Yes. That is the point. We, the people, are so blocked from making changes to this agency through the channels that are available to us, that it is necessary to apply pressure to the people running it. It might create some inconvenience and stress. Change- good or bad- does not seem to come without a little stress.
I don't necessarily think Metro exec's are playing computer games and surfing social media all day at work, but they are not working to make things better for us. Even a 10% increase in call volume will disrupt their day to day activities. When these executives are so flooded with calls demanding change, it will alter "business as usual."
AND THAT IS WHAT NEEDS TO HAPPEN.
THE SQUEAKY WHEEL GETS THE GREASE.
THEY WILL BE FORCED TO FIND SOLUTIONS.
AND THE MORE PEOPLE THAT PARTICIPATE, THE LONGER THE PHONE RINGS AND EMAILS COME IN AND LETTERS ARRIVE IN THE MAIL, THE MORE LIKELY THE CHANGES WE ARE DEMANDING WILL HAPPEN.
Money that wasn't available for improvements to existing services will be found. Government regulations will be relaxed for "special circumstances." Loopholes will be found
That's why women can vote. That's why black people can sit on the front of the bus. (That's why marijuana is becoming legal, although that is not in the same class as the other examples.) Etc.
And OPT INSTL is not doing anything illegal or violent, or encouraging anyone to do anything illegal or violent. No one is going to be harmed or injured from this action. Not even the phone lines.
IN FACT, WE ARE DOING JUST WHAT METRO SAYS THEY WANT-- GIVING THEM FEEDBACK!
Metro spends a lot of time crafting responses to complaints and demands for change in service. We callers have to be prepared to hear the same things over and over again from them, every time we call.
BUT THEY ARE USED TO ONLY A CERTAIN VOLUME OF FEEDBACK.
That is why civil disobedience, protests, petitions, marches, sit-ins, strikes, and call-ins so often work.
Most people hate disruption and surprises more than anything else. The more comfortable a person's life, the less likely they are to welcome disruption. That is why so many people just run through their lives, like rats in mazes. (Turns out rats might have more empathy than many people. http://www.nature.com/news/rats-free-each-other-from-cages-1.9603)
WE HAVE TO MAKE OUR NEEDS OVERWHELMINGLY OBVIOUS, SO THAT METRO WILL NOT BE ABLE TO IGNORE US!
You know, like when you are trying to sing a long with a song, and someone turns up the volume on another piece of music? It's hard not to slide into that key, that harmony and melody, that rhythm. The sound of the other song is too loud. Flooding the Metro phone lines, jamming them with calls, giving them so much specific information about what we need, they will not be able to continue running through the rat maze of "business as usual."
INFORMATION CREATES CHANGE.
And if there ARE any visionaries and forward-thinking innovators among the Metro executives then jamming the phone lines and creating disruption will bring them out. We won't even need to ask them directly or know who they are. The Metro workers that create the solutions will be put in charge to get the phones to stop ringing!
In the current situation, even if those leaders and idealistic engineers wanted to make the same changes we are demanding-- even if they are singing the same song we are-- the "business as usual" tune is too loud. They would have to risk their jobs to make as much noise as we can.
This is why we, the transit riders, have to be so willing to really go the distance-- keep calling, every week, every month, every time we ride. As I said, they will keep saying "our hands are tied" and "we can't do that" and "that's in development" and "we don't know when."
Slave owners did not teach slaves to read because knowledge is power. A slave might read about a successful slave revolt. And get the idea that he or she could revolt, too. It's the same thing with all other protests and movements for change. Not just the material change the protest brings about, but the changes to the people doing the protesting.
If a small portion of this city is able to change something in the transportation system by legal, non-violent action, you have a whole new crop of leaders, ready to take on another problem. Then the success encourages other people to join. Even those that might have refused to take part in the first revolt.
Now profits and business as usual are disrupted again. And again. And the changes will just keep coming. And the leaders.
IF THE SONG OF THE 99% GETS EVEN A LITTLE LOUDER-- JUST 3.5% OF THE POPULATION-- THE 1% WILL NOT BE ABLE TO CONTINUE THEIR TUNE.
The 75ish, middle-class, white, guy (who I suspect is a retired Federal cop***) that told me it was wrong to jam the phone lines also said to me "I hope when you Occupy the bus you will pay your fare." That statement told me what he thinks Occupy is about, and was against it.
I laughed. Of course I am going to pay my fare. I don't have a car! Besides, I want to live in a city with great public transit and I don't mind paying for it. I DO mind paying so much for such awful service and lack of attention to the real problems with Metro.
Then he told me that Occupy Wall Street was just a bunch of "criminals camping out illegally in Zucotti Park", and that "nothing" would happen from jamming the phone lines or the World Wide Wave of Action.
Who was a bigger threat in Occupy Wall Street? Non-violent protestors, using their right to Free Assembly at Zucotti Park, or the armed SWAT teams surrounding them? Who is really dangerous? The people working for social change and justice, through non-violent, legal means? Or the 1% starting wars to make themselves more money?
This guy and his kind, they are afraid of the power of the people, and their mindset is ALL about money. They always assume that you are motivated by the same greed they are. ("Don't think you can get a free ride and call it social change, missy." No, he didn't say that. But it seemed like he did.)
(The JAM THE PHONE LINES flyer will be updated soon with some telephone numbers for the real power behind Metro- The East West Gateway Council of Governments. The local businessmen and politicians that make the decisions and control the money. The face of the "Local 1%." http://rt.com/usa/sadoff-inequality-rich-poor-685/)
I hope people will join me in working to change public transportation in St. Louis. Part of the reason I am doing this is to share what I have learned about political activism. To encourage others. To try to find the way that works. I can write this blog and hand out leaflets, and research the power structure, but if no one calls Metro this won't be effective.
If my suggestions don't work for you, I hope you will do something else. I hope you will believe in yourself and your power. It almost doesn't matter WHAT you do, just that you DO SOMETHING AND KEEP TRYING. We can't be afraid to fail and try again, just like the first Occupy Wall Street seemed to fail, and now is going to try again, with World Wide Wave of Action.
YOUR VOICE MATTERS!
YOUR NEEDS ARE IMPORTANT! YOU ARE NOT JUST A COG FOR PROFIT!
IT IS TIME FOR AN END TO "INCARCERATION BY LACK OF DECENT PUBLIC TRANSPORTATION"!
OPT IN STL!
*** EDIT: This post has been heavily edited and the edits will eventually be a separate post called Why Occupy? And also one about undercover cops, federal and local, and vigilantes, and their tactics at meeting like this.
I will post the links here when they are done.