Helen Whalen Cohen
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In a belated dedication speech for the Martin Luther King Jr. memorial today, President Obama suggested that the civil rights leader would have stood on the side of Occupy Wall Street:

 

"At this moment when our politics appear so sharply polarized and faith in our institutions so greatly diminished we need more than ever to take heed of Dr. King's teachings," the president said.

"If he were alive today, I believe he would remind us that the unemployed worker can rightly challenge the excesses of Wall Street without demonizing all who work there," he said, adding: "Aligning our reality with our ideals often requires the speaking of uncomfortable truths and the creative tension of non-violent protest."

I find that hard to believe. When Dr. King was organizing for social change, he certainly wouldn't have tolerated the type of behavior taking place in Zucotti Park. There was a particular goal, and everyone knew that they had to dress and act in a respectable manner in order to garner change. The King Center published the Six Steps of Non-Violent Social Change:

 

SIX STEPS OF NONVIOLENT SOCIAL CHANGE

A sequential process of nonviolent conflict-resolution and social change based on Dr. King’s teachings. The Six Steps of Nonviolence developed by The King Center include:

  1. Information Gathering – The way you determine the facts, the optiosn for change, and the timing of pressure for raising the issue is a collective process.
  2. Education – The process for developing articulate leaders, who are knowledgeable about the issues. It is directed toward the community through all forms of media about the real issues and human consequences of an unjust situation.
  3. Personal Commitment – Means looking at your internal and external involvement in the nonviolent campaign and preparing yourself for long-term as well as short-term action.
  4. Negotiation – Is the art of bringing together your views and those of your opponent to arrive at a just conclusion or clarify the unresolved issues, at which point, the conflict is formalized.
  5. Direct Action – Occurs when negotiations have broken down or failed to produce a just response to the contested issues and conditions.
  6. Reconciliation – Is the mandatory closing step of a campaign, when the opponents and proponents celebrate the victory and provide joint leadership to implement change.

Compare that to this:

 

Does anything here remind you of Dr. King's teachings? Didn't think so. Occupy Wall Street has nothing in common with the March on Washington.

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Helen Whalen Cohen

Helen Whalen Cohen is Associate Editor and Community Manager at Townhall.com.