Please join the Cafe Call this Monday:

8-10a PDT | 11a-1p EDT | 3-5p GMT


Click here to register

The Occupy Movement invites us all into a stance of ownership in the future of our society.  We are being called to exercise our rights as citizens to determine our collective destiny, rather than passively handing off responsibility to a group of elected officials.

Occupy Cafe also invites you to come in as the owner of your experience in our conversations and of our collective ability to learn together and to be in relationship.

This is our third conversation based on the model developed by Peter Block in Community: The Structure of Belonging, building on the "Possibility" conversation we hosted last month and the "Dissent" Conversation in May.  Once again, we are delighted to welcome back co-hosts Eric and Elaine Hansen, who have worked extensively with Block, and are masters of this form.

As always, we also invite you to begin the conversation right now on this forum, and to continue it here once our call is complete.  We are starting with what Block calls the "the essential question upon which accountability hinges:"

What have I done to contribute to the very thing I complain about or want to change?

Image courtesy of Human Values First and Better Balance

Views: 967

Reply to This

Replies to This Discussion

Here is an excerpt from Peter Block's Community: the Structure of Belonging on the Ownership Conversation:

Accountability is the willingness to acknowledge that we have participated in
creating, through commission or omission, the conditions that we wish to see
changed. Without this capacity to see ourselves as cause, our efforts become
either coercive or wishfully dependent on the transformation of others.

Community will be created the moment we decide to act as creators of
what it can become. This is the stance of ownership, which is available to
us every moment on every issue, even world peace, the overdependence
on fossil fuel consumption, and the fact that our teenagers are slightly

This requires us to believe in the possibility that this organization, this
neighborhood, this community is mine or ours to create. This will occur
when we are willing to answer the essential question, “How have I contributed
to creating the current reality?” Confusion, blame, and waiting
for someone else to change are defenses against ownership and personal
power. This core question, when answered, is central to how the community
is transformed.

A subtle denial of ownership is innocence and indifference. The future
is denied with the response, “It doesn’t matter to me—whatever you want
to do is fine.” This is always a lie and just a polite way of avoiding a difficult
conversation around ownership. p.127

Ownership is a seriously broken concept. I own my own action, but if i take no responsibility for those actions, then somebody else gets to deal with the mess. Conversely, when people refuse to own up to their 'work', the denial adds to the cognitive dissonance experienced by the rest of us. The values that we hold are not common - the strictest morality in the absence of ethics is self-defeating.

so - lemme howdt - let me out - is a strike thrown through the batter's box - a poet of complaint who cannot specify action. The pitch was a ball, but the corrupt umpire decided to call it a strike - nearly 2000 posts and eight years later - lemme got out, but there is a void at a distance.

the answer - whatever you want to do is fine - is a default answer because you were not going to listen to anything that i would comment anyway - once you have your mind set, it's all go. Look up and smell the roses; wilted, but they still smell, as a rose is a rose is a rose. What is an Occupy! ?

Community has to have a swinging bar door, that honors the individual if he comes out and chooses to play, and honors the individual if he keeps all his own toys and stays home. Discussing is good - telling is not. If you talk and need no reply, then ownership is one of your problems - you have to listen to hear other perspectives to refine your speech.

I have no ownership in the past culture - at every turn i ended up seeing the space behind the mirror and howdtside the frame - the image of the artist's mind that hides intent. As gross as the art was, at least Mapplethorpe made people think - he might have been Jesus on his cross in the urine. How would you bring me in, if i didn't want to play? Kicking and screaming? Oh, that is so today.

I like this site, but i do not like forums. This is a test, for me, as i think and therefore i do - no matter what may agree or disagree. Does this require punishment? Does it make me Bradley Manning? If i say what you don't like, but i take ownership - does that mean we have to hash it out, even if the divisive process wreaks havoc for both of us? Why, if truth is relative, cannot i have mine and you have yours? If your bubbles burst - do you feel you have to pop others - for their own benefit, even without their consent? How do we measure the consent of the governed in a rigged election process?

I had a disagreement with Occupy! 2.0 - conceptually, we should be at Occupy! 8.0 or Occupy! 13.0 imagining and looking backwards to see the steps of how to get there from here. Instead, we walk the walk and talk the talk of the same folks we find horrid and want to change. The change is two quarters a dime, a nickle and four pennies, mostly harmless. Think of how 2.0 could be as a fractal of already done, that has a different skew, and duplicate symmetry so that others can benefit immediately from any advance or advantage.

