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Towards Mobilizing Successful Activism Against the Plutocracy

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Towards Mobilizing Successful Activism Against the Plutocracy

During World War II, Greek leftists and rightist set aside their differences (which had been fought violently) to defeat the German Nazi and Italian Fascist armed forces which had occupied their country. In what I think is the most well-known example of this brittle but necessary alliance, they coordinated their efforts to destroy the Gorgopotamos bridge.
The leftist and rightist guerillas were to resume fighting each other before Greece was fully liberated, but there is still explanatory value in making the analogy to our predicament in present day America. The concept of uniting, temporarily, to defeat an existential threat which is even more threatening than the "evil other" group of fellow citizens has been done, and it needs to be done in America. The more pressing existential threat in America is the globalist plutocracy, which is working to bring us the Trans Pacific Partnership and the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership.

The TPP amounts to economic treason, as it's represents not only a massive assault on the middle class, but a subordination of our national sovereignty to international, plutocratic interests.

Even if this so-called "trade agreement" was not treasonous in a legal, Constitutional sense, it would still be treasonous in an emotional, tribalistic sense. I believe it will render minimum wage laws illegal; and even worse, destroy just about any wage floors, due to massive in-sourcing. Laws which require American citizenship to hold a job in America will be deemed in "restraint of trade", and so, out they will go!

I am only setting the stage, here, and will not delve further into TTP and TTIP. For the purposes of this diary and this analogy, the main evil actor is the plutocracy; and leftist and rightist guerillas represent not just the two main poles of American political organizations - the Democrats and the Republicans - but really all Americans who want a future better than that of being a poor and essentially powerless serf.

How to defeat this plutocracy? That is a tall order, but setting ourselves a great challenge should not deter us, when there's so much to lose. Quite the contrary, as beaten down and demoralized as we may be, the imminence of the existential threat against our freedoms should inspire us to organize hastily. I am not optimistic, but I have not given up.

In this diary, I will not focus on defeating the plutocracy, en toto (which requires some sober thinking about what a comprehensive, populist - in the sense of anti-plutocratic - Powell Manifesto would comprise), but rather sketch out the sort of analysis and goal seeking that I don't see being applied to this problem, which well crystallizes a battle for and against systemic corruption - one that will have the force of law! There will actually be considerable overlap between these two ideas, but I won't take the time to elaborate. Suffice it to say that an anti-populist Powell Manifesto would lay out more of a framework, and argue more from general principles, than the course of action that that I'm about to describe. (I'll also note that when I write "defeating the plutocracy, en toto", I don't mean somehow ending the ability to be wealthy, or putting an end to corporations or capitalism. Instead, I mean removing Big Money's ability to corrupt our political process. I don't expect that this will ever be done, completely, but a radical enough (for me) criteria for when a suitable state of affairs with respect to the plutocracy shall be reached is when candidates for office will avoid Big Money contributions like the plague, as it will all but guarantee their defeat in their next election.)

The rest of this diary will will be comprised of 3 main parts. The first part will be mostly quotes of myself from comments in a recent diary at FireDogLake.com. I apologize for not tailoring and polishing that content more for this diary, but I can't justify taking the time that requires. (Also, frankly, the other sections which I am freshly writing, today, will be sketchier than I would have preferred.)

The second part will sketch out a "divide us and conquer them" strategy for maximizing the appeal of specific anti-plutocratic planks to specific, age-related segments of the population.

The last section will just be some references. As should hopefully be obvious, I have concerned myself with strategy in more than a few diaries, primarily at firedoglake.com and openleft.com.

Section 1 - Recent Posts on the Failure to Organize Sufficiently Against TPP
* My comments quoted from: Obama’s Last Quarter: Trade It's better to read my comments at that diary, for better context. I've only quoted 1 comment from a differnt poster, here.
* See also the book I referred to, viz., Nine Things Successful People Do Differently

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In response to DWBartoo @ 1
Let us not keep this issue in polite obscurity, for the consequence of its “success” will reverberate viciously and most destructively for both the planet and for humanity. It is no small, obscure matter
.
I agree, but is ANYBODY or ANY GROUP organizing activists to push awareness to the public, at large? Is ANYBODY or ANY GROUP organizing activists to push awareness to the public, at large, successfuly?
The only (populist) meme, that I’m aware of, being successfully pushed to large numbers of the American public, currently, is that of police brutality (especially targeting blacks).
And even that, without cable media, would likely not be happening…..
To me, this constant of American civic life screams about a more or less completely dysfunctional activist class. Or, following a more incisive typology floated by one of the regulars at Black Agenda Report (I think it was Bruce Dixon), this constant of American civic life screams about a more or less completely dysfunctional organizer class.
Organizers being people who organize activists.

