Can those who fight for freedom learn from the tactics of the left? Remember this?
An enclave of makeshift tents dotted the landscape in Atlanta's Woodruff Park in October 2011 as a community seemingly sprang up overnight. The scene recalled a reincarnation of the 1960's Woodstock hippies of peace and love; however, these 21st century equivalents were protesting wealth disparity with a combination of street theater and civil disobedience. After weeks of occupation, the mayor revoked an executive order allowing the ongoing gathering and threatened arrests if the "occupiers" did not disperse.
Fifty-two arrests were made before the group gradually faded away from the premises in late October, leaving a community of disgruntled neighbors in surrounding homes. This "Occupy Atlanta" off-shoot of the "Occupy Wall Street movement" employed several tactics taught by one of the left's founding fathers of modern-day community organizing, Saul Alinsky.
Freedom lovers on the right are often confronted with the bare knuckle tactics of the left, fueled by the teachings of Alinsky's utilitarian belief that the end justifies the means.
So the question is, how do grassroots movements with moral foundations counter this strategy?
This is one of the big questions our sister organization Americans for Prosperity Foundation tackles in the Grassroots Leadership Academy's grassroots certification course. We win when we acknowledge that our audience is not the fringe radicals of the left or even their elected political counterparts. We win when we appeal directly to the much larger majority who are motivated by moral appeals.
We do this, in part, by diligently going on the offensive. We do not wait to respond to a claim of moral superiority by the left based on some anecdotal violation of our own moral code. We proactively and consistently point out the Left's violations of the moral objective — to make people's lives better — through their own personal and corporate behavior.
Our message resonates when we clearly show the destructive and immoral results of command and control government. We're best heard when we show how one's quality of life is enhanced by a robust society that embraces both economic freedom and an individual's right choose the life that's best for them.
Economic freedom empowers individuals to help improve the lives of others, through jobs, charity and making sound economic decisions in a free marketplace that directs the goods and services available to us. We can let the government pick winners and losers or dictate the choices we are allowed to make on our own, but everyone's well-being is best protected and improved, when citizens have the power to make these choices.
What have you done today to fight for economic freedom and individual rights? Citizen leaders around Pennsylvania have taken part in the Grassroots Leadership Academy and you should too. From improving your ability to talk about the issue, to understanding how you can win by activating communities of likeminded people, the Grassroots Leadership Academy can give you the tools and information you need. Sign up at grassroots leadership academy dot org. With classes about the constitution, being an active citizen and how to make a difference in your community, you'll be able to better protect your freedoms, build lasting relationships with the public, and create meaningful change.
I'm Beth Anne Mumford, state director of Americans for Prosperity Pennsylvania.