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First they ignore you, then they laugh at you, then they fight you, then you win. --Mahatma Gandhi

I cut my political and protest movement teeth on the anti-apartheid divestiture movement of the early eighties.

I was thirteen years old when I became a liberal and a human rights advocate. I know this, because I can pinpoint the day on the calendar that I woke the hell up. It was June 16, 1976. That is the date of the Soweto Riots that sparked the undoing of the apartheid regime in South Africa. When Walter Cronkite told me about the riots, and showed me pictures of children -- my generational peers -- who had been killed by police because they revolted against the white-minority government decree that all school instruction would henceforth be taught in Afrikaans, the language of the white minority -- well, that set my bearing "and that's the way it is."

From that day forward, I made it my business to know what was going on in that country, and to stay up to date on the struggle for freedom of the black majority. A year later, when Biko was killed, I sat shiva and wore black for a month. (It was 1977 and I listened to punk, so I can't be sure anyone noticed that I was wearing black for a reason, but I was.)

When I went to college in 1980, there was an active anti-apartheid organization on campus, and I joined up. That is the movement I cut my political teeth on, and it just so happens that we won. In two decades, Nelson Mandela didn't just walk out of prison on Robin Island, he walked into the presidency and he healed his nation with truth, reconcilliation and forgiveness. His election came 18 years after I first stenciled "FREE MANDELA" on a t-shirt. Change happens slowly. If it happens quickly, it yields chaos and the probability of the change turning out to be for the worse instead of the better approaches 1.

With the success we had in our efforts in mind, and with nothing but high hopes for the ground-shift that is afoot in the form of the Occupy Wall Street movement, I have been doing some thinking about what makes for success when social change is on the line. Call them BG's rules for successful radicals, cribbed heavily from the Civil Rights Movement.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

The Occupy Wall Street movement is a real grass-roots movement that is actually rather eerily reminiscent of what they tried to sell the astroturf tea party as back in it's nascent days. Now, the tea party was never a genuine movement, although it did attract some well-meaning and good-intentioned people, most of whom have since dropped out, once they got hip to the fact that the corporatists and theocrats were pulling the strings.

I happen to believe that the very fabric of the republic is in danger of being rendered rags, and I don’t want to see that happen, and not just because the nation owes me a pension at 55, either. I have been thinking about what we did in the eighties and in that context I offer some "lessons learned."

  • The traditional media is your enemy. As we have already seen, their first inclination was to ignore. Then Fox started mocking. Then the rest of the press eventually started paying attention – but they did their fair share of mocking, too. Especially Andrew Ross Sorkin of the New York Times. This deliberate and willful effort to ignore the protests and intentional failure to cover dissenting movements is a deliberate effort to cause confusion about what your movement is about within the mainstream, evening-news-and-morning-paper audiences. This is purposefully done in order to piss you off. If they can piss you off, they can make you appear unreasonable, and we all know what happens to unreasonable people…they either get negative attention, or they get rendered invisible.
  • The movement will be infiltrated. Hell, it already has. While the press sends mixed messages or mocks dissident movements, the corporatists who are threatened by the movement are already busy putting operatives in your midst to both disrupt and co-opt.
  • Only after infiltration is accomplished will the media start paying attention. Indeed, that is how you know they have succeeded in planting moles/operatives in your midst. The media won’t bother covering you until they know what the answers will be to the questions they ask. we have already seen this with Jesse LaGreca. How long do you think it will take for the M$M to get back to interviewing him on camera again?
  • Politicians will start jumping on your bandwagon -- just as soon as it looks safe to do so. At that point, they will start relating tales and waxing nostalgic about how Wall Street corruption is the very reason they got into politics in the first place, way back in seventh grade when they ran for student council.
  • “Non-Partisan” entities will start writing checks – but their checks will come at a cost. They will “help you organize” and “plan strategy.” Once that happens, they control you and the threat you represented is effectively neutralized.

As I keep saying, I want the movement to succeed. I believe that too big to fail is too big to allow. Period. But for the movement to succeed, a few things need to happen.

  • Proclaim the movement to be non-violent and stick to it. Denounce violence. Denounce it with a full-throated roar. The rabblerousers don’t help, in fact, the probability is at least .5, and approaches 1,  that they are plants and operatives sent to infiltrate and discredit your movement.
  • Image matters. In fact, image is not half the battle, it is MOST of the battle. It's a myth that Rosa Parks was simply exhausted after a long day at work and too tired to move, I don't care what three different Women's Studies professors insisted when the topic was brought up in class. No, Rosa Parks was active in the local chapter of the NAACP and she was chosen for the action because she was not threatening -- light skinned, delicate features, slight, modest, soft-spoken; the kind of person who could make a person feel guilty for hating her on spec. In other words, she was the perfect face of the movement.
  • Which brings us to: Pick a sympathetic face for your movement, but make god-damn sure the vetting is done beforehand.
  • Decide on one media point person to do interviews and talk to the press. This person needs to be intelligent, quick-witted, attractive, well spoken and affable; someone who is capable of always putting their best face forward. This means looking good and speaking well and staying on message.
  • Resist those "non-partisan" entities and their giant checkbooks. Better you stay independent.
  • Stay focused on the greed, corruption and social inequality that the plutocracy embodies. This is the part that gives me the greatest amount of heartburn. I'm not seeing focus, and until there is focus, the movement won't be taken seriously. Don't get sidetracked by other stuff...Squirrel! In other words, fight one battle at a time. Win one before you try to fight ten at once. I'm sure the Free Mumia kids are already on the scene, but really, what does their cause have to do with this? Nothing. Nothing tangible, anyway. Let me say it one more time, because it's really fucking important: STAY. FOCUSED.
  • Accept that the movement has already been infiltrated and comport yourselves accordingly. Never completely trust anyone who wasn't there before the beginning.
  • Internalize this: "Believe none of what you hear and only half of what you see," and make it your mantra. Our corporate overlords are masters of illusion and they are out to control you and co-opt your movement. They will do whatever they need to in order to achieve that goal, and employ any means necessary to make sure you fail.
  • Take your inspiration from the lowly army ant…enough of them will pick an elephant’s carcass clean. Go forth and be those ants.

That's it. That's what a battle-weary veteran of a previous campaign has to offer. I can also tell you that nothing, absolutely nothing, feels better than changing the world. One victory nearly twenty years ago, that took twenty years to fight, is still keeping me going. I never completely give up, because I know what's possible.

I hope, in thirty-five years or so, these protesters have a similar tale of success to tell their kids and grandkids who are righteously pissed about  something, because the republic itself -- and the issue of our future, whether we reclaim "We, the people," or become serfs in a corpocracy -- is riding on their success.

Originally posted to Blue Girl on Wed Oct 05, 2011 at 07:55 AM PDT.

