We Are The Majority; We Must Turn That Into Power

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Over the last decade, a national consensus has developed for a progressive left agenda on the economy, social services, the climate crisis and ending wars but the movement has not yet built the power to make that a reality. The next decade will be ripe with opportunities for transformational change due to a combination of expanding popular movements as well as escalating crisis situations.

Positive change will only occur if these movements evolve into an organized popular movement that truly represents the people’s interests against the elites. The movement must protect the planet at this critical time of climate crisis against the profiteering of the planet-plundering capitalist class. We must stand against continued militarism, bloated and wasteful weapons spending, military conflict and regime change imperialism.

The movement must be clear about which side we are on, the people’s side, put forward a vision of a future that draws the masses — including members of the power structure — and be organized to fight for our vision.

People have the power; protest in Ferguson City Hall in 2014.

We Have Built National Consensus

Since the Occupy-era of 2011, the movement has grown, not disappeared as many in the media would lead you to believe. People have been working more deeply on multiple fronts of struggle building national consensus.  Below we review some key issues where consensus has been achieved but where we still need to build the power to enact change.

Reducing Inequality

The Occupy Movement highlighted the 99 percent vs. the 1 percent. It was a class war, out in the open, with the people fighting back for the first time in decades. The US has become one of the most unequal societies in history resulting in movements against inequality growing. There is now support for taxing the wealthy with Gallup data showing that 62 percent of people in the US say “upper-income people” pay too little in taxes. Further, 69 percent say that corporations are paying too little in taxes. Other polling shows that over three-quarters of US workers believe that CEOs make too much and that about the same percentage of all people (74 percent) say that CEOs are overpaid.

The support for progressive policies confronting inequality is expressed not only in the campaigns of Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren but even Joe Biden, a corporate centrist Democrat, has had to at least rhetorically agree, saying: “Economic inequality is pulling this country apart. We need stronger labor laws and a tax code that rewards a middle class that’s been cut out of decades of economic growth — not just the wealthy, who have gotten too many tax breaks for too long.” And, Donald Trump won the election in part by playing to the economic insecurity of working people, unfair corporate trade and against the elites in DC.

Despite this, over the last decade, the wealthy have benefitted under Democrats and Republicans, while the workers have struggled. Donald Trump and the Republicans have put in place the most regressive tax policy in US history. Last year, ninety-one Fortune 500 Companies paid $0.00 in federal income taxes.  Over the last decade, the 400 wealthiest people’s fortunes doubled while tax rates dropped. This has led to the unjust reality that the 400 richest US families paid a lower tax rate than working people. When looked at through a racial prism, inequality is worse than it was in 1979, when it was already a crisis. This is not just Trump, the wealthiest have not paid their fair share in decades. For workers, a so-called booming economy has meant more bad jobs and a faster race to the bottom.

In the last year, the world’s 500 richest people gained $1.2 trillion in wealth.  Sam Pizzigati writes if we confronted inequality and put in place policies like Japan, the third wealthiest country in the world, the median net worth of people in the US “would triple, from $66,000 to $199,000.” We need to build political power to create a more fair economy. The Next Systems project highlights some of the places where that is happening.

Nurses, doctors, and medical students demonstrated outside the annual meeting of the American Medical Association in Chicago on Saturday, demanding the group “get out of the way” in the fight for a Medicare for All program. (Photo: National Nurses United/Twitter)

Putting in Place Improved Medicare for All

Another issue that has popular political support and is a top concern of people is the crisis in US healthcare. National Improved Medicare for all has transformative potential that will shrink inequality and cut poverty by 20 percent while providing high-quality healthcare to everyone.

The scam of the Affordable Care Act formalized an unequal health system, giving names to inequality — platinum, gold, silver, and bronze plans — while giving hundreds of billions of dollars in subsidies to the corrupt insurance industry and allowing pharmaceuticals and hospitals to charge exorbitant prices. Although the power structure has tried to confuse the issue, polls show majority support for ‘Medicare for All’ even when they say it will replace private plans. No poll accurately describes improved Medicare for all as cutting healthcare costs for people or says that people will never lose their healthcare again, instead, the media and bi-partisan insurance-funded politicians spew false information. Improved Medicare for all has gone from a pipe dream to mainstream as the movement has made the issue a litmus test for their presidential nomination with 84 percent of Democratic voters saying it is a priority issue.

