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Lessons From The Occupy a Toilet Movement

toilet cat
Photo courtesy of Hayeses/Flickr

The Chinese government is dealing with an occupy movement very different from the similarly named protest in the United States. Women around the world have complained about long waits for the restroom, but Li Tingting is doing something about it. Tingting leads a group that brings attention to long ladies room lines by occupying men’s room stalls. She has already convinced her city government to expand the potty selection and next month she will take her protest to the capital in Beijing.

I chuckled when I first read this story, but after thinking about it I’ve picked out two lessons that Li Tingting could teach to the U.S. Occupy movement about how to run a protest.

1. Fight for practical change. Among the eleven demands written by professor and occupy leader (there are other lists floating around out there I just picked one) are changes to all election laws, an overhaul of how media outlets are structured, the end of health insurance, and a shift to employee ownership of all corporations. This list attacks too many areas at once, it is in effect too big to succeed.

2. Start local and work up. If you’re serious about change, you need to focus on the local level and prove that your ideas will work. By starting in Wall Street and only later spreading to various city protests (after accomplishing nothing by the way) the occupy movement, in my opinion, never felt like a grassroots movement. It always had an imported character and because of that, it struggled to rouse local sympathies. If things had happened in reverse, the occupy movement would have had to hone its message and generate local support.


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