Also republished by Anonymous Dkos, Occupy Wall Street, and Community Spotlight.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Tip Jar (208+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    irate, stolen water, Gooserock, not4morewars, aravir, Sark Svemes, martini, jan4insight, TiaRachel, SadieB, Louisiana 1976, Sonoran Left, prfb, yawnimawke, Chitown Kev, plankbob, RandomNonviolence, sleipner, mzinformed, jguzman17, DavidW, xajaxsingerx, Terrapin, sockpuppet, NearlyNormal, KenBee, sailmaker, ruleoflaw, Rhysling, ManhattanMan, jvantin1, wyvern, doesnotworkorplaywellwithothers, badger, DawnN, Ruh Roh, Kimball Cross, YsosadisticGOP, Eileen B, maxschell, ybruti, Beetwasher, undercovercalico, bluicebank, isabelle hayes, deep, satanicpanic, profundo, Gowrie Gal, varro, Zydekos, chimpy, tofumagoo, legendmn, Jersey Girl, HiBob, distributorcap, TomP, no way lack of brain, Arahahex, marinero, denig, Diana in NoVa, Sean Robertson, Box of Rain, Magnifico, spacecadet1, elziax, Odysseus, NamelessGenXer, muddy boots, zerelda, LABobsterofAnaheim, myadestes, science nerd, Via Chicago, bluebird of happiness, dewley notid, puakev, MKinTN, Statusquomustgo, Alice Venturi, Involuntary Exile, pgm 01, peptabysmal, DamselleFly, flatford39, ChocolateChris, petulans, annieli, Einsteinia, blueoasis, mjfgates, dalemac, Ice Blue, nzanne, gloriana, manneckdesign, codobus, pale cold, LucyandByron, kathny, tbird, Arctic Belle, ARS, buckstop, greengemini, Florene, drewfromct, doingbusinessas, BabeInTotalControlofHerself, llbear, coral, mrkvica, GenXangster, Frameshift, Ender, Jeff Simpson, Shuksan Tahoma, TexasTwister, Zinman, kurious, Thinking Fella, seabos84, frostieb, One Pissed Off Liberal, shortgirl, bnasley, boofdah, smellybeast, banjolele, Lisa Lockwood, bmaples, surelyujest, third Party please, bronte17, GiveNoQuarter, FishOutofWater, magicsister, antirove, basquebob, Michael James, begone, Geriw, frisco, SoCalJayhawk, VA Breeze, hyperstation, GeeBee, MeToo, wasatch, fumie, flowerfarmer, erratic, RosyFinch, mookins, ivote2004, poorbuster, Justus, Citizenpower, vahana, Celtic Merlin, AverageJoe42, ogre, Jane Lew, Oh Mary Oh, mofembot, bluesheep, historys mysteries, Question Authority, some other george, letsgetreal, SingerInTheChoir, JayC, Crashing Vor, BrooklynJohnny, cdreid, Wes Lee, lastman, jhop7, SSMir, gsbadj, Coilette, Damnit Janet, asterkitty, MillieNeon, Xapulin, Sylv, Meteor Blades, zeroooo, sarvanan17, jediwashuu, Lily O Lady, Simplify, rebel ga, bwren, the1sage, PBen, greenbastard, Trotskyrepublican, Dixie Liberal, Anthony Page aka SecondComing, 42, domestic goddess, Larsstephens, brown and blue all over, zooecium, barleystraw

    --Blue Girl Everyone gets all het up about "cutting spending" but no one stops to realize that we are *all* someone else's "undeserving other" until the budget axe falls on that which they hold dear.

    by Blue Girl on Wed Oct 05, 2011 at 07:55:12 AM PDT

  •  funny, (48+ / 0-)

    for some reason, earlier, while glancing through the occupied wall street edition, i was reminded  of the alinsky rule that might explain sorkin's ceos quaking in their boots:

    The threat is usually more terrifying than the thing itself.

    occupiers didn't even issue a threat. just the call for transparency and accountability is what these grown men find so threatening.

    smash the chair, bust the needle !

    by stolen water on Wed Oct 05, 2011 at 08:05:17 AM PDT

    •  Accountability terrifies the media, too. (49+ / 0-)

      They're being usurped by blogs, YouTube, twitter and facebook. I say we take it one step further ---- turn our video cameras at the media.

      When the networks and outlets interview protesters, record the interview (and the moments surrounding it) and post it online. That way, when Fox, CNN, ABC, etc. slices, dices, and cherry picks to buoy their own biased agendas -- we can show the whole story.  

      We are the media now. And the old, entrenched media needs to be exposed; they have far too much power and they've abused their power at the expense of democracy. It's time for the 99% to take over.

      The future isn't what it used to be. ~George Carlin
      News about the righteous Occupy Wall Street Protest NYC

      by Eileen B on Wed Oct 05, 2011 at 01:17:03 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  If Fox broadcasts snips of an interview ... (28+ / 0-)

        ... then re-post it on youtube as a split-screen with the actual context. The bystanders's film will show the whole scene, including at least the subject and probably a partial view of the interviewer. It will run for the entire duration of the encounter, and may even keep running for a few debriefing comments if they're clean enough to share. The broadcast version will be shorter, and will only include answers that fit their narrative. It may often cut away from the subject and toward the reporter if the subject fails to appear dangerous or incoherent.

        The side-by-side view would show the Fox version frozen or black during its unused bits, while the bystander version keeps playing. When the subject's audio gets mixed down in favor of the reporter, the comparison can overlay a gag icon on the Fox half of the screen and display a caption of the words that viewers missed.

        Why is there a Confederate Flag flying in Afghanistan?

        by chimpy on Wed Oct 05, 2011 at 01:41:12 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Beautiful! (7+ / 0-)

          The only problem I see is that the side with Fox News coverage would be black nearly all the time.

          Maybe we should insert a video of a small child dressed as a Fox reporter, dropping his microphone and covering his ears while screaming "LA! LA! LA LA la la lalalala I'm not listening la la laa..." on the Fox side of the split screen?

          Ok, but maybe mute the kid - the visual will get the point across. ;)

          The future isn't what it used to be. ~George Carlin
          News about the righteous Occupy Wall Street Protest NYC

          by Eileen B on Wed Oct 05, 2011 at 02:16:17 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

        •  that reminds me of that moment during the campaign (15+ / 0-)

          fox gnews went into a coffee shop in pennsylvania to measure the mccain vs obama support.

          the reporter asked for a show of hands to indicate mccain support. only a few hands went up. he then asked for a show of hands if they supported obama. most of the people in the room raised their hands.

          but then the reporter said something like obama has mild support. and the camera kept a tight shot so the viewer couldn't tell the real number. we only found out that obama supporters had more hands raised after somebody leaked the segment, minus the tight shot.

          it's amazing the lengths they'll go to to manipulate.

          smash the chair, bust the needle !

          by stolen water on Wed Oct 05, 2011 at 03:53:43 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

        •  Heh... Forget Fox, even NPR clips (4+ / 0-)

          need to be presented in their full length, with accompanying context.

          The other day, All Things Considered -- which is no one's idea of a reactionary right propaganda show -- chose as its leading soundbites perhaps the least articulate, or at least the least media-trained, voices that they could turn their mics towards, and used these clips as evidence that "there is no underlying message" to the Occupation.

          To be scrupulously fair, they did follow up with interviews from young, smart, and polished activists from Boston and Chicago, respectively, who did a good job of giving the movement a reasonable face. But the damage was done: the meme had been reinforced that, however polished these interviewees were by themselves, the movement as a whole was ostensibly "inchoate" and "without an underlying message."

          (I mean, really, how willfully stupid does one have to be not to get the "message" of a movement that, in the wake of a financial crisis, an egregious bailout, and the ongoing push for deficit cutting austerity measures, has occupied Wall Street?)

          In any event, I don't even think that we can assume, as per the diarist (whose diary I love, incidentally), that NPR's intention here is deliberately sinister. I think, if anything, NPR has been steeped in decades of post-1960s, post-Seattle journalistic techniques for representing grassroots protest, and it probably doesn't even give a thought anymore regarding the specific content of a given protest.

          Beyond that, of course, there's the broader problem that David Simon, producer of The Wire, has made, and that is that in an era of axed foreign desks and culled newsrooms, journalistic institutions are mere shadows of what they once were, and are only equipped to get the most narrow-banded understanding of a given news event. They no longer have the time or resources to put boots on the ground, and must make their first impression the only impression, especially if that first impression is a "Squirrel!" or shiny object.

          Nothing requires a greater effort of thought than arguments to justify the rule of non-thought. -- Milan Kundera

          by Dale on Thu Oct 06, 2011 at 07:09:53 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  Media bottleneck vs slow, complex messaging (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            BlackNGreen
            ... that in an era of axed foreign desks and culled newsrooms, journalistic institutions are mere shadows of what they once were, and are only equipped to get the most narrow-banded understanding of a given news event. They no longer have the time or resources to put boots on the ground ...

            With those smaller staffs, the "content providers" are struggling ever harder to produce compelling minutes to keep you in your seat between commercials. No wonder they prefer messages delivered over the transom in neat little packages, including video press releases. For outlets who still want to pretend to do their own reporting, there are lists of suggested "neutral" commentators and even preprocessed quotes and b-roll.

