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Weekly Update: Unity Increases our Effectiveness

Monday, 04 February 2013 11:28 By Margaret Flowers, Occupy Washington | Op-Ed

Don’t let the forces of regression dominate the media in 2013 - click here to support brave, independent reporting today by making a contribution to Truthout.

Getting to the Next Level of Constructing a New Society

Once again the corporate mass media got the story wrong. The headlines across the country were that occupiers in New York came from households with incomes of over $100,000. The movement writer for The Nation, Allison Kilkenny, interviewed one of the researchers who points out that a lot of these were young people earning under $15,000 per year who were still in school and living with their parents.

The most important takeaway from the researcher’s point of view:

"The takeaway for me is that this is part of an arch of social movement activity that built on previous work, and is building into continuing work."
That struck us because we are working with political activists and occupiers across the country to develop a strategy to reach a more effective level of advocacy for transformation to a peaceful, just and sustainable society.

An article from Yes! Magazine, Occupy 2.0: The Great Turning, resonated with us making some important points.  The article points out that there are thousands of people working in movements around the world and uniting them would create an unstoppable force. How do we unite in a way where we keep the diversity of multiple movements but still work together in solidarity?  The answer in part is a common broad vision and strategic framework. The author, Michael Nagler of the Metta Center, puts forward a strategy they have been developing which they call “The Roadmap.” (The article links to a webinar on this approach.)


Their approach recommends a two track strategy similar to one we have emphasized from the beginning, Stop the Machine, Create a New World or a resistance program of direct action and constructive program of building what we want. This approach dates back to Gandhi and has been used in many transformative movements. In an article about the hidden history of economic democracy and how it relates to major social transformations throughout U.S. history, we summarized these two tracks by writing:

“History reinforces the idea that to achieve transformational change, we must proceed on twin tracks: protesting and building. Mahatma Gandhi changed his emphasis in the mid-1930s, a dozen years before independence from the British Empire, to work focused on building economically self-reliant communities from below (sardovaya, or social uplift for all). This became an adjunct to the strategy he is most known for, satyagraha (noncooperation and civil disobedience to unjust laws). Gandhian economics meant thousands of self-sufficient small communities with self-rule and the need for economic self-sufficiency at the village level joined together in a cooperative federation of village republics. This is bookended by the Gandhian social ideal of dignity of labor, equitable distribution of wealth, communal self-sufficiency and individual freedom.”

There is incredible work going on throughout the United States on both these tracks. Economic democracy is gaining a foothold in the U.S. putting in place the kind of economy we want. And resistance is strong too. In the last week we have reported on the following protests:


That is just in the past ten days! And, we have no doubt we are not reporting anywhere near all the protests that are occurring.  As we found out when we were organizing the Occupation of Washington, DC at Freedom Plaza, Americans have been in revolt for a long time, the media just does not report it.


For a while Occupy began to bring a lot of movements together under the broad anti-Wall Street goal of economic fairness and justice; that was one reason the movement was not ignored.  But now greater solidarity is needed, in order to show that there is a mass movement that people should be part of, a movement that can succeed in shifting power from concentrated wealth to the people.

One thing needed to bring the movement for social justice to the next level is unity.  It will take many working together to achieve effective solidarity. At OccupyWashingtonDC/Ocober2011, we are considering what we can do to advance solidarity. We ask for your thoughts, write us at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it." target="_blank" style="padding:0px;margin:0px;color:rgb(84, 19, 111);text-decoration:underline;font-weight:normal">This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. Of course, unity is not all that is needed, but it is one step.

In the meantime, realize that Americans are awakening and getting more active. Whether they are helping to build cooperatives, community or public banks, community supported agriculture and farmers markets or other more democratic economic institutions; or whether they are protesting the mistaken direction of the U.S. economy and government – a lot of good work is being done and we should rejoice that so many are working to create a new world.

Some upcoming events:

  • February 6, 2013: Flood the NY Federal Courthouse on in opposition to the NDAA, see here and here.
  • February 9, 2013: Anti-Drone Protest at the CIA Headquarters, information here

Activities that are asking for support:

  • The Rolling Jubilee continues to eradicate debt, get involved! Click here for information.
  • Occupy Sandy in New York and New Jersey continues to clean up and help people get their lives back. Click here for information and here.
This piece was reprinted by Truthout with permission or license. It may not be reproduced in any form without permission or license from the source.

Margaret Flowers

Margaret Flowers, co-director of Its Our Economy, is a Maryland pediatrician. After graduation from the University of Maryland School of Medicine in 1990 and completion of pediatric residency at Johns Hopkins Hospital in Baltimore, Flowers worked first as a hospitalist and then in private practice. She left practice in 2007 to advocate full-time for a single payer health care system at both the state and national levels. co-hosts, Clearing the FOG radio which airs on We Act Radio, 1480 AM. Her twitter is @MFlowers8.


