The Next Stage For The 99 Spring

This past weekend, tens of thousands of people participated in what amounted to the largest effort to train progressives in nonviolent direct action in recent history. But for those who missed out in the wave of “99% Spring” training sessions, organizers today launched an online training page that people can use individually or in groups.

The 99% Spring training sessions offer coaching on how to talk about what’s wrong with the economy, how a cadre of corporate leaders and conservative ideologues hijacked our democracy, and how citizens can channel their passions in ways that will enable them to regain some measure of control.

I attended a session Saturday at the Communications Workers of America headquarters in Washington and had an experience similar to the one Josh Harkinson reports on in Mother Jones. I joined with a diverse group of about 35 other people who began the day by sharing personal stories and watching videos that set the context for our learning how to put our bodies on the line for our values.

Harkinson writes that while there has been some resentment that groups such as have been trying to co-opt the Occupy movement, the 99% Spring is perhaps better viewed as the Occupy movement forcing online mobilization groups to rethink their strategies. Justin Ruben of concedes as much.

“It’s clear that the sorts of tactics we’ve engaged in in the past are no longer enough,” Justin Ruben, MoveOn’s Executive Director, wrote in an email to his staff last week, arguing that the growing corporate influence on policy-making has left the group little choice but to take to the streets. In a subsequent interview with Mother Jones, he added, “We know that whoever wins in November, they are still going to be listening more to the 1 percent than to the rest of us because our political system is completely broken. So we don’t have the luxury of not engaging in this kind of action.”

A good opportunity to use the 99% Spring training is coming up May 9, when Bank of America is holding its annual shareholders meeting in Charlotte, N.C. The annual shareholders meeting of Wells Fargo in San Francisco is also being targeted April 24. As efforts continue to stall to have mortgage write-downs for underwater homeowners and prosecutions for bankers whose actions caused the economic crash, the need for hundreds of thousands of people trained in nonviolent direct action is as great as ever.

The online training session can be completed in less than two hours, in segments at your own pace. You will be rewarded with a better understanding of how we have gotten into the mess that we are in and a sense of how like-minded people can work together to set things right. Plan today to take the training.


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