            To be fair, the movement really hasn't given the media a simple, sound-bite ready quote that summarizes its philosophy. To me, it might mean economic policies that are fair to all, or even more generally, that "No Power Without Accountability" applies to economic power as well as political power. Others, I hope, will bring more specific means to address our problems of money-driven politics, such as expanding the number of Congressional seats to rebalance the electoral college, or reforming the Senate rules of debate.

            This is by design, of course, since the demands have to flow from the process which the occupation is itself making possible via the General Assembly. At least NPR (via The Nation) seems to notice this process and its relation to the people and their broad goals:

            The Nation: We Are All Human Microphones

            "Mic check?" someone implores.

            "MIC CHECK!" the crowd shouts back, more or less in unison.

            The thing is—there's no microphone. New York City requires a permit for "amplified sound" in public, something that the pointedly unpermitted Occupy Wall Street lacks. This means that microphones and speakers are banned from Liberty Plaza, and the NYPD has also been interpreting the law to include battery-powered bullhorns. ...

            ...But the protesters aren't deterred one bit; they've adopted an ingeniously simple people-powered method of sound amplification. After the mic check, the meeting proceeds:

            with every few words/ WITH EVERY FEW WORDS!

            repeated and amplified out loud/REPEATED AND AMPLIFIED OUT LOUD!

            ...

            Okay, that wasn't really related, but it's a pretty good read, so click through to read about the not-quite mainstream media's take on the human mic. The story does continue, ...

            But the greatest hidden virtue of the human mic has been the quality that almost every observer has reflexively lamented: it is slow. ... Imagine collectively debating and writing the Port Huron Statement, by consensus, three to five words at a time.

            But really, what is the goddamn rush? ... As days go by and as the press attention heats up, the occupiers will be under increasing pressure to speed things up: to issue a list of demands, appoint spokespeople, nominate leaders, enumerate an agenda. I'm not sure they should go there—they did manage, over two weeks, to arrive at a consensus for a first statement, which if you think about it is a mind-boggling achievement—but if they do decide on demands, it will be at a plodding pace over the human mic. ...

            The rest we can figure out; the protesters plan to be there through the winter, so we have plenty of time. Think of it as slow growth activism, one that poses a provocative counter-model to Wall Street's regime of instant profits. ...

            The tea partiers had a concise message before they even started: taxed enough already. To call it an oversimplification is too generous, as it was a clear lie: the tea partiers were mostly just fine with taxes, as long as people like themselves were the beneficiaries. But, it was a simple enough message that it got repeated by simple reporters.

            So, maybe one message that the media can successfully digest is: People who hope to govern themselves have to be okay with thinking hard and discussing complex issues.

            Why is there a Confederate Flag flying in Afghanistan?

            by chimpy on Thu Oct 06, 2011 at 09:01:26 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

        •  That is an excellent idea!!! (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          chimpy

          Thanks!

          Namaste!

    •  Pace yourself, eat well, sleep, expect long haul (20+ / 0-)

      Lessons learned from Vietnam.

      You can't live on adrenaline without crashing and burning.  Prepare for a long, long struggle.  Eat as healthily as you can, get enough sleep, give and receive encouragement.  Expect and be patient with setbacks.  Laugh when you can because laughter is healthy for you.  If you need to take a break, take a break.

      Don't return evil for evil.  Show the world your goodness, self-control and restraint.  

      You're in this for the long haul, so do what it takes to keep your body and soul strong.  And remember that you are loved, admired and appreciated.  You're doing this because it's the right thing to do, but accept  the love, admiration and appreciation as a well-deserved bonus.

  •  do you know why mandela (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    martini, Louisiana 1976, mookins, pot

    decided to go with the neoliberal model?

    smash the chair, bust the needle !

    by stolen water on Wed Oct 05, 2011 at 08:15:42 AM PDT

    •  from what i remember he didn't want the same out (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      mookins

      come in south africa as what happened in angola.

      To sin by silence when they should protest makes cowards of men~~ Abraham Lincoln

      by Tanya on Wed Oct 05, 2011 at 08:15:43 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Naomi Klein, in *The Shock Doctrine,* (0+ / 0-)

      argues that in years following de Klerk's dismantling of the apartheid state, the political spheres of reform (ie., constitutional questions of free speech, rights of representation, civil liberties, etc.) and the economic spheres (banking/monetary policy, etc.) were handled separately. Consequently, those engaged in the very public debates around the political sphere lost control of the agenda in the area of economics, where all kinds of World Bank/IMF types were establishing the Washington Consensus model at the heart of the post-apartheid state.

      The idea being that Mandela and his political supporters may have actually lost sovereignty over S. African economic policy at a crucial moment.

      That's the gist of the argument, anyway.

      Nothing requires a greater effort of thought than arguments to justify the rule of non-thought. -- Milan Kundera

      by Dale on Thu Oct 06, 2011 at 07:17:50 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Then she's wrong. (0+ / 0-)

        You might want to read a book by an actual South African.

        •  And you might want to find another way (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          RandomNonviolence

          to your ideas, seeing as you'd like to persuade us that you're right and all. Catch more flies with honey, that sort of thing.

          Just a thought. After all, my comment wasn't particularly acerbic in tone or anything. I also note that you don't actually tell us what did happen, just that I am "wrong," and that I should go fly a kite, proverbially speaking.

          Sorry for contributing.

          Nothing requires a greater effort of thought than arguments to justify the rule of non-thought. -- Milan Kundera

          by Dale on Thu Oct 06, 2011 at 01:16:53 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  Klein sounds like a blathering idiot (0+ / 0-)

            when she writes about South Africa.  Putting aside the details of her counter factual explanation, let's just look at the overall theoretical posture.

            Klein's theory is based on what happened in Chile when Pinochet took over.  So, when Pinochet and his minions backed by U. Chicago boys come in, that's the shock doctrine.

            When she writes about SA, she is saying that when Nelson Mandela came to office and there was black majority rule, then the shock doctrine came in.

            In other words, to Klein:

            Nelson Mandela = Augusto Pinochet
            ANC, black majority rule = rule of the Prussian Chilean generals.

            OK, so Klein is a blathering idiot and borderline racist when she tries to talk about South Africa, equating black majority rule with neo liberal Latin American fascism.

            That's just for starters.

            Now, look at the factual details.  When the Mandela administration came to power, their "economic policy" was embodied in a document called the "Reconstruction and Development Programme."  Wiki gets it factually right even if Klein and her followers don't want to read facts -- namely, that the Mandela administration's economic policy was put together by a team that represented the administration and the ANC constituency, through extensive consultation with SA's biggest trade union, Congress of South African Trade Unions (COSATU) and the South African Communist Party (SACP):

            Reconstruction and Development Programme (RDP) is a South African socio-economic policy framework implemented by the African National Congress (ANC) government of Nelson Mandela in 1994 after months of discussions, consultations and negotiations between the ANC, its Alliance partners the Congress of South African Trade Unions and the South African Communist Party, and "mass organisations in the wider civil society".

            OK, so where the fuck is the IMF and World Bank in the formulation of Mandela's economic policy?  Klein is a bald faced liar.  The man put in charge of carrying out the RDP was the head of the SACP, Joe Slovo, and the first goal was building 1 million low cost homes, which he did.  Unfortunately, he died of cancer shortly after completing his task (btw, Slovo was a white, Jewish communist lawyer and the highest ranking officials of the ANC's  military wing in exile.)

            In fact, at the time, the IMF was whining and complaining that SA was "under lent" and "under indebted" because apartheid SA had been excluded from the international third world debt markets as a result of sanctions -- ie, the IMF had no leverage over SA because the country wasn't indebted.  So tell me, oh wise disciple of the great Klein, how did the IMF dictate economic policy to the Mandela administration if SA had few international debts, which is what the IMF uses to enforce its policies?

            The WB did have an role, not as creditor, but as experts.  But the WB was incredibly divided.  The "true progressives, " "purists" and "frustrati" can't on the one hand condemn everything that came out of the WB at the time, while also demanding that Obama hire Joe Stiglitz over Tim Geithner, because Stiglitz was chief economist of the WB.  