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10
In response to DWBartoo @ 9
I don’t think I disagree with anything you write, here. However, FDL is a small fish in a big pond. Even if it’s presentational priorities were perfect, I still claim that there’s no successful organizing, including (but not especially) FDL, that is forcing populist memes into public consciousness.
I think if there was some such large scale organizing going on, I would have noticed it.
The anti-police thuggery demonstrations are an exception. To be fair, even though I gave the media credit for them being such, they are also doing something that I consider essential for meme propagation by any reformists who are not favored by the main stream media, and thus can’t count on ‘free advertising’. Viz., they have taken to the streets, public commons, etc.
What I find sad is that nobody seems to be even calling for a mass mobilization of the activist class, to educate the public at large about TPP, etc. (I admit I haven’t surveyed activists groups to ascertain this.)
I first heard about TPP over a year ago (probably over 2 years ago) on prn.fm. That web site is essentially an information depot. It makes no effort to find out which listeners/readers are activists; which are organizers*; nor does it facilitate the face-to-face meeting up of neighbors who are activists and organizers (for which you minimally just need users to enter their zip codes and a username, a 3 second operation on their part).
That’s assuming they supported inmail.
Otherwise, you’d have to allow users to input other contact info, such as email.
The net/net is that prn.fm audience will be analogous to some of the best informed passengers on the Titanic. They may even win a bunch of “water cooler wars”.
That will prove as useful to defeating the plutocracy as discussing boat engineering and iceberg evasion on the Titanic, in the hours before it meets up with its fateful iceberg.
There is no plan (so far as I know) to use the power and dirt-cheapness of the web to facilitate locals embedding themselves into a larger outreach program, with quantifiable metrics that lend themselves to effective goal-seeking. For example, can I go to prn.fm, to volunteer to contact specific local Boy Scout Troops, girl Scout troops, and PTA’s, with the request that they reach out to the public about TPP (or anything!)? And can I then feed this information about contacts back into a web-based database?
I just checked local.350.org (so far as I know, the front-runner in using the web to faciliate local activists and organizers), and, while the site seems to be somewhat broken right now, it’s showing the following, in largest letters, at the top:
Search the map to see if there’s a group near you.
That’s what I call “being on the right track”, organizationally speaking and recruitment-wise.
That’s the sort of thing that FDL and prn.fm lack, that bothers me far more editorial prioritization.
* Ironically, this useful distinction was made on Black Agenda Report, who ran an Organizing 101 type of series on their website. They also have a radio program on prn.fm.

===============

You’re welcome.
It looks like the key functionality that was previously in local.350.org is now accessible via the more common domain name 350.org. I see the local group finding via map functionality is prominent, and near the top, of 350.org.
Prn.fm stands for progressive radio network. It’s founder, Gary Null, has the most popular program.

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pastfedup December 31st, 2014 at 6:25 am 15
In response to metamars @ 6
Metamars, there is a group called “Flush the TPP” they have a website flushthetpp-dot-org; their facebook page is particularly useful for keeping up with protests and actions in major cities across the us.
SLC participated in protesting a TPP membership meeting just before Thanksgiving in 2013; in our case, our activist groups were contacted by organizers from the northwest, who came down and helped organize and support our action.
Perhaps you could contact them through their facebook page.

