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Occupy Richmond drafts strategy for new year

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RICHMOND, VA (WTVR) - The Occupy Richmond movement turned over a new leaf Tuesday evening, discussing some image changes while holding its first planning session of the New Year at the Quakers Friends meeting hall on Kensington Avenue in the West End.

CBS 6 was told the media would not be allowed at the meeting, but I went in briefly and we also had a colleague take part in session.

The slam on the national Occupy movement, as well the one here, is it’s aimlessness – a lack of a clear mission - and the unwieldy nature of its childlike method of communicating, meeting and confronting.

At Tuesday night’s meeting, about 40 Occupy Richmond members set out to sharpen their focus for the New Year.

The three main topics:

How they can more quickly and completely communicate within the movement.

How they can better educate the public with concrete facts about how the corporate and political establishment is abusing them and the system.

And how to better engage the public, with less confrontation, to spread awareness of, and sympathy for, the movement.

There was also discussion of how to streamline their so-called general asssembly meetings, which can be laborious due to the practice of the crowd repeating in unison much of what is said.

Richmond’s movement got a lot of attention, but, like many Occupy movements,  its fight wound up centering on  keeping its occupation park, Kanawha Plaza, rather than targeted changes or attacks on the corporations or politicians that make up the so-called one percent of the population. (Those are the wealthiest Americans the Occupiers believe control too much of the nation’s wealth.)

Late in the year, Richmond’s Occupy movement exiled itself in a remote neighborhood, camping next door the mayor’s house  in a failed attempt to get him to allow them to re-occupy the Kanawha park.

But some members believe it was a good move that helped interest older, civil rights-era African-Americans in the Occupy movement.

It’s unclear if the Occupy movement, which has lost steam in many areas of the country as winter set in, will play a role in the crucial 2012 state and national elections, as the Tea Party has in recent months.

There will be another meeting Wednesday. And a general assembly is planned for this weekend.