            The WB person who most influenced SA economic policy was a guy named Klaus Deininger.  But Deininger, one of the WB senior staff from the left, was advocating rapid expropriation of property from white farmers and turning the land over to blacks.  You can read it for yourself in the journal, World Development.  

            One of the first things the Mandela administration did was to issue an executive order making food and medical care free for poor children.  They then went on to enact wide ranging land redistribution statutes.  Klein claims that land reform was rendered impossible -- which just shows she hadn't read anything.  Before you tell me the Mandela administration was neo liberal, you need to read the Green Paper on Land Reform, the White Paper on Land Reform, the White Paper on the Reconstruction and Development Programme, the Land Reform for Labour Tenants Act, the Land Restitution Act, and the Extension of Security of Tenure Act.  Then get back to me with your stupid Klein originated conspiracy theories.

            It is true that once Mandela retired and Mbeki took over, the government lurched in a neo liberal direction.  But that was because Mbeki was a Leninist, trained in Moscow, and hence a materialist, while Slovo was a democratic socialist.  People like Klein tend to "over determine" what happened in SA, as though the west was all powerful and calling the shots, while what really was happening was a free for all political scrum with lots of people and factions trying to figure out who would take over after Mandela and the Leninist-materialists under Mbeki won, in part because of stupid shit like family connections and the message discipline of the far left.  All the democratic socialists like Cyril Ramaphosa and Derek Hanekom got chucked out of government and the Leninists adopted neo liberal polices because they believed that capitalism had to advance in order for the eventual Leninist revolution to succeed.  Fortunately, SA is still a profoundly democratic and rowdy country and they chucked Mbeki out of power using internal ANC party mechanisms and parliamentary procedure while lefties in the US were whining over the fact that they could not impeach George W. Bush.

            What's so depressing about this little irrelevant sub thread is that it shows that Americans are willing to believe the most counter factual bullshit when it comes to the politics of obscure third world countries.  Mandela, a neo liberal?  Really?  What the fuck are you guys smoking???????

            •  I've touched a nerve, evidently, and I'm sorry. (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              RandomNonviolence

              I do appreciate your taking the time to actually lay out your argument. Not everyone does that.

              At the same time, I'm kind of at a loss as to how you think you're going to educate people on these important issues if you insist on framing them in such a sneering, abusive way.

              I laid out what my recollection was of Klein's position. You're welcome to argue that it's wrong, you're welcome to dismiss her as a blithering idiot (though she clearly must be doing something right, as her take on the 'shock doctrine' has become one of the most influential narratives on the left). But I don't see where you can jump from that to a caustic, vituperative rant about us "Americans" (I'm Canadian, as it turns out) and what we appear to be smoking.

              I'm willing to learn more about the contemporary situation in South Africa. But you've just made it exponentially more difficult for me to want to listen to what you have to say about it.

              Nothing requires a greater effort of thought than arguments to justify the rule of non-thought. -- Milan Kundera

              by Dale on Thu Oct 06, 2011 at 04:45:24 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  Offensive arguments deserve "sneering" (0+ / 0-)

                Klein's argument, that Nelson Mandela is like Augusto Pinochet is offensive, as is her assumption that black majority rule is a "disaster" that allowed "disaster capitalism," on par with the coup by Chile's murderous Prussian officer corps.  

                Africa is a blank canvas for almost all North Americans, including Klein, which allows them to project all sorts of preposterous, offensive fantasies and delusions upon it.  

                Her usual schtick is that dictatorships allow unpopular neo-liberal policies to be imposed on a population.  But South Africa in 1993 had experienced one of the most profound and widespread democratic upheavals in 20th century history -- with civic associations, party branches, trade union locals, student congresses, blanketing the country.  These leaders, activists, academic experts, lawyers, civil rights agitators, etc., were drawn into this vast constitutional negotiation.  I was there -- I had press credentials for the Multi Party talks.  The idea that this vast mobilization of South African society was sidelined by "IMF and World Bank" experts, at a time when there was little external debt is so preposterous that it is offensive.  Just how would two or three guys with brief cases over ride hundreds of thousands of local leaders, experts and activists?  How would that happen?  Just how did political negotiation get separated from economic negotiation -- I've read tens of thousands of pages of documents generated by the transition and I saw no such separation.  

                It would happen only if, as Klein seems to assume, Africans are slack jawed, knuckle dragging dimwits who abandoned 50 years of policy commitment and progressive research to swallow what the "white man" from over seas was peddling.  It would happen if this vast democratic uprising never happened but was instead a coup by Nelson "Pinochet" Mandela.  

                Klein's "shock doctrine" theory of South Africa has a problem of not being able to coherently identify a "shock."  So she characterizes Nelson Mandela himself as a sort of zombie shocked by 20+ years in prison, unable to tell the difference between a microphone and a gun, easily bamboozled into accepting neo liberal policies -- a characterization of the icon that is profoundly at odds with his own account in his autobiography, as well as at odds with pretty much the descriptions of every politicians or journalist who has met him.  And besides, the ANC was a massive collective with plenty of experts in economic development and not the vehicle for a single leader.

                Well it never happened the way Klein thinks it did.  It's just Klein projecting her fantasies onto the country she knew nothing about to make it fit her theory.  She deserves to be sneered at and ridiculed.

                As for her theory being a "popular meme" in the left blogosphere, so are Ron Paul's memes about the Federal Reserve.  Just because they are "popular memes" doesn't mean they are accurate or the least bit logical.  

                But hey, if facts, citations to laws and government documents, and chronology offend your sensitivities such that it is "exponentially" more difficult to listen to them, then by all means hold on to your "popular memes."

                •  I'm trying to learn. (0+ / 0-)

                  Sorry I don't have access to all the facts, all at once.

                  What's offensive is not your careful illustration of the facts, for which I am grateful -- you certainly do seem to know a lot about the issue, a great deal more than Klein, it seems. And I wouldn't take issue with your criticism that, having come up with the hammer of "shock doctrine" theory, every distinct local situation begins to look like a nail. She's more than a little too sweeping in her generalizations.  

                  No, the offensiveness lies in the sweeping argument that us North Americans are a credulous and stupid lot that aren't worth your time, or the effort of explication.

                  Have fun with that approach.

                  Nothing requires a greater effort of thought than arguments to justify the rule of non-thought. -- Milan Kundera

                  by Dale on Fri Oct 07, 2011 at 08:49:56 AM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

    •  He didn't. Get your facts straight. (0+ / 0-)

      It's depressing reading DK sometimes.  

      •  Incidentally, I note that (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        RandomNonviolence

        you seem to essentially agree with Naomi Klein -- that he didn't embrace the neoliberal model! Which is what you just said!

        So why did you jump down my throat when I cited her?

        Nothing requires a greater effort of thought than arguments to justify the rule of non-thought. -- Milan Kundera

        by Dale on Thu Oct 06, 2011 at 01:18:53 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  We've Come to Obsess on Any 1 Thing Saving (36+ / 0-)

    the country, over the past 20 years or so. Howard Dean must do this, Randi Rhodes must say that, one guy in front of the White House must put such and such on his sign.

    If you go back to my time, the 60's, or any time of real change there were thousands and thousands of protests, strikes, activists, performance artists, commentators and such. We tend to reverse-engineer key moments like the blacks' March on Washington into being much more conclusive than they really were, and as we should understand from your mention of your 20 year struggle, we tend to think past transformations happened far faster than they really did.

    Audio-video I'm seeing suggests the Occupy people have some very knowledgeable help on hand, informed by experience spanning generations right up to the present.

    But that experience needs to teach the rest of us that no one protest, short of a national mideast-style uprising the likes of which America has never come close to producing, will do the job.

    You've given some excellent advice for future protests, strikes and such which will need to come along before the establishment moves to the extent all humanity needs American leadership to move.

    "Occupy" is a great national followup, by different interests, to the union-led protests and repeal/recall activism in a number of states earlier in the year. There will be and there must be more, and some of it must be far less polite. Your advice will be very helpful.

