An open space for global conversation
Occupy Cafe is launching a systematic inquiry into the evolution of the #Occupy movement.
The questions below were taken up during a Cafe Call on 11/15. Participants in that call, as well as subsequent readers of this thread, posted their reflections here and then continued the conversation.
We are now pausing for a "harvesting phase," where we "listen together" and reflect on what has been said. There is a discussion thread in our "Harvesting" group here, where we can share what we have gleaned. Please join us in this collective meaning-making process.
Below is the post that initiated this conversation:
I first heard the term "Occupy 2.0" from Walt Roberts a couple of days ago, as he anticipated the dismantling of Occupy Portland where he has been active. Occupy Cafe is launching an inquiry starting today into the question of what this might look like. We plan to collectively craft a vision, or set of visions for the future of this movement as an offering of support to all those who have fought so hard thus far.
To all those brave souls in the encampments: you have already succeeding in radically changing the dialogue in this country and around the world and our thanks and gratitude and admiration go out to you. What might be possible now?
We begin with this inquiry:
- What are the most positive things you have experienced emerging from Occupy 1.0?
- What are the dilemmas/opportunities in the current situation of the Occupy Movement?
- What question, if answered, might make the greatest difference in the development of an effective response to the clearing of so many #Occupy sites?
Replies are closed for this discussion.
In view of the inevitable repression and the coordinated response of the 1% to the occupation, which will be relentless, and in view of the leaderless nature and the organic decentralized process of the Occupy meme, in my opinion, the appropriate response is to decentralize further in ways that embody the IDEA of the Occupation and let go of holding a PLACE.
Take the Occupation into smaller public and more distributed public places. Show up for GAs everywhere every day. Use every direct and indirect means of inciting conversation. Small random direct actions everywhere and all at once give the appearance of local control and initiative. Big coordinated actions everywhere and all at once also give the appearance of broad coordinated mass awareness and commitment.
Relate to neighborhoods. Relate to local institutions. Build coalitions with large institutions, labor, ethnic, issue-oriented. The occupation cannot be stopped and there is no going back. It is an IDEA. It is not a PLACE.
What is the question that, if answered, will make the most difference to Occupy 2.0?
Who are the 99%, really? What do they want and how do we connect with them?
well said Gary, succinct, clear, centering.
It's a really too big to be associated with physical occupation of small spaces.
A truth too big, too important not to carry forward in every possible way; at every step bringing more and more together , moving as one, moving as the 99%.
Gary, I resonate with your articulations about relating locally and building coalitions locally. Perhaps issue orientated groups be invited to participate more on this site? As it has often been said, Occupy is not a just a protest it is a Process. It is about getting more and more and more open conversations going.
I have not seen issue oriented groups forming. And I would rather favor coalitions across issues anyway. But there are plenty of national working groups here.
If folks will work in locales, they might as well skip issues and go directly to developing local economies (way beyond local-first campaigns). Empowering people to claim and hold niches is much more fun than hammering out assorted agreements in the name of democracy. Plus, it's practical. Of course, a balance must be struck, before long.
And from occupy's site..here us what Noam Chomsky says
"What you should do is exactly the kinds of things that are going to lead to hysteria among privileged and powerful people" - Noam Chomsky
One of the issues that needs to be figured out and dealt with is how the current occupy movement (consisting primarily of local occupations) can link with all of those that want to participate in this (but just not at the occupations) and also support them. How do we expand the movement to include everyone that wants to be a part of it. How do we connect with and include the allied organizations in a way that really engages them in a proactive way.
For example, many occupiers would like to include a major focus on electoral reform; and there are many organizations that are and were already focusing on this. So how do we merge and expand the efforts and develop more effective collaboration between the two. So far the Occupiers have not focused very much on how to really enroll the supporters and allied organizations in a proactive and effective manner as far as I can tell (other than for particular events and activities). We need to begin to figure this out and it may not be easy. The occupiers of course want to make decisions through their General Assemblies, but there are millions more that are not likely to want to participate in the GAs but still wish to support the effort or even participate in decision making processes. So how do we reconcile the two.
just would like to share the perspective of a friend whose perspective i respect a lot:
i think occupy is probably a great adventure for many. could be a valuable first step in the emergence of a movement. it's probably better if they occupied the internet, now that the occupy name has meaning, because unlike the park or other places folks have occupied, the internet is a much easier place to occupy, there are not hygiene issues, weather issues, food issues, communication is much easier, and many more people can join in at various levels. then they could be developing decision-making/action-coordinating tools there that could ultimately be used no only to coordinate flashmob physical occupations but also boycotts, voter registrations, and voter turnout initiatives. i think too much attention has been paid, by all involved, on the tactics (which seem pretty crude) and not enough on the issues. so i hope the occupiers might come in from the cold and warm up with their laptops, sort out their many stories and expand their invitation.
