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Why do you think OWS failed so badly?

January 25, 2013

Why do you think OWS failed so badly?

Occupy Wall St was exciting because it had a message that could resonate with the vast majority of people on both sides of the isle: We Are The 99%. It is an inclusive message, it is attractive and relate-able to almost anybody. If OWS had stuck to that message, without any baggage or stupid sideshows, it would have been far more successful. Sadly, the sort of people who actually attended and became the driving force behind OWS were exactly the sort of people who could never sell such a message to a wide audience. The public face of OWS was a bunch of anarchists, hippies, socialists, and other extremists who are totally unrelate-able to the average person. They are the other one percent, people who are different because they can be, who consciously separate themselves from the rest of society (not unlike the wealthy 1%). Such people can’t convey a message with popular appeal – they couldn’t do it even if they wanted to (and most didn’t). OWS should have consciously discriminated about who could be a part of, be associated with, and represent the movement. Organizations and movements with mass appeal, such as the labor movement and movements for minority, religious, and immigrant rights (and possibly mainstream environmentalist organizations) should have been promoted. Organizations which represented fringe groups or narrow interests – such as anarchists, animal rights groups, far-leftists, and so on – should have been instructed in no uncertain terms that this movement was not an opportunity for them to promote their own agendas. In order to communicate that this was not a fringe movement, protesters should have been encouraged to attend protests in comparatively formal dress and to speak to the media about the ways in which they contributed to society. Lawyers, Doctors, Engineers, business owners and members of other respected professions who were sympathizers or participators should have been sharing their stories alongside those who were victims of tough times (obviously there is some overlap between these groups). OWS should have chosen a group of respected leaders and spokespeople from the beginning, including active politicians, prominent members of society, and mainstream activists. It should never had instituted the ridiculous level of consensus building and input-seeking that it did. That accomplished nothing but wasting time and causing distraction from the message. With a group of leaders, and a focused message, OWS could have begun wielding political influence in a similar way to what the Tea Party was able to do. Sadly, despite hitting on the best possible slogan for their movement, OWS was started and dominated by the sort of people who could never have successfully turned that message into movement with mass appeal. It is impossible for people who have been calling for revolution to guide a movement which advocated reform. OWS never had a real chance.

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