    We are called to speak for the weak, for the voiceless, for victims of our nation and for those it calls enemy.... --ML King "Beyond Vietnam"

    by Gooserock on Wed Oct 05, 2011 at 08:25:38 AM PDT

    •  Message of 99% is great...that's a focus (5+ / 0-)

      that will carry weight. Too specific and they will begin to pick you off and shoot you down.

      As for everything else on this list, I heartily agree. Especially the part about infiltrators and people pushing violence. Be aware and skeptical.

      Nonviolence is the only way a movement like this can survive.

      Skepticism of all the elite institutions, not trust, is what required for successful leadership in this era. Digby

      by coral on Wed Oct 05, 2011 at 04:47:14 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  I agree. The 99% vs the 1% (3+ / 0-)

        is eat-your-mercenary-little-heart-out-Frank-Luntz brilliant. . .something to which everyone can instantly relate (Are you a billionaire?  No?  Then you're a 99%-er), no matter what their own most important issues are.  It's a nearly all-encompassing concept that overarches the entire OWS movement like a giant inclusive umbrella.  

        And the powers-that-be absolutely hate it because it is so damned good.  All you have to do is look at the way they've had their MSM minions out there nonstop since Day 1 pushing the talking point that "This movement has no focus."  LOL.  They know that  its focus is so self-evident that it resonates with just about everybody that hears about  it (so much so that stacks of people left their offices in Manhattan today to join up with the marchers) and it scares the shit out of them!  

        I ♥ OccupyWallStreet! The first American Occupation we can all get behind!

        by big spoiled baby on Wed Oct 05, 2011 at 11:48:06 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  Agree! (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        RandomNonviolence, Sylv

        We are the 99% has emerged naturally as a powerful message that can be echoed in millions of ways and everybody gets it.

        Namaste!

    •  learn how to use the press to you advantage. don't (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      mookins, Jane Lew

      alienate them in general.

      To sin by silence when they should protest makes cowards of men~~ Abraham Lincoln

      by Tanya on Wed Oct 05, 2011 at 08:18:15 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Might want to add (41+ / 0-)

    Step away from the tie dye clothes. Wear nice clothes. Slacks, not jeans, suits, dresses, skirts, golf shirt, etc. All I'm seeing on the TV are hippies.

    As a commenter in another diary said, people won't come out until they see people that look like them-an uncle, a grandmother, retired veteran, etc.

    I learned from my frustration with the Legalize Pot marches/rallies. People saw the marchers, and dismissed them as just some fucking stoner hippies. It doesn't help the cause at all.

    So please, dress nice.

    (I was a hippie, I like hippies, but sometimes you have to change your attire to gain your goals)

    U.S. For Profit Healthcare: Haven't they buried enough of us-yet?

    by Sark Svemes on Wed Oct 05, 2011 at 09:13:14 AM PDT

  •  Thanks for this, Blue Girl (17+ / 0-)

    The suggestions you've made are critical from a logistics perspective.  The undercurrent of your message is absolutely correct.

    Tea Party manifesto: We're resigned to our collective fate because we don't want no stinkin' collective future with the likes of you

    by Richard Cranium on Wed Oct 05, 2011 at 09:14:54 AM PDT

  •  Great diary, thanks! n/t (5+ / 0-)

    I dreamed I saw Joe Hill last night, alive as you and me.

    by plankbob on Wed Oct 05, 2011 at 12:22:16 PM PDT

  •  the thing about infiltrators (20+ / 0-)

    is huge IMO.

    It can be a double bind. Wariness about infiltrators can disrupt connections and communication . Lack of such vigilance can also do harm.

    One of my observations, specifically on this point (and thinking about the various guises of infiltrators I've run into over time):

    Movements all too often lack what I could call a gut-check element. That is, people who are internally sensitive to deception, whose sensitivity is honed and able to be used (many people with this sense don't know how to use it in a system packed full of decpetion as this one is).

    An - this is quite often where things fall apart - that gut-sense would need to be respected by others in order to be put to use for the movement/group.organization etc.

    The loss of this function in movements has grieved me quite deeply over the years.

    •  How to deal with infiltrators (27+ / 0-)

      You have to assume your movement is full of infiltrators because it probably is.

      Some tips on dealing with it:

      1. Act right. The media will distort anything you do and show the worst video clips they can find. So do your best not to have anything happen that you would be embarrassed to see on national TV and shown 10,000 times. In a pre-figurative movement, that means acting the way people would act in a good society: honest, responsible, tolerant, compassionate, nonviolent, bold, a strong challenger of injustice, etc. It's hard, but do your best.

      2. Encourage others to act right. Infiltrators want you to look bad, you need to challenge people to act right and look good.

      3. Make clear decisions and stick with them. Don't let a few people make spontaneous decisions that others have not agreed to. Dumb ideas can get weeded out through good and broad discussion. Once good ideas are endorsed, then stick with them until you can have another good and broad discussion.

      4. Don't let anyone have too much power. Power corrupts and everyone - even really goodhearted people - can be corrupted (or just have a bad day and act out). It is especially easy for people to be corrupted if they are police/corporate infiltrators - they've already been corrupted. So defuse power as widely as possible while still making sure that everyone who is given some power uses it well, that is, acts responsibly. One way is to take on more responsibility yourself and ask others to take on more.

      5. Don't get paranoid. Attacking people you disagree with by calling them an infiltrator/provocateur is not very nice, especially if it is not true. So be slow to accusation and quick to defend - as long as people are willing to change their behavior (see point 1 above). Goodhearted people will usually back down when gently, quietly, and compassionately challenged.

      6. Reach out to sympathetic organizations, media, everyone. Honest, goodhearted effort sways ordinary people a lot - especially in this vicious, cynical world. Our opponents are much better at being dishonest, duplicitous, and violent - we can never compete with them on that level. But we can are better at honesty, compassion, etc. And no one really likes dishonesty, duplicitousness, and violence - especially when it is directed at them. So seek to convert everyone to our side - police, media, etc. - and work with those who want to help - unions, community groups, etc. Much of the effort will fail, but some of it will work and will reap big benefits - just look how good those three young women looked compared to the police officer who pepper-sprayed them. That video went viral because most people want a good society, not one dominated by jerks.

      7. Do your best. We're not perfect and will make lots of mistakes. Forgive yourself, forgive others, focus on doing better in the future, keep your eyes on the prize, and fight like hell to bring about real progressive change. It's hard, but try.

    •  Assume anyone could be an infiltrator (5+ / 0-)

      Assume that anyone could be an infiltrator. But also assume that they're probably a friend.

      Keep to the goals, and keep non-violent. If someone's acting up, or making suggestions that you're uncomfortable with, set him right. It doesn't matter whether he's a paid provocateur, or just on edge from being deprived of both last night's sleep and last decade's prosperity. Talk him down from misbehaving. Explain your goal, and explain how that goal is worth the discipline of both message and behavior.

      Either way, you're doing society and your movement a favor: you're building up an ally, or frustrating a would-be enemy.

      Why is there a Confederate Flag flying in Afghanistan?

      by chimpy on Wed Oct 05, 2011 at 01:53:51 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Infiltrators have happened... (7+ / 0-)

      There were incidences here in L.A. back in the day with policemen and others, but I tend to think their numbers are usually vastly exaggerated in the heat of the moment. Also, if they're cops -- and for the most part, who else would they be? -- it shouldn't be too hard to spot them.

      I'd say the rule of thumb is be extremely wary of anyone supporting anything remotely violent or loose-cannon illegal (as opposed to organized civil disobedience). They're likely either provocateurs or just nucking futs and, in either case, should be avoided.

      Forward to Yesterday -- Reactionary aesthetics and liberal politics (in that order)

      by LABobsterofAnaheim on Wed Oct 05, 2011 at 02:15:28 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  I saw a tweet @ a guy in a grey hoodie and (5+ / 0-)

      a Guy Fawkes mask talking into a police radio on the first day of the occupation.  I think the occupyers have known of possible infiltrators from day one.

      Never meddle in the affairs of cats, for they are subtle and will piss on your computer.--Bruce Graham

      by Ice Blue on Wed Oct 05, 2011 at 04:05:56 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Infiltrators have more time to devote to (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Calamity Jean

      the movement. (Because they are being paid). That's why they are difficult to spot and avoid.

