The protests were initiated by a Canadian group known as Adbusters. Their philosophy is anti-consumerist. They most certainly would not have been fans of Edward Bernays, who wrote Propaganda in 1948. He is known as “the father of public relations.” Bernays helped create a culture of desire rather than a culture of need. Consumerism contributes significantly to our economy, but investment contributes significantly more. Investment creates jobs which produce taxes which sustain infrastructure, and creates growth.
Perhaps OWS could benefit from the works and teachings of Saul Alinsky, a Ph.D. trained Chicago archaeologist. His community organizing acumen was honed in the 1930s, and flourished in the 50s and 60s. He considered himself a “professional radical.” He had a master sense of what could paralyze, and ultimately enlighten corporations and businesses. He knew how to get “inside,” and create power and control paradigms so that his platforms would have to be considered.
Machiavelli’s The Prince was the manual for Princes who had enormous power. Alinsky’s Rules for Radicals was written for the huddled, beaten masses who could only exercise power if they were innovative, courageous, persistent, and clever. OCW organizers could benefit from a study of Alinsky’s work. Perhaps they are starting to read Alinsky as major supporters of OWS have withdrawn substantial holdings from Chase. This would have been Alinsky’s tactic. Banks hate to see big money walking ‘out the door.’ Money talks, nobody walks; to think otherwise is to be naïve. Alinsky really understood the substance of political and financial power. Alinsky was also a master of tactics. He might have instructed the protestors to drape themselves in American flags, hats and caps to counteract police pepper spray. It is unlawful to desecrate the flag. The flags would have truly protected the protestors in more ways than one, physically and spiritually. After all, protest is as American as apple pie. We are a nation built from revolution and civil war. We have all paid our dues.
To contact Christopher Bayer directly, please email Christopher.Bayer@TheShareholderActivist.com.