How Do We Get More Occupiers?

Purpose:  As Sonny has pointed out, the primary action of our movement is occupation, that is, camp residence.  We have too few occupiers and too little growth.

Question:  How many do we want?  What rate of growth?  We should set specific numeric objectives, which would tell us when we need to divert more or fewer group resources to solving this problem.

We need to get more people living in camp.  How do we do this?

Observations:  People choose to occupy not for intellectual reasons, but for emotional reasons and practical reasons.  Most occupiers are either homeless, or college students, younger graduates of college, or otherwise of the younger college set.

Usually, people seem to have more than one motivation for doing anything.  We should consider people’s various explicit and implicit motivations for occupying, figure out what value occupation brings to their lives, and appeal to those motivations by offering relevant values explicitly and implicitly.

Appeals to practical motivations are a matter of rational presentation of value, education, and salesmanship.

Appeals to emotional motivations are a matter of getting people involved and worked up.  In my opinion, the way to do this — the only way to do this — is through a speak-out (involvement), followed by a rally (worked up).

Before people decide to get involved, they will appear in person.  They will “shop around.”  This is a critical moment.  I used to sell cameras, and many times people would come in looking around.  They would not generally acknowledge that they wanted to buy, but this first contact was the time to elicit their needs, qualify them for a camera, and get them interested in one with the features they were looking for.  Often we could flip a shopper to a buyer in one or two visits.

Point:  To the extent we are about occupation and growth, we need to build everything about camp life around this critical moment.

Currently, when people come in and ask what they can do to help, the established procedures are to direct them to a sign-up sheet where they can volunteer to stand security, or buy things for us, or do dishes, or so forth.  Alternatively, they are directed to one of our parliamentary meetings, where they can listen to us discuss in remarkable detail and passion the finest nuances of our operations.  Neither of these things is liable to convince them of the value to them of joining.

Point:  It may seem that people “should” join for moral reasons.  This can be argued intellectually.  But the fact is that in practice, it does not work this way.  “People are not moral creatures.  People are economic creatures — except in a crisis.”  The purpose of the speak-out and rally combination, by the way, is to simulate the experience of a crisis.

Thus, most of the established process for engaging prospects not only does not engage them, but sabotages engaging them them correctly.  On this point, we at camp strive to ignore the established process as much as we can.

Suggestion:  Can the daily meetings.  Meet twice a week.  Working groups will then have time to thoroughly prepare proper written agendas, report to the group only those relevant items and not waste time on the current “some progress” and “business as usual” items we’re getting, which then draw others into enthusiastic suggestions for modifications and improvements, resulting in fabulously impassioned but frequently counterproductive debate.

Instead, have a speak-out followed by a small but impassioned rally every day.  And, all of our officers attend these meetings with as much devotion as they have given the parliamentary meetings.

The reason is that everyone who you meet there is an example of someone who did join the encampment or did not join, and everyone has reasons for their decision.  Also, everyone you meet can re-decide at any moment.  To the extent that a working group serves the function of driving encampment, working group members should study what makes this difference in people.

One might argue that, for example, logistics or finance might not learn much of relevance to their groups’ functions.  But to the extent that people want to argue that a certain policy is a good or bad idea, they simply must get a personal sense of the process by which a prospect, who has been drawn in by media coverage or word of mouth, might be flipped into an occupier, or at least a member.

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