No matter who is elected, the improved Medicare for all movement will need to continue to build its power. The insurance industry and others who profit from the status quo are resisting change in a classic battle of corporate money vs. the people. The single-payer movement has a strategy to win and has successfully turned attacks against those who oppose us. If we continue to organize, Medicare for all has the potential to become an unstoppable political issue.

WASHINGTON, DC – JUNE 1: A replica of a clock is seen at Lafayette Square as people gathered to protest President Trump announcement that U.S. will pull out of the Paris climate agreement on Thursday, June 1, 2017 in Washington, D.C. (Photo by Salwan Georges/The Washington Post via Getty Images)

Confronting the Climate Crisis

The last decade was the Earth’s hottest ever, marked by extreme storms, and deadly wildfiresThousands of scientists have been issuing emergency warnings about irreversible changes as they see tipping points are approaching with frightening prospects, especially for those who are young and will live through escalating storms, floods, droughts, fires and more.  Youth rank responding to the climate crisis as the most vital issue of our times.

Despite this, the staggering failure of political leadership continues as we saw at the most recent UN climate meeting. The crisis emanates from the US where two-thirds of new oil and gas is produced. Failed bi-partisan US leadership on the climate crisis makes resistance imperative. People have been responding in the US and globally with escalating protests including days of action involving the largest protests ever involving more than six million people. Now we need to move from protest to power.

Responding to the climate crisis requires major transformations in the US economy as multiple sectors — energy, transportation, housing, manufacturing, agriculture, banking, among others — will have to transition. There is a growing understanding of what needs to be done with the most detailed plan coming from Green candidate, Howie Hawkins’ ecosocialist Green New Deal. Last week, Stanford researchers put forward Green New Deal plans for 143 countries. Here are ten immediate steps for the next president.

We need to defeat the illusion that corporations and corporate governance can solve the climate crisis. Once again, it is a battle of the people vs. corporate power. To save the planet we must overcome the ruling elites.

Ending Militarism

US militarism is exacerbating the climate crisis. While we can’t confront climate change while lavishly funding the Pentagon that is not the only reason to end US militarism.  The recent release of the Afghan Papers showed us that the longest war in US history, Afghanistan, has been a lie. Pentagon spending, now over 60 percent of discretionary spending, has been escalating for decades and most recently a record bi-partisan Pentagon budget was passed while the people were distracted with impeachment.

The US military is planning a war with ChinaNATO is looking for new enemies to justify its existence and the US is expanding its weapons race to outer space. While human needs go unmet and underfunded, the military is given a blank check despite failing its only financial audit.

It is not only wars and militarism that must be dismantled, but the US foreign policy of domination and empire must come to an end. This includes regime change campaigns as currently being attempted in Venezuela, Iran, and Bolivia, and recent years in Nicaragua, Ukraine, and Syria. The illegal use of unilateral coercive measures, which the US calls sanctions but which are another form of war, kill tens of thousands annually.

US empire is failing. It has resulted in militarized police and led to racist police killings. The movement to end war is growing and having victories like stopping the Trump military parade but we need to put forward a vision for a peace economy that ends the era of global military bases. A better jobs program than the military is putting in place a Green New Deal, building urgently needed housing, remaking infrastructure and providing for human needs. The era of wasteful spending on a bloated and unnecessary military must come to an end.

An Era of Transformation is Upon Us

These are just some of the issues where consensus is being achieved and where change is urgently needed. Crises are resulting in movement building over the resurgence of racism, racist mass incarceration and drug wars as well as police violence in black and brown communities, the mistreatment of workers leading to record days on strike, the crises in homelessness, poverty and housing, deep student debt, environmental degradation beyond the climate crisis, and the crisis in US democracy, are some others.

One could look at today and be depressed at seeing no opportunity for change. In reality, these crises are opportunities for transformational changes to build a better world for ourselves and future generations. This contradiction is highlighted in a recent dialogue between long-time activist George Lakey and a young organizer Yotam Marom. Marom had a hard time accepting Lakey’s claim that “There’s no other time I’d rather be alive.” Lakey explains why we are in a better position than movements were in the 60s and 70s to make deeper transformational change. He sees current polarization as an opportunity, as well as the issues discussed in this article, the state of the movement, training available to activists and how crises will force change. Of course, there is no guarantee regarding our success but there is potential — potential we can realize.

