December 11, 2011

#OWS vs "99 percenters" - a split that's more than semantics?

The San Francisco Chronicle, in a story noting that a number of unions, including those like the longshoremen, with a left-liberal history, are opposing a new plan to blockade the Port of Oakland, notes this:
(S)ome activists in the roughly 30 other Occupy organizations in the Bay Area have also concluded that a port blockade is too extreme. They say confronting police and blockading commerce is as outdated as they now regard the tent cities recently cleared by authorities.

In fact, outside of major cities, some activists so strongly disagree with confrontational tactics that they now call themselves "99 Percenters" rather than "Occupiers."
"The 99 percent is nonconfrontational," said Ellis Goldberg, a marketer who has organized Occupy protests in Dublin and San Ramon. "You don't use a bat to get your point across, and this port action is a bat. It's going to hurt innocents - in this case, port workers and truckers." 
Michele Horaney of Alameda, who helped place an advertisement in The Chronicle last week pushing "99 percent" reform measures including "taxing wealth more and labor less," said she views the split as emblematic of Occupy's growing pains.
"The movement is evolving, and that means there will be many different tactics," Horaney said. "What it will eventually look like, we don't know yet."
That's in part a sidebar of being allegeldly leaderless and demandless: When someone wants to re-orient the movement, "you" can't object. That includes a rhetorical "you" who might try to look like they're speaking for a movement, but, since it's leaderless, they obviously can't be speaking for it. (How's that for "Dadaist," Adbusters? And, yes, Sheldon, that's snarky.)

More seriously, if "everybody" agrees with the idea to go into hibernation and idea incubation for the winter, will we have two more distinct movements emerge in spring, a more utopian Occupy Wall Street, and a more "realist," though still activist but in different (and perhaps more productive) ways "99 percenters"?

Stay tuned indeed.

That said, different movements can indeed sort through different strategies, as well as different focuses and different ideas.

AND ... different PR/marketing/branding.

Maybe a "99 percenters" movement, beyond being less deliberately confrontational, becomes less Dadaist, less theatrical ... and at least makes an effort at deepening its roots in "flyover territory."

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