OWS. Tactics to Hold on to Gains; How to Deal with Bloomberg
Part of our ongoing series on the art of war.
In previous articles we reviewed some broad strategy concepts and offered a few specific suggestions to create wins for the movement.
Now I would like to start a conversation about holding the group together and holding on to the space ceded by Bloomberg.
Slogans such as “We are the 99%….Whose street? Our street!” are perfect. They are empowering, unifying and uplifting…necessary battle cries as novice marchers step intrepidly through the foreboding canyons of Wall Street and camp out a stone’s throw from the World Trade Center site.
The declaration approved by the general assembly on September 30 is similarly well done for the very reason it is being criticised from outside: it is not specific enough. Generality, vagueness and open ended goals expressed as negatives are just what the doctor ordered for two reasons: 1. they support group cohesion by keeping differences of opinion within the group to a minimum and 2. they reduce the opponent’s ability to offer a compromise, disperse the movement, then get back to business as usual.
* Problems are always easier to critique and build a consensus around than a possible solution:
We are against all exploitation and disagree with the prison-industrial complex. We will retire our movement when these issues are resolved. Compare this with:
We demand that Congress pass a bill to increase the minimum wage by 100% and release all non-violent felons back into society. Clearly, it is easy to rally people around the first two demands but the latter two would be controversial and if met with charming promises, would divide your group because the mission would seem to have accomplished what it set out to do.
* Mayor Bloomberg
Michael Bloomberg IS the epitome of the 1%. Actually he is the 1% of the 1% of the 1% and for all the times his incomprehensible wealth was an advantage, now it is working against him.
Let’s put this into perspective. Imagine a small town, population 18,000 families. It is the wealthiest zip code in America with every family having a NET WORTH not including their home of $1 000 000. Put all those families together and all their combined net worth is the equivalent of one Michael Bloomberg.
This week the mayor applied a very light touch and said the protesters, who have no permit, are welcome to stay as long as they want. I think I know why. Bloomberg knows this could be the end of his political career. As cuddly a persona as he tries to put on, at the end of the day he is an oligarch. He IS Wall Street par excellence. He is a short, balding little man with a monotone voice who bought himself the mayoralty of the Greatest City in the World not once, not twice but three times, even going so far as to have the term limit laws changed so he could continue his reign.
What Bloomberg did to Democrat Bill Thompson in the 2009 election was a disgrace. He even bought out the Black churches in Harlem with million dollar donations to their foundations. Bloomberg deserves the scorn and ridicule of OWS for subverting democracy and turning City Hall into a plutocracy. He knows he is guilty and wants to avoid the OWS spotlight. He has ambitions to be the first Jewish president. A confrontation with OWS would expose him and end his prospects.
What this means for OWS is leverage.
To be continued.
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