To the wonderful folks at Occupy SF/Wall Street/Everywhere

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Occupy SF supports teachers protesting Rupert Murdoch Oct. 14. Photo by Rebecca Bowe

First of all, don't get depressed by this sort of stuff. During the occupation and blockade at Diablo Canyon, when about two thousand people managed to prevent the opening of the nuclear power plant, the mainstream news media kept reporting that the blockade was failing, that the protesters were getting tired, that everyone had given up and was going home. One person starting walking around with a poster that said "The media is getting tired and hungry and going home."

Press accounts typically understate the numbers and dedication of protest movements. Instead of talking about how amazing it is that so many people have given up everything else in their lives to protest economic injustice, the press will say: Why aren't there more?

So hang in -- overall, the message is getting out. As we said in an editorial this week:

If the demonstrators don't have all the solutions, at least they've identified the problem. And that's more than Obama, Congress, or the mainstream news media have done.

But as someone who has watched, written about, worked on, joined and been otherwise involved in direct action and community organizing efforts for more than 30 years (yeah, I'm old), let me make a friendly suggestion.

Saul Alinsky, who pretty much invented modern community organizing, always said that building an effective organization and agitating for social change was as much about empowering the powerless as it was about winning a specific battle. He and his students learned quickly that nothing is worse for an organized movement than the frustration of constant failure. The movement that arose against the Iraq and Afghanistan wars suffered from that -- when it was clear that nothing any of us did (including electing Obama) was going to bring the troops home and end hostilities, a lot of people gave up and stopped marching.

The people I learned from back at the Connecticut Citizens Action Group, which practiced Alinsky-style organizing, used to say that victories, even small victories, would prove to people that they really could fight City Hall. If a low-income neighborhood was worried about cars speeding down the streets where kids were playing, fine: Organize everyone and demand stop signs, speed bumps and police patrols. Once you've shown disenfranchised people that they can force the powers that be to listen and respond, you have the basis for something much more ambitious.

I guess what I'm saying here is that you might want to think about setting a goal that's a little bit short of decentralizing all of society. When I worked with the Abalone Alliance, we were all about changing the way people related in the world; everything worked by consensus, we spent an immense amount of time discussing power relationships and we all had a radical model for rebuilding the United States (and the world). But we also wanted to stop a nuclear power plant from being built on an earthquake fault. And when that happened -- the protests actually delayed the opening for several years -- it gave tremendous life and energy not just to the movement but to all the people in it. It was radically empowering.

The Livermore Action Group, which emerged out of the Abalone Alliance, was dedicated to ending the threat of nuclear war (and all war), among other things. But it had as an immediate first step ending weapons reasearch at the Lawrence Livermore Lab.

Around the same time, the American Friends Service Committee came up with a campaign called the Nuclear Freeze. The bumper stickers read: "Step one: Freeze Nuclear Weapons." The idea: When you're in a hole, stop digging. Nuclear proliferation was threatening the world; as a first step, we ought to stop building more bombs. 

Since this is all about Wall Street, and you've got momentum on your side, maybe you want to start talking about something specific. How about "Step One: Tax Wall Street Transactions and Create A Million Jobs." A transactions tax dedicated to public-sector job creation would do wonders for the economy. It's the kind of campaign that a wide range of allies could join. It's got simple, populist appeal. It's not everything you want, but it's not bad -- and remember, it's ony Step One.

Just a thought from a friend.

 

Comments

H and I are negotiating a bet about who will win the election. It's a spot of play within a political discussion. Sounds on topic to me. (And frankly I don't really care whether you like it or not.)

So, why don't you cut down on the coffee and lighten up there Sparky...

Posted by Eric Brooks on Oct. 17, 2011 @ 1:02 pm

except yourself.

Pretty interested in progressive testicles, actually.

Posted by meatsack on Oct. 17, 2011 @ 4:34 pm

Guest,

Bugger off and mind your own business.

h.

Posted by h. brown on Oct. 17, 2011 @ 1:35 pm

@Eric. Let's hope so. Nil desperandum, though sometimes it's hard to keep the faith.
NINERS ARE FOR REAL.

Posted by Patrick Monk RN on Oct. 17, 2011 @ 1:40 pm

It is the socio-political battle that we are winning.

The environmental battle, we are losing.

So we need to turn this series of Occupy victories into a movement to save the planet right quick.

Posted by Eric Brooks on Oct. 17, 2011 @ 2:58 pm

You're not authorized to speak on behalf of anyone but yourself. Quit speaking grandly as if you're a member of a royal family or an elected official. You spend all day sitting in your apartment posting comments here - that is the extent of your influence.

Posted by Guest on Oct. 17, 2011 @ 6:45 pm

It's called being part of a movement jackass. When posters say 'We', we refer to that movement.

A movement that, thankfully, pieces of animated refuse like you are not a part of.

and pretty funny you criticizing others for posting here a lot.

Pot calling the kettle black eh?

Say, guest, isn't it time for your mommy to come in and feed you twinkies and wipe your ass for you so you don't have to get up from the computer keyboard?

