Civil Rights Strategies for Occupy

By Sandy Polishuk

Watercolor by Jess Coleman.

I would like to bring an important article to the attention of all Occupiers. It suggests applying the successful strategies of the civil rights movement to a national “We are the 99%” movement. Those strategies were civil disobedience, grass-roots organizing, and mass boycotts.

The article is by Andrew Levison, who was for many years a research assistant to Mrs. Coretta Scott King, Andrew Young, and other participants in the civil rights movement. The analysis Levison presents in his article was first formulated at a 1971 conference of The Institute for Nonviolent Social Change that included many of the leaders of the major campaigns of the civil rights movement.

In the article Levison, who is supportive of our movement, suggests that Occupy might benefit from adopting the same strategies practiced by the civil rights movement.

Levison is concerned that, while seeking to find lessons in the struggles of the past, activists will be hindered by the profoundly oversimplified vision that many people today have of how the victories of the civil rights movement were actually achieved.

Read the article here.