Occupy Cafe is launching a systematic inquiry into the evolution of the #Occupy movement.  

NOTE: This discussion was part of "Round 1" of our inquiry and is now closed.  Our conversation continues with our "Round 2" thread here.  And help us harvest more from this round here.

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?  


Ben Roberts,

Occupy Cafe Steward

Views: 1850

Replies are closed for this discussion.

Replies to This Discussion


My eyes don't glaze over..my heart leaps with joy in fact...these are exactly the kinds of facts "we the people" need to be encountering, understanding, doing something about..there actually is amovement "We the Poeple" nationwide, an office in every state, convening meetings at dining room tables and in church halls and grange halls to do exactly that.

As you ay know, Bernie Sanders, ( D,VT) is sponsoring  a consititional ammendament that would clarify that corporations are not people ( undoing the Citizen's United that is now allowing corporations to buy america lock stock and barrel..like the Governor of Ohio who is allowing oil drilling in public parks).

Nothing is more central to what "we the 99%" means than the Citizens United decision..astonishing to me that the occupy movement hasn't used its visibility to promote the passage of this important Consitutional Ammendment...  It goes right to the heart of the plutonomy.fixes the water main at te break, as you said Gail.

So happy to have you here Gail!!!


I'm very concerned about a constitutional amendment to get rid of Citizens United decision.  It sounds good on the surface, but it is only a shallow feel-good idea.  It will make matters MUCH worse.

We need to FIRST - restore the Constitution to its proper place as Law of the Land - as the text of the constitution requires.  We must deprive the Supreme Court of its UNconstitutional role as the unelected oligarchy that reigns over us as tyrannical despots on behalf of the Plutocracy (Robber Barons) who also rule with tyranny, thus forming a Plutocratic form of government - a combination of the two. Until we do that, any amendment we pass will only be a short-term, temporary fix that will actually legitimize some improper interpretations of that constitution.  I will certainly vote against it.  I want REAL fix. I don't want to throw another Band Aid on yet another symptom.

I wish I new of a way to get the message out.  I wonder if our country might not be too big.


 Have you actually seen the text of the ammendment.?  (what Bernie Sanders is advancing? It was, I think a Vermont  resolution).  I believe it is on solid constitutional ground and is well worded.  

There is an essay at my blog (lindsaynewlandbowker.posterous.com) on the details with links to the text and also to what consitutional scholars have said. about it about the gaps in our constitution to prevent ursupation by an outside tyrnanny..which is what the plutonomy is. 

If your coment takes account of all that and speaks directly to the ammendment Bernie Sanders is introducing I would like to understand that  and perhaps you could say more.

I am fascinated with your observation on the place of the constitution in our law and our legislative process.  I think you are raising a critically important point and would love it if you brought that discussion to TED Conversations..we have been doing a lot of work there on direct democracy, disengagement eyc. and we need to have the conversation you  are pointing to.  I'd like to understand that  more fully, for sure.

Out of dialog inspired by and about the #occupy movement I stumbled on to the reality that no democracy on earth has ever addressed itself to income ineiquality per se.  Each is born out of a staus quo of vast inequality, with a welathy resource owned and domanting  1%and a  poor service class 99% and this idea that that I now  see as a joke that everyone has an equal chance to get ahead, to move up to prosperity.  I see that very differently now than I have all my life. I see it more like playing a carnival game or buying a lottery ticket where the odds of winning are minsicule.

I like what you are pointing to.  We really do have to visit fundamentals to sort all this out and we have to get the 99% to ubderstand these fundamentals.

You are a most amazing and wonderful presence among us here at Occupy Cafe.

I have looked for Bernie Sanders' proposed amendment and am unable to find the actual text; however, I believe that ANY amendment addressing the Citizens United decision is nothing more than deepening the hole that will serve as our grave.  By passing such an amendment, we will be voicing support for the corrupt and unconstitutional system that allowed such an anti-Americans Supreme Court decision to take place in the first place.

