"Organizing Zone" Conversation Suggestions & Harvests through 11/28/11

Please use this thread to harvest any key thoughts, questions, etc. that emerged from your Cafe Call conversations in the Organizers' Zone.

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I don't have any huge issues from Occupy Hamilton. Just in general how are we working together toward consensus and building community. These can be challenging issues.

Here are comments that have been posted when people registered for the call.  Some "juicy" topics here, perhaps suitable for the OZ...


Frauke Godat(492775) says:How to increase self-organization of the movment?

Richard Ohlrogge(415148) says:Would like to see thoughts and discussion of long term prospects for the Occupy movement.  As long as prime time media is not giving coverage, except in cases of violence, the challenge is how to maintain purpose for the movement and the people directly involved at various sites.  The sympathy exists everywhere but purpose and direction need to have a constant presence at all locations.  Strategy going forward is key as the winter months, at least in the northern areas, approach.  Here is a link to a recent posting regarding movements in Europe and how they are evolving.  I wanted to post a link to this blog and I am not allowed - HMMMMMM!! 

AJ(570356) says:Occupy Detroit, Facilitation GroupAJ(662580) says:AJ, Occupy Detroit FacilitaitonDiana(441806) says:Glad this is happening--wish I had heard about it sooner

Holly Wells(408768) says:Please do some Cafes on Wise Democracy in its many forms--consensus is not the only way for people to know their voices have been heard.

Inga Jensen(653898) says:Hi there, I am a member of the Occupy Pittsburgh Social Media work group.  I am trying to find a virtual solution for our workgroups that would provide a successful/productive realtime meeting environment to engender cooperation between offsite and encampment members.

LasaraOccupyUkiah(535965) says:Is there, in the opinions of the special guests, a way to create a code of conduct *without* decrying as violent the tactics of property destruction and theft? 
In more detail: 
While I AM actually personally committed to and completely invested in philosophical nonviolence as a personal philosophy, sometimes the removal of a thing (such as the Berlin Wall) is aligned with the values of nonviolence.

In addition, even actions that were considered theft were defended by Gandhi;
"In 1930 in order to help free India from British control, Mahatma Gandhi proposed a non-violent march protesting the British Salt Tax, continuing Gandhi's pleas for civil disobedience. The Salt Tax essentially made it illegal to sell or produce salt, allowing a complete British monopoly. Since salt is necessary in everyone's daily diet, everyone in India was affected. The Salt Tax made it illegal for workers to freely collect their own salt from the coasts of India, making them buy salt they couldn't really afford.

Before embarking on the 240-mile journey from Sabarmati to Dandi, Gandhi sent a letter to the Viceroy himself, forewarning their plans of civil disobedience:
If my letter makes no appeal to your heart, on the eleventh day of this month I shall proceed with such co-workers of the Ashram as I can take, to disregard the provisions of the Salt Laws. I regard this tax to be the most iniquitous of all from the poor man's standpoint. As the Independence movement is essentially for the poorest in the land, the beginning will be made with this evil.[1]

To deliver this letter, Gandhi chose an Englishman who believed in the Indian movement in efforts to promote non-violence. The Viceroy wrote back, explaining that the British would not change their policy: "[Gandhi was] contemplating a course of action which is clearly bound to involve violation of the law and danger to the public peace." [2]"

Other cases in point:Property destruction/defacement:* Boston Tea Party* Berlin Wall* Separation Wall - see Banksy installation* Knocking over statues of dictators* Blood on missile silos* Removal of boundary flags on a timber harvest plan* Dismantling foundations of dams being built on rivers
Theft:* Boston Tea Party* Water "theft" from Bechtel* Urban food foraging (in many cases)* Data theft/leaks

I am in no way saying that we, as Occupy, should endorse property defilement or theft as actions that are invited at our gatherings/demonstrations/in our name. But I do think it's important that such things be discussed. And I will say this;

I think it is important that we not condemn the acts of our brothers and sisters around the world may need to resort to more intensive actions like theft or destruction of property in order to maintain the integrity of their - and here I will say NONVIOLENT - movements.

Dave Furze(561919) says:Qu "What would Jesus do - what should we do?"

Nick Brodeur(665076) says:If the Nov 9th historical EAS "Test" turns out to be more than a test, what is OWS prepared to do if an Egypt style internet crack happens? If internet goes down or social media goes down, what r we prepared to do to continue getting word out?J

ulie Heyman(562193) says:Address the option of subtle activism for those who may not be in the streets but who hold the vision and intention for the movement to grow peacefully.

Tom Johnston(431766) says:If you were teaching Sociology to high school students (which I am) how would you cover what's going on with them?

Bob Jones(590672) says:Do you have a forum for exchanging ideas between groups and inidviduals re the best ways to raise public awareness re this movement.

