An open space for global conversation
The communal possibility comes into being through individual public
declarations of possibility. Much the same as witnessing in religious gatherings.
Though every possibility begins as an individual declaration, it gains
power and impacts community when made public. The community possibility
is not the aggregation of individual possibilities. Nor is it a negotiation or
agreement on common possibility. The communal possibility is that space
or porous container where a collective exists for the realization of all the possibilities
of its members. This is the real meaning of a restorative community.
It is that place where all possibilities can come alive, and they come alive at
the moment they are announced. pp.125-6
Here is the letter of invitation that is being circulated by Occupy Cafe and its friends in support of this inquiry:
The rapid emergence of "a New Economy that Works for All" is both necessary and possible. We invite you to join us in making a personal declaration of this possibility-- one that has the power to inspire action now.It is still the dawn of our movement. In just three months’ time, our mass call to action has awakened many in our communities from the slumber of cynicism and resignation. Now we find ourselves at a crossroads, grappling with divergent strategies as we seek to evolve and grow in strength. In recognition of this moment, we offer a letter to the heart of our movement, an invitation to that relentless creative force within you that knows only one mission, to nurture life.
Here is my personal declaration:
Conversations throughout the Occupy movement have surfaced a widespread desire for a positive, creative vision to emerge as a core component of our call for change. Economics has of course been at the heart of our endeavors to date, primarily in our protests against the “Old Economy.” We can build upon this powerful indictment of the current system by standing for the emergence of something new to replace it. In fact, we have already begun this initiative by modeling an alternative within our encampments.
What might be possible for our movement and for the world if we extended that energy outward with all the passion, inspiration, creativity and joyful spirit that we now know we are capable of mustering on a mass scale?
What if the Occupy movement dedicated itself to catalyzing the emergence of “an Economy that Works for All?” Might the idea that we are here to “Occupy the New Economy” ("Occupy Main Street?") resonate powerfully as a creative meme not only throughout the movement as it currently exists but in the wider world as well? What if we made working to bring this forth our main “occupation?”
As we know all too well, the old economy is failing us. In response, our movement has protested loudly and clearly about the unfair, unjust and economically destructive laws, regulations and subsidies that are its artificial life support systems. We can “hospice” this system by continuing to advocate aggressively for their removal.
We can also champion new rules that will create a level playing field, such that:
At the same time, must we wait for these legal changes before taking positive action to co-create the New Economy-- one that works for all? If we believe in our hearts that such an economy is not only possible, but is already beginning to emerge, then let us go forth and make it visible and compelling to all of society. As we hospice the old, let us help to “midwife” a myriad of new, vibrant, dynamic ways for all of us to thrive together in a spirit of caring, giving, generosity and love.
If we help people to understand that such a thing is possible, they can moved out of fear, resignation and cynicism. If we can change the context in which a broad majority of society views our current plight, our ranks will swell with those who choose to co-create viable alternatives to the system we all know is failing the 99%. Right now, most have no frame of reference for this new possibility. The Occupy movement can become a powerful force for shifting that context.
We have already begun to manifest elements of the New Economy via our encampments’ provision of food and services to those in need, the campaign to move money out of big banks, and other actions. Let us build upon these first steps, and inspire the world, by catalyzing the emergence of the New Economy on a scale that has real and powerful impact.
“Occupying the New Economy” will take place in a myriad of forms, many of which have no doubt yet to be developed or imagined. Here is a list, by no means exhaustive, of some ways in which we might begin this work now.
And... rather than taking this on alone, what if we found ways to connect to, learn from and collaborate with the myriad groups and organizations that already exist to do this work as well? What might be possible?
Finally, how might the world respond to an invitation to join us in this great endeavor? Can we frame and model the idea of “Occupying” in a way that is so compelling that our ranks swell a million fold? Can we achieve what we seek in any other way?
Here's my personal declaration:
Occupy The Common Wealth
(to the tune of Leonard Cohen's Hallelujah)
Come join us in this square today
We’re here to find a better way
To live our common dreams and share
them with ya
Remember that you have a choice
No matter where you raise your voice
Take a stand and sing out halleluja
As the story of this time unfolds
It's all about the human soul that's rising
and it's comin' up right through ya
It's time to turn our history's page
To share the love beneath the rage
Our hearts will not be broken, Halleluja
They operate by corporate stealth
Stripping all of Main Street's wealth
They've bought the politicians who've betrayed ya
But this ride they're on is suicide
So it's time to speak what we know inside
Community's where our riches lie, halleluja
Keep marching round and round these walls
'Til the banker's lies begin to fall
Or they'll own your life and sell it right back to ya
But their greed will come to no avail
'Cause the web of life is not for sale
The earth will rise in sacred halleluja
So stand with us in unity
Help build the new economy
The currency of love is what will free ya
Be the vessel that was meant to lift
Together we will make the shift
To a world that values all our gifts, halleluja
Lyrics: Gary Horvitz, Jennifer Watters
There is no lack of good solutions available on these forums, but we fail when it comes to implementation.
Because the solutions do not take account of our complicity in maintaining the system. On the one hand we think we know what to do IF the system were to dissappear and we had a free hand to create whatever we wanted. On the other, every part of our everyday lives are involved in supporting the system as it is. Everytime we use money to make a transaction, but more than that, actually our whole culture is predicated on the system continuing. We are trapped in it and though we know it is leading to our self-destruction, we cannot get out of it. There are the few odd cracks, the places where we follow our hearts, rather than the logic of the system. (John Holloway) But as someone said it is easier to think of the end of the world than to think of the end of capitalism.