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In response to pastfedup @ 15
Thanks, but we’re not talking about quite the same thing. It’s not, for me, a question of whether or not there are activists targetting TPP. Of course, there are. And unless they’re co-opted, or clueless beyond human comprehens, they make some efforts towards recruitment.
As I often do, I’m questioning whether they even have the right framework and strategies for success, which IMO must involve a large-scale mobilization, complete with ubiquitous “street” presence (by which I mean a public presence, not necessarily walking down streets, blocking traffic, etc.; the ‘public presence’, wherein the anti-TPP memes would be propagated, which is basically COMPLETELY ABSENT from a streets, sidwalks, boardwalks, shopping centers, malls, parks, benches, etc., that I pass through.)
We need not only a ‘final’ definition of success (which in this case, I think a large consensus would agree is simply ‘defeat of TPP’), but also concern for, and a widespread agreement on, some interim goals, or sub-goals.
A key sub-goal is “education of the American public about TPP”. And, following the advice in the book “9 Things Successful People Do Differently”, I’ll define this UNAMBIGUOUSLY, so that that we can KNOW when we’ve reached this sub-goal.
My first unambigous sub-goal is “at least 35% of the adult population of the United States knows that TPP (at least in the opinion of anti-TPP’ers) will cause a further impoverishment of the population, so egregious that it can fairly be described as “economic treason”. It is fairly called “treason” because it subordinates national sovereignty. It will severely damage US citizens economic prospects because it will facilitate in-sourcing, and jeopardize wage floors, including of the poorest segments of American wage earners.
The validity of this assertion will be ascertained via statistically significant poll.
That immediately spawns other sub-goals, which support this sub-goal. E.g.:
Sub-goal:A budget for polling must be determined. Let’s assume we want polls conducted every 4 weeks.
Sub-goal: The money required for this budget must be raised, every 4 weeks. (Presumably, via crowd-funding.)
I’ll guesstimate that 35% of America’s adult population is, roughly, 85 million people (based on total US population of 316 million people.) I’ll further guesstimate that, if 35% of America’s population passed my TPP Awareness criteria, than at least 1% of that 85 million people would have discovered Flush the TPP’s facebook page, and taken 4 seconds out of their lives to give it a “like”. That would mean 850,000 likes.
In point of fact, there is currently 6,718 likes, not even 1% of what is probably too low a criteria to credibly support the idea of success of my 35% awareness criteria.
Hence, I conclude that that the anti-TPP movement has failed, at least so far.
Furthermore, they’re not even in the right ballpark.
Furthermore – and this is what is most tragic – I don’t think there’s any recognition of just how insufficient the organization/activist response to TPP has been, nor much recognition that it doesn’t have to be this way, and at least an honest effort to strategize outside this current path to failure of the Main Goal. (Again, that is “defeat of the TPP”).
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Another way to express my main doubts about activists/organizers is: While their Main Goals are noble enough (and I don’t usually question people’s motives), their lack of sufficiently aggressive sub-goals, plus an appalling lack of strategic smarts to achieve those sub-goals, suggests that their Main Goals – at least when challenging the ruling plutocracy – will continue to FAIL.

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In response to Synoia @ 13
Here’s Bernie’s comments (arrived by email today)
1. TPP will allow corporations to outsource even more jobs overseas.
I’m hardly an expert on economics, but I think Sanders
concern is misplaced, in the following sense.
What constraints exist, today, on any American firms outsourcing jobs? The only such constraints I can think of are “buy American” ones, which I think are only extant in some states.
It’s not out-sourcing that should scare Americans, but rather in-sourcing. In the IT industry, there are already scads of technical folks in India who are “visa ready”, who can literally jump on a plane within 24 hours after a contract is signed for their employment in the US. A constraint exists in the form of H1-b visas.
But why stop at the IT industry? I met a guy who ran a seasonal business at the Jersey shore, over 20 years ago, who used to “import” kids from Ireland. (American kids are notorious for quitting their jobs during the last 2 weeks of August to vacation, themselves.) My guess is that he was doing so illegally.
And, if in doubt, you can fire American teachers and hire teachers from Turkey, in their place:
At least 474 foreign teachers, again mostly from Turkey, have arrived at Concept’s Ohio schools between 2005 and 2013. The schools are collecting about $45 million in state funds annually to educate 6,600 children in kindergarten through high school….
The Ohio Department of Education is weighing complaints from former Concept staffers that unlicensed, foreign teachers were used.
Ohio teachers, meanwhile, say plenty of qualified teachers are available for jobs being filled by the foreigners, especially since about 40,000 are still without teaching jobs because of the recession. [bold and red in original]
Why, if you are a corporation who cares only about the bottom line, and has zero loyalty to American citizens, should you have to worry about hiring Americans, at all, even in America? Aren’t laws that effectively prohibit you from flying in foreigners by the planeload, who will replace Americans, constraining trade? Laws that will become illegal with TPP?

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IMO, even the theoretical possibility of this should be enough to inspire millions of Americans to actively work to kill TPP. But somebody has to make the case, by propagating the right memes (i.e., public outreach and education), before you can flip the fraction of 10′s of million reached into activists and organizers.
One hopes to exploit a feedback loop (more ‘converts’ leading to more activists and organizers; in turn leading to more ‘converts’; etc.). So, the task might not be as daunting as you might otherwise expect.
But without a larger vision, and sufficiently clever strategy and messaging, how will even this easier scenario be attained?
However much coverage may have occurred at prn.fm and FDL, clearly we are not on a path to success, at least as far as my unambiguous criteria are concerned.
Blogs (as well as information depots like prn.fm) are what I call self-limiting. There are some steps that they could take which could correct for that.
In fact, I saw such a device exhibited at prn.fm, though it’s the exception that proves the rule. There was a documentary that one could view, online, but the ‘price’ of the otherwise free viewing is that you had to like it on facebook. (I may not be remembering the details, exactly.)
Well, prn.fm could have extended the notion, by , e.g., forcing you to ‘pay’ in similar fashion, if you wanted to listen to any of it’s Friday shows.
Likewise, fdl could force you to ‘pay’, otherwise you may not post diaries or comments on, say, any given Friday.
(And this is just to begin to address the deficit in information propagation, via the internet. This doesn’t rise to the mass mobilization that a ubiquitous street/public presence implies. And, furthermore, it doesn’t address the appalling lack of strategy, which would exploit the strengths and weaknesses of our political system.
Prn.fm and FDL are my primary sources of info about current events, and they are both essentially as developed as toddlers, even wrt to this low rung of the ladder that we must climb.)

