The website occupytheboardroom.org was put together to give us 99% an opportunity to talk with the 1%. It lets you pick a “penpal” you can write to and tell your story. People can pick from dozens of top executives at Bank of America, Goldman Sachs, JPMorgan Chase, Citigroup, Wells Fargo and Morgan Stanley
The stories will be sent to the actual email accounts of the executives as well as delivered by mail. You can read some of the funny, heartbreaking and passionate letters already written at the Occupy The Board Room Mail Bag.
The site encourages you to write your letter in a constructive manner that helps build the movement for a better world. From the site: “DO NOT intimidate, harass or threaten anyone, no matter what you might think of them. Think funny! The #OWS movement emphasizes peaceful, non-violent protesting.”
I think this is a great idea for people who can’t get down to the various OWS sites to participate. I’m always trying to think about what kind of actions are necessary to either change the configuration of someone’s thinking or to change people’s behavior.
This website is designed to reach the 1% but there are other important audiences that these stories are for:
1) Anyone in the MSM who wants to believe that Occupy Wall Street supporters are just young people or “dirty hippies” There are hundreds of stories to chose from of home owners, retired people, working stiffs, average Janes and Joes.
2) The right wing media who desperately want to discredit the movement. If they follow their standard playbook they will take a few of the examples and turn them into a “Blame the victim for their poor choice of parents, life choices, industry choices and financial decisions.” If you can’t pull yourself up from your bootstraps and fly around the room they want you to shut up.
I expect Erick Erickson from CNN to wade through the list and find the handful out of thousands who he considers whiners or to find some details that haven’t been verified and pounce on it. It’s what they do. Expect it. That is why we need to make sure others read the thousands of stories that are rock solid and, when vetted, will show just how real these people and their problems are.
Who else needs to hear these stories?
3) State Attorney Generals. Especially those who want some some mediagenic anecdotal stories to tell to back up their cases when they are going after groups for systemic mortgage fraud. The stories are coded by zip code so the odds are there are stories from your state that they need to hear so they don’t just join in the group blow off lawsuit lots of have agreed to.
4) Politicians. They say during election years, “I listen (because I want your vote.)” but they really listen to the campaign contributors because “I want your money.” These stories show their failure to regulate the financial services industry. Politicians who didn’t demand more and better regulation in exchange for keeping the money tap on from the financial services industry are culpable.
How to Use these Stories for Leverage
During the Health Care Debate I remember hearing that Joe Biden was gathering stories of people hurt by the health insurance industry, health care providers and BigPharma. They were stories like Michael Moore used in Sicko. They could have been used as leverage to get the deal they wanted. The people would testify in front of congress about the abuses they suffered. As far as I know they weren’t used publicly. Maybe they didn’t want to subject the people to Michelle Malkin and other RW attackers, “He says he is broke but his house has marble counter tops!” like during the State Children’s Health Insurance Program (SCHIP) debate.
The more of these good stories get out there to multiple audiences (including us in The Choir!) the better we can solidify the narrative that these stories are widespread are not aberrations, but “the new normal” and although they aren’t seen on camera at a OWS event they are there in electronic form.
Read the stories. Add your own. Take a story and amplify it by sending it to MSM, AGs and politicians.
I’m proud to lend a bit of my Vulcan brain to this effort, but the real brains behind this are the folks at New York Communities for Change, ALIGN, and a group of volunteer developers, designers, and researchers down at Zuccotti.
My friends at ALIGN and NYCC explained that they recruited directly by OWS to build the site and developed it in close consultation with the ad-hoc working group that planned the entire Oct 15 action. This group contained members from almost all other working groups, all of whom approved and supported the project, and many of whom contributed ideas that we incorporated into it. Other groups involved are Strong Economy for All and UnitedNY.
Cross posted at FireDogLake