We are building toward being a movement that can make transformational changes over the next decade. There are opportunities to organize in our communities, connect with others throughout the country and around the world. The potential of a movement of movements linking issues that seem unrelated is being realized. We are building solidarity from person-to-person across movements and across borders. Together we can build the power to create a new world.



  • jeffuppy

    I wish one of the bullets in this piece was police violence/mass incarceration and racism/white supremacy. You mention Occupy but not BLM. The movement you so accurately describe will not, and cannot, be white man led.

  • In this site’s recent podcast “We’re Headed for an Uprising, But are We Ready for It?”, the introduction mentioned ‘community’ quite often. I believe this is a crucial aspect of a foundation for a successful revolution (there are other crucial aspects I will address later on).

    First, most ‘communities’ these days are commonly composed of isolated individuals living within the same geographic area. Most would not be recognized as a close-knit interdependent group of people. We can blame technology for this but quite frankly the cause is much broader – and whether you believe it has been designed intentionally by the ruling elites, is really beside the point. The point is that this is our current reality and, to form a cohesive revolutionary force, a knit together community must be formed. How do you knit together an atomized community? Find common ground. How do you find common ground? You ask people what they think on various topics and you actively listen to their responses.

    Perhaps a brief story would be beneficial. An individual giving a local talk on investing in precious metals gave out to the audience a few gold coins. At the close of his talk, he asked the audience to raise their hands if they had gold. Not one person raised their hand, not even those that were holding the gold coins he handed out. This exercise illustrates an important point (other than the fact that people understand gold is valuable and it’s not very smart to tell other people that you possess it – lol). The important point is that if you want people to be honest about touchy issues such as their savings, whether or not they own guns, do they work two jobs just to put food on the table, are they against pollution, and so forth, you need to provide an anonymous method for them to communicate this information.

    One method that can be employed is surveys. This can be accomplished at local gathering spots such as churches, sporting events, farmers markets, etc. – hand them out and collect them in a box or basket (preserving the anonymity of the respondents). Then tally all of the responses and feedback to the groups the results – i.e. 50% felt strongly about cleaning up the litter in the neighborhood, 36% own guns, 70% work two jobs, etc. This data can help people comprehend that, they are not alone in their struggles, there is enough interest to form a neighborhood clean-up crew, and so on.
    This is one way to re-create a sense of belonging to a community. True communities can get things done. True communities can and will stand up for their collective rights and freedoms. True communities will support each other. This is your grassroots strength for a revolution – it begins with small connected communities that can then connect with other small connected communities of which they share core common struggles and basic beliefs such as ‘the right to free speech, the right to adequate compensation, the right to clean drinking water, etc.

    These common needs and wants are not Right or Left exclusionary – they are everyone’s. Help communities come together and you will build your foundation for the revolution. Start small and then expand the links.

  • Another key take-away from the podcast as well as this article is a need for a Vision. People will fight against an immediate threat but they will go to war if they have a compelling realistic Vision for a substantially better future. Where should this Vision come from? Some are waiting for a messiah, a leader to provide that Vision. I will state that waiting for this individual who may or may not come out of the woodwork is not only unnecessary but detrimental. Why? Because counting on one or a few people to tell us what we need to do is what has gotten us into this mess we’re in. The people can and should form this Vision and it can organically arise out of Cohesive Communities. They, We, Us, are best suited and the most capable of creating a compelling deep-seated Vision for Our future. Engage the people, they will gather, they will talk, they will create, They Will Provide the Means for a collective Movement.

  • Last key take-away I will comment on. That is this idea of taking to the streets such as the Extinction Rebellion, the Yellow Vests, and most all other current uprisings around the globe have done. This tactic, to a large degree, plays to the strengths of the ruling elite. The police force and military will Maim and Imprison your fellow activists. This is not only unnecessary but ineffective and therefore irresponsible for any group leader to propose and endorse. If you find yourself in a group leadership role, one of your Primary Responsibilities is to Protect your People. A general sacrifices his pawns. A leader uses smart strategies and tactics that Protect his/her people to the greatest extent possible.

