In this post, my good friend gridlore makes a very telling point about the Occupy Wall Street movement:
It's not so much a movement as a sort of mob.
The fact is that while the purpose of Occupy Wall Street may be obvious to the people doing it, it's NOT VISIBLE.
Moreover, what IS visible is not very impressive.
If these people want to accomplish something, they need to be organized. The organization must include the following (you could add things, but I think this is a minimum):
1) CLEAR LIST OF DEMANDS/GOALS. This needs to be short, punchy, and UNIVERSAL. Every single person there needs to have a sign with at least one of these demands, and there should be virtually NO *other* signs or messages going out. You can't afford any confusion. If, as the general group involved claims, you're up against the most powerful people in the world, you can't fight unless you do your best in a laser-sharp focused fashion.
2) Good "Faces" for the community. You will not get your message across if the people who are seen and talked to look like they just came out of a grunge concert. The spokespeople -- and the most visible people in the front of the protest -- have to be well-spoken, well-dressed, *presentable* people. Like it or not, appearances matter, they have ALWAYS mattered, and they WILL always matter.
3) Clear knowledge of the PROPER BEHAVIOR of the group. This includes the knowledge of what to do when you ARE maced, arrested, etc. (Which boils down to "go quietly" most of the time). Everyone participating needs to know how to HELP and how to not get in the way. Some of the commenters on the linked post note that in this kind of thing you should EXPECT to be maced, not surprised. If you're really "fighting the Man", you'd better be ready for The Man to come down on you. Because he WILL, many times, before he's likely to start backing off.
4) Methods of coordinating everything -- food, bathroom needs, etc. -- that DO NOT RELY on ONE method (e.g., cell phones). Cell phones can go dead or be jammed. Runners can be caught in traffic. Land lines, the few left, can be taken up. Redundancy in operations is a must.
5) Methods to GET THE WORD OUT. All the above is useless if no one HEARS about it except YOUR OWN GROUP. If, as is often the contention, the opposition is mostly in control of the media, you need ten times the effort to get the message out, and you need to be ready, willing, and able to do so. It doesn't MATTER if all of your supporters know what you're doing; you want the message to get to the 99% of the people who have NO IDEA who you are or what you're doing. They're the ones that can shift the mountains for you.
This is, to me, fairly common sense. Any large group with a purpose needs organization or the purpose won't be achieved, and the organization of this seems to me to be only slightly better than the occasional flash crowd.