Forum Post: OWS is becoming increasingly unpopular. Here’s how to fix it: (Hint: We need a smart leader who understands PR.)
Posted 11 years ago on Nov. 16, 2011, 10:47 p.m. EST by Chris3141
This content is user submitted and not an official statement
A new national survey from Public Policy Polling has found that public support for OWS has declined over the past month. A record 45% of Americans now oppose us, compared to only 33% who support us. http://tpmdc.talkingpointsmemo.com/2011/11/poll-public-opinion-turning-against-occupy-wall-street.php?ref=fpblg_beta
What makes this poll so interesting is that the broader goals of OWS -- reducing corporate power in Washington, reigning in Wall Street, and raising taxes on the wealthy -- are supported by a vast majority of Americans. Despite all of this latent support, most Americans do not support the main organization that is dedicated to fixing these problems, and they aren't getting involved in any activism. Why is this happening?
We are losing support because a committed group of protestors are stubbornly insisting on a leaderless movement. Yes, yes, I know that there are some advantages to a leaderless movement. And yes, I know that OWS has already had some success in raising awareness. The leaderless movement worked well at the beginning, and drew attention to the cause.
But it came with huge costs that are starting to loom large. By insisting on a leaderless structure, we are now left with a large component of anarchists and communists who are scaring away Middle America. These fringe elements are entitled to their opinions, but they shouldn’t be the face of OWS. And frankly, I wish they would form their own separate movement, because they are holding the rest of us back. I’m sorry if I’m making anybody feel ‘excluded’, but I would gladly lose one anarchist if we could gain 100 soccer moms. And believe me, we need the soccer moms if we are going to accomplish anything ambitious.
We could be so much more effective if we rallied around a charismatic leader who could articulate a clear and simple message. And I mean simple, not some laundry list.
I would strongly suggest that we align (or merge) with an organization like www.unitedrepublic.org. It might be difficult for us to admit this, but they have the leadership, organizational skills, and public relations talent that we lack. I am not affiliated with them, but I support their concrete efforts to limit the influence that wealthy special interests have on Congress. I also think that one of their organizers -- Lawrence Lessig -- is a strong candidate to lead a coalition between OWS and United Republic. Ultimately, the goal is a constitutional amendment to allow optional public financing for campaigns, thus addressing the root cause of most of the OWS grievances. This is an ambitious goal that will require strong support from the majority of Americans. That support is already there, but it is hidden. It will come out when we stop scaring everyone away.
P.S. If you like the ideas in this post, email/tweet it to your friends, potential leaders, or other organizations. Don't be shy!