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What constraints exist, today, on any American firms outsourcing jobs? The only such constraints I can think of are “buy American” ones, which I think are only extant in some states.
Well, come to think of it, there are federal jobs that require security clearances that probably exclude foreigners. It wouldn’t shock me if TPP made such consraints illegal, also.

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Well, prn.fm could have extended the notion, by , e.g., forcing you to ‘pay’ in similar fashion, if you wanted to listen to any of it’s Friday shows.
Well, another mini-brainstorm, before I turn in for the night. A better idea for prn.fm is to break up every podcast into 2 pieces. Part 1 runs for 10 minutes, and gives you the flavor of the show. Part 2 contains the balance of the show.
You can listen to Part 1, for free. For part 2, you have to “pay”, by liking or linking via social media.
The idea being that, if you think the show is worth hearing in it’s entirety, then it’s worth spending 4 (seconds) of your life to click a ‘like’ link.

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Thanks for the Nader reference. I just ordered a copy – 1 cent + $3.99 for shipping, via Amazon.com. I respect Nader quite a bit, including his creativity. I once caught a youtube video of him, probably in the 60′s or 70′s, putting forth ideas for civic involvement, including tapping seniors.
One wonders what became of those efforts, which IMO we need now, more than ever. An insightful post mortem could be of considerable help to modern day activists.
Alas, AFAIK, even his outside-the-box mind falls short, even if the book impresses on me, even more, what an exceptional mind he has.
I don’t believe that I’ve ever said or suggested that the “left blogosphere” is of “no use”. However, just like alternative media, across the political spectrum, it’s not fulfilling what I consider to be a reasonably fast evolutionary path to political effectiveness. I had hoped that blogs would have evolved into tools of activism and organization. The demos is lacking political power, and citizens of a lefty persuasion reflect that powerlessness. (At least when in opposition to the plutocracy.)
While you can get a decent notion of what an adolescent level (let’s call it) of such a tool should look like by looking at 350.org’s website, that is the exception that proves the rule. FDL and prn.fm are at what I’ve called “as developed as toddlers”.
Or, to put it differently, they may be of “little use” wrt activism, but informationally of considerably more use. They both compare very favorably with cable news, e.g.. If you want to learn about TPP, you’ll follow the relevant info at FDL and prn.fm, e.g., not msnbc.
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At the risk of contradicting myself, I do believe that extant research STRONGLY suggests that talking about a perceived injustice with a seemingly sympathic party can inhibit action. (I don’t want to go a-googling for the references. The research I read had to do with employers lending a sympathetic ear to employees, but not actually doing anything to change.)
Thus, I would have hoped that organizations like FDL and prn.fm would have viewed it as a challenge to make sure that the net/net of their information dispersal (and conversation facilitation) didn’t lull their respective communities into a false sense of progress.
In fact, I think there’s an even deeper trap that may have befallen certain segments of reform-minded communities (like FDL’s and prn.fm’s). The research alluded to, above, was conducted over a relatively short time period.
OTOH, if you’ve been listening to prn.fm, or blogging and commenting at FDL, for 10 years, say, and you know perfectly well that the public is becoming increasing disempowered (i.e., the plutocracy keeps winning), you can be forgiven, methinks, to rationally conclude that the situation is hopeless and there’s not much point to maintain a high level of involvement with information outlets like prn.fm and fdl.
This sort of despair over the failure of collective action probably helps fuel a retreat into “lifestyle activism“. I’ve nothing against lifestyle activism, per se, but I view ‘lifestyle activism ONLY‘ as escapist, being unreal as to it’s ability to solve some of our thorniest societal issues.
Some problems require the force of law, and throwing bad actors into jail.