I would support an amendment that restated and reaffirmed the 10th Amendment.  That would stop the goal post from moving whenever the 99% approach it.  We could even give government a number of years to correct the corruptions.  but if we try to fix the break by putting another Band Aid on a symptom, we perpetuate the problem and make it more difficult to extricate ourselves from it.

I don't know what a TED conversation is.  Could you email me a link?

FYI - it makes  no difference if an amendment is on solid constitutional grounds.  An amendment becomes part of the constitution, so anything it says becomes solid constitutional grounds.  We can have a constitutional amendment that says that red shall, from this point on be called purple, and purple shall be called red.  That is within our rights - if the Constitution is the law of the land.

But, the constituion isn't the law of the land.  I repeat:  The Court has said that we can't gete $$$ out of politics without an amendment, but it also strongly maintains that government is not obligated to honor the constitution.  So passing any amendment is a waste of TIME that could be better  used to fix the break.

When a water main breaks, we fix it at the point of breakage.  Suddenly, when it comes to a verifiable break in government, we prefer to put band-aids on the break.  Using a water main as a metaphor:  The main breaks.  We ration water and in that rationing, we acknowledge the need for inequality.  Government needs more water because they have to manage the rationing process, and that makes the legislators thirsty.  Big Business needs more water because they create jobs that handle water more efficiently.  Firefighters, teachers, students need extra water - but only for as long as it is feasable.  The wealthy need more water because they are "job creators" and water makes it easier for them to think of ways to create jobs. When water becomes more scarce, then the biggest users - the less equal people - lose their water before the more equal feel any discomfort.

Do you see how by entrenching the broken system by working on an amendment that serves the rationers, rather than talking about an amendment that will fix the break, we damage our own cause.  We work AGAINST all that we are working FOR.  We become like the citizens of Air Strip One in George Orwell's "1984".  We are really chanting"War is Peace, Ignorance is strength, Slavery is freedom".  Working against all that we are working for is self-defeating.

Thank you for your kind words.  I hope you can send me a link or an explanation of what a TED conversation is.

Hi Gail,

Anyone can join TED Conversations, a community of global member initiated conversations at www.ted.com ( pick "Conversations from the menu) you can provide as little or as much as you want for a profile ( user name is minimum) to become a member.( a lot frivolous and some reptitive but still an important global forum)

Members and non-members can search past conversations by key word "eg "Constitution" "Direct Democracy" ( same with TED Talks although TED stands for TECHNOLOGY DESIGN ENTERTAINMENT so not often talks on civics or governance

Surprisingly, though its mostly young techies there is a small group of folk like me and you who are contemplatives and who speak from not about their practice to issues of importance to the world ( an IMPORTANT difference..from not of their spiritual practice

Tom Atlee very kindly became a member to comment on a conversation I had there on updating belief systems and left a beautiful and much quoted essay ( which you can find  by seraching for comments by Tom Atlee.)


As a member of both, I frequently cross pollinate from one venue to another harvesting from ths

I totally ere what has meaning here and taking seeds from here and planting them in TED.

I get your point that the constiution is not the law of the land and that no ammendments or fix ups will change that. ( And I still want to learn more about that, hear more of what you have to say so would love to have that chance at TED if there is no place for that here).

I nevertheless support Bernie Sanders 28th ammendment bracuse it will have a dramatic affect on lobbying and lobbyists.  I love your practical imagery..and of course aggree that we also have to address these things at the source and accept your simply elegant point that the law is what is written down and reality is what actually happens.

  So of course we need not just transparency but something like a level playing field for all campaigns..no outside funding..; we need strict  rules for all public officials on gifts and loans ( I was subject to those throughout my 30 years in NYC in various appointed posts); we need complete public disclosure of all indirect connections ( chronyiism and of financial ties(personal financial stake) in companies with business before anyone serving as a public official.

In your words.  yes we need to fix the water main at the exact point of the break.

I will get you the link to the Bernie Sanders and still think all should support it, even understanding that it is not a complete solution to private influence in Government..

