First, Gandhi would reject the division between the 99 percent and the 1 percent. Gandhi did not believe in enemies: he worked on the premise that solutions emerged only from cooperation. This truth is often lost in discussions of his political tactics of noncooperation and civil disobedience. Noncooperation is best understood as an invitation to cooperate. “We are the 100 percent” may not make for a dramatic slogan, but from Gandhi’s perspective, it is the only way to achieve true and lasting change in society.

Gandhi would underscore that social transformation requires significant responsibility on the part of each of us. The world is not a static system or an unalterable one. Society exists in a certain way when we enter it, but it is our actions or our inaction that maintain the status quo, make things worse, or transform them for the better. Gandhi explained this most pointedly when he declared that the British Empire existed because Indians had let it exist. He would say the same thing about the drastic income inequality in America today: it is here because Americans collectively allow it to be here.

He would therefore encourage the protesters to focus their efforts on direct social assistance and positive political action. In regard to social work, the protesters’ eviction from their tents in the park may be a blessing in disguise. At the height of his prominence in 1930, Gandhi renounced his own home and political headquarters and later moved into the heart of rural India to set up service organizations and promote “village industries” and sustainable small-scale economies.