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Thanks. I can’t post diaries at FDL, any more. However, I am working on a long-overdue upgrade of OccupyPublicSpaces.org, which will render in mobile devices (as the current incarnation should have, but didn’t).
It’s going to be generalized, and so not really infused with Occupy type metaphors and ‘hooks’. However, the basic walk planning functionality will be there, and if users want to use it to plan walks which converge at an unoccupied, but still public location, they can. They can leaflet along the way, and leaflet, converse, and proselytize when they converge. And rather than illegally sleep on concrete (like in Zucotti Park), they can go home, at night, sleep well in their comfortable beds, and then repeat the process another day.
As I’ve written previously, I believe most of us live in a target rich environment (for meme propagation), but we need to be resourceful and lose any obsession* in reforming media which is owned and operated for the benefit of the plutocracy.
I’ll post the announcement of the upgraded website at: .
(BTW, OccupyPublicSpaces.org was supposed to be the beta/test site for OccupyTheSidewalk.org. Will probably pick an occupy-less name, for the live site, in the coming months.)
* at least for near term; for the long term, we could re-introduce a fairness doctrine

To summarize: Defeat the TPP is the Main Goal. Effective goal seeking requires unambiguous subgoals. An extremely important subgoal - necessary, but not sufficient for attaining the main goal - is education of the American public. As one might have guessed from the word "Mobilizing" in the title of this diary, I believe it necessary to engage Americans by the 10's of millions. However, reasonable guesstimating/extrapolation from the number of likes on the Flush the TPP facebook page indicates that we are nowhere near where we should be in attaining thes subgoal. Hence, we are on a trajectory of FAILURE. Even the blogs (such as FireDogLake) and websites (such as prn.fm) which cover TPP are almost completely inadquate in moving us towards the unambiguous goal of meme penetration that I have defined.

Now, suppose that we achieve the subgoal I defined of meme propagation:
My first unambiguous sub-goal is “at least 35% of the adult population of the United States knows that TPP (at least in the opinion of anti-TPP’ers) will cause a further impoverishment of the population, so egregious that it can fairly be described as “economic treason”

Can we rest easy, and sing "hallelujah"? Again, there is a lot at stake here. Even if one were inclined to think that "that would do it!", I would not be so sanguine. Failure would still be an option. I participated in the 2nd largest march against the 2003 invasion of Iraq. Only 1 or 2 Congress critters came out to address the march (which took place in Washington). Not only was large scale meme propagation not enough to stop a war; but large scale activism was not enough to even secure an audience with the elected representatives of "we, the people".

The plutocracy is not yet ruling by decree. The plutocracy is, rather, ruling by coopting Congress and the Presidency. This was quantitatively shown in research that appeared just last year, viz., in the paper "Perspective on Politics".

The ongoing failure of activists and their organizers in America is not limited to failure to propagate memes (including the memes of just how corrupt the Democratic and Republican parties, themselves are. How many Congress critters, of either party, have you heard condeming their own party's role in bringing about this state of affairs?)
There is also an apalling lack of strategy for the public to develop the organizational, collective, political muscle that will allow it to exert its will through the ballot box. Blogger Ian Welsh has put it well:

Political power is constituted of getting people elected, getting people unelected and being able to reward or punish people for doing or not doing what you want. If you can’t do any of those things, you have no power.

A few quick examples of the appalling lack of poiltical strategizing by reform-minded citizens (across the political spectrum):
1) Failure to recognize and/or teach the relative ease of disrupting Democratic and Republican "business as usual" electoral activity during primaries (the mathematics of the relative ease of defeating an incumbent during a primary, as compared to a general election, can be understood by a 12 year old child.) Note that disrupting Democratic and Republican primaries doesn't preclude voting 3rd party in a general election. Note, also, that while voting for a non-incumbent does not mean that his/her replacement is any better, it can demonstrate a degree of political muscle that lays the groundword for even more muscular electoral action in the future. As the public's electoral muscle grows, it can force the election of decent candidates.
2) Failure to use existing internet technologies as organizational tools. See, e.g., the quotes above about 350.org's use of mapping to facilitate local introduction and organization of reform minded citizens. Learn about the use by Beppe Grillo - an Italian comedian - of the use of facebook to spark his political reform movement's growth.
3) Failure to study and appropriate the lessons of many Latin America nations in taming a far more repressive plutocracy than we have in America, and then to propagate those insights to the public at large. Oliver Stone, in his film "South of the Border" was told "There is a new actor here - the social movements".
4) Failure to drive the approval ratings of the Democratic and Republican parties into the toilet - not necessarily with a view towards benefitting 3rd parties, but with a goal of forcing otherwise complacent citizens to pay more attention to the political process; and thus to force more reform candidates into the 2 parties as well as to facilitate the growth of 3rd parties. A (somewhat unambiguous) subgoal to the goal driving the D/R ratings into the toilet: Educate at least 35% of the American public about the techniques used to frustrate reformist forces that do arise within the D/R parties. See this diary, by John Emerson, about Karp's "Indispensable Enemies" http://www.openleft.com/diary/15278/