OK, but restating the 10th amendment WILL get the money out of politics.  It places the issue back in the hands of congress that is now well-served by that corrupt decision.  Congress already passed a law that did much to end $$ in politics and that would then be legal.  The court is protecting some in congress from the wrath of the voters.

Restating and reaffirming the 10th amendment according to the intents of the ratifiers will remove the issue from the purview of the Supreme Court that was never supposed to have had such power in the first place.  It will make the contract a contract that government is REQUIRED to follow.

I do have to repeat that congress will simply find a way to bypass any such amendment.  Any potential amendments that I have read do not include the words "corporate entity" which makes it possible for a new group to simply call itself something else.  That's what happened with the "credit default swaps".  These "products" are certainly insurance products, but because the creators didn't want to follow insurance regulation, they simply invented a new name and look what happened as a result of it.

Place the goal post firmly in position before we go on to tinker and  allow the will of the people to be expressed.

I voted for the 27th amendment and my own senator at the time (Senate Majority Leader Mitchell - ME) was the one who led the charge against his own state and declared that if congress didn't give itself a raise, it was in violation of the newest amendment that prohibited raises.  It was a convoluted argument and an unfair one, if you understand why he made the claim.  Still, it was decided that pay adjustments are not adjustments in pay.

I hold no hope for its fulfillment even if it is ratified by 100% of the states.  The system is too corrupt.

Bernie Sanders is a dear and I like much of what he says even though I am not a socialist.  (Bernie Sanders is a self-proclaimed socialist so I do not say the word as an insult.  I say it only to clarify that Bernie Sanders has a big-government agenda that I do not share, and the proposed 28th amendment serves that big-government ideal.  It certainly doesn't serve me!)

Odd that socialism means Big Government to so many. A forest is socialist. An ecosystem is socialist.  Your body is socialist. So, how is it that capitalism represents a step forward for humanity? Just wondering.


Gail, fellow Mainer ( Ilive on Deer Isle..grew up in Portland)

I hope to enjoy more of  the benfit of your thinking on this.  It is obvious you have given it much though, are deeply steeped, and very knowledgeable.

I don't know that much about Bernie Snaders.  He spoke well on the watered down Dodd-Frank position limits..as a former bak regulator ( member NYS Banking Board 1986-1997, represnting consumers) I resonated completely with his position.

I wrote about the Vermont initiative..haven't looked at it lately but I was very impressed.

I can't speak to Bernie Sanders agenda, but on these two issues, I was very impressed with what he had to say..

Can't disagree with you on the extent of corruption..it's like a cancer that has permeated everything.

But I still beleive in the power of backlas to change the game, to change the future.

I am not for big governement..I think our whole style of legiilating to protect consumers and protect the enviornment has only polarized the 1% and the 99%.  We need to rethink what we legislate and how..we definyeitely can't just put back what was torn down nor can we simply patch up what's in place

Hope you may share  some further thoughts where you see the possibilities of change

Why, Gary,  did you choose to use "occupy Stewards ..to which no reply is possible??????? ( and what's with that ,one might reasonably ask)

Moving on..reluctantly..and replying even though your remark created no opportunity for reply....

Aren't the words "socialist" and "capitalist" a bit clumsy in the conversation we are trying to have here..a conversation that is trying to point to somethinng that neither of these words includes.  We could throw "big governemnet" onto that pile as well.  Another word too overcharged with meaning and devoid of vaue in what we are trying to point to here.

As soon as I "put on the mind of the 99%"  I realized that everyday words don't work..words from other ideologies don't work, beacuse like Resource Based Economy, they imply alignment and association with the Venus Project or the Zetigeist movement and trigger reactive responses, introduce confusion rather than clarity..

Even "democracy" is tainted as it has bever included in any form so far in the history of mankind any commitment to reducing or eradicating income inequality.

