Greetings to all Occupiers in this cafe.

The "Core Conversation" thread seems to be rife with talk of a different structure and process for what we call our "economy." I am creating this thread with the idea of hauling all that rich conversation over here and re-opening the Core Conversation thread to an exploration of other topics that might one day grow up to be their own threads as well.

Here is where we can critique the old economy if that is your bent, thrash out the meaning and structure of a new economy, the values we hold most dear about energy exchange with our world that truly values the others who share this world, whether it is by legislation or by grass-roots one-brick-at-a-time rebuilding. What needs tweaking? What needs to be discarded.

How do we begin? What are the steps? Where is it happening already? 

Here are some resources I am familiar with:



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Steven Barnes shared these resources, harvested from his CAfe CAll conversation yesterday:

  • On the 11/7/11 call two local initiatives that look like good models for local development were shared. Mary Engel from Chandler Arizona shared  .  Gangplank is a group of local individuals and small businesses creating an economy of innovation and creativity.
  • Suzanne Daigle from Tampa Bay shared  Roosevelt 2.0!   . The mission of The Roosevelt 2.0 is to provide a venue for education, creative expression, and serve as a model of urban renewal and sustainable living.


Another great related resource is the HUB - a growing worldwide network:

Check out what they have going in Israel - this is what needs to happen in coordination with the virtual Occupy Cafe:

I started a page to collect these resources here:

I will add yours, Ron.  Things got a bit dicey up above with Robert, Kimberly et al.  Seems Robert is expecting a Steward to come in and censor him.  I actually feel that I'm being "organized" to intervene, and I don't like it.  And at the same time, there's something fascinating lurking below the back-and-forth in all this.  Something about our needing both to learn to get along and be respectful and also to refuse to take bold action that may require asserting that others are wrong.

I do believe this--that the new paradigm is based on the heart.  We heard some great stuff about this from Michael Nagler on Monday, I thought.  Our goal must never be to humiliate or destroy, but rather to gain one another's respect.

As MLK put it inThe Power on Non-Violence:

Another thing that we had to get over was the fact that the nonviolent resister does not seek to humiliate or defeat the opponent but to win his friendship and understanding. This was always a cry that we had to set before people that our aim is not to defeat the white community, not to humiliate the white community, but to win the friendship of all of the persons who had perpetrated this system in the past. The end of violence or the aftermath of violence is bitterness. The aftermath of nonviolence is reconciliation and the creation of a beloved community. A boycott is never an end within itself. It is merely a means to awaken a sense of shame within the oppressor but the end is reconciliation, the end is redemption.

MLK also said, in no uncertain terms, that "my government is the greatest purveyor of violence in the world today". And Jesus threw the money-lenders out of the temple. That's the prophetic spirit that we needed then and need even moreso today.

King also cleverly said that, while our intention is not to humiliate, we do hope to awaken a sense of shame. 

Strangely, I wrote above that we need to learn "to refuse to take bold action that may require asserting that others are wrong." I meant the opposite!  We need to be bold.   We need to set aside outdated "social agreements," as my friend Nirvana Cable likes to say.  How do we do that in a way that keeps us grounded in love and respect--that builds energy rather than dissipating it?

by occupying our speaking and our listening?

through "egocide" as Buckie fuller would say

through speaking and listening above/outside of judgment

never speaking or listening from a reactive place?

Dont these things need to be reaffirmed here as the standard for all listening and speaking at Occupy Cafe? 

At TED we have a red flag system..a user can anonymously flag any comment that violates the terms of our common agreement n listening and speaking..admin then investigates and takes behind the scenes action.  Admin tries to make sure that comments that distract from the qulaity of the records being built (eg personal rants, use of offensive language, detours into personal disagreements among members etc,) are prompty expunged so the record stlill has value and is welcoming for new joiners. 

 Over time voluntarily or by action of admin members consistently violating the terms of areement are terminated.  Those that remain are avioded by the entire community.. no one engages with them.

Are  we not trying to model here how we can speak and listen as the 99%..moving beyond differences in a respectful and dignified way to the common ground where we truly are and truly see we are the 99%..the 100%?