Section 2 - A "divide us to conquer them" (partial) strategy to mobilize Americans across the generational divide
I was saddened to hear my cousin tell me, a few years ago, that older residents whose own children were adults, in the town that we grew up in, more or less "never" voted for bond issues that would benefit the local school system. I don't know the financial particulars of the older members of that community, so don't want to pass judgement. Remember, we're talking about New Jersey, with very high property taxes. Also, my cuz and her husband are both Ivy Leage grads, and have generally made more money than their neighbors, I trust.

However, it's well to be aware of fundamental differences in perspective that age can bring about. (Of somewhat tangential interest, a quick read of Carl Jung's "Stages of Life" : http://www.philosophicalsociety.com/Archives/Carl%20Jung%27s%20Stages%20... )

IMO, a populist (again: anti-plutocratic) grand strategy for mobilizing the American public to create the conditions in which they can vote their economic self-interest, should involve a few divisions. We can go Carl Jung one better, and settle on 3 divisions, instead of 2.

The first division is of young people, 18 - 30 years old. The second division is from 30 to 64 years old. And the 3rd division is 65 years old.

You can find out what the 2 most important economic issues are for people these ages by polling them. I don't have that luxury, and don't want to Google for the info, so I will assume the following:

Ages 18-30: Education + Jobs
Ages 31-54: Jobs + Taxes
Ages 55+: Social Security + Health Care

But wait, there's more!

Taxes, education, and Health Care can be indirectly related to TPP by pointing out that TPP will collapse the wage base of the American working classes, thereby causing an implosion of tax receipts. Hence, tax rates will have to go up, and spending on education and Health Care will have to be cut. Similarly, Social Security will be threatened.

There should be a few (and just a few), additional proposals that an anti-plutocratic voting bloc should insist on, which threatens none of the 3 age groups. 2 examples that come to mind are a Wall Street transaction tax, and allowing reimportation of cheap drugs.

Our goal is relate these to TPP, either directly or indirectly.

Clearly, Jobs can be directly related to TPP, via the danger to both legislated minimum wage, as well as flooding the labor markets via in-sourcing. On the Jobs front, alone, effective as well as ubiquitous meme propagation about TPP should be very effective in terms of recruiting into an anti-TPP voting bloc. Basically, everybody ages 18-54 should be amenable to embracing an anti-TPP voting bloc, based on this, alone.

There's actually another age division, this one of non-voters, who could nevertheless be critically important. IMO, they should be considered critically important as vectors for meme propagation, until such time that this is disproven. (Which I consider unlikely to happen.)

Ages 7 - 17: All the above listed issues, in this sense: because their older siblings and cousins likely fall into the 1st category; their parents likely fall into the 2nd category; and their grandparents likely fall into the 3rd category; Furthermore, older members of families are likely very protective of youngsters; also, they are likely to be more accessible to older members of the family, and vice versa. (Grand parents will baby sit their grand children, at length, but spend less time with their grown up children.)

The Net/Net is that getting pamphlets into the hands of 7-17 years olds is highly likely to make those same pamphlets read by older members of the family.

So, to summarize: To not only bury the TPP, but to also strike a few other body blows against the plutocracy (creating extra incentive to join the mobilization) we need to find economic-related issues that are of primary concern to the 3 age groups, and to avoid embracing any issues that turn off any of the 3 groups.

Section 3 - Additional References

Twisting Your Congress Critters’ Arm – A Goldilocks’-Sized First Step In Domination by the Electorate (Short Version)

The Plutocrats are Laughing at You #6 – OK passes law BANNING local miminum wage and sick leave
(This diary contains references to 5 other diaries in "The Plutocrats are Laughing At Your" series.)

IF NY State Get Fracked, Whose Fault Is That? (+ Bonus IQ Test)

Conversation with Kevin Zeese (popularresistance.org) – Part 4
(This diary contains references to 3 other diaries in "Conversation with Keven Zeese" series.)

