Preaching to the choir gets us nowhere. It’s time to stop singing and start doing. I propose a new word to be added to the reform dialogue.
Actionist: One who takes discernible actions that produce perceived needed political or social changes?
Activists make plans to get their complaints heard, Actionists make plans to affect change. This is the difference between the effectiveness of the Tea Party and the ineptitude of progressives.
I wholeheartedly support OWS for bringing Wallstreet dominance and economic inequality to the national conversation. But protesters are nothing more than organized complainers and they are viewed by the majority as just that, regardless of the fact that a majority of Americans support what they stand for. People don’t want to be associated with complainers.
I attended the first GA for Occupy Pittsburgh. It was a rough first event as far as organization and accomplishing much. Despite this, I walked out of the room inspired. Then I got to the sidewalk outside the church. I engaged some people in conversation and expressed my observation that real democracy is hard, and that I hoped that the process would get easier as we practiced a new paradigm.
I was then verbally attacked by this group of self proclaimed activists who were just, out of their tree, over how the “process” fell apart, how some people got ignored or shut out, that none of the facilitators were “real activists” and “Why when there were experienced activists in NY and other places, why the facilitators didn’t bring them in to run this.” They bitched that they heard that the Philadelphia GA didn’t have any of these “problems”, and “that if they can’t follow the process, they would not be involved”. Activists were much more concerned with adhering to their perceived process of activism than actually concerned with the message. IOW, since we don’t recognize them as one of us (real activists) then they are illegitimate.
These self proclaimed activists also didn’t want to hear about how beautiful and organic what we had just experienced was, that the facilitators should be given credit for going outside of their democratic comfort zone and trying something new. That if, as activists, they really cared about achieving the goals of OWS through direct democracy, they needed to help not illegitimate. But they were much more concerned about not getting their turn and vowed to walk away. These are the things that moved me away from actively joining the OWS movement. It was then that I walked away and began formulating a plan of action instead of a plan to get my complaints heard by people who don’t care what I think.
I do have a plan, I’m just not sure the FDL choir or the progressive choir is willing to stop singing long enough to listen to it.