"For me, the most important lesson
[of the Freedom Movement] is that by respecting the fact that fellow activists could passionately disagree over strategy and tactics—yet remain allies—they strengthened SNCC and the Movement as a whole."
From Bruce Hartford's article in the current issue of Urban Habitat.
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Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Glimmers of A Real Social Movement in the Making

Okay....I think there's a real movement brewing.  The purpose of nonviolent direct action is to dramatize the injustice so as to attract the sympathy of a wider audience.  Those thus attracted then need to be recruited into action.  (Thanks Traber, Chris and Andrea for these)

1. Attract the sympathy of a wider audience  (and create a vision)

2. then give people something to do

And NEVER forget that, singing is better than chanting:

  • The songs.
          The songs elevated our courage,
               The songs bonded us together,
                    The songs forged our discipline,
                         The songs shielded us from hate,
                               The songs protected us from danger,
                                  And the songs kept us sane. In terms of political and moral effectiveness, group singing is to group chanting, as an elephant is to a mouse. But songs have to be learned. Moreover, the kind of singing that (trained) protesters do as an act of solidarity in the face of hatred and danger is very different from performance singing done on stage or in school. And just as a choir has to practice, so too do demonstrators. One of the reasons that the singing on modern mass marches is so pathetic and demoralizing is that no one's been doing any training or practice. (from NONVIOLENT TRAINING, by Bruce Hartford)

Key Components for a social movement to happen- build infrastructure, local leadership development, identify the problem, do your homework, coalition building, developing personal relationships, community building, strategic use of nonviolent resistance, strategic use of the arts, dealing with the contradictions within the movement, right historical moment.


Becca said...

Hopefully you can access this video. Pretty cool...

Kathy Emery said...

Thanks, Becca, for the video post. It is very provocative. Is the violence and repression of the Gadaffi, Mubarik and Syrian regimes really comparable to that experienced by the Occupy Wall Street encampments? Isn't violence and repression in the U.S. much more insidious? That is, the ways in which the police, judicial and prison system operate to disproportionately arrest and kill people of color?

irene said...

So I have a friend who is an insider and the occupy wall street is attempting to keep all demands a secret in order to prevent being boxed into any one particular settlement. The plan as of now is to get the media coverage and spread the word. I have also gotten a chain on how we can do something on an individual level without being at the protest. Fr example, when banks send credit card or loan applications we can send them back with a testimony against it and the banks have to pay for the sending postage. Charge them the way the charge us! What am i doing? pulling my money out and switching to a credit union. If we all pulled out they would collapse...i would assume.

Nick Friend said...

For reference, I'm currently watching students set up tents in the Malcolm X plaza as Occupy SFSU begins.

In regards to the video posted by Becca, I felt that it was very provocative as well. I do not think that the violence experienced by Occupy Wall Street is that comparable to the Gadaffi, Mubarik and Syrian regimes. However, I do not think our country should be compared to these regimes either. We should be held to a higher standard and expect more civility from the government. It's sad to see police (American citizens) treating other citizens (people in general) in such a way. I feel like we do not move forward as a country and do not learn from our mistakes of the past.

I know we discussed in class that it was not necessarily a bad thing that Occupy Wall Street has not made any specific demands publicly, but just how long do they plan on waiting? How long can they afford to wait? Especially with cities cracking down on Movements and forcing the removal of encampments.

I think it is good to see that the OWS Movement has picked up so much speed and spread to campuses around the country. And I like the fact that the students appear to have clear goals. As for the one here at SFSU, they have demands and we will have to wait and see how it plays out.

The demands:
Reverse CSU's 283% tuition hikes since 2002.
Rehire the 4,000 CSU faculty terminated since 2008.
Reduce class sizes and restore canceled classes.
Cap CSU executive salaries and bonuses.
Reinstate affirmative action to ensure access for all students.