      Skepticism of all the elite institutions, not trust, is what required for successful leadership in this era. Digby

      by coral on Wed Oct 05, 2011 at 04:49:51 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  I was raised in protest movements (24+ / 0-)

    and your rules are the God's honest truth.  I hope that the people who started this movement read this.

    Rosa Parks went to an a civil rights training camp in Tennessee nine months before she sat down.  No great movement can succeed without training and planning.

    Credulant (adj): Something that is not fully credible because it is unsourced but it sounds true so it is accepted without argument.

    by xajaxsingerx on Wed Oct 05, 2011 at 12:48:32 PM PDT

  •  i added this in your other thread: (8+ / 0-)

    don't accept partial resolutions, and be prepared to stick with this long-term. this isn't about easy answers and a quick fix. this is the beginning of something: the future.

    48forEastAfrica - Donate to Oxfam (The cold passion for truth hunts in no pack. -Robinson Jeffers)

    by Laurence Lewis on Wed Oct 05, 2011 at 01:16:12 PM PDT

  •  The problem with this (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Marcus Graly, HiBob

    movement really is the issue of declared objectives and focus.  If the focus is reform of a corrupted financial system, perp walks for bankers etc.  there are a lot of Independents and conservative leaning people who could be enticed into the movement or at least would peripherally support it.   If the focus is the usual leftist radical  tripe about changing the American system into some economically dysfunctional  socialist paradise, support will be limited.  

    •  "Usual leftist radical tripe"? (11+ / 0-)

      I think your comment, which started off well, ran headlong into a brick wall of irrelevancy at that phrase.

      We reach for the stars with shaking hands in bare-knuckle times.

      by TheOrchid on Wed Oct 05, 2011 at 01:54:15 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  What? (6+ / 0-)
      If the focus is the usual leftist radical  tripe about changing the American system into some economically dysfunctional  socialist paradise, support will be limited.
      Pssst...your contempt for liberals is showing...

      Arrrr, the laws of science be a harsh mistress. -Bender B. Rodriguez

      by democracy inaction on Wed Oct 05, 2011 at 02:47:28 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  It's not objectives, it's values (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      RandomNonviolence, Jane Lew, Sylv

      If you declare an objective, then you silo yourself--only the others who want that objective first will move out with you.

      This movement (to me, observing from Middle America because our Occupy doesn't start until Saturday) seems more a declaration of values--a protest against that whole "you're on your own" ideal that's perpetually thrust out by the likes of Herman Cain and the Tea Party message of "it's all your fault if you're poor/sick/unemployed/lost everything" and the underlying idea that you (the 99%) aren't worth taxpayer money.

      I think the movement's gained so much traction because it's a values discussion--things aren't right when so many tried so hard and followed the rules and still got screwed, that this transcends the demand for a specific single action. It's saying we have to change the way we keep score.

      How does the Republican Congress sit down with all the butthurt over taxing the wealthy?

      by athenap on Wed Oct 05, 2011 at 03:54:34 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  with messaging like that we're going nowhere (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      congenitalefty, Calamity Jean

      perp walks? what a waste of a moment that would be.

      this has to be boiled down to what those casual viewers the diarist mentions can digest quickly. i suggest something along the following lines.

      1. the banks crashed our economy and created the mess we are in now.
      2. ALL OF US bailed them out at great cost just so we could avoid disaster.
      3. they owe ALL OF US

      the point is to connect this to bigger political trends just like that tea party moment on CNBC did. then it was a bullshit rant against bailouts by the very people benefiting from them, but it reasonated with people who didn't understand what was happening but just knew they were pissed. that is what's needed here.

      boil it down the simplest issues: WE bailed them out because we had too. THEY owe ALL of US for it.

  •  And the protest is only the most visible... (9+ / 0-)

    ...manifestation of the movement.

    The real change will come with people talking to other people, both in-person and online.

    Bank of America and the other megabanks have pissed off a lot of people with their fee-charging, and while it may seem like a small thing, the Velvet Revolution of Czechoslovakia in 1989 was sparked by the police attacking a police brutality protest, and the revolution followed.

    9-11 changed everything? Well, Katrina changed it back.

    by varro on Wed Oct 05, 2011 at 01:26:04 PM PDT

    •  Remember 1968? (3+ / 0-)

      Or probably most here don't. If it hadn't been for Czechoslovakian "Prague" Spring, the Velvet Revolution might not have happened 20 years later.

      This is the "beginning" indeed. We are fighting huge, entrenched, unfathomably wealthy, global power elite.

      It won't be easy, and progress will be measure in inches, not miles. But when change happens, it will seem sudden.

      Skepticism of all the elite institutions, not trust, is what required for successful leadership in this era. Digby

      by coral on Wed Oct 05, 2011 at 04:54:39 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  nice! (3+ / 0-)

    now on to victory

    when you have the elite (read Mittens Romney) calling the protestors - Class Warfarers - you know they are getting scared.

    we have to stick with it - we cant accept disappointments as a defeat

    He may talk like an idiot, and look like an idiot, but don't let that fool you: he really is an idiot...Groucho Marx

    by distributorcap on Wed Oct 05, 2011 at 01:37:26 PM PDT

  •  you do realize that South Africa is (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    primeq

    a mess?  right now??

    that the white elite knew how to suck all the radicalism out of the movement and hand over a loss?

    "Until we know how to safely dispose of the radioactive materials generated by nuclear plants, we should postpone these activities so as not to cause further harm to future generations" Dr Shoji Sawada

    by BlueDragon on Wed Oct 05, 2011 at 01:47:17 PM PDT

  •  I'm so glad these kids are on the scene (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    relentless

    My generation is exhausted with the fight.

    Tell us where to send checks in support of the network - I want to donate to the coordination team. Bring in a few pros.

    We don't have a Koch Bros.

  •  Well done, blue girl (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    mookins

    Hope all the people who need to see this will read it.  Good, common-sensical advice.

    "Religion is what keeps the poor from murdering the rich."--Napoleon

    by Diana in NoVa on Wed Oct 05, 2011 at 01:49:53 PM PDT

  •  I would add... (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    MKinTN, Radiowalla, Jane Lew

    ...choose one message and stick with it.  Many people weilding one message is like the tip of a sword.  Many people with many messages are like sand, blown away at the first breeze.

    We reach for the stars with shaking hands in bare-knuckle times.

    by TheOrchid on Wed Oct 05, 2011 at 01:55:47 PM PDT

  •  One other one: choose tactics you find fun (7+ / 0-)

    This one is often overlooked, but Alinsky makes a huge deal of it in his book and it is very important.  Participating in the movement shouldn't make you miserable---you should be enjoying it.  

    Also, no one is going to stay committed to something that they don't like & don't have to do, and are only doing b/c they feel guilty.  If they're having fun, they'll come back on their own.  

    •  You are right. 2 word: STONEWALL RIOTS. (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      mookins, Calamity Jean, bosdcla14

      ...When a bunch of drunk drag queens and homeless gay kids partying in a bar that got busted by cops in 1969 turned a group of people that most of society listed with murderers and pedophiles into a bona-fide social movement that is currently within a decade of full legal equality.  

      They were not very disciplined - in fact they were much less disciplined than the previous leaders of the movement that insisted on suits and ties, but were not nearly as successful as the next wave.  But they made it fun.  They made it into something that they could sustain for a long time even when it looked like there was little progress... because it was fun, so why not?

    •  Yes, the Zombie Occupation on Monday (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Calamity Jean, bosdcla14

      Was great media and great fun.

      Namaste!

      "If I can't dance I don't want to be part of your revolution!"  Emma

  •  The control and infiltration you speak of... (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    goinsouth

    ...has already started, in the form of Unions.  I'm afraid their presence, while adding impressive numbers, is going to change the character and tone of these protests, and not for the better. Unions are big business themselves, and it's going to allow the MSM to characterise it as a union thing rather than a people thing.

