Occupy Movement Should Rethink Strategy

The quixotic Occupy movement needs some real leadership now.  While most of us share the concerns of the Occupy Wall Street movement and have marveled at their ability to highlight issues that have really caused our economic pain, the immature and needless violence against people and property is hurting their cause and is ineffective in creating the change they seek.

Moreover, protesting in Oakland, San Jose, San Francisco and even New York is like spitting into the wind. These are places that are already sympathetic to the Occupy movement’s issues. But the middle and southern portions of the country are still bastions in the nation that have failed to understand that the people whom they vote for are actually the cause of their collective distress.

The message of the Occupy movement needs to be heard in Wyoming, Mississippi, Utah, Montana, Idaho, Alabama, Georgia, Florida, Ohio, Indiana, Kentucky, Tennessee, Arkansas—oh yeah, and what’s the matter with Kansas?

What would a protest in front of the Mormon temple in Salt Lake City look like?

The issues the movement cares about will not be solved by spray painting Oakland City Hall or clashing with police—many of whom agree with the protesters they are forced to arrest. The key is in spreading the message and activating a long dormant political base to action. Because while it may feel good to sing kumbaya, hold candles, shout at the establishment, camp out on sidewalks and generally make a nuisance of oneself—real change comes from political action.

That’s why the group needs leadership. But this opportunity will be short-lived if the anarchists have their way. The Occupy movement must be a symbol of hope and opportunity, not simply an angry mob or quasi-hippy commune. For if it doesn’t grow into a real movement, the opportunity for change will be lost.

For in the final analysis, camping on a ledge at San Jose City Hall may get you some headlines, but real political power comes from obtaining power inside the building.

Rich Robinson is an attorney and political consultant in Silicon Valley. Opinions are the author’s own and do not necessarily reflect those of San Jose Inside.

32 Comments

  1. Rich,
    Very well said. The unfortunate thing about publicly protesting any issue is that it draws a lot of nuts that latch on, and intentionally push their agenda into your cause. I’ve seen this happen time and time again.

    You are correct, strong leadership is vital to avoid being taken over by these wanna be individuals who create havoc and destroy the true message of any protest. All this violence only serves to hurt not help their cause.

  2. Occupy Movement Should Rethink Strategy, like pack up your homeless bags and move on.  How about serving some county time when they destroy public property.

    May you continue to get gassed when you block public access.  Go protest in another country and see how many of you make it out alive.

  3. If the occupy movement has changed one thing Rich, it’s that the way we organize dissent towards our government.

    There is a central leadership in the occupy movement, and that’s what is colloquially known as the “hive mind”. 

    The hive mind runs on technology, in what is a true democratic system, without the favoritism or plutocracy that our current government is plagued with.

    Understandably, old politics like yours is scared.  Where do you shut something like this down?  Where’s the attack vector?  If they’ve created technology to replace politicians, we’re all outta jobs! (kind of like my karaoke systems)

    I’m guessing in 10 years, we’ll see the electorate college dismantled, and replaced by the true voice of every American.  We didn’t have the technology to do this when the founding fathers started this country, but I’m sure patriots like Ben Franklin would have loved it.

    So enjoy it while you can Rich.  It won’t be long till lobbying becomes a thing of the past.  Another thing to strike fear in the heart of a lobbyist like yours.  No central politician to kiss up to.

      • You get paid to educate politicians then, right?  What’s the difference between that and lobbying?  How many lunches have you treated politico’s to in the last year?

        RICH ROBINSON USED SPIN ATTACK!!!

        Anarchy isn’t the system I’m describing either.  Anarchy by is a set of provinces that run their own rules and politics, while trying not to tread on their neighbors.

        There is no central governance that helps set the rules for all the provinces.

        Democracy is a set of provinces that casts votes on measures/laws, then what is passed is deemed “Good for the republic” and applied everywhere.

        In the last 1000 years this has changed many times over whenever a technological innovation came along.  Ballots used to be hand counted in the beginning.  This was a monumental task, and necessitated the need for representatives.