Posted by 'anonymous' on Oct. 17, 2011 @ 7:41 pm

I'm one, I'm many - I am everywhere.

Posted by Guest on Oct. 17, 2011 @ 8:13 pm

Try maybe three.

Posted by meatsack on Oct. 17, 2011 @ 9:24 pm

Don't know what I was thinking,

Of course Jeff will win. If he loses I'll buy you a beer of your choice at the place of your choice.

h.

Posted by h. brown on Oct. 17, 2011 @ 8:28 pm

Save a few bucks for election night Mr, Brown ;)

Posted by Eric Brooks on Oct. 17, 2011 @ 9:36 pm

OK, so I don't have a dog in this fight, but I do have one question...

Let's say for the sake of argument, that Jeff Adachi pulls in something like 6% of the vote, just like the new Bay Citizen poll says he will... now, now, don't go for the jugular... we all know that all the polls showing Adachi scraping bottom are lying and he's really poised to win a fantastic victory... yadda yadda yadda...
but JUST for the sake of argument, hypothetically you know... if the election results turn out the way the polls are showing... does Eric still get his beer, or will you say that the election was stolen, and thus the bet is foreited?

Just askin'...

BTW... if the polls are right, we'll all need something stronger than a beer.

Posted by Greg on Oct. 17, 2011 @ 9:49 pm

Sitting in front of their computers engaging in a rhetorical circle jerk.

I don't know what's more impressive: Eric's $22,000 annual salary or the 42 votes h. Brown received in his last campaign for elected office.

Posted by Guest on Oct. 17, 2011 @ 10:48 pm

it shows Herrera as emerging as Lee's main rival. And Avalos gaining share. Both were SFBG picks.

While Yee and Adachi may have peaked too early.

Lee is holding firm and nobody else is anywhere. 3 weeks to go and it's hard to see Lee not winning.

Posted by Guest on Oct. 18, 2011 @ 2:26 pm

All those candidates are all pretty much within the MOE of each other- with Lee separately having a lead but it's very tricky gauging 2nd and 3rd place votes. They also oversampled union households- who knows what else they oversampled.

Posted by Guest on Oct. 18, 2011 @ 3:51 pm

to give it credibility. The exact sequence of Yee, Herrera and Adachi may move about some since they're alle ating each other's lunch.

But every poll puts Lee at 30 or over. Hard to discount that.

Posted by Guest on Oct. 18, 2011 @ 4:07 pm

I appreciate the support. One thing that the babblings by many of the anonymous guests illustrates is the abysmal failure of the american 'educational' system to prepare people to become citizens of the world; understand how interdependent all animate and inanimate 'life' forms are; and that an injury to one is an injury to all. I agree with Eric that we may be making some progress socio/politically, and also that, and I misquote, 'What does it profit us if we regain our soul but lose the world'.
I actually thought that the 'guest' was offering to supply me with some Iced Tea to refresh me when I'm lounging in my whites after a strenuous Sunday game of croquet on the lawn !! (.<).

Posted by Patrick Monk RN on Oct. 18, 2011 @ 8:02 am

I'm doing my own poll,

Seriously, I've studied them for years and they're no longer a measure of anything real. I've picked 100 registered voters at random (you can get a disc of all 450,000 of them from DOE for a buck) and highlighted them in yellow. I phoned 12 of them last night and plan to finish the work by Sunday.

I'm asking one question ...

"If the election were held tomorrow would you vote for Jeff Adachi or Ed Lee?"

That's simple as can be.

Here's the history of modern polling beginning with George Gallup ...

Hellman/Shih phony polls in news

(Billionaire Hellman pays to slander Adachi)

(10-18-11)

The series of 'Push' polls being sold by the Bay Citizen's very talented young writer Gerry Shih (shame on you Gerry) were not done by a polling company. They were done by a marketing firm which should tell you a lot. The firm chosen by Hellman is named, 'Maximum Research'. They're out of New Jersey and rumor has it that they are owned by Tony Soprano.

OK, that last line is me kidding you but only a little. Modern polls are as dishonest as the Sopranos. They are not designed to measure public opinion honestly. They are designed to manipulate and when deemed appropriate to reinforce public opinion. Let's put another link to the honest poll I sent you last night.

Here's a sample of the first Gallup Poll conducted in 1939 between Christmas eve and December 29th ...

http://brain.gallup.com/documents/questionnaire.aspx?STUDY=AIPO0180A

You can't get much more straightforward than early George Gallup asking about your New Year's resolutions or how you feel about Hitler. Now that, that's classical Americana.

American Polls at Mid-Life

A great American writer (Eugene Burdick – 1918 to 1965 – he co-wrote, 'The Ugly American with William Lederer in 1958 – JFK made it required reading in the White House – he also wrote, 'Fail Safe' in 1962).

On his death bed in 1965 Burdick penned his masterpiece. It's called, 'The 480' and in this work he argues that Americans can be divided into 480 statistically measurable categories and if you can get any of them to answer 10 simple demographic questions it is possible to assign them to one of these categories.

