An open space for global conversation
A friend sent me this article about polling numbers that indicate OWS is losing favor with US citizens. I feel really disappointed to see this because I believe, from conversations I've had with my family and friends, and from what I've heard from people on our daily nonviolent communication strategies training call, that most people have no idea what the occupy is really about. It is difficult to understand, but I have heard this from more people than I wish I had.
I think this is what is contributing to their loss of support, along with the mainstream media not covering the occupy movement, or covering it only scantily or when something sensational happens. This is why I believe we need to start making positive statements about why we're involved with occypy.
By positive I mean, rather than saying what we don't want, we say what we do want. We are more likely to be seen as human beings who are trying to meet our needs for shelter, a job, affording an education for our children if we make clear statements about what we do want. This way we can more likely build a connection with those who also want to remain employed, want to make sure they are not going to lose their home, or want to belive that they will be able to send their children to an effective school.
Making statements such as "I'm here because I haven't been able to find a job. I want one, but I can't find one." "I'm here because, the deregulation laws that our government is passing, are creating situations like the one in which I lost my house." "I'm here because, with the ways laws are being rapidly passed, I'm afraid my children won't get a descent education, and education is so important in a democracy. You can't have a democracy without educated citizens."
When people can connect at a common needs level, they are more inspired to help each other. When we tell people that they are wrong, they are often inspired to walk away.
Occupy Wall Street Favor Fading
The Occupy Wall Street movement is
not wearing well with voters across the country. Only 33% now say that they are
supportive of its goals, compared to 45% who say they oppose them. That
represents an 11 point shift in the wrong direction for the movement's support
compared to a month ago when 35% of voters said they supported it and 36% were
opposed. Most notably independents have gone from supporting Occupy Wall
Street's goals 39/34, to opposing them 34/42.
Voters don't care for the Tea Party
either, with 42% saying they support its goals to 45% opposed. But asked
whether they have a higher opinion of the Tea Party or Occupy Wall Street
movement the Tea Party wins out 43-37, representing a flip from last month when
Occupy Wall Street won out 40-37 on that question. Again the movement with
independents is notable- from preferring Occupy Wall Street 43-34, to siding
with the Tea Party 44-40.
You are absolutely right, Suzanne.
This is tthe elphant in the room at Occupy Cafe and also in the #Occupy movement.
More and more americans and others around the world are awakening to and resonating with the fact that they are the 99%; that the income disparity is intolerable and unconscionable.
This is supposed to be what the #Occupy movement stands for. A recent poll I saw said 87% are concerned about income inequality yet only 27% support Occupy ( pretty much the same as what you quoted in framing your invitation to this important discussion..
What that seems to mean is that the 99% don't see Occupy as offering any kind of hope or leadership that addresses income inequlality in a meaningful way.
An obvious issue, as one main stream media commentator correctly noted, the phsyical face of the occupiers isn't the face of thhe 99%..there are no seniors, no blacks, no asians, no young families, no asians, no hispanics, no visible support from ordinary . workers..the invisible faces of the millions of street sweepers, garbage collectors,transit workers, waiters, nurses, teachers ..all the folk whose lives already are about caring for the rest of us.
The commentator said bluntly and correctly these folk are not the 99%..they're white kids in Gap clothes.
More and more as I listen to interviews with occupiers I begin to feel that the occupiers aren't including us ..the real 99% in their concerns. What I hear and see is a lot of young folk who just graduated from college with debts to private banks of $80 -$90 k each who don't have the jobs they thought would be there for them.
I am concerned about that too..willing to work to sort that out, already standing in solidarity with them on that issue but I see no visible reciprocity there to the concerns and circumstances of the real 99%. I haven't heard a single interview with an occupier that speaks to the plight of senors, to the increasing number sof families depending on food pantries and soup kitchens for food etc.
To put it in personal terms that the rest of the 99% may also be using, they seem to be using my status, my very real concerns, my own very difficult circumstances as one of the 99% in a way that doesn't really uderstand or include the real 99%.
Interested in your thoughts about why there is a disconnect between an overwhelming majority of the 99% who are truly concerened, even frightened by their plight as one of the 99% and the kids in tents at Liberty Plaza claiming tey are the 99%.
I am also interested to see whether todays demonstrations do put on a face that we can see is more inclusive, more representative of the diversity within the real 99%.
I think that most of the 99% are not at the encampments because they do not have the luxury to be there. Many have low-paying jobs, some working more than one job, they have small children. I know three women who cannot go often to the encampments because they have small children and it's 0 to -40 degrees outside. But they work from their homes; one empathically responding to the concerns of people on an international occupy forum, one putting our support line phone number on facebooks around the country and occasionlly getting down to encampment, and one volunteering for a suppot line. They're doing what they're doing because are very concerned, and despite their support of the occupy, they are not the faces on tv or the internet media.
So, the lack of diverse faces, combined with the angry chants such as "Shame on you" to the police (who are known by everyone to be part of the 99%), and some interference with small business owners (also part of the 99%), and the mainstream media not really covering the occupy movement, or when they do, covering only the sensational aspects of it - people aren't identifying with those who are there and it's sounding more like what we don't want - a noninclusive society whose citizens are not compassionate to all it's members.
This is why I believe starting to frame our language in a compassionate way, and frame our statements and chants in a positive way, would help our image with the general public.
I am humbled by your eloquence.
Inspired by your wisdom.
Moved by your compassion.