Part of that is to train ourselves not to proseltyse anything..not to try to "sell" movements ti which we are "attached" but to speak always from our own values, our own expereience, looking not so uch to assertion as to discovering where we all stand together, what we hold and value in common.   

  Thank you for your correction Ben..I was worried for a moment there...


What is revolutionary about a reliance on rules, ratings, sanctions, expulsions and censorship?

If we can't trust the organic flow of ideas and responses, aren't we just recreating another form or oppressive power-over?

One other thing I would note, along with a request to those of you who have been so active on this thread.  Occupy Cafe is inspired by two models for large group dialogue, World Cafe and Open Space Technology.  Both of these are unmoderated processes that work extremely well.  Partly because people are encouraged to do many of the things Lindsay listed, e.g. listening to understand, but mostly, I believe because of the structure of the proceses.

World Cafe focuses on the collective contemplation of "powerful questions" rather than on debate or persuasion.  Open Space has "the law of two feet," i.e. if you don't like a conversation, you can simply go to another one or start one yourself.

Implementing principles such as these in an asynchronous forum space like this is a challenge.   And it is one of the most exciting opportunities I see for us to create something truly different here.  

What can we do to make these discussions truly generative, as well as hospitable to all who wish to participate?

One element is the need for regular synthesizing and "meaning-making," which is also something the two processes mentioned above include as a core element.  In that vein, I invite those of you who have poured so much energy into this thread to collaboratively engage in such a process, so that someone coming to it for the first time can easily step into the dialogue and participate meaningfully without having to read 100 lengthy posts first.

This synthesis will need to be created in a single document, I believe.  I have just created a new Harvesting group where this work can take place, and I invite Robert, Kimberly and Lindsay to join that group and work together on a piece that will serve this need.  I suggest one of you begin a forum thread there to first discuss how you might do this, and then  to begin working on a "page" inside the group where the actual harvest will be co-written.  If this is unclear, please email me, or perhaps we might even set up a call together to discuss how this can best be done.


no comment..but lots of thoughts..and none of them lead to "the solution" you suggest.

4 members who have made an investment in this conversation consistently and unfailingly with adherence to and resect for the standards we all agree to  have objected to the conduct of  one member who consistently violates that standard and the impact have called attention to the adverse impact that one members behavior has had on the tenor and tone of the conversation..

We could visit why you have chosen to see this as involving only two of the four?  ( that's between you and your own conscious..and peraps may result in an apology????)  Meanwhile I respectfully request that you omit my name for your solution.

Where the problem lies..where the solution lies is obvious..

 And I see it as something admin should work out with the party who offended the four who had the courage to speak up.

Actually, Ben, including Gary's comment below, which I hadn't seen, that makes 5 members all concerned about the adverse impact of one member..

Un moderated, Ben, does not preculde performing the duties of host an steward, does it?



I hear that you have taken offense, Lindsay  My list of three people was not meant to be exclusive--I simply picked the ones I saw as having spent the most time and energy in this conversation.  In truth I have not followed all the twists and turns of this discussion, so I may have inadvertently left some key people off my list.

In their famous prophecy in October 2001, the Hopi Elders advised us "to take nothing personally, least of all ourselves," and that "we are the ones we have been waiting for."  I also believe that every breakdown offers an opportunity for a breakthough, and that if we are to transform the world, we must transform ourselves.

It's true that five people have found Robert's framing to be objectionable.  Does that mean that he is to be censored?  I doubt that his language would have excluded him from participating in any of the conversations at an on-the-ground occupation, where the right of all to be heard is among the most sacred.  And everyone here was free to take their conversation elsewhere if they chose (within OC, as well as other sites), or simply to ignore Robert's comments once it became clear that he was not going to back down.

I prefer to believe that everyone in this conversation has participated out of a sincere desire to work towards solutions to one of the most intractable problems we are grappling with on this planet.  A good test of that would be to see if you could work together to provide a harvest from what has been said, focusing on themes, patterns, deeper questions and insights.  Something that could generate new conversations that invite the participation of more than the small group that has come to dominate this thread.  


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