KEY COMPONENTS OF SUCCESSFUL SOCIAL MOVEMENTS

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"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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Thursday, October 27, 2011

Occupy NY Dept of Education

My favorite part of this video is when the protesters point out that the decisions have already been made BEFORE the "open" meeting.  This has always been my pet peeve about school board meetings in general -- the decisions have already been made and the "meeting" is merely a safety valve for the system, allowing people to blow off steam and then feel hopeless, that they can't "fight city hall."

It seems as if the NYC School Chancellor agreed to meet with NYCORE.  I am hoping that NYCORE will have specific demands that the Chancellor has the power to grant.  And that NYCORE can bring people back to meetings, pickets and sit ins until the demands are granted. 

I still prefer singing to chanting as a way to attract more people to the cause.  For this to become a MOVEMENT, it has to gain more followers.  Does NYCORE have a plan to do that?  I sure hope so.

2 comments:

Marcin said...

I have to agree that chanting is not a good way to get sympathy from people in power. Repetitive shouting reminds me of a rhythm that was beaten on drums before a battle. I believe that this tactic in not successful in reaching the hearts of the people that don't necessarily have them. On the contrary it gives them an excuse to leave and take a high moral ground and say it was just a mob disrupting an important meeting. Just like the non-violent direct action in its core is peaceful, singing is always associated with happiness. I believe putting a message into a song is a better strategy that can unite more people for a good cause.

Becky S. said...

I will have to echo what Marcin and Kathy have both said; the echo back chanting is not effective. As a matter of fact, it is borderline creepy. I think that this technique is alienating people that may have otherwise been drawn to the movement. In addition to this, the echo back chanting seems exhausting to me. I just imagine what it would be like to spend a day/night doing this. You would likely lose your voice quickly and be turned off by the fact that you are basically a parrot to whomever's turn it is to speak. We have gotten to this point in our economy, partially at least, because most of the 99% have been sheep; why would we continue this trend within the movement? I think they would be better served to stick to the lessons of Freedom Summer and use song. This would be more welcoming to possible joiners and sympathizers and would also be uplifting to the participants while at the same time instilling solidarity.