Occupy Providence— A Survey of People Involved

Survey conducted by Annie Rose London

In late December and January, Occupy Providence participants were asked to fill out a survey, and 128 individuals completed it. We believe that the sample represents Occupy Providence participants fairly well, including those who were physically occupying Burnside, those who regularly attended General Assemblies, and those who participated in the movement primarily online. From the responses, it is possible to gain insight into the composition of those in Occupy Providence at one point in time, to determine what OP activities people were engaged in, and to find out what goals inspired people to participate in this movement.


PARTICIPATION
What first brought you to Occupy Providence? (129 responses; someone replied twice?)
Answers:     Rally or march  25%  |  General Assembly 23%  |  General curiosity 19%  |  Workshop/discussion 2%   |  A meal 0%   |   Other 31%      (The “Other” responses were usually listed as experience at other Occupy locations, most frequently Occupy Wall Street and Occupy Boston.)
What working groups have you participated in? (193 responses, of which 47 were “zero”, leaving 81 respondents reporting 146 working group participations or nearly two per person)
Answers:     Direct Action 24  |  Safety & Support 19  |  Women’s/Trans/Genderqueer Caucus 15  |   Food 12  |   Facilitation 11  |  Media 11  |  Visioning 11   |  Sanitation 10  |  Health & Caring 9  |  Legal 7  |  Creative Interdisciplinary Art 8  |  Political Action 7  |  Queer Caucus 5  |  Coordination 4

Are you satisfied with your current level of involvement in OP? (124 responses)
Answers:     Really prefer to increase 27%  |  Prefer to increase 42%  |  Totally satisfied 27%  |  Prefer less 3%  |  Really prefer less 0%
What are some factors that would enable you to participate more?
Top solution: indoor locations.
Next most frequent: events on different topics, in different formats, and with varying co-sponsors.
Others: translation to other languages, shorter events, less gendered oppression, and more coordination.
What skills/talents/resources could you imagine contributing to OP?
Answers:     Cook, build, write, network, build websites, write grants, run workshops, mediate, contribute materials, and many more.
How do folks stay connected to OP? (290 responses)
Answers:     Email listserv 79  |  Facebook 67  |  Coming to the People’s Park 58  |  Word of mouth 55  |  OP website 20  |  Local newspapers 10  |  Twitter 1

How has your level of involvement in OP changed since you first became involved? (123 responses)
Answers:     Increased greatly 6%  |  Increased 22%  |  Stayed the same 24%  |  Decreased 26%  |  Decreased greatly 23%

Leading causes for decreased involvement:
other obligations, accessibility, challenges with finding a way to contribute,
internal structural conflict, most often in the form of oppressive behaviors.
IDENTITY
What gender do you identify as? (129 responses)
Answers:     Female 59 (46%)  |  Transgender 3 (2%)  |  Male 60 (47%)  |  Other 7 (5%)
What racial, ethnic, or national background are you most likely to identify as?
Answers:     Over half identified themselves as white, while about 15% viewed themselves as persons of color.
Another 15% did not identify themselves by race or ethnicity at all.
What is your age? (129 responses; someone replied twice)
Answers:     Half of all respondents reported themselves to be in their 20s, with another 20% in their 30s.
Smaller percentages of people ranged in age from their teens to the 70s.
What other identities are important to you?
Answers:     Parents, environmentalists, activists, Providence residents, and immigrants.
How would you describe your political views? (categories created from open responses)
Answers:     Far left 22%  |  Socialist 21%  |  Radical/revolutionary 19%  |  Liberal 16%
Anarchist 15%  |  Progressive 12%  |  Libertarian 9%  |  Democrat 7%  |  Feminist 4%
VOTING
Are you registered to vote? (114 responses)
Answers:     Yes 86%  |  No  14%
Did you vote in the 2008 presidential election? (122 responses)
Answers:     57% voted for Obama  |  1% for McCain  |  16% for another  |  26% didn’t vote.
Do you plan on voting in the 2012 presidential election? (118 responses)
Answers:     Yes, and I feel strongly 47%  |  Yes, but I don’t feel strongly 28%
No, but I don’t feel strongly 6%  |  No, and I feel strongly 20%
OPINIONS
What are the issues that have most motivated your involvement in OP? (590 responses or about 4 per person on average)
Answers:     Economic inequality 108  |  Economic influence on politics 96  |  Housing & Foreclosure 82  |  Systemic transformation/Revolution 82  |  Jobs 81  |  Foreign war and occupation 75  |  Political corruption 75  |  Environmental justice 73  |  Racial inequality 70  |  Education 69  |  Healthcare 69  |  Immigration 64  |  Food justice 60  |  Gender inequality 59  |  Constitutional rights 55 |  LGTBQ rights 51  |  War on drugs 42  |  Foreign trade agreements 38  |  Animal rights 25  |  Other 17
What change in the world do you want to see?
Most common response: A desire for equality among all people.
Common: true democracy, solidarity and community, environmental sustainability, responsible government, and the end of the domination of capitalism.
Somewhat less common: culture shifts and human consciousness shifts.
What change do you hope to see in your own life?
Most common: desire to trust and empower oneself, increased job stability, meaningfulness, increased compassion towards others, bettering one’s political awareness, and community.
What do you think the next steps for should be for OP? (665 responses or about 5 per respondent)
Top responses:
Focus on community outreach 83  |  Focus on coalition-building with other organizations 60  |  More actions/rallies 58  |  Occupy indoor locations 57  |  Focus on public education about relevant issues 56  |  Focus on political pressure 54  | Create alternatives to current systems (e.g., provide free childcare) 52  |  Hold the G.A. in public spaces (such as City Hall, for example) 50  |  Focus on local 1% (e.g., Brown U, Textron) 50

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