Posted 10 years ago on Dec. 1, 2011, 1:53 p.m. EST by Thinkdeer
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.