Lesson Plan for the Occupiers

Still making news, the Occupy movement hasn’t fallen victim to a lack of media coverage.  According to the Sacramento Bee last week, “nearly three fifths of voters” agree with the cause.  I count myself as part of this cohort-I believe strongly in changing the inequities our country is creating.  I also find myself in the 99%. 



Our local Occupy campsite

But even though I am cheering on their message, I feel like the movement isn’t pushing forward in the best way possible to enact change.  Being the type-A-semi-control-freak teacher that I am, I’ve created a lesson plan for the Occupiers to follow.  Welcome to my classroom!

Rationale:  To win over people to the side of the 99%

Essential Question: How can the Occupy Movement share their message and persuade those people ‘on the fence’ to join the cause?

Activate Prior Knowledge:  Remember Martin Luther King Jr.?  He had a cause.  He created a national movement to promote his message using nonviolence.  If MLK had destroyed property or used violence to get his word out he would have only succeeded in pissing people off, not making them think.

Step 1:  Decide that it’s more productive to be peaceful.  If Occupy’s objective is to change people’s thinking, they need to win people over. According to the Sacramento Bee’s article on Nov. 29, “49% said they don’t identify much with Occupy protesters.”  The old saying, “You can catch more flies with honey than vinegar” comes to mind here-the people who need to be persuaded aren’t the types that think violent activism is ok.  The people who need to be persuaded are most likely 60 years of age or older, reasonably educated and have access to the media.  They also have money-they’re the 1%, right?  In the same article, “nearly one third of Republicans said they agree with the reason behind” the Occupy Movement.  These people otherwise might agree with the Occupy message, but don’t like seeing the destructiveness of the protesters.  This might not be the time for anarchists.  Power to the peaceful.

Step 2:  Focus the message.  One of the basic elements of persuasion is to have a strong thesis.  Maybe there needs to be a few key, clear outcomes identified that become slogans.  I know the basic idea behind the movement, but do you know how the success will be measured?  I don’t.  The homeless population, the pepper spraying, and the college protests have all diluted and divided what they want to say.  While all good symbols, the message is muddled.  Instead of fighting and protesting in the dark at the campsites, perhaps they could try to occupy when more people can see them in action.

Step 3:  Choose your enemies carefully.  Be cautious not to attack the 1% in total.  Some of those 1%ers may actually be interested in making change happen, too.  According to a field poll taken Nov. 14-27, 56% of those earning $100,000 or more agreed with the reason behind the Occupy movement.  Make sure there is room for everyone to join and feel like they fit in.  Name calling and stereotyping everyone in the 1% may just alienate people who would otherwise mobilize towards the cause.

Closure:   Think about what the movement is all about.  Do protesters want to be right or make change?  Remember, no one wants to go out and be pushed, shoved, or pepper sprayed.  The media is looking for sensation, but is that going to strengthen the message and make things happen?  Power to the peaceful.  Focus.  Make friends not enemies. 

Are there any questions?

Jennifer Wolfe

Jennifer Wolfe, a writer-teacher-mom, is dedicated to finding the extraordinary in the ordinary moments of life by thinking deeply, loving fiercely, and teaching audaciously. Jennifer is a Google Certified Educator, Hyperdoc fanatic, and a voracious reader. Read her stories on her blog, mamawolfe, and grab free copies of her teaching and parenting resources.

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8 thoughts on “Lesson Plan for the Occupiers

  1. Brenda says:

    Since I am not out there championing the cause, I keep my mouth shut, but I don’t think they have a solid plan other than to waste more money. It doesn’t seem as if there is anyone at the wheels of control. As for you thoughtful suggestions, be mindful, they might come recruit you.

  2. I'm NOT a VOLCANO! says:

    Admittedly, I am not a political person and have completely ignored the “occupy” movement. BUT, I absolutely agree with you on the steps needed to create change. I think it could be implemented in many different areas of politics and personal problemst.

  3. mamawolfe says:

    Hi Anu-thanks for following.
    Brenda-point well taken! Maybe I should keep my mouth shut…but I have so much to say!
    Hi Volcano-Thanks for the comment…just me thinking out loud.
    Hi Inner Chick-I totally agree with beginning somewhere…I guess I’m just too used to planned movement in order to enact change. I do admire the tenacity of the folks in my town who have been in tents for 2 months!

  4. Jenn says:

    I think you made some wonderful points here! Especially when you said that we have to watch out not to alienate those in the 1% who might actually be willing to help promote change! I really enjoyed reading this post. That whole pepper spray situation was just nuts. Yikes… what is our country coming to? I hope people can find a way to see eye-to-eye sometime soon.

    Have a wonderful holiday season… and I hope you avoid getting pepper sprayed either by over-zealous cops or crazed bargain shoppers! LOL

    Smiles, Jenn @Misadventures in Motherhood

  5. Renee Sullivan says:

    I have not identified with the “occupiers” and I’m not in support of what they are doing.

    With that being said, I used to be a speech pathologist in the school system, so I can appreciate the way you have broken down your suggestions into steps. I agree that these occupiers should be peaceful, and if they were smart, they would follow your suggestions.

    I did enjoy your post. I found you from VoiceBoks!

  6. mamawolfe says:

    Hi Jenn~ Thanks for the comment. I agree that our society is really struggling with how to communicate right now…I hope we can stop fighting and start talking.
    Hi Renee~ Thanks for stopping by mamawolfe! I can’t help thinking like a teacher…sometimes if we break down these big problems into smaller chunks we can really make some progress.

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