  •  How about this one (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    drewfromct, jan4insight, Sylv

    And I expect this will be controversial:

    Don't make your movement all about You vs. The Cops

    Confrontation can bring media attention, but in the end middle-America will usually side with the cops. If you're seen as a movement whose main goal is to provoke the police and film them overreacting, I think you lose the media war.

    So far the Occupy Wall Streeters have held up a real issue poeple can identify with and gotten Americans on their side, so that the confrontations with the cops are more of a side-show. The cops have also been such blatant assholes I think OWS is in the clear on this one.

    And one exception to this rule: if your cause happens to be preventing police brutality...yeah, then it's going to be You vs. The Cops and that's all right.

  •  Also: State your 3 core beliefs (4+ / 0-)

    My horrendous experience of using my life's savings for my activism is that your so-called allies start pulling your organization off course.  Is it caused by a conspiracy of trolls or well-meaning volunteers who all have their own vision--or a combination of both--but it is what has destroyed every grassroots organization I have been involved in.

    Here's how to avoid this mess:

    Establish 3 core principles. If people agree, then they can join your group.  If not, they need to start their own group.

    Democrats try to be so fair and want to vote on every bloody thing and to fully represent their coalitions' properly, but it becomes the Achilles' Heel of dem groups.

    Avoid the whole mess by starting with the clear principles.

    For Occupy Wall Street perhaps those 3 principles would be:

    1.  Eliminate corporate money in elections with Constitutional Amendment per Dylan Ratigan of MSNBC's petition:  http://www.getmoneyout.com/

    2. Permit citizens to double check vote tallies at local precincts before ballots are transported.  

    3. Eliminate corrupt politicians by creating laws eliminating money received from any other source than their government pay check.  

    If those 3 things are accomplished, you will see more Bernie Sanders!  

    Imagine what that would mean to jobs in the U.S. Imagine what that would do to Pell Grants, Social Security and Healthcare.

    Imagine!

    Separation of Church and State AND Corporation

    by Einsteinia on Wed Oct 05, 2011 at 03:06:24 PM PDT

  •  1. Know the press deadlines, and get your copy in (4+ / 0-)

    Media has strict deadlines, if you want to appear above the fold or in the opening segment, or in the center blog column, get your best statement and event finished before the deadline.

  •  Awesome. (0+ / 0-)

    This is pretty much the manifesto we organized around at National Peoples Action in Chicago. Thanks.

    "It's not enough to acknowledge privilege. You have to resist." -soothsayer

    by GenXangster on Wed Oct 05, 2011 at 04:57:12 PM PDT

  •  Beyond advice...Bravo (0+ / 0-)

    Bravo to what has already been accomplished. Lots of intelligence and wit has been displayed. Kudos to all who started and had the staying power to wait until the world began to notice that you weren't going away.

    Skepticism of all the elite institutions, not trust, is what required for successful leadership in this era. Digby

    by coral on Wed Oct 05, 2011 at 04:57:13 PM PDT

  •  During the protest you need a buddy and an (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Sylv

    exit plan.

    But if you're at the protest alone, you need to be even more nimble yet.

    I used to write here as VeganMilitia. I let that user name pass into the history books.

    by Shuksan Tahoma on Wed Oct 05, 2011 at 05:19:55 PM PDT

    •  Better yet, a whole affinity group (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Shuksan Tahoma, ActivistGuy, Sylv

      of people you know and trust. If everyone is in an affinity group and all the affinity groups have been vetted by each other, then you don't have to worry so much about who the person standing next to you is really. And you know there are people there to help you if things turn sour one way or other. The Right has evangelical churches - we need AGs.

      •  An affinity group is the awesomest (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        ActivistGuy, RandomNonviolence, Sylv

        safest, most creative, funnest, rewarding, heartening, empowering body to be a part of.  You may very well find friends and partners for life within your affinity group.  

        And when your affinity group passes its first anniversary, its fifth, its fifteenth, then you know you really have an affinity group.

        But, sometimes, you still find yourself going solo to a protest.  

        I used to write here as VeganMilitia. I let that user name pass into the history books.

        by Shuksan Tahoma on Wed Oct 05, 2011 at 07:27:17 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  May I repost this to the occupysf website? (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Sylv

    I'd give full credit and link back to this diary.

    •  re:reposting (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Sylv

      By all means, go for it. I wrote it as a public service. :)

      --Blue Girl Everyone gets all het up about "cutting spending" but no one stops to realize that we are *all* someone else's "undeserving other" until the budget axe falls on that which they hold dear.

      by Blue Girl on Wed Oct 05, 2011 at 09:50:48 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Not buying the non-violence routine (0+ / 0-)

    It was only after the Watts riots that the Civil Rights movement really picked up steam. Only after Kent State that the tide of public perception really began to turn against Vietnam, only after Rodney King was Darrel Gates fired and the LAPD finally shpaed up, and only after the Boston Massacre that the Revolution really began.

    We don't have to instigate violence, it will come soon enough at the hands of the opposition, but I fear that only after blood is spilled will this nation wake from it's slumber. Jefferson was not kidding when he made his comments about the tree of liberty being refreshed with the blood of patriots and tyrants. He was no fool.

    "crush in its birth the aristocracy of our monied corporations which dare already to challenge our government" -Thomas Jefferson

    by Phil In Denver on Wed Oct 05, 2011 at 06:52:11 PM PDT

    •  Very narrow perspective on history (0+ / 0-)

      John Adams, 1818:

      Revolution was effected before the war commenced. The Revolution was in the minds and hearts of the people... This radical change in the principles, opinions, sentiments, and affections of the people was the real American Revolution.

      The main part of the Revolutionary War was nonviolent organizing for the 25 years before Lexington and Concord. The Boston Tea Party protest and the Continental Congress were perfect examples of nonviolent direct action and creating an alternative government -- the culmination of these years of mostly nonviolent organizing. The actual war was a last-ditch violent effort by the British to suppress the nonviolent rebellion which had already mostly severed America from the empire.

      By the way, the Boston Massacre was a massacre by British troops of Americans who were demonstrating in a relatively nonviolent manner -- much worse of course, but somewhat analogous to the pepper-spraying of the three young women last week.

      The Civil Rights movement picked up substantially in 1955 with the successful Montgomery bus boycott and then again with the lunch counter sit-ins, especially in 1960. The Watts riots were an example of the disintegration of the Civil Rights movement as it began to splinter and die in exasperation. The riots scared people and helped bolster Governor Ronald Reagan and his conservative backlash movement in California.

      You should spend a little bit more time reading history, especially something about nonviolent social movements.

      •  Nonviolent social movements (0+ / 0-)

        don't have a good track record of success in this country. At least not the major ones. Other than women's suffrage I can't think of any that have been successful.

        The civil rights struggle was incredibly violent, the vietnam era protests became violent, the revolution itself was a war, so obviously it was violent and of course the Civil war was violent in the extreme.

        The only other recent major nonviolent movement that comes to mind is the ERA movement in the 70's. That didn't turn out so well did it.

        It's not the reading of history that's the issue, it's the interpretation of it. From where I stand, most so called nonviolent social movements in this country were really anything but. And further that violence was often the catalyst that awakened the apathetic to what was going on. And by the way, I don't need to read up on it, I lived through it. Before Kent state, war protestors were a quaint curiosity, after Kent state they were "those poor kids".

        I find this quote from Wikipedia quite compelling:

        There was a significant national response to the shootings: hundreds of universities, colleges, and high schools closed throughout the United States due to a student strike of four million[8] students, and the event further affected the public opinion—at an already socially contentious time—over the role of the United States in the Vietnam War.

        "crush in its birth the aristocracy of our monied corporations which dare already to challenge our government" -Thomas Jefferson

        by Phil In Denver on Wed Oct 05, 2011 at 11:00:00 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  I don't think you understand NVDA (3+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Sylv, Calamity Jean, BlackNGreen

          I don't think you understand what "nonviolent direct action" means. It does not mean that no violence happened. It does not mean that the oppressors and police did not attack us. It means simply that the protesters did not attack their oppressors -- that is, that we were not trying to overthrow our oppressors by killing, destroying, and oppressing them.