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Weekly Update: Unity Increases our Effectiveness

Monday, 04 February 2013 11:28 By Margaret Flowers, Occupy Washington | Op-Ed

Don’t let the forces of regression dominate the media in 2013 - click here to support brave, independent reporting today by making a contribution to Truthout.

Getting to the Next Level of Constructing a New Society

Once again the corporate mass media got the story wrong. The headlines across the country were that occupiers in New York came from households with incomes of over $100,000. The movement writer for The Nation, Allison Kilkenny, interviewed one of the researchers who points out that a lot of these were young people earning under $15,000 per year who were still in school and living with their parents.

The most important takeaway from the researcher’s point of view:

"The takeaway for me is that this is part of an arch of social movement activity that built on previous work, and is building into continuing work."
That struck us because we are working with political activists and occupiers across the country to develop a strategy to reach a more effective level of advocacy for transformation to a peaceful, just and sustainable society.

An article from Yes! Magazine, Occupy 2.0: The Great Turning, resonated with us making some important points.  The article points out that there are thousands of people working in movements around the world and uniting them would create an unstoppable force. How do we unite in a way where we keep the diversity of multiple movements but still work together in solidarity?  The answer in part is a common broad vision and strategic framework. The author, Michael Nagler of the Metta Center, puts forward a strategy they have been developing which they call “The Roadmap.” (The article links to a webinar on this approach.)


Their approach recommends a two track strategy similar to one we have emphasized from the beginning, Stop the Machine, Create a New World or a resistance program of direct action and constructive program of building what we want. This approach dates back to Gandhi and has been used in many transformative movements. In an article about the hidden history of economic democracy and how it relates to major social transformations throughout U.S. history, we summarized these two tracks by writing:

“History reinforces the idea that to achieve transformational change, we must proceed on twin tracks: protesting and building. Mahatma Gandhi changed his emphasis in the mid-1930s, a dozen years before independence from the British Empire, to work focused on building economically self-reliant communities from below (sardovaya, or social uplift for all). This became an adjunct to the strategy he is most known for, satyagraha (noncooperation and civil disobedience to unjust laws). Gandhian economics meant thousands of self-sufficient small communities with self-rule and the need for economic self-sufficiency at the village level joined together in a cooperative federation of village republics. This is bookended by the Gandhian social ideal of dignity of labor, equitable distribution of wealth, communal self-sufficiency and individual freedom.”

There is incredible work going on throughout the United States on both these tracks. Economic democracy is gaining a foothold in the U.S. putting in place the kind of economy we want. And resistance is strong too. In the last week we have reported on the following protests:


That is just in the past ten days! And, we have no doubt we are not reporting anywhere near all the protests that are occurring.  As we found out when we were organizing the Occupation of Washington, DC at Freedom Plaza, Americans have been in revolt for a long time, the media just does not report it.


For a while Occupy began to bring a lot of movements together under the broad anti-Wall Street goal of economic fairness and justice; that was one reason the movement was not ignored.  But now greater solidarity is needed, in order to show that there is a mass movement that people should be part of, a movement that can succeed in shifting power from concentrated wealth to the people.

One thing needed to bring the movement for social justice to the next level is unity.  It will take many working together to achieve effective solidarity. At OccupyWashingtonDC/Ocober2011, we are considering what we can do to advance solidarity. We ask for your thoughts, write us at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it." target="_blank" style="padding:0px;margin:0px;color:rgb(84, 19, 111);text-decoration:underline;font-weight:normal">This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. Of course, unity is not all that is needed, but it is one step.

In the meantime, realize that Americans are awakening and getting more active. Whether they are helping to build cooperatives, community or public banks, community supported agriculture and farmers markets or other more democratic economic institutions; or whether they are protesting the mistaken direction of the U.S. economy and government – a lot of good work is being done and we should rejoice that so many are working to create a new world.

Some upcoming events:

  • February 6, 2013: Flood the NY Federal Courthouse on in opposition to the NDAA, see here and here.
  • February 9, 2013: Anti-Drone Protest at the CIA Headquarters, information here

Activities that are asking for support:

  • The Rolling Jubilee continues to eradicate debt, get involved! Click here for information.
  • Occupy Sandy in New York and New Jersey continues to clean up and help people get their lives back. Click here for information and here.
This piece was reprinted by Truthout with permission or license. It may not be reproduced in any form without permission or license from the source.

Margaret Flowers

Margaret Flowers, co-director of Its Our Economy, is a Maryland pediatrician. After graduation from the University of Maryland School of Medicine in 1990 and completion of pediatric residency at Johns Hopkins Hospital in Baltimore, Flowers worked first as a hospitalist and then in private practice. She left practice in 2007 to advocate full-time for a single payer health care system at both the state and national levels. co-hosts, Clearing the FOG radio which airs on We Act Radio, 1480 AM. Her twitter is @MFlowers8.


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