Do you really want to change things? Do you want to send a message to corporations and legislators that will force a positive response?
The days when marches on Washington and Twitter campaigns can comprise an effective social movement are over, at least on the national scale. Regionally, they might work, but nationally, not anymore.
Marches, while briefly awe-inspiring, are transitory. They don’t last. In the days of a slower news cycle, marches made a more effective messaging tool, but in today’s less-than-24-hour news cycle, they dominate for a day, then disappear, lingering only if something went wrong. Like a poorly-made wine, they just don’t have legs.
And Twitter…well, let me just say that while it’s a cute tool, Twitter is also responsible for roughly 75% of the strife currently plaguing the country. And with similar social movements now competing against one another (e.g. MeToo vs. TimesUp), hashtags don’t have the weight they did five years ago. It’s a good means for communicating, but not as a movement in itself.
This is what you do.
First, choose two days roughly three to four weeks ahead of time. Further than that, and the psychological momentum of those constituting the movement might diminish, and the more participants you have, the better. Once you choose the dates, get the word out. Organize and inform. On those days (a Thursday and Friday are best), each person does two things.
One, they don’t buy anything. Nothing. For two days.
That means no trips to the grocery store. No filling up on gas. No nicotine gum. No bands for their Apple Watch. Nothing. This is not as hard as it sounds and if they have notice ahead of time, they have plenty of space to plan. That doesn’t mean stocking up on supplies Wednesday for the Thursday/Friday event. That means eating that frozen casserole in your back freezer, or cooking that unused box of macaroni and cheese in your pantry. Think about all the cans and boxes of unused food you have sitting around at home. Two days might not even make a dent.
That also means no paying bills either. A two-day delay will NOT result in permanent harm for any bill you might have. If going two days without making a purchase seems a hardship, then you might want to reconsider your spending habits.
Two, on that Thursday morning, each person draws as much as possible from the ATM.That usually means $500, but not everyone has $500 sitting around unused, including yours truly. That’s okay. Take out what you can. That might mean $200 or $20. You aren’t doing anything with this money, just holding onto it for two days. The Saturday after the event, you can deposit it right back into your account, safe and sound (If you can afford to withdraw more than $500, by all means do it. The more removed from banks, the more dramatic the effect).
Imagine if you had 500,000 people, and the combined buying power of those 500,000 people, suddenly vanish from our economy. Not only their buying power, but the sudden removal of banking funds in mass would create a vacuum in funds, an effect that would resonate more than the Liberty Bell.
Our economy operates on thin margins, fractions of percents and the mood of the day. Announcing the event, and the anticipation of it, would create trepidation and worry, mostly because corporations and legislators wouldn’t know how many people are participating. Is it 500 or 5 million? What will it do? Unknowns terrify brokers and sundry capitalists. Unknowns never have a positive effect on the market.
A countering event will likely be organized. Buy Stuff Today for America! That’s nice, but a little extra consumer spending does not have the economic resonance of a large-scale financial vacuum.
Ladies and Gentlemen, do you know what you’d see?
That precious DOW Jones average, touted so proudly today, would drop. You’d see an actual, visual drop. A plummet, a nosedive. The Dow Jones, the NASDAQ, the S&P 500… each of them a fiscal Titanic.
The economy is the single greatest variable in politics, and political careers and legacies depend on it. For those that want to enact social change, there’s no better demonstration of solidarity and power than that a gouge on a graph. And why a Thursday and Friday? Markets close on a Friday. Let the market stew in some anxiety soup over the weekend.
Believe me, you’d instantly have the ear of any living, breathing politician. They would see that your words aren’t words, but an economic fist.
That is power.
Good luck and Godspeed.