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I love Progressives. I kind of have to since I am one. But sometimes I watch the things that Progressives do and I feel a bit like I'm watching a herd of very naive children. There are certain realities of human nature that the regressives on the "Right" have accepted and used to their benefit that Progressives continue to either ignore or even worse act deliberately contrarily to. One of the most important of these has become the concepts known as framing and branding. At the most fundamental level this is about the words we use to convey important ideas. If words are chosen poorly it means that people can be turned against an idea without ever really understanding the full nature of it.

I fear that this has been the case with the current movement to attempt to redress the horrible imbalance that has one percent of the United States population in control of a disgustingly disproportionate amount of the resources. The aims are noble. And the attempt to form a movement that goes beyond simply spouting "demands" to those in power in hopes of getting a few scraps is even more so. The problem however is that this movement has chosen, or allowed to be chosen for it a name that I fear guarantees that it is not going to be perceived well by the majority of people.  Occupy. The use of the word carries with it connotations of illegitimacy. Occupying forces are enemy forces who have seized things that don't belong to them. The Nazi's "Occupied" France during the second world war. I suspect that the average person hears of Occupy Wall Street, Occupy This, Occupy That, Occupy The Other, and the image formed is that of petulant children trying to take things that are not rightfully theirs. Their minds are stopped. They do not have any further interest in hearing more because the name has already told them all they need to know. Or so they think.

The truth of the matter of course is that the movement is seeking to take power and resources from the one percent to be shared in a more equitable fashion with all the people. We seek not to act as Occupiers but as Liberators. And it is under that name that the movement should have begun its actions. Liberate Wall Street. Liberate Wisconsin. Liberate America.

I don't know if it's possible to re-brand the movement successfully at this point. But I think it's worth trying. Start calling it the Liberation movement and see if maybe that doesn't serve to help some people at least to keep an open enough mind to learn what we are really about. Because a truth that is even more fundamental than the realities of branding and framing is the truth that until we are able to get the majority of "average" Americans involved even at an elementary level of basic support for our aims we are all but doomed to failure.

And I sincerely fear that if this fundamentally peaceful movement to Liberate the wealth, and institutions of the United States fails, what will come next will be something much darker, and much bloodier. And I fear for the kind of country we would become because of it.

Keep The Faith My Brothers And Sisters!

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Comment Preferences

  •  You are right about the name (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    isabelle hayes

    another example you could have mentioned is the Israeli "occupation" of its space. That pushed away most pro-Israel Jews in America even though the Occupy movement isn't anti-Semitic.

    •  do you have actual poll numbers for that? (0+ / 0-)

      specifically, on jewish americans having negative favorability ratings for occupy wall street? leaving aside the problematic definition of how to define "pro-israel" in a neutral manner.

      given the urban locations of most occupations, and occupy's connections with both liberal activists and left anarchists, my assumption would be that, if anything, jewish-americans had higher than average levels of support for occupy wall street, in a relative sense.

  •  No. (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    winkk, wu ming, Simian

    Occupy in the sense used by the movement is the physical manifestation in time and space of actualization.  

    Actual is the antonym of virtual.  

    "A Republic, if you can keep it."

    by Publius2008 on Mon May 07, 2012 at 09:54:32 PM PDT

    •  True. And it is a concept that (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      isabelle hayes, melo

      instinct-driven humans do not understand.  They are not occupied carrying out tasks.  Rather their modus operandi is to jabber and fiddle.  They talk and manipulate without thinking.  Only occasionally does something worthwhile come out. They see others occupied and try to imitate them, but they only get the form, not the function.
      In a way, it's as if they were watching a dancer and formulated the desire to copy his moves, but lack the sense of rhythm and the physical agility to carry it out.
      Or, we could say, they can talk a good game, but can't play.  "All hat, no cattle." They're natural dictators. Transmitting orders is their forte.
      I think it's a process problem.  They don't know how or why things work. Their answers to how and why questions are a tell, because they are most often irrelevant, non-sequiturs or confabulations.

