I wrote earlier about Occupy Wall Street and potential donors.
MSNBC.com is reporting $300,000 in donations and food stuffs housed in a storage space in Manhattan. Verena Dobnik, MSNBC Correspondent, asks a relevant question.
Could this be the peak for loosely organized protesters, united less by a common cause than by revulsion to what they consider unbridled corporate greed? Or are they just getting started?
May I opine. OWS is not at its peak. It has room for growth and it factually has not spread as far as it will spread worldwide. Dobnik asks the question based on the following.
There are signs of confidence, but also signs of tension among the demonstrators at Zuccotti Park, the epicenter of the movement that began a month ago Monday. They have trouble agreeing on things like whether someone can bring in a sleeping bag, and show little sign of uniting on any policy issues. Some protesters eventually want the movement to rally around a goal, while others insist that isn’t the point.
An astute observation for sure, but an observation that is endemic in just about any movement that has ‘grassroots.’ Unlike the Tea Party with adroit organization ’men’ like Dick Armey, the OWS has no ordained or anointed leader or leadership team. It also does not seem to have coordinated ’uber’ wealthy donation ’clubs’ to fund their movement. Dobnik’s question is relevant because OWS will have to, if for no other reason size alone, develop some form of organization. Large movements of very intelligent, independent thinking and professional (career) deprived young people will shatter solidarity if the organization cannot issue ‘attainable’ goals and measure results towards those goals. The need for organization and clearly stated g0als can be debated all winter, but fact is, group dynamics will start to manifest in any group of 4 or more people.
All groups go through stages of development. Yes, I know you already know about the stages of development , but for sake of opining, I must list them here. 1.) Forming, 2.) Storming, 3.) Norming and 4.) Performing.
The sooner OWS moves through some of the early stages the more effective it will become.
Forming: The OWS is barley into Forming as it isn’t widespread internationally. If some degree of Forming does not give way to ‘Storming’ with an ‘eye’ on ‘Norming’ and ‘Performing’, the movement will suffer.
Dobnik, if the writer is correct on their examples is reflecting early ‘Storming.’ In a way, that is good because that stage needs to pass before the group stars to ‘Norm’ into a complete viable social movement. The example from Dobnik is very basic interaction among protesters. can you imagine the ‘Forming’ and ‘Storming’ among those who sit in Assembly Meetings as pictured above.
Want another example from Dobnik’s article….
“We’re moving fast, without a hierarchical structure and lots of gears turning,” said Justin Strekal, a college student and political organizer who traveled from Cleveland to New York to help. “… Egos are clashing, but this is participatory democracy in a little park.”
There is real danger in not moving through the stages effectively. Some form of organization is a must to get to the Performing Stage.
Women’ Suffrage, the Anti-Viet Nam War Movement and the Civil Rights Movement benefited from organization.
If you read the article you will see signs of complete brilliance by unnamed coalition group leaders (who are not leaders)….
The United Federation of Teachers Uni0n has donated the storage space for OWS and they use a bank that is 100% union owned.
Order is coming to OWS, and it is necessary. They have yet to see the full measure of resistance and counter-measures from the Right. Order brought-on via organization will help to build barriers against a seasoned and ‘moneyed’ Right-wing. One last point.
A key victory for OWS would help with support from those who are ‘on the fence’ and just watching the movement.
What do you want?
“We know your grievances but what do you want that can be fixed, now.”
That is the mindset of some who are just sitting back. How about whether OWS wants to support a political candidate as a potential third political party? (Probably not a good idea, but none-the-less a point that might help some understand what they are doing. Or, better yet. let the administration know how it can best align with the movement.)
As stated above, give someone an idea of a measurable accomplishment or focus on where you are heading and ‘people will follow’.