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Occupy Wall Street's First Book

Submitted by: Joe Sibilia

Posted: Nov 21, 2011 – 05:04 PM EST

Tags: occupy wall st, ows, activism, leadership, sustainability


By Joe Sibilia

It takes courage to be in the book publishing business in the Internet era. With so much information available in quick bursts, it’s hard to imagine a book being timely. This Changes Everything, however, is timely and is an easy read and well worth the time. The book clarifies some misconceptions and gives us an in-depth analysis of the Occupy movement in quick bursts within 96 pages.

Berrett-Koehler Publishers (full disclosure: Berrett-Koehler is the publisher of our book Street Smart Sustainability) and YES! Magazine (full transparency: David Korten, YES! chairman, is a blogger for CSRwire Talkback) have combined efforts to get the right story out at the right time with the right information. Occupy Wall Street does change everything—just like the terror of September 11 changed everything.

Like all myths and legends, somewhere in the story lies the truth. Gandhi spent most of his life in the pursuit of truth. He would love the story about how a diversified group of passionate people gathered together to form a General Assembly, with the intent to create a consensus. He would not be happy with the violence. Violence is great for inciting a riot; but it’s not so great for inciting inspiration. He would also be happy that a ‘leader’ and ‘demands’ are not parceled out to take the hits of the opposition – its group think.

Occupy Wall Street has deep roots. What we’re seeing is the street theatre of flowering ideas – they might be cut down, but they’re going to come back, stronger. The social movement experiments of the past are being debated, discussed and decided upon in light of the Occupy movement. We are really learning from our past in order to avoid the same mistakes. The Principles of Solidarity take the past, present and future tenets of a New Economy and put them in simple terms.

If you have some lingering doubts that the 99% are putting themselves in a position of ‘us’ vs. ‘them’ or ‘they’, you might have a problem with the ‘Declaration’. From a spiritual and physical perspective, we are all connected and the 1% is really ‘we’ too.  But, in social movements, it’s hard to reach the level of integrity aspired to by the likes of Martin Luther King, Jr. and others trying bring people together—non-violently. Non-violence is not the central tenet – a diversity of tactics is.

David Korten hits us right between the eyes with a shot to the head that would knock out an extreme cage fighter. His analysis of what needs to change has been reduced to six major swings that would make any 1%-er duck for cover.

I’m happy to report that a chapter on Community Bills of Rights captures the essence of our connection to nature and what we can do about it. Ralph Nader loves a street march – you can feel his excitement in his brief words.

Finally, Sarah van Gelder does a fine job synthesizing what we can do on our own. She also did a great job defining the movement in a PBS interview. Stay tuned.

About Joe Sibilia

Joe Sibilia is CEO of CSRwire, the social responsibility newswire service that distributes and archives corporate social responsibility/sustainability news to journalists, analysts, investors, activists, academics, public relations and investor relations professionals worldwide. 

Joe founded the Gasoline Alley Foundation, a 501(c)(3) corporation that has incubated 43 small businesses since 1985 and teaches inner city and/or underprivileged persons to be successful entrepreneurs using socially responsible/sustainable business practices while revitalizing inner city neighborhoods.

Joe has worked with a number of socially responsible companies and has been widely recognized for his work in attempting to take Ben & Jerry’s Homemade Ice Cream private, while creating a private stock exchange for CSR companies. 

This commentary is written by a valued member of the CSRwire contributing writers' community and expresses this author's views alone.

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