To have a successful action, you must keep the crowd.
Today’s Martin Luther King Jr. holiday “Occupy the Dream” action in San Francisco went well, with about 150 peaceful participants, but ended early. The cold weather and subdued nature of the protest, in the empty financial district, dwindled to about 20 people by noon. The action was planned until one.
The success of this action is that it gathered a good crowd in solidarity with 15 other cities holding actions. Coordinated events like this have a wide reach and great potential for impact. It shows a unified front and can greatly boost morale through numbers (Los Angeles apparently had a great showing and lively crowd).
Where this action was not successful, was in its lack of determination. On a day to honor one of the most tireless, dedicated non-violent activists in our nations history, protesters should have actually honored his legacy with emulate perseverance.
Leaving because of cold or hunger should not be an option. Occupiers in Denver are still holding strong with 24/7 Occupation in front of their capitol building in sub-zero temperatures. It’s true. I’ve seen it. A chilly day in the bay should not send Occupiers heading for warmer climates.
The designated ending time for the action was 1:00 p.m. PST. Having dismantled the action before the indicated time was disappointing to many in the movement. It also undermines the credibility and dedication of the organizers.
Those who did remain voiced their disappointment with the loss of strength and continued to hold discussions and chant in front of the deserted Federal Reserve building.
Families even brought their children to the event, only to be disappointed that it had already ended, because it was a peaceful day and safe environment to introduce them to the fight for their future. (This methodist family from Palo Alto brought their children specifically so they understand that this is part of a struggle to ensure their rights for when they grow up. They were not hippies. Not radicals. Just concerned American parents.)
It is true more actions could have been planned, or that there were not enough people to have an impact, or the place was deserted so what is the matter? But none of those are good excuses.
If the area is deserted, an impromptu march should not be out of the question.
If there were not enough people around, move to a new location.
If there was another, bigger action, TELL PEOPLE ABOUT IT!
There is much strength in numbers. If you already have a crowd, USE IT. There is no reason for any action to end in desertion. Every opportunity should be used to its fullest extent through spreading awareness, information or actions. Letting people leave early without a completed action is a travesty to the movement and to activism.
Use your strength, direct your actions, have an impact.
– Serious Note