Tom Johnston(627127) says:What would you advise teenagers to do as they 'awaken' to the realities of their world?Anita

Manuel(693138) says:Interested in conversation about how to deal with conflict with ideas about radical inclusion and violent black bloc behavior.  Will only be there during first half since will be getting picked up to go to chaplains meeting and presence.

Good morning from Santa Barbara --

Just sketching a bit, quickly -- I am a project and process designer, who has worked with the Coffee Party for a year -- where I first met Ben Roberts -- and I am now working closely with Occupy Santa Barbara.  I want to see strong and coherent organizational design with good internet support.

Here's a link to an initial message I posted on this theme yesterday.  It shows some network design and layout ideas in graphic form -- how we reach out the community -- by issue and by demographic group -- and how we call all of this together as an "integrated political force".


See you on the call -- in 20 minutes.

- Bruce


I am wondering if there are "types" or "levels" of violence and if so, what are the hallmarks for identification AND are there specific strategies to be employed with each case?

I feel blessed to witness all the work at the spiritual and
strategic level to nourish the evolution of consciousness through
grounded and ancient ways of relating to one and all, and to help point
the story where it wants to go already...

My question: 

Is there yet a resource to filter and research the exponential
social innovation we are seeing and serve as a hub or clearinghouse to
find the most useful and inspiring social technologies, decision-making processes, and so forth? If so, where is it, It would wonderful to have a visionary database of projects and initiatives that really demonstrate the best design in terms of living systems thinking, evolution of consciousness and inner and outer transformation.

Perhaps the question could be phrased as: "Where are the best informational resources for change agents to use easily and effectively, and how could those resources be more widely researched, publicized, and distributed?" Or something like that. 

thank you, 


Leon,  I love your idea. I have been thinking about the same thing. There is so much that IS working.  How can it be book marked, so to speak, and further developed. Lets stay in touch about this.  Perhaps there could be a group here this further explores co-creating this?


From my view our discussion in organizing space was all about how we learn to be together in dialogue, to connect, to listen, to involve our diversity, some folks were specifically interested in how we engage parents, youth.

We struggle with "dysfunctional" GAs, people with different interests & different understanding about how to come together.  Different sites have different synamics between campers and other types of activists.  Kelly's example is that having the GA in an outside venue full of cigarette smoke makes it difficult for many to participate...

I brought my own (frustrated) experience and my solution of hosting an in person Occupy Cafe in Portland.



Can you post your account of hosting an in person Occupy Cafe here?

I'm not on Facebook and cannot access what you posted. I'd love to see it and also retweet it. I'm looking at doing something similar here in San Diego. The day I left physical involvement with Occupy San Diego (and entered being wildly agnostic if not a little opposed to the methods of #OWS), I had planned to offer an Open Space Technology event onsite...but the overall life-depleting climate led me to do otherwise...

My hope, Kelly, is that you'd connect with Kenoli Oleari (he's on this site). He's perhaps one of the country's leading facilitators of large group processes, comes out of many years of activism in the 60's.  And, to put it simply, like me he shares enormous reticence about the GA model being of any use for getting work done. And he should know. He has eight (!) years experience trying to get work done with GA's.

Keys to organizing are shared purpose and vision.  Shared purpose means we all are working together tor the same reason. {We may have other reasons, too, but we all share one which is fundamental to our motivation.)  Shared vision means we all share an image of what life will be like when we are successful in serving our purpose.  Shared vision meams that each of us are exerting our energy in the same direction.  Do we (the 99%) share a vision?  What can we do to sharpen our shared vision so that our energies are coordinated in the same direction?

Fundamental to our collaboration are shared purpose and shared vision.

Doreen's reply suggests concepts for thinking about our shared PURPOSE:

     "unity, collaboration, cooperation, wisdom, and vision"

How would you conceive our shared PURPOSE?

Doreen also suggests a way of thinking about our shared VISION

     "...world citizens uniting to break through instead of breaking down..."

How would you conceive our shared VISION?

I don't know that I agree that OCCUPY is THE catalyst ..it is a powerful stimulant in a comlex system that has helped to awaken the alientated and disenfrachised to the need for action..they are not directing or supporting or guiding or informing that action.

 I agree with you 100% that Occupy and everyone else who is alarmed at the Plutonomy..it's choking hold on all our lives needs to stop thinking about tents in parks as occupying the commons and start focusing on these bills you refer to..and also the delegation of police authroity to private corporations in defending their copy rights and intellectual properties.  Occupy said and did nothing to defer Keystone pipeleine (the pieces are already place,,it is still being connected); It hasn't visbly supported the 28th ammendment to take the legs out from under Citzens United; It hasn;t visbly held up or supported  Tammy Baldwin in her resolution not to allow exemption from criminal libaility for the banks who committed criminal acts in the mortgage collapse. 

 Occupy is not front and center on any of these important and critical effeorts to take control back..to out those who are serving private interests when they are supposed to be representing us.


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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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