    Sick-outs are a prudent form of Strike that accomplishes the same goal – shut down an organization’s function or do it economic harm – but protects the people from physical harm. Planning for resources that keep your people fed and housed during a strike is also the role of leadership – hungry people will desert the movement in order to eat. If they are put out on the street because their activism causes them to suffer financial hardship, they will abandon the movement.

    This is a class movement that encompasses the ‘middle class’ as well as the ‘impoverished class’. All must be made welcome and all must have their basic needs met. This can be accomplished at the Community level through group effort.

    This movement of movements can be created But it must be built from the ground up, not the top down. If you want to be a participant, talk and listen to people who are different than you – in race, economic circumstance, culture, ancestry, etc. – seek to understand their perspectives. I can assure you – if you have not walked in their shoes or lived in their nest, you have No real understanding of where they are coming from. Show a genuine interest, listen and learn. You may not ever walk in another’s shoes or be a part of their nest But you can gain understanding and from that understanding develop empathy and with that you can not only connect as humans but you will become a better friend.

    I will conclude with a quote that may not seem related but it is at the core of the establishment’s strength and is also their great weakness. Think about this in connection to community and you may find at least one solution to the building of a revolution.

    Let me issue and control a nation’s money and I care not who writes the laws.” – Mayer Amschel Rothschild

  • voza0db
  • voza0db

    A small sample of what persistent dumb voters say they want and think they will get it via VOTE!


    Too much irresponsibility since young age can only result in this.

  • voza0db

    Occupy was a failure… BLM doesn’t look to be any better.

  • kevinzeese

    We mention those issues in the last section as racial economic inequality in the section on inequality. We do a weekly article and have covered racist police violence in other articles. We agree that the issues you highlight are very important.

  • Steven Berge

    Let’s not supply our own vasseline and bend over though. I think these movements add up and have a positive effect. People come together and feel some community and power with mass actions. The establishment felt it necessary to put down the occupy movement, so it wasn’t a meaningless exercise.

  • Steven Berge

    Don’t forget the union movements from a hundred years ago or so. They fought and a few lost their lives, but they gave us weekends, medical insurance, higher pay, regular breaks, and an overall greater dignity on the job. I’m not suggesting armed rebellion, but many would be willing to spend a night in jail or even risk some injury to effect change. Look at what the authors did at the Venezuelan embassy. Too bad we haven’t been able to organize significant boycotts of bad acting corporations and general strikes to bring the elites to their knees.
    I like your admonition of the central banking scheme. I believe that is the core evil behind our profit over all else system.

  • Good of you to mention the old union movements that certainly did give us all a lot to be thankful for.

    I should elaborate some on my earlier comment about protecting people. There are occasions that warrant putting oneself at risk – when that is suggested, I believe that the level of risk should be commensurate with the level of reward. For example, I would not care to be asked to risk being arrested just to draw attention to an issue – I can do that through less risky means. Now, if putting myself in harm’s way has a realistic potential of neutering a significant obstruction to change? – that I would consider.

    Regarding the authors and the Venezuelan embassy activism, they and those that participated in ‘occupy the embassy’ exhibited courage, selflessness, conviction, and fortitude. It is unfortunate that laws were not respected by the authorities which resulted in their ousting and in their current legal battle. That protest action should have resulted in a positive outcome for all stakeholders.

    It did provide an important lesson though – laws that use to be upheld can no longer be counted on to be respected – we must expect our rights to be ignored and trampled by authorities. This is something to keep at the forefront of our minds going forward.

  • mwildfire

    It isn’t actually possible to weigh the value of something like Occupy. It may be that the most important thing to come out of it is a movement ten years from now, led by two people whose lives were transformed by it, when they were in their early teens. We are unlikely ever to know it. And that example oversimplifies…the real world has factors bouncing off each other in endless recombination.

  • Steven Berge

    In any event, I’m encouraged by all the uprisings going on now. The Yellow Vests in France and now in Chile they have forced the government into rewriting the constitution (hopefully with much more citizen input this time). In Venezuela they stopped the military coup. In Nicaragua they showed support for their government when it was under threat. Many other countries are riseing up too. Interresting times.

  • voza0db

    What were the main goals of OWS?