Hoping that your generous assessment that those who truly are the 99% are too overwhelmed by their reality to be there with the Occupiers. To be among the faces we see on TV.
Is it their sense, your own, that the occupiers do in fact have a clue about what the real 99% are suffering?
If yes, in what do you see that? What have you heard spoken from the Occupiers that leads you to believe they truly understand what the absent are suffering?
I would submit that virtually all "polls" are proxy extensions of the MSM corporate/government propaganda machine. I believe "polls" have as much veracity as much as does the "news": ZERO percent. No one can convince me that the vast majority of Americans are in FAVOR of:
No, not a single media shill, person/fbi proxy can attempt the fbi-styled moral suasion misinformation with BS "polls" in a futile and absurd attempt to dispirit me, and all other 99%'ers.
This revolution is just starting.....
You are right JJ..the vast majority are resonating with evrythng on your list..they are just not resonating with Occupy
I could easily make a list of 25 ++ major points for which we WILL get the changes we demand. This revolution is just starting.....
I agree that the revolution is probably just really begining. We will evolve into different approaches as we go. This is a process and it will take us continuing to show up to make any real change.
I may need clarity on your verbage, so let me know if I've misinterpreted you.
When I read that you couch our needs and desires in the phrase, "get the changes we demand," I feel a little scared about getting our needs and desires heard. In the communication model that I teach, Nonviolent Communication (aka Compassionate Communication) we put a lot of emphasis on the idea of requests rather than demands.
And don't get me wrong, requests are not mamby pamby, they are clearly articulated, positively-oriented, doable requests made by people who want to put everything on the table and show up to the dialog in a very present way.
My fear is that when we make demands, we don't include the needs of the others - and if we're going for a society in which the ongoing process is listening to the needs of all 100%, coming of a vibe of "this is my need, and my strategy for getting that need met (request) what is your need and your strategy for getting your need met (request)," we may all have a better chance of being heard (and getting our needs met).
What comes alive for you when you read this post?
True..depends on who designed the poll and to whom it was administered.. I don't disgaree at all with your heads up on who the pollster was and what their agenda is. These are always important questions in any poll.
Setting that aside, speaking as one of the 99%, do you hear in the voices of the occupiers anything that truly speaks for you? Truly understands or recognizes your circumstances?
I think the poll gap is real..I have seen several independent polls all saying the same thing. All having the same numbers.
More importantly, I see and feel that for myself, uninfluenced by the polls, as one of the 99%.
The occupiers are not who they say they are.
They are not representing the 99%. They dont even recognize it in the sea of humanity they blocked this morning coming out of the subways..In the faces of the struggling asians, blacks, hispanics and others they blocked from exiting the subways this morning.
I see your face. I hear your voice. I hear your authenticity as one of us. One of the 99%. I just don't see that in the occupiers.
Peace & Blessings
I started this discussion as a way to talk about the possibility of moving forward in the occupy in using compassionate communication strategies. I'm thinking that your posts are not really responding to what is being discussed in this thread. Would you be willing to start a separate discussion rather than place comments here? That we we can have this thread as well as another thread with your concerns.
Hoping that you understand my need for this request,
I can see that you don't trust me, don't trust my motives, and really want to let me know that you don't trust me. I get it. You asked what was alive for me reading your e-mail and although I believe your were being sarcastic, I would like to tell you. What is coming alive for me when I read your comments is a great deal of sadness that what I'm offering is stimulating such anger in you. The thing is, I don't have control over how you react, I only have the ability to say it the way it is for me, to offer my contriubtions as you offer yours. I don't think anyone is stupid when I suggest that we communicate compassionately with one another. When I ask you what comes alive in you, I really want to know. Even if what has come alive is more anger at me for being me and contributing what I feel is valuable. Being willing to hear what one another is saying is the best way I know to move toward the creation of the society I want to live in.
My request to you at this time is that you not respond to me by calling me names (litfbi agent, etc.) but that you be willing to engage with me at the level of connection where we can share our common needs. For example, I have a need for safety just like the need that I think you're expressing. I have a need for autonomy, not to be repressed by government agents or government agencies, just like you seem to be saying.
I also have a need to interact with others in a compassionate way, even when they're calling me names. I feel disappointed to imagine that my showing up in the world this way may make some people think I'm trying to bring the movement down rather than support it. But this is what I have to offer.
Can you message me with the info about your NVC call? Thank you.
I appreciate the modeling you offer in your comment above. I have been aware of the NVC idea of bringing a conversation back to a revelation of "needs". In reading and re-reading your response to JJ, I get a better sense of that of how that can work in an actual communication.
A few days ago I was in a conversation with someone who treated me like I was an "enemy" to the cause from one comment I made. While he was not able to be self-reflective and identify his needs, I made an effort inside to consider what his needs could be. What I came up with was the need for safety, loyalty and most of all control. I then thought of very vulnerable times when I have felt those same needs.
In feeling those needs myself, I was able to feel more compassion for where the other person might have been coming from. When we focus on "needs" it is so much easier to feel the common humanity all of us share!
I was thinking this morning about what you write above. While the Occupy Movement is committed to non-violence, I would also like us to have a commitment to not take actions that have a dramatic impact on the daily lives of the 99%. I had not heard of an action that blocked folks from coming out of a subway in NYC, yet if this did happen is not an action I feel resonance with. Out here in San Fransisco there have been times when groups have blocked the Golden Gate Bridge to get attention for their message. Yet, there is not much value in getting attention if public support is lost. How do others feel about us making this commitment?