Since 2006 I have worked behind the scenes toward financial reform in banking. In 2008 the financial crisis wreaked havoc and brought a lot of industry dirt to the surface. I was positive this would inevitably root out corruption and lead to a more ethical business model, but I was wrong and I believe part of the problem was poorly executed activism.
When Occupy Wall Street hit the scene I was pretty excited (and naive). I stopped by and met many lovely, well-intentioned people. But guess what? Most were busy with real life; family, careers etc. and got increasingly turned off by the core radicals driving the movement, so they faded away. What was left standing were anarchists and misfits, people obsessed with identity politics, with skewed visions of the world, seeking to create chaos, confusion and division, not improve the world. If you follow the movement’s social media posts today they are focused on bashing America and Israel, not creating solutions and peace. OWS accomplished nothing, the movement was unrelatable, a PR disaster and the only people who benefited were the far left who recruited impressionable youth to hate themselves and much of what America stands for.
Many women attended the Women’s March last weekend with the best of intentions and with real issues of concern to them. But what will this accomplish in the long run? What did you prop up with your activism? Who did you prop up, opportunists or leaders you align with? What will be standing when 97% of you go back to real life responsibility or just get bored with activism? My guess right now would be something similar to the remnants of the OWS movement. Nothing but chaos.
If you really want to make life better for all women, of every race, religion and ethnicity, and effect change, be smart, learn from the mistakes of the past so you don’t damage a cause you care about.
Some tips if you want to succeed:
- Be an adult. Put on your big girl panties, then put a respectable outfit over it. Business attire shows you mean business, pink pussy hats look like GAP kids had a coupon.
- Please leave your private parts on the inside. The painted nudists and anatomically correct costumes make much better photo ops than the soccer moms. The press will ensure the one walking vagina or the saggiest painted lady is your official mascot and this will weaken your message.
- You will be judged by your allies! If you align with radicals, you will be judged as one. Do your homework. Do the organizers fight for equal rights for ALL women, all over the world? Do they give equal voices to women of EVERY race, religion and ethnicity or ask women perceived as less desirable on the hierarchy of grievances to step to the side? Do they overly focus on identity politics? Are you expected to agree with them lock, stock and barrel?
- Look at all the optics. Bring along a few garbage bags, cans will inevitably overflow and the pictures will look awful. Treat the police with respect, hand them a bottle of water or a cookie, they aren’t your enemy. Violence and vandalism immediately turn a demonstration into a riot and creates unintended victims. It’s never acceptable.
- Understand what you’re protesting. Are you blowing off steam or do you have a legitimate gripe that someone out there can actively rectify? Protesting because you have a hodgepodge of sad feelings is a waste of time, go to the gym or meet with a therapist.
- Work on your elevator pitch. If you can’t articulate what you’re fighting for in 30 seconds, don’t bother. Everybody already stopped listening.
- Don’t waste your time bashing, stay on message of whatever you hope to accomplish.
- Analyze your impact after every protest or action. If you never take any other action step toward your cause, what was accomplished at the end of the day. Who benefited? Women? Children? Society? In what way? If it was just the organizers in their careers, are they women you believe in?
- What else can you do to help your cause?
One of the great things about America is we have the right to protest and the ability to make a difference, don’t squander the opportunity.