An open space for global conversation
Please use this thread to post on anything that struck you about the conversations you had in small groups during a Cafe Call that were focused on a particular question.
This "harvest" allows us to collectively make meaning of our conversations and to bring the insights, patterns and deeper questions that emerge into our next round of dialogue.
Everyone's voice matters--please share yours!
3. I feel that one of the most important question we could ask for now is the following: Gandhi started his people spinning their own cotton and gathering their own salt as key acts of civil disobedience. What are today's equivalent acts? What are the movements salt/cotton?
What a great question! Thanks! :)
Ho Beau! You Hobo! brad
Beautiful!! That will engage the entreprenurial zeal of a people.
I think that this is a very wicked question... it helps ground us in something real. In something that happened and worked. I am thinking that the call to action that we take our money out of "too big to fail" banks might be one of these acts. Not sure if we can rally the critical mass to make the diifference it needs to! Thoughts?
Yes--I like it a lot too. There's some speculation that Bank of America caved on their debit card fees due to the threat of OWS action. Today is "move your money our of your big bank day." There are probably many more such opportunities. A "national day of action" is being called for on 11/17 too. No details yet that I've seen.
I really love this question. Thank you.
I offer one question: What is the real question that this movement is trying to answer? (if we find the question, the possible answer comes closer to reality)
Indeed, Ria! Although I think it's possible there is more than one question, no? In fact, is this a movement about answering a question per se? What if it's a movement that exists to ask as many powerful questions as it can, sparking wider dialogue so as to reach the critical mass required for change to happen?
Still I think Ben, that below all the current question there is a deeper, more wider question. If we would get to that - through using our collective wisdom - I think it would add clarity for all involved. I might be wrong of course.
Hmmm... so not totally sure if there's a better place for me to post my few notes from our Open Space session today (OC hosts, please let me know if I should move this to another place!)
Gandhi started his people spinning their own cotton and gathering their own salt as key acts of civil disobedience. What are today's equivalent acts? What are the movements salt/cotton?
The **spark** somenone mentioned in the first round of conversation about this topic was that the reason that spinning khaddi was so effective in the non-violent movement in India was because it was something that everyone could do, they could do it in their home and they could do it every day. It was a dailiy practice that connected individuals to the larger movement.
We asked the question: what could be the practice (like the spinning of khaddi) of the OWS movement that all of us could do every day in our own homes?
First part of conversation was about PRACTICE:
Growing food - having one's own composting system, worm bins, urban gardens, community gardens, rainwater catchment systems. This is something that all of us can do in our own homes and can be a daily practice that frees us from dependence on the unsustainable agrobusiness industry.
Knitting/sewing/handicrafts - the idea of creating things made with our own hands and the importance of reconnecting with a "Do It Yourself" mentality. People could knit sweaters or scarves and take them down to the Occupy sites.
Pretty much anything that exists or builds a system outside the dominent current economic structure would be a practice that could connect us to this movement.
Maybe it doesn't have to be the same action taken by everyone, but could be anykind of daily practice that we felt connected to (we could also be organizing in communities of practice as we make links with others who feel and engaged in similar practices - Rob Wheeler mentioned 4YearsGo and the WeROne platform being developed there to help these different kinds of practitioners connect to one another)
Other part of conversation was about building and strengthening RELATIONSHIP:
One of the most important things that we could do (and perhaps is the khaddi and salt of this movement) is learning how to relate to one another better - how to create the conditions for consensus (and other participative processes in other settings/groups).
In this, I noticed an interesting pairing betweeen the importance of cultivating practice and discipline at the same time that we develop deep, authentic, trusting relationships. Both are important - the deep dialogue and connection through conversation (which is, as Juanita Brown said, a form of important action in and of itself) BUT we also need daily practice that can connect us into this movement and each other. Dialogue and Action TOGETHER!
Also mentioned that the practice could be spiritual not necessarily with the hands and body. See this video here about a blessing/practice posted in a blog here: http://www.occupycafe.org/video/blessings-for-the-occupy-movement
The way that Gandhi created the common practice was not by telling people to go and do things, he himself practiced what he believed in and the invited others to join him.
The importance of reclaiming common spaces continues to come up time and time again.
Could the Occupy movement support people to take responsibility for their own lives in developing some of these practices of autonomy?
We dove into a conversation of how do we encourage the connection and building of deep relationship across great diversity and difference - particularly across divides of class and culture. We talked about the fact that if you are actually at an Occupy site, this is relatively easy to do these days - there does seem to be more and more opportunity for connection across difference at these gatherings. BUT, if you can't go to an Occupy site, we said that it just meant taking risks, daring to make yourself vulnerable to talk to and connect with people different than yourself.
Invite people over for dinner that you wouldn't regularly have contact with, engage in a group activity with people different than yourselves ... just take the leap.
Someone mentioned a video on a TEDTalk about Law of Difusion of Innovation.
We returned to the metaphor of the salt and the khaddi and were reminded that in Gandhi's time that salt was actually contraband - illegal. So what's the corrollary of this in the OWS movement? We noted that guerrilla gardening or taking over public space to garden actually is illegal. So, this actually could be seen as an act of radical civil disobedience.
Talked about Monsanto a bit and the cases of farmers being charged for having transgenic seeds on their land. Protesting at courts and trials where these cases are being held. A case of a raw milk cooperative that was shut down in California by a swat team - that's how subversive feeding ourselves in a autonomous, sustainable way is!
Then we mentioned the difference between protest (being against something we know we don't want) and constructing the new ... what is it that we are for what do we want to build together? How should we go about it? I (Aerin) personally believe that both are needed, both are important fields of work, but I am more interested in building the new than fighting against the old.
Finally, offered a question that we didn't talk about: could removing our money from the "too big to fail" banks be an action like the salt march of Gandhi's movement? I don't know enough yet, but am seriously considering taking my money out of my big box bank in the U.S. and moving it to my credit union account in VT. What are the advantages? What are the disadvantages?
Also talked about our waste, consumption ... other practices that need to be a part of building the new.