Monday, Sept. 17 marks the one-year anniversary of the Occupy Wall Street movement. Ted Morgan, professor of political science at Lehigh University, draws on his recent book, “What Really Happened to the 1960s: How Mass Media Failed American Democracy,” to offer six recommendations to Occupy groups on moving forward. Morgan studies how media and social movements affect democracy in the United States.
1. Remain visible through actions, especially those designed to provide visuals capable of reaching wide sympathetic audiences (e.g., nonviolent sit-in in to protest a foreclosed homeowner from eviction; perhaps nonviolent protests against the Supreme Court's theft of democracy in Citizens United and related decisions).
2. Increase conversation across the range of local Occupies towards greater coherence in understanding (what are the problems, why do they exist) and goals.Increase analysis of how capitalism lies at the root of many of the issues of the day. Occupy's National Gathering in Philadelphia this coming weekend through the 4th can be a potentially helpful first step.
3. Find and occupy space (e.g. Occupy Los Angeles seeking non-profit status so it can qualify for a cheaply rented vacant building). This is important for continuing local interchange and providing a jumping off place for actions.
And, to expand Occupy's base:
4. Communicate an appealing vision of democracy (its vision of human beings vs. capitalism's), both through actions and conversations with others.
5. Step up outreach and coordination with other relevant groups (labor, progressives, environmental, identity groupings) – local as well as at the state and national level – to build a *coalition *and ultimately an identifiable umbrella (democratically structured) *organization*.Consider the Wisconsin path: "Wisconsin United."
6. Reach out as a group and hold face-to-face conversations with the wider public. Through door-to-door or other methods, seek to find out what grievances are on people's minds (a la community organizing principles) and engage with concrete and clear information about how Occupy (and the umbrella organization) sees the causes for these grievances.
Story by Sally Gilotti
Posted on Monday, September 17, 2012