind him how Jesus was charitable and loves helping and caring for others.

[-] 1 points by RantCasey (782) from Saginaw, MI 11 years ago

You are very correct. That is why I think that occupy has been growing. Because you are fighting against corruption in general. But like you said you need to find as many demographic groups as possible. Occupy need to look at the good of every group and love that ignore the rest. If we start to look at the good in everybody you will find your answer