Each year there are in Washington about ten big demonstrations.
In the last thirty years eight demonstrations attracted even more than 500,000 participants. (Wikipedia)
1969-11-15 Against the War in Vietnam
1971-04-24 Against the War in Vietnam
1987-10-11 For lesbian and gay rights
1989 April March for Women’s lives
1993-04-25 For lesbian and gay rights
1995-10-16 Million Man March
2000-11-02 CallDC for God’s move in this nation
2004-04-25 March for Women’s lives
The result of these demonstrations was disappointing. They hardly influenced politicians and the pressure on the 1% was minimal. Demonstrations and other mass actions have a propagandistic effect but it is not a real force politicians have to take into account. Mass actions also divide the 99% because they hinder the normal life of many citizens as is obvious with a strike in the public transport.
In mass actions as demonstrations, petitions, strikes, even referendums and other electoral events many people protest at the same time against decisions. But successes are not encouraging.
Demonstrations make the voice of The People heard when they urge leaders to take decisions that favour the 99%. They activate people, make them enthusiast and increase their awareness. But a growing awareness does not automatically bring a new world closer. Then something else has to happen besides taking part in mass actions organised by someone else.
When demands are not fulfilled, enthusiasm changes in disappointment and participants in non-successful demonstrations hardly take part in new political actions. These protest actions are not sufficient to oust the 1% that occupy our world. Protesting alone does not unite all 99%. Leaders tolerate such actions because it gives people the idea they have influence but the power of the politicians and the 1% is not undermined.
Occupy needs a different kind of action. Individuality and creativity of participants is not promoted by mass actions. Actions are mostly centrally organised and autonomous activity of participants is hardly allowed. Demonstrations only protest decisions but remain inside the rules of the existing system. They do not lead to a fundamental change.
With a new kind of more individual actions Occupy should concentrate on one target that will be accepted by all 99%. That target is the greed of the 1% at the cost of the 99%, Decisions of the 1% benefit in the first place the own already very privileged position.
We should answer the question how to take the power and the money away from the 1% by actions that minimise damage to the 99% and maximise pressure on the 1%.
Joost van Steenis