Well, hello 99%. Welcome to a brief discussion on Occupy Wall Street. Today I will be sharing my thoughts on what could have been done from a PR perspective in order to keep the initial momentum of the movement going.
In case you are part of the apathetic portion of the 99%, Occupy Wall Street is a leaderless movement that takes a stand against the “greed and corruption of the 1%”. Occupy Wall Street encourages the 99% to take a stand against this inequity by taking part in protests, standing up for our right to occupy spaces safely, and protect ourselves from the far-reaching power of major banks and multinational corporations. Amazing, right?!?
As one of the 99% (we’re a big group!), I must admit that when the Occupy Movement occurred in September 2011, I got swept up in the excitement, as well as the ideology behind the cause. The general momentum of Occupy was helped along by Manhattan PR Firm Workhouse, who provided some much needed clarity and communications about what was going on.It was exciting to see a group of people trying to tackle the corruption that occurs within major banks and corporations. Combine that with the catchy messaging of “We are the 99%,” and I’m sold. The slogan does a great job at grabbing people’s attention and showing you that you are not alone. “We are the 99%” denotes that there is no segregation based on sex, race or age; instead, it gives people a platform to take a stand against financial inequities that exist in our “free market.” It turns out that this free market of ours comes at quite the cost….
No one can argue that Occupy Wall Street generated a lot of noise and media attention. I still remember walking by the Legislative Building in Winnipeg and seeing people camping outside, rain or shine. The momentum was palpable and people were revved up for change; however, almost 2 years later the revolution seems to have lost it’s horsepower, and is in more of an idle position. Now, I would not classify myself as a political activist, nor have I rallied for large scale change. I have never slept outside as a form of solidarity for a cause, nor have I passionately picketed on the front lines. However, as one of the 99%, I was waiting for the actual movement or change that would result from all the ruckus and noise. It seemed as though the movement lacked a definitive direction, or strategy as to how this 99% of people were going to “overthrow” this 1%. As we saw with Kony 2012, momentum is only the first part of a good campaign. Once people lazily lift their head from their computers, they need a call to action strong and clear enough to make the change occur. Communication plays such an important role when trying to affect change that you literally need to spell it out for people. Furthermore, I’m not sure if the 99% can agree on how this change is going to occur. I have seen a group of 5 people melt down because they were unable to agree on things. Statistically, it doesn’t look good.
In the end, the real issue with the management of Occupy, is that there is no management at all. One of the fundamental ideologies of Occupy is that it is a “leaderless resistance movement.” To me, leaderless implies that there is no one taking control. In order to communicate to 99% of people effectively, the message has to be clear, concise, and consistent.
What would it take to convince you to take part in a movement?