Saturday, January 14, 2012

Selling to the checkbook of social capital

A very thoughtful occupier posed an analogy that seems and appropriate frame for maintaining the forward momentum of this revolution. “In sales, you don’t pitch your product to the secretary, you pitch it to the one with the checkbook.” A social revolution is our product; the masses wield the checkbook. I’m not referring specifically to donors, but to an untapped social capital that can guarantee our success.

We are outgunned, and our accounts paltry in comparison to the 1%’s bankroll. But if we can reach those spread across the American suburban landscape, the 99% that are comfortable in their complacency, too comfortable talking about Casey Anthony and fantasy football pools, though not ignorant of injustice—because this is an impossibility—but overwhelmed in the size of our task, we may yet succeed. Political revolution could be perhaps accomplished by the few but it would be meaningless and temporary without first inspiring a social revolution—a global revolution that opens eyes to relationships between humans and the non-human world, that all components of our existence must be treated with dignity, respect and stewardship.

This is a watershed moment. This is not a claim of self-aggrandizement, against which we’ve been warned. We are in a crisis that defies the structures of coping; indeed, these structures are the source of the disease.
Given that the United States is the hegemon—manipulating the strings of global culture and expectations—and that McPherson Square is proximate to the mechanisms of cancerous propagation, the occupation is in a unique position to cultivate the social revolution: rallying the masses who can deposit their social capital into this struggle. It is, therefore, critical to conduct ourselves in a way that speaks to these masses in comprehensible language. We must continue to foster non-violent tactics and refine our ability to employ them with subdued passion. We must also be presentable and conduct ourselves in a way that commands respect. We must abandon the idea that appealing to the masses is subjugating ourselves to the violence and injustice of the system and realize that only through popular appeals can we conjure the support necessary to succeed. We must reach hands to our friends in existing organizations, even if they are unaware that they are our allies; these are structures longing to be freed from the dominance of our broken system. We must also inspire dialogue. Only through passionate and respectful conversation can we compel the dispossessed and disenfranchised to action.

Our task is to grow a social revolution: one that necessarily precedes a global community as stewards of a global commons, the creation of a fellowship founded in equity and justice, one characterized by choosing quality of life over material possessions, one that replaces selfishness with love and states with individuals. I opine the surest way to do so is through selling to the checkbook of social capital, the caged masses that only need to hear the message in their own language before throwing the cage door open and joining us in the streets, sharing in our vision of a better future.

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