    Different types of struggle that can lead to socialism are; the struggle of farmers against the monopolies that pauperize them, the movements of national liberation, as manifested among African-Americans, Chicanos, Indigenous people, etc. the struggle for the defense of democracy, the movement for peace against war, the fight of intellectuals to free expression and defense of culture. Democratic movements can also struggle in favor of nationalizing monopolies, for women’s and gender rights, and many struggles that come to the fore precisely because of the oppressive heel of the capitalists. There is also nothing new about these struggles. They are capitalist-democratic, not socialist-democratic. They were very much alive in the revolutions against the monarchy, where the masses demanded equal rights and recognition, separation of church and state, etc. that was the agenda of a ruling class democracy, correct for its time. In the crash of the 30s, the ruling class sought salvation in fascism and war. This inspired the antifascist movements, such as the popular front in France and Spain, and ultimately in the triumph of the USSR over fascism. But now we are seeing a new kind of democracy, democracy of a capitalism in crisis, democracy that demands the end of stock market crashes and the pauperization of the middle class.

  • Jon

    Also promoting en masse the 10 Key Values of the Green Party.
    “This can be accomplished at local gathering spots such as churches, sporting events, farmers markets, etc.”

  • Jon

    Great advice Kelly. Working on that ! I appreciate your wisdom.

  • Jon

    What if we invent our own currency? Often local orgs use scrip in place of money to limit vulnerability to theft. Want to avoid tear gas? Occupy space inside buildings occupied by the elite,e.g. banks, stores, govt. buildings, etc.

  • Local currency is a terrific thought. A number of communities have created and implemented their own currencies which have the benefit of keeping more wealth local. Also, if set up properly, a local currency can help shield the community from external inflation and other financial shenanigans perpetrated by government controlled entities.
    Good thought on reducing exposure to tear gas assaults by occupying the inside of buildings – a note of caution: police have used tear gas inside of buildings (Hong Kong for one) so while they may be more hesitant to do so, it may not be a fail-safe tactic. I hear gas masks are becoming all the ‘rage’ in certain fashion circles 😉

  • Steven Berge

    That is a good point. When we get a significant movement going, there needs to be clear written demands where it’s obvious if they are or aren’t being implemented. Probably not advisable to have too long a list or it would be considered an overthrow. 🙂

  • Jay Hansen

    If you name yourself Occupy Wall Street, you had better be prepared to do just that and make it stick.

  • Jon

    RE: Last point about tear gas. If our side is only there when the official functionaries are, the ruling class is not about to gas their own servants (ones we should try to win over at least to neutrality).

  • Nothing can nor will change unless the present economic model is rejected and replaced with a friendly alternative.

    Do we still need governments?

    For all the trouble that they cause should we consider going without?

  • There are groups of people exploring and working toward just that – passports are an issue (right now people are acquiring second passports either through ancestry or outright purchase – some have created their own ‘nation’ passports but they only work in far off wee countries), cryptocurrency development (Bitcoin has reined supreme so far but is losing territory in its main mining field of China – cheap energy source – China’s been raiding and shutting down these mining hubs) – there are some ‘black market only’ cryptos in the works – the big problem with crypto, as alluded to above, is the enormous amount of energy that is required to ‘mine’ it. This is one of the main scale-up problems the product is facing. Even with its drawbacks and limitations, people who do not trust governments and are concerned about massive fiat currency devaluation (the dollar’s purchasing power is now at just under 4%), transaction privacy issues, and the threat of total currency control through the future implementation of Central Bank digital currencies (fiat or hard asset backed) are still investing some of their liquid assets in this currency in the hopes that this will enable them some freedom of movement and privacy for some transactions. To the best of my knowledge these groups are just fringe (tiny in numbers) movements.
    Many, if not all, are anarchist-free market ideological organizations composed of people from many nations that seem to have a high concentration of ex-pats.

    Having a reasonable understanding of human nature, it is my view that a totally ungoverned society would become rather medieval in nature – some might find that scenario attractive, I personally do not. I think we would all be better off with some governance but concentrated at the local level with high resident participation from a legislative and budgetary say-so. There is also some movement in this direction – the extent of it varies from country to country – it is very much a pocket occurrence at present in the U.S. The greatest concentrations appear to be in areas where serious ‘preppers’ reside.

    There is some thought that larger countries consisting of ‘united’ states will, over the next few years, witness some break-aways. Catalonia in Spain is one that is being watched. There is some underground scuttlebutt about the Punjab state in India, Virginia in the U.S. is also interesting at the moment with a vast number of counties forming formal or quiet militias in response to a new gun law the state wants to impose.

