Occupy: Ditch Tents, Get Savvy

It is time for the 99 percent to get off their air mattresses and get something done, Laura S. Washington writes in her Chicago Sun-Times column.

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Occupy Wall Street protesters (Getty Images)

Following their eviction from Zuccotti Park in New York City, Occupy Wall Street protesters must convert their anger and energy into an agenda that targets goals instead of real estate, Laura S. Washington writes in her Chicago Sun-Times column.

... Memo to Occupy: You have our attention. Now, what are you going to do with it?

Making noise is not a means to an end. Instead of beating drums, drum up a focused agenda for change. 

How about leading? Your quaint notion of democratic decision-making through amorphous assemblies is idealistic but not realistic.

A headless movement is a dead movement. Identify and train a cadre of poised, savvy and accountable leaders, and put them in charge. Dispatch other bright lights to run for office.

In recent weeks you have started to build savvy alliances with like-minded grass-roots community and union organizers. Those ties bring experience, numbers and political gravitas. Use them well.

Take a leaf from the Tea Party. For two years, that conservative movement has incessantly driven home one cause: Cut government spending. The Tea People won elections nationwide and helped set the agenda for the 2012 Republican presidential campaign.

Occupy, you must fiercely resist the left’s tendency to fall in love with laundry lists. You have haplessly spun out dozens of demands, from college tuition breaks to mortgage relief to help for the homeless.

Instead, identify a single, burning issue (“it’s the economy, stupid”). Offer practical, out-of-the-box solutions.

Read Laura S. Washington's entire column at the Chicago Sun-Times.

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