November 21, 2011

What #OWS needs to do to succeed

In some of my posts about Occupy Wall Street, I've had some pretty strong words about it, about the Adbusters and Anonymous portion of its backing, about what might be the self-interest of the motives behind some of its rank and file, and what might be the political and economic ignorance level of some of that rank and file.

But, in those same posts, I have said I can appreciate much of the anger of the movement, and much of the "why" of that anger.

And, I have said that I want the movement, or a properly constituted version of the movement, to succeed.

With that said, and with the "rank and file" having holiday time ahead to reflect, here's my suggestions on how it can.

1. To the rank and file: Stop believing myths of leaderlessness and other things. First, movements of this nature don't succeed without leaders, goals and organization. Second, your current movement HAS leaders; unfortunately, they're hiding in the metaphorical shadows of these very myths.

2. To the leaders, the "small cabal" that left-liberal economist Doug Henwood mentioned, to the group surrounded by (hand picked?) security guards at Zuccoti: Come out of those shadows. Be transparent. Be honest about who you are and how you came to be leaders. Show actual leadership, not just "controlling." Show the responsibility that comes with leadership. And, if you won't, then resign your shadow leadership positions. Instead of a "dadaist" Adbusters email about "let's have some fun protesting," step up to the plate.

3. To the rank and file: There's nothing wrong with leadership. We're all equal before the law, but not equal in talents or experience. Choose leaders. Real leaders.

4. To the rank and file: There's nothing wrong with taking specific stances, either. But, be realistic about them. By that, I don't mean pseudo-"realistic" about what is achievable within the current money-corrupt two-party duopoly. I mean what's actually economically and sociologically realistic. Three weeks of paid vacation if you're over 35, and maybe a fourth if you're over 50? Yes. Six weeks for everybody? No. Increasing the current minimum wage and indexing it for inflation? Yes. An $18 an hour minimum wage? No.

5. To the rank and file: Find some of the anti-commercialistic spirit of the 1960s. Not the pseudo-anticommercialistic spirit of Adbusters type, but real anticommercialism. "Drop out" of that, to riff on Timothy Leary.

6. To the rank and file: Don't have a problem with you, or your leaders, doing occasional self-policing, as long as it's with a light hand. That's part of organization; that's something else that MLK and other civil rights leaders knew.

7. To the rank and file: Take the down time, to the degree you'll have down time from now until Christmas, to start thinking outside the box more. And, that's not just on "physical occupation" vs. other things. I mean, think outside the box about issues, a platform and how to move the American economy into some sort of post-capitalistic direction -- without mindless quasi-Comuninistic wish lists.

No comments: