To Occupy LA – A Proposal for a Direct Organizing
Strategy for the May 1st General Strike
From Javier Rodriguez Mexico City March 17, 2012
Respectfully, in the spirit of adding ideas to make the May 1st event a success, I am making this proposal for a suggested organizational strategy to the General Strike Committee.
Bros and Sis what I believe is needed is a simple demographic study of LA County and its cities and general communities so the committee can have a list of targets, community and organizing targets that can guide it to the neighborhoods and gathering sites of the community so that it can enable OLA and MIGS to visit each and every one consecutively, on a daily basis, from here to April 30th. This will focus the work and the organizing activity; it will prioritize the outreach into primary and secondary targets and also discard what can be categorized as the unfruitful. Additionally the organizational plan can generate a list of individual contacts within each target, plus organizations, churches, parks, public schools, colleges and universities, unions, the ports, mass events, etc. The fact is that with this proposed method, the coalition will be able to make direct contact, listen to the people, identify their problems and invite them to take part in the general strike and the named four winds activities. It would be a lot simpler to invite them to our own march, or one unified march of all the movement, but there isn’t one scheduled, not yet anyway.
After completing the light demographic study, the initial reserve of potential entries to the communities are the actual majority of the OLA activists who are already on board for May 1st. They could ID their communities and to reiterate become the initial organizing contacts. You would also need to ID all the organizations from all the sectors that work with, and are sympathetic to OLA to get them on board and to also potentially host the OLA May 1st General strike community visit. In this approach, that is direct contact with people, you also begin to ID the names of people that face to face commit personally to the idea of a general strike, and write their information, names, Cel numbers, emails, logically for continued contact and mobilization. With this approach, community organizers, horizontals, will also be ID and in turn they will become the organizers for OLA in their own communities. All this information of supporters and organizers will have to be centralized and computerized for the final stage of the campaign, which depending on the amount of troops involved in the five week effort, the Coalition could possibly end up with a list of tens of thousands of people for the final mobilizing drive in the form of texting, emailing, and phone banking -on a massive scale- to get the people out for May Day to not work, go to school, close their businesses, don’t shop, etc. and to get as many as possible to the one march or many marches. Although I firmly believe, the second option will be a disaster.
To implement this method you will need the volunteer advance point persons or team to work with the initial contact/organizations to select and set up the places.
The Social Networks
Additionally if approved, this effort has to be accompanied by a similar organizing drive effort on the social networks, which in some ways it will not be as labor intensive as the ground campaign. For this the computer wizards in the social movement can turn the website or create a new one particularly to again, organize and sign up people to commit to partake in the May 1st general strike for no work, no school, and no sales, and the march. What has to be done is to quickly study the most effective models that can guide the making of this potential website, in terms of information sought and the best and easiest way for interested people to sign up without it being cumbersome and uncomfortable.
The role of the mainstream and progressive media
In order to immediately proliferate the fact that this political organizing venture is serious about making direct contact with the 10 plus millions of people in LA County, there should be an initial press conference to kick off the campaign where the main announcement, the attraction will be that OLA and MIGS are making a grand move to reach all the 100 or so communities in LA. If successful, the press event will create expectations within the people, communities, the mainstream and progressive media. To carry this out the Coalition will need a 24/7 media team and the best that I have seen up to now within OLA are the media folks in the “Stop the Foreclosures Committee.” They and the committee as a whole are not media shy and they appear not to be crippled by dogmatic ideological discussions, which I think is what paralyzed the General Strike Committee for almost three months of almost do nothing, none organizing, none contact with the masses of people and what we call in Spanish reunionitis.
Back to the media: The team will have its hands full in conceptualizing, developing press communiqués, organizing the press conferences and other media events, contacting the media, maintain a relationship with the media, promoting major or smaller individual interviews, develop a list of potential OLA or MIGS speakers and presenters, and lastly with time, not much left, this team and the speakers, will automatically begin to hone in the message to the people for May 1st. Of course, all this has to include the Latino contact approach, the huge Latino communities and broad and effective Latino media. And what this means is, going the extra mile to tailor the messages to Latinos with subtle, and/or clear terminology and also select Latino recognized horizontal cadre already in the ranks such as Gloria Saucedo, Carlos Marroquin and many more.
Let me clarify that this proposal is not intended at all to subvert what is already on the table. But what is intended is to focus the organizing directly at the people, the 99% using a methodology with three essential and proven general tools to magnify outreach and mobilization: direct ground contact, social network organizing and the mass media.
Proposal from Mexico City
One last thing and request, as you know I have been in Mexico doing human rights work and at this precise moment I am in Mexico City and I will not be back until the end of March so I can’t present and lobby at the GA, so if anyone thinks this is a good proposal, please present it in my name, your name and anyone else who wants to co-sign it, best,
Javier Rodriguez March 17, 2012