          Nonviolent direct action often results in the killing and oppression of the people protesting. In fact, some of the best NV actions employ "non-violent ju-jitsu" to use this violence to undermine the elite. You really should read Why Nonviolence? Introduction to Nonviolence Theory and Strategy (10 pages) or some of the writings of Gene Sharp, such as, From Dictatorship to Democracy which is a relatively short introduction (83 pages -- 880 KB pdf). Nonviolent Action as the Sword That Heals by George Lakey is also great.

          The strategy of war is to kill and destroy your enemy. The strategy of nonviolent action is to change society without killing and destroying your opponent.

          Barbara Deming, On Revolution and Equilibrium:

          Something seems wrong to most people engaged in struggle when they see more people hurt on their own side than on the other side. They are used to reading this as an indication of defeat, and a complete mental readjustment is required of them. Within the new terms of struggle, victory has nothing to do with their being able to give more punishment than they take (quite the reverse); victory has nothing to do with their being able to punish the other at all; it has to do simply with being able, finally, to make the other move… Vengeance is not the point; change is.

          So the Civil War was extremely successful in the sense that lots of people were killed. It was only somewhat successful in ending slavery -- it took another 100 years (and the civil rights movement) to enable blacks in the South to have anything close to equal rights.

          From a nonviolent strategy perspective, the Vietnam War movement was quite successful in ending the war long before the power elite wanted to end it (though about 8 years later than most of us wanted). The anti-nuclear power movement of the 1970-80s managed to stop that industry at building only 100 nukes instead of the 1,000 the industry wanted to build. The No-Intervention movement in the 1980s was mostly successful in preventing President Reagan from invading Central America. The gay-lesbian movement has been extremely successful over the past 30 years.

          Nonviolent action is not always successful in bringing about progressive change just as war/violent revolution is not always successful. Both require good strategy, planning, organizing, hard work, and luck to even have a chance at being successful.

          Kent State was a very good example of the police killing anti-war protesters which then led to a widespread change in consciousness and policy change. Though the demonstrations at Kent State were not completely nonviolent, the dynamic that occurred fits that of strategic nonviolent action much more than the dynamic of war or violent revolution. The nonviolent dynamic could have been enhanced by the student protesters being much more nonviolent in their actions and more explicitly nonviolent in their rhetoric, but it was not a war or violent revolution dynamic. If it had been, students would have been armed and shooting at the National Guardsmen.

  •  I remember the '60s and I learned some rules (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    RandomNonviolence, mookins

    You're not just demonstrating your unhappiness; you're lobbying for happiness.  When Eugene J. McCarthy ran for President in 1968, the word was "Be Clean for Gene."  Look like the person you want to influence.  Shave your face, cut your hair, and wear clean,  common clothes.  

    You cannot simultaneously antagonize and influence.  Leave the guitars, the tom-toms, and the stage makup at home.  Want a job?  Look like you do and look like the person who should be hired.

    Do not make an unnecessary racket.  Do not insult people to their faces, annoy the police, or obstruct traffic.  The enemy is "them", not the person to whom you're speaking.  A crowd of thousands draws the press merely by its size.  A crowd of zombies and clowns draws only ridicule.

    You must make every TV second and every square inch of new photo count.  No more than 6 words to a sign. . . big block letters in black on white or white.  You want to influence, not frighten.

    Don't let a reporter with a mic and a camera suck you into making an silly ass of yourself.  Refer the scribbler to a designated spokescritter who can sell your story.  A sufficiently stupid statement may get you air time, but it fills the time that have might have been given to a powerful sales pitch.

    You can satisfy yourself by demonstrating your anger or you can satisfy history by showing the public that you are the change they want.  Go for the history books.

     

    •  well, I'll agree and disagree. (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      ActivistGuy, mookins

      This is an important discussion, and your argument is important but your rules are not absolutes and some of them are changing as we speak, and some of them changed back in the era of WTO/Seattle.

      Come as you are to the world, to the protest.  If you're clean shaven and well dressed in life, come that way to the protest; if you live in rags, come as you are as well.  

      It insults and excludes people to tell them to look pretty and dress nice when they are not pretty and have no nice clothes.  

      Disenfranchised urban street activists wear thick, rough, heavy  fabrics and hard soled leather boots because... this is the most sensible, durable, rugged wardrobe for the environment in which they live.  Understand this and nevermore criticize what people wear to the protest.

      And screw the idea of referring questions to a spokesperson.  Speak up for yourself, even if you mutter, stumble, give a mixed message, and flail.

      I used to write here as VeganMilitia. I let that user name pass into the history books.

      by Shuksan Tahoma on Wed Oct 05, 2011 at 07:43:03 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Um, the "Free Mumia kids"? (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    mookins

    they ARE the same people who started this.  But I realize there's no way to get you,and to be fair, most people here at dailykos, well-heeled, upper middle class center-left Democratic party regulars, to grasp this, for reasons Upton Sinclair made clear long ago:

    “If is difficult to get a man to understand something when his salary depends upon his not understanding it”.

    "The existence of a good thing is no evidence of its being enjoyed by the working class." ~ Daniel DeLeon

    by ActivistGuy on Wed Oct 05, 2011 at 09:19:08 PM PDT

  •  "healed his nation" ? ? ? ? (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    mookins

    what planet are you on?

    Mandela was very shortly cast aside by people who have upended that country and it is a suppurating mess of crime and trouble - it's a ticking time-bomb.

    I lived within walking distance of the clusterfuck that was unleashed in 1976, and I saw at arm's length things that I will never forget. University radical creds are really not all that cool.

    Google  these 2 names

    Jacob Zuma
    Julius Malema

    and see what it has become of the success-story you so warmly recount.

    Your celebratory tone tells me one thing - that you have not been to SA for a very long time and lived the life a a person without an exist-visa and/or a job/legal residency overseas. Tourism doesn't count, nor does the luxury-life of an overpaid expat consultant - we saw enough of those.

    The new ruling class in SA has stripped the finances and are every bit as crooked as those they replaced, and the regular folks have all but lost hope - those who know that they will never manage to leave behind the declining morass that SA has become

  •  And don't burn flags (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    relentless

    or be anti-patriotic, rather redefine patriotism and American values.

    Conservatism = greed, hate, fear and ignorance

    by Joe B on Thu Oct 06, 2011 at 12:34:40 AM PDT

  •  Blue's Brothers (0+ / 0-)

    Great diary Blue Girl. Its a shame that the media has become such a tool of the Corporations that are essentially the very puss of our infection.
    I thought back to another movement, perhaps before your time, led by Malcom X. Short lived as it was and mostly forgotten, Malcom X took the most easily dehumanized and ridiculed segment of our society, taught them to respect themselves and put them in suits, maybe the greatest table turn ever.  I even think that in the movie The Blues Brothers, the suits were a nod to Malcom as well as a salute to the non partisan nature of music.
    As you say, Image Matters, no more so than to the media. They are much happier feeding images that fit into their prejudices than they are fielding barbs and asking questions targeted at the media's corporate handlers.

  •  The protestors didn't seem to have a message (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Sylv

    That bothered me at first, then  I realized we all want change, justice and fairness and everything that fits under those headings.

    Jobs and decent pay would fit under that as an example.

    It bothers me because Wall Street has so much power.  We may be giving them more by protesting them.  Maybe we should be protesting in Washington, but Washington is owned by Wall Street.

    The 99% may have to take control of running this country like it is supposed to do.

     

  •  Thanks for your diary, Blue Girl! (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Sylv, RandomNonviolence

    I was deeply involved in the 1980's in Northern Arizona in Environmental and Native American Land Rights action, support, Congressional lobbying, and legal work.  We had the internet, but just barely.  Tons of letter-writing.  I actually personally lobbied John McCain in his office constantly.  He was a divider/conquerer even then.

    I had to learn a lot of what you write about by trial and error, and lots of middle-of-the-night arguments, and the some of the resulting mistakes were quite costly.

    I think the dress thing is a bit over-blown, from what I've seen, all things considered, at this point.

    One thing I see going on that I'm very happy about is we are finally having a huge conversation about that which many people have felt but haven't been able to articulate.

    Que Viva the 99%!

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