      People to Wall Street: "LET OUR MONEY GO"

      by hannah on Mon May 07, 2012 at 10:12:42 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  yep. I get Toriach's drift. The term (0+ / 0-)

      has somewhat of a negative connotation. At least for those that don't get Publius2008's meaning. But, if we don't #occupy the 21st century we won't gain a thing. It's ours to define. But, to define it we need to #occupy it. "We are the change" (we've been looking for) is exactly right. If we don't #occupy it the One Percent most certainly will. Already do.

  •  Also, we can liberate the wealth by (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    JonBarleycorn, isabelle hayes, Smoh

    simply realizing that money is worthless. The 1% do not, in fact, own all the resources.  Indeed, it is a source of great frustration to them that there are many things money can no longer buy. Just for an example, the Koch brothers now have to lease the land under which sits the coal they want to exploit. And they have to comply with environmental regulations that protect the environment, rather than their bottom line. The object of regulation is no longer to facilitate enterprise, but to promote the general welfare. That's a major shift of which the general public is not fully aware.

    We all bought into the big lie that government and business are separate when, in fact, from the beginning, our agents of government were keen to promote business.  The Department of Commerce was set up to facilitate interstate and international trade and exchange and the exploitation of resources. That trade agreements should be concerned with human rights is a revolutionary idea.

    People to Wall Street: "LET OUR MONEY GO"

    by hannah on Mon May 07, 2012 at 10:22:25 PM PDT

  •  Your concern is noted. n/t (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    costello7, cris0000

    But the angle said to them, "Do not be Alfred. A sailor has been born to you"

    by Dbug on Mon May 07, 2012 at 10:23:24 PM PDT

  •  Sorry but I love occupie! It's my fave! n/t (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    edrie, costello7
  •  Occupy's "problem" isn't a name (6+ / 0-)

    nor their tactics, nor their refusal to be co-opted by an establishment party.

    For all intents and purposes, Occupy succeeded when they put income disparity front and center on the table.  They changed the discussion.  If they accomplish nothing else, they won.

    Occupy's "problem" is that Americans have 10 second attention spans.  That applies both to those within the movement and those on the outside of it.

    People forget that it took over 5 years of perpetual in-the-street demonstrations to actually end the war in Viet Nam.  Until today's would-be protesters demonstrate that kind of commitment for that extensive length of time--until they are at least prepared to do so--changing the conversation and putting your issue(s) front and center is about the only victory that is possible on a national level.

    Same goes for the Tea Party.  They didn't really change anything.  Obstruction of historic proportions was always going to be the Goopers strategy.

    Branding has very little to do with it.

    "Power concedes nothing without a demand; it never has and it never will."—Frederick Douglass

    by costello7 on Mon May 07, 2012 at 10:50:58 PM PDT

  •  It's not a brand, it's a tactic (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    joe wobblie

    And it's not about taking what doesn't belong to us; it's about taking what SHOULD belong to us.  It's a one-word manifesto for a completely different worldview than that of capitalism and the State- What you occupy, you own; in order to own something, occupy it.

    The name is perfect.

  •  how do you get from the image of nazis (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    dkmich

    to petulant children, save from a concern troll word salad?

  •  Liberation? (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    exlrrp

    You must not have been around in the 60s.   At least they got off their asses and actually did and accomplished something.

    "bin Laden's dead, and GM is alive" ~ Biden

    by dkmich on Tue May 08, 2012 at 02:36:11 AM PDT

  •  Occupy was doomed (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    isabelle hayes, raincrow

    at least in terms of branding, the moment it went against the agenda of the 1%.  Do you really believe that using a word like "liberate" would make it somehow immune to mass media character assassination?  Oh, they'd find a way.  I'm sure some terrorist organization or communist coup had "liberate" painted on its banners, and that would be all it takes.  Or, even more simply, the headline would be "Liberate Movement Trying to Liberate Your Money."

    Their only agenda is maximizing their wealth, even at the expense of the American people, the economic security of the nation, and the future of the human species.  At some point, you must accept that we are their enemies and that is how it will always be.

    Did you ever see the old Errol Flynn Robin Hood?  There was a great scene early in the movie where Robin says something flippant to Prince John and Maid Marion says, "You speak treason!"  Robin gives her a devil-may-care grin (as only Errol Flynn could) and shoots back, "Fluently."

