Friday, April 13, 2012

Nonviolent corporate insurgency and protest

From: A lesson in defection from Goldman Sachs, by Nathan Schneider | Waging Nonviolence | April 13, 2012, 12:12 pm

  • The [Occupy] movement’s usual mode of attack against corporations or police departments it doesn’t like is to shout slogans about how bad they are. “Fuck Monsanto” and “fuck the police” are particularly popular refrains in New York lately. 

  • One could argue that Greg Smith reminds us that there’s a better — and perhaps more nonviolent — way: If you want to get an institution to eat itself alive, don’t just denounce it altogether. Instead, find ways to make its most committed and loyal members consider whether the institution really lives up to its own cherished values, and let them do their thing.  They’re the ones who can stir up far more trouble with far less effort than anyone on the outside ever could.

  • Then again, despite eliciting far less buzz in the mainstream media or sympathy from Mayor Bloomberg, the Occupy movement’s West Coast Port Shutdown on December 12 of last year, which targeted properties owned by Goldman Sachs, hit the company’s stock price almost twice as hard as Greg Smith’s op-ed. That kind of approach also has an appealing honesty. When a company’s cherished values really are intolerable — in Goldman’s case, protecting the wealth of the 1 percent — perhaps there’s no substitute for simply going into the streets and shutting it down.