We can accept truth in whatever form that it arrives. When we listen to the youngest amongst us, the folks who haven't learned what they can't do, then maybe we can get howdt of the box - to others that appears as howdt of control. The conflict has to be resolved by consensus, not force. Voting is majority rule by force. Perhaps a benevolent monarchy. Imagine the queen of england as a walmart greeter. I don't believe she could handle the job.

Change not for change sake, but because we know that change brings the world where Occupy! is just where you happen to be while spending your time. That is where we find ownership - we all own our own time. Most of us sell it for system benefit - very little benefit and it comes with great stress. Perhaps delinking the need to work with the form to earn a living. Babies come into the world broke and naked - we don't have to start that far back, but we do have to strip off some of these oxymorons that we hold as truth without question.

I calculated that paying every living person $1000 per month would be roughly the same order of magnitude cost as the latest bank bailout + fraud theft sum. And we still don't grok how long the banksters have been at this - Ike saw it in the 50's. Can we take our heads out of the sand yet? No - middle east is up - boom Colorado distraction - what do they not wish us to see, those powers that used to be?

Clock is ticking - good luck Ben and Jttendra - have a good call on Monday.

Since my focus is on the economics of land I just want to point out that land is not capital even though these two completely distinct factors of production have been conflated in the predominating economic paradigm.  The significance of this beyond mere historical oddity and "mere words" is that owners of land receive a wholly unearned income from such ownership while capital properly defined as the tools of production in principle and most of the time earns its reward (except of course when it is monopolized at which point it needs to be regulated).  Landowners have used this conflation of economic definitions to hide in the skirts of real capital in order to benefit from the valid defense of capital which absolutely does not apply to ownership of land.

I note that you mentioned the theft of capital from Native Americans when the truth is that they had very little real capital that was worth stealing but their land was worth stealing and we new comers were not above enslaving, marginalizing and killing them for it  They made terrible slaves so it was more expedient to kill them.  

My assertion here and purpose in these conversations is to point to the distinction between land and capital and to request that you and the rest of our brothers and sisters be willing to consider that everything that the Marx and the left has to say about capital is completely true of land and mostly not true of real capital.  I assert that attacking capital willy nilly invites the valid defense of real capital while completely ignoring the fact that the argument applies to ownership of the value of land and natural resources against which there is no valid defense.  I assert that the folks who profit from the vast unearned incomes from ownership of the earth absolutely love it that all the critical focus is on capital for which there are many defenses and a myriad of defenders and not on private ownership of the value of land for which there are no defenders once the obvious and indisputable facts are known.  The fact that unearned income from ownership of the earth by itself amounts to 20-35% of GNP and probably more makes this issue more than a little bit relevant to the current situation.

Thanks for the thoughtful reply and question.  I apologize in advance for the lengthiness of this response.  I do not know how to make it more succinct without leaving it confusingly incomplete.

The original observation of the founders of the study of economics agreed to by economists until the early 20th century was that there are three factors of production, land, labor and capital.  All this meant was that some aspect falling within the definition of these three things were involved in every productive activity.  The genrally agreed upon definitions were: labor is people, human beings acting using their hands and minds. Capital is the tools of production. Land is the land that we generally mean by the word, natural resources and everything else of the natural creation used as the raw resource and energy for production or as the place where productive activity takes place.

Things have gotten more sophisticated and complicated with the advent of finance since the earlier days of the study of economics and we now talk about financial capital.  The capital-like aspects of money and finance really might be termed a 4th factor of production and perhaps you will agree that money and finance is distinct enough from the idea of capital defined as the tools of production to deserve its own designation and appreciation in this regard.  For now we call it financial capital.

Suffice it to say near the end of the 19th century economists we now know as the neo-classical economists started thinking and teaching that land was not worthy or necessary to be thought of as as a separate factor of production and instead was merely a subset of capital.  They said and taught that land could safely be thought of and treated just like any other tool used in production.  This is why today for me and my colleagues to suggest that land is different than capital either does not make sense or is quaintly irrelevant.  I too used to think that land was not important in economics anymore.  After all we were no longer an agrarian land based society were we?  It turns out that land has never lost and can never lose its central significance to any economy no matter how technologically sophisticated it becomes.  To me this is now obvious but it had to pointed out before I woke up to the implications. The history of this seemingly innocuous and esoteric development in economic theory and teaching is well documented in Mason Gaffney's Corruption of Economics.  The motivation for this may become clear in what follows.  I guess it is my favorite conspiracy theory. After reading Gaffney I am convinced that it is not just a theory.

