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Forum Post: How long does it take?

Posted 10 years ago on Dec. 1, 2011, 1:53 p.m. EST by Thinkdeer (250)
This content is user submitted and not an official statement

Often OWS is criticized for not having a focused message, for not being organized enough. We are told that other movements where more focused and thus went faster. Gandhi and MLK are both often referenced as being great leaders. Certainly they are! I would not contest that. However implying that they as leaders where sufficient, and that them simply showing up was enough to galvanized a movement and that the next day opposition fell, is folly! It is an insult to their hard work, the hard work of everybody that participated in those movements, and a misleading view of history.

So how long does it take? The Indian Independence Movement started with the rise of Indian nationalism from 1895 to 1905, and this was following a rebellion in 1857. Gandhi does not return to India until 1915, he becomes a major leader in 1920s, and following many actions which Gandhi and OTHERS lead, India gained independence in 1947. So conservatively 32 years but arguably 90 +. That is much longer than the 2 month plus mark OWS is in.

So how long does it take? How about the African-American Civil Rights movement? We can say it starts in 1955 and ends in 1968(that would be 13 years of official action, built on top of anywhere from 100 to 400 years of slow persistent recognition of the importance of human dignity and freedom). But individuals had been working towards changing our perceptions of slavery and later racism from the moment it started in the U.S. And those efforts continue to today. This is not to say Brown V Board of education, or the works of the NAACP or the Rosa Parks bus boycott (and those supporting Rosa behind the scenes) that the Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. where not key to making a great change through civil disobedience. It is to say that great change comes out of complex movements and take a long time!

In this day in age where technology changes so rapidly that we can hardly keep with each new detail, and entertainment seems blown around in a tumultuous wind, and politics swings so fast it is hard to know who to trust, and a local company and be an international conglomerate the next day and collapse the day after that(hyperbole for effect but you know what I mean), it is easy for us to expect change to happen right away, right now. However these changes are superficial, while they transform culture, the underpinnings of who we are as individuals and as a people changes much much slower. It confuses us and makes it difficult to know which way to turn or that anything is changing in favor of us. We must look past the eddies and currents on the surface of the stream of time, deep into the channels which really dictate that transformation.

Again I ask how long does it take? It takes time. We will not rush the ushering in of a new change, nor could we if we wished too. For this to work we will be patient, and more importantly we will be nothing if we are not persistent. We will work every day to inform each other of what needs to happen and work to bring clarifications to what is troubling us as a nation and a global civilization. If it becomes necessary that a single leader should arise, they will arise because the time is absolutely right, and because they will have the humility to know that they only focus a diverse group and serve it, rather than control it. Until then we will be a movement of leaders, training everyone to be leaders. Not because I say so, or you say so, but because this is what is already happening.

Welcome to the start! Every day ahead of us is only the beginning.



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[-] 2 points by AFarewellToKings (1486) 10 years ago

OWS/99% doesn't need a leader to hold the NGA and doesn't need a leader to start fielding candidates for congress. The NGA simply co-ordinates. If it has to go all the way, 2015 would be a loose deadline to think about a presidential nomination.

Today, what we do need is for the NYCGA to announce the NGA


[-] 1 points by Thinkdeer (250) 10 years ago

I agree, it does not need a leader.

[-] 1 points by AFarewellToKings (1486) 10 years ago

do you not think the NYCGA is failing the movement by abdicating it's de-facto untenable position and not issuing an announcement?

[-] 1 points by Thinkdeer (250) 10 years ago

I don't know if a National General Assembly is needed at this point. I know it is very important to you and I think you should keep working towards it. However I feel like large over arching systems are a part of the problem.

[-] 1 points by AFarewellToKings (1486) 10 years ago

I'm a farmer. I know a good machine from a crappy one (read Egypt). But a good machine in the hands of a lousy operator leads to damaged equipment and loss of crop leading to debts and hunger. We're coming out with better machines all the time but keeping the machine I have running productively means I can acquire a state-of-the-art machine sooner. So let's fix the machine we have (the ballot box is your tool box) while we discuss the new machine.

Fight from the inside too

[-] 1 points by Thinkdeer (250) 10 years ago

Fair enough.

Still must ruminate longer.

[-] 1 points by AFarewellToKings (1486) 10 years ago

There's a lot going on in this to think about, I know. feel free to msg me. 216 days until NGA and there's a lot to do if its gonna get done right. thx

[-] 2 points by raychel (37) 10 years ago

This is a good write up. I agree. My husband and I were comparing it to the green movement and how we all have recycling bins now. Slowly but surely we can amount to a change.

I think it needs to also happen in the homes. Talk to the kids. Raise them differently. Openly discuss options to spark more conversations in public. From the get go, I saw this as a ten or twenty year process. The campsites just ignited the movement.

[-] 2 points by hanleyj2 (7) 10 years ago

Indeed, if we rush, we might make bad decisions. Studies show that those who wait and really gather their information first and mull over the different ways of running a protest work best in the long run. This is a life-changing movement that can't mess up.

[-] 1 points by Thinkdeer (250) 10 years ago

It can mess up, but will work to keep that from happening ;)

[-] 1 points by alouis (1511) from New York, NY 10 years ago

The African American civil rights movement is a good benchmark. For the longest time it had no one leader. It's demand was vague - "Freedom Now!" and its goals are still far from achieved, but it has changed things for the better.

[-] 1 points by Thinkdeer (250) 10 years ago

A lot was achieved slowly, a critical mass formed and then more changed faster. Though it is not over. The contest between those who are focused on owning power over others, and those who want freedom for all, is on going. Each generation reaches into the generation of next generation, and will until all have the opportunity for wisdom, sustenance, shelter, love and independence.

[-] 1 points by alouis (1511) from New York, NY 10 years ago

And we should remember- and never forget- that the movement never had majority participation and always had vast opposition, and none of that stopped it and none of that should stop us either.