On going beyond "blogging to the choir":
Progressives are Stupid if they don't seize their opportunity to educate their Republican neighbors

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Comments

Submitted by lambert on

Age, not class?

metamars's picture
Submitted by metamars on

Correct. I am lumping all the non-plutocratic classes together. To be a member of the plutocratic class, you need to be much richer than a 1-millionaire, e.g. My understanding is that the banksters stole money from high net worth individuals in Cyprus, preferentially so. They also have a lot to fear from them, and this fear should be engaged, for the the benefit of the non-plutocratic class. In absolute $$ terms, they have MORE to fear from the plutocrats than middles and lower class individuals. (Let's call them the 99%, though I think it's more like the 99.99%)

Having said that, I think there's an obvious special case of what might be called a class-related group that deserves special attention, in the same sense that the 3 major age groups should have tailored messages and goals. And that is small businesses.

My main interest in small business, in overcoming the plutocracy, is that small businesses in the retail area have the ability to inject disruptive* memes directly to the public, via posters in their windows, flyer included in their shopping bags, cashiers who get a few minutes of face time with every customer, as well as tables in locations that can't be ignored.

Many small businesses that don't do retail nevertheless interact with small business who do retail. (I myself had such a business many years ago.) Their fortunes are intimately tied up with their retailing business customers. And those businesses' fortunes are intimately tied up with the disappearing middle class.

At the diner that I'm working at a couple of days a week, I'd say about 1/3 of the clientele is of retirement age. What happens when their Social Security and 401K plans get cut? We raised prices about 2 months ago, and there was an immediate dent in business. About a year ago, I stayed in my old hometown for 1 month, and saw a vacant business location on just about every block. They were typically restaurants.

Would it REALLY be that hard to convince Mom and Pop restaurant owners that it's in THEIR self interest to roll back the rapacious greed of the plutocracy?

* I mean, disruptive to the plutocracy

Submitted by lambert on

I haven't pushed it because it gets the role of taxation all wrong, but I intend to rip off bits of the rest of it in the very near future; the triangles, and the vertical and horizontal.

That said, I'm very suspicious of generational messaging because it looks, to me, to go straight to identity politics. Once you get people identifying as Millennials and Boomers, I fear the game is over, and they do that all to easily now.

In the 12 points, I've got programs "for all sorts and conditions" but I don't divide them up generationally.

I think the political parties operate on a 50% plus one theory; they put together a slight majority based on identity politics (in the interests, both of them, of different factions of the 0.01%, of course).

I think what Tahrir Square shows is that you need 80% to effect regime change. But I don't think we can simply pile up more of their slices to do that. I think the only way to get to 80% is by class, i.e., by relationship to the means of production. I'm not saying there can't be additional specificity within the overall frame, but first things first. It's the math!

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Submitted by metamars on

Once you get people identifying as Millennials and Boomers, I fear the game is over, and they do that all to easily now.

AFAICT, the terms "millenials" and "boomers" lack any sort of potential for deep-seated identity, in the same way that race or ethnic groups can and do. The latter are more natural 'attractors' for a sense of political identity, because they correspond to already extant (and often deeply felt) tribalism. (BTW, the same - typically astute - cousin who told me about oldsters in our hometown not supporting bond issues for young families, also told me that it was her observation or belief that more racially homogeneous societies more readily fund social programs for their citizens.)

I don't think of myself as a "boomer", but rather somebody whose stage of life is such that I'm giving more thought to the stability of Social Security. That will naturally be the farthest thing from the mind of the typical 18-30 year old....

Perhaps a better way to think about this is 'family oriented messaging', where it's communicated that the family encompasses mutiple generations.

I work with young people, and a couple have told me about their struggles to attend or finish college in a timely fashion, due to the extreme expense. This literally saddens me, and they're not even my own children. The two individuals I have in mind are both female, and their life trajectories may force them to postpone marriage (hopefully) and child bearing to such an extent that their opportunities may pass them by. That's sort of a cruel situation, methinks.

I also once chatted with a retiree who was in the process of leaving friends and family in NJ behind, and moving south. He just didn't see how he could retire, with a certain minimum quality of life, in expensive NJ. That also saddened me, and this guy was in no way related to me.

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Submitted by metamars on

Consequently, I expect anti-plutocracy messaging should be able to profitably ask people to think about "How is the plutocracy treating the young/middle aged/retired-or-soon-to-retire members of YOUR family"

Submitted by lambert on

It's not like the points aren't carefully tuned for various interests. I just refuse, flat out refuse to use generational framing. At all.

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Submitted by metamars on

:-) Which is fine. It's not like age-related messaging is the only kind that can possibly resonate with potential voters, activists, and organizers.

Submitted by lambert on

Don't frame the message as age-related at all. That's a legacy party 50% plus one tactic, and you can't get to the 80% needed with that tactic; it will always undermine and disrupt you as it was designed to do.