        Then came the punchcard, and then electronic booths.  The last 100 years technology has changed democracy so much, it’s not Anarchy, it’s the evolution of Democracy.

        Already some governmental agencies are developing voting systems for cell phones.  Estonia is shifting to this completely.

        http://www.usatoday.com/tech/news/2008-12-12-estonia-mobile_N.htm

        You say the OWS movement doesn’t have a central body, but it does. Your just too blind to see that.  Try hanging out in Oakland sometime.  See how well organized the protesters are.  They even self police.  They’ve caught plain clothes officers trying to incite riots.

        Doesn’t seem too disorganized to me.

        Internet is to my generation what the printing press was to Ben Franklins.

    • “I’ve had my wages garnished for student loan debts and I get a fraction of the time off that workers in Communist and Socialist countries get.”

      Ain’t that a bitch.  lol.

    • take you crayons and spay paint and go protest in front of the BO house instead of blocking real jobs.  Tell me how vandalism and felony assaults against police officers help your cause!

      You want to be a hero then sign up and go to Afghanistan where real heros are protecting your free speech.

    • Dude.  I was quoting *you*. 
      You know, from the link you gave to your blog.

      You need to Occupy an art studio – one that has proper ventilation.

  4. I’m all in favor of changing the occupy movement.
    For starters how ‘bout we change who occupies the White House?

  5. “…have marveled at their ability to highlight issues”
    “…sympathetic to the Occupy movement’s issues.”
    “The issues the movement cares about…”

    Er, what are these issues of which you speak?

    • The tea party right would have you believe is was government intervention that caused the economic crisis.

      The Occupy movement returned the discussion to the real problem of unbridled greed from unregulated capitalist institutions.

      The problems of the economy are not about poor people buying homes, its about banks lending in a fraudulant manner, bundling the loans, selling them on the open market and then not refinancing the homeowner so they can afford to keep the home.

      Wall St. greed, an unfair tax system that allows Mitt Romney to pay less than 15% in taxes doing nothing, while people who labor pay up to 35% shows our economic priorities.

      When Romney can buy a company, borrow against its assets, fire its workers, pay himself a dividend (taxed at 15%), then let the company go bk—it is legallized theft. 

      And if you have the termerity critisize that model—you are a called a socialist.

      The simple fact is Romney is a crook—legal though it may be. . .and the Occupy movement is letting people know it is wrong.

      Rich

    • “The tea party right would have you believe is was government intervention that caused the economic crisis.”

      The tea party? 

      The fact is the federal government is responsible for the housing bubble.  CRA.  Freddie.  Fannie.  And democrats in the House, Senate, and White House.  But this is ground I’ve covered well with you providing plenty of facts and examples – all of 2 weeks ago right here at SJI on your super pac post. See http://bit.ly/xm3B9P

      “The Occupy movement returned the discussion to the real problem of unbridled greed from unregulated capitalist institutions.”

      Unregulated?  Let’s go to the tape.

      Here’s Barney Frank and the congressional black caucus putting a serious beatdown on the govt regulators from Office of Federal Housing Enterprise Oversight who had the audacity to sound the alarm on Freddie and Fannie and report irregularities and misconduct to Congress in 2004.

      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_MGT_cSi7Rs

      “its about banks lending in a fraudulant manner, bundling the loans, selling them on the open market”.

      No it’s about the federal govt intervening in private markets and assuming the risk for subprime loans via Fannie/Freddie.  When govt removes risk (too big to fail, subprime mortgages) from the equation – malfeasance is sure to follow. 

      “Wall St. greed, an unfair tax system that allows Mitt Romney to pay less than 15% in taxes doing nothing”

      More “educating” eh Rich?

      Mitt Romney already paid income taxes on the money he invested.  And now he’s paying taxes again (15% is the tax law) on the capital gains from those investments.

      Occupy is nothing but “participation trophy” types who expect to be handed a good life on silver platter and are pissed off to find that their worthless, overpriced college degree isn’t worth sh*t. 

      And now they want taxpayers to pay off their student loans? 

      The audacity of chutzpah.

