Here's the thing: our messaging, our strategy, and our tactics must change
based on the external landscape. When we become embraced by the Democratic
Party and its allies, we must go further than what makes them comfortable.
That's if we want to win more than concessions and easy reforms (*that
currently exist within the realm of possibility)*, and achieve game-changing
substantive/structural reforms (*that currently live in the realm of
impossibility*, that we didn't imagine we ever could see in our lifetimes).
We should aim for nothing less -- why aim for closing up shop soon when we
have no idea what we're capable of?
Phase 1 = vanguard moves in, initiates occupation, largely dismissed, but
staying power piques curiosity, and police misconduct/violence draws
attention and wins sympathy.
Phase 2 = vanguards in other cities recognize potential, initiate
occupations. At the same time, initial occupation gathers steam, grows,
large membership orgs endorse and give legitimacy that wasn't present
before, now the mainstream media start to change tune. *Focus of coverage
is human interest story of life in the park; and what do they want?*
Phase 3 = mainstream media interest explodes, NGOs, labor, community, and
establishment orgs engage supporters, connect existing campaigns to #occupy
frame, amplify visibility and suggestion of social movement. Democratic
leadership embrace movement, as do party-related and electorally focused
orgs. * Media coverage attributes power to movement, queries whether it's a
Tea Party for the left, whether it will gain electoral power and legislative
Phase 4 = ?
We currently find ourselves in Phase 3. Senior members of the White House
administration, and the President himself, have expressed support for OWS.
Democracy for America, a Howard Dean initiated group just sent an email
blast to more than a million members tonight selling yard
say "We Are the 99%" with co-branded urls: OccupyWallSt.org and
DemocracyforAmerica.org/occupy. OWS is embraced by the establishment as a
means to amplify existing agendae.
Bloomberg gives tacit "permission" for our occupation, effectively rendering
it non-threatening and normalizing it. *Result is rise in media coverage of
occupation as nuisance to neighbors. *
This is a natural and necessary phase. So now what?
We're in this for the long haul. There are no "solutions" that can be
presented quickly to make us go away. And so there will be moments where our
presence is no longer an uncomfortable and unknown variable, but rather is
normalized and integrated. It's in those moments that we have to push the
envelop, pry open the space of possibility even farther. We go as far as we
can to destabalize, but maintain momentum. And when that's the new "normal"
then we go farther. That's how change happens, how we shift the terrain and
the terms of the game.
From an actions perspective, that means getting tactical, and mobile,
activating the rest of the city, executing higher-risk actions, civil
disobedience and arrests.
From a media perspective, we have to get ahead of the game. We no longer
need to legitimize. Or articulate the problem. Both are clearly
established. So, given this new moment how can we use media strategically?
We must draw a line, disavow the Democrats explicitly, make our messaging a
little uncomfortable. Yes, perhaps, split the support, lest we not be
co-opted. This will be painful, internally, as it won't always achieve
comfortable consensus. But to hold this space and expand the realm of
possibility, we have to go farther than others are ready to go. It's how
this started and we can't be too shy to be bold.
On Tue, Oct 11, 2011 at 11:43 PM, William Dobbs <duch...@mindspring.com>wrote:
** ** ** **
Savants – idiots and otherwise—say the Democratic Party operates a large
and well-known junkyard for social movements. ****
I’d like to know more about the system that is in place to prevent it. **
*From:* firstname.lastname@example.org [mailto:
email@example.com] *On Behalf Of *Ed Needham
*Sent:* Tuesday, October 11, 2011 11:35 PM
*Subject:* Re: Article: Can OWS be turned into a Democratic Party
we will see a great deal of this sort of thing come along. every group who
believes they can profit from endorsing or promoting ows or parts of its
especially politicians. and i think we have a pretty good system in place
to prevent any iota of co-opting anywhere.
that said, it is a measured re-enforcement of our capacity to effect change
immediately. when politicians start picking up your verbage and tone, it's a
On Tue, Oct 11, 2011 at 9:34 PM, Tyler Combelic <tyler.combe...@gmail.com>
Sent from my iPhone****
On Oct 11, 2011, at 9:16 PM, Patrick Bruner <pmubru...@gmail.com> wrote:
Solidarity with the Novemeber 6thhttp://www.tarsandsaction.org/march
on the White House would be a good way to spin on message and against
the Pres and Obama.
Is this something that can be handled in house or should calls of
solidarity originate from GA? or other working groups? Before this
solidarity has mostly been handled through direct action in solidarity
with the principles of GA, which seems untenable given the rapid
expansion of the movement.
On Oct 11, 8:19 pm, Kira Annika <kira.ann...@gmail.com> wrote:
This is terrible. At least they point out why it's completely
hypocritical for dems to take us under their wing. Blech. Turn left, guys.
Let's talk about this when we talk about messaging.
Sent from my iPhone
On Oct 11, 2011, at 7:27 PM, Mark Bray <markbra...@gmail.com> wrote:
Need to prioritize talking about this before it's too late. Since we
are thought of has having no direction, these kinds of superficial
attempts by dems could sap our strength.
When I first wrote in defense of the Occupy Wall Street protests a
couple of weeks ago, I suggested that much of the scorn then being
expressed by many progressives was “grounded in the belief that the
only valid form of political activism is support for Democratic Party
candidates.” Since then, even the most establishment Democrats have
fundamentally changed how they talk about the protests — from
condescension and hostility to respect and even support — and The New
York Times today makes clear one significant factor accounting for
Leading Democratic figures, including party fund-raisers and a top
ally of President Obama, are embracing the spread of the anti-Wall
Street protests in a clear sign that members of the Democratic
establishment see the movement as a way to align disenchanted
Americans with their party.
The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, the party’s powerful
House fund-raising arm, is circulating a petition seeking 100,000
party supporters to declare that “I stand with the Occupy Wall Street
The Center for American Progress, a liberal organization run by John
D. Podesta, who helped lead Mr. Obama’s 2008 transition, credits the
protests with tapping into pent-up anger over a political system that
it says rewards the rich over the working class — a populist theme now
being emphasized by the White House and the party. The center has
encouraged and sought to help coordinate protests in different cities.
Judd Legum, a spokesman for the center, said that its direct contacts
with the protests have been limited, but that “we’ve definitely been
publicizing it and supporting it.”
He said Democrats are already looking for ways to mobilize protesters
in get-out-the-vote drives for 2012.
Politico similarly noted today that “the White House wants to make it
clear that President Barack Obama is on the same side as the Occupy
Wall Street protesters.”
Can that scheme work? Can the Occupy Wall Street protests be
transformed into a get-out-the-vote organ of Obama 2012 and the
Democratic Party? To determine if this is likely, let’s review a few
In March, 2008, The Los Angeles Times published an article with the
headline “Democrats are darlings of Wall St“, which reported that both
Obama and Clinton “are benefiting handsomely from Wall Street
donations, easily surpassing Republican John McCain in campaign
contributions.” In June, 2008, Reuters published an article entitled
“Wall Street puts its money behind Obama”; it detailed that Obama had
almost twice as much in contributions from “the securities and
investment industry” and that “Democrats garnered 57 percent of the
contributions from” that industry. When the financial collapse
exploded, then-candidate Obama became an outspoken supporter of the
Wall Street bailout.
After Obama’s election, the Democratic Party controlled the White
House, the Senate and the House for the first two years, and the White
House and Senate for the ten months after that. During this time,
unemployment and home foreclosures were painfully high, while Wall
Street and corporate profits exploded, along with income inequality.
In July, 2009, The New York Times dubbed JPMorgan Chase CEO Jamie
Dimon “Obama’s favorite
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