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The Art of Manipution

When Minds Blend Into One

A skilled union organizer masters the psychology behind “mass persuasion”. These mind games are an important tool in the organizers arsenal.

Ricardo Torres President & CEO - PSLC

12/18/2009

A skilled union organizer masters the psychology behind “mass persuasion”. These mind games are an important tool in the organizers arsenal.

We’ve seen mass persuasion on grand scales during times of war where millions of people believe in a cause that usually is not their own. On smaller scales, the media persuades people that they are in need of a product they have no true need for.. I recently saw an ad for a product geared to small business owners. It was appropriately named “The Secrets of Mass Persuasion.” The product promises to teach business owners how to make people believe they absolutely need products being sold. All it takes is a creative mind and some great marketing to make you run out and grab one.

Have you ever watched a true crime show, where a person is interrogated until the point that they would confess to a crime they didn’t actually commit? After an 8 hour persuasive interrogation these programs actually show the person confessing to whatever the skilled interrogator is telling them they’ve done. Similarly, but on a larger scale, a persuasive Dictator can influence an entire country to breed hate and violence. Like the evil Dictator, I was able to persuade an entire workforce to unionize. Although obviously different in the magnitude, the common theme is persuasion.

The strongest unions in the country openly discuss this persuasion as a positive and incredibly important part of the “Fabric of America.” Andy Stern (the President of the SEIU) said, “We use the power of persuasion, and if that doesn’t work, we use the persuasion of power.” (Wall Street Journal) His power and labor force contributed millions to the Presidential election, but also, according to that article, put aside an additional $10 million fund to get people “un elected.”

Workers are called into weekly meetings with organizers and co-workers. Issues are “generated” if they don’t already exist. “Inside” people are used to create an issue and through persuasion, the “trickle down” effect is used. People begin to believe the issue is their own, because they have to. They easily jump on the bandwagon. The organizer’s goal is to swiftly create that environment. Ninety nine percent of the time I barely had to speak at a union meeting, the workers issues became everyone’s issues. I used “mob rules” mentality to my advantage.

The success of the organizer comes directly from the “mob rules” mentality present in organizing drives. For example, if the union possesses 700,000 members, the organizer uses the power of that number to persuade new recruits.

I once accused a worker of being pro-management, because she didn’t agree to the issues that the group was fighting against in front of a room full of 150 of her peers. Immediately, her co-workers began to jeer her with a series of chants. She quickly and easily conformed.

During one contract negotiation workers were fighting against cutbacks, but at the same time the company in which they worked, put in new landscaping on the grounds. The first night, after the work was done outside, I had a group of employees go to the company at 2 a.m. and destroy the landscaping. It was repaired a week later, as I knew it would be, and my new fight became simple. The company can spend money repairing the landscape, but they won’t put that money into our contract to keep good, honest, hard working American workers on staff. That week I had the workers show up to work each day holding a bush or plant. My point was made. “We can’t get more money, but at least we have nice bushes.” We made it an “us against them” fight.

I persuaded an entire group of people to wake up at 2 a.m. and drive to the company where they worked (some of them for over 20 years) to rip out and destroy the landscaping around the company. We worked for the employees, to help them make their lives better and they were persuaded to believe that. The truth is that was my job. I was paid to take a group of people, and convert them into “union workers” or “Troublemakers”. I indoctrinated the “mob rules” mentality into their heads. I personally made an entire group of employees become vandals for a cause.

The employees made the company look like a war zone and I really didn’t care, in fact it was my goal. The employer was making an honest effort to improve the workplace and I really didn’t care. There were no significant issues when the negotiations started, but I really didn’t care. I took a beautifully landscaped company, a group of hard working employees and a master plan to create an issue out of nothing at all. I persuaded the group to fabricate the one issue that brought them together to fight for their “Rights as Americans” and successfully negotiated a contract for the workers while giving up virtually nothing.. The workers never even knew it was all built from the art of persuasion.