An open space for global conversation
NOTE: this discussion is now closed to additional posts. Our dialogue on Occupy 2.0 continues with our Round 3 thread here: http://www.occupycafe.org/forum/topics/occupy-2-0-inquiry-round-3-1...
Occupy Cafe has stepped into the movement-wide conversation now swirling around the evolution of the #Occupy. This thread continues the discussion begun here and on our 11/15 Cafe Call.
If you have not already done so, please examine the Mind Map produced with prodigious effort by OC Member Ellen Friedman, attached. We want this conversation to build and evolve, so this kind of harvesting is invaluable.
We offered these questions as the second round of our inquiry commenced:
Please note that this is a hosted discussion. We will periodically be asking people to step back or step up, to make sure it is balanced and there is space for all voices to be heard. We will also ask that side conversations that emerge be taken onto new discussion threads so that this core conversation remains focused and readable. Thank you in advance for your help with this!
Replies are closed for this discussion.
In response to Ben's email requesting thoughts for todays call.
I'm sorry not to be able to attend the call today due to a meeting we need to travel to and that was set weeks ago for the very time the call is taking place.
I tried to look at Ellen Friedman's "harvest" that Ben referred to and somehow couldn't find it in spite of the link he sent. I'm somehow feeling challenged getting to specific things referred to on this site. In another technical glitch, something also screwed up yesterday when I tried to get onto the call as the pin I was sent didn't work, in spite of 20 minutes of trying various phone numbers offered as alternative by Maestro.
A thought that I would like to offer is that I know there are a number of people like myself who are involved in lifelong efforts that grew out of frontline efforts similar to Occupy in the 60s, 70s and 80s. Because of this work and other lifestyle stuff (I'm 67 with a huge network of commitments and projects), we are not likely to be able to participate as fully in Occupy as others "on the street" aside from showing up now and then and participating in certain events, like the Oakland general strike. Yet, there are some rich conversations going on within this group including explorations of connections between what is happening now with previous movements, and the evolution of those movements since then that could be very beneficial to Occupy. Most of us have been aware, for decades, of the problems with our current monetary system and have been tracking it and exploring alternatives. We have watched with horror the expansion of the division of wealth and the developments that have given corporations pretty much compete hegemony over our lives. This caused all kinds of horrible things, including, pretty much, the ending of public space. (I think the "park" occupied in New York is actually private property. Where is our public space? It snow the mall.)
In addition, many of us have experience with forms of large group engagement like some of those people on this site have experience with (which take some thought and planning to initiate) and that could be useful to the current effort (I sat through 8 years of "general assemblies" in the 60s and have consciously pursued a deeper understanding of group process since then). It is my sense that building links and conversations between people that are on the front lines of Occupy with this group could provide a rich merging of perspectives and greatly deepen what is going on. It is unlikely that this group will be able to bring ideas to, for instance, the general assembly conversations nor, perhaps, is this the best forum anyway. Our contribution is likely more useful in a context that allows for more reflection. Our interests tend towards broader strategies, making more visible things about how the the current monetary system is organized that few are aware of and the exploration of alternatives, including building our own institutions rather than appealing to the existing system to meet our demands.
I have a feeling that a conversation like this is going to require bridging some cultural dynamics. For instance, even though I am a bit of a computer geek I am pretty uncomfortable with "social networking," especially the "soundbite" way things get communicated. I get lost and can't figure out what is going on. Apologies to those for whom this note may seem to be a sea of words.
I am interested in ways the perspectives of the group I am describing can be brought together with people on the front lines of Occupy. I started to form a new "group" on this site with this purpose yesterday and got pulled away by other things. I am willing to do this. I also thought of a separate group or blog that could link to this site. Not sure of the best way to do this so it is most accessible to all.
I suspect the time that is expected and the need to connect during the day will keep me from being active in this core group, but I can, perhaps, be active in the support group to it that Ben referred to.
Thank you for these thoughts Kenoli, I agree with much of what you have offered. An explicit question for me then is:
- Are we doing enough to bridge to the on the ground work to see and seize opportunities to complement those efforts, or are we unintentionally creating a new silo? Can we play a unique role in linking the on the ground work to the broader context and efforts of ongoing social justice work?
The linking may be happening best through other OccupyCafe work that I am not yet grounded in.
Ellen's harvest is attached to the main post for this discussion above, and reattached to this post. I will read what have posted later and respond. Meanwhile, can you please distill out some "mind-mappable gems" that we can use to refer people back to what you have written in our synthesis work.
Also, while not essential, I want to invite everyone to consider presenting ONE idea per post to help keep our conversation orderly, since it's so hard to track all the various elements of this complex subject.
Kenoli: having now read your full post, I want to say that I feel very aligned and encouraged by what you have written. Some "gems" for me:
Re the tech challenges, Ning is far from perfect. I have faith that with a modest level of practice and commitment, we can overcome that. Someday, maybe soon, a new platform could emerge or we could craft one. But the struggles we face online are also opportunities, as they are largely universal in nature. If we crack the code for doing "asynch" well, we will have done something very valuable. To me, the key is HUMAN PROCESSES, like this idea of a "hosted" (vs. moderated) thread.
I find the simple listerv as an excellent device for the kinds of conversations I have been having with friends, of my generation, at least.
Looking at the Mind Map, I think there could be a bit more clarity with regard to what type of government the US currently has and what the Constitution is.
Perhaps this thread on my little website about our Counterrevolutionary Constitution can shed some light on those areas:
I'm not at all sure what a "quasi-democratic plutocracy" might be--perhaps it is a plutocracy where the plutocrats enjoy a modicum of democracy?
As for any possibility of governmental solutions, in order to persuade the government to change our electoral system so that we could elect officials who would be receptive to governmental solutions, we'd first have to elect officials who would be receptive to governmental solutions. In other words, in order to get our elected officials to make the necessary changes to our system that would allow us to elect officials who would represent our interests, we'd first have to elect officials who would represent our interests. Under our current system, that isn't possible.
"in order to persuade the government to change our electoral system so that we could elect officials who would be receptive to governmental solutions, we'd first have to elect officials who would be receptive to governmental solutions. In other words, in order to get our elected officials to make the necessary changes to our system that would allow us to elect officials who would represent our interests, we'd first have to elect officials who would represent our interests."
Feels like I'm reading R. D. Laing ;-)
Thanks for offering a mini-history lesson on the constitution. Very enlightening! I'd also point folks to this site, devoted to an (unsuccessfu) lawsuit which attempted to demonstrate that the federal government has not allowed on multiple occasions for constitutional conventions to go forward even though the states had called for them.
I think we are in a "quasi-democratic plutocracy." This is it!
Personally, I'm very wary of doing anything the electoral route. This system is compromised in so many ways already. Can those who believe that Bush, jr. was elected in 00 and 04 please stand up??!
From the little I've looked into election integrity in the US, there is an emerging pattern of people who used to work for the manufacturers of faulty election equipment occupy senior positions at the registrar of voters . Does that worry anyone??? And increasingly our votes are counted on servers owned by these very companies....
I think part of the way forward is offered by the practice of Wisdom Councils, the originator of which, Jim Rough, is on this site. His book, Society's Breakthrough, goes into detail with this vision.
Essentially, this tool does make it possible for a small group chosen randomly and symbolically (but not legally) representing the whole (whole country, state, city, etc.) to articulate a unanimous vision. And we already can point to successful applications of this tool around the world.
This Op Ed from Adbusters--the magazine that helped launch the Occupy Movement-- speaks to some of the key questions surrounding the evolution of the mvovement:http://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/why-occupy-wall-street-will-... An excerpt:
When the youth in Tunisia rose up demanding change, Ben Ali scoffed. When they occupied Tahrir Square, Mubarak resorted to paternalism and mob violence. In Syria, Assad’s troops fire daily into the crowds. This kind of military mind-set and violent response to nonviolent protesters makes no sense. It did not work in the Middle East, and it’s not going to work in America, either. This is the bottom line. . . you cannot attack your young and get away with it.
Bloomberg’s shock-troop assault has stiffened our resolve and ushered in a new phase of our movement. The people’s assemblies will continue with or without winter encampments. What will be new is the marked escalation of surprise, playful, precision disruptions — rush-hour flash mobs, bank occupations, “occupy squads” and edgy theatrics. And we will see clearly articulated demands emerging, among them a “Robin Hood tax” on all financial transactions and currency trades; a ban on high-frequency “flash” trading; the reinstatement of the Glass-Steagall Act to again separate investment banking from commercial banking; a constitutional amendment to revoke corporate personhood and overrule Citizens United ; a move toward a “true cost” market regime in which the price of every product reflects the ecological cost of its production, distribution and use; and with a bit of luck, perhaps even the birth of a new, left-right hybrid political party that moves America beyond the Coke vs. Pepsi choices of the past.
In this visceral, canny, militantly nonviolent phase of our march to real democracy, we will “float like a butterfly and sting like a bee.” We will regroup, lick our wounds, brainstorm and network all winter. We will build momentum for a full-spectrum counterattack when the crocuses bloom next spring.
What makes me more than a little pessimistic is that most of the solutions proposed by OWS'ers that I've heard don't seem to go far enough. Of course, the fact that the whole conversation has shifted is important and significant in and of itself...
David Icke's Essential Knowledge for OWS protestors video and the Thrive Movement film seem to be two key information reference points for all the key issues that need to be addressed...
"most of the solutions proposed by OWS'ers that I've heard don't seem to go far enough."
It's all about trust versus coercion. What will be left to be worked out by whole (unique) people versus what will be shoved into lives, if not down throats, only to be rejected/regurgitated. Recall our exchange here.
Who can say how far a synthetic/developmental practice of a people can go?
David, thanks for pointing this out again. I don't think these questions can be repeated enough. I'm posting them here for my (and everyone else's) edification:
"The practice I propose is the routine asking of two questions:
How can I be more of a force for a whole place?
How can I be more of a force for the whole person?
When asked repeatedly, an upward spiral path to autonomy and connection unfolds."
Much appreciation from the SoCal coast!