The point of all this is that land and capital are far more fundamentally distinct in themselves and in their economics than they are alike.  These differences are quite profound in my opinion that I have to wonder how it is possible that the differences and their implications could be so ignored and erased from common understanding as to be virtually absent in our public discourse today.

Here are a couple of instances. Capital, the tools of production, is man made, land the definition of which includes all natural resources before they are extracted is a free gift of nature.  

Capital gets its market value from the fact that it is itself a production of human effort most often in conjunction with the use of other tools of production.  Capital would not otherwise exist nor would it have any economic value (cost of acquisition, purchase price).  Capital because of this itself has a cost of production.

Land gets it economic value (cost of access via rent or purchase in the market place) in a way completely different from capital since it is not man-made.  Land is not a produced and therefore does not itself have a cost of production as does capital.  All economists even those who decided to eliminate it as a separate factor of production agree that the value of land is created solely and only by the community of all people. It is obvious is it not that land only has a value because everyone without exception is in the market for access to land as a necessity underlying every human activity and that each of us is willing to pay the price in whatever market we can afford.  This means that the owners of land do not by themselves create the value of the particular pieces of land they own no matter what they as individuals do on the land.  Individuals create the value of what they build and do on the land but they do not create the market value of their land. I repeat and as far as I can tell all economists agree.  Few economists and fewer commentators on social issues speak of this outside of the little band of people who follow the ideas of the 19th century American political economists and social philosopher Henry George.

The significance of all this is that our land laws allow people not only to "own" land for USE but also to collect the value of land via land rents and sale price.  Since this value is not created by the ones collecting it it means that that value is unearned in private hands.  Economists early on devised a term for this.  It is called "economic rent" and they call activity to pursue acquisition of it "rent seeking".  Economic rent and rent seeking is all about acquiring economic values one does not oneself create. There are other ways to collect unearned income but the biggest one by far historically and up until the present day is from the "ownership" of land.  Perhaps the criminals running the financial sector have gone beyond the lords of the earth in this regard but the thing to understand here is that the financial sector is built on top of the original edifice of exploitation and getting something for nothing inherent in private ownership of the value of land.

When one becomes aware of the many differences and distinctions between land and capital it becomes clear that the the only thing they have in common is that there is a cost usually in money to acquire the tools of production, land and necessary raw materials from the land in order to be productive.  To the person engaged in productive activity the cost of capital tools and land is merely a cost and the other distinctions do not mean anything as a practical matter to that person or his corporation.  But while land may appear to be merely another item of cost to the individual and merely another way to privately acquire income the distinctions between land and capital matter very much to the community of all people.  I will try to say what that means.

Part of what this means to me and my colleagues is that the owners of the earth are getting a free lunch. The last time I heard most economists say that there isn't such a thing.  Of course a landowner has to pay for land but what one is buying and paying for when one buys land is not only the right to USE the land exclusively but the right to collect the unearned community created income from it.  This aspect of "ownership" of land is legal just as buying selling and getting income from ownership of salves was legal when it was. The income in both cases is unearned despite its legality.  When I look at history from this point of view I see that the wealthy have always been the owners of the land and natural resources and I submit that the root cause of the disparity of wealth in the hands of the 1% and really the top 10% is the near monopoly ownership of most valuable land and natural resources of the planet that has always existed and continues to this day.  The incentive has always been to grab the land and resources but few people realize that one of the prime reasons for this was and is to collect the value the rest of us give to it.  This is at the heart of what we called imperialism and today the powerful no longer need to send armies in to do their dirty work although that practice has not ended by a long shot.  The land grab continues furiously apace on the planet to this day.  If the land grabbers could not keep what they collect from us it would be a different story would it not?

