NOTE: this discussion is now closed to additional posts.  Our dialogue on Occupy 2.0 continues with our Round 3 thread here:

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:

  • What is taking shape here? What is underneath what we are hearing? What is in the center of our listening?
  • What is missing from the picture so far?  What are we not seeing?  Where do we need more clarity?

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!


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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.



IMO, no "small group" of any color or persuasion would be able to define Occupy through any unsanctioned action if it were not for the fact that this Movement is mostly populated by small, uncoordinated groups.  We can invite everyone - the whole 99% - to come here to engage in being heard, an entirely positive move towards the creation of a manifesto. I think we do need to organize a realistic process that gets there from here. For example, we can adopt a familiar tournament style tiered structure composed of groups of up to seven each, with each group sending a representative to the next tier to join in groups of up to seven, etc, until at last the final group assembles the collective voice, everyone being heard whom cares to be heard. The first tier might involve hundreds or even thousands of groups, and perhaps there would need to be a month or more allowed for those groups to form here and conclude, and perhaps a week for each subsequent tier, the vital thing being that a very real effort is made to see that every voice is represented.  We'd need volunteers to enroll the members of each group, with each a closed discussion within a category labeled "tier one", and as a group concludes it's proceedings then its selectperson moves on to the first open slot in a group in "tier two", etc, with each group concluding more swiftly than the last, I would think, because mostly there is a natural consensus, so that we do discover the prevailing ideals and aims. This format might easily be accommodated by this site, and it can easily be understood to reasonably represent every voice. Of course, the total numbers might be relatively low, but perhaps just a few hundred participants from around the globe might capture most of the thinking of the rest. Not to say that any of this needs to be perfect, especially because it is always evolving and never finished.


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:

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. 



I'm heartened by all of these efforts to express a collective will. To avoid splintering between and within different groups, and to include the thoughts of the 98% not on the ground, I think we need a process that offers to listen to every voice. Until everyone believes that everyone can be heard, real change might be impossible.

Join Occupy Global ( - Contact to be included in future teleconferences

Let's reach 100%
Join Occupy Global ( by signing the 3 petitions to promote 100% collective consciousness (www.WEare100percent.infoas a WE Party Peace Ambassador (volunteer online mentor) - Contact and you may be included in future teleconferences.
A Suggestion for Your Consideration:

There is generally an assumption that the "specific purpose" of any movement must first be put forward.  Recent research and recent history shows that this is a mistaken assumption.

Instead, to accomplish any change the first step is to provide a forum where every individual has a voice, and the next step is to listen until everyone believes that everyone is heard.  This is the basis of the success of the Arab Spring: the belief that with democracy as a forum then every voice is heard.

However, #Occupy is rooted in the wide belief among people in existing democratic states that the voice of the people has been usurped by a minority.  In the U.S., for example, approval of the performance of Congress - the legislative branch of government - is at an all-time low of about 9%, which is 2% lower than support there for a communist government. 

And so, while the assertion of #Occupy that 99% of people support change has resonance, in fact almost as many people whom support change do not support any particular action other than to return power to the people by simply reclaiming their own voice in democratic government.  This is probably why #Occupy grew rapidly as an expression of the rejection of any attempt by an individual or group to claim to speak for the people.  In essence, #Occupy is an attempt at a forum where every voice might be equal. 

Consequently, if #Occupy now focuses on putting forward any specific demand other than being heard, or focuses on defining a direction other than genuinely representative democracy, then it will likely destroy itself.  Thus, to prevent the splintering of #Occupy into factions  with different specific goals, resulting in the disintegration of the genuine movement, it might be essential that this movement first focus on development of a platform that facilitates every voice being heard, and next that it listens - that we listen.

One example of a universal platform that facilitates every voice being heard is the familiar tournament-style tiered structure, wherein small groups first meet to listen and then each sends a representative on to the next level to relay the ideas presented, etc, until finally one small group genuinely represents every voice. This final assembly might then propose actions that represent the collective voice of the participants,  followed by every individual involved in the process voting on those actions.

Any social network, such as Facebook, might effectively serve as that forum.  It might not be unreasonable to suppose that Facebook is the best existing forum because it already has the broadest representation of the global population.  However, perhaps a social network dedicated to serving as such a forum, such as Occupy Cafe, rather than an existing network that facilitates many unrelated groups, such as the commercial and "government" interests widely perceived to be among the usurpers of individual power, would be most effective because it would be less likely to engender dedicated opposition to it serving thusly.

The structure of Ning networks (the generic platform used by Occupy Cafe) can easily host the tiered structure mentioned above because it would permit establishing a category of discussion for each tier and a separate discussion within each tier for each small discussion.  This would also create a transparent and permanent record of all proceedings, and thus serve as  a civil forum for all voices and a proof that every voice is heard.
Join Occupy Global ( by signing the 3 petitions to promote 100% collective consciousness (www.WEare100percent.infoas a WE Party Peace Ambassador (volunteer online mentor) - Contact and you may be included in future teleconferences.


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"

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Latest Activity

Mitchell L Gold commented on Occupy Cafe Stewards's page Feedback
"inventory is like taking stock - what resources are committed to the movement - in people, time, cars, technology, plane flights? ideas that are working - where are they from an implementation point of view?  for example - the ISO 26000 is a…"
Nov 3, 2014
Ben Roberts commented on Occupy Cafe Stewards's page Feedback
"Thanks for catching that in the link, Janos. Not sure what you mean, Mitch. Inventory as in business accounting? Resources as in...?"
Nov 3, 2014
Janos Abel commented on Occupy Cafe Stewards's page Feedback
"Good to see this site waking up!"
Oct 24, 2014
Janos Abel commented on Janos Abel's blog post Occupying should be just the first step
"Ben, Just seen this two year old message from you. Not sure how I fell out of this wagon, but good to be back. The issue is still exercising me a lot. Fortunately opportunities still abound for moving forward. In my opinion it is a question of…"
Oct 24, 2014

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