what is a meaningful occupation?
meaningful occupations... depends on definition, i think... does it mean filling up and owning or simply making your presence there undeniable. occupy cafe is new to me, just took a quick look. that's fine. occupy twitter is fine, too. both are a bit insular, i think. occupy facebook might be more effective cuz it would allow flashes of things to spread through that large network. but more effective still, what if the 99% were all using email signatures to spread the word, akin to so many posters held up for passing traffic? i guess a lot of people use twitter and texting more than email. but that's the kind of presence i'd be excited about seeing. and if you can get a bunch of people putting simply "i am the 99%" (for instance, but i think the whole 99% vs 1% is a shaky foundation) in their email signature, and elsewhere, then you can start to develop ways of changing that message in unison. my guess is that this isn't happening (yet anyway) because there isn't (yet anyway) a coherent statement of what is protested and what is wanted.
personally, i don't think any of that is enough to resolve our situation. the 99% have a lot of economic power, collectively they spend a lot of money. and they continue to spend it on mass produced stuff, much of it imported from elsewhere. not until many many people start buying from their neighbors the clothes and furniture and laundry soap and other basic stuff everybody needs, whether from small vendor/manufacturers or locally owned and operated factories, will we start developing the skills and cash flows needed to create jobs. in some ways the protesters seem to get it as wrong as reagan. government is not the problem, as reagan said. and markets are not the problem, as many protesters would probably say. someday maybe we will have a mass understanding of the commons on the one hand and individual merit, ownership, profit, need and wealth on the other.
Interesting comments. But they do not move me. First graph idea of retreating to the internet is going backwards. A new culture and a new economy will not be created by retreating further into the digital world. It will require face to face encounters such as those he alludes to in graph 3. And...... there's already plenty of online planning going on...not that we couldn't have alot more. But it's not the whole answer.
Reagan did not say government is not the problem He said just the opposite. "Government is not the solution, it is the problem." And that is still the right-wing mantra--and practice--of dismantling government until it can be "drowned in a bathtub" as Grover Norquist so famously said. Given that, your friend has gotten it backwards about how "wrong" the "protesters" are. Likewise, to say that "markets" are not the problem is to completely overlook the issue of scale. The only actual "free" market that exists anywhere is the smallest scale local one. No market of any scale is truly "free" in this world. So yes, rigged markets ARE the problem.
What question, if answered, might make the greatest difference in the development of an effective response to the clearing of so many #Occupy sites?
Is #Occupation our constitutional right to peaceably assemble to redress grievances with our government?
I attached the letter drawn by a woman from Pennsylvania which has just been sent to a US Assistant Attorney General of the Civil Rights division, asserting this very case. I haven't the time to flesh this out right now (I feel like I'm chronically saying that these days), however, this is a question I passionately feel we all ought to be considering.
Not whether or not we have the right to encampments, but rather what is the extent of people's right to assemble for the explicit purpose of communicating to our governing bodies that they have gone astray. Far astray. And that we, the people are empowered by our constitution to make a peaceful stand to redress our grievances.
#Occupation has been and is a stand to redress grievous injustice and perversion of the Law of our land as well as the growing concerted brutality which that egregiously formed law is enforced.
A few months prior to the ignition of OWS, it became clear to me that our weakness has been our ignorance of our constitutional rights and the process of law creation and subsequent enforcement.
We're now face-to-face with that which we've, IN THE PAST, abdicated, and that which we are now choosing to knowledgeably embrace; our fundamental rights as they were intended under the Constitution. As imperfectly executed as it may have been, we have the power to make it right.
I am glad to hear Jitendra speaking of the Constitution. MOst people are completely unaware that we lost our Constitutional form of Government in 1816, when the Supreme Court threw it out. (Mc Culloch v. Maryland).
The Supreme Court was never intended to have the authority to determine what is Constitutional and what is not. They just assumed that power (Marbury v. Madison - a few years earlier than Mc Culloch v. Maryland).
McCulloch v Maryland came to the court because the government had unlawfully established a national bank and put its first branch in Maryland. (the creators of the Constitution denied government the right to establish national charters). Maryland sued based on the 10th Amendment.