This is important because Burdick posited, once you have them in a category you can predict not only how they have voted in every major election since they've been eligible to vote ... but, you can also determine how they will vote in coming elections on different candidates and issues.

The next (we'll call it, 'The Billionaire Hellman Stage') in poll development involves using polls as tools for indoctrinating through half-truths and often (in the case of Hellman's attacks on Adachi) outright lies.

Modern polls are plates of spaghetti

The Hellman/Union/Shih polls are full of what Luke Thomas calls, “triggers”. After gathering basic demographics as Burdick dictated, the marketers move to a series of question constructed to determine the voter's mindset.

If a respondent answers a 'trigger' question in one way, the marketer is directed into a series of questions designed to either change or reinforce the voter's opinion of a candidate or issue. With so many tendrils possible that's why I say they are like 'spaghetti' (plus it's my breakfast time and I love spaghetti).

It's at this point that the lies kick in big time. Local Downtown pollster David Binder did a poll in the Gonzalez/Newsom campaign in 2003 in which if a subject said they were going to vote for Matt Gonzalez ... the next question was, “Would you still vote for him if you knew that he had pornography hanging on his bedroom walls?”.

Of course that was a lie but that didn't matter to Binder. When I challenged him as to why he'd purvey such a lie he told me, “I don't check the veracity of questions my clients want me to ask.”. And, he's the local business community's favorite pollster.

Let me close with 3 points

First of all, you can't trust polls. Particularly polls put out by lying dogs like Warren Hellman and Ed Lee and Willie Brown.

Second, I'm hungry and headed for the Manor House for a big breakfast and a couple of cups of coffee.

And third (and, perhaps most important) ... the Giants should play Gary Brown in center field next year. He just turned 23 last month. He played a complete season in A ball where he hit .336, blasted 14 homers and stole 53 bases.

Adachi for Mayor!

Avalos for Mayor!

Baum for Mayor!

Hall for Mayor!

Miyamoto for Sheriff!

Gascon for DA!

h.

Posted by h. brown on Oct. 18, 2011 @ 8:42 am

Occupy Wall Street is planning a national convention in Philadelphia next year, and has released a list of potential demands. Their primary goal is to remove money from federal politics once and for all. Their declaration incorporates the Preamble to the US Constitution~

"WE, THE NINETY-NINE PERCENT OF THE PEOPLE of the UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, in order to form a more perfect Union, by, for and of the PEOPLE, shall elect and convene a NATIONAL GENERAL ASSEMBLY beginning on July 4, 2012 in the City Of Philadelphia."

Click on the link at this site to view the list of potential demands~

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/10/18/occupy-wall-street-planning-con...

Posted by Lisa on Oct. 18, 2011 @ 5:05 pm

Vote NO on Prop C.
These are OUR TAX DOLLARS!!
 
This measure does NOT realign payout of retirement benefits equitably or uniformly among all public worker categories in any real effort to rein in costs.  It does not address the EXORBITANT PENSION PAYOUT to the HIGHEST PAID of CITY WORKERS, namely most POLICE and FIRE employees who collect the most generous pension benefits than any other City employees, at a most tender 50 years of age. This is busting the Pension and General funds!!
 
Prop C was crafted by self-serving Union bosses in collusion with the interim Mayor, City Supervisors and a billionaire making BACK-ROOM DEALs  and calling it “consensus”. With little to no input from the low wage workers and most adversely affected, nor from retirees, it relieves the pension contribution rates for the highest wage earners of public employment ONLY (compare Prop D), and conveniently requires lower wage earners to pay more in pension and healthcare contributions.
Vote NO on C.

Posted by HonestAbe on Oct. 18, 2011 @ 9:26 pm

Vote NO on Prop C.
These are OUR TAX DOLLARS!!
 
This measure does NOT realign payout of retirement benefits equitably or uniformly among all public worker categories in any real effort to rein in costs.  It does not address the EXORBITANT PENSION PAYOUT to the HIGHEST PAID of CITY WORKERS, namely most POLICE and FIRE employees who collect the most generous pension benefits than any other City employees, at a most tender 50 years of age. This is busting the Pension and General funds!!
 
Prop C was crafted by self-serving Union bosses in collusion with the interim Mayor, City Supervisors and a billionaire making BACK-ROOM DEALs  and calling it “consensus”. With little to no input from the low wage workers and most adversely affected, nor from retirees, it relieves the pension contribution rates for the highest wage earners of public employment ONLY (compare Prop D), and conveniently requires lower wage earners to pay more in pension and healthcare contributions.
Vote NO on C.

Posted by HonestAbe on Oct. 18, 2011 @ 9:30 pm

Hi everyone, I would appreciate it very much, if you would kindly give me the website and the email address of the national airport in Stockholm , Sweden please.. . Yours Sincerely,. . Mrs. Kerdagha..

Posted by Yvone Takemura on May. 06, 2012 @ 11:34 am

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