    If you're going to be a villain anyway, might as well wear it with style.  And come on, since when do Americans not dig underdog outlaw types?  ;-)

  •  Liberalizing Capitalism (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    SquirrelWhisperer

    The austerity push of the government and business is going to hurt business and capitalism more than anything unless they bankrupt the 99% and they have a good start doing that with high prices and low wages.

    The Occupy crowd are too secretive and too exclusive.  They need a leader, but they won't allow that.  They need an agenda.

    They need to tell what they plan to do and how their methods could work.

    •  i like the first part (0+ / 0-)

      as it will certainly hurt the holy of holies, so that, long after millions of us have been decimated by their plunder, the masters of the universe/wall.st/business will relent

      unless they'll have to do it sooner, as a result of ows's success at changing the conversation

      and my guess is that the movement will continue to happen as the weather improves, to where there'll be demonstrations all over the country, as well as in europe/the mideast

      name or no name

  •  Liberation! (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Catte Nappe

    Funny.  That's too newspeak-y, too cloying.  The good thing about "occupy" is its comparative neutrality; it was just a cipher that could be filled w/ the content provided by the people engaged.  

  •  I happen to agree that "occupy" has an (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    exlrrp, raincrow

    unfortunately strong negative connotation attached to it.  At this point, however, I think it would be a serious mistake to change.  It has meaning for its followers and supporters.  Changing the name could be twisted in all sorts of bad ways by the media.

    Cats are better than therapy, and I'm a therapist.

    by Smoh on Tue May 08, 2012 at 06:27:20 AM PDT

  •  I'm always interested in framing and language (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Catte Nappe, Simian, raincrow

    When I hear Occupy Wall Street or Occupy Oakland or Occupy whatever, my mind says, oh look, these pesky people demanding rights and social justice have moved in and they're going to be really annoying and they're not going to go anywhere and they'll probably have to be pepper sprayed and kettled and dragged out and be charged with crimes and possibly have their entire lives ruined . . . because they are the bravest people in the country. Because they threaten the Establishment and the 1%.

    These are people willing to inconvenience themselves and disrupt their own lives so that the lives of the ignored and disenfranchised (the 99%) might be improved. I just want to thank them for fighting for ME and making wealth disparity and inequality part of the national discussion no matter how much the 1% would like to stifle the conversation

    I don't see them as any different than the Freedom Riders or the people who followed Ghandi or who marched with Martin Luther King or who got beaten at the Dem National convention in Chicago, or who sat at lunch counters or who marched for the women's vote.

    I honestly don't care what they are called or what they call themselves.

    “Human kindness has never weakened the stamina or softened the fiber of a free people. A nation does not have to be cruel to be tough.” FDR

    by Phoebe Loosinhouse on Tue May 08, 2012 at 07:11:10 AM PDT

  •  The "Occupy" movement jumped the shark ... (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    VClib, SquirrelWhisperer

    ... when the message changed from "Wall Street is evil" to "Cops are evil".

    "The Obama Administration has been an unmitigated disaster" - Osama Bin Laden

    by Explorer8939 on Tue May 08, 2012 at 08:06:58 AM PDT

    •  Without them, Wall Street is a non-issue (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      joe wobblie

      since there's no one to enforce its dictates.

    •  Jumped the shark???? Rly?????? (0+ / 0-)

      So the cops, staunch defenders of their masters, who have been breaking wrists, groping women's breasts, rupturing internal organs, slicing tendons, hosing down young and old people with pepper spray, fracturing skulls, and destroying untold $$$$$ in occupiers' private property, really are not behaving evilly and should not be called out because it looks bad on CNN, Fox, and other MSM outlets?

  •  There is a good discussion at (0+ / 0-)

    http://www.dailykos.com/...

    Very similar in nature to this one. I think there is a deeper issue of how ows does not connect with people who feel for the movement want to be apart of it but also want more structure otherwise there seems to be no point. OWS needs a broader base of support. It can not simply preach to the choir.

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