The other insight this line of reasoning gives is that real capital, the tools of production earns its reward not only in practice but in principle.  Marxists and leftists in general will strenuously disagree with this assertion of course.  But before speaking further about that it is clearly the case that land does not earn its reward at all and every thing said about capital which is mostly mistaken in my opinion is completely true of land.  I am always surprised at leftists who do not rejoice at this insight but most I have encountered do not even when it is clearly laid out for them.  I agree that when capital is monopolized it does draw an unearned income to itself and to its owners and amounts to a heinous exploitation of everyone in society.   For that reason the monopoly of capital should be properly regulated.  Why this kind of judgment is not made of the income from land which is clearly unearned and clearly an exploitation of everyone puzzles me deeply.   In my experience I see that most capital owned by the mass of people, businesses and those damnable corporations is not monopolized.  Ordinary working people own capital in the form of their tools and the economy we call Main Street employs a huge portion of capital that is not anywhere near monopolized.  Even General Motors employs capital that is not monopolized.  I ask the question: why is there so much bashing and condemnation of capital and absolutely nothing said about land?  This is where the failure to make the distinction between land and capital has muddied the waters of understanding, given rise to unnecessary conflict and stymied appropriate changes in public policy for well over a century.  I can assure you that the owners of the earth love this confusion and indecision.  They love hiding in the skirts of capital defended by valid arguments for capital which do not apply to land at all.

Of course I understand that financial capital has caused havoc and never more than in recent years.  The financial system needs to be completely overhauled to wring out of it its ability to extract unearned incomes from the economy. But far more fundamental and older in existence from long before the advent of capital is the now unquestioned practice of allowing some few of our kind to "own" the earth and charge the rest of us for access to our own home planet.  This could easily be changed as suggested by Henry George by requiring all land and natural resource owner to pay what amounted to land rent to the community from whence that value came. Community could use that vast sum of money (20-35% of GNP) to fund all public services from local to federal levels.  Georges's idea is called "land value taxation" and in his day was also known as the "single tax" because of the idea that we could fund all governments out of the tax on land values without any need for any other kind of taxation..  Community at all levels still could eliminate all taxes on the earned incomes of labor and the profits of investments in real capital in the real economy if taxation today was shifted to land values.  The sums that could be collected would be adequate to the job.  We folks on the political left could agree with the political right that taxation of earned incomes was a bad idea and propose a complete shift away from that in favor of taxing what in truth rightfully belongs to us all and should be taken as the proper source of revenue for community.  Instead we leave that argument on the table and are bogged down in non-intelligent bickering about willy nilly taxing the rich whether or not it means taking from them whet they earned.  There is no valid argument against taxing the rich or anyone else on unearned incomes starting with income from land but we don't even go there.  Strange in my opinion.

The historical choice has always been to tax the community created value of land and natural resources to pay for government OR to tax the earned incomes from labor and profits from investment of real capital in the real economy.  We do tax land values to some degree throguh local property taxes and in state and federal income taxes but it is estimated that 85% of taxation falls on earned incomes of labor and capital and 15% on land value and unearned income from same.  Upon examination it is clear that land is virtually untaxed and this has given rise to the historical disparity of wealth and land speculation the result of which was the underlying cause and sine qua non of the so-called housing bubble that burst in 2008.  

I submit that while land and the economics of land may not be of particular interest to the ordinary citizen and business people who are only concerned with the cost of living and making a living but I think you can see that it matters very much to the quality of life for the community as a whole.  I submit that native people of the world understood this quite well even though they could not articulate it in modern economic terms.  I also submit that understanding that income from land is unearned in the hands of private owners is one of the root causes yet unappreciated in the destruction of the environment.  Environmentalists are only now beginning to get the point.  Herman Daly is one of them and he continues to look like a prophet in the wilderness regarding this issue.

I submit that historically the landlords of the planet have won and that this means we do not really have capitalism.  Instead I suggest we have a corrupt form of feudalism with a veneer dazzling though it may be of capitalism. The potential to have technological progress benefit everyone while at the same time having an economic system that protects and sustains the environment has hardly been imagined.  

Land is land.  It is not capital merely to be treated like any other tool to be bought, sold, used up and speculated with.  I submit that failure to make this distinction and to take ownership of the value we human give to the land for the benefit of all is the fundamental flaw in so-called capitalism and has caused havoc for humanity ever since landlordism got to be unquestioned.  There is much talk of the commons these days.  I submit that land value is part of the commons and we could take it back any time we wanted to.  We create it, it is ours we could take ownership of it without disturbing ownership of land for appropriate USE.  We could in essence have our cake and eat it too rather than participating in the free lunch that we give some of our kind. I am one on those who benefit from the free lunch.  Please take it from me.  At the same time please let me keep what economic value I create.