The 10th Amendment says that government shall have no power unless granted it by the constitution. The Supreme Court said that it should mean that goverment shall have every power unless specifically denied it by the Constitution - and even then it can assume denied powers under something called "implied powers" as well as with use of the necessary powers clause. It went further. It said that the Constitution is not a contract that government must honor; but rather, a suggestion or guideline that government "should" follow when possible. It then went further. it said that people should never be consulted - per the amendment process - on every little issue such as this. And it went further. It said that states are not sovereign nations - as the articles of ratification of six of the states demanded in exchange for ratification. And it went even further. After throwing out the constitution, it re framed government into a "system of checks and balances" with the court as the final and most powerful branch of government. It threw out the constitution as the "Law of the land", as the Constitution says it is, and replaced it with British Common Law. (England does not have a written constitution. It speaks of a constitution though. Its constitution is the body of laws and judicial precedents that have evolved - as is ours today). Mc Culloch v. Maryland was nothing short of a coup d'etat by the Federalists who lost their ideal government as outlined in the rejected Federalist Papaers. It was a coup d'etat. A bloodless coup.
So the government established the national bank and the government "of the people, by the people, and for the people" was turned over to the Robber Barons (With Goldman Sachs being the modern-day equivalent).
When I speak of the Constitution, peoples' eyes glaze over. How sad! Anyone who has read the constitution knows that federal power is so limited that there is almost no need for anyone to interpret its meaning. The intent of the 14th Amendment (that was used to give corporations "citizenship" and turn money into speech) is well known in the congressional record (as well as the papers of the day). "A person born ..." does not mean the same things as a "chartered entity established", and no SANE person could think it does.
the Supreme court says that we cannot get money out of politics without a constitutional amendment, but the court also maintains - to this day - that the constitution is not a contract that government is required to honor. Just look at how long it took congress and the courts to overturn the most recent amendment! (Where it was decided that a pay adjustment is not the same thing as an adjustment in pay)
We have been taught so many lies about American history, that I think it would be a good thig to have "Learn-Ins" as part of the occupy movement. I don't know anyone who is aware that the Federalist Papers were a FAILED argument, and that the constitution wouldn't be ratified unless the proposed government was downsized - hence the Bill of Rights and CONDITIONAL ratification by the States, thus bringing us the United States - that was reduced to nothing more than a Treaty Organization. I don't know anyone who has read the Anti-Federalist papers - and it was the Anti-Federalist ideas that ultimately won the day and caused the United States to be born.
Why don't we all know about this coup d'etat that turned our government over to the power-brokers who sold power to the Robber Barons? The U. S. Dept's of Education's mission statement says it all. It does not exist to prepare us to govern ourselves, or even to enrich our lives through education. It exists to prepare us for global competition. In order for us to be prepared to be slaves to the current order (while calling that slavery freedom) it had to fill us with lies - of both omission and commission. It did - and thanks to the Internet, the documentary evidence of that is now publicly available.
The Constitution is a marvelous form of limited government that, if honored, would have prevented the need for Occupy Wall Street.
PS: If we fix the breakage in our government at the point of breakage - much as we fix a water main breakage at the point where it is broken rather than treat symptoms of that breakage - we should be able to attract a much larger portion of the population. Even Tea Partiers want their values honored as much as I do.
The core problem is that our worldview - indoctrinated into us under the auspices of education that is really diseducation - is in error. Humankind has finally reached a point where science can show us a different worldview that puts power in the hands of the individual rather than a power hierarchy that makes us irrelevant at best and obsolete at worst.
Quantum physics and gnostic physics (study of the unified field of consciousnenss) are discovering just how powerful individuals are. We are able to CHOOSE to live in a world of abundance rather than a world of scarcity - but it requires individuals to step away from the worldview that tells us that there is only scarcity in the world, and step into a multiverse where abundance is all that is.
There are many of us who learned how to create our own realities - using the power of thought. We literally manifest things and situations - including safety - into our realities. There is abundant scientific evidence that shows that we - as a group - have the ability to bypass the war machine by doing nothing more than gathering in groups to meditate 2ce/day. We can end war when we learn to consciously create our realities - both individually and collectively.
The world of abundance is here - but for as long as anyone doesn't know about it, he/she can't access it.
We need to begin some "Learn-Ins" where history, science, and the fundamentals of a rational economic system are taught. (the current economic system is a ponzi scheme that is guaranteed to fail if population stops growing or if we stop consuming.)
Let's make REAL education free.