An open space for global conversation
Jitendra brings over 35 years of internal transformational process development to serve the #Occupy movement. He is the founder of Core Awakening Journey and most recently works with the Four Years Go inspired Occupy Cafe Stewards as one of its founders and core organizers. He participates in facilitation at the Occupy Marin general assembly as well as assisting in #Occupy national organizational calls.
There is a recurring conflict [opportunity] that presents itself over and over, in GA's, working groups, national calls and within change -oriented organizations, the push-pull between process and action. Process relates to inner clarification and alignment of thought and emotion
Process people often feel that systems are only as effective as the consciousness driving them, i.e. - a democratic system in the hands of greedy acting people will cease to look like democracy.
Action people feel impatient because process usually takes precious time, a commodity often seen as in short supply. They often observe that people locked in endless conversation accomplish little. And they're right.
Question: What might a balance between process and action look like?
The "New England-style town meeting", widely recognized as a highly democratic form of decision-making, has a mechanism for balancing the competing desires for more Discussion ("process") vs. immediate Decision/vote ("action").
At any point during general Discussion of an proposal, any citizen can ask (and get) an immediate vote to end Discussion, in order to clear the way to then vote on the proposed Action itself.
This "vote to end Discussion" is a way for the majority of citizens to express their desire as to whether (or not) they want to "stop talking and vote" on the Action.
Based on what I've heard about how the various General Assemblies are being operated, they does not seem to be this tried-and-true mechanism for preventing Discussion, ad-infinitum, that does not lead to any Action at all!
The "ground rules" of the existing G.A. approach seems to be "let's just keep talking until the Decision becomes obvious". (How totally naive! Sheeeesh!)
Am I missing something?
After Jitendra's start, we heard from callers about discussions without end/resumed the next day and New England town meetings (annual events), which, at least in principle, involve all who show up and reliably get business done.
When Jitendra reiterated the tension between process and action, I was moved to speak about economic participation and contribution. I said the movement seems stuck on key questions pertaining to production: will production continue to be anywhere for consumption everywhere or will production be decentralized, in each community, for each community? If the latter, a lot of process could be transformed into action that would be meaningful and fulfilling contribution/expression.
A lot of process is the cost of trying to work levers that are hard to find and difficult to reach. What might a balance between process and action look like? A local economy!
Hello Occupy! and especially hello David!
Here are two inspiring videos on sustainability. They do speak of a balance between process and action. More than balance; each is a love story.
I loved these videos, Helen. Thank you!
They are each heartening and extraordinary demonstrations of what can be accomplished when we cooperate with, and entrust, nature to it's own devices.
I can always bring examples of true sustainable success back to the heart and being of the people managing and stewarding those successes. In both cases with these videos, each of the stewarding "growers" had a profound respect, understanding and, perhaps most of all, trust in the intelligence of right relationship, and that trust only comes with a deep respect and love for oneself. And most likely, vice versa.
Indeed. Much appreciation, Helen.