Audiences and Timelines

Branch: Timing. List your goals for this movement.

Goals can range widely in flavor, two goals of mine:
1) Government rules that make the financial market more competitive, handicapping giant "Too Big to Fail" institutions.
1) A tiny financial transactions tax that wouldn't change long term investments but would make marginal derivatives games less profitable.
2) A breaking down of the racial, economic and consumption-habit barriers to loving our neighbors, feeling like the whole world is one community.

For many of my goals, a big reason they aren't happening is that money is lined up against them. So I probably need about a two-thirds majority of Americans to agree with the goal in order to be able to push it through politically. Break up goals into two or three groups, which ones already have a large majority agreement and can be pushed through with a powerful campaign? Which ones are not ready to win democratically, but we want Occupy to begin changing perspectives (either because they are not popular, or because they are too deep and abstract for politics). The third group are big ideas, where we might be able to push one through with a giant campaign, but it's not popular enough to be thrown in a basket: Single Payer Health Care seems an example of this, the American public isn't behind this enough to just pass it, but it's a goal that is thinkable, could have been in range with the right campaign, if we all got behind it. Progressives wouldn't have a chance to convince the American public on two or three such campaigns all at once.

Some of these ideas may be vastly more or less popular depending on how they are expressed. For example:

"More government regulation to break up big banks." vs "The federal government will stop subsidizing Too Big to Fail banks by not guarantee more than $100B in savings deposits for any one bank." (less gov't subsidies for the big banks, rather than unnamed regulations). Consider the framing, noting ways that people across the spectrum might agree with your idea now.
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What I've seen as the Oakland General Assembly, there is often conflict within the movement that is caused by poor communications. I think the following exercise can help:

Think about what you want to accomplish with Occupy. Now create two separate charts, audiences and timeline.


Take each of your goals and divide into a simple chart. What is within reach now? If money is against us, we need perhaps 60% (you pick your own number) of everyone to already agree with us to accomplish something with a political campaign. Otherwise, we need to be doing preparation work. As Occupy begins to promote specific policies, we need a paired promise between the pragmatists and the idealists: to take the first steps on our journey together now pulling political power to win concrete steps, while sharing the dream of more fundamental steps.

Moving Forward

This map of the Occupy idea-space splits after this step. I think of this point as "now," a moment when Occupy is amazing, inspiring, young; fuzzy and being chased out of the early occupations. We face a crisis between people who want to turn Occupy into a short-term political campaign, and those

It's deeply important that we stay merciful to each other: we can't get to the dream with taking a first step, be conscious of both sides even if you prefer to move along one track. The branches from here go into the short-term, realistic political, and the long-term educational. I don't believe either can survive without the other: Gandhi and King changed our deep understanding of the world partly by proving that their idealism could bring people freedom; the brought people short-term freedoms partly by expressing a dream.

* There is a difference simultaneously subtle and enormous between two types of radicals: one type wants to create deep, heartfelt changes across all of society and also have those changes reflected in the political system. Another wants to radicalize the people who already partly agree with them, create a little army of the righteous, and have their vanguard stretch reach fight and overwhelm opposition to place those changes into the political system. The second path is much easier to shout about, to play hero. You see it on both sides of the political spectrum. Phenomenally ineffective.