“Anger is a powerful mobilizer, but anger without hope – what you are offering me should be the very important part. What is the vision of the future?”
Srdja Popovic, paraphrased from Rules for Radicals by Saul D. Alinsky
Occupyism is the phenomenon of protesters coming out very quickly, with very little planning or preparation, to protest a problem without offering a solution. A few years ago on Wall Street, thousands of people came out with a huge list of grievances against the unfair privileges of banking and corporate elites in the United States. These people knew exactly what their problems were, and exactly what they were angry about, but a critical piece was missing. When posed with this simple situation, they didn’t know what to do: “Say you succeed today, and all of your issues are addressed. What does tomorrow look like?” This failure to develop a Vision of Tomorrow underscores a major flaw in the movement. How can you succeed if you don’t even know what success looks like?
Without planning, unity, and nonviolent discipline, a nonviolent movement will not be successful. These steps are much less sexy than an impassioned and spectacular demonstration, but they are absolutely imperative. Principles and hard work are the real engines behind change, so by the time people hit the streets, their movement should already be the roadmap that can guide them all the way through to their destination.
“If the leaders of Occupy Wall Street had paid more attention to [Gene Sharp’s] ideas, we might today be witnessing a different outcome of their struggle for social equality in the United States. Will the new generation of activists rising across the United States coalesce into a movement capable of uniting a deeply polarized country? It’s hard to know. But they will need to read and study Sharp if they want success.” – Srdja Popovic in the Washington Post