Nuff said for now. Thanks for the opportunity to articulate these ideas in writing. I hope it makes sense.  Questions and disagreements always welcome.

C.A.: thanks for your reply.  I have sent you a friend request as you suggested.

Don't fret yourself about not having posted a reply to my overlong reply to you.  I dumped a whole lot of concepts on you at once.  It took me a fair amount of time to thoughtfully consider these ideas when I first encountered them.  I would not expect anything less from intelligent goodhearted people.  I am delighted that you would think about taking the time to write a "proper" response.

I am part of a movement that has been worldwide of over a century.  It has an interesting and rocky history and yes it is definitely in the minority although at the time of its inception it was quite well know and was one of the intellectual anchors of the Progressive Era in the U.S.  Since then what we call the Georgist movement (based on the man Henry George) and the idea of land value taxation has virtually ceased to exist in the discussion of public policy.  This has been a tragedy in my opinion.  Once you understand the basic thrust of these ideas it may become obvious that these ideas were buried because they challenge very heart of what is dysfunctional about so-called capitalism because they challenge the mechanism whereby the wealthy have for centuries siphoned the increasing value of economic progress into their own hands without earning it or deserving it.

I would be open to the idea of starting a discussion of these ideas and the definitions involved in the Forum section.  I wrote a reply to one of Jitendra's comments expressing my concern about confusion over using terms such as "ownership" when referring to our inner experience.  I am sure we can all see through any confusion by being clear about whether or not we are speaking about the outer world or the inner.  There is an overlap of course between the inner and outer because the outer world seems to be a projection of our inner state of consciousness.  I already think that the ego erroneously thinks it  owns and controls the energetic mystical ground of being from which it comes and it is no mistake that in the outer world many of our kind think they/we can properly and absolutely own land and natural resources as if there was no connection with others and with little concern for the well being of all or the earth itself

I too would like to see a "formal economic position" taken by Occupy.  I think that it would make people sit up and take notice and without it I do not think it/we will be taken seriously.  I have a good candidate for such a position in mind.  By now you must have guessed that it is my agenda to bring attention to this exact thing to you and others who are now engaged in one of the most profound reevaluations of our economics and culture ever.  It is well thought out, there are real world examples of application of the ideas and there are plenty of resources available to find out about it.  One of them is the product of one of my colleagues, Alanna Hartzok, who is the co-founder of The Earth Rights Institute.  She has developed with the help of other of our colleagues an online course that can be found at  Googling Henry George will reveal many other sources of information.

I am familiar with Kelso's ideas and I think the idea of making ordinary people the owners of capital is brilliant.  I think he was badly mistaken when he consciously made that land was to be treated as a mere subset of capital but that is not a fatal flaw.  I am sure his ideas will be the world works as it begins to benefit all in the future.

I was not very familiar with de Soto but a brief look at the Wikipedia article on him makes my heart sing.  His focus on establishing secure and documented rights to land is one of the most fundamental aspects of a workable society that we here in the the US and most other developed countries take for granted.  Widespread secure access to land enables a people to have a place and the resources to exert their innovative creativity.  This allows the little guy to more fully participate and contribute to the bigger economic picture.  We take this so much for granted that we have lost sight of its significance.  The George analysis in my opinion is what to do once an economy establishes secure tenure of land so that such laws and policies are not used by the wealthy to slowly monopolize the earth against the interests of their fellowman.  Unfortunately in my opinion this is what has happened in developed capitalist countries and it has been the root cause of why the system has not delivered on its promise to benefit everyone.  America in my opinion may still be the moral leader in the world by adopting policies that share the literal ground of our economic beings as the key to unleashing human potential while resolving the disparity of wealth and protecting the environment at the same time.  These things are now thought impossible to reconcile but I am convinced they can be.