      • > The fact is the federal government is responsible for the housing bubble.  CRA.  Freddie.  Fannie.  And democrats in the House, Senate, and White House.

        Correct.  This is well documented and has been written about extensively.

        Strangely, Rich seems to have found a black hole in the information cosmos, and none of the information has reached him.

    • Hey Occupiers.  Newsflash.  Capitalism’s got nothing to do with your student loans or the price of your tuition.

      But don’t take my word for it – let’s hear it straight from Sheriff Joe.

      “Vice President Joe Biden admits that the government intervening with the free market and providing subsidies for students to attend college have contributed to the increase in college tuition.

      “By the way, government subsidies have impacted upon rising tuition costs. It’s a conundrum here,” Biden said to a student who asked about the government’s intervention in the free market system.”

      The next bubble?  The student loan bubble.

      “USA Today reports once again on one of its favorite subjects, student loans are set to surpass $1 trillion for the first time in history”

      Subprime meltdown.  Too big to fail.  Student Loans.  The economic beatdowns from the federal government just keep coming.

      Yeah those Tea Partiers sure are off the wall with their demands for limited government, economic freedom, and individual liberty.  : )

  6. Rich,
      The Occupy movement’s more responsible members are being overshadowed by the actions of a handful of attention-grabbing wing nuts.
      Isn’t ironic how much Occupy has in common these days with the Republican party of 2012, or the Democratic party of…well…forever?

  7. That photo you are using, btw is one that I took and edited of Shaun O’kelly so please give credit. I am also from Occupy Oakland. Root for the change we are trying to build a coalition of North, South and East Bay. Wall St West. Tackle the real problems in all cities. The idea of a better life for all despite your financial status and that includes living in a police state, or working in one you can’t afford to live in.

  8. The city needs to open its books.  Not the typical color graphs and numbers that lead no where.  I would like to see a line by line audit of city spending.  I would like it divided into two sections. Charter/Other.  I would like a history of city property sold and buyers.  I think any business conducting business with SJ should also have books open along with the players. I also believe ANYONE who has conducted business with San Jose in the last ten years be removed from any funding for any campaigns in the city.  This includes office space and resources.

  9. You should make a poster with…..KEEP DEVELOPERS OUT OF POLITICS IN SJ.  Just the sum on RDA money alone is going to cause the city downfall.  Handed out like candy.  No Audit, No accounting=No City

  10. “…the immature and needless violence against people and property is hurting their cause and is ineffective in creating the change they seek.”

    Stop calling those folks who loot, damage property, invade building, etc. “protestors”.  They are rioters, plain and simple, and the Occupy Movement needs to purge itself of them immediately if it is retain any credibility.

  11. Rich

    No wonder it is all coming at ya.

    KOCH BROTHERS ARE MAJOR BACKERS OF HEARTLAND INSTITUTE, WHICH IS A CONSERVATIVE THINK TANK FUNDED BY BIG OIL, TOBACCO, AND KOCH.

    1) Heartland funds articles attacking the Occupy Movement and the efforts for more regulation of the super rich===Koch Brothers

    2)  Heartland actively funds conferences attacking climate change, and they get money from Exxon.

    3)  Heartland actively funds efforts to promote smokless tobacco as an altenative to cigarettes, and they are funded by Phillip Morris.

    4)  Michele Ryan, leader of the Santa Clara Anti Stadium movement, makes podcasts for Heartland, whose directors are listed as investors in Lennar.

    • > KOCH BROTHERS ARE MAJOR BACKERS OF HEARTLAND INSTITUTE, WHICH IS A CONSERVATIVE THINK TANK FUNDED BY BIG OIL, TOBACCO, AND KOCH.

      ATTENTTION ALL LEMMINGS!  ATTENTION ALL LEMMINGS!

      KOCH BROTHERS!

      HEARTLAND INSTITUTE!

      CONSERVATIVE THINK TANK!

      BIG OIL!

      TOBACCO!

      READY!  TWITCH!

      READY!  TWITCH!

      READY!  TWITCH!

      Easier than thinking, eh!