We do have small successes - the end of slavery, womens suffrage,- the 1% can afford to give a little, a crumb, as long as they retain the whole loaf. Our protests and marches, our sit-ins and camping outs, do not really threaten the system. If a Robin Hood tax were introduced, if tax havens were abolished, no problem, they would just find other ways to hold on to their ascendancy. We are enslaved, part of a machine which is destroying the possibility of life continuing to exist on this planet.
Who me? I'm working as a social entrepreneur / I'm unemployed / I grow my own food / I'm an Agent of Conscious Evolution / I OCCUPY.
Yes you, yes every one of us. We are all maintaining this system, and until we stop, it will continue. We can design all the best solutions till we are blue in the face, nothing will change until we stop.
So how do we stop? What does it mean to stop? What does it mean to me personally? What do I have to do, or not do, to stop?
Well now, only you can answer that question. To get to know the risk involved, to move into the unknown, to confront the reality of this situation, it is vast, huge, too much, definitely too much. For some there is help in seeing this movement as part of the evolutionary impulse of creativity itself, as it is expressing itself through me. So I am not isolated and alone.
But undertaking the work that I have to do to be open to the transformation that is being called for, that work is mine, and it may be a prerequisite for the cooperation and implementation that is required. It is no easy task we face to turn this whole machine around, and it has to happen, as a collective effort.
I am involved in a project being discussed internationally in the Occupy movement - Global Strike May 2012. This is not a strike in the way it is usually meant of withdrawing labour in order to pressure bosses for increase in wages or better working conditions. What we are proposing is a continuous strike, a permanent withdrawal from the current system and switching to an alternative one. Certain things need to be in place by then in order to make this feasible. The alternative system needs to be up and running by May next year. Outrageous! Impossible! Yes. I agree with you. Nevertheless it has to happen if we are serious about moving from this morally bankrupt and physically damaging path we are on, to a sustainable system that puts people before profit.
Thank you, Anna. I appreciate your naming the concerns we all have about our ability to do this, even as you declare that it IS possible and that we MUST make it happen, each in our own way, and as part of a dynamic whole that engages in coordinated actions like a strike.
The May strike proposal came up yesterday at the Occupy Wall St "Un-Conference" on visioning for the movement. I made a point of adding your lovely twist on this--that those who strike don't take the day (or month) off, but rather go to work building/modeling/participating in the NEW Economy. LOT'S of twinkling fingers for that idea from the group of several hundred who were assembled.
One thing that I came away with VERY clearly from the event was the need for whatever we aspire to to find expression in small achievable tactical actions that can be implemented very soon. These can inspire those already active in the movement and also grow our numbers through the attractive power of the work they involve, if properly designed.
This movement is yearning for creative, exciting, positive ways to express itself. The wider world is also watching, wondering if they will be invited to play as well, and how they might be able to do so in ways other than occupying public spaces for extended periods of time, joining protest marches and engaging in direct actions that risk arrest.
Thank you Ben for your report of the response at the OWS unconference. I agree with the idea of small achievable tactical actions, focussing on building rather than protest.
Here is the invitation we have circulated for an event happening tomorrow.
YES! Occupy meets Transition is potentially very powerful. So how did it go? And btw, have you heard of "resilience circles?"
The meeting provoked some healthy discussion. There were around 30 participants and we had an excellent facilitator who encouraged participation. Unfortunately the films we had arranged had a technical hitch, but we did have lots of printed information available on the tables. Quite a range of people with most not having had any experience of Occupy or Transition. We divided into small groups to share initial thoughts about Occupy, and then exchanged ideas about how prepared we were to challenge the law in our protest, which attempted to pinpoint a difference between Transitioners and Occupiers, though in fact the results were not a clear divide. I thought later that leadership would have been a good topic to have raised, and I wondered how the recent Cafe call on that topic went.
The majority signed an email list for information on further activities.
It would be good to also explore how Permaculture could contribute.
Thanks for the info on Resilience Cicles, we have used Vistar Circles http://vistarfoundation.org/
I started a permaculture group for Occupy Cafe five weeks ago. Come one, come all!
"But undertaking the work that I have to do to be open to the transformation that is being called for, that work is mine, and it may be a prerequisite for the cooperation and implementation that is required. It is no easy task we face to turn this whole machine around, and it has to happen, as a collective effort."
Please explain why it cannot possibly happen as an iterative, cumulative effort. If you can, it will be very, very helpful.
Not quite sure what you mean David. Is it the 'collective effort' you question? then probably I would agree with you. Actually what i wrote originally did not have that phrase tagged on. The emphasis was just on the necessity of turning the machine around.. May be as you say it is just a question of each one working on themselves and this will produce enough momentum. According to Barbara Marx hubbard what is required is to respond to what is 'already emergent', so it is not that we create this change by our efforts, but we notice and respond to what is already changing.
"May be as you say it is just a question of each one working on themselves and this will produce enough momentum."
Thanks for your response and clarification, Anna. Now I will clarify, because what you took from what I wrote isn't exactly what I meant.
I questioned " it has to happen, as a collective effort" because I do not see everyone getting together for a focused effort, much less succeeding, soon enough. I do see something(s) common to human beings, upon which a new goodness might be built over time, like a cathedral.
Turning this whole machine around consists in acknowledging that each one of us needs more working relationships in order to extricate ourselves from the machine on which we are dependent. This is where collective is in the picture; we are interdependent, presently in a manner that has exiled human scale.
Each one working on themselves will not produce enough momentum -- unless the work is informed by relations, informs relations and attracts new participants to that cycling. I believe the attractions that will build momentum are personal, thus unique, aggregates of health, poise, creativity and joy.
I expect those who lack them to intone "I'll have what she's having" and begin to participate. The period of building the cathedral will be experienced as continuous improvement, so completion won't be rushed.