For new movements seeking leverage in today’s political and economic landscape, linking networks is a strategic power play. Bringing related interest groups together allows movements to build larger audiences for their messaging, attract media attention and recruit many more supporters.
Network building can happen organically when a cause hits multiple pressure points but often, intentional outreach and planned cross-messaging help push this along. As Fight for 15 addresses social justice and inequality, it already had natural crossover with the rising #BlackLivesMatter movement and the still-active networks of Occupy Wall Street activists. To bring all the networks together in a coherent way, organizers simply went the extra mile to make these links explicit in their communications.
The Fightfor15’s denunciation of poor living conditions for people at the bottom of the economic ladder has clear resonance with Occupy Wall Street’s enduring slogan: “We are the 99%.” As minimum wage movement organizer Ty Moore states, the Fight for 15 appeals to the Occupy crowd because “People are looking for a unified message to bring the latent popular outrage around income inequality to the center of the national dialogue.” For such reasons, Occupy branches around the U.S such as Occupy Portland have helped organize local minimum wage protests.
With the power of the #BlackLivesMatter crowds and the legacy networks of the Occupy behind them, the Fight for 15 movement definitely has wind in its sails. Maybe that’s why Walmart has finally caved and started raising its wages this year…
Further reading on the subject:
- Uniting Fight for $15 with Ferguson Fury
- Black Friday’s call for economic and racial justice is spreading