I find a reference to International Political Economy which is concerned with globalization.  I wonder if that is the IPE that you refer to?  It seems to fit.  One of the things that has to be resolved in the new economics is the well being of all nations and all people as globalization takes place.  In my opinion this will depend on each nation taking charge of the value of their land and natural resources for the public good so that these values and the land and resources they come from are not merely monopolized the hands of fewer and fewer people and corporations.  I submit that what is absolutely unworkable, unjust and unsustainable about globalization is the fact that in large part it is merely another form of imperialism the primary purpose of which was to take resources from less developed nations for the benefit of other nations without paying for them to the governments of the exploited nations let alone to their people.  The dysfunctional aspects of globalization looks to me like the old imperialism without the need for invading armies.  I think there will be globalization and that it can be made to deliver the benefits its proponents promise of it.

I will be going out of town tomorrow Wednesday and may be out of touch until next Monday, July 30th.  I look forward to further conversation after that.

I received news of your friending me so thank you.  Looking forward to our further conversation. Yes I agree that the Cafe is more than a bit touchy feely but this means good hearts are present and that is fertile ground for planting good new left brain ideas that are in harmony with the heart.  That does not guarantee the seeds will grow but it is where I usually find myself these past few years.  Glad to encounter you here. 

Ownership is one of the most powerful conversations we can engage.  It can illuminate "shadow", re-establish inner authority and shift the locus of influence form outside one's self to within.  It quells blame and inspires solutions.  Looking forward to our journey.

Jitendra: I come at the question of ownership as a lawyer and an economist in my outer life and as a student of metaphysics and spiritual aspirant in my inner life.  When you and others here use the word "ownership" I wonder what you mean?  Ownership in the outer world refers to legal rights/duties and in the inner world to something else.  There may be an overlap of concept in our inner and outer lives but I think it is clear that there are some important differences that are best not ignored.  If you are using the word in both inner and outer arenas of human experience without making the distinction, I am confused.  I think this is so especially if you/others are saying that something is quite broken about ownership.  I do not disagree but in my experience the idea and practice of ownership in many significant aspects means quite different things depending on which arena of life you are speaking of.  

In the outer world I have asserted in these conversations that it is not really possible to "own" the earth, her land and natural resources, in any absolute sense.  This does not mean that I want to undo titles to land or disturb ownership as it currently exists.  It is to say that there is an aspect of private ownership of the earth that that gives owners certain rights that amont to exploitation of others.  In particular I think it is an exploitation of others for owners of land to charge others land rent for the right to occupy and use their land.  I won't go into the reasoning behind that here.  But I think you can see that this question is quite different in some significant way than the questions that are raised when we talk about someone "owning" the consequences of their words or deeds which I hear people talking about here.  I think failing to make the distinction causes confusion and it gives the wrong message to many people who do not know we are making these subtle distinction between the inner and outer life of humanity.  It is entirely possible for such people to think that we are stark starring anarchists and communists advocating the overthrow of ordinary property rights that are in place and upon which people depend for survival in the outer world.  

On the other hand I do think that the way we treat our own inner ground of being is reflected in the outer world by the way our current culture has developed the practice of ownership of our physical ground of being the earth.  Inwardly the ego seems to think it is the owner of the life force that empowers it.  This gives the ego a sense that it is God when clearly it is not and is quite mistaken in such a blief.  Inwardly I see my personal spiritual growth linked to realizing that my conscious ego is not the source and that Source has a life of its own that it behooves me to meditate on and become familiar with.  Landownership in the world has gone far beyond a practical way of giving individuals the assurance of secure USE of land to control of the earth as if they were gods and everyone absolutely owes them payment for the right to have a place to be, i.e. for the right to exist.  I would like to discuss this aspect of ownership but while it is salutary for the ego to give up ownership of the life force that flows through and animates it, I do not think that means that all aspects of ownership of the physical earth that in fact are supportive of ordinary life are to be casually be done away with without further serious discussion.  I guess what I mean to say is that not everything that is valid inwardly is valid when literally applied without nuanced investigation outwardly and vice versa.

Thanks for the opportunity to think these things through a bit more than I already have.  What a gift.  What a gift is the earth. I look forward to a day when we all can agree on an appropriate way to share the earth while at the same time honoring the individuals' needs for exclusive USE of Her.  I think it is the key to resolving the disparity of wealth, power and privilege between the 99% and the 1%.  After I worked through some of my blind unexamined anger and frustration at not being able to convince people that I was "right" I saw that this was going to be a collaborative effort among very many of us.  This conversation is part of that for me.  

