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Why OWS needs specific, concrete demands and leadership

It is not logical to think people will continue to occupy anything indefinitely— not a park or a factory or a school or a Wall Street office or a politician’s office.

Movements for social and economic justice need clear demands aimed at solving specific problems intended to improve the lives and living conditions of people.

This is what unites and brings people into struggle.

All successful movements for social change have used this simple formula; it is the only one that achieves results:

Education + Organization + Unity in action = Victory for the people

In other words you start out helping people to connect all the dots relating to their problems.

We have many people saying the strength of the OWS movement is that it is “leaderless” and “without specific demands.”

This creates confusion which is good for who? Obama, the Black Box?

So far what we are getting out of the OWS movement is that people are “fed up.” This is good that people vent their anger.

But, are people “fed up” with government, Wall Street or capitalism— or all three?

People are “fed up” because they are experiencing problems— very specific problems.

Unless people clearly articulate what they are “fed up” with anyone and everyone can claim they speak for OWS without having to solve the very specific problems of everyday living people are experiencing.

It is not like it is difficult to find out why people are “fed up.” Anyone can walk through a grocery store talking to people. Start up a conversation at the gas station. Engage people where they work or go to school.

In talking to people one quickly finds what the specific problems are.

It is only logical that people who are “fed up” should articulate their specific problems if they want these problems solved.

The problems can be articulated in a way that leads to people arriving at the conclusion there are specific solutions to their problems.

The specific problems and their specific solutions must be clearly articulated or people who are “fed up” are going to become more frustrated. Eventually they will come to the conclusion there is nothing they can do about their problems if struggles do not lead towards solutions to their problems.

If people become disillusioned in thinking it does no good to organize and come together, the result, if this happens, is that Wall Street remains in power and the problems just get worse.

Isn’t it our goal and objective to solve the problems people are experiencing in a way that the people have a chance to successfully challenge Wall Street for power?

That specific, concrete demands providing solutions to problems aren’t being adequately articulated by the OWS movement is not the movement’s strength it is a severe weakness. All movements need leadership. The more collective the leadership the better; but leadership none-the-less. After all, someone eventually has to sign a union contract or in some collective way agree that problems have been solved.

I question just how “leaderless” the OWS movement really is. George Lakoff and his Rockwood Institute advising these do-nothing Democrats have for a very long time articulated the position that only “progressive policy directives” are required and specific solutions to problems should be avoided at all costs. (See “Don’t Think of an Elephant!: Know Your Values and Frame the Debate–The Essential Guide for Progressives” by George Lakoff)

It appears to me that OWS has a leader— the wrong one; either by chance or by intent, it doesn’t matter how this has happened. We need to turn this situation around.

Amy Dean “let the cat out of the bag” in her recent essay which tries to guide people towards the “leadership” of the Rockwood Institute.

Republicans have their “fed ups” with the Tea Party— another movement that is “leaderless” and without specific demands by design.

The Democrats now want their “fed ups” as long as people don’t come articulating specif problems they want solved.


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Alan Maki

Alan Maki