Fight for $15: Match Your Mantra To Your Mission

Photo by OFL Communications Group via, (cc) some rights reserved. 

Photo by OFL Communications Group via, (cc) some rights reserved. 

When I first heard of Fight for $15 in November 2012, I thought it was crazy—crazy brave, crazy bold and crazy bombastic. 

Today, less than three years later, I can add one more compound descriptor to that list: crazy brilliant. Because companies across the country are adopting the $15/hour wage, even if most states and the federal government won't budge. 

It may not even matter, though, if enough big companies take the lead. Because once one large employer in an area offers $15/hour, others will need to match it to compete. (A scary thought for a lot of small businesses, unfortunately.)

Hats off to the Fight for $15 organizers for understanding that a successful campaign demands:

— A clearly defined goal (contrast "Fight for $15" with "We Are the 99 Percent," "I am _______" or "Black Lives Matter"). 

— A strategic and persuasive argument (smartly reframing "minimum wage" as "livable wage").

Fight for $15 even seems to have won public sentiment, as Pew reports that 73 percent of Americans support a substantial hike to the current minimum wage.

If other socially conscious groups are paying attention, they'll follow Fight for $15's lead: Stop focusing on "activism" and organize "actionism.*" 

*Yes, I know that's the name of a 1960's art movement. But they never embraced the word, so I am appropriating it.