We Occupy America “The Eight Rules” by @CynthiaBoaz

The Eight Rules

@WeOccupyAmerica asked @CynthiaBoaz, a proponent of Mahatma Gandhi’s satyagraha (nonviolent) activism methods, for a set of principles to help guide #OccupyAmerica.

She gave Them back this series of seven direct messages.

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1) Nonviolent discipline, no matter what. Zero tolerance for any violence whatsoever, including verbal.

2) Unity of message & across orgs and people. There should be a consistent message & demands coming out & activists shld know it & share it.

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3) There must be a long-term and coherent strategy, not just tactics and actions (no matter how clever) that are not connected in some way.

4) Security forces/police should be seen as potential recruits to movement, not as adversaries. Ultimately they are accountable to the ppl.

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5) Keep larger audience (national and international) in mind when framing the message. The goal is to win ppl over, not to alienate.

6) Defensive strategies never win. Don’t respond to verbal attacks or hostile propaganda by using the language of the opponent. Reframe.

7) Claim victory whenever possible. It’s important for morale and enthusiasm. Keep anger/rage in check with humor and solidarity actions.

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She was right on with her answer, but she used all 140 characters. We trimmed the principles down so people could RT them, and we thought number seven was a compound thought, so we split it into the last two of the eight rules.

1) Nonviolent action AND speech, no matter what. Zero tolerance for violence. #8rules via @CynthiaBoaz #OWS

2) Unity of message across orgs & people. Consistent demands, all should know them. #8rules via @CynthiaBoaz #OWS

3) There must be a long-term and coherent strategy, not just tactics & actions. #8rules via @CynthiaBoaz #OWS

4) Police should be seen as potential recruits to movement, not enemy. #8rules via @CynthiaBoaz #OWS

5) Keep national/international audience in mind when framing. Goal is win ppl over. #8rules via @CynthiaBoaz #OWS

6) Defensive strategies never win. Don’t respond to attacks using their language. #8rules via @CynthiaBoaz #OWS

7) Claim victory whenever possible. Important for morale. #8rules via @CynthiaBoaz #OWS

8) Keep anger in check /w solidarity actions & humor. #8rules via @CynthiaBoaz #OWS

And that’s really all there is to it. We suggest every general counsel read these rules, approve them, and then print small hand cards to educate newcomers as to these methods. Contact us via @WeOccupyAmerica if there are any changes we need to make.

Thank you Cynthia Boaz. Pursuit of Happiness YOGA has reprinted this as a public service!

4 responses to “We Occupy America “The Eight Rules” by @CynthiaBoaz

  1. 4) Police should be seen as potential recruits to movement, not enemy. #8rules via @CynthiaBoaz #OWS

    The following would sound more appropriate to me :
    4) Police should be seen as potential allies of our movement, not enemy.

    “recruits” has tones of head-cop and cultishness, at least to my ear. (not to mention militarism, i.e. army recruits)

    “allies” has a more high-road sound to me, with less of the unsavory implications of “recruits”.
    For consideration – just remember the medium is the message….. if this helps.

    Blessings to the brave souls leading this effort. Keep it clean and the outcome will be positive – thanks to my buddy Joe out west for sharing & bringing this to my attention.

  2. Randy thank you for your visiting PursuitofHappinessYOGA.com. Your comment is valuable and i do get the distinction. Please consider also submitting this thought to @CynthiaBoaz whose creative energy has evolved these rules. I am so excited to be here now with you and everyone else who has awaked to the fact that WE ARE HUMAN BEING AND WE HAVE VALUE!

    in Gratitude,
    Om Mani Padme Hum,
    Love, Light & Peace,
    Arthur Klein
    Yoga- Activist & Filmmaker of the “Y Yoga Movie”

  3. Of course your campaign should use whatever terminology it is most comfortable with. I selected the word “recruits” intentionally, for a couple of reasons: 1) it highlights that the movement is thinking and working strategically on expanding it’s membership, and 2) it implies a deeper level of commitment to the movement than “allies”, which is more neutral.

    In strategic terms, nonviolent conflict does have similarities to military struggle, but the key distinction is that the weapons of struggle are strictly nonviolent ones. This is different, however, from saying that hostile or divisive language should be used or even tolerated (it should not). Hope that clarifies things.

  4. Cynthia,

    I think your suggestions are great… thank you for creating this!

    in Gratitude,
    Arthur