Thank you, Wendell, for these carefully considered and well-articulated reflections.  One of the main themes that emerged from the "DIY Economy" retreat I just came back from in Asheville was the importance of demonstration projects.  Most people aren't even aware that there is a "movement" to create something new.  And when I talk with them, I find that the conversation reverts to "communism vs. capitalism," which feels like a dead end to me.

Are there any demonstration projects you know of or have envisioned for the ideas you are putting forth here?  One possible role for the Cafe going forward might be to help catalyze the creation of such work.

Thank you also for your appreciation of our work to make the Cafe a space where these reflections can occur, both in terms of internal and external transformation.  This has been our goal from the start, and it is so gratifying to hear that we are succeeding.

Re your concerns about the way in which we are using the term "ownership," perhaps this text from Peter Block's Community might clarify things a bit:

The Distinctions for the Conversation for Ownership

Ownership is the decision to become the author of our own experience. It is
the choice to decide on our own what value and meaning will occur when
we show up. It is the stance that each of us is creating the world, even the
one we have inherited.

The key distinction for the conversation is between ownership and
blame (a form of entitlement).

We have to realize that each time people enter a room, they walk in
with ambivalence, wondering whether this is the right place to be. This
is because their default mindset is that someone else owns the room, the
meeting, and the purpose that convened the meeting.

Every conventional gathering begins with the unspoken belief that
whoever called the meeting has something in mind for us. We are inundated
with the world trying to sell us something, so much so that we cannot
imagine that this time will be different. This is why so much talk is about
others not in the room.

The leader/convener has to act to change this, in a sense to renegotiate
the social contract. We want to shift to the belief that this world, including
this gathering, is ours to construct together. The intent is to move the social
contract from parenting to partnership. Renegotiating the social contract
for this room is a metaphoric example of how our social contract with the
community can also be renegotiated. p.128

I think this perspective holds whether the context is a single conversation, the Cafe as a whole, the Occupy Movement or the whole world.

From Judy Frankel:

Here's the link to our Nonpartisan Presidential Debates and our YouTube channel:  I enjoyed our conversation today IMMENSELY and feel that we are becoming the community I want, that makes me happy! You are great! 

Thank you Judy!  I love hearing that you had such a great experience!  And thanks for making such a graceful exit and not simply dropping off the call.  Look forward to your joining us again, and to checking out this video.  And best of luck with the debates.  Maybe there is fodder there for a vital conversation?  

Appreciate all the comments on the forums. I wasn't able to participate on this call because of bad phone and internet reception. Strange. I'm soaking up the wisdom which keeps me coming back for more. I'd like to connect with someone on the call to find out if some of the things that came up for me were discussed on this call. They aren't included in the notes below. My email is:   Blessings to all! 

If you want to connect with Cheryl, you can use the chat or "send a message" features here at to let her know.  We'll have a podcast up later too.  


Weekly Cafe Calls

Regular Calls are no longer being held.  Below is the schedule that was maintained from the Fall of 2011 through Jan 10, 2013.

"Vital Conversations" 

8-10a PDT | 11a-1p EDT | 3-5p GMT 

Tuesdays (except 10/16)
"Connect 2012"

1-3p PDT | 4-6p EDT | 8-10p GMT

"Occupy Heart" 

3-5p PDT | 6-8p EDT | 10p-12a GMT

Latest Activity

Clay Forsberg posted a blog post

"Happy Birthday Occupy Wall Street ... thoughts on Year One"

Fifteen years ago, I ran across a book, "100 Most Influential People in History," during one of my dalliances to my local Marin County bookstore. "Influential People" was one man's assessment on exactly that. But how he determined his rankings was the interesting part. They weren't always the reasons you would think. But after thinking about it, they made complete sense. For example:George Washington was ranked in the top 40 of all time. Understandable. But the reason why ... not so much. You…See More
Sep 20, 2012
Clay Forsberg is now a member of Occupy Cafe
Sep 20, 2012
Vic Desotelle posted a group

Leadership Ecology

When a Leadership Ecology occurs, a web of relationships emerges revealing each person’s authentic leadership qualities through the transfer of their power to others. When done in a conscious way – a shared collaborative awakening happens.See More
Feb 6, 2012
Vic Desotelle posted a blog post
Feb 3, 2012


  • Add Photos
  • View All

© 2024   Created by Occupy Cafe Stewards.   Powered by

Badges  |  Report an Issue  |  Terms of Service