Putting on the mind of the 99% and really taking a good hard look we see that all democracies were born with or from huge income inequality.  That the liberties and freedoms universally granted were quite apart from the issue of income inequality.  That's why I reached for new language and language from value systems (like Bucky's) that do point to and include what we are pointing to and talking about.  That's where  my word "conviviocarcy " came from.

so I am not sure it is fruitful, cafe stewards, to  suggest that socilaist is a word associated with all the things we value and capitalism is not so good for humanity.

Shouldn't we, Cafe Stewards, be naming and holding up what it is we value, what it is we are pointing to. 


 Do we know yet that Gails point, which we still don't fully understand on the 10th ammendment doesn't point excatly in the direction we are aiming for?

I for one, think it might.





According to M. Scott Peck (A World Waiting to Be Born: Civility Rediscovered), "in the early days of the nation there had been great and heated debate over whether there even should be public education supported by taxation.  The debate was resolved on the grounds that in order to sustain a democratic society, public education was required for the widespread teaching of 'civics.'"

My older brother and sister had civics classes in high school in the early and mid 1960s, but by the end of that decade, college prep had pushed it aside and I had no such course.

Wow!! Hadn't even noticed that..didn't know that..such an important point David!!

It actually explains what I see at TED which is a mostly youthful culture of techies.  In conversations about ethics, morality, civics I had noticed, but couldn't exactly name,  this very passive attitude..as if what is right has to be initiated, served up and enforced by the legsilature with no engagement from them.

Perhaps the absence of civics classes and we the people discussions in the classroom is a part of that?

If it has indeed been lost from education..we have to put it back in. 

 I forwarded Jitendra's note and the Civil Rights Complaint to the national InterOccupy group that is working on a Statement and Press Release in response to the current crack down on occupations, along with the following note. I am also including below one of the two drafts of the Statement that is being distributed by Occupy Groups. Thanks, 

Rob Wheeler



Yesterday, Jitendra Darling posted the following note to Occupy Cafe, along with the formal Complaint (attached) that was sent by Lisa Longo to the Assistant Attorney General. I think that we should attach this complaint with our Statement and current Press Releases whenever they are sent out. In addition, we should all encourage all occupiers and supporters to send this complaint along with a supporting note to the AGG. I will fax it this morning. I believe the complaint very clearly makes the case as to why police abuse and shutting down of the occupations has got to be stopped. If Lisa's complaint could be sent to the New York Times by OWS etc, they might just run it on the Editorial Page. 


Rob Wheeler


Solidarity with OWS after Occupation CrackDown

InterOccupy Statement

November 16, 2011


We have reached a pivotal moment in history, as we find ourselves on

the threshold of a great and lasting change. We at Occupy (insert your

city here) stand in solidarity with Occupy Wall Street and all

occupations across the country and around the world. The accelerated

and coordinated efforts to destroy the Occupy movement, evidenced by

the forceful actions taken against the occupiers in Zucotti Park and

other cities, are confirmation that the Occupy movement is working.

These actions will not stop us; they will only make us stronger.


The Occupy movement stands in sharp contrast to the forces that are

being marshaled against us. When they use force, we use nonviolence.

When they try to isolate us, we build community. When they move

against us, we call for peace and cooperation.


Together, we are standing up and speaking out for the rights

guaranteed by our Constitution: the right of free assembly, the right

of free speech, the right of free press. We affirm that all people are

created equal and have the right to share in the prosperity of our

great nation. We are committed to ending the corruption of our

government and restoring political power to the people. We believe

that our country, and our world, can be a better place and that we

must work together to make this happen.


To those already standing with us: we ask that you continue to stand

strong. You are making the difference. To all the rest: we need for

you to join us. We need individuals and organizations from every

corner of the country to join the Occupy movement now. We call upon

you who have been silent: Speak and be heard. We call upon you who

have not stood up for what you believe in: Stand and be seen. Make the

difference and bring about the change you want to see. Join us

tomorrow, November 17, at (insert location here) as we celebrate the

two month anniversary of Occupy Wall Street by standing up once again

for freedom, for justice, and for the future of our world.




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.

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