Solutions for OWS Movement

// Posted by on 03/16/2012 (5:53 PM)

A common criticism of the Occupy movement is that the group has proposed no solutions. There are a great number of supports willing to demonstrate for the anger towards the issues at hand. At the same time, it is difficult to get political backing when there is no agenda to follow. Conversely, senators, congressmen and other politicians have aligned with the Tea Party movement because they have requested specific changes and made a plan to improve upon their demands. These political figures can work to enact these agendas and move them forward in policy because of this action.

Because these criticisms of OWS are so frequent, I began to wonder why no one has tried to provide a solution. I research solutions or groups that were working to provide answers. Two sites that I found, The Root and Reasonable Solutions, claimed that they were answering these questions. The Root discussed how they were seeking more jobs for people (which as we discussed in class is not a direct way of fixing the issues, many of the 99% have jobs they are unsatisfied with the inequalities rather). They also were working to get people to join groups across all congressional districts (groups being Planned Parenthood and Rebuild the Dream). Reasonable Solutions, an Occupy movement based in Philadelphia, provided more specific goals. They want to change policies of corporate personhood and repeal the Glass-Steagal law; however, they provided no direction or set plans of how they were going to achieve this.

Some of the success of the Tea Party is associated with the demographics of the group. Their tactics of protesting resemble the older ways of protest that we have claimed younger, more digitalized forms of activism lack. I do not believe that these techniques are solely for the old, conservatives. The digitalized, youth activism is capable of this as well.

Evidence of this can be seen in the recent debates surrounding abortion in Richmond. A bill was passed in the state senate that would require women to receive a trans-vaginal ultrasound before an abortion; an invasive tactic that could potentially deter women from seeking abortions. Even though the bill was passed it was repealed to the amounts of backlash:

“Though the state Senate approved it by a vote of 21-18, the House twice delayed a vote on it in the midst of intense media scrutiny, protests outside the capitol and a petition signed by 25,000 people” – TPM

Pro-choice activists do not usually fit the Tea Party stereotype. This group was able to achieve change through a hybrid of techniques. Through a series of demonstrations, like OWS, and active petitions signing, they were able to convince McDonnell to back down.

Activists need to take note of these examples and realize that there needs to be more of a plan of action in order for change to occur. When OWS returns this spring a more definitive agenda needs to be outlined. In this case they may see more support from politicians and they may even change the actions of those in power. The Reasonable Solutions group shows some promise; however, they still need a plan. It will be interesting to see how they progress into the future.

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Molly said...

I think this post brings up so many good points because OWS has been repeatedly criticized for its lack of a tangible plan. Many politicians have seemed hesitant to support the movement because they don’t know what they are supporting. Though young people got together and made a plan to do something about an issue, they have not done what activists in the past have done. Unlike protests in the 1960s and 1970s, OWS has come together and it seems that by coming together they think they have achieved something. With the building criticism of their lack of a solid plan, I think they will move towards some goals in the future. So far, OWS has shown Americans that there needs to be more to protesting than standing outside with signs.

// 03/19/2012 at 7:53 pm

Kelsey said...

With the leadership we’ve heard about in our readings for class and their plans to return this spring I can’t imagine that they would return without some kind of goal or position. The OWS movement was misunderstood by anyone who did not join it or research it and the movement will lose publicity this spring if they don’t come out with a position or a plan. And, obviously, if they lose publicity then the movement will die out with little to nothing accomplished.

// 03/20/2012 at 10:53 pm