SNS Press: Seeking New Solutions

March-April, 2012
Vol. 11, Number 3-4


Home Page About SNS Press Author Richard Sidy Contact Us Buy Publications


A hopeful approach for the future of international relations.

Redirect teen rebellion towards idealism and self improvement.

Read excerpts from unpublished book: Science, Religion and the Search for God —Bridging the Gap.

Poems of society, the human condition, and spiritual discovery.

Our student activities and curriculum materials instill an environmental, cultural, and global perspective, and integrate various academic disciplines.

Featured Articles about Responsibility, the Future and Consciousness:

Hope for the Future
Series on Leadership
Series on Global Consciousness
World Peace in Less Than a Month?
Can Idealism Solve Problems?
Conflict, Harmony and Integrity
Human Programming and Conflict
Non-violent Political Change
Living Without an Enemy
Protecting Children: Words and Deeds





This Month's Article

Cardboard Box Manifestos – political discourse in the age of texting and Occupy Wall  Street

It has always been so: rage is expressed in few words meant to punch or expose the adversary. In an age of text messaging, our personal mobile media challenges us to write news and opinions in 160 characters or less. The cardboard signs of Occupy Wall Street and other civil rights movements sum up their causes in less than half of that:

“We are the 99%”


“I’m A Human Being not A Commodity”


Graffiti and signs have always be the means for the powerless to express themselves. The cardboard signs were spontaneously brilliant media for the Occupy movement. Using something found in the trash to express your indignation at being treated like trash. Poor people can’t afford “smart phones” for texting or TV news networks for telling their story, so they create the “smart sign” from an old box, and a few markers.

“I’m so hungry I made a sign”


If signs are the weapons of choice in a peaceful movement, then poetry and song are the anthems of hope and encouragement. We Shall Overcome and This Little Light of Mine, I’m Gonna Let it Shine were shields of solidarity against violence, and the harmonious and strong voice of a peaceful battle cry. During the uprising in Egypt poems of protest were recited to strengthen the hearts of the protesters and songs were sung. Occupy Wall Street had a unique tool which made every sentence of their movement resonate. They used “mic check” to amplify their words of protest phrase by phrase until they became a chant.

Signs on cardboard became the literature and philosophy of the Occupy protest, some even reading like poetic couplets, aphorisms of wisdom or quotes from inspirational thinkers and activists:


“None are more hopelessly enslaved than those who falsely believe they are free” –Goethe

“When the power of love overcomes the love of power the world will know PEACE”

Every movement creates its mythology and in the Occupy movement the message is simplicity, mobility, and awakening. (An alternative name for the sister movements dubbed the “Arab Spring” is the “Arab Awakening.”) This sharply contrasts with the entrenched, inflexible, complex and institutionalized paralysis of the financial and political culture that is driven by and for money. The Occupy movement demonstrates through its cardboard signs that it does not take money to create shifts in our political discourse and consciousness.

Both in message and in materials they are stating that united intentions and action are the real source of political power. Empowerment, they demonstrate, lies in solidarity of purpose and in the choices we make as a whole. Our culture has chosen to be consumers who have empowered the corporations, but now they are calling for us to refuse to support that culture. The cardboard sign is the emblem of that rejection as it changes consumer waste into a message board for a new consciousness. The occupiers are being the voice of the child exposing the Emperor’s nakedness in the story. As one piece of cardboard held up in a crowd simply states:


© 2012 Richard V. Sidy

Related Articles on SNS Press:

The Poor People's Campaign 43 years later through the lens of Occupy Wall Street

The Good New Days

The New Anarchy

Who are the Real "Game Changers?"

Meeting the Need

Satyagraha or "Soul Force" and Political Change

Beyond Ideology: Politics of the Future

The effect of the manufacturing culture on the American Psyche



Have We Been Willing Slaves?



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Archives Column Menu
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Archives 2002:
Vol. 1, Numbers 1-12

Read past articles including:
Hope for the Future
Six Part Series on Science and Religion
First Three Parts of the Series on Leadership
Archives 2003:
Vol. 2, Numbers 1-12

Read past articles including:
Series on Leadership continued
Avoiding Dictatorship in a Free Society

Art and Politics
Living the Good Life
Teaching Teens
World Peace in Less Than a Month?
Archives 2004:
Vol. 3, Numbers 1-12

Read past articles including:
Seven Part Series on Global Consciousness
Is "Liberal" a Dirty Word?
Can Idealism Solve Problems?
Peace on Earth, Goodwill to All

Archives 2005:
Vol. 4, Numbers 1-12

Read past articles including:
Standing up for Humanity
Unity in Diversity
Thought and Imagination
Imagination and Healing
Lessons of Katrina
Intelligent Design or Evolution

Archives 2006:
Vol. 5, Numbers 1-12

Read past articles including:
Human Programming and Conflict
Non-Violent Political Change
Sustainable Development
Legalizing Torture
Living Without an Enemy
"Fast Food" is really "Slow Food"
Archives 2007:
Vol. 6, Numbers 1-12

Read past articles including:
State of Fear
Criminal Justice
Culture Shock
Personal Ecology
Exploring the Mind - Parts 1 and 2
How Much Pain Can We Stand?
Archives 2008:
Vol. 7, Numbers 1-12

Read past articles including:
Beyond Ideology
The Imaginary Economy
Tribalism and the 2008 Election
Guilt, Shame and U.S. Justice
Have We Been Willing Slaves?
Are We Ready for the Future?
Archives 2009:
Vol. 8, Numbers 1-12

Read past articles including:
The Good New Days
The Time is Right
The New Anarchy
The Art of Living
Are Women Becoming More Unhappy?
From Cowboys to Cowed
Who are the Real Game Changers?
Archives 2010:
Vol. 9, Numbers 1-12

Read past articles including:
The Music of Place
Earthquakes and Other Awakenings
The Sense of Place
Why do People Serve?
Ecological Literacy
Organization or Organism?
Are we afraid of our Better Angels?
Choosing our Battles

Meeting the Need
Diplomacy Help for Teens Science and Religion Poetry Archives
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