    There are a variety of ‘crisis’ on the horizon – it will be interesting to see what occurs when these ‘crisis’ actually materialize.

  • Here’s a video that would suggest any viable government structure should be as flat (rulerless) as possible…


  • voza0db

    Did they had even a small list?! Or just one goal? If the goal was just to seat there and make some noise… well, MISSION ACCOMPLISHED!

  • kevinzeese

    Occupy was a classic Take-Off Moment for a movement. It served all of the purposes of that phase of movement development well. We are continuing to see the impacts of Occupy today. Sanders would not have been as successful in his race against Hillary Clinton without Occupy. His agenda of the 1% v the 99%, inequality and corruption was the Occupy agenda.

    In the Take-Off phase of movements there is a seemingly sudden uprising across the country and new issues are put on the agenda. Those issues gain 50+% support and people realize they are not alone in their concern for the issues or their willingness to act on them.

    The Take-Off is followed by The Landing, when that moment ends and people wonder where it went and what was accomplished. Initially, people feel failure, but quickly they realize they put new issues on the agenda and began a movement.

    We are now in the next phase of the movement when our job is to build national consensus on issues, understand the complexity and details of issues and move toward the next phase, which is victory. We are not there yet but we are approaching it. Building national consensus is a longer phase as it involves a lot of education of people and grassroots work getting people on board for the issues.

    Since Occupy, the movement has deepened and broadened, as is expected. We discuss this as part of the Popular Resistance school, see http://www.PopularResistance.org/school. What I am writing about here is known as the Eight Stages of Successful Social Movements. The Take-Off is Phase IV, the Landing is Phase V, National Consensus is Phase VI.

    Occupy did exactly what it was supposed to do. Now we are in the midst of building national consensus and the power we need for victory.

  • kevinzeese

    See my answer above.

  • kevinzeese

    Occupy was merely a tactic in a phase of movement development. Transformational change takes time. We knew when we were in the midst of Occupy that we were not going to ‘win’ change just from one tactic. We also knew we would not be campaign in public spaces until we won. It was a tactic that kicked off a movement on many of the issues around inequality. There are many fronts of struggle to that movement and they are growing and getting stronger.

    One reason we did the Popular Resistance School was because we see the 2020s as a decade of potential change because multiple issues are now at crisis levels, movements on many fronts are growing and we have gotten consensus on two of the three broad issues:

    1. There is a problem.
    2. The current approaches will not solve it.
    3. We are ready to try new approaches.

    It is that final issue where consensus is still developing. We can see the political system responding to the movement, both with people advocating our issues, and others fighting them. The issues are no longer ignored and our views are getting more accepted and powerful.

    Movements are not sprints. Movements are marathons with hurdles. We are in the midst of the marathon, getting over the hurdles.

  • voza0db

    Actual transformational change happens instantaneously… either at an individual level or at a collective level.

  • kevinzeese

    Absolute nonsense. Please give me an example of an instantaneous societal change. It does not exist. Change takes yeas, often decades. The initial phases of change are low level and hard to even see developing because they are around exposing an issue and people getting educated about it, then people organize around it. We organized for Occupy from January until September. Things happen because people educate, organize and mobilize and persist as the status quo works to prevent the change that is needed.

  • voza0db

    That’s the actual problem we have been facing for millennia Kevin… How to achieve an instantaneous icollective change made at an individual level?

    Since that form of change is a compassionate event, you think it is nonsense, which is the problem of Thought.

  • kevinzeese

    The problem is you do not understand how change occurs. It is absurd to expect instantaneous change of a society. Even a small country cannot make instantaneous change, and certainly not a large country like the US. Change is a process and the process is an important part of the transformation.

  • voza0db

    I don’t understand a lot of stuff…

  • voza0db

    I would give a very simple example but since it won’t CHANGE the way your Thought process operates I won’t waste my, and others, Time .

  • kevinzeese

    Even personal change is not instantaneous. Getting divorced takes month or years of realizing change is needed, same with changing diet, stopping smoking etc. Yes. There is a final decision, that seems instantaneous but it takes a long time to get there and even after decided the change has stops and starts, goes forward and backward and takes time.