Let people work it out for themselves, or even, for pity's sake, get them to think of having a whole lifespan, or being compassion to the sort of person they once were or will be.

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Submitted by metamars on

Haven't you seen advertising that emphasizes that some service or product has some benefit for all segments of the family?

For example, look at this webpage.

It mentions shopping as a major subcategory, which in my family, anyway, was something the older females (mother, grandmother) loved to do. My mother used to drag me along, on Saturdays, when I was a kid, and it used to bore me to tears.

I'm apparently a typical male, judging by the hits when I google "who loves to shop more, men or women". Link #1: Why Men Don't Like Shopping and (Most) Women Do ...
Link #2: The Real Reason Women Shop More Than Men - Forbes
Link #3: Men get bored after just 26 MINUTES of shopping... women ...

(Link #4, BTW, says that men spend more $$ shopping. Fine, but they're still not attracted to shopping as a pass time.)

Another category is golf. But only 19% of golfers are women, according to the National Golf Foundation.. So, most likely, Mom won't be joining Dad on the fairway, any more than the kids will. Also, more to the point, if Dad is a golf-lover, and family responsibilities plus budget constraints have severely hampered his golf participation all year, he may make damn sure that whatever family vacation is planned, includes at least 1 day of golf.

The main picture on this webpage is of a little girl, dressed as a princess, and talking to Mickey Mouse. While Mom and Day, as well as Grandma and Grandpa, will no doubt find Mickey amusing, their joy at conversing with a fake, giant mouse will pale in comparison to the joy of the children, especially those who are young enough not to realize that Mickey is a fake.

I believe in democratic experimentation. If it can be shown, in a statistically valid way, that tailoring anti-plutocratic message to different age segments, which correspond to people with typically very different concerns, is a failing method, then I would encourage its abandonment. Until such data may appear, however, I remain enthusiastic about the idea.

I vaguely recall car commercials exploiting this multi-age segmentation approach, also.

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Submitted by metamars on

Mom compared to Dad is a sex-based comparison. Regarding an age-based difference - which was the point under discussion - consider that Grandpa may be more likely to care about golf than his son or grandson. From "Who Plays Golf?"

Avid Golfers (25+ rounds per year) The size of this group has remained essentially unchanged over the past six years. It numbers 5.3 million, which is about where it has been since 1991. Half of all avids are age 50 or older. Eighty-two percent are male.

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Submitted by metamars on

Actually, now that I think about this, this was a fortuitous gaffe. That's because, while in this diary, I recommended tailoring message by age segment, and only identified small business owners as a special, non-age related category, in other diaries I have also mentioned the special case of stay-at-home Moms.

Stay-at-home Moms are the #1 type of group of meetup.com. And meetup.com was successfully used by Italian comedian Beppe Grillo to spark a significant new movement, complete with successful candidates for political office, in Italy.

E.g., as I wrote in my not-so-famous diary,
What Would it Take for Stein/Honkala to Break Out of the 2% Ghetto? Hint: Go Nuclear.

The #1 Group in meetup.com is stay-at-home Moms. I kid you not – PLEASE go to meetup.com, navigate to your neighborhood, and then search for “stay at home moms”. Say, do you think that Moms want to go through the joys and sorrows of motherhood, only to find out that Junior is developing mega-tumors from GMO corn chips? I’m not going to develop the idea in this diary, but I think the number #1 demographic to stimulate a democratic and civil society renaissance in the US is “stay at home Moms”. Recall that Chris Hedges and Noam Chomsky spoke of the great desirability of having Moms come by, with baby in the baby stroller, to talk politics. Hedges even said this “terrified” the ruling class. Getting vulnerable Moms on board is one reason my new networking, activist tool will forbid – as per terms of service – any law breaking.

It should be relatively EASY to get converts at Stay At Home Moms types of meetup groups. Stein and Honkala being female, and mothers, will obviously make things even easier.

Of course, if we look at firedoglake.com, prn.fm, or popularresistance,org, there's no linking, much less promotion, of meetup.com as a tried and tested tool which facilitates networking.

If you want to know why Zeese encourages us to protest to the very people who are betraying us (and doubtless know that they are betraying us, and so would likely laugh at protesters; possibly right in their faces), but makes no effort to reach an already established grouping of the American public, who are intimately tied up with the next generation, via an easily accessible, free (for users) or cheap (for organizers) tool (viz., meetup.com), you'll have to ask him......

I don't get it.

Submitted by lambert on

because we have direct experience from 2004 -- which is ground zero for every current post-Stone Age Democratic operative -- that the Meetups worked for the Dean campaign.

So we have Democrats, collectively, refusing to use a proven tool.

Great perception.