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.
Interesting piece framing Occupy 2.0 as what is "the next level"for the movement (h/t Tamara Shapiro). A few excerpts:
Let’s keep it real: the original OccupyWallStreet call to action was put out byAdbusters, a small magazine by and for young, white, college-educated (or dropped-out) lefties. It was very quickly embraced by a much larger audience across the country, but still majority white. There are pros and cons to this. The con is that people of color, who generally have felt the effects of the recession much harder than white people, are hesitant to join in, due to a history of exclusion and even betrayal by majority-white labor and liberal movements. At the same time, though, I have heard from some black and Latino comrades, upon seeing all the white people in the streets, a sentiment of “It’s about time!” Similarly, I have always been frustrated by the apathy of many of my light-skinned brothers and sisters. So to everyone who is joining in, I say, it’s nice to see y’all. Just remember: we’re not the only players in this party, and if this is going to really jump off, we’ll need to check some of our privilege and practice real solidarity...
...If we want the full 99% to join in, petty property damage ain’t the way to do it.
The proponents of such actions usually defend them under the catchphrase “diversity of tactics.” I am all for different tactics, but what this phrase’s backers really mean by it is anonymity of tactics and absolution of responsibility. A small group of people throw a couple bricks under the cover of night and black masks, then run away from the cops, leaving the whole movement to take the brunt of the police and media backlash. Whether these folks are hardcore anarchists or police provocateurs, I don’t know. Probably some of both. Either way, I’m done with the “violence versus nonviolence” debate. I’d rather discuss strategy versus stupidity, accountability versus irresponsibility. As I mentioned earlier, I’m all for direct actions that may not be technically legal, especially occupations of banks, schools, and homes. But we need actions that speak to people, that invite them to come on in, rather than scare them away...
Each city’s local Occupy actions and focus are great, but the economic and political problems we are confronting are national – actually international – in scope. It’s time to start making our presence felt on that level. Last Thursday’s national day of action, called by OccupyWallStreet and with coordinated protests in over a dozen cities, was a great start. OccupyOakland‘s call for a West Coast Port Shutdown on December 12 is an even bigger step, and if it can be pulled off up and down the coast, it would strike a huge blow to the powers that be.
Beyond that, we can to start organize internationally alongside the people in similar struggles for democracy and against austerity in Egypt, Greece, Chile, and beyond. Who knows? Maybe we can bring that beautiful idea that “another world is possible” closer to making it real.
Thanks, Kevin. It is a relief to see a suggestion that doesn't involve delegating power to representatives.
Most things don't have to be decided nationally or globally. Anything that only effects neighborhoods, can be decided at the neighborhood level.
Of course we first have to get rid of the hierarchical government that taxes locally but makes decisions about spending that money in a centralized power structure.
Right now the General Assemblies of the various Occupy cities range from a handful of people to thousands of people. But each GA has the power to make proposals and consense on them, and to make their decisions known.
Here's a website that collects Tweets nationally and globally from Occupies and peace activists: http://blogsofwar.com/monitor/index_occupy.html
I don't have to send a delegate to Egypt to find out what Egyptians are doing and saying, or to tell them what I think, because I follow many Egyptian revolutionaries on Twitter and can chat with them directly. So I usually know what has been decided in Tahrir Square without having to send a delegate there or them having to send a delegate here. If that can be done internationally, it probably can be done nationally.
But consensus has to be reached in open General Assemblies or gatherings, whether small or large, not online or behind closed doors. Once decisions are reached, we have the digital tools for communicating those decisions.
Unfortunately, many GAs have been led astray and have abandoned a true consensus process for a modified form of majority rule. I think (and hope) that this is just a temporary detour and will be remedied as time goes on. Most are afraid of small groups being able to block consensus. They see this as an insurmountable problem because they haven't yet learned how to engage blockers in finding creative alternatives that everyone can consense on.
The reason that individual blocks are necessary is best explained by the old joke that democracy is two wolves and a lamb voting on what to have for dinner. It can only work if the lamb has a solid block, not just once, but every single time they vote on the menu. Eventually, the wolves, rather than starve, will agree to find an alternative entree, instead of continuing to insist on having lamb for dinner, but only if the lamb has that solid block which cannot be overridden by a majority. I know of dogs thriving